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Sandy Springs Reporter


Fast, then feast Muslims celebrate Ramadan FAITH 6

Knee high

JULY 10 — JULY 23, 2015 • VOL. 9 — NO. 14

Head for the Hills

Tall, weedy lawns bring fines PUBLIC SAFETY 26

Oh, say can you

PAGES 10-17

Council exempts some new homes from sidewalk policy BY JOHN RUCH


Alexander Mesquita, 3, dances to the music of the band “Shiloh,” during the city’s fireworks celebration on the Concourse Corporate Center Lawn July 5. The crowd was encourged to sit back, enjoy a picnic and live music, then wait for the skies to illuminate in a blaze of color. See additional photos on page 5.

Many single-family homebuilders will be exempt from a requirement to create sidewalks on their property, Sandy Springs City Council decided July 7. That’s an “interim step” while the council continues to revise its controversial sidewalk policy, with a final update expected within four weeks. “I think this is a good step,” Councilman Tibby DeJulio said before the council unanimously approved the policy change. Under previous rules, any project requiring a building permit was required to install a sidewalk on the property’s street frontage, if one did not already exist. It also has an alternative option to pay into a sidewalk construction fund instead. Now people building or renovating a single-family home will be exempt—with one big exception. Single-family projects within the city’s Sidewalk Master Plan area—mostly along major roadways—must still create sidewalks. Last year, the council heard growing public concern that the sidewalk requirement was slamming residents with sidewalk costs that could run north of $10,000. And the policy could result in “sidewalks to nowhere”—disconnected sections that will never link up. The council has spent months wrangling over the topic with no concrete results. At the June 16 council meeting, Mayor Rusty Paul SEE COUNCIL, PAGE 25

Nightclub appeals city’s denial of license BY JOHN RUCH The Taboo 2 Bistro and Bar is asking a court to overturn the city’s latest denial of its alcohol license application. In denying Sunita T. Smith’s application as license-holder at a fiery meeting on June 16, members of Sandy Springs City Council expressed concerns that she was a straw applicant on behalf of a former owner recently convicted of bribery. DeWayne Martin, Smith’s attorney, denied that claim at the meeting and said the council was making decisions based on irrelevant issues. “Taboo 2 Bistro has appealed the Sandy Springs City Council’s denial of Ms. Smith’s alcohol license application to the Fulton County Superior Court,” Martin later said in an email. “Taboo 2 Bistro will remain open and can sell alcohol during the appeal process.” This is the latest application controversy at the 6075 Roswell

Road nightclub in the wake of a fatal shooting in its parking lot last August. Meanwhile, the club is in a reorganization bankruptcy and, according to court papers, is contesting two federal employment lawsuits alleging wage violations and sex discrimination. After last year’s fatal shooting, the club temporarily changed its name to Taboo 3000, and a man named Kenneth Durden applied to become its alcohol-license holder. City Council eventually denied his application, expressing concern that he did not live locally. The company that owned the club, Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of this year, according to court documents. The company’s bankruptcy attorney, Leonard Medley, referred questions to Martin and did not reSEE TABOO 2, PAGE 28

Where are you? What MARTA station features this public artwork? See more on pages 20-21, with answers on page 24.


