07-07-17 Buckhead Reporter

Page 1

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 14


Buckhead Reporter


► N.C. real estate market heats up


► Appalachian Cool: Jackson County, N.C.


Inside the Buckhead Coalition’s neighborhood shrine BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net


Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, sits at his desk in the organization’s office in the Tower Place building. His desk is often covered in papers because he handwrites all correspondence and does not use a computer.

DINING OUT Halal Guys gyros come to Buford Highway Page 4

My daughter breaks the mold. She cooks and cleans without being asked. Plus, she’s kind to animals and small children. But all this goodness comes at a price: She doesn’t like to shop.

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OUT & ABOUT Fido rules at Blue Heron’s ‘Doggie Daze’ Page 6

One of the first sights greeting a visitor to the Buckhead Coalition’s offices in the Tower Place skyscraper is the crest of Hamilton, Bermuda – the neighborhood’s sister city. It’s decorated with an image of a ship held up by a seahorse and a mermaid looking into a mirror. That’s one of hundreds of plaques, certificates and other memorabilia lining the offices’ walls and marking the coalition’s many achievements and partnerships. Sam Massell, the former mayor and current Buckhead Coalition president, calls the trophy-lined hallway “ego alley.” The Buckhead Coalition is a powerful and influential invitation-only group made up of 100 CEOs and other leaders in the community. Despite the group’s prominence, its office is little-known and rarely visited by the general public. See INSIDE on page 10

Hunting, fishing businesses stick together in move BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

“We’ve been friends for many years, and I’m glad we could stay next to each other,” Gary Merriman, owner of The Fish Hawk, said of Chuck’s Firearms. The two sporting businesses have operated side-by-side in Buckhead for over 40 years, and have stuck together through two relocations — the latest in March, as they make way for a condo tower. They both moved from Buckhead Avenue to Peachtree Road in 2006 into adjacent suites with identical storefronts. In March, See HUNTING on page 2

2 | Community

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Hunting, fishing businesses stick together in move

Continued from page 1

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they had to move again to Miami Circle so a high-rise condo could be built. Merriman said Miami Circle has, so far, been better for the business, than the Buckhead Village, which is bordered by Roswell, Peachtree, Paces Ferry and Pharr Roads. “Peachtree Road was great for a lot of years, but there got to be too much construction,” Merriman said. The 12-story condo building that will eventually take the place of the small stores on the 3000 block of Peachtree Road is being by built by The Loudermilk Companies, presided over by Robin Loudermilk, the son of Charlie Loudermilk, an Atlanta businessman that founded Aaron’s Inc. The building is named after the elder Loudermilk and called The Charles, located across the street from Charlie Loudermilk Park, which Robin Loudermilk helped renovate and name after his father. “It’s a great place for a condominium, and it will be unique for the area since there aren’t any others around,” Robin Loudermilk said. The building will have street-level retail, but occupants have not been announced yet. The Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams furniture store is not owned by The Loudermilk Companies and will remain, Robin Loudermilk said. The block of stores, which also includes a temporary apartment leasing

office, will be demolished within the next month, he said. Across the street from The Charles and next to the Buckhead Theatre, which is owned by Charlie Loudermilk, a high-rise apartment building is being built by The Hanover Co. Robin Loudermilk was the landlord for both The Fish Hawk and Chuck’s Firearms, having helped them find a space after they had to leave Buckhead Avenue. “The Buckhead Avenue move was a sudden shock,” Merriman said. “We were the sacrificial lamb,” he said. While The Fish Hawk and Chuck’s Firearms had to move out of their Buckhead Avenue spaces abruptly, Merriman said Robin Loudermilk gave them plenty of notice that their buildings would be demolished to build The Charles. Merriman, who opened The Fish Hawk in 1974, said having less traffic congestion in the area and being able to offer more parking for his customers make Miami Circle a better location. They have also seen a big uptick in the amount of customers visiting after 4 p.m. now that they have to go through less rush-hour traffic. Over the years on Peachtree Road, Merriman said he and others who worked in the shop began referring to the Buckhead Triangle, which is now known as Charlie Loudermilk Park, as the “Buckhead Death Triangle.” “I’m glad to be away from the Buck-

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Opposite page, The Fish Hawk moved to 764 Miami Circle earlier this year in March. Above, Chuck’s Firearms in its new location on Miami Circle.

At right, a rendering shows the planned high-rise condo building, The Charles, that will be built on Peachtree Road at the former location of The Fish Hawk and Chuck’s Firearms.



