Brookhaven Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Head for the Hills
Fast, then feast Muslims celebrate Ramadan FAITH 6
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JULY 10— JULY 23, 2015 • VOL. 8 — NO. 14
PUBLIC SAFETY 26
The world was watching
City Council: ‘We have nothing to hide’ BY JOE EARLE
World Cup fans, from left, Gina Webber, Kiley Parrish, Leah Eller and Madalyn Dewling celebrate the U.S. women’s win over Japan during the Soccerfest II event at Brookhaven Park on July 5. Revelers were treated to an assortment of activities, including kids’ events, competitions and a big screen to watch the match. See additional photos on page 5.
Saying they wanted to avoid the appearance of a City Hall cover up, members of Brookhaven City Council have voted to release several private documents related to internal discussions about the actions of city officials. “This is our action to show we have nothing to hide,” Councilman Bates Mattison said. “I hope it gives the citizens of Brookhaven some peace ... [and] that this matter can be put to bed once and for all.” The city on July 8 released minutes of council discussions conducted in closed meetings on May 26, June 9 and June 16, and an email between former City Attorney Tom Kurrie to Councilman John Park and copied to other members of the council. New City Attorney Christopher Balch recommended that the executive session minutes not be released, but said lawyers he had surveyed were divided on whether the release was proper. “There is no firm, clear answer to this question,” he said. “We are taking this issue and making it far bigger than it really is,” Mattison said. “Let’s put this information out there to the public and move on.” Kurrie resigned during the June 16 meeting and the documents released July 8 include a copy of his handwritten letter of resignation. Kurrie’s resignation was announced at the end of the June 16 council meeting. At the time, Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams said, “It SEE CITY, PAGE 4
Fantasy warriors battle at Blackburn Park BY JOHN RUCH On Sunday afternoons, Brookhaven’s Blackburn Park magically transforms into a fantasy battlefield straight out of “The Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones.” Amid the Frisbee-tossers and dog-walkers in the park, armored knights cross swords, swashbucklers fence with foes, and Japanese anime heroes battle gladiators for ownership of magic shields. These fantasy warriors come from two separate groups: the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which meets at noon, and Dagorhir Battle Games, which gathers at 3 p.m. Members of the society lean toward historical re-enactment, its members clad in metal armor and able to
sing medieval church choral music on cue. Participants in Dagorhir engage in a more freewheeling sport, something like paintball with foam swords. But both groups share a love of full-contact fantasy combat and real camaraderie. And both have used Blackburn for years due to its easy access for metro Atlanta members and its large population of locals who are welcome to watch and even join in. The heroes and heroines of this alternative universe recently gathered at places where the park becomes the SCA’s Barony of South Downs and Dagorhir’s Realm of High Spires. SEE THE FANTASY, PAGE 25
On Sundays, Blackburn Park transforms into a battleground complete with foam swords and metal armor.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
J. Max Davis
Voters to choose new District 80 representative Voters in Brookhaven and portions of Sandy Springs, Chamblee and Dunwoody head to the polls July 14 to choose a new representative for District 80 in the state House of Representatives. Four candidates seek the position. All four live in Brookhaven. They all are lawyers. The special election was called to choose a successor for former Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who was appointed to a state judgeship in DeKalb. The candidates are: Taylor Bennett, the sole Democrat in the race; Catherine Bernard, who ran against Jacobs in the 2014 Republican Primary and
who chaired a committee that successfully campaigned against allowing the Brookhaven city government to take on powers under the state Redevelopment Powers Law; Loren Collins, who describes himself a “Bull Moose” Republican; and former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis. For more information on the candidates, go to ReporterNewspapers.net and see the Voters Guide. To determine whether you are in the district, properly registered to vote or where you vote, go the My Voters page on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at www. mvp.sos.ga.gov. --Joe Earle
City slightly cuts property tax rate Brookhaven City Council has slightly trimmed the city’s tax rate for 2015. With a unanimous vote of approval on July 7, the council adopted a tax rate of 2.74 mills, down from the 2.795 mills the city levied last year. The city has reduced its millage every year since it started, council members said. “It’s a prudent move to give money back to the taxpayers,” Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams said. Taxes are computed by multiplying the millage times the assessed value of a property, so the taxes levied on a particular property may rise or fall based on the property’s taxable value. The city’s tax digest, the total value of property in the city as valued for tax purposes, recently has been set at about $2.6 billion, said city Finance Director Carl Stephens. The 2.74-mill tax rate will produce about $7.13 million in property tax revenues, Stephens said. The 2.795 millage, if it had been continued, would have produced about $7.28 million in property taxes, he said.
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You CAN touch this Above, from left, Melissa Chevalier, daughter Alexis, 4, husband Greg and daughter Nicole, 1, take in the “Touch a Truck” event, sponsored by the city of Brookhaven, on June 27. Top left, Paulev Challen, 3, pets “Viper,” a DeKalb County Sheriff K9. Left, Henry Walpole, 3, dressed in firefighter gear, checks out trucks with his father Danny, as Jackson Lumpkin, 4, right, also takes in the sights. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
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was clear the majority of council was quite unhappy and dismayed at his handling of recent open records cases.” The executive session minutes released July 8 related to Kurrie’s advice to the council over records requests from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Brookhaven Post regarding an employee complaint against former Mayor J. Max Davis. References to other subjects discussed during the meetings were redacted from the documents. Several council members said they felt the city had been embarrassed publicly by the situation. On May 26, Kurrie told council members records were not subject to release. “He explained his opinion that the information was not subject to open records. The situation was privacy,” the minutes say. Then, on June 9, the minutes say Kurrie “had gone to third parties and consulted with partners, and he recommended disclosing documents but redacting employees’ names for privacy.” In resigning June 16, Kurrie said he “had worked hard for the city and had done a lot of good work.” “He wished he had done differently, but did not think he had done anything wrong,” the minutes say. On July 7, the council also heard a report from new City Attorney Christopher
Balch that he and other lawyers saw no problem with the procedure followed during the June 9 election of Williams as mayor and Linley Jones to the District 1 seat on council that Williams had held previously. Williams was elected mayor by the council after Davis resigned to run for the vacant District 80 seat in the state House of Representatives. Some in the community had questioned whether Williams had failed to resign her council seat before her election as mayor, meaning she held two offices simultaneously, which would be prohibited by the city charter. Some council members questioned whether the city should hold a “do-over” for the election, raising questions about the matters considered by the council since Williams’ election as mayor. Balch said he and lawyers from the state Attorney General’s office and the Georgia Municipal Association all agreed that Williams vacated her council seat automatically when she was elected mayor. “We have concluded Mayor Williams did not hold two offices at one time,” he said. “I’m personally glad for this opinion,” Williams said. “We like to know we’re legal.” But lawyer Aubrey Villines, who originally raised the question and who attended the July 7 meeting, wasn’t convinced. “We just want to make sure that whatever Brookhaven does is legal,” he said.
Brookhaven Government Calendar Brookhaven City Council usually meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Rd. For complete and up-to-date schedule of Brookhaven city meetings, go to http://brookhavenga.gov .
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
Soccerfest II was the place to watch the U.S. women’s soccer team take on Japan in the World Cup finals on July 5. Fans crowding into Brookhaven Park were treated to live music, a soccer arcade, a kids’ fun zone and food trucks. From left, Daniel Bashary reacts to the second U.S. goal. Logan Bruhn, 4, bottom, and Cooper Woods, 4, top, get in a little play time before the action gets underway. Michael Collier signals his excitement over the U.S. women scoring a goal. Miles Mattison, 11, enjoys practicing at the soccer arcade.