Trail, low walls planned for park south of Abernathy BY JOE EARLE

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A new 12-acre city park proposed for Abernathy Road’s south side will include a mile-long, slatechip trail and low walls offering places to sit in the shade, according to the city’s most recent design. The south side of Abernathy Greenway Park is intended to differ from the part already developed on the north side of Abernathy, designer Christopher S. Kingsbury of Moreland Altobelli Associates Inc. told JOE EARLE about 30 people gathered at Sandy Gene Jordan, back left, Christopher Springs City Hall on June 30. Kingsbury of Moreland Altobelli “The north side is active. There’s always something going on,” he Associates Inc., center, and John said. “The south side is ‘passive,’ a Stewart, right, discuss improvements place to be in nature.” for the south side of Abernathy Road. The new park is expected to cost $1 million to $1.5 million, he said, duce the slope of the stream bank in sevand will include restoration work for a eral places to allow park-goers access to stream through the property and instalthe creek. “Keep people away from the lation of plants such as gardenia, butter[stream] banks,” said Patti Berkovitz of fly bush or Rose of Sharon. About 957 the Sandy Springs Watershed Alliance. trees were counted on the site and about But Greg and Jessica Hurme, who 36 will be removed during construction, live near the proposed park, welcomed he said. “The goal is to take out as few the plans. “We’re into fitness and biktrees as possible ... [and] to make the safing and running,” Greg Hurme said. est environment possible.” “We don’t get a lot of use out of the kids’ Some who attended the meeting swings. The north park doesn’t do much asked why the designers had not profor us. I’m glad they put the passive part posed building a boardwalk through on our side.” Besides, his wife added, “It the area. Others questioned plans to relooks pretty... I’m excited about it.”

Sandy Springs Government Calendar The Sandy Springs City Council usually meets the first and the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, which is located at 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 For the most up to date meeting schedule, visit

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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 (RBrookhaven), 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

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Will he get it close? Sandy Springs City Councilman Gabriel Sterling, center, concentrates during the inaugural bocce ball game at a new court at the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex in Sandy Springs.


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The Mark Trail/Princeton Square Club swim team, based in Sandy Springs, recently came away with three awards at an Atlanta Swim Association (ASA) divisional meet. The “Wavemakers” earned a second place, gold division; were undefeated season champs; and Coach Julie Ferris was named Coach of the Year, out of 112 teams, by the ASA.

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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 |

Undefeated! The 12U Sandy Springs Storm went undefeated in the Dizzy Dean District 4 tournament to win the championship for the second year in a row. Front row, from left, Zivan Brown, Trey Horton, Sinclair Eberlein, Evan Sitzmann, Kurt Dames, Simon Kwon. Back row, Ryan Grayson, Charlie Janko, Buck Olson, J.D. Bogart, Cole Forrest, Will Blair, Cameron Weeks, Parker Bakke. Coaches: Noel Sitzmann, Karl Forrest, John Brown. SS



Red, white and you The city of Sandy Springs encouraged the public to extend its Fourth of July festivities one day longer, with a celebration held on July 5. Above, left and middle, the event, held on the Concourse Corporate Center Lawn, featured plenty of fireworks in the night sky. Top right, Amy Edgar dances with her two children, Alexander, 4, upside down, and Everett, 7, to music from the band “Shiloh.”


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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 they 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 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-break-

ing” 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 son-in-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 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.

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Left, 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. Right, men gather to celebrate Ramadan.

“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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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 7

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 Atlanta INtown

CONTACT US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene Editorial Managing Editor Joe Earle Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Staff Writers: Ellen Eldridge Copy Editor: Diane L. Wynocker Creative and Production Director of Creative & Interactive Media Christopher North Graphic Designer: Isadora Pennington Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Senior Account Executives Jeff Kremer Janet Porter Account Executives Amber Friar Susan Lesesne Office Manager Deborah Davis

Proposed density too much

ment was approved based on income to the county, and not based on the taxes and expectations of the residents. Roswell Road was case in point. Now, significant highTo the editor: density development proposals are going up all around us, from an immense apartment development at Hammond and Members of the Mount Vernon Parc Homeowners AssoPeachtree Dunwoody to even more apartments in the develciation are very concerned with the nature and scope of the opment/planning stage on Roswell Road. Another 400 apartproposed development on Glenridge Drive by Ashton Woods. ment units to the north of us is saturating the market. I, and other members of our association, have become inAlso consider that the apartments and townvolved now that we have learned that the “Merhomes going into the project are not dramaticedes” building project also presumes the addically diff erent than the apartments in question. LE TTE RS TO tion of 1,200 residential units, approximately Without any restrictions as to leasing, we are THE E DITOR 33 percent of which would be apartments. This not talking about 400 apartments where now is along less than a mile of roadway that clearly E-mail letters to there are none, but 400 apartments plus an unwas not built with this density in mind. known number of rentals. This is not the sinGlenridge Drive consists of a single lane in gle-family residential use that it is zoned for and either direction. It already has significant conit is not consistent with the surrounding homes. gestion during the morning and evening hours, We would like to see a dramatic reduction in the density of and the proposed addition of approximately 3,500 vehicles the proposal and an elimination of the multifamily rental asper cycle per day is such extreme overdevelopment that we pects of the project. Th is is not Midtown Atlanta. We welare very upset. We are looking at needing a traffic light just come the Mercedes headquarters, but not the additional deto get out of our street and installing a gate to our communivelopment packaged with it that has nothing to do with the ty to keep the “turnaround” traffic out of our residential and Mercedes development. private street. The Mercedes aspect of the project, with its promised jobs, is being used as a pretext to substantially change the character and promise of Sandy Springs. We all “revolted” from Fulton County recently because we felt that the county did not have our interests in mind in their development projects. Develop-