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head Triangle,” he said. 1989, leaving his son Jack to run the While it was disappointing to have store. Hinsdale later bought it in 2015, to move, Jim Hinsdale, the owner of but Jack Lester is also still working there. Chuck’s Firearms, also said Miami CirChuck’s sells mostly vintage and cle is better for similar reasons. luxury guns, and they sell many less “Everyone has been very pleased with handguns than most other gun stores, how the store has come out,” Hinsdale said. Hinsdale said. Because a lot of their cus“It’s very similar to the other store,” he said. tomers are hunters, many of them are Having owned a business in the The Fish Hawk’s customers as well. Buckhead Village for over 40 years, Merriman has seen the area change substantially, and became bothered by the uptick in construction projects. “It has gone from feeling like a small town to feeling like a big city like New York,” Merriman said. Miami Circle also has a local, small town feel Buckhead Village had decades ago, he said. “Most of the other businesses are local businesses, like how Jim Hinsdale bought the Chuck’s Firearms in 2015. Buckhead was years ago,” he said. The Fish Hawk has been next to “A lot of hunters are fishers and a lot Chuck’s Firearms the entire time it has of fishers are hunters,” Hinsdale said. been open, and Chuck’s opened only “Our customers are their customers,” he three years before Merriman opened said, while another employee in the store his fishing supply shop. cleaned and repaired an old military rifle. Their customers frequently call the The store has been in the area so long, wrong shop because they think they are it has amassed loyal customers, some who owned by the same people, and some cuscome back even after they move away tomers also thought they were connected when they visit Atlanta. and they could go between the two. “Because it’s grown up in this area, it’s Now that they are in Miami Circle, become a destination store,” Hinsdale said. they are not in adjacent buildings, but Their new landlord, Bill Shippen, is are located a few hundred feet from also a customer of the store, Hinsdale said. each other. Both owners said they are The stores moved in early March, a couhappy they were able to find two vacanple weeks before a fire lit underneath I-85 cies so close to each other. Chuck’s Firewould collapse the major artery, crippling arms is now at 761 Miami Circle and The the Buckhead area. The collapse was an obFish Hawk is at 764 Miami Circle. stacle that challenged the store in their ear“While we couldn’t work it out to ly days, Hinsdale said, but after that, cusbe together, this has worked out very tomers have adjusted well to the move and well,” Hinsdale said. seem to also like the new location better. Chuck’s Firearms was founded by For more information, visit chucksfireChuck Lester in 1971, but he retired in arms.com and thefishhawk.com.

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4 | Dining Out

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“Hey, where did you get that gyro?” “The halal guys on West 53rd and 6th Avenue.” That’s how a legend was born. In 1990, a simple hot dog cart run by a trio of Egyptian immigrants became the hottest lunch line in New York City. Twenty-five years later, they began licensing franchises and now boast over 200 locations worldwide. As the

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fastest growing fast casual chain in America, The Halal Guys has finally landed on Buford Highway with more locations expected to follow. Simply put, this is some of the most consistently excellent half-hour dining available in Atlanta. It’s the same all over the world: a couple of tables in a fairly small but conveniently located space, that red and yellow color scheme, and a limited menu where everything is done with consistent quality and correctness. If you’ve eaten at any of the locations, you’ve eaten at them all, and you can literally order one of everything on the menu for just under $50. The staples are lamb, chicken and falafel, and you put them in a pita wrap with lettuce and tomato or you put them over a bed of rice with lettuce, tomato and pita on the side.


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Then you add one or more of their two excellent sauces: white and red. The white sauce is some kind of mystery mayo, more creamy than tangy. It’s not a tzatziki sauce. The red sauce is super spicy and made with red peppers. It’s not a harissa sauce and you’ll feel the burn all the way down your throat for an eye-watering adventure that is both delicious and slightly scary. If you’ve ever accepted some ludicrous hot wings dare, this red sauce will be your next big thing. Some locations outside of NYC, including ours, have a barbeque sauce that is more sweet than spicy. For sides, you have four choices: fries, hummus, baba ganouj and falafel. The fries are just fries, golden brown and not at all soggy. The hummus, which is made

JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Dining Out | 5



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of ground chickpeas, has a nice garlic flavor. The baba ganouj, which is made of pureed eggplant, has a wonderfully smoky aftertaste. The falafel is crisp on the outside, bright green on the inside and not too dry or crumbly. You can top it all off with a baklava for dessert, jam packed with crushed nuts and dripping delicious honey everywhere, as messy as anything made with layers of filo dough should be.


Every meal I’ve ever had at The Halal Guys, no matter what city, it’s been ready in less than four minutes. They’ve got strong procedures in place and everything moves along in an orderly manner without making customers feel like they are part of a cattle call managed by robots. You can be in and out with a full belly in a half hour. If a half hour is too much, carry it out in five minutes. Or if you absolutely cannot forsake the comfort of your own couch, several online delivery services will pick it up for you, so just check your local preferred apps. The

wrappings are unpretentious, unbranded foil for the sandwiches and the platters come in those generic rounds made of foil with clear plastic tops. The wrapping isn’t microwave safe, but hey, their food is also super delicious when served cold if you’re saving any for later. Do I need to state what “halal” means? Have you heard of “kosher”? These words refer to foods it is acceptable to eat if you’re following Islamic or Jewish law. The acceptability is based upon certain techniques used during animal slaughter. It has no bearing upon the taste of the meat, so feel free to be as oblivious to the meaning as ever. However, I’m happy to point out that although the Buford Highway corridor has long been Atlanta’s goto for diverse foods, it has been lacking in offerings suitable to practicing Muslims. Yes, The Halal Guys is an exceedingly trendy place to grab a bite, but it also welcomes more families to the table.

The Halal Guys is located at 4929 Buford Highway in Chamblee. For more information, visit thehalalguys.com.

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6 | Out & About

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Join us for a complimentary informational luncheon & meet our audiologists

Watch “The Secret Life of Pets” at Briarwood Park Pool. Free admission; concessions available. 2235 Briarwood Way, Brookhaven. Info: 404-637-0542.

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM Tuesday, 7/18 Wednesday, 7/19 Thursday, 7/27

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prove health, mood, balance and teamwork. Advance registration required. MJCCA Zaban Park Campus, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: 678-812-4025 or Deanne Jacobson at deanne.jacobson@atlantajcc.org.


Saturday, July 15, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Grab your pooch and go for a creek walk, see dogs available for adoption, make doggie art and shop hiking supplies for dogs in this annual event at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Snacks for dogs and their humans will be provided. Free. 4055 Roswell Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: 404-946-6394.


Sunday, July 16 to Saturday, July 22

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta invites people of all fitness levels to a free week of wellness-related activities and fun fitness challenges with prizes awarded. Open to the community and MJCCA members, this event promotes activities that help im-

IT STARTS IN THE PARK 5K Saturday, July 22, 7:30 a.m.