Top left, the crowd leapt to their feet when it was officially announced that the U.S. women had won the World Cup, the first time since 1999. Top right, Bill Magill couldn’t contain his enthusiasm and proudly waved his American flag. Middle right, Dal Desormes and son Dilan await the final results. Bottom right, Amanda Hinson, left, and Carly Silverstein are weighed down with their patriotic accessories. Bottom left, Lauren Cousart and Mark Holloway share a celebratory kiss. Middle left, Sarah Lettes, left, and Lacey O’Sullivan declare victory. PHOTOS BY ISADORA PENNINGTON
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 5
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Men gather at Masjid Uthman to celebrate Ramadan.
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10 Quarry Lake Court - $1,150,000 Michele Hirsh 404-277-9886 Karen Niese Tompkins 404-273-6607 Custom home w/2 sty grand foyer w/marble ﬂ rs. Lge dining rm, 2 sty living rm w/frpl. Kit w/ granite counter tops, stainless steel appls & large walk-in pantry. Breakfast area & ﬁ reside keeping rm. Master suite on main.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Muslims gather at masjid to celebrate Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE
A 2-year-old girl pranced across the carpet in her bare feet, jingling as she ran with decorated bell bracelets on each ankle. A little boy playing hide-and-seek wandered through the crowded room asking, “Now, where’d that boy go?” A second boy, hiding under the table of food laid out for the coming feast, giggled when the first boy found him. They ran back across the partition into the mens’ area of Masjid Uthman, a new mosque operating from a small office park in Dunwoody. A half-dozen women who had gathered in the room talked and laughed. They hadn’t eaten since sunrise, but seemed more involved in exchanging colorful broaches as gifts of friendship than in
breaking their fast with the waiting bowls of fruit. The women, most of them mothers of little children, paid little attention to the hide-and-seek game. They try to let the kids have fun so they will start to think of the masjid as a “second home,” Ramisa Ehsan said. About three dozen women and men gathered July 3 at Masjid Uthman to break their daily fast and pray as part of their celebration of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. Masjid member Rafidah Naseem calls Ramadan a “month of happiness” because she said Allah, the Arabic word for God, forgives sin during that time. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from
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son who is a senior in high school. The family has been part of the local Muslim community for 10 years, Ehsan said. Before the Masjid Uthman opened in May 2014, local Muslims gathered in a home on Tilly Mill Road, she said. “The community wanted to get together and have a place here, especially for the Friday prayers,” Ehsan said. “It’s hard for people who are at work to go to another, bigger masjid because of the traffic and the time it takes.” Their congregation has grown to about 60 members, many of them families with young children. The imam, the prayer leader, is a young man who attends a local college, Ehsan said. For the Friday evening dinner on July 3, places were marked by a bowl of fresh fruit. Congregation members would follow fruit with spicy rice dishes and condensed milk soup. “We Indians like to eat with our hands,” Ehsan said. She said it makes her think about life before utensils. Two boys ran together back across the partition. The women finished their food and stood side by side for the first group prayer, led by the imam on a television screen from the other side of the room. Naseem, who moved from Minneapolis to Dunwoody a year ago, said her husband’s computer job brought them to Georgia. Many of the friends she’s made at the masjid also have husbands who work with computers, she said. Naseem said she met everyone she knows in her community through her faith. “When I came to this masjid,” she said, “I made all of my friends here.”
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dawn until dusk, avoiding food, drink and engaging in sexual relations, Ehsan said. Sleeping all day and waking at night to feast would defeat the spirit of the holiday, she said. Eid al-Fitr means “feast of fast-breaking” and celebrates the end of Ramadan. This year it falls on July 17. “Only during Ramadan do you see women and children here,” Ehsan said. They gather together on the weekend days and celebrate most heavily during the last 10 days of the month because that’s when the Prophet Muhammad received the Qur’an, she said. Ehsan and her husband, Kahlid Bashir, are founding members of the Masjid Uthman on Mount Vernon Road. Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque, whereas mosque is an English word “meaning place of prayer,” she said. They chose to name the masjid after Uthman, who was a companion and sonin-law to the Prophet Muhammad. Uthman was elected by the people to represent them after Muhammad died, Ehsan said. Uthman was one of four democratically elected people, she said. “It wasn’t because of his family status that he was chosen, but because of his piety and righteousness, and the kind of person he was,” Ehsan said. Ehsan and her husband moved from India to Buffalo, N.Y., 20 years ago, when he started his residency in nephrology. Both she and her husband are medical doctors, who work in Atlanta. They came to Georgia seeking the best jobs, and they chose Dunwoody for its schools, she said. They have one son in eighth grade and a
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Back row, left to right, Yaser Arafath, Syed Rajkapoor, Khalid Bashir. Front row, from left, Ayesha Thasneem Nagoor Hanifa, Hashir Nagoor Hanifa and Muhab Wani at Masjid Uthman, a mosque operating in a small office park in Dunwoody.
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 7
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With CEO convicted, how does county fix itself? Educate yourself, become more active in public service
Support and vote for a new Ethics Board
The recent conviction of CEO Burrell Ellis caps yet another chapter of DeKalb’s long narrative of abuse of the public trust by elected officials, appointed officials and public employees. Why is DeKalb under such a cloud and what can be done to right our ship? First and foremost, DeKalb must evolve from its roots as a suburban county run by a series of omnipotent leaders with little oversight. Some progress has been made in the last JEFF year with the passage of three reform amendRADER ments to DeKalb’s Organizational Act, its “constitution.” These reforms require legally GUEST COLUMN binding local purchasing laws, the establishment of an independent “internal auditor” watchdog, and an ethics board that does not depend on elected officials to appoint its members. If they had been in place previously, these alone would have likely discouraged the behavior that has ruined the lives of the recently disgraced. More work is to be done, including a requirement that administrative practices be standardized and uniformly enforced, and the refinement of budgeting and financial practices for transparency and accountability. But even a government of laws still relies on elected representatives to understand problems, identify solutions and evaluate performance. DeKalb’s voters have not been successful in electing leaders that well represent their interests, and don’t seem very interested in the opportunity to do so. The last incumbent commissioner to lose her seat in an election was Jean Williams, in 1994. She was defeated by Elaine Boyer, who resigned in disgrace last year. Since then, gerrymandering, patronage, and voter apathy has locked challengers out of the electoral process and given incumbents free rein for any personal or political activity they want, including bankruptcy, domestic violence, check fraud, conversion of public funds to private use, and extravagance at public expense, to name a only a few of the failings. The public’s response is disheartening. The most recent election to fill the vacant District 5 Commission seat attracted less than 6 percent turnout. It can be reasonably argued that DeKalb voters are getting the representation they deserve. What does that mean? Often we are represented by figures that seem superficially attractive, but have no substance. With no track record of success in their private lives, they depend too much on their offices for income, or see their offices as private property, not a public trust. They make bad decisions, and they discourage others from service. What can be done? First, the voters must understand and vote their interests. Educate and motivate yourself, your family and friends. There is a growing network of local news sources and bloggers who work to inform and influence opinion. Second, we must all become more active in public service. Join a neighborhood or civic organization, and participate in efforts to build and strengthen the community. And run for election, if you are successful enough to afford to donate the time required, and have the skills and temperament to serve the greater good. Don’t worry so much that it’s a swamp. Drain it! You would be surprised how quickly things can improve with a good government majority serving you. DeKalb is not so different from other metro governments. But we have lost our momentum, and seem dominated by politicians who think first of their own welfare, and not yours. It’s the voter’s job to sit up and take charge. And the politicians will respond – or lose the election.