Enough is enough! To the editor: For several decades, the citizens of Sandy Springs wanted to be rid of governmental control by Fulton County. It was promoted by responsible parties then that forming the city of Sandy Springs was in the best interests of the community. In essence, the city would be the shining star with a responsive government, local control of issues and outsourced services that would be cost effective, especially when compared to the tired, old model of government that is draining public coffers with public service cutbacks the daily norm. That was then. This is now: records have been broken at the number of zoning variances approved, the number of new apartments and developments already constructed, the number of mixeduse developments planned but not yet online, the massive State Farm complex, the planned Mercedes Benz complex at Abernathy Road, the imminent approval of Glenridge Highlands III, a high-rise office addition to North Park, the planned 50-story office building, along with a 5,000-car garage at Mount Vernon and Ga. 400, a 300-room hotel at Peachtree Dunwoody/Abernathy. And, the recent approval of

Contributors Robin Jean Marie Conte, Kathy Dean Mary Helen Kelly, Phil Mosier, John Ruch, Megan Volpert

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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015

Summer council meetings? To the editor: If you want to encourage maximum dialogue and citizen participation on significant city issues, when is the best time to hold community meetings? Whatever your answer may be, I doubt it would be the months June through August because families are focused on trips and time together. Yet, that is exactly when meetings are scheduled on the city’s millage rate (the state requires three public meetings), city visioning/land use plan revision (the official word is that these are only initial discussions but the survey deadline is July 18), Abernathy Greenway South Side, Riverside Park RFP (request for proposals from contractors), and Ashton Woods (Glenridge Hall). |

Todd E. Hennings Todd E. Hennings, Mount Vernon Parc Homeowners Association president

hundreds of apartments at Roswell Road/Hammond Drive, as well as hundreds of apartments at Roswell Road/Hildebrand with no concerns for traffic congestion. Glenridge Drive has the largest undeveloped tracts of land in the city and that, too, will be all lost as a result of the new and improved government put into place in 2005. Whether office buildings, mixed-use developments, residential homes and apartments built with the highest densities, the city has broken all records for development. This is exactly what the citizens of Sandy Springs in 2005 did not want and still don’t want. If local control is not in the power of the citizens of the city, why did we vote for it? The city and its representatives tell us that all will be fine because traffic will not be affected and that many workers will utilize MARTA, shuttles and bike paths instead of cars. This is truly hogwash. All the while, commuters from the surrounding areas choke the roads in Sandy Springs each day, with the added component of new local residents in the new developments using the old roads. The city needs truly effective and bold leadership on these highly significant issues. Continuing with the same old way is not working. Tell the seven elected men in Sandy Springs that you are tired of this. Enough is enough. Rick & Lisa Shunnarah

The Sandy Springs City Council has had a budget surplus of at least $8 million/year since 2009, but has refused to roll back millage rates as neighboring municipalities have. In 2009, Councilman Doug MacGinnitie (later the State Revenue Commissioner) chastised the mayor and City Council for their irresponsible behavior of not making specific budgetary plans for present and future tax surpluses, not even for an emergency fund. Yet this intentional surplus continues and goes into a “slush fund” that is dispersed without any citizen input. And the city’s mandated public meetings are scheduled in this low involvement time period on two days (one meeting July 7 and two on July 21). Governments run best when everyone’s input is encouraged. Summer meetings don’t accomplish this. If you agree, let everyone on the Council know your views. Susan Joseph SS


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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

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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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The interior of Kathy and Dave Brown’s cabin in Morganton, Georgia.

JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 |

Carolyn Littell

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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

History buffs can get a different perspective on past events while paddling north Georgia rivers during guided trips hosted by a Rome, Ga.-based nonprofit. Joe Cook, advocacy and communica-

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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 |



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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 13

Head for the Hills

Whitewater Fun

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

Paddle Grapple

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

Chill. 14


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 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 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.”

Get a new view on life. It’s within easy reach – only 90 minutes from Atlanta. A place to relax. A place for fun. A place to call your own in the welcoming mountains of North Georgia.

JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 |

Blue Ridge, Cherry Log, Morganton, Ellijay, Mineral Bluff

Chris Colbert, Associate Broker 404.226.2062

706.632.3737 1665 Appalachian Hwy, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Are the Mountains Calling You? Morganton, GA 7BR/5BA $1,749,900 Luxury Mountain Estate on 126 acres. Creekfront, trout pond, 3 car garage with apartment, golf driving range. MLS 245619 Call Teresa Bidez 706-455-2911

Blairsville, GA 5BR/4.5BA $1,100,000 Horse Ranch on 83+ unrestricted acres! Elegant country home, barn, workshop. Moments to Lake Nottely. MLS 247725 Call Dana Nelson 706-835-7906

Ellijay, GA 3BR/2.5BA $619,500 Craftsman style home on 3+ acres 1000 ft on Boardtown Creek. 3 fireplaces 3 covered porches, 2 car garage. MLS 247581 Call Donna O’Neal 770-356-9034

Blue Ridge, GA 5BR3.5BA $475,000 Gorgeous creekfront cabin - 1.9 acres on Fightingtown Creek. Perfect family retreat or full time home. MLS 238605 Call Mike Holloway 706-851-7513

Cherry Log, GA 4BR/3.5BA $454,900 Mountain & river view lodge on 2.7 acres. Gated community with deeded river access, paved roads, underground utilities. MLS 246455 Call Mark Reeves 706-455-2418

Blue Ridge, GA 3BR/3BA $448,000 Luxurious LOG home – Million $$ View! Great rental property or year round home. Too many features to list. MLS 248069 Call Mark Engledow 706-633-3988

Mineral Bluff, GA 3BR/3BA $439,900 Panoramic view cabin on 2.9 acres. Double level decks, exterior fireplace. Excellent rental history. MLS 233289 Call Jackie Lumpkin 706-455-1830

Blue Ridge, GA 3BR/3BA $424,999 Renovated 1908 cottage. 2 serene acres, 1BR guest house. Custom furnishings & antiques included. MLS 248430 Call Mark Reeves 706-455-2418

Marble, NC 3BR/3BA $399,900 Two houses on 6+ acres, mountain views. Main house is REAL log home. Multiple outdoor spaces. MLS 248087 Call Jack Shingler 321-279-1049

Blue Ridge, GA 3BR/3.5BA $384,900 Custom built Craftsman style home 3.7 acres on noisy Fightingtown Creek. Mountain views too! MLS 246708 Call Teresa Bidez 706-455-2911

Morganton, GA 3BR/3BA $329,900 Incredible long range views of the Cohuttas! Open concept, outdoor fireplace porch. Paved roads. MLS 247942 Call Mark Reeves 706-455-2418

Blue Ridge, GA 5BR/4BA $318,800 Country home on 6+ acres – borders USFS and trout stream. Outbldgs, guest quarters, fenced horse pasture. MLS 242861 Call Jack Cusick 706-994-1203

Blue Ridge, GA 2BR/2BA $259,900 Spacious log-sided cabin – prime rental location. 1.35 acre lot, mtn views, garage and basement. MLS 242431 Call Donna O’Neal 770-356-9034

