JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 15
► For local police, free overdose antidotes came with a price: looming expiration dates PAGE 4 ► Sandy Springs resident helps organize Atlanta anti-Trump vigil PAGE 5
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Local cities cope with ‘dockless’ bikes, scooters
Canine craze at Doggie Daze
BY EVELYN ANDREWS AND DYANA BAGBY
Safina Jamal does the stretching work while her dog Diesel takes a break during the “Doga aka Doggie Yoga” segment of Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s third annual “Doggie Daze.” The July 14 event at the Roswell Road green space also included a creek walk, pet fashion show, dog wash and dog adoptions. More photos page 22.►
ART & ENTERTAINMENT Oglethorpe’s art museum showcases rarely seen works to mark 25th year
People read books and go to movies for instant escapism, but all I have to do is look through a catalog. See ROBIN’S NEST, page 11
A new trend of “dockless” rental bikes and scooters that can be parked anywhere — including on streets and sidewalks — has local cities considering new policies to cope with the technology. Atlanta is considering new regulations and Brookhaven has postponed its review of a pitch from one of the rental companies. The scooters and bikes are rented for a fee from companies — the most prominent ones are called Bird and Lime — that allow them to be parked at any location rather than at a fixed rack like those used by Atlanta’s Relay Bike Share program. James Curtis, a patient at Buckhead’s Shepherd Center who uses a wheelchair, said one scooter left in the middle of the sidewalk outside the hospital blocked his way. “The scooters block the sidewalks See LOCAL on page 13
OUT & ABOUT City rolls back Group shows ‘tiny house’ Mister Rogers movie proposal to spark neighborly conversation BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
The city has rolled back its plan to expand areas where “tiny houses” would be allowed. A proposal to allow the accessory dwelling units citywide was part of a package of zoning ordinance “quick fixes.” The city has rolled back the proposal to only include R-4 and R-4A zoning districts, city planner Jessica Lavandier said at the July 3 NPU-B meeting. Many NPU-B board members supported the rollback and expressed objection to Page 9
See CITY on page 14
2 | Community
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Community Briefs site that is currently a small shopping center owned by Cartel Properties and holds several small businesses and The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill. A marketing representative for the restaurant has not returned a request for comment. “We have great synDREAM HOTEL GROUP ergy working togethA rendering shows the possible design for a Dream Atlanta hotel planned for 3261 Roswell Road. er and look forward to bringing such an exciting development to Buckhead, a HO T EL PL A N N ED F OR neighborhood currently undergoing a R O S WEL L R OA D renaissance of its own. Dream Atlanta, SH OPPIN G C EN TER Buckhead will be a community and culA New York-based hotel group antural hub unique to the city for guests nounced plans July 11 to build a 200and locals alike,” said John Frasier of Carroom hotel at the site of a small shopping tel Properties in the release. center on Buckhead’s Roswell Road. The hotel would be located just north The property would be developed by of the intersection of Peachtree, Roswell Dream Hotel Group and would include and Paces Ferry roads in the Buckhead 80,000 square feet of office and retail Village, which the release touted as a “disspace, five dining and nightlife venues, a trict well-known for its walkability, modspa, rooftop pool and 90 residences, acern boutique shopping and buzzing culicording to a press release. nary scene.” It is planned for 3261 Roswell Road, a The hotel is planned to debut in 2021.
The plans still need to be reviewed and approved by Buckhead planning groups and city boards.
B U CKHEAD CID SEEKS LAND SU RVEY FO R PAR K O VER 400
The Buckhead Community Improvement District has released a request for BUCKHEAD COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT A map included in the request for qualifications firms to survey the land for shows the survey area over Ga. 400 between the proposed park over Ga. Peachtree and Lenox roads. 400. The study is planned to be funded by pointed the interim city attorney to a pera $600,000 grant awarded to the CID last manent position and has brought on a month from the Georgia Transportation new deputy chief operating officer. Infrastructure Bank, a state program. Nina Hickson joined as the interim The request for qualifications was discity attorney in May after having served tributed July 10. Responses are due July 31. as general counsel for the Atlanta BeltLine The study would include land and utilsince 2016, according to a press release. ity surveys around the Ga. 400 right of Joshua Williams joins the city as depway between Peachtree and Lenox roads, uty chief operating officer after having according to the document. served four years as chief operations officer for the DeKalb County School District, M AYO R APPO INTS the release said. CAB INET-LEVEL PO SITI O NS Hickson’s appointment is effective imMayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has apmediately and Williams will begin his new role on Aug. 6, the release said.
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Livable Buckhead has set the date for its annual “Park(ing) Day” event for Sept. 14. The event celebrates making an area less car-oriented, at least temporarily, to get people thinking about parks in an urban environment. Participants in the event typically include local businesses, corporations, nonprofits and neighborhood associations who build creative installations that fill a parking space in the Lenox Square mall. The event is set for Sept. 14th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lenox Square parking lot at 3393 Peachtree Road. Livable Buckhead has planned a workshop to help participants brainstorm ideas for their space. The workshop is planned for July 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at ASW Distillery, 199 Armour Dr., the release said. “As an organization that is working every day to add more greenspace in Buckhead, it’s a lot of fun for us to see the playful creativity of our local community on display,” said Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, in the release. PARK(ing) Day registration is $150. Nonprofit organizations are eligible for a discounted registration fee of $50 and individuals for $25, according to the release. For more information, visit livablebuckhead.org.
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Community | 3
‘Flatiron’ apartment building would take old tree
Neighbors protest return of tree-cutting parking lot plan
BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the oak trees at 3166 Mathieson Drive as seen from the neighboring condo building. Neighbors fear it is threatened by a parking lot plan.
BY JOHN RUCH email@example.com
A controversial plan to cut down at least one tree for a parking lot renovation in Buckhead Forest has returned for a third time, drawing a petition of protest from neighbors. It’s a “real-life version of the song [lyrics], ‘Pave paradise, put up a parking lot,’” said neighbor Cindy Taylor in an email, paraphrasing the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi.” The fate of the two oak trees — each more than 40 inches around and probably over 100 years old — behind a small office building at 3166 Mathieson Drive has been a repeated controversy since 2014. At that time, the owner, Forum Investment Properties, applied with the city to cut down the trees and expand a small parking lot. The city previously said the application was “terminated,” after review by the city arborist, in 2016. Later that year, Forum applied again, drawing objections from the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 9, a special zoning district. That plan called for expanding the parking lot from 10 to 17 spaces and cutting down both oaks, as well as other trees. The committee called for preserving the trees. The city said at the time that the application was incomplete and its status was unclear. Now Forum has applied again for an unspecified “renovation” of the parking lot, along with “tree removal” and stormwater system repair, according to paperwork filed with the city in June. It is unclear which trees might be affected. A man who answered the phone at Forum’s office in the building said someone else would respond with details, but no one did. James Neidlinger, the project’s architect, declined to comment. City spokesperson Michael Smith said the Office of Buildings reports that “the permit is unapproved and the plans/applications are still within their workstream, being reviewed.” Denise Starling, an SPI-9 committee member, said the group has not seen a new application for the property. Some residents of the Mathieson Exchange Loft condo tower next door say they fear the plan will involve cutting down the trees. They have started a petition to the city arborist, posted on Change.org, that had 128 signatures as of July 18. Taylor, a resident of the condo building, said neighbors became aware of the plan’s return only when a sign indicating a tree removal application went up on the office building’s lawn. It was spotted only because another resident “happened to decide to walk over to Subway for a sandwich one day,” Taylor said. Taylor said that the condo residents have enjoyed seeing the oaks for years. The current parking lot is rarely full, she said, and stormwater runoff is already significant. She questioned the need for the property owner to cut down any tree. “I’m all for capitalism, and wealth is fine for me, but this is evil wealth taking down this tree,” she said.
A flatiron-style midrise building would be the fourth and final part of apartment developer AMLI’s massive City Place complex in Buckhead Heights — but would also requiring cutting down a large, old oak tree. In a first step, AMLI Vice President Annie JOHN RUCH Evans and a team of arA conceptual drawing of the AMLI Flatiron chitects presented conapartment building as presented to the SPI-12 ceptual designs for Development Review Committee July 11. the five-story, 271-unit building — dubbed the Flatiron — July 11 to the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 12, a zoning area in central Buckhead. The committee met at Tower Place 100. Since 2014, AMLI has been developing a complex of highrise and mid-rise luxury apartments, with more than 1,500 units, in the area of Roxboro and East Paces Ferry roads. The AMLI Flatiron is proposed for a site between Oak Valley Road and Lakeside Drive, with a small frontage on Kingsboro Road next to the existing Villa at Buckhead Heights condo tower. Due to the irregular shape of the property, the building is drawn as having a sharply pointed corner where it meets Lakeside and the driveway for the new AMLI Oak Valley structure. AMLI is trying to take advantage of the situation by putting balconies on the pointed end and branding the building as the Flatiron, seeing it as similar to the historic Flatiron Building downtown. The AMLI structure would not be a true flatiron building, a design where a building is triangular — like an old-fashioned clothes iron – to fit on a three-sided lot. At the Development Review Committee, members pushed for saving the large oak tree at the corner of Kingsboro and Oak Valley roads. In the current concept, the tree would be cut down for that small Kingsboro frontage. Committee member Sally Silver made a “personal plea” to save the oak, saying, “It’s a beautiful, beautiful tree.” Nancy Bliwise, a committee member and chair of NPU-B, said the tree would come down so the building could have four more apartment units. “It’s a beautiful tree that gives people pleasure,” Bliwise said. “And four units do not give people pleasure…You’re taking away something of value to the community.” Evans said she agrees the tree is “beautiful” and that she will talk to AMLI’s development team again about possibly saving it, but said that is unlikely. “I do not take joy out of changing the natural environment in that way,” said Evans. “I totally hear you, that it will be a loss to the community.” She noted that the overall development includes the new Sims Park and “linear green space.”