With the conviction July 1 of Burrell Ellis on perjury and extortion charges, our county began to fix its sullied image on ethics. It was a difficult day for many in DeKalb, but an important one noneJOHN theless. ERNST So where do we go from here? GUEST COLUMN We must continue to move forward. At our next Ethics Board meeting later this month, we will hold a final hearing on a complaint against one county commissioner and a preliminary hearing on a complaint against another. Our board will also determine whether we have jurisdiction on a complaint against the former chairman of the DeKalb Development Authority. Many do not know yet that the current Ethics Board will likely be dissolved at the end of the year and replaced by a new board. Legislation enacted earlier this year by the Georgia General Assembly creates a more independent board appointed by organizations in the county such as Leadership DeKalb, rather than the CEO and the Board of Commissioners. This legislation will be placed on the ballot in November as a referendum for approval by voters. I strongly support and will continue to advocate for this new board. I hope you will vote for it this November at the ballot box as it is most certainly is a step in the right direction. Also, I’d like to point out an issue that continues to hamstring our Ethics Board right now. We currently lack a quorum to take action on many important decisions. After two resignations within the past few months, our board is down to five members, rather than a full board of seven. I call on Interim CEO Lee May to quickly fill these positions so that we can do the work of improving ethics and transparency in DeKalb for the remainder of the year. Nothing could more clearly signal a new day in DeKalb County and a new no-tolerance attitude toward official corruption than immediately starting with an Ethics Board that has the membership to get down to work, rooting out corruption. Will we solve the crisis of confidence in DeKalb? I remain hopeful that many recent sad chapters in our story will be followed by more positive ones. We are putting the right tools in place to solve many of our problems. I hope that we will continue in the right direction.
Jeﬀ Rader is a member of the DeKalb County Commission.
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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When you have four kids, odds are that in any given month, one of them will get sick. In fact, the folks at my local pharmacy know me by the sound of my voice, which is nice in a small-townfriendly sort of way, but at the same time a bit unsettling. When you are about to embark on a family vacation, however, the odds of illness increase because you must factor in Murphy’s Law (ML), which states that whenever something can go wrong, it will, and which results in the following equation:
right eye we ROBIN JEAN looked at MARIE CONTE each other, knowing ROBIN’S NEST that there was nothing in my arsenal to ward off whatever she had. She woke up the next morning with her eye swollen shut. I called our eye doctor, who called in a prescription for antibiotic drops, which we filled and then loaded ourselves into the car. When my daughter pried her eye open enough for me to apply the drops, however, I saw a disturbing yellowish goo, 4 (urgent care) x 52ML2 Rx (length of illness) and I called the doctor again. He grew concerned and said that we = 3y (length of vacation) extremely $ (HSA) needed to go to an ophthalmologist immediately and get her eye cultured. Thus you see that the result is roughThis is where I give a shout-out to Dr. ly an 89 percent probability that at least Rondowsky of Dunwoody and his enone child will become sick or have a medtire staff, who located an ophthalmoloical emergency within three days of the gist on our route, called his oﬃce, and vacation, with the duration and severiinformed him of the situation. ty of the condition in direct inverse proWe were south of the Sweet Tea Line, portion to the amount in your healthwhich lies just beyond the Mason-Dixcare account. The longer your trip, the on, driving through Kentucky in search higher the risk factor, so that if you are of the ophthalmologist. We made it to gone for more than one weekend, illness the oﬃce before closing time and ran or injury is inevithe culture to the table. hospital across The upshot is the street. that we’ve been Every hour on sick in all the best the hour, through places. Ohio, New York, I prepare for and into Canada, the inevitable I leaned across by always packthe minivan seats ing a first aid kit, to instill more including evdrops into my erything from daughter’s eyes. I Echinacea and got the call from Benadryl to mole the Kentucky skin and crutchophthalmologist es. I also ema few days later, ploy the popular while I was standROBIN JEAN MARIE CONTE ing in a poncho new-age method Robin prepares for the of positive thinkon the Maid of inevitable illness when her ing: “You’re fine… the Mist at Niagfamily goes on vacation. Now run!” ara Falls; my girl A few years ago, had indeed conwe took an epic two-week family minitracted a dreaded bacteria. We continvan adventure-trip up to Niagara Falls ued our journey back down the Eastern and back down the East Coast. (Two seaboard stopping for hamburgers and weeks in the minivan! You can imagophthalmologist checkups. ine how excited I was when my husband The bacteria ate a tiny hole into my suggested this particular vacation, since daughter’s cornea, just a tiny one, and driving around in a minivan full of kids I thank God, modern medicine and is something I really don’t do enough.) every ophthalmologist from here to We were traveling from Atlanta to New York that my daughter’s vision is Nashville to upstate New York for the intact today. first few legs of the journey. I had a So to all of you families out there, first-aid bag the size of my body that was traveling on family vacations, have a safe filled with lozenges, pills, drops, slings and healthy trip! and a snake-bite kit, and naturally, on I’ll see you at the doctor’s oﬃce. evening three of our trip -- a Sunday, of course -- my daughter complained that Robin Conte is a writer and mother of her eye hurt. four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be As I dropped some Visine into her contacted at email@example.com.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 9
Head for the Hills
Fresh Air and Easy Living Homeowners talk trading in the city life for the mountains BY KATHY DEAN It might seem that the reasons for moving to the North Georgia mountains would be as varied as the people moving there, but that’s not really the case. It can all be distilled down to a few basic things that everyone wants – natural beauty, a relaxed lifestyle and friendly communities. When it comes to the details, though, everybody has their specific needs. For Kathy and Dave Brown, their 20-year dream of a log home finally came true in March. It took perseverance and patience to find the perfect cabin for vacations, and eventually retirement – a place with plenty of land for their grandchildren to play. “My husband and I are both retired law enforcement and we look forward to this quieter way of life,” Kathy said. “We come from the Tampa, Florida area where it’s a rat race. In the mountains, no one is a stranger and everyone is more than willing to help you.” The Browns are ready to get back to basics and enjoy the tranquility and slower-paced lifestyle. They’d originally bought acreage in Sylva, North Carolina, but never built on it; they realized they wanted something a little closer to home. “We’re just eight hours from our Florida house and within a few hours of Atlanta, Chattanooga and Cherokee,” Kathy added. “It’s the perfect vacation area, and I love the clean mountain air and beautiful landscapes of the mountains.” The area also affords them a great place to enjoy outdoor leisure activities and antiquing. Throughout the years, the Browns had been collecting antiques for their dream cabin. Some remodeling
is already underway to make it true to the early 1900s theme they’ve chosen. “Their cabin is lovely, and so is their land,” noted Donna M. O’Neal, associate broker, Coldwell Banker High Country Realty, the realtor who helped them locate their mountain cabin in Morganton, Georgia. For mountain living, it’s hard to beat Big Canoe, a beauty spot surrounded by even more natural beauty. Big Canoe’s North gate is 10 miles from Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, home of the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. And just five minutes from the gates of Big Canoe is Gibbs Gardens, recognized as one of the premier gardens in all of North America. A bit farther, but still just minutes away, are the 750,000 protected acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest, which features more than 430 miles of trails and 2,200 miles of rivers and streams – 1,370 are trout streams. Just over the Tennessee border, there’s the 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest, and the 530,000-acre Nantahala National Forest is down the road in North Carolina. But it’s what’s in Big Canoe that brings people. Not only is it the perfect setting for events, especially weddings and retreats, there’s a range of new and resale homes, priced from $200,000 to $3 million+, that attract people looking for retirement homes, vacation homes and second homes. Hundreds of Atlanta families find their weekend getaway homes there. For one of those families, Bob and Carolyn Littell, it’s become their permanent spot of paradise. In the 1980s, Bob was living and working in Dallas, Texas. He relocated
to Atlanta in 1981 as chief marketing officer of an Atlanta-based insurance company. Soon after arriving, he attended a corporate retreat at Big Canoe that had already been planned before he arrived. He can remember saying: “I thought I’d found heaven!” After returning home from the retreat, he told his wife, Carolyn, about it and on regular intervals over the years that followed, they returned for visits, renting homes for the weekend to catch up on some reading and hike the trails. What drew them back was an area dubbed “the Enchanted Land” by the Indians, a mountaintop retreat of more than 8,000 pristine acres of woodlands and lakes. Cousins Properties in Atlanta began developing the area in the early 1970s. Bill Byrne of the Byrne Corporation of
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Georgia acquired the development in 1987. In 1997, Greenwood Development Corporation joined forces with Byrne to form the Big Canoe Co., LLC, which still manages Big Canoe today. While the area is carefully developed, about 30 percent of the land is set aside as usable green space. Initially, the Littells had planned to downsize their Buckhead home and just have a weekend mountain get-away in Big Canoe. But one day Carolyn called Bob and told him, “The dogs and I are moving up to Big Canoe permanently and you’re welcome to join us.” Today, Bob works only a few days out of their condo in Buckhead and then heads north to their mountain sanctuary. “It is really an amazing place,” Bob said. “And it attracts amazing people, including several retired universi-
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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Head for the Hills
Above and left, Big Canoe, Georgia, offers water and mountain views.