Mineral Bluff, GA 4BR/2BA $229,000 Stately 1900 Victorian in downtown. Professional kitchen, 5 FPS, 1+ acres, 3 car garage, and MORE. MLS 247124 Call Mark Reeves 706-455-2418

Hiawassee, GA 3BR/3BA $189,900 Great year round mtn view from wrap porch. Minutes from Boundary Waters Marina on Lake Chatuge. MLS 248166 Call Aric Drott 404-219-2000

Cherry Log, GA 3BR/1BA $165,000 Furnished cabin in the woods. Open plan living with 2 bedrooms on the main. Gas fireplace, covered porch. MLS 248471 Call Kimberly Bruner 706-455-5703

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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 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 |

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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 17

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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 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

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, email, 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 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 or call 770-206-1447.

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JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 |

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 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 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 or call 404-851-9111.

Spend Your Summer With Us!





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



Support Local Athletes Saturday, July 18, 7 p.m. – The At-


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 or call 470-355-5116.




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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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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

A summer

sweet wave.

rant Re




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.

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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 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 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 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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Standout Student

Student Profile:

 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 |

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

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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.


Council exempts some new homes from sidewalk policy CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

complained about debating sidewalks “ad infinitum [and] ad nauseam.” At the July 7 meeting, Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert reported that he met this week with city councilmen about the policy. The single-family exemption was one item of consensus, he said. He said that change will let some stalled projects move through the pipeline and give homeowners some certainty if they’re planning construction. “[The previous policy] has even held up some people in my area who want to renovate,” DeJulio said. In response to questions from council members, city officials said all projects must provide proper stormwater drainage gutters or devices. Also, if a property is on a corner where one side is within the Sidewalk Master Plan area and one side is not, a sidewalk will still be required on that Master Plan frontage. The councilmen appear to agree the current sidewalk policy has become outdated. At the June 16 meeting, DeJulio recounted some of the policy’s history. He

said the Sidewalk Master Plan was created years ago because there were so few sidewalks and the city had no money to build them. Six to seven years ago, the sidewalkcreation rule was applied to projects. “It was just a way to start getting them built,” he said. At that June meeting, the council started kicking around some ideas for revising the policy. One suggestion was to reduce the buy-out fee, but there were concerns that choosing a number on the spot was arbitrary. Another idea was requiring property owners to provide right of way, not an actual sidewalk, but city staff members noted that the city already gets dibs on rights of way along streets. What the council ended up doing, at the suggestion of City Manager John McDonough, was tabling the issue for further discussion. Tolbert said that the July 7 single-family exemption is an “interim step.” A full policy revision should come before the council within four weeks and possibly sooner, he said.

City holds first hearing on property tax rate City Council held its first hearing on its Fiscal Year 2016 ad valorem property tax rate on July 7. The rate would remain 4.731 mills, which is fixed in the city charter and can only change by voter referendum. However, state law requires the millage rate to be advertised as a tax increase if it is not fully rolled back. According to the city, after county property reassessments, there was an effective 4.41 percent increase in local property taxes paid, following the rollback calculation. The final hearings on the tax rate will be held July 21 at 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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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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One (1) primary variance from Section 6.4.3.C of the City of Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance to reduce the side setback from ten (10) feet to eight (8) feet to add an addition to an existing home.

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Board of Appeals August 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


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One primary variance from Section 109-225 (a) (1) & (2) of the Stream Buffer Protection Ordinance to encroach into the 50’ undisturbed buffer and 25’ impervious surface setback to construct a deck.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals August 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600




Glenridge Hammond Neighborhood Ass. Inc.