The city of Brookhaven celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month with its third annual 5K at Blackburn Park featuring chip timing, T-shirts and awards in more than 14 categories. Fees: $30 through July 20; $35 on site. Race begins and ends at Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Sign up at Big Peach Running Co. or visit itstartsinthepark5k. itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=7259. Info: Philip Mitchell at philip.mitchell@brookhavenga.gov.

As a service to our community, Dr. Chaiken will present:

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Out & About | 7




Friday, July 14 to Sunday, Aug. 6

Stage Door Players presents Irving Berlin’s musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter who starred in the “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” shows. North DeKalb Cultural Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Schedule and ticket info: stagedoorplayers.net or 770-396-1726.

Fine Art Museum of Ghana. Adults $5; free for children under 12 and OUMA members, students with Petrel Pass, and members of military and their families. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.


Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to noon.

Meet new people, share refreshments and practice conversational English or Spanish skills in the “International Cafe” event at the Brookhaven Library. 1242 N. Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Free. Register: 404-508-7190, ext. 2257, or email adultservices@dekalblibrary.org.


Garden expert, writer, radio and television host Walter Reeves answers gardening questions as part of an ongoing series of Georgia Perennial Plant Association talks at the

Saturday, July 15, 7 p.m.

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

HEARTFULNESS MEDITATION Ongoing Saturdays, 10 a.m.

Participants learn how to integrate meditation into daily life and are encouraged to bring journals to record their experiences. Sandy Springs Library, 395 Mount Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.


Monday, July 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Atlanta History Center. Free. Reservations not required. Light refreshments at 7 p.m. Speakers begin at 7:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

Volunteers are needed now at the CAC Boutique thrift shop to serve as sorters, pricers and cashiers and help neighbors in need. CAC Boutique, 8607 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: Debbie at volunteer@ourcac.org.



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Monday, July 10 to Thursday, Aug. 31. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. Receptions on Saturdays, July 15 and Aug. 19, noon to 4 p.m.

The Dunwoody Fine Art Association will exhibit member artwork in a juried show at the Artists Atelier. Free admission, including receptions. 800 Miami Circle, Suite 200, Buckhead. Info: 404-231-5999.


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

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art presents an exhibit of quilted works of art by fifth-generation quilt maker Phyllis Stephens, whose work has been exhibited at the

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8 | 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 NTA C 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 Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Janet Tassitano

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Community Survey / How the iPhone changed our lives June 29 marked the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iPhone, a device that would change many people’s modern lives by putting powerful computers in their pockets. With an iPhone or one of the competing smartphones that quickly followed it, people could search the internet, send email and texts, find themselves on GPS systems and, of course, make phone calls from just about anywhere. Suddenly, any place could become a workplace, drivers didn’t need to find and unfold maps to navigate strange neighborhoods and bar bets easily could be settled. And, of course, smartphones helped propel the popularity of social media and made the word “app” mean something other than the first course of a meal. A decade into the Smartphone Age, our latest 1Q survey – conducted by cellphone, of course – found that residents served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown use the devices in all parts of their lives: work, play and staying in touch with friends and family. “I use my phone for so many things and I can’t imagine my daily life without it,” a 24-year-old Atlanta woman responded. “From music, to GPS, to work and personal communications. It’s always by my side! Our most recent 1Q survey found residents of the communities served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown use smartphones to work, play

Question: What do you use your smartphone for the most? .5% 10% 4% 3% 1.5%

texting or emailing 101 (50.5%) following Facebook, Twitter or other social media 42 (21.0%)

11% 10%

making phone calls 20 (10.0%)


reading websites for news, sports or other info 15 (7.5%)


Other 22 (11.0%) listening to music 6 (3.0%) 50.5%

playing games 3 (1.5%)

7.5% 7.5%

taking photos or videos 4 (2.0%)



getting GPS map directions 1 (0.5%) other 8 (4.0%)

and stay in touch with family. Slightly more than half of the 200 people who responded said they use a smartphone primarily for texting or emailing and 21 percent said they use their phones to follow social media. Only 10 percent used them primarily to make phone calls. “My smartphone has allowed me to be much more responsive to my clients and my employees. That has dynamically changed the way I do business,” a 53-year-old Buckhead man said. “The other change for me has been the connection with my four teenage children. Using apps such as Snapchat has allowed me to get a sneak peek into their world without being intru-

sive. Snapchat is especially authentic – meaning I will get a Snapchat selfie picture saying hi or love you from one of my daughters and the picture is just a real, not posed or edited selfie.” Others cited the smartphone’s immediate access to information. A 51-year-old Brookhaven man said his had “replaced laptop and newspapers.” Of course, not every change smartphones have made in our daily lives is an improvement. Everybody knows the downside of constantly being in touch. A 33-year-old Brookhaven man called his smartphone “incredibly distracting and hard to disconnect from. “And a 31-year-old Atlanta woman said, “I’m too accessible.”

Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net

Here’s what some other respondents had to say:

Contributors Kate Awtrey, Robin Conte, Kathy Dean, Collin Kelley, Phil Mosier, Megan Volpert

“Having a mobile work office in a smart phone has changed my life. I talk on my smartphone, but also use it for work emails, texts, creating copy design and blog content for my projects. The convenience of having this one tool allows me greater flexibility and promotes a healthier lifestyle.” --A 58-year-old Sandy Springs woman

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

“It has made everything more convenient in my life. It has put the world at my fingertips.” --a 20-year-old Sandy Springs man “I’ve been able to communicate more easily with friends. It’s easier to keep in touch.” --a 31-year-old Atlanta woman

© 2017 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

“It’s made my photography skills better.” --a 19-year-old Atlanta woman “My life never really shuts off. It’s made me an information hoarder.” -- a 41-year-old Atlanta man “It has allowed me to minimize my dependency on a computer. I am able to manage most of my finances, documents, and other digital assets from my smartphone.” -- a 31-year-old Atlanta man “My smartphone wakes me up in the morning and makes sure I am on time to meetings. It keeps me connected to the world.” -a 24 year-old Atlanta woman

1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity.

Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Commentary | 9


Mom-daughter shopping is stymied by ‘The Flaw’ My daughter breaks the mold. She cooks and cleans without being asked, she plays catch with her younger brothers and she made it clear through adolescence with nary an incident of “drama.” Plus, she’s kind to animals and small children. But all this goodness comes at a price: She doesn’t like to shop. Signs of The Flaw began to appear around the age of 5. My mother took her shopping and tried to buy her an adorable dress that had been marked down twice. As the story goes, my mother continued to coax her into the dress and finally relented, saying, “Sweetie, if I buy this for you, you won’t wear it, will you?” “No, grandma,” my daughter replied with a shake of her head, “and that will be your punishment.” Your punishment?! My stars, child! Have I taught you nothing about gift horses? Apparently not. I still have to bribe her to buy clothes, even now that she’s grown into a longlegged, model-sized coed. “Here, honey, get this dress, it looks fantastic on you! If you let me buy this for you, I won’t ask you to let me buy anything else for you for the rest of the year! I promise!” It’s no fun at all. Plus, I can’t take her shopping with me — it’s like shopping with a 62-yearold man. She’s kind of a killjoy. “Honey, how do like this dress on me?” “It’s great. How much is it?” “Sweetie, that’s not a question you need to ask. Do you like it?” “When would you wear it?” “You don’t understand clothes shopping at all, do you? How about these pants?” “Don’t you already have black pants?” “Yes, but dear, but that’s not the point.” She doesn’t understand that having only one pair of black pants is like having only owning one Mumford & Son’s

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song. “Little Lion Man” sounds an awful lot like “I Will Wait,” but I still want them both. Robin Conte is a writer Worse than and mother of four that, The Flaw who lives in Dunwoody. stymies her robinjm@earthlink.net. sense of color and fashion. She doesn’t get that she can have the black pumps and the navy slingbacks — they don’t cancel each other out. To make matters more frustrating, she wears a size 8 shoe, that template of shoes, that size that every possible design comes in, so she has a dizzying array of choices, while I on the other hand, who gets all tingly and teary-eyed over a great pair of shoes, wear a size 5. We’ll walk into a DSW, she’ll make a beeline for the sales racks in the back of the store, and there will be rows upon rows of size 8s. I need to stop and eat a small snack by the time I’ve found my way clear of the 8s and into the 7s. Even then, I can only find the size 5s by scouting around until I see a small clump of tiny women huddled over a purple shoe. That’ll be where I discover the quarter of a row that holds a meager two shelves of size 5 shoes (which are mixed together with the 4s and the 5 1/2s by the way) and they are all made of fur. Meanwhile, my daughter has a choice between 13 different styles of tan wedges, and she doesn’t buy any of them. There is no fairness in the world. So, we return home from a typical shopping spree with a pair of size 8 black flats, size 5 zebra-patterned slippers, and my fourth pair of black pants. Then I’ll retire to the den to nurse my headache, and my daughter will get dinner started.

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10 | Community

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Inside the Buckhead Coalition’s neighborhood shrine



a t ly 27th n go u g h J u Located on Peachtree i n ns, Thr Road adjacent to i g sday Oglethorpe University e B Thur


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head Boys, which holds a reunion each year for alumni of Buckhead high schools that Massell attends. An excerpt of the poem reads, “The Buckhead Boys. If I can find them, even one, I’m home. And if I can find him — catch him in or around Buckhead, I’ll never die: it’s like my youth will walk inside me like a king.” Massell also fields plenty of calls throughout the day, from old friends, city officials, acquaintances met years ago who just want to chat, and Buckhead residents looking for help. Massell said he gets many requests throughout the day, asking him everything from what time a store or restaurant closes to how to get a pothole filled. “We will take any call we get and try to solve it,” he said. “So far, we are batting at 100 percent.” To chronicle all the work Massell has done in Buckhead and Atlanta, a biography by Charles McNair will be published on Labor Day this year and titled “Play It Again, Sam.”

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ism, one of the reasons Hamilton was chosen as that sister community. Massell’s office is filled with trinkets, buck sculptures, hats from various Buckhead businesses and a board covered in newspaper clippings about the community. Massell remains a reader of newspapers, and various local, state and national papers cover his coffee table. His desk is also often covered with papers, as he doesn’t use a computer, but handwrites everything for his staff to type up. “I guess it is maybe habit more than anything,” Massell said. “What we do works, or I would change it.” Massell personally had the 1969 poem “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” printed, signed by the author and hung on the office walls. It was written by Georgia poet James Dickey and reflects on his time going to high school at the former North Fulton High School in Buckhead. The poem served as impetus for the creation of the charitable group The Buck-

JULY 27 • PG-13




Bottom, Sam Massell spends a few hours each day reading news about Atlanta and Buckhead. Some clippings are seen here on a board in his office.


The walls of the conference room where the board of the coalition meets are covered in maps from Buckhead projects, awards, historic pictures and shovels from ceremonial groundbreakings.


Right, Sam Massell calls this hallway which runs through the office “ego alley” because it is covered in awards for the Buckhead Coalition.