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For local police, free overdose antidotes came with a price: looming expiration dates BY MAX BLAU The Brookhaven and Dunwoody police departments are among the dozens of public agencies to have received free doses of naloxone, a lifesaving opioid-overdose antidote, from a Virginia-based pharmaceutical company. But a recent investigation into the company’s charity program found the goodwill was limited by the fact that some of those doses were within months of expiring. Four years ago, when Kaleo started giving away more than 330,000 naloxone auto-injectors, the Dunwoody and Brookhaven police departments were among the first law enforcement agencies to apply for the free antidote. They each received hundreds of doses of the lifesaving drug. They each armed their officers with medicine that revives overdose victims. They each saved lives. But both departments were among at least nine police departments that, according to an investigation from
A training version of an Evzio brand naloxone injector as used earlier this year in a training at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus.
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FOLLOW UP TO OUR EXCLUSIVE SERIES ABOUT THE OPIOID CRISIS STAT News, had received Evzio naloxone auto-injectors that were on the verge of expiring. Pharmacists typically dispense naloxone with over a year left on its shelf life. But the investigation found that some departments received free naloxone anywhere from four to 11 months away from expiring. Drug charity programs are a tactic used by pharmaceutical companies to justify price hikes and get rid of product that pharmacies will no longer stock. Kaleo — the subject of a congressional probe for raising the price of its Evzio product to $4,500 for a twopack — has earned a plug from President Trump for donating naloxone. Kaleo spokesperson Brian Ellis told STAT that the company attempts “to make donations with the understanding that it will be used quickly, not stockpiled.” “Kaleo would much rather help save a life than throw an effective product away,” Ellis said. While federal and Georgia laws do not prohibit the practice of donating soon-to-be expired drugs, some experts, like Leo Beletsky, an associate professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University, believe the pharmaceutical practice is unethical — the equivalent of a restaurant donating wilting lettuce to a food bank. The effectiveness of naloxone may decrease as the antidote nears its expiration date, potentially requiring multiple doses to reverse an overdose, according to pharmacists. “We were grateful, but these were drugs that likely couldn’t be sold,” said Sgt. Robert Parsons, the Dunwoody Police Department’s naloxone coordinator. “If departments receive the donations, and it runs out, you’ve created the expectation in the community that officers are carrying the product and that, if someone is overdosing, you can call 911.” Prior to receiving free Evzio in March 2015, Brookhaven officers hadn’t used naloxone in the field to reverse opioid overdoses. Officer Carlos Nino, a spokesperson for the Brookhaven Police Department, said the department has received five Evzio donations including a total of more than 700 auto-injectors. One of those batches, he said, was received six months away from expiration. Since then, Kaleo has provided auto-injectors that last more than a year, Nino said. The department still uses the auto-injectors to save over-
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Community | 5
dose victims. “Officers are just amazed at how it goes from shallow breaths … to, boom, next thing you know, they’re up on their feet,” Nino said. Over the past four years, Brookhaven has deployed naloxone nearly twodozen times to overdose victims. In early 2016, Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura only talked about the positives of the donated naloxone when he was quoted in a Kaleo press release: “Anytime there is a chance for a police officer to save a life they should have the tools to help make them successful. Evzio has been that tool. We use it to help save lives and give second chances.” Kaleo, for its part, has encouraged some agencies to plug the free product, providing police chiefs with a stock press release for its potential use. In other cases, some departments have had to sign a confidential agreement that restricts officers from referring to Evzio by the brand name of its top competitor, Narcan, a nasal spray manufactured by Adapt Pharma. In October 2015, the Dunwoody Police Department received its first batch of Evzio auto-injectors, which expired the following April. When a second set arrived, Parsons looked at the box, shocked to find that the product would only last for four months. Yet that hasn’t stopped Dunwoody from getting overdose calls. Instead of purchasing Kaleo’s pricey product, Parsons said the DPD instead invested in the purchase of Narcan nasal spray, a cheaper naloxone product that costs around $150 for a two-pack. The department now spends about $5,250 every two years stocking up on naloxone, he said. Overall, Dunwoody officers have administered naloxone in nearly half of its 39 overdose calls since 2015. “To say you don’t have naloxone anymore is tough,” Parsons said. “You need to be ready to take on that expense in one way, shape, or form.”
Editor’s Note: Max Blau is a freelance reporter based in Atlanta. Last month, he investigated the issue of soon-to-expire naloxone donations for the healthcare website STAT News; this article focuses on local police departments affected by the issue. Earlier this year, he wrote our exclusive four-part series “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs.” To read the series, see ReporterNewspapers.net.
National voting rights group campaigns for Democrats from Sandy Springs office BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
A national voting rights group has opened its Georgia field office in Sandy Springs to campaign for local Democratic candidates in the races for governor and state legislative seats. Let America Vote, based in Washington, D.C., counts Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams among its advisory board members. This year, it opened field offices in five states, with Georgia’s in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road. The same office was long occupied by the Fulton County Republican Party, which moved in recent months. “The goal is to create political consequences for voter suppression,” said Austin Laufersweiler, Let America Vote’s national spokesperson. The group chose Georgia for a field office partly due to Abrams’ race to “help elect her,” said Laufersweiler. Sandy Springs — a majority-Republican suburban city — was chosen as a headquarters site for “geography” of door-knocking to influence various local campaigns, he said. The group previously campaigned for Democrat Jon Ossoff in last year’s historically expensive and nationally spotlighted race for the local 6th Congressional District seat, which was won by Republican Karen Handel. Porsha White, the Georgia field office’s director, declined to be interviewed. Laufersweiler said the group is backing state legislative candidates “who support voting rights” and to “replace people we see as opposing voting rights.” The Georgia office’s social media account indicates that it is campaigning for Democrats in several local races, including: Sally Harrell, challenging incumbent Fran Millar in Senate District 40; Jen Jordan, who faces Republican challenger Leah Aldridge in Senate District 6; Shea Roberts, who is challenging incumbent Deborah Silcox in House District 52; and Matthew Wilson, who is challenging incumbent Meagan Hanson in House District 80. Abrams’ resume includes running a voting registration organization. She serves on the Let America Vote advisory board along with many prominent figures and elected officials, most of them Democrats or liberals, such as Josh Earnest, former press secretary to President Barack Obama; Martin Luther King III; and the presidents of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and
EMILY’s List. Besides the Sandy Springs headquarters, Let America Vote is running some Georgia satellite offices in such cities as Athens. Laufersweiler is a Marietta native.
As a high-school student, he was in the news in 2010 for efforts to tighten anti-bully policies, especially relating to LGBTQ students, in Cobb County schools.
Sandy Springs resident helps organize Atlanta anti-Trump vigil BY JOHN RUCH email@example.com
A Sandy Springs resident helped to organize an Atlanta version of a nationwide “vigil” opposing President Trump’s administration scheduled for July 18 as the Reporter went to press. Jill Myers said she has not been involved in political organizing before and disagrees with many of the left-wing groups behind the vigil movement. But she indicated Trump’s recent enormously controversial comments about Russia and election tampering drove her to volunteer for a “Confront Corruption ATL” vigil in downtown Atlanta, for which more than 180 people had RSVP’ed. Myers, a CEO and founder of a software startup, said she was inspired to join the national “Confront Corruption and Demand Democracy” vigil effort after hearing about it Continued on page 6
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Continued from page 5 from a group she respects, the good-government organization Common Cause. “Common Cause is my guidepost,” said Myers. “It’s an organization whose mission is definitively pro-democracy and nonpartisan.” Sara Henderson, the executive director of Common Cause’s Georgia chapter, confirmed her group’s involvement in the local vigil. The group is promoting the vigil, with Myers as lead organizer and contact. A vigil announcement letter sent by Myers cites concerns about possible Russian tampering with U.S. elections and Trump’s reaction to it. The letter cites the recent indictment on election and campaign charges of 12 Russian officials by Robert Mueller III, who is leading a special investigation into possible Russian influence on the 2016 SPECIAL presidential election won by Trump. Jill Myers. The letter also alludes to Trump’s enormously controversial remarks, delivered July 16 while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the effect that he saw no reason why the Russian government would influence U.S. elections, despite the opinion of various U.S. intelligence agencies that it did. Trump later said he partly misspoke and believes the Russians have such reason, but that others could have been involved as well. “Never in America’s history has our president enthusiastically refuted his own government on the world stage,” says the vigil announcement letter. “Never has our president bowed to a former KGB officer who murders his rivals.” As a result, the letter sent by Myers says, “… I will lead a vigil that confronts the rampant corruption we have witnessed since January 20, 2017,” the day Trump was inaugurated. The national vigil movement is being promoted by a large number of largely liberal political groups, such as People for the American Way, MoveOn, Daily Kos and Greenpeace. The vigil movement’s mission statement reads in part, “From attacks on the rule of law to conflicts of interest, ethics violations and flagrant abuse of government offices for personal gain, the corruption of the American government by the president, his associates and many in his party has reached a new, profound low.” The supporting groups are calling for a variety of reforms related to government transparency and voting rights. Most of dozens of vigils being organized are on July 18, though some are running throughout the week. They range from a “Vigil Against the Beast, Donald Trump” in Indianapolis to “Dallas Confronts Corruption” in Texas. The Atlanta vigil is, so far, the only one listed in Georgia. Myers says she has “never led or participated in any events organized by these groups. I do not agree with policy positions of the majority of these groups.” She said she’s not even a Common Cause donor. She calls herself “a concerned citizen who is trying to apply my knowledge of history, given these unprecedented times.”