ty presidents, senior executives and other successful professionals, working and retired.” There’s no shortage of activities in Big Canoe. The mountains cradle three lakes that invite swimmers, boaters and fishermen/women to get out in the water and enjoy the natural bounty. More than 300 members play on the indoor and outdoor courts of Big Canoe Tennis Club, one of the area’s tennis complexes. For golfers there’s the challenging Mountain Course, a 27-hole championship golf course designed by Joe Lee that winds through picturesque valleys and along rushing streams; it’s been rated as a Top 20 course in Georgia. “The gorgeous, new clubhouse is a great place to socialize, and one of the things I like best about Big Canoe is that you can own a $250,000 weekend get-away cabin and be sitting in the Black Bear Pub talking with someone
who owns a $2 million home. Nobody cares,” Bob added. “The common bond is nature and the setting. Most Big Canoe residents check their egos at the door…and their lawnmowers.” Another couple, Kathleen and Paul Greenlaw, moved in May 2014 from the Stone Mountain area to Talking Rock in Pickens County. They found their retirement home while searching through online listings, though they were originally looking for a plot of land to park their camper. Tina Pritchett, owner/broker of Mountain Tracks Realty in Blue Ridge, Georgia, helped get everything settled. “Tina was really great,” Paul said, “and she did not pay me to say that!” The Greenlaws agreed that the best part of living in the mountains is the small communities with little to no traffic, and the abundant wildlife and nature. They enjoy the privacy, peace, relaxation and silence, broken only by singing birds. Being in just the right
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place up on a mountain affords incredible views, they said, and lets them see amazingly colorful sunsets at night, and the fog-shrouded valley in the early morning (if they decide to get up early enough to watch the beautiful sunrise). There’s a lot they love about their new homestead, and plenty to do, like fishing, hiking, and nature and wildlife photography. Local courses, like the nearby Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course in Elberton, offers great deals for golfers. When they get in the mood to shop, it’s just a 15- or 20-minute drive to get anything they need. Kathleen and Paul added that one of their favorite activities is sitting on their deck or in the sunroom and watching the wildlife – deer, foxes, turkeys and the occasional bear. “People are usually ‘wowed’ when they come to visit us. It’s not so much about our house, as it is about our location,” Kathleen said. “We live at 1,700 feet, completely surrounded by woods, nature and wildlife, all on more than five acres.” Paul shared his advice for people considering a move to the north Georgia mountains. First, make a list of what you really want, what’s really important to you, and prioritize each point. Questions to consider are: where do
you want to be located, and in what kind of setting do you want your mountain home? Do you want to be in the woods, near a lake or on the top of a mountain? Would you like a pond, stream or river on your property? How much acreage would you like to buy? Do you want to live in or near a town, or in the country? Do you want to be able to see your neighbors or not? Then do some extensive research to find the spot that’s right for you. “We narrowed a list of approximately 100 Internet listings down to a dozen or so and spent two weekends with Mountain Tracks Realty finding the perfect home,” Kathleen said. “Here in the mountains, there are so many possibilities to choose from. The deals are still incredible, but prices are going up. If you are seriously looking for a mountain home, don’t wait. Our home realized a 10 percent increase in value in less than a year.” The Greenlaws look forward to each day in the mountains and the new things they see, hear and enjoy there, from sunrise to the sunsets – and the incredible amount of stars that the city lights didn’t let them see. “All this and, should we miss the traffic, we’re less than an hour-and-a-half from downtown Atlanta,” Paul added with a smile.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 11
Head for the Hills
Novice or beginning paddlers are able to navigate the shoals in the Etowah River’s Class I water.
Experience, touch Georgia history paddling Etowah River BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE
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tion coordinator for the Coosa River Basin Initiative, an environmental organization, said canoeing the Etowah River is a great way to cool off during the summer heat and to get in touch with Georgia’s past. “Everybody in north Atlanta is familiar with the Chattahoochee [River], but the Etowah is almost as close to those communities,” Cook said, “and the Etowah is a place where you can really experience and touch history.” He said there aren’t any shoals that novice or beginning paddlers can’t navigate along the Etowah River’s Class I water. The nonprofit CRBI, named for the area’s watershed, hosts paddle trips from March through November. All along the Etowah River, in particular, Native American fish weirs from 500 years ago are visible to people paddling by, Cook said. “You can literally touch history in the rocks placed by Native Americans 500 years ago,” Cook said. “That’s a rare opportunity to experience something like that outside the confines of a state historic site.” Ellen and Brian Cardin found their love of kayaking after meeting Cook on a 110-mile trip last summer. For them, the idea to buy kayaks and head out on the seven-day tour came from a popular public television show called “Georgia Traveler,” Cardin said. “I guess you can call kayaking a midlife crisis for us!” Cardin said. She and Brian are 51. She said they want to stay as active as possible while they are healthy. They’ve met people aged 6 to 85 on the rivers, she said. The CRBI’s third annual “Paddle Through History” fundraiser is set to launch Oct. 11 in Bartow County, Cook said. The tour includes a stop at the ValCONTINUED ON PAGE 14
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 13
Head for the Hills
Nantahala Outdoor Center hosting special summer events Just an hour northwest of Highlands, North Carolina, the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has a summer of events on tap for families, vacationers and whitewater paddlers. There’s something for guests of all ages and skill levels to enjoy during the months of July, August and September along the banks of the river. Multi-day adventures are available for visitors interested in rafting or zip lining by day and then relaxing overnight in one of NOC’s newly renovated cabins, bunkhouses or a SPECIAL resort lodge with Whitewater rafting along the Nantahala River. convenient access to campus activities. individuals and teams racing from one point on the river to The company also offers tubing, kayak and rafting rentals another point. The races take place Aug. 2-7. and trips on the Chattahoochee River.
Whitewater Junior Olympics Nantahala Racing Club, the nonprofit partner of NOC, hosts paddlers ages 18 and under for the 2015 Whitewater Junior Olympics July 24-26. This national-level youth event features slalom, downriver and freestyle competitions. Familyfriendly and fun for beginner through advanced paddlers, it’s a great opportunity for kids to meet young paddlers and families from around the country and get inspired about whitewater.
ICF Junior & U23 Whitewater Canoeing World Championships The International Canoe Federation’s Wildwater Canoeing World Championships provides juniors and young adults under 23 with the opportunity to compete internationally in the wildwater discipline. Wildwater racing consists of
Participants in the Sept. 6 event choose from stand-up paddleboard, surfski, marathon, kayak or canoe classes in this race on Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. With 3- and 6-mile race options available, the Paddle Grapple has something for every boater, whether recreational or elite.
Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF) & Bike Trials The weekend of Sept. 25-27 includes craft vendors and family-friendly activities including corn hole, giant Jenga, face painting, a bounce house and more. After rafting and zip lining, guests can dance to live music on the banks of the Nantahala River. For the complete event schedule and more information, visit noc.com/events.