J U LY 2 0 • P G

It’s something of a neighborhood shrine. Among the memorabilia displayed in the office various shovels from ceremonial groundbreakings and a 1996 Olympic pin made for Buckhead, the only community a pin was created for, Massell boasted. A bookshelf in the office is weighed down with over 50 binders filled with Buckhead news and news about the coalition. Charlie Loudermilk, a prominent Buckhead businessman and founder of Aaron’s Inc, created the coalition in 1988 and tapped former Mayor Sam Massell to run it. Massell has been at the helm ever since, and has created a kind of Buckhead shrine in the coalition’s office on the fifth floor of the Tower Place building at the center of Buckhead. The Buckhead Coalition has been in that same office since the organization was founded in 1988. While Massell was mayor, he broke the ground on the building in 1973. “Buckhead is seen as affluent, safe and clean and that’s not by accident,” said Massell, who has been pushing that message since the coalition was founded almost 30 years ago. One of the major successes of the Buckhead Coalition is successfully lobbying the Atlanta City Council to approve the construction of Ga. 400, Massell said. Its members donated a combined $800,000 to renovate the Atlanta Interna-

tional School and build the Carl Sanders Buckhead YMCA. They also give money to Buckhead police officers to help them afford to live in the community. The coalition operates a political action community, Better Community PAC, and will host forums this year for the mayoral, city council and Board of Education elections. The coalition does not participate in partisan politics, but these elections are officially nonpartisan. Massell currently has two ideas in the works that were inspired by reading about other communities. One will offer free wills to any Buckhead resident and the other will have banks donate unused office space to nonprofits. There are over 50 bank branches in Buckhead, Massell said, and most of them have unused space which could be offered to nonprofits for free, he said. “That’s what I do. I come with ideas to help Buckhead, even if I steal them from someone else,” he said. The public doesn’t normally visit the coalition’s office, save for the about 30 members of the coalition who typically attend the monthly meetings and the other coalition staff, which includes Garth Peters, vice president of the coalition; Linda Muszynski-Compton, director of communications; and Gale Solomon, who does clerical and administrative work. Peters is a Bermuda native who worked for over 20 years in its Department of Tour-

J U LY 1 3 • P G

Continued from page 1


JULY 7 - 20, 2017

Community | 11


Community Briefs B I K E PAT H PR OP OSED F OR MOUN TA IN WAY CO M M O N A new bicycle path may be built in Mountain Way Common, a park created in 2015 on Mountain Way under Ga. 400. The head of Friends of Mountain Way Common, Marvin Pastel, said there will be an on-site meeting with city representatives on July 10 to determine if the city will support the plan. Pastel will meet with Sally Silver, District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook’s policy director, and Becky Katz, the city’s chief bicycle officer. A park designer working on the plan, Carlos Perez, will also be at the meeting. Perez has previously worked designs for segments of the Atlanta Beltline and PATH400. Pastel said the plan is still in the early concept stage and does not have firm designs. But the general concept includes widening Mountain Way and adding bike lanes, benches and pedestrian walkways to the widened portion of the road. Flower pots or other plantings would be used to separate cars and the pedestrian area.



State Rep. Wendell Willard and state Rep. Deborah Silcox.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ June 21 vote to freeze residential property values at 2016 levels may not survive a potential legal challenge from the state Department of Revenue, some officials fear. State Rep. Deborah Silcox, whose District 52 includes parts of Sandy Springs and Buckhead, said she is “very concerned” that action will not hold up in court, due to the uneven application of the freeze to only residential, and

not commercial, properties. State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) previously said another potential weakness is that the commissioners’ freeze was based on an obscure 1881 law that might prove to have been overruled by later cases. Both representatives advised residents who question their 2017 assessments to submit appeals. Appeals can be submitted until July 10 at qpublic.net/ga/fulton/appeals.html.




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Live Nation, a national venue operator and concert promoter, has taken over the operation of the Buckhead Theatre, a historic concert venue at 3110 Roswell Road. The theater still is owned by Charlie Loudermilk, the founder of Aaron’s Inc., who bought the venue in 2008, renovated it, and reopened it in 2010. The previous operator was Novare Entertainment. Live Nation says it will make a few changes, including increasing the number of shows to about 100 each year. Live Nation also operates the Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Buckhead, and other venues in metro Atlanta, including the Lakewood Amphitheatre in south Atlanta and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta.


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12 | Special Section

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North Carolina real estate market heats up Whiteside Mountain overlooking the Cashiers Valley

BY KATHY DEAN The entire Highlands-Cashiers Plateau in North Carolina has been drawing people to get away or retire for generations. It’s a beautiful stretch, set in the Nantahala National Forest, with old growth trees meandering around the Blue Ridge Mountains, serene lakes, rushing streams and picturesque waterfalls. Because of the higher elevation, the climate is considerably cooler than Atlanta. It’s easy to understand why many Atlantans head there to find a home, whether for full-time living, weekends, vacations or retirement. And that’s causing real estate in the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau to heat up. “The Highlands-Cashiers market is strengthening since the 2008 adjustment,” said Jody Lovell, Broker/Owner of Highlands Sotheby’s International Realty. “In 2016, the market was up 8 percent in unit sales and 19 percent in volume. So far this year, the market is up 19 percent in unit sales and 12 percent in volume.” The outlook for real estate is very optimistic, she added, as more people appreciate the serenity of the mountains, the culture, activities and fine dining that’s available, as well as the many opportunities to enjoy nature. “Low inventory is not a problem,” Lovell said. “Since inven-

a mountain sanctuary to enjoy with family and friends,” Lovell continued. “The Old Edwards Inn is of the top ten places in the U.S. to have a wedding, according to some reports, and it has attracted younger people to the area.” Bill Gilmore, Provisional Broker, Highlands Cove Realty at Old Edwards Inn, and Realtor with PalmerHouse Properties, reported that in the last year, from June 2016 to June 2017, there have been 582 closings in North Carolina’s Jackson and Macon counties, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics. The town of Highlands, a popular mountain destination, is located in Macon County, just past the Georgia and North Carolina border. From Atlanta, it’s only about a two-hour drive to the northeast. Continue another 15 minutes or so, and you’ll reach the village of Cashiers, N.C., set in Jackson County. “We have a strong market. This is a big region geographically and we have something for everyone,” he said. “Between Cashiers and Highlands, you can get the best of both worlds, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to get into the area.” A home in Lonesome Valley, N.C.