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12 MORE AWARDS FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE W
e’re honored (again!) that Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards in its division in the Georgia Press Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Competition.
Business Writing (John Ruch) News Photography /3 awards (Phil Mosier)
Added to last year’s recognitions, the four Reporter editions have now won a total of 24 awards for editorial excellence in GPA competitions, which are
Lifestyle Column /2 awards (Robin Conte) Layout & Design /2 awards (Rico Figliolini) Enterprise Story (Dyana Bagby)
judged by newspaper professionals from around the country. Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who
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MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 11
Sandy Springs Reporter
► New law is a boost to local beer, whiskey crafters PAGE 4 ► Cuban sandwich shop mixes tastiness with tenacity PAGE 5
Dawn of a new church
► Eyed for trails, pipeline routes are serious business
Current City Hall site City proposes targeted for redevelopment $106 million
Little-known vet memorials | 8
The city is proposing a $106 million operating budget for fiscal year 2018, an increase of about a half-percent over the current year, officials said at a May 23
OUT & ABOUT Lantern Parade will light up the Hooch
Page 20 buys condos, displaces tenants
Chairperson, Georgia Public Broadcasting
See Commentary, Page 14
OUT & ABOUT Storyteller ‘Rosie the Riveter’ comes to town Page 19
BY JOHN RUCH
From documentaries on diversity and inclusion to community partnerships on autism awareness, GPB is an educational lifeline to millions of Georgia students, teachers and residents.
MARCH 3 -
on ► MARTA’s CEO speaks response to I-85 disaster PAGE 5
► ‘The good, the bad the ugly’ of 2017 legislative session
SPECIAL SECTION | P22-26
City’s new medical center wants to grow
Mary Hall Freedom House, a nonprofit that helps women with homelessness and addiction issues, has bought 33 units of a Sandy Springs condominium complex for use as transitional housing and possible redevelopment into a larger facility or headquarters. One of the two dozen tenants currently renting those condo units is complaining about the “irony” of losing her home to an organization that helps the homeless. See HOMELESSNESS on page 22
I want to see a competition that celebrates our everyday Home Kitchen challenges. ... The Chairman would be the Original Iron Chef’s Mother-in-Law. Prizes are a month’s supply of lasagna and a spa weekend. A chef wins if her kids eat her food. Robin’s Nest, page 15
See CURRENT on page 22
DeKalb CEO: EMS response time improves BY DYANA BAGBY
Ambulance response times in the city are improving after changes were made by the private company contracted by DeKalb County to provide the emergency service, including hiring more staff, according to county officials. The City Council in December raised serious concerns with the DeKalb Fire & Rescue chief and the regional director of American Medical Response over ambulance response times in the city, noting there were numerous instances of ambuSee DEKALB on page 13
PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
on April 8 as part Corporate Boulevard page 19. of Peachtree Creek around For more photos, see a bank of the north fork “Sweep the Hooch” event. Volunteers clean up Riverkeeper’s annual of the Chattahoochee
EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Passing on her culinary passion Page 27
I believe [President Trump] is strong enough to force Congress to break through this nonsense and get something done. DAVID PERDUE U. S. Senator
See PERDUE, page 21.
OUT & ABOUT Get grounded with Earth Day events Page 6
11 — NO. 5
Glowing for a cause
BY DYANA BAGBY spapers.net dyanabagby@reporternew
A developer plans to build two residential towers and an office tower at Perimeter Center East, where Dunwoody City Hall now is located. Representatives from North Carolina-based Grubb Properties described their proposal, which is still in the concept stage, to the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association on May 7. The company owns about 19.5 acres in Perimeter Center East, with three mid-rise office buildings, one of which serves as City Hall. The property is behind the Ravinia complex off Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The city is relocating to a new City Hall
16, 2017 • VOL.
BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org et
percent decline. The police department would get a budget boost of more than 9 percent to about $22.8 million. Part of that is a salAbove, a a bird’s eye view of the proposed redevelopment in ary increase to remain competitive as Perimeter Center East includes, residential towers and a new office to the left, two new tower. In the State Patrol pay boost is attracting offiremain and have retail on the ground center are two current mid-rise office buildings that would floor. To the right are two new apartment Inset, an illustration of what the buildings. cers away from the department, city offistreetscape might look like in the development. cials said. The boost also includes hiring
EXCEPTIO 11 See CITY on pageNAL EDUCATOR ss literature Teaching Homelessne through life nonprofit
Picking up at Peachtree Creek
BY JOHN RUCH
VOL. 9 — NO. 8
home of St. Joseph Maronite to the first Mass, held Sunday, May 14, at the new Rev. Dominique Hanna welcomes his congregation the former building of Apostles St. Joseph moved from an Atlanta location into Catholic Church at Glenridge and Hammond drives. attended St. Joseph’s debut. financial turmoil. More than 400 parishioners Church, a Lutheran congregation that closed amid
APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 •
► Buckhead company keeps ‘quirky’ old-school sodas fizzing
City Council meeting. The budget will take effect July 1. The council will hold public hearings on the budget on June 6 and June 20. The budget projects revenues of about $92 million, with money from a reserve fund balancing the expenditures. The revenue projection is about 1 percent higher than fiscal 2017. While most revenue sources are projected to increase, property taxes are expected to show a 2.2
EDUCATION Top of the Class
► Historic locomotive makes tracks to Buckhead PAGE 4 SPECIAL SECTIO N | P22-27
Buckhead ma ster plan to allow more input on big ideas
Wearing glow necklaces and Garden Hills shirts with in the Garden Hills/Pe second annual Family reflective shoeprints, adults, Flashlight Fun achtree Park kids of all ages, Run, held Sunday Friends Group strollers and PHOTO BY volunteers, PHIL MOSIER dogs take benefits Childre evening, Feb. 26. The nearly 1-mile to the streets of n’s Healthcare race, organiz of Atlanta. More pictures, page ed by 18.►
BY DYANA BAGBY
Classroom gam from math to es, Shakespeare
to the April 18 As the days tick down the open 6th Conspecial election to fill each of the 18 cangressional District seat, furiousPage are trying 28 didates in the large field from the pack. ly to separate themselves was at opportunity public The latest forum hosted by the April 9 candidate rs Association the Dunwoody Homeowne at Dunwoody High and Dunwoody Crier early voting in School. Voters are already seat that had been the election to fill the Tom Price, who reheld by Republican
See 6TH on page 18
of Atlanta is seekChildren’s Healthcare along the Northing to have 11.4 acres into the city of east Expressway annexed 8-story office Brookhaven for a proposed massive expansion of building as part of a at North Druid Hills its new 45-acre campus includes buyRoad and I-85. The expansion ing out a church. city officials say is It’s just part of what redevelopment commajor medical-related to the Execuing after years of anticipation tive Park area. request with annexation the filed CHOA is asking for a spethe city on April 5. It also for some of the propcial land-use permit the 8-story, 340,000erty in order to build on land currently square-foot building CHOA also wants zoned only for five stories. to build a parking deck. SLUP requests are The annexation and up by the Planning expected to be taken Council in June. Commission and City SLUP is approved “If the annexation and See CITY on page 20
6th District hopefuls squareEXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR off in debate
► New prog ressive attracts activ group ists
OUT & ABOUT
[Students need] A very special more ‘reallife’ education scenarios: finan es, investing, c- performance of budgeting. A lot of ‘The kids graduate Wizard of Oz’ and don’t know how to balan ce a checkbook, Page but know how 6 to do some math problem with only symbols.”
BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@rep orternewspape rs.net The Buckh ead master plan will keep on planning for a while. A Feb. 27 community meeting for the “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” scheduled to plan was be the last, but now input will continue into April to hash out some controversial ideas, said Eric Bosma lead consul n of tant Kimley -Horn. Those clude ideas inlarge and small for Buckhead’s commercial core, from a new terchange to Ga. 400 ina neighborhood trail loop. A crowd of about 100 at the Atlant Internationa a l School receive ing, 90-min d a sprawlute presen tation that rowed some narearlier ideas, others, and elaborated introduced still more concepts, all new while mingli ng short- and long-term plans. Several of its recommende steps” are alread d “first y underway, ing the PATH4 like finish00 trail along Ga. 400; some See BUCKHEAD on page 16
Massell: Buckhead getting bigger busier, wealth , ier
BY JOHN RUCH
Residents grad on preparing e schools students for careers and civic life See COMMUNITY SURVEY Page 14
*Source: independent reader survey
www.ReporterNewspapers.net ■ Published by Springs Publishing LLC
Buckhead is big, busy and wealthy. And by 2020, it’ll be even bigger, wealthier. busier and So said Buckhe ad Coalition Sam Massel president l in his annual “State of the Community” address Feb. 23 at the City Club of Buckhe ad, hosted by the Buckhead Business Associa tion. Massell listed branding points” several “bragging and projecting the the neighborhood booms in ’s population, real estate See MASSELL on page 17
8 | Art & Entertainment
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PERFORMANCES WINE & READING SERIES WITH FOUND STAGES BROOKHAVEN
GET ACTIVE DATE NIGHT RIVER CANOE TRIP
Fridays, Aug. 3, 17 and 24, 6 p.m. Chattahoochee Nature Center canoe guides will lead this 2.5-hour adult-only evening paddle. Learn all about the Chattahoochee River and look for wildlife with naturalists. When the trip is done, roast marshmallows over a campfire. Ages 21+. $35; $30 CNC members. 135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2-4 p.m. Atlanta writer Neeley Gossett is up next in this series of readings of new plays by nationally known local writers at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Neeley’s play, “The Year Without Summer,” features Nadine, a lepidopterist who is in India to clone an endangered butterfly and who must make a decision while there about whether to use a pregnancy surrogate. Professional actors bring characters to life in this series, presented in partnership with Found Stages on first Sundays monthly at 2 p.m. through November. Includes a meet-and-greet with the month’s featured playwright, actors and directors. Complimentary wine and appetizers. $20. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.
CAJUN CONCERT AND DANCE
BACK TO THE CHATT
Saturday, Aug. 4, 9 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Hundreds of paddlers and floaters will take to the river in the annual Back to the Chatt at the Chattahoochee River. Race begins at two Nantahala Outdoor Center locations and ends at Paces Mill. Benefits Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s mission to preserve the Chattahoochee River. A free family-friendly festival featuring live music from Danger Muffin and Fireside Collective follows the race at about noon. $35 for floaters; $50 for solo boats; $90 for tandem boats. Register: chattahoochee.org/btc.
Saturday, Aug. 4, 8-11 p.m. The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association hosts the Lafayette, La.-based Terry & The Zydeco Bad Boys at the Dorothy Benson Center. Cajun/Creole food for sale. All ages. No partner necessary. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. Cash or check only. Free beginners’ dance lesson at 7 p.m. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.
VISUAL ARTS YOUTH SUMMER ART WEEKS EXHIBIT
Friday, July 27 to Friday, Aug. 10. Closing reception, Aug. 10, 4:30-6:30 p.m. A collection of work by young artists will be presented. Free. Abernathy Arts Center, 254 Johnson Ferry Road N.W., Sandy Springs. Info: fultonarts.org.
FREE FIRST SATURDAY: BUTTERFLIES
Saturday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. to noon. The Dunwoody Nature Center will hold a butterfly festival featuring education on the life cycle, host plants, and benefits of butterflies. Free. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.
SUNDAY COMMUNITY CYCLE
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2:45-4 p.m. Join Bike-Walk Dunwoody on the first Sunday of each month for a Community Bicycle Ride kicking off and ending at Village Burger. After a pre-ride safety talk, the group departs at 3 p.m. for a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. Hang out after the ride for $1 custards, $1 discounts on beers, and post-ride socializing. All ages and abilities welcome. Helmets required. Free. 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.
KIDS AND FAMILIES TEEN LOCK-IN
Friday, July 27, 6-9 p.m. It’s teen night at the Sandy Springs Branch Library, featuring games, crafts, photo booth, music and movies. Registration and parental permission slip required. Free. 395 Mount Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: 404-3036130 or email email@example.com to register.
SUMMER ADVENTURES FAMILY FUN DAY
Sunday, Aug. 5, noon to 4 p.m. Celebrate the end of summer vacation from school at the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Family Fun Day. Activities include canoeing, fly fishing, geocaching, water games and guided hikes. Included with general admission and free to CNC Members. $10 adults; $7 seniors
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Art & Entertainment | 9
(ages 65+) and students (ages 13 -18); $6 children (ages 3-12); children 2 & under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.
WE HAVE EXCITING NEWS!
GET INTO THE COMMUNITY SANDY SPRINGS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PANEL DISCUSSION
Wednesday, July 25, 6-7:30 p.m. The Sandy Springs Young Professionals Under 40 Council hosts a panel discussion: Starting & Growing Your Business. Panelists include: Christian Zimmerman, founder of Qoins, an app that rounds up purchases to the next dollar to help pay off debt; Dr. Anne-Marie Campbell, owner of Compass Family Chiropractic; and Marcus Ruzek, Green Beret and founder of Mindset 1st, a provider of anti-terrorism and risk mitigation consulting services. Free, registration required. Sandy Springs Innovation Center, 1000 Abernathy Road, Suite L-10, Sandy Springs. Info: business.sandyspringsperimeterchamber.com.
NORTH ATLANTA VOICES INFO SESSION
Thursday, Aug. 2, 7-8 p.m. North Atlanta Voices, a community chorus that joins people who love to sing, will hold a new member info session. No experience is required, including the ability to read music, and there is no obligation to attend the information session. Music selected will be of a wide variety. Open to adults 18 years and older. Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road, Sandy Springs. Info: northatlantavoices.org.
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FILM SCREENING AND CONVERSATION: “WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?” Monday, July 23, 4-6 p.m. Join GEEARS (Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students) for a screening of the film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and a conversation following the film on how people can work together to build neighborhoods where all children thrive. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” takes an intimate look at America’s legendary neighbor, Mister Rogers. $12.75. The Springs Cinema & Taphouse, 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: geears.org.
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10 | Commentary
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Commentary / Explaining the APS portion of the tax bill We have all received our property tax assessments for 2018, some reasonable, but most questionable, and many are currently going through the appeal process. Residents that have appealed will be billed at 85 perrepresents north cent of the asAtlanta on the sessed value unAtlanta Board til their appeal of Education. is heard by the Board of Equalization. Before appeals are finalized, taxing jurisdictions must determine a millage rate, so each entity can begin their July 1 fiscal year with a thoughtful, fair and transparent budget. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) accounts for approximately 50 percent of each tax bill, and that money makes up 73 percent of the APS General Fund. The APS 2019 fiscal year budget process began September 2017 and continued until the budget was adopted by the Atlanta Board of Education (ABE) on June 4. As chair of the Budget Commission, please know, we worked tirelessly with the administration to ensure we established budget parameters and a calendar that would produce positive outcomes for all students. We met with the Fulton County tax assessor, as a commission, and APS’s administration had numerous conversations with the appraisers office (as we do each year during the budget process) to gain in-
sight into the digest for our planning purposes. During the nine months, we had nine commission meetings and worked collaboratively with the Atlanta legislative delegation to address the homestead exemption and our senior population. Because of this collaboration, Senate Bill 485 will be on the ballot in November, which proposes an increase to the homestead exemption from $30,000 to $50,000. If passed, it will result in a reduction of approximately $414 per year for three years from each property tax bill. The impact on APS is $25 million per year or $75 million over the life of the bill. We can plan for this reduction because we worked directly with the bills’ author so that results were workable by the district and meaningful for taxpayers, using an approved digest. We looked at several different proposed bills; some however, relied on the 2016/2017 digest. We cannot support a proposal that we know uses numbers that have not been approved by the Georgia Department of Revenue. We established the budget with a conservative increase that would allow us to fund the parameters that were established at the onset. We also will continue to pay our mandatory costs that are increasing each year. They include $66.5 million for teacher retirement, $118 million for Charter Schools commitments, $55 million for pension liability that we inherited from the city of Atlanta and $55 million for health benefits. These costs added to our staff salaries of $346 million make up 78 percent of our General Fund. We received the digest on June 15, as did officials of the city and Fulton County governments. The increase in the digest was 32 percent over last year. As a taxpayer, it is
important to know that while included in total digest numbers, APS does not receive tax dollars from the Tax Allocation Districts (TAD) and that growth far outpaced residential value growth. On average that growth was 44.25 percent, or over $18 million. That money goes back into the TAD. (That is a conversation for another day.) We also do not know how the appeal process will end up. We were advised and assumed 7 percent of homeowners will appeal and with those billed at 85 percent, the anticipated loss is $20 million. The total digest came in at $39.6 million over the school board’s adopted 2019 budget. The administration recommended at 1 mill rollback to the school board, from 21.74 mills to 20.74 mills. This will put $33.4 million back into the hands of taxpayers. Should there be more than the assumed 7 percent appeals, the district will be able to absorb this without having to layoff teachers or cut programs for children. I repeatedly hear that “APS spends more per pupil than surrounding districts.” The truth is, as an urban district with a 24 percent poverty rate and 75.7 percent of students on free and reduced lunch, and a district that is recovering from the largest cheating scandal in U.S. history, we do. Since our current superintendent joined APS, we have cut the central office costs from 6.4 percent to 4.6 percent, are addressing the inequities across the district, and have pushed more dollars to the school site for each school to determine what is best for their students. Through this work, we as a board are proving that we are good stewards of your tax dollars, by building strong students, building strong schools, and building strong communities.