Add a bit of education to your recreation by paddling along north Georgia rivers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12
ley View plantation, a home that predates the Civil War. “That one tours an antebellum plantation home overlooking the Etowah, and it’s a really significant historical site that isn’t always open to the public,” he said. A suggested donation of $75 per person or $130 per couple includes a canoe/kayak to paddle, unless tourists prefer to bring their own. The donation also covers a year’s membership in CRBI, catered dinner, beer, wine, beverages and a chance to win a new kayak. Visit coosa.org/events/paddling-throughhistory to register. Only 75 tickets will be sold, and the event has sold out each of the last two years it was offered, Cook said. An Aug. 2 trip starts in Canton and features educational programs on the history of the area, a six-mile paddle on the Etowah River and a dinner at The Wheeler House, an event venue in Ball Ground, Ga., first built in 1906. Suggested donation is $80 per person or $140 per couple, and includes canoe or kayak rental, dinner and membership in CRBI. Tickets may be reserved at Etowahwatertrail.org. All trips offered by CRBI through November are suitable for beginners, Cook said, and he encourages people who have never paddled before to come on a group trip where there is “safety in numbers.” “There’s always somebody to help you out on a group paddle trip,” Cook said. “It gives the opportunity to paddle on a river in a safe environment.”
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 15
Head for the Hills
Atlanta Botanical Garden-Gainesville opens to visitors BY COLLIN KELLEY The Atlanta Botanical Garden has expanded, but not in Midtown. Just an hour and half north of the city, the first phase of the Gainesville outpost of ABG is now open to visitors. Located on land donated by Charles and Lessie Smithgall, phase one is a little more than five acres, but will eventually grow to 168. The new garden is destined to be one of the largest and most diverse woodland gardens in the country, including the largest conservation nursery in the Southeast on the property. The Gainesville garden makes for a perfect day trip, or perhaps a stop on leisurely longer one to Lake Lanier or the mountains. The garden is divided into sections, all easily accessible up gently rolling paved pathways. Just behind the sleek visitors center is the Forest Pond, where flowering water lilies and other aquatic plants float and surround the surface. Also just beyond the visitors center is the Ivester Amphitheater, which will play host to concerts and events on a regular basis. Three of this year’s SunTrust in the Garden concerts are being held in Gainesville, including last month’s Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell show. The Temptations are July 11 and Scott McCreery is July 17. The curving, grassy terraces can seat 2,200 people with ample room to spread out a picnic. Head up the pathway into the Overlook Garden, which features perennials, shrubs and ornamental trees. Butterflies seemed to particularly enjoy this part of the garden. There’s also comfortable seating along the paths to rest and observe the flora and fauna. Perhaps the most beautiful section is the Stream Garden, a woodland hillside with a dramatic, cascading waterfall surrounded by wildflowers and hydrangeas. The curving path and series of wooden bridges offer amply places to stop and snap photos. Kids of all ages will love the Model Train Garden where two large – and impressive sounding trains – chug through tunnels and twist along their own garden. In the adjacent Glade Garden, a box of toy trains is available for kids to build their own adventures. For those who want a longer walk, the half-mile Sourwood Trail and Holly Ridge Trail take visitors into the woods surrounding the garden. Native hollies, rhododendrons, witch hazel and shade trees make for good scenery along the hilly terrain. The Gainesville garden is also offering regular events such as wine tastings and activities for children. Visit atlantabg.org and click on Gainesville for more details and directions.
The Atlanta Botanical GardenGainesville is only about five acres now, but it will eventually expand to 168 acres. The pathways reveal a colorful expanse of native plants, trees, water features and even a model train garden sure to delight kids of all ages. PHOTOS BY COLLIN KELLEY
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 17
Visit us in Town Brookhaven! Great Wings & Salads, Too!
BROOKHAVEN • BUCKHEAD • DUNWOODY • SANDY SPRINGS • Monday - Monday Nite Mingle $3.50 craft beer and half price bottles of wine & Bingo at 7:00pm with prizes! • Tuesday - Burger Special / Burger & a side with a glass of Wine $14.50, 5pm-Close • Wednesday - TEAM TRIVIA 7:30pm $50.00 Top Prize • Thursday - 50¢ wings & Blue Moon 23oz pints $6.50, Keep the Glass! • Friday - Live Music 8:30-10:30 featuring Brandon Crocker • 13 TV’s! – Come Watch Your Favorite Sports! • Family Friendly Atmosphere!
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FRESH AIR FUN
Stand up for the Hooch Sunday, July 12, Registration, 9-9:30 a.m.; Recreation Race, 10 a.m; Elite Race, 10:30 a.m. – Sandy Springs Recreation
and Parks has partnered with High Country Outfitters and Yolo Surf Company to present this annual paddleboard race & festival. The event welcomes both amateurs and professionals to partake in a day of events on the Chattahoochee River. The race includes various divisions from a 6-mile course for elite paddlers, to a 2-mile race for beginners, age classes for men, women, and children and demo periods for non-racers throughout the day. Registration, including lunch and a registration packet, is $75. Morgan Falls Park, 200 Morgan Falls Rd., Sandy Springs, 30350. For more information and to register, go online to sandyspringsga.gov or call 404-814-0999.
Dive-In Movies Friday, July 17, 8 p.m. – Looking for a unique way to watch movies with your family this summer? The Murphey Candler Pool hosts a screening of the movie “Big Hero 6.” Kids and kids-at-heart are invited to bring their swimsuits and enjoy a warm summer evening watching the movie from the community pool. Pre-show entertainment begins at 8 p.m.; film begins at 9 p.m. Film screening is free with pool admission. General admission for adults, $5; general admission for children, $3; seniors, $1, groups of 20 children, $40. Murphey Candler Park, 551 W. Nancy Creek Dr., NE, Brookhaven, 30319. For more information, go online to brookhavenga.gov.
It Starts in the Parks Saturday, July 18, 7:30 a.m. – The
Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Department has oﬃcially announced the first annual 5K race taking place in Blackburn Park. Present-
ed in aﬃliation with Play in Brookhaven and Run & See Georgia, this event takes place during Parks and Recreation Month, which was established in 1985. The race includes awards for overall male, female and masters groups, and highlights the top three males and females in 14 age groups. Registration is $35 until July 16 or $40 on the day of the race. 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Brookhaven, 30319. For more information and to register, go online to brookhavenga.gov, email email@example.com, or call 404-637-0512.
Doggie Daze Saturday, July 18, 9:3011:30 a.m. – The Blue Her-
on Nature Preserve opens its doors to four-legged friends for this guided tour of the preserve. Dogs receive blue bandanas and treats while their humans can enjoy bagels and OJ starting at 10 a.m. Donations support habitat restoration for native wildlife at the preserve. Free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring leashes and supplies for picking up after your dogs during the hike. 4055 Roswell Rd., NE, Atlanta, 30342. For more information, go online to bhnp.org or call 404-345-1008.
Summer Splash Saturday, July 25, 9 a.m. – Sandy Springs
Hospitality and Tourism presents the annual Chattahoochee River Summer Splash. The 6-mile, three-hour float begins at Morgan Falls Dam and ends at Powers Island where guests can enjoy live music, food and family activities throughout the day. First shuttle leaves at 9 a.m. from the parking lot at MEAG Power, and the last shuttle back to the parking lot leaves Powers Island at 4 p.m. Guests can rent or bring their own kayak, canoe or raft for the float. MEAG Power, 1470 Riveredge Pkwy., NW, Sandy Springs, 30328. For more information, go to visitsandysprings.org or call 770-206-1447.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Live DJ Friday, Saturday, and Sunday public sessions
Concerts in the Park Saturday, July 11, 7-9 p.m. – The Dunwoody Nature Center continues their Concerts in the Park series with the Atlanta band Allatoona. Visitors are invited to bring their picnic baskets and blankets down to the meadow to enjoy a live performance featuring music that mixes rock and country. The event also features a rotating selection of craft beers hand picked for the night by Moondog Growlers. General admission tickets for adults, $5; students, $3; free to DNC members, and children 3 and under. 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody, 30338. For more information, go online to dunwoodynature.org/concerts or call 770394-3322.