5776 Glenridge Dr.


Primary variance from Section 33.26.C.1. to allow for an ID monument type sign not at the entrance to a residential development.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals August 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600


Taboo 2 nightclub appeals alcohol license denial CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “No,” Smith replied. turn a follow-up call. Smith appeared to raise some eyebrows One of the company’s principals was among the councilmen when she referred Ismail Sirdah, whose webpage identifies to Sirdah as a “quote-unquote felon” and him as a Duluth club owner, restaurateur replied to questions about crime near Taand promoter. According to an FBI press boo 2 by saying, “There’s crime everyrelease, Sirdah pleaded guilty in April to where.” bribing a DeKalb County zoning board McDonald said that Durden’s previmember in an attempt to keep a separately ous application was denied in part for owned Tucker pool hall open. “material misrepresentation” and sugTaboo 2 and Sirdah Enterprises are gested they do the same with Smith’s apnow owned by a family trust created by plication. Sirdah, according to bankruptcy docuMartin warned that if the council made ments and statements by officials, includsuch a vote, “you then have violated the ing Sandy Springs City Attorney Wenlaw” by basing it on standards besides dell Willard, speaking at the June 16 City those in the city code. “We believe that Council meeting. you have no choice but to approve this liSmith, who is listcense,” he said. ed as vice president The council disand secretary of Sirdah agreed and denied Enterprises on bankthe application, citruptcy documents, ing Smith’s “failure to “We believe that you came before the City respond” to concerns have no choice but to Council on June 16 and “misrepresentaas the club’s alcohol lition” about her prior approve this license.” cense applicant. She employment, as well cited former manageas Sirdah’s “potential” – DEWAYNE MARTIN ment experience at the to control the club via Shark Bar and Grille the trust. ATTORNEY in southwest Atlanta. The club remains City officials exin business with Smith pressed concerns as the alcohol license about the history of holder, Martin said, crime around Taboo 2, including the while he appeals the council’s decision in 2014 killing, and the possibility that Sircourt. dah could still control and profit from the Meanwhile, the employment lawsuits club via the trust. are still unresolved. In one suit, 10 plainCity Councilman Graham McDonald, tiffs sued Sirdah and Sirdah Enterprises in an attorney, questioned Smith at length, as 2012, alleging wage violations. The plainif cross-examining a witness in court. At tiffs won that suit, but it is under appeal. one point, he seized on Smith referring to The other suit, filed in 2013 by some herself as a “viable candidate.” of the same plaintiffs and the U.S. Equal “Do you know why you have been Employment Opportunity Commission put up as a viable applicant?,” McDonald against Sirdah Enterprises, alleges job disasked. “Are you familiar with the concept crimination based on sex. That case is still of a straw purchaser?” pending. Smith said she was not familiar with Peter Golden, an attorney for plainthe term. Martin stepped to say there is tiffs in both suits, declined to comment on “no evidence of any straw purchase.” the record, and the EEOC did not reply “Are you being paid by anyone, includto questions. Kenneth Sokolov, listed as ing Ismail Sirdah, to apply for this liquor an attorney for Sirdah Enterprises in both license?” McDonald pressed. suits, did not return a phone call.




David Abassi


5890 Kayron Drive


One (1) primary variance from Section 6.4.3.I of the Zoning Ordinance to allow an accessory structure in the front yard; and One (1) primary variance from Section 6.4.3.B of the Zoning Ordinance to allow for a pergola/garden feature in the front yard.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals August 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350



JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 |





710 Morgan Falls.


Primary variance from Section 33.26.G.3 of the Zoning Ordinance to allow a wall sign on a nonstreet facing wall (West elev.)

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals August 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600 SS


Police Blotter The following incidents and arrests are some but not all, of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police from June 12 through July 3. The following information was provided by Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department from its records and the information is presumed to be accurate.

ROBBERY block of Hammond Drive—On June 27, a man said he was standing outside his apartment just before 2 a.m., waiting for his cousin to pick him up. He said a man came out of the bushes, pulled a gun on him and took his shirt, watch, and wallet, and then ran.

thing, but whatever it was, the alarm didn’t do the job, for sure.

 1000

 Virginia

Road—On June 29, a man said he was in his apartment when he heard the front door open. He saw three men in his front room. One pulled a gun. They tied him up and placed him on the ground. One demanded to know where his safe, “real” money and marijuana was. He told them he had nothing like that. They took several items in a pillow case. He said they used the names “Doc” and “Pee.” The resident was not injured.