Letters to the Editor UBER CO LU M N STR U CK A CHO R D
Your column “Around Town: An Uber-seat view on Atlanta life” (July 6) struck a chord. First, in realizing that — while I have been an active Uber user since the beginning — there are still plenty of people out there still just discovering and finding excitement in the service. Second, it’s refreshing that there are still those who take such opportunities to connect with other people in their community. As a very introverted person, I don’t often take advantage, usually burying my head in a book or my phone while on MARTA or in line at the grocery store. But as I was in L.A. recently for work, I had to take an Uber daily for three months. Being prone to motion sickness, I would do the unusual and sit in the front seat next to the driver. This, fortunately, forced me into many fulfilling conversations similar to your own: stories of immigration, family history and the like. I don’t really have a point to make here, I guess just to say thanks for your shared experience, and happy Uber-ing. Rich Thompson Sandy Springs
THANKS FR O M A FEL LO W UB ER C HATT ER
Thanks for your column “Around Town: An Uber-seat view on Atlanta life” (July 6). I’m also an Uber chatter passenger. Just recently, albeit in Baltimore, I spoke with a newly arrived Nigerian who referred to Baltimore traffic as “child’s play.” We extensively discussed the World Cup. However, he now realizes also that American football is more than big men in Spandex. As for Atlanta, I’ve had a similar mix to you, but luckily can drive, so it’s only every so often. For your newspaper’s benefit, let me mention my mother’s favorite service, GoGoGrandparent. This is Uber with an old-personfriendly interface, including a text to my brother when she is on the move. Pre-scheduled rides and saved pick-up and drop locations are also a benefit. Thanks for writing. Our country is a phenomenal place and riding Uber makes one truly appreciate that fact. Henry M. Quillian III Atlanta
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Commentary | 11
Who needs movies when you can escape into catalog world? People read books and go to movies for instant escapism, but all I have to do is look through a catalog. I can flip through the pages of a Pottery Barn spring promotional and momentarily convince myself that for my next dinner party, I’ll wrap damask napkins in raffia and insert a daffodil in the middle. To complete my mental picture, I add gold pineappleshaped place-card holders and a tablescape. I can hover over a recipe in Williams-Sonoma and consider it plausible that I would open my toaster oven and retrieve a tray of my own perfectly baked caramelized-onionand-gruyere apple tarts … that are garnished with sprigs of thyme I grew myself. I’ll open an Anthropologie Lookbook and fantasize about attending cocktail parties wearing earrings that cost more than my light fixtures. It’s so much fun! I flip through the pages and enter the realm of catalog Robin Conte lives with clothing, where the women eat pizza on the steps of Roman her husband in an ruins while wearing head-to-toe silk. They lounge chicly on empty nest in Dungrassy lawns, playing backgammon and not worrying about woody. To contact her ants or grass stains. They balance themselves along rock walls or to buy her new colwhile decked-out in wide-leg jumpsuits. They pair prints with umn collection, “The plaids and pull it off. All their accessories are whimsical. Best of the Nest,” see Try it sometime. robinconte.com. You, too, can luxuriate in a world in which you are invited to a garden party where all the food is made of chocolate, all the guests are wearing white, and all tables are bedecked with peonies, grapevine baskets and lanterns. You can daydream about spending $16 on a jar of matches with “painstakingly hand-notated labels,” $22 on a copper-plated can opener, or $40 on a glazed mixing bowl. Without doling out $13 for a movie ticket, you can open a free catalog and venture to Zanzibar, where you’ll lounge fashionably in a tassel-fringed hammock that’s suspended over a glimmering pool in a whitewashed courtyard. You can live in home that’s decorated with a sofa upholstered in aubergine suede, chairs covered in pink velvet, and a massive vase filled with sunflowers in the foyer. You’ll be riding a bike without a helmet, wearing instead a jaunty Panama hat and yellow cat-eye sunglasses. You’ll scamper with your friends in flowy maxi dresses and play with sparklers in the surf when the sun sets. Please, if you’re out there, if you really do these things — raise your hands! Contact me! I want to meet you! I want to join you in your next soiree along a woodsy riverbank while we wear breezy organic cotton and you teach me how to pair patterns. I want to cheer you on while you do yoga on clifftops and back walkovers on car hoods. I want to go with you to Peru wearing recycled polyester and help you feed llamas. Until I get that call, I’ll slip on the navy fleece pullover that my son wore to campouts when he was 10, boil some noodles, and open a jar of sauce and a bag of salad. Then I’ll clear off our kitchen table and use a placemat to cover the words that were engraved into the wood when one of my kids did his homework without a protective pad. I’ll call everyone to dinner, and before we eat, we’ll pause to say a prayer of thanks for a very good life.
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Check out Robin Conte’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’ “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Reporter Newpapers columnist Robin Conte’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in the 2017 Georgia Press Association contest. To follow updates on Robin’s book related appearances visit robinconte.com. To order the book visit bestofthenest.net.
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12 | Community
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Residents start moving out of Fulton’s last public housing
The Belle Isle Apartments at 151 West Belle Isle Road are the last traditional public housing left in Fulton County.
BY JOHN RUCH AND EVELYN ANDREWS Residents are moving out of the last traditional public housing in Fulton County — a nine-unit apartment building in Sandy Springs — as a long-planned sale closes this month. Robert Harris, a 78-year-old resident of the apartments, said he has not been able to find a new place to live yet as the move date of July 30 quickly approaches.
“It’s looking hopeless right now,” said Harris, who has lived in the apartments for 17 years. The aging Belle Isle Apartments at 151 West Belle Isle Road were originally planned in 2015 to be torn down and turned into parking spaces needed for an expansion of the neighboring Fountain Oaks shopping center’s Kroger supermarket. Kroger has now killed the expansion plan and started a renovation, but the apartment sale is moving ahead. The fate
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Robert Harris, who has lived at the apartments for 17 years, is preparing to move out by July 30, although he has not found a permanent residence yet.
of the apartments is unclear except that the Housing Authority of Fulton County is closing them down as public housing. The residents are “in the process of moving out,” said Teresa Davis, an official at the Housing Authority. Residents are receiving subsidized-housing vouchers to use at complexes that accept them, and the county will pay for moving expenses and deposits, she said. Davis said she did not know the exact number of residents forced to move. EDENS, Inc., the company that owns Fountain Oaks at 4920 Roswell Road in southern Sandy Springs, did not respond to questions about its plans for the apartment site. State officials and an attorney for EDENS and Kroger previously said the site has groundwater contamination from a nearby dry cleaning business and cleanup was part of the deal. EDENS and Kroger originally planned to tear down the apartment building, use it as construction staging for the expansion, then turn the site into parking spaces, a use that requires a lower level of pollution cleanup, according to state officials. A Sandy Springs zoning moratorium slowed the plan, and Kroger has shifted its business plan. “Renovations have begun at the Fountain Oaks Kroger and the store will no longer be expanded,” said Felix B. Turner, a spokesperson for Kroger’s Atlanta office, adding he does not know the plans for the apartment building site. Besides various interior design changes and upgrades, Turner said, the Fountain Oaks Kroger will get an expanded fuel station and will start using the supermarket’s “ClickList” online grocery ordering and pickup system. Harris doesn’t feel he’s received sufficient help from the county, but said he understands the office is operating on limited resources. Although he does not have a problem with the possibility the apartments could be demolished for parking, he said he wished the county offered more assistance in finding a new place. In this system, the residents are offered vouchers and are sent to find housing on
their own, which Harris said was akin to a “wild goose chase.” “I’ve adjusted to progress,” he said. “The thing I have a problem with is we were promised we would be looked after.” The Belle Isle Apartments are the last in Fulton where the county is the landlord and offers deeply affordable rents. At the time the sale deal was struck in 2015, the rent was capped at $350 per month, and the wait list for the nine units had 1,029 people on it. Regardless of the Kroger plan, the Housing Authority sought to sell the apartments, starting the process in 2013. The building was aging and too expensive to maintain, the agency said. Another resident who has lived in the apartments for years said the building was already in poor condition and needs to be demolished. But the resident, who asked not to be named, is struggling with having to move her children out of the schools they attend and into a new community. All the housing that would keep them zoned for the same schools is out of her price range, she said. “My children grew up out here, but there are no options to stay up here,” she said. “It’s really going to be a big adjustment.” The Housing Authority is involved in running one other subsidized housing building, also in Sandy Springs: the 100unit Sterling Place complex at 144 Allen Road for seniors and people with disabilities. Formerly a traditional public housing building, it was renovated and converted in 2016 to a public-private ownership that accepts subsidized housing vouchers. The backdrop of the public housing changes is policy shifts at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The agency has sought to shutter traditional public housing like Belle Isle, and move to vouchers and mixed-income projects. However, voucher funding is scant and Fulton has long wait lists for them as well as market rents skyrocketing.