Tan Shoes & Pink Shoelaces Thursday, July 16 through Saturday, July 18, 7:30 p.m. – Fishworks, Inc. presents a live performance fea-
turing energetic dance moves, comedy and harmonious music. The play, written by Atlanta’s own Tom Edwards, is a theatrical tribute through the music, movies and television shows of the 1950s and 1960s. Suitable for all ages. General admission tickets, $17 in advance; $20 at the door. Kingswood United Methodist Church, 5015 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, go to kingswoodumc.org or call 770-457-1317.
Rhythm & Blues Thursday, July 23, 6:30-8 p.m. – Her-
itage Sandy Springs continues its Rhythm & Brews series with a performance by Ashevillebased female trio Underhill Rose. Their harmonies pull inspiration from rhythm and blues, folk music and old country styles. Blankets, picnics, and coolers are welcome, but pets and smoking are not allowed. Food available for purchase from Breadwinner Cafe. Admission for adults 21 and up, $5; admission for ages 13 to 20, $2; and free for children 12 and under. Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green, 6110 Bluestone Rd., Sandy Springs, 30328. For more information, visit heritagesandysprings.org or call 404-851-9111.
Spend Your Summer With Us!
SATURDAY AUGUST 8
FRIDAY JULY 24
SATURDAY JULY 25
Pub Crawl for Autism Saturday, July 18, 1 p.m. – This fundraising event benefits Autism Speaks, one of the country’s lead-
ing autism science and advocacy organizations that is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. The crawl brings participants to restaurants in the Dunwoody Restaurant Group via Fur Bus. Registration includes a commemorative beer koozie, dinner, one free bar’s choice drink at each location, and the chance to win prizes. 21 and up. Registration available between 12:30 and 1 p.m. on the day of the event, $50. O’Brian’s Tavern, Mount Vernon Shopping Center, 2486 Mount Vernon Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. For more information, go online to autismpubcrawl2015.eventbrite.com.
FRIDAY AUGUST 14
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SATURDAY AUGUST 15
lanta Hurling and Camogie teams are set to attend nationals in Chicago during Labor Day weekend. The teams have to fly themselves out to the competition and they are raising money through pint sales to offset their travel expenses. Patrons must be 21 and over to participate. Free to attend; beverage costs vary. Meehan’s Public House Buckhead, 322 E. Paces Ferry Rd., NE, Buckhead, 30305. For more information, go to facebook.com/meehansbuckhead or call 470-355-5116.
FRIDAY AUGUST 28
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 19
out & about
Tracking the art of trains
You can’t spell MARTA without ART, and there is plenty of public artwork on display at MARTA train stations in Reporter Newspapers communities. Each station houses its own style of artwork. For one of our periodic “where are you” photo challenges, can you identify each station by its art? Answers on page 24.
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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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BY MEGAN VOLPERT Editor’s Note: After nearly two years of reviews, Art Huckabee has put down his fork. Decatur writer, resident and foodie Megan Volpert will pick up where Art left off, visiting a mix of established and newly-opened eateries around the metro. Megan is serious about her victuals and has planned vacations around restaurants. For her first assignment, she revisits an Atlanta institution. Forks up! As everyone knows, Miss Ann Price, owner and proprietor of the beloved Ann’s Snack Bar, passed away in April. When word got around that she had gone, citizens of Atlanta were saddened for many reasons, at least one of which – selfishly – was concern over whether the Snack Bar would fold. Would the legendary Ghetto Burger fade away? Would it hang on as a mere shadow of its former glory? And how good could the visit be without Miss Ann to police your manners when you finally got to sit down? It was a muggy Thursday and I’d just spent half the morning waiting through the seven circles of the DMV. Having accustomed myself to long lines for the day already, it seemed like a trip down to 1615 Memorial Drive to the Snack Bar was a good reward. It was my first time there since Miss Ann’s passing and I was delighted to arrive in an empty parking lot. Just 30 minutes before opening and I was first in line! So I sat on the curb watching other cars pull in and eyeball my number one slot with envy. We filed in at eleven o’clock on the dot, hurrying past the patio tables on the
Revisiting Ann’s Snack Bar
screened-in porch to claim one of the eight seats at the counter. If you like quiet, sit at one of the three seats on the left. Nothing going on over there but a stack of burger buns a mile high. If you really want to see what’s what, sit on the right side of the counter – right in front MADELINE FREIDMAN of the giant sign with Miss Ann’s rules and Megan Volpert could only eat half of her giant with a good view of the grill. The best thing double-cheeseburger, so she took the rest home for about the five seats on the right, however, dinner. Ann Price’s rules for the Snack Bar remain in is that you get front row for the antics of force, so beware while you enjoy your burgers. Miss Henrietta. What a pistol! It’s a wonder she survived behind the counter, given Miss Yes, the burger is still huge and still cooked to perfecAnn’s rule against cursing. I asked Miss Henrietta how tion and still topped with the usual suspects and still she and the family are getting along at the Snack Bar totally delicious. Yes, the fries are still average because since April and she reports that they’re “maintaining.” the fact that you even bothered to order and eat any Indeed, nothing about the rules or the food has fries alongside a burger so spectacularly gluttonous is changed. A tardy newcomer stepped to the counter to kind of crazy. Yes, the sweet tea still gets stored on the place her order, and was instantly waved off with a curt, counter in giant old plastic barrels and it still tastes “who was first?” It was all I could do not to shout, “bin- precisely like the South poured into a styrofoam cup. go!” As much as I love the Ghetto Burger, let’s bear in Ann’s Snack Bar has been holding steady since Nixmind it’s really an emergency food – not a dreary Thurs- on’s first term. After more than four decades as the tightday afternoon food unless you had one wicked Wednes- est burger ship in town, what on earth made you think day night. I ordered the double-cheeseburger combo the ship would falter? Miss Ann must be resting in peace, with homemade sweet tea, ready for me in about ten for the Snack Bar is still what it always was. minutes. I managed to eat two-thirds of my enormous burgMegan Volpert lives in Decatur, teaches in Roswell and er and made a small dent in the fries. The remainder writes books about popular culture. Send feedback to Tastwas wrapped up in tinfoil to take home for dinner. ingIntown@AtlantaINtownPaper.com.
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Quick Bites: News You Can Eat The second annual Atlanta Meatball Festival returns to Belle Isle Square in Sandy Springs on Sunday, Aug. 30, from 1–5 p.m., serving up a selection of meatball dishes, music, limoncello tastings and much more. More than 20 restaurants will be taking part in this year’s event including Double Zero, Seven Lamps, Food 101 and St. Cecilia. Advance tickets are now available online at AtlantaMeatballFestival.com. The team from the recently-shuttered Veni Vidi Vici in Midtown will open il Giallo Italian restaurant in Sandy Springs at 5920 Roswell Road in August. The new restaurant will offer authentic Italian with pasta made in front of the diners. Riccardo Ullio has opened his third Italian concept restaurant, Novo Cucina, at 5592 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in the Dunwoody Village Shopping Center. The new restaurant is serving up pizza, pasta, wine and gelato. Ullio also owns Fritti and Sotto Sotto in Inman Park. For more, visit novocucina.com. Buckhead Italian-American restaurant Portofino, 3199 Paces Ferry Road, has ended lunch service to concentrate on dinner and a new Sunday brunch menu launching in the fall. The Fresh Market has opened a new store at 2840 Brighton Park shopping center (formerly known as Loehmann’s Plaza). The gourmet supermarket offers fresh foods and local, organic produce. The Georgia Restaurant Association and the Georgia Department of Economic Development have partnered together to create the first-ever Georgia Restaurant Week. This inaugural seven-day culinary event will take place July 13-19 and feature restaurants from around the state. Visit garestaurants.org to see the full list of participating restaurants. Local husband and wife team Kenny and Kelly Keith are opening a pair of new artisan doughnut shops in Buckhead and Brookhaven. According to Tomorrow’s News Today, Bon Glaze will open a 600-square-foot space in Powers Ferry Square in Buckhead and 1,700-square-feet at Brookleigh Marketplace on Johnson Ferry Road. Grand China is moving to a new location just across from The Peach shopping center at 2905 Peachtree Road in Buckhead. The property was the most recent home of Peachtree Bikes (which is now on Roswell Road next door to Buckhead Theatre).