tory was stockpiled during the recession, it’s still a buyers’ market, making it a good time to purchase. There are some amazing homes on the market right now.” She pointed to several current listings. There’s a small cabin named The Love Shack, listed at $280,000; a 20-acre horse farm with a 6-bedroom main home, a log cabin guest home and barn with skeet shooting and two large ponds for $2,390,000; and a sophisticated home on a large waterfall at $3,595,000, “…with lots of inventory in between,” said Lovell. Each year, there’s a trickle of buyers who are moving here permanently, she added. Lovell expects to see that number increase, especially as temperatures continue to rise. “There’s a wide diversity of buyers right now, from young couples looking for a small cabin to retirees searching for

A home in Cashiers, N.C.

A townhome in Sapphire, N.C., about eight miles east of Cashiers, recently sold for $43,500. With the walkability trend, however, in-town properties cost more and sell fast. As an example of the difference, Gilmore said that the recent purchase price for an in-town Highlands townhome was $1,122,000. But there are more options for people wanting the convenience of a walkable lifestyle. “Cottage Walk is a new construction, in-town community in Cashiers that still has inventory available,” he said. Gilmore also noted that the rental market is especially hot, and allows potential homeowners to try before they buy. “During the first six months of 2017 the real estate market has been an interesting ride, and has emphasized the uniqueness of our area,” said Kenneth Taft, Broker-InCharge/General Manager of Landmark Continued on Page 14


Special Section | 13

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Cashiers Valley

Continued from page 12 Realty Group. “We’ve enjoyed good, stable activity. A total of 270 homes and properties have sold during the first half of 2017, which is up 23 percent from the same time last year.” Taft explained that Highlands-Cashiers prices, inventory and activity have remained strong and consistent. Since it’s a resort community, specializing in the second home market, there is definitely enough inventory to meet the demand, he said. “The Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is truly one of the premier vacation spots on the east coast,” Taft added. “Like any resort and second home market, the people who typically buy here are those who have visited before and fell in love with the area. They want to have a ‘home base’ here, whether they’re using it as a weekend getaway, dur-

ing the summer or as an investment until they can retire here full time.” When it comes to what’s a hot property, Taft said that it entirely depends on what people like to do. For golfers, there are several desirable neighborhoods that surround award-winning courses such as Wade Hampton, Mountaintop and Wildcat Cliffs. “If the buyer prefers water sports, they’ll focus on properties near Lake Glenville or Lake Toxaway,” he explained. “If they just want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, they may want to live in a community such as Whiteside Cove or Lonesome Valley. We have a wide variety of properties to choose from.” Susie deVille, Owner/Broker-in-Charge, White Oak Realty Group, also sees an exceeding strong market in Highlands-Cashiers. “Demand for properties across all

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price points is high, with walk-to-town properties of particular interest,” she said. “Highlands’ lively shopping, dining, cultural activities and evening entertainment options are abundant and are driving the desire for properties with proximity to Main Street.” There is a shortage in new construction, according to deVille, and a high demand for homes within walking distance to town. “We have a younger demographic than has historically been the case for our market, with the average age of more than half of my buyers under 50 years old,” she said. “More and more, wealthy investors under 50 are purchasing their retirement properties now.” She added that in many cases, these properties are income producing and serve as wonderful vehicles for offsetting ownership costs. Many investors come from the

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Atlanta metro region, and given the proximity to Highlands, they enjoy their properties nearly every weekend. Some even find creative ways to telecommute during the week, deVille said. “Overall, the real estate market in Highlands-Cashiers is continuing to improve, with varying performance levels within different communities,” said Thomas Bates, Development Planning and Sales, Lonesome Valley. He reported that following three consecutive years of strong sales, Lonesome Valley is experiencing its best first two quarters this year. A residential mountain farm community, Lonesome Valley is located about five minutes by car northeast of Cashiers. The community features extensive hiking trails, fly fishing in streams and ponds, lake activities, rock climbing, fine dining and a day spa.


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A dramatic setting for a Highlands’ home.

“At Lonesome Valley, we’re seeing a lot of families who are investing in a simpler life in the mountains, without an overabundance of amenities and a stronger connection with the natural world,” he said. Taft summed up the state of real estate opportunities in Highlands-Cashiers. “While still considered a buyers’ market here, new owners in Highlands-Cashiers can feel confident that they’re buying into an area that has great amenities, upscale dining and shopping, and outdoor activities,” he said.

The question of inventory is more about quality than quantity, Bates explained. “There are a lot of older homes currently on the market, but folks typically are looking for something fresher and newer. New construction is rebounding and builders are very busy again.” Bates said that he primarily sees second home buyers with a multi-generational ‘family investment’ in mind. Most of the buyers are purchasing homes for their immediate family’s use, with plans to spend the majority of their eventual retirement there.

Mountain Dreams Begin Here Highlands Cove Realty specializes in luxury North Carolina mountain homes, breathtaking homesites, condominiums, cottages and vacation rentals at Old Edwards Club and in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountain communities.