BURGLA RY  1200

block of Harbor Pointe—On June 23, a resident reported someone pried the front door with a tool and took several items from his apartment.

 8100

block of Colquitt Road—On June 24, a resident said someone entered his apartment from a rear patio door. Missing is a PS4 game system valued at $450, and five watches totaling $600.

 500

block of Northridge Road—On June 26, someone threw a rock, shattering a rear patio window. The crook(s) entered the apartment but did not take anything.

 1000

block of Crest Valley Drive— On June 26, someone entered a residence that was under construction through a back door and took several contractor tools.

 200

block of Hilderbrand Drive— On June 27, the manager/owner said his store was burglarized when someone broke the glass front and entered. The store’s video showed a man breaking the glass with a rock and entering the store at 4:09 a.m. He took cellphones from a display case and put them in a backpack. He was in and out in 30 seconds. At 4:52 a.m., the 911 center received an alarm from that location. The owner cancelled the police response before they arrived. OK, either the alarm didn’t activate at 4:09 or it was really late at 4:52 or some-



AS S AULT  Cedar

Run—On June 20, police responded to a call about a fight at 4 a.m. in an apartment complex on Cedar Run. Three sisters got into it after being out for the night. The topic of the conversation was not clear, but the words “Baby’s Daddy” were used. Blame all around and then the knife came out. Fortunately, no one was cut, but there was a bloody lip sustained by one of the sisters. The knifewielding sister was arrested for aggravated assault. address reported—A woman called and told police she and her boyfriend got into an argument over her cellphone that he tried to take away. During the struggle for the phone, she sustained a small cut. He left before the cops arrived.


Police car damaged by arsonist When Sandy Springs Police Officer Craig Manne went to retrieve his police cruiser from a parking deck on Hammond Drive to start his shift, he saw the gas cap was open and that someone had shoved a rag into the gas tube and attempted to light it, according to police reports. “Someone rolled up a towel and shoved it down the gas tube and attempted to light it on fire,” Manne wrote. “The fire caused the gas cap to fall on the floor and melt. The fire also caused moderate burn damage to the left rear corner of the patrol vehicle.”

 No

TH EFTS  6600

block of Roswell Road—On June 20, an iPhone 6 was reported stolen from a gym’s basketball court.

 1100

block of Mount Vernon Highway—On June 20, a woman placed a gym bag near a swimming pool. She saw a man running from the area of the bag and noticed the bag was missing. An iPhone 5 is missing.

 8800

block of Roswell Road—On June 22, a woman reported that while she was in a tavern, someone stole her purse. They used her personal information to open an account on, QT and Walmart.

 500

block of Northridge Road—On June 24, staff with an apartment complex reported a refrigerator was stolen after an apartment tenant moved out.

 1000

block of Hammond Drive—On June 25, a 26-year-old woman said her friend/acquaintance drove away with all her belongings in the car. She said they met on a dating website called POF and  1100 block of Hammond Drive—On drove from Fort Worth to Atlanta to “get June 20, construction items were taken away.” She didn’t elaborate. She knows from fenced-in site. only that the person’s name is Kevin. He was in a rent 4700 block of al car with Florida Roswell Road—On Read more of the plates. She plans June 21, a womPolice Blotter online at to fly home after an reported that her mother wires her friend, who is the money. homeless and has both a drinking and a drug problem,  8700 block of Roswell Road—On June stole her Wells Fargo Card and MAR2, a woman stole a 3-foot-tall, pink hooTA Pass. He used it to get access to Uber kah. She tried to pay for the hookah with and Lift transportation services. He was a debit card, but it was declined. She then temporarily staying with her at the time. walked out with the hookah in hand. An She gave him opportunity to return the adjoining business owner spoke with the items, but he did not. complainant and said the woman had filled out an application the previous day.  5700 Roswell Road—On June 21, That information matched the card. The someone forced open one of a gas station name and information will be turned store’s lottery machines and took money over to detectives. from it. This was done overnight.