Ultimately, it’s your experience that matters. To be sure, we’re proud of our 27 years of experience in senior living. But, to us, what really matters is your experience at our communities. We do everything with that idea clearly in mind. So, go ahead, enjoy yourself with great social opportunities and amenities. Savor fine dining every day. And feel assured that assisted living services are always available if needed. We invite you to experience The Piedmont for yourself at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.
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Avi Botwinick The Weber School, rising senior From martial arts to school work to holding several different leadership positions in and outside of school, Avi Botwinick says he “wants to help people because that’s something I’ve always been passionate about.” Avi is an active member and leader in BBYO, a Jewish youth movement. Avi says what is great about the group is the fraternity of it. The boy’s chapter, Kol Ram Aza, was founded his freshman year in high school, and since then he says it has provided a place for local Jewish teens to feel attached to their Judaism. He was recently elected president of the chapter for next year and says his main goal is “to help Jewish teens who would otherwise not be Jewish to feel connected to their Judaism in some way.” Avi also finds himself encouraging others in the world of martial arts. Avi began studying Shaolin Kung Fu when he was 8 years old. He began in the youth program, and has since then come full circle as he taught the youth program in recent years. The studio where Avi began his studies has recently closed, but that has not stopped him from continuing to expand his knowledge. He started studying Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a new center. He says he is still practicing the forms he already knew and trying to blend them with what he is learning now. “My study of martial arts has taught me discipline, how to control my body, and how to defend myself and when it’s appropriate to do so,” Avi said. Avi doesn’t currently teach classes at the center where he studies, but he has found other ways to help younger kids. He is actively involved in the Peer Leader program at The Weber School. The program helps new students make a smooth transition into the school.
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
What’s Next: Avi returns to The Weber School this fall for his senior year. He is applying to several colleges, including the University of Georgia, Washington University in St. Louis, and Emory University. –This article was reported and written by Mary Helen Kelly, intern with Reporter Newspapers.
Do you know a standout high school student? Send nominees to email@example.com.
Move in by August 31, 2015 and enjoy up to $10,000 in savings! For more information and to schedule your personal tour, please call one of our Senior Living Counselors at (404) 237-2323.
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Avi is also a member of National Honor Society. He loves math and science, and is also a part of a robotics team at Weber that is building a robot to battle at Dragon Con this September. His two favorite classes are chemistry and physics, both of which he has taken at the AP level. “Avi is the type of student that teachers love to have in their classroom. He comes into class every day, smiling and excited to share something cool he has seen online. Avi pursues his interests wholeheartedly and his natural curiosity drives him to take challenging courses,” Avi’s Chemistry teacher, Nicole Brite, said. Avi recently attended a physics camp at Georgia Teach and will attend a college prep camp at Emory this summer, focusing on neuroscience. He thinks it would be cool to be an anesthesiologist or an FBI agent, but Avi says he wants to follow his passion for helping other people. “In order to have a good world you have to have people helping others,” Avi said.
Answers to Where Are You? quiz” 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Lenox Station. Dunwoody Station. Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station. North Springs Station. Sandy Springs Station. Medical Center Station. Buckhead Station.
The fantasy warriors of Blackburn Park CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Armor and shields Ben Coffee is standing in a Blackburn parking lot, strapping on a 40-pound suit of armor made of overlapping metal plates. He’s going to need it, because his friends are about to whack him with wooden swords. But, he’s quick to note, combat is only one part of SCA medieval activities.“The music is fantastic,” he says, breaking into a tuneful and dramatic “war song.” Founded in California in 1966, the Society for Creative Anachronism is a worldwide organization whose members play out an idealized version of medieval life with some historical research and educational programs. That includes not only martial arts, but also music, dance, calligraphy, clothing-making and more. Still, swordplay is key, especially since members of the society determine their “king” and “queen” by combat in tournaments. There are several “kingdoms,” or regional chapters, around the country; Atlanta falls under the Kingdom of Meridies, and the local chapter is known as the Barony of South Downs. “We’re not Medieval Times,” member Dave Lopez said. “We’re not putting on the big show…We’re an education group.” Regardless, it’s remarkable to see guys in armor and shields going at it in the park. They use swords painted like steel but made of rattan, a wood that turns to soft pulp rather than sharp splinters after impact. Other members, including Lopez, skip the heavy armor and engage in light-footed fencing with a thin sword called a rapier. In this case, the swords are real, their tips blunted with padding. The amount of expertise and fancy equipment on display might look daunting to someone interested in joining the group. And in fact, it does take extensive training and certification before members can fight. But no one is expected to show up on Day One in a suit of armor. Coffee says the membership requirements are few, including only a basic at-
tempt to dress in medieval fashion.“For years, I went to [SCA] events in pajama pants,” he confesses. In addition to the Sunday events, the society holds fencing practices in Blackburn on Tuesday evenings, and will stage a 20-person regional war game event there on July 14. Dagorhir “It’s like playing a video game in real life,” says Sean Huff as he explains the Dagorhir games about to unfold. Soon, about 20 players attacked one another with foam swords. The action was nonstop. When players “died” from sword strikes—which they did constantly—they simply walked to a “respawn” spot and returned to battle. While it had the format of medieval combat, Dagorhir had the speed and good-natured laughter of a pick-up soccer game. Dagorhir was invented in 1977 in Washington, D.C. Its name means “battle lords” as translated into the Elven language of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” but there’s no requirement that players pretend to be living in a hobbitfilled Middle Earth. They’re welcome to imagine themselves as vampires, ninjas—“whatever floats your boat,” as Huff puts it. At one game, some players wore Tshirts and shorts while others were clad in medieval-style jerkins or light leather armor. The players were diverse in more than fashion, too. There was a mix of genders, race and ages—from teens to mid-thirties—rare for most games or sports. Passers-by are welcome to borrow a sword and join in after a quick tutorial. Dagorhir is easy to learn and play: Get smacked on a limb, it’s crippled; get smacked in the body, you’re dead. “There’s no way to win. You win by having fun,” Huff says. “It really reduces ego. There’s no LeBron James out here carrying the team.” For more, see atlantasca.org or facebook.com/highspires.