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Eclipse Watching

Head north to check out the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 BY COLLIN KELLEY On Aug. 21, a large swath of America will be treated to a rare phenomenon: a total solar eclipse. While partial views will be available in Atlanta, if you want to be in the path of totality then head to North Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina. The centerline for the eclipse will touch the northeastern corner of Georgia around 2:35 p.m. Some of the picturesque places to see the full solar phenomenon are in Clayton, Toccoa and Black Rock Mountain State Park.

In North Carolina, you’ll have part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park as a dramatic landscape for the eclipse. Some of the cities in the path are Bryson City, Murphy, Andrews, Franklin and Santeetlah Lake. A big swath of South Carolina will see the eclipse, but one of the best places will be the city of Greenville, which lies in the path of totality. The downtown area has cool shops, restaurants and the lovely Falls Park on the Reedy River. The last time all of North America witnessed a solar eclipse was 99 years

ago, so grab your eclipse glasses and head north. Hotels and rentals are already filling up, so if you’re planning to make a long weekend of it, better book now.


A total eclipse will cover a swath across North America on Aug. 21, including portions of North Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Special Section | 17

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The Highlands Connection

Mountain lifestyle offers activities, arts and more BY KATHY DEAN It’s no mystery why people choose to live or vacation on the Highlands-Cashier Plateau. For one thing, there are the cooler temperatures. With its elevation of 4,118 feet above sea level, the town of Highlands generally runs about 15 degrees cooler than Atlanta, which has an elevation of just over 1,000 feet. The village of Cashiers, at an elevation of 3,484, is normally about 10 degrees cooler than Atlanta. Then there’s the peace and quiet. A home in the mountains brings images of relaxation and natural beauty. It’s a perfect get-away to refresh and recharge, whether by sitting and taking in the breathtaking landscapes, or by getting active — hiking along the forested Blue Ridge Mountain paths, fishing in the sparkling rivers or taking the boat out on the lake. Getting away from it all sounds great, but some may worry that there’s a cost to it, like losing luxury or their connection with the outside world. On the HighlandsCashiers Plateau, that’s certainly not the case. “For generations of well-to-do Southerners, the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau has been an escape — from the heat, from the bugs, from the noise, from the crowds, from responsibilities — but most of the time, that meant leaving the luxuries of life behind in the city,” said Jack Austin, General Manager of Old Edwards Inn & Spa. Today, Old Edwards Inn, located in Highlands, provides a place in the mountains where visitors can spoil themselves with award-winning food and wine, a nationally ranked spa, world-class golf and sumptuous amenities, he said. Austin shared his favorite way to relax at Old Edwards Inn. “Nothing beats a soak in the spa’s whirlpool, followed by an 80-minute massage, and then a cup of herb-

al tea in the solarium,” he said. “Letting myself drift off for a nap in one of the sumptuous chaises is true luxury, but I’m tempted to get up for a light bite in the Wine Garden. My favorite table is right by the waterfall. It’s like a calm eddy off the stream of foot traffic on Main Street just yards away.” According to Bill Gilmore, Provisional Broker, Highlands Cove Realty at Old Edwards Inn and Realtor with PalmerHouse Properties, Main Street in Highlands is uber charming, with its churches, small grocery stores and walkable shops and restaurants. “It’s like something out of Mayberry R.F.D.,” he said. “It’s a place where parents can comfortably allow their teens to shop or eat on their own.” Depending on what people are looking for, there are plenty of choices, Gilmore added. “For unparalleled luxury, you can’t do better than a stay at the Old Edwards Inn,” he said. “But if you’re looking for a pet-friendly hotel, there’s the Main Street Inn.” Also in Highlands, Main Street Inn offers quaint rooms, many with private balconies. For those concerned that the mountains might cut them off from civilization, Gilmore noted that communication in the area is top notch, with internet and cell service so reliable that busy executives can easily work from Highlands-Cashiers. “The Cashiers Area offers a casually-sophisticated visitor and lifestyle experience ranging from spectacular outdoor recreation, like world-class hiking, fly fishing, golf/tennis/croquet, rock climbing, to refined dining and handcrafted cocktails,” said Stephanie Edwards, Executive Director at Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce. “And our growing arts and cultural scene includes music and live theater.” She added that award-winning chef Jo-

hannes Klapdohr opened the Library Kitchen & Bar restaurant earlier this year, a wonderful complement to celebrated Chef Adam Hayes’ Canyon Kitchen culiOld Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands nary experience. The Cashiers area tion & Creativity Institute, Highlands-Cais also anticipating the launch of a homeshiers attracts interesting people of many town brewery and more boutiques for backgrounds, education levels and intertheir ‘cottage shopping’ experience. ests. “Our town tends to attract awesome Edwards noted that this year, the Capeople,” she said. “They come here and shiers Historical Society will celebrate the want to relax, but they also want to con20th anniversary of its annual Cashiers Denect with the community, even if it’s just signer Showhouse fundraiser, which will for a weekend or a month.” be held Aug. 12 to 27. It will feature many of The community is welcoming and there the best interior decorators and designers are many ways to plug into it, deVille addin the Southeast who will work their magic ed. For example, there’s the Highlands on three new houses. The featured homes Playhouse, an intimate theater that showwill be in the new Cottage Walk communicases Broadway musicals and regular film ty on Burns Street in Cashiers. events, and The Bascom, a visual arts cen“There’s a strong emphasis on outdoor ter in Highlands that invites seasonal and activities here in the mountains, but if year-round residents to volunteer. The Basyou’re not the outdoorsy type, there’s still com hosts exhibitions, education and artist plenty to do while you’re here,” said Kenresidency programs. neth Taft, Broker-In-Charge/General Man“People think it’s a tiny place, and it is ager of Landmark Realty Group. “There’s cozy, but we have a hospital, performing an abundance of cultural events such as arts, chamber music festival and other culplays and concerts. There are also luxuritural offerings that are astounding for a ous spas in which to indulge, and classes to place with four stoplights,” said deVille. take to explore a new hobby.” While the mountains provide a cool reNo matter what you like to do, Taft said spite from summer heat, they’re also worth that you’ll be sure to meet plenty of nice a visit in colder weather. “In recent years, people from all over the world who come we’ve seen a rise in the number of folks here for the same reasons — to relax and who choose to come back for Thanksde-stress from their everyday lives. “And giving, to spend their holiday here in the that’s what makes this area so special — mountains,” said Taft. “Christmas tree the people who come here,” he said. farms are a large industry here, so there According to Susie deVille, Owner/Broare a lot places where people can choose ker-in-Charge, White Oak Realty Group and cut their own tree, which appeals to and President and Founder of the Innovaresidents and visitors alike.”