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Community | 13
Local cities cope with ‘dockless’ bikes, scooters
Located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University
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James Curtis, a Shepherd Center patient who uses a wheelchair, took this photo of a “dockless” scooter blocking a Peachtree Road sidewalk in early July.
WN O ET
T N O
and are dangerous for all pedestrians,” he said. “They are hardly crucial.” Curtis, one of a group of residents suing Atlanta over the condition of its sidewalks, said one scooter blocked a Peachtree Road sidewalk, and when he tried to move it while seated, it fell over. While trying to stand it upright again, he accidentally rolled over it, which could damage the wheelchair, he said. “It seems to me there should only be certain places they can leave them,” he said. “If they don’t like it, they should think twice about using them.” The Atlanta City Council held a work session July 13 to discuss a draft a legislation that would regulate where the vehicles could be parked and used. Lime arrived in Atlanta in May and approached Brookhaven that same month. Brookhaven initially anticipated hearing a presentation from the company at a May meeting, but pushed it back after hearing Atlanta may be working on new regulations, city officials said. Since Brookhaven neighbors Atlanta, transportation policy should be as similar as possible, said city spokesperson Burke Brennan in a written statement. “Brookhaven is communicating with the city of Atlanta Office of Mobility Planning about their policy, and once it is adopted by Atlanta we will review, amend as needed, and present to the Brookhaven City Council for consideration,” Brennan said. Jack Honderd, founder of the Brookhaven Bike Alliance, said at a June Brookhaven City Council meeting that there are few spaces for people to ride the scooters and noted there are no bike lanes around the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, or the city’s schools or shopping districts. “We need dedicated safe spaces to ride,” Honderd said. Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, which works to improve transportation options in Buckhead, said she is a fan of the vehicles providing “last-mile connectivity,” which is getting a transit rider to their destination from the station. However, businesses in Buckhead have ex-
pressed concerns about riders leaving the scooters or bikes on private property, Starling said. “That’s one of the pieces that we need more guidance on,” she said. Livable Buckhead has encouraged property owners to establish the best places to leave the vehicles and educate tenants, Starling said. The organization is also concerned about the safety of riders and pedestrians. Scooter users are frequently riding them on sidewalks, and aren’t required to wear a helmet, Starling said. “We fully support having this other transportation option, but it’s really about having more tools to manage them,” she said. Some Atlanta councilmembers have drafted an ordinance that would encourage wearing a helmet, require the vehicles to be parked upright and allow the city to cordon off areas for no parking. Janice Sidifall, Atlanta’s mobility planning director, said at the work session the scooters are an enforcement challenge, but that the office is looking at ways other cities have chosen to regulate the dockless vehicles. The ordinance would also restrict the amount of vehicles that could be parked in one area of the city, in part to make sure they aren’t all concentrated in affluent areas. For example, maps on the Bird mobile app show all the scooters are located above I-20, with many in Buckhead along Peachtree and Roswell roads. Cameron Kilberg, the senior manager of government affairs at Bird, said at the work session that the company’s app encourages appropriate parking and requires a photo showing how the scooter is parked. Bird believes dockless scooters are “ideal,” especially in urban and congested areas, she said. “There are ways to go about good parking,” she said. The council said after its work session that it would continue refining the ordinance after its recess, which ends July 27. The next council meeting is Aug. 6.
J U LY 2 6 • P G
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14 | Community
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City rolls back ‘tiny house’ proposal Continued from page 1 allowing the units. Board members said the units would serve to add extra people on lots that can’t support them and would be exploited by landlords looking to make extra money. “It totally goes against what singlefamily is,” said board member Bob Stasiowski. The change would be an expansion of last year’s change that allowed tiny houses on R-5 lots, which are zoned for duplexes. The previous change allowed owners of R-5 lots to have one main house and an accessory dwelling unit instead of a duplex, Lavandier said. NPU-B recommended approving the 2017 ordinance that allowed tiny houses in R-5, but many noted they were concerned about the potential use as shortterm rental properties on sites like Airbnb. Using a dwelling unit, including a tiny house, as a short-term rental property is currently illegal in Atlanta, and this proposal would not change that. However, the city does not typically proactively enforce that law, and NPU-B was concerned
tiny houses could give people more opportunity to rent out units. R-4 and R-4A are the smallest singlefamily lots, according to the city’s zoning definitions. The proposed change is part of phase two of “quick fixes” the city wants to make to the zoning ordinance. The changes are meant to be easy fixes the city can make to improve the ordinance while it waits for a full rewrite that will come in three to five years. The city has scheduled several “deep dive” sessions to discuss the proposed changes. The session in Buckhead is planned to be held at the Buckhead Branch Library, 269 Buckhead Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit zoningatl.com. The units, which would be less than 750 square feet, can provide extra income for a homeowner, new housing options and more affordable rents than large apartment buildings, consultants working with the city on the proposal have said. NPU-B chair Nancy Bliwise said she wants to see more studies proving the units’ success in other cities before she would support the city moving forward
with the plan. “I think it’s really important to know whether or not these kind of accessory dwelling units have been found to be helpful for affordable housing,” Bliwise said. Susan Campbell, another board member, said although the prices may be lower than apartments in Buckhead, the units still would likely not be affordable in most neighborhoods in the area. “The private sector is not going to be helpful,” she said. Accessory dwelling units were once legal citywide, and some of those that have been grandfathered in have caused problems in Peachtree Park, the neighborhood representative Jason Kendall said at the meeting. Peachtree Park is one neighborhood in Buckhead with R-4 zoning districts. Others include Peachtree Heights and Pine Hills, according to city zoning maps. Some of them are “horrible” rental properties that cause various issues in the neighborhood, he said. “Most of our main problem houses are accessory dwelling units,” Kendall said. Bliwise said the city should do more research about the tiny houses that al-
ready exist in the city that were grandfathered in, instead of focusing on the affect in other cities. “There needs to be some research on what the impact of those has been, so that you’re coming from a base of experience in our city, not just what has been working in other places,” she said. Allowing lots to conform with existing, historic lot patterns was also stricken from the list, Lavandier said. “There was a consensus to move that off the list,” Lavandier said. The change would have allowed lots to be no smaller than the smallest lot and no bigger than the biggest on a block. Many areas throughout the city have established corridors of smaller than allowed lots, according to information about the proposed change. However, many on the NPU-B board feared developers could finagle the lots and combine them to create one massive lot in an inappropriate area. “I think people felt that were many unintended consequences that could occur,” Bliwise said.
As Sandy Springs seeks water control, Atlanta privatization is cautionary tale BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Sandy Springs continues to press for local control — and possible privatization — of its Atlanta-operated water system, including a recent meeting of its top administration officials. Meanwhile, the Atlanta City Council president is recalling her city’s disastrous experiment in water privatization as a cautionary tale. Felicia Moore, now the Atlanta council president, was one of the few official voices objecting to her city’s 1998 water system privatization, which failed after less than five years amid complaints about bad service and rising costs. She said privatization can be a good model, but only with heavy due diligence ahead of time. “We were making a huge decision without, I believe, adequate information to make that decision on,” Moore said. Sandy Springs, which claims that Atlanta’s water system is not receiving good maintenance or repairs, is attempting that sort of due diligence as it pushes to possible take control of the system itself. City leaders have said privatization is a likely model if that happens, though the entire idea is still conceptual. Sandy Springs is famous for privatizing most of its city departments. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul had requested a meeting with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to discuss the issue. That meeting has not happened, but emails obtained through an open records request show that Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough and Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Richard Cox met on July 11 and talked about the water issue. “Our goal is to work cooperatively with city of Atlanta to assess the condition of the water infrastructure and to determine a value,” McDonough wrote in a post-meeting letter to Cox. “We believe that the outcome of this process can be a win-win for both of our cities.” McDonough also complained that Atlanta has yet to respond to a six-month-old open records request from Sandy Springs for water system operational and billing information. That request, filed by Sandy Springs City Attorney Dan Lee, is a 17-point list seeking a wide range of information, which city officials have previously said is both for due diligence and for preparing a possible lawsuit to seize control of the system if necessary. Responses from Atlanta’s Law Department blame the delayed response partly on a cyber attack that shut down various government systems in March. The Law Department also notes that Sandy Springs’ vast and expansive document request would involve “a large number of staff members and require weeks of investigation and effort to cull the requested records.”