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Though some people may be more likely to track their children’s growth than the height of their grass, penalties exist for unkempt lawns. Melanie Williams said she’s heard people recommend all sort of strategies for maintaining property—including renting goats. “I thought they were kidding,” Williams said, describing a recommendation made to the Dunwoody Preservation Trust volunteers who work to maintain historic cemetaries. Property maintenance in many suburban subdivisions is policed by residents and the groups homeowners join when they buy their homes and that often also provide upkeep for common amenities such as pools or tennis courts. But local governments get in on the act, too. Let your grass grow too tall and you face a visit from the local lawn police. A first offense in Brookhaven costs $100, a second offense by the same property owner costs $200—even if the violation occurs at a second property in the city—and a third offense is $500. Dunwoody and Sandy Springs can impose fines once weeds or grass exceed 10 inches. In Brookhaven and Atlanta, the allowable height is a foot. In an informal survey recently, several Dunwoody residents had no notion of the height at which they must trim grass and weeds under city law. Their guesses ranged from 4 inches to 18 inches. “You can’t make somebody cut it at 4 inches,” 20-year Dunwoody resident Marty Johnson said. “That’s too short; those people are crazy.” Johnson lives in Mill Glen, where he said everybody cuts their grass and keeps their weeds down. Johnson prefers his homeowner-association-free neighborhood because he’s happier not living under the rule of “little old ladies with nothing better to do” than looking for violations. “I don’t want to live anywhere where
somebody can tell me what color I can paint my house or what kind of mailbox I can put up,” Johnson said. “I would rather deal with the crazy-looking stuff than have some board tell me what I can and can’t do.” Johnson said he’d never called city officials to complain about unmaintained property, but he admitted that his neighbor, Georgia Power Co., sometimes lets its grass get out of control. Johnson lives by power lines and said the power company lets the grass grow really tall. “They let that grow up and only cut it about once a year, but nobody’s ever complained about it that I’ve heard about.” Amanda Wyatt said she never personally called the authorities on a neighbor, but remembers when one of her neighbors did. “We did have a property down the street that was vacant and one of the neighbors called code enforcement,” Wyatt said. “It was maybe 18 inches high.” The house wasn’t abandoned, Wyatt said, but the residents had moved out. By calling in a complaint, her neighbor did what Dunwoody Code Compliance Officer Tom LaPenna wants residents to do in those situations. Code compliance in Dunwoody is complaintdriven, he said, and officers aren’t out measuring grass height looking for violations. They rely on residents to turn in their neighbors. LaPenna said that in two cases he’s worked, neighbors mowed residents’ front yards for three years because they wanted to help their neighbors, who had moved out of state. When the neighbors finally tired of cutting extra lawns, they called LaPenna, who said he found a “jungle” with 6-foot-tall weeds in the backyard. “I realized the back door was broken into so I reported that to the police,” he said. Dunwoody Councilman John Heneghan said he believes less than 1
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Local jurisdictions have various restrictions on the height of weeds or grass. The cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs allow 10 inches before issuing a fine. Brookhaven and Atlanta allow 12 inches.
percent of the city’s residents don’t keep their grass cut. “It’s usually those odd situations where somebody passed away and their kids live in another state and they just haven’t gotten around to getting somebody to take care of the lawn,” Heneghan said. Heneghan said he uses a system to keep his grass short. “I try to cut my grass once a week,” Heneghan said. “During the heat of summer, I plan on cutting my grass only on days just be-
fore it’s going to rain, otherwise the heat of the sun will burn out my lawn and I’ll have no grass whatsoever.” LaPenna laughed about a time code compliance officers from Sandy Springs called him to complain about the overgrowth near a corner where Spalding and Dunwoody Club Drive meet. “They thought Dunwoody included this corner; it doesn’t,” LaPenna said. Turns out, they were complaining about a property in their own town.
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Brookhaven Police Blotter Brookhaven police blotter June 20-July 2
a gun was reported. 3900 block of Peachtree Road—On June
30, robbery in the street with a gun was reported.
The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen Portal Event Search website and is presumed to be accurate.
ROBBERY block of Buford Highway—On June 20, a strong-arm robbery in the street was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way— On June 21, a robbery in the street with a cutting instrument was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 29, robbery of a business with a cut-
ting instrument was reported. 3000
block of Buford Highway—On June 29, a strong-arm robbery of a business was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 29, an arrest was made for robbery; On June 30, a robbery in the street with
BURGLARY block of Briarwood Road—On June 23, a burglary was reported.
Brookhaven police have created a new specialized task force to try to increase enforcement in areas that report increases in crime. Facing rising reports of car thefts, thefts from cars and thefts of car parts such as catalytic converters, the department set up the three-officer unit dedicated to crime suppression, department spokesman Officer Carlos Nino said. The Neighborhood Enforcement Team officers’ schedules will be flexible so they can patrol during the times when analysts say officers will be most effective, he said. “This is going to be a permanent unit that we’re planning to have as long as we can,” Nino said. “This is not a detail that will take place for only two months; it’s a permanent team.” Nino said Brookhaven police want to copy efforts made in nearby cities such as Dunwoody, where signs remind drivers to “lock, take and hide” valuables. These signs, which are visible at businesses such as Perimeter Mall, will start appearing in Brookhaven within the next year or so, Nino said. “It’s a great program that we’re hoping to start here in Brookhaven soon,” Nino said. “We want to make it in partnership with neighboring businesses and we’re going to start working on that as soon as we can.”
block of Town Boulevard—On June 23, a burglary was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On June 25, a burglary was reported at a residence.
block of Osborne Road—On June 25, a burglary was reported at a residence.
block of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road—On June 29, a burglary was reported.
block of Executive Park South—On June 30, burglary was reported.
AUTO THEFT 1000 block of Barone Avenue—On June
20, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 20, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 24, theft by taking auto was reported.
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block of Windmont Drive—On June 24, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of Osborne Road—On June 25, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On June 25, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way— On June 20, battery was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 20, a sex offense was reported.
block of Triple Creek Court—On June 20, terroristic threats were reported. block of Buford Highway—On June 22, simple assault was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On June 26, an aggravated assault with a gun was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 30, aggravated assault with a weapon was reported.
block of Drew Valley Road—On July 1, simple battery was reported.
block of Ellijay Drive—On July 1, terroristic threats were reported.
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block of Buford Highway—On June 22, battery was reported.
JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
block of Buford Highway—On June 22, battery was reported. block of Caldwell Road—On June 24, aggravated stalking was reported; On June 25, an arrest was made for aggravated stalking.
block of Cates Avenue—On June 26, simple assault was reported.
block of Derby Walk—On June 22, fraud by impersonation was reported.
block of Lenox Park Circle—On June 23, financial transaction car fraud was reported.
3800 block of Peachtree Road—On June
23, financial identity fraud was reported.
block of Buford highway—On June 24, financial identity fraud was reported; On June 27, fraud by impersonCONTINUED ON PAGE 30 BK
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Brookhaven Police Blotter CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28
ation was reported. block of Briarcliff Road—On June 24, forgery of check was reported.
block of Thornwell Drive—On July 2, fraudulent activity was reported.
2700 block of Tryon Place—On June 26,
fraud by impersonation was reported.
block of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road—On June 26, fraud by impersonation was reported.
block of Lincoln Court Avenue—On June 27, fraud by impersonation was reported.
block of Druid Hills Reserve Drive— On July 1, fraudulent activity was reported.
block of Dorby Park Drive—On July 2, fraud by impersonation was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On June 20, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Executive Park Drive— On June 20, reports of entering auto and theft of articles from a vehicle were made.
block of Brookhaven Avenue—On June 20 and 21, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported; On June 29, theft was reported.
block of Glen Way—On June 20, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
2800 block of North Druid Hills Road—
On June 20, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
1900 block of North Druid Hills Road—
On June 20, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Glen Way—On June 21, a
report of entering auto was made. 3900 block of Peachtree Road—On June
block of Mabry Lane—On June 26, theft was reported.
21, theft from a building was reported; On June 24, theft was reported.
block of Lake Hearn Drive— On June 21, reports of entering auto and theft of articles from a vehicle were made; On June 26, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported and an arrest was made.
block of Clairmont Road—On June 22 and July 2, theft was reported.
block of Brixworth Place—On June 22, theft of parts from a vehicle was reported.
block of Briarwood Road—On June 23, a bicycle was reported stolen.
block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On June 26, theft was reported. block of Northeast Expressway— On June 30, theft by conversion was reported.
1300 block of Peachtree View—On July 1,
theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On July 2, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Peachtree Road—On July 2, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On June 23, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
4400 block of Memorial Drive—On June
20, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.
24, an arrest was made for theft by taking.
Road—On June 20, an arrest was made for speeding.
1800 block of Dyouville Lane—On June
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