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Special Section | 19

JULY 7 - 20, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Appalachian Cool

Jackson County, N.C. has much to offer homeowners, vacationers

Downtown Sylva, N.C.

If you’re headed to the mountains this summer or fall, make sure to add Jackson County, NC to your list of must-visit places. Located only a few hours from Atlanta, it’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts to explore a variety of landscapes ranging from picturesque peaks, rolling valleys, cascading waterfalls and winding rivers. There’s also Panthertown Valley, which has 6,295 acres of Nantahala National Forest lands with more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and multi-use trails. Known as the “Yosemite of the East” the backcountry trails wander through a pristine section of the southern Appalachian Mountains, and lead to over a dozen waterfalls in the valley. After a hike, cool down and take in the beauty of one of Jackson County’s many waterfalls. Visitors can discover more than two-dozen waterfalls in the area ranging from cascading falls, to gentle flows, all which make for one-of-a-kind photo opportunities. Tucked away in the area’s unique landscape, these waterfalls ebb and flow with stunning, rushing water. Whitewater Falls, one of the highest east of the Rockies, Courthouse Falls and High Falls are just a

Photo by Nick Breedlove

few that guests to the area shouldn’t miss. For a beach feel with a mountain view, visit Lake Glenville, one of the country’s highest lakes, for water activities or just to lounge on the sand-filled beach. There’s also plenty of good food and drinks in the area. Jackson County’s Ale Trail features a variety of breweries along the easily walkable, one-mile route in Sylva. The trail consists of three, unique breweries offering beers for all palates: The Sneak E Squirrel, Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing. The Ale Trail will also welcome a fourth member this summer with Balsam Falls Brewing, which will have 16 to 20 beers on tap in a rotating selection. Local restaurants make as much of a lasting impression as the towering mountainscapes. In Cashiers, restaurants feature pretty porches, apple orchards and country dining. Cornucopia is consistently named as one of the best porches in Cashiers. Award-winning chef Adam Hayes offers farm-to-table specialties at Canyon Continued on Page 20

reasons to visit the WNC mountains: 1. Outdoor activities for the whole family 2. See nature’s majesty 3. Reconnect with loved ones

There are HUNDREDS of ways to enjoy the mountains of Western North Carolina; we just can’t fit them all into one ad! Come to the mountains and discover your own reason to keep coming back. There’s space for the whole family or for just the two of you. Contact Landmark Vacation Rentals today to explore vacation and seasonal rentals in Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Glenville, Lake Toxaway, Sapphire Valley, and Burlingame!



TOLL FREE: 877-747-9234 17 Highway 64, Cashiers, NC 28717 REAL ESTATE SALES: www.LandmarkRG.com

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The Lake at High Hampton Inn

High Falls

Continued from page 19 Kitchen in Sapphire. One of the most popular spots in Sylva is Lulu’s on Main. Guadalupe Café offers Caribbean-inspired fusion, a diverse selection of wines from Spain and

Latin-America and micro-brewed beers. The county’s newest restaurant, The Library, offers both an artistic vibe not only in the food, but in the eclectic décor. Special for summer travelers is the opportunity to experience a musical


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Community | 23


Community Brief DEVELOPER RECEIVES PERMIT TO CUT DOWN PARK TREES A developer has received its permit for a controversial plan to cut down trees and route a drainpipe through Peachtree Hills Park. The developer, Ashton Woods, had appealed to Superior Court a city decision to not approve the permit, but the permit was recently issued. The developer’s attorney withdrew the court appeal June 28 because it was no longer necessary as the developer got the permit they needed, Carl Westmoreland, the attorney, said. Opponents to the plan wanted Ashton Woods to run the pipe instead under Peachtree Hills Avenue, the street on which Ashton Woods is building a townhome development. Laura Dobson, a Peachtree Hills resident, had appealed to the Tree Conservation Commission the original decision to grant Ashton Woods a permit, and said she thought the commission would have more hearings before the arborist issued the permit. “I’m deeply concerned about the lack of transparency,” Dobson said. The city had no immediate comment. Westmoreland said he didn’t know when Ashton Woods would begin removing the trees.

Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead between June 18 through June 24, was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its open data records.

AG G R AVAT E D A S S AU LT 1000 block of Huff Road — June 20 3100 block of Roswell Road —

June 20 3200 block of Cains Hill

Place — June 21

B U R G L A RY 100 block of 26th Street — June 19 2000 block of Manchester Street —

June 19 3200 block of Mathieson Drive —

June 20 3200 block of Ferncliff Place — June 20 3000 block of Peachtree Road — June 23

600 block of Garson Drive — June 23 600 block of Garson Drive — June 24

(2 incidents) 2100 block of Defoor Hills Road — (2


R O B B E RY 2500 block of Piedmont Road — June 21

2100 block of Piedmont Road — June 21

LARCENY Between June 18 and June 24 there

were 41 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 39 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.

Melissa Babcock, M.D.

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