Moore said the council has not received any direct information about Sandy Springs’ water concerns from either city’s administration, so there is no sign of how the council might respond to a deal. She added that the council also has not recently received serious systemic complaints about the Department of Watershed Management’s services. All cities around the country have water system issues, she said. “People have to take into context, it’s a huge system,” said Moore. “And it’s an aging system. It’s no different from any water system around the country” that needs upgrades. “But Sandy Springs is a city, so I can understand why they may want to have control of their own water system,” Moore said, without expressing any personal opinion on the matter, saying she had heard of it only through news reports. Water system control “was the first big issue in my first term in office over 20 years ago,” said Moore, when she recalls being the lone “no” vote against the privatization. Facing similar complaints about service and costs, Mayor Bill Campbell in 1998 started a privatization contract with United Water Services. It was a 20-year deal, but lasted barely five years, with Mayor Shirley Franklin pulling the plug in early 2003. The city complained that United Water was struggling with maintenance, emergency repairs and billing, and understaffing the system while demanding tens of millions dollars more than authorized in the contract. It turned into a legal dispute that ended with Atlanta paying the company $6 million and the company paying the city $1 million, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle reports at the time. “One of, I think, the biggest problems I had was some of the best practices you should follow before you go into a privatization situation,” said Moore. The big problem was lack of basic information on both sides. She said that when a city is going to “turn over an asset of that magnitude, [it is important to] have a handle on what the assets are and the state of condition they’re in… We hadn’t done a lot of those things.” “That’s all water under the dam, pun intended,” said Moore. But there are some lessons for other cities. She said the experience did not sour her on the concept of privatization. “Privatization, in and of itself, doesn’t mean it won’t work,” said Moore. “I think if you do it right and make sure you know what you’re getting into… it may work for you. It works in other parts of the country.” And if Sandy Springs did end up running its own water system, privatization “probably would work better for them” since it does not currently have its own water department staff to start with. – Evelyn Andrews contributed
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Community | 15
Lindbergh business owner seeks coalition against crime BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
An owner of a Lindbergh-area business says she will try to build a coalition of businesses and residents in the neighborhood to help combat what she says is a “hotbed” of crime in the area. “We’re fighting a losing battle that’s been going on for years,” said LeAnne Livaditis, an owner of the restaurant Zesto’s at 2469 Piedmont Road. Livaditis said homeless people, prostitutes and drug dealers are frequently around the restaurant. Once police or security move them away, they return again shortly after, she said at the July 3 NPU-B meeting. “It’s happening right under our noses. They are getting comfortable,” she said. One of the problems, Livaditis said, is that there is not a civic or neighborhood group that represents the area and could raise funds or lobby for safety improvements. Most residential areas have neighborhood associations, and other major commercial areas that experience crime are covered by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, said Nancy Bliwise, the NPU-B chair. Bliwise suggested Livaditis try to form a group with the other business owners in the area. “We can’t solve the issue for you,” Bliwise said. “What it’s going to take is bringing together a coalition.” Livaditis said she would contact more officials who could be able to help and try to build support for a neighborhood entity that could push for more security. MARTA Police Sgt. Rod Ray said at the meeting that he is aware of the problems with crime and loitering around her business and the Lindbergh area. “I know exactly what you are talking about,” Ray said. He said the officers are instructed to clear people out of the station who are not planning to get on a bus or train. That pushes people out into the neighboring area, including businesses like Zesto’s, he said. “It’s like a tunnel of water,” he said. More homeless people have been around the station and the area since the closure of Peachtree-Pine, a controversial Midtown homeless shelter that was the site of health and crime problems, Ray said. Once the city’s largest homeless shelter, it closed in 2017. Bliwise said she has heard from police that one tool is to post signs saying loitering and soliciting are not allowed on the property. “It’s not going to be a problem that is easily solved,” Bliwise said. Keeva Kase, the president and CEO of Buckhead Christian Ministries, which offers services to people homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, encouraged the business own-
A Google Map shows the location of the restaurant Zesto’s and the Lindbergh MARTA Station.
ers concerned to reach out to the organization to learn about the resources available to them and for the people congregating around. “We want to play a part in solving that problem,” Kase said in an interview. “I never think it’s wise to criminalize someone’s status in life.” Livaditis asked if there was a way to encourage the community to not give money to homeless people or panhandlers, which only incentivizes them to return, she said. Ray said the police unit has talked to many people who admit they come up from south Atlanta to Buckhead because people are more likely to give money. Bliwise argued not to judge those who do give money. People asking for money can be an uncomfortable or unsafe for people, especially if a panhandler is aggressive, Bliwise said. “I’m not jaded about giving all homeless money, but they treat our parking lot like an office,” Livaditis responded. Kase said his organization does not encourage people to not give money, but said people should use their discretion, especially if the circumstances are suspicious. Organizations like BCM can also provide a more structured way to assist homeless people, he said. “Of course we encourage people to be generous and charitable. I would encourage people to use their own discretion and sense of compassion,” Kase said.
Atlanta Tech Village may add rooftop office BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenant demand at Atlanta Tech Village is big enough that the startup business center may add a rooftop office to its tower at the corner of Piedmont and Lenox roads. A conceptual design for the boxy office addition – which is still unconfirmed as a solid plan — was presented July 11 to the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 12, a zoning area in central Buckhead. Architect Prem Kumar presented the concept of a “small, minor addition” in the form of a one-story office about 1,800 to 2,000 square feet in area and about 14 feet tall. He said that Tech Village has a tenant specifically interested in rooftop office space and has a high demand in general. Karen Houghton, Tech Village’s vice president, in an email declined to name the tenant and said the concept is still tentative. “It is still only in the very early discovery days and not confirmed yet. Stay tuned!” said Houghton. Tech Village is currently home to more than 300 tech businesses, she said. The six-story Tech Village tower has a roof deck and shade structure. Kumar said those would remain in the office addition plan, but would be slightly reduced. BH
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16 | Education
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St. James preschool students tend to plants, birds BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
The preschool at St. James United Methodist Church has brought in some assistance to help teach kids enrolled in their preschool about patience and responsibility, and they include chickens, quail and flowers. The church preschool, which is located at 4400 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Buckhead, started a garden in 2017 and has since expanded with more chicks and quail from eggs that were hatched in the school offices. “The kids love it because they saw them when they were tiny and now they’re hatched,” Susan Viers, the preschool director, said of the quail eggs. The children are shown how to make simple food out of the vegetables and plants that are harvested, Viers said, and raising the chickens teaches them more about where food comes from and about responsibility. Although school is not in session, the church has several camps throughout the summer with children who regularly visit the garden, Viers said. Right now, the garden is full of tomatoes and peppers, Viers said. Pumpkin seeds were recently planted with plans for the children to harvest them in the fall, she said. Viers said the students have learned about growing vegetables, germination of seeds and parts of a plant. The students water their plants every day, and through the lessons, students are inspired to ask questions and seek answers through their own research and observations, she said. They also keep a journal in which they will illustrate what they have seen and done while in the garden area. “When the kids come by, they are just amazed,” Viers said. SPECIAL
Top left, A St. James preschool student waters plants in the school garden. Left, St. James preschool students learn about growing plants in the school garden. EVELYN ANDREWS
Above, St. James preschool students greet chickens in the school garden.
Fulton Schools abruptly ends, restarts out-of-district enrollment at North Springs High BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
In a whirlwind of policy changes that sparked confusion and legal threats, Fulton County Schools abruptly ended, then restored, out-of-district student enrollment at North Springs Charter High School. FCS abruptly ended a longstanding program allowing out-of-district students to attend the Sandy Springs high school — which is a dual-magnet art and math/science program — for a fee. The largely unexplained move, announced the week of the Fourth of July holiday and just over a month before the school year starts, left 14 families scrambling. Three seniors were allowed to remain at the school as a “one-time hardship,” FCS said, but the others faced a short-notice return to their home district, which ap-
peared to be DeKalb County in most cases. FCS previously said that out-of-district enrollment is illegal under the district’s charter system, adopted in 2012, but went unnoticed. The district has not explained who did notice, when, or why the district chose the timing and response it has. But some parents said all along that North Springs had a special dispensation from FCS to continue out-of-district enrollment. A Sandy Springs law firm representing seven of the affected students said the move put them in “limbo.” Citizens for a New North Springs, the group that last month successfully pushed FCS to pledge to build a new high school building, said it was concerned that the move relates to Superintendent Jeff Rose’s still mysterious statement that the new facility will be smaller due to
lower enrollment projections. Shortly after the lawyers got involved, FCS acknowledged that the special permission for out-of-district enrollment was partly true. The district now will allow students who enrolled during or before the 2016-17 school year to continue attending, if they pay the tuition fee — said to be $3,000 to $5,000 — and get clearance from their home districts. FCS announced the change in a press release issued after 9 p.m. on July 16. It was the district’s first press release about the issue — parents previously were notified privately — and appears to have been circulated only to select journalists rather the usual full list. The press release summarized the initial end to out-of-district enrollment, and added: “Last Thursday, however, a letter from a previous superintendent that made provisions for out-of-district students to
remain at North Springs High (if they had been enrolled on or before the 201617 school year) was brought to our attention.” Kelly Himes Brolly, the attorney representing the seven students, says FCS’s latest policy shift appeared to help all but one of her clients, who was still awaiting word from the district. “We are very pleased with the Fulton County School System’s recent decision and that they are looking out for these students,” Brolly said. North Springs High has been the subject of controversy for nearly a year as the CFANNS group pushed FCS to rebuild, rather than just renovate, the 55-year-old school. The cause was taken up by Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council as well.
Education | 17
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Education Briefs NON PR OF I T CEL EBRATES EN D OF SUM M ER CAM PS A nonprofit that hosts annual summer camps at local schools for low-income students celebrated the end of its 2018 camp with a festival July 12. Horizons Atlanta hosts a six-week summer learning and year-round program that supports K-12 students from underserved communities. In 2018, Horizons Atlanta is expected to serve more than 800 students across nine program sites, including Buckhead’s Atlanta International School and Sandy Springs’ Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, according to a release. About 270 of those 800 students are from the Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs areas. These students attend High Point Elementary, Lake Forest Elementary and Garden Hills Elementary, spokesperson Sonia Fuller said in an email. The nonprofit is headed by Alex Wan, who formerly represented south Buckhead on Atlanta City Council. The students celebrated the close of the summer program with a festival that included such activities as bounce houses, slides, flip-flop decorating, picture frame making and a dance party, according to a press release.
Join the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia for the 35th Anniversary of Magnolia Run & Walk for Epilepsy!
S T. M A RTI N ’ S STUDEN TS VISI T PANAM A Nine St. Martin’s Episcopal School middle school students have returned from a twoweek program in Panama City, Panama. The program is part of the school inaugural exchange program. In the fall, Panamanian students will stay with St. Martin’s host families, according to the press release. Participants stayed with families from partner school Colegio Episcopal de Panama (CEP) for two weeks in June. Students volunteered at an orphanage and visited the PanamaCanal and the city’s historic area, the release said. The students were accompanied by four St. Martin’s faculty and staff members, including Head of School Dr. Luis Ottley, an alumni of CEP. Also in attendance were fluent Spanish speakers Middle School Principal Tony Shaffer and St. Martin’s graduate Olivia Haas, the release said.
The 2018 Magnolia Run and Walk is a morning filled with fun, exercise, and philanthropy for the entire family to enjoy!
WHEN: Saturday, August 18, 2018 TIME: Registration/Packet Pick-Up 7:00am, 5K and 1 mile 8:00am WHERE: Perimeter Mall, Atlanta COST: 5K Timed: $30 / 5K Untimed & 1 mile: $25 before August 15th WHY: Help raise funds and awareness for the 110,000+ Georgians living with epilepsy.
The Magnolia Run provides funding for the crucial programming and services provided by EFGA, including medication assistance, information and referrals, camp scholarships, support groups, and EFWorks our job placement program. Without this event and the support of the community this would not be possible.
For more information or to register, please visit www.epilepsyga.org or call 404-527-7155.
CITY OF AT L A NTA H I RES F IRST EDUCATIO N O FFICER Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced July 9 she has hired the city’s first chief education officer, a cabinet-level position that will work in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and community leaders to improve access to quality education. Aliya Bhatia, a native of metro Atlanta and a Harvard University graduate, will work with community stakeholders to improve collaboration and identify and advocate for policies and resources that will improve access to high quality education for all residents, according to a press release. This will include convening industry and education leaders to develop vocational training programs to meet the growing demand for workers in the city’s film and entertainment, smart technology and construction industries, the release said. Bhatia will also be tasked with creating a citywide Children’s Savings Account Program for every child entering kindergarten and with working across city government to ensure that public schools are a priority for infrastructure investment and public safety, the release said.
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LO C A L S C HOOLS P REPA RE TO BEG IN CLASSES Summer break is drawing to a close, and local public schools will begin classes the first week of August. Atlanta Public Schools plans to begin classes Aug.1. DeKalb and Fulton public schools will start Aug. 6. Most local private schools begin mid-August.
OCT. 27 - NOV.
FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018
• VOL. 10 — NO. 3
9, 2017• VOL.
8 — NO. 22
► 35-day zoning, building moratorium issued PAGE 22
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join ► Cities asked to regional affordable housing policy PAGE 4
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stop Damon in the rain,” said A Sunday shower didn’t “Theo and I love this park and playingPAGE 15 Park on Jan. 28.
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BY DYANA BAGBY - 15, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 5 dyanabagby@reporterne the controversial FACEBOOK.COM wspapers.net The rewrite of /THEREPORTER NEWSPAPERS Overlay District TWITTER.COM/ Brookhaven-Peachtree REPORTER_NEW The city of S reporternDunwoody’s Urban up confusion for dewas intended to clear newal Agency ewspaper s.net Reexpects to finalize for homeowners velopers and calm fears with a developer plans ► Democratic candidate the Brookhaven/ next month for living in the area near sign and constructi the des Station. But the City on of several for governor stake Oglethorpe MARTA rants as part restauthe in out those of the long-plann Council member representing ed Dunpositions PAGE 4 woody Green project. new law will allow area is concerned the Economic Developm and removes resent Director for much higher density chael Starling Misaid the URA redevelopments. ► City to require is in the fiidents’ power to change nal stages of short-term refirming up a however, say the s.net contract with officials, City developer Crim rental ewspaper the registrati for reportern clarifies density issues and, and Associates on, to build write about five or six restaurant licensing PAGE 2 a way to enforce s on about 2.5 acres in what’s first time, gives them designated as the city’s Project ADVERTISING density restrictions. SPECIAL Renaissance 3-1 at its Jan. 23 SECTION urban| P15-21 redevelopThe City Council voted ment plan. The restaurant the Overlay rewrite, s would be built around meeting to approve a small park in June and includspace. a process that began The acreage, at the intersectio until a few days beNorth Shallowfo ed public meetings up n of apwas rd overlay Road Dale and Michael and Dunwoody Park, is part fore the vote. The original Yoss of the BBQ’n of the Dunwoody in 2007. to hungry attendees Hebrew Hillbillies commercial Green proved by DeKalb County were at the Atlanta site within the Kosher BBQ Festivalamong many cooks serving JOHN AWTREY larger ProjPHIL MOSIER ect Renaissan samples on Oct. 22 at Brook ce developme See DENSITY on page 22 Run Park. nt. “This is to be our Canton Street | P16-20 [in RoADVERTISING SECTION
challenge Venues Westminster new city’s counselor wins $100K nationalliquor honor license fees
BY EVELYN ANDREWS s.net evelyn@reporternewspaper
Walking life toMan k es bac‘Dead author to speak at ‘Battle of Atlanta’ com A sneak penalty death at panel peek NCR, corporate relocations of Amazon made clear what leaders: have tipped off to state State Farm and others of high wage corporate The recruitment and retention countracks of transit. Those employers will follow the apply. without transit need not ties and municipalities
rternewspapers.net dyanabagby@repo MARCH 2
BY DYANA BAGBY
VOL. 12 — NO. 3
► Local players get a kick out of new sport of FootGolf PAGE 4 ► Book Festival of the MJCCA will bring big-name authors
Density questioned in new Overlay District rewrite
Watery fun for a dad and his son 2018 • FEBRUARY 2 - 15,
► Cities asked to join regional affordable housing policy
OUT & ABOUT Gear up for the I finally figure d out holidays that a very effect ive and craftsat arts way to get back markets Page 18 at the offspring ... is to bombard them with Bitmojis.
holding the In a gigantic room of Atlanta” 359-foot-long “Battle perched along cyclorama, workers painting on lifts the 50-foot-high and iPads. Uswith paintbrushes and state-ofing old photographs are bringthey BAGBY BY DYANA the-art technology, painting back email@example.com ing the 130-year-old appealing to life. 23 are local establishments Four See BATTLE on page renewing their althe city’s decision to deny ordinance approved cohol licenses after an license fees from late last year raised liquor to $100,000. approximately $5,000 Restaurant & Rush Lounge, Medusa and Josephine Lounge, XS Ultra Lounge on Buford Highway, Lounge, all located their liquor licenses January in told were Seefor 2018. would not be renewed STORY on page 8 revised alcohol See Robin’s Nest page 11 The reason? Under the See VENUES on page 13
on page 6 MAX BLAU Larry and Peggy Lord display a childhood photo of their sons Ashby and Hunter. Ashby, at right, died of a heroin overdose last year.
BY MAX BLAU
n a Sunday afternoon last April, the moment PHIL MOSIER Larry Lord had dreaded for roughly two on Jan. 25. The museum decades finally happened. His Atlanta History Center painting. wife, Peggy, found of the painting at Buckhead’s their 35-year-old of Atlanta” cyclorama must first complete a major restoration son Ashby no longer works on the “Battle breathing in the this winter, but A painting conservator cyclorama exhibit basement of their plans to open the ranch home on Sandy Springs’ Mount Paran Road. She tried performing CPR and called 911. But nothing s of NCR, the paramedics did could revive Ashby what corporate relocation clear after a made heroin overdose. Amazon tipped off to state leaders: Larry was devastate te arm and others have
OUT & ABOUT g’ ‘Dead Man Walkin
Mayor Bottoms pledges to nta in
First of a 4-Part Series
The combination of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids is killing people around the nation, Reporter Newspapers including within communities. In this exclusive four-part series, we will look at how local prosecutors, recovering families, nurses, addicts and others are responding to a that already kills moregrowing epidemic people than cars, guns or breast cancer each year. To share your thoughts and stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org
most recently for his first by’s mother, Shannon, wife and Ashafter she died from complication s of cancer. But the circumstances of Ashby’s life posed difficult questions in how to talk about his death. Euphemisms are a tradition of sorts for overdose victims. Their obituaries say that they left this world or entered eternal rest while glossing over how it happened. The reasons vary from not speaking ill of the dead to a fear that it
New highway toll lanes could have major neighborhood impacts Excitement, wariness over Amazon HQ2 possibility See CHEF-DRIVE
N on page 12
BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspape rs.net
New toll lanes on I-285 and Ga. 400 