 Employees

of a discount department store caught a woman stealing three shirts by concealing them in a bag. She explained that she stole them to help pay for her heroin habit. She said she was having withdrawal symptoms. She was taken to Northside Hospital by ambulance for medical evaluation and referral to treatment.

 8100

block of Colquitt Road—On June 28, a resident reported that a neighbor notified her that her blinds appeared to have been tampered with between June 27 and 28. Upon checking, she found the apartment had been entered.

 8600

block of Roberts Drive—On June 28, a report was filed saying between June 25 and June 28 someone accessed the apartment by forcing a window. Several items were taken.

 8700

block of Roswell Road—On June 29, a store owner reported a rock was used to shatter a storefront window/door. The video shows four suspects entering at 3:30 a.m.

 Colquitt

Road—On June 29, a resident said his second floor sliding door was opened without force. Several items were taken. To make things worse for this resident, the officer was notified that the resident was wanted by Cobb County for failure to appear in court. He was arrested.

 900

block of Winding Creek Trail— CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 |

JULY 10 – JULY 23, 2015 | 29


Sandy Springs Police Blotter CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

On June 29, an officer responding to an alarm spoke with a resident, who said she noticed that lights that were not supposed to be on, were on. The officer found that a large dog door had been forced open. Nothing appears to have been taken.  Spring

Creek Lane—On June 26, a woman reported that she ordered some things to be shipped to her via UPS, in a large and a small box. Her friend went to pick them up, but found only the large box. She told the victim she thinks a neighbor took the small box. She saw both from the parking lot, while still sitting in her car on the phone. When she walked up to the apartment to get the boxes, one was missing. She saw a woman run upstairs to an adjacent apartment, holding a box that she believes belonged to her friend. The box contained gym workout gear.


June 20, one man was arrested following a disturbance call on Spring Creek Drive. The officers met with a mar-

ried couple who had been arguing over whether or not she should give the man oral sex. Both admitted drinking some wine and, according to the report, were intoxicated. She retreated to the bathroom; however, he broke the door and reportedly dragged her out, causing carpet burns and bruising. He was later arrested.  No

address--On June 29 around 8:30 p.m., two people were charged with disorderly conduct after cops responded to a call about someone throwing fireworks at pedestrians. An officer saw a car matching the description on North River Parkway. The car was stopped and the officer determined the two people in the car were the same as reported. The man said he threw firecrackers at pedestrians to see the “funny looks on their faces.” His girlfriend said she was recording it on the Vine app, an app where short videos can be viewed by other Vine members. They were charged with disorderly conduct.


woman called the police on June 21 and reported she got a voice mail saying: “I’m going to cut your tongue out.” She said she is not familiar with the voice, but it sounded like a drunken male voice.

 800

block of Spalding Drive—On June 25, cops were called at about 11 a.m. to the address regarding a man who was lying across a fence. They found the body of a man who police believe tried to climb the fence but somehow slipped and got hung up, upside down. His leg had been impaled near the femoral artery by a part of the fence.  No address reported— A woman said she is dating a guy who lives in Pennsylvania and who is married. She and the married guy were in Puerto Rico at his vacation home when the wife flew down and confronted her. Since that time, she has received calls and messages from the wife calling her a “slut” and so forth. The wife said she would be traveling to Atlanta soon and this has

her worried. (As she should be.) Quote # 8 from Quotes Love and “A jealous woman does better research than the FBI.”  5500

block of Glenridge Drive—A woman reported that while entering the gated apartment, a male driver behind her began yelling at her for taking too long. She said they argued and he spit on her.

 No

address reported—A man reported he met a woman while shopping in August 2014. They became friends, exchanging phone numbers and emails. In April, she indicated she wanted to be more than just friends and in doing so began sending 40-50 text and phone messages daily. He told her to stop and that he was in a committed relationship. She started contacting his girlfriend and he believes that she has followed him on occasion. She continues to send excessive text and phone messages.


man on Colquitt Road reported on June 29 that someone stole his Mercanti Florentini right shoe from his closet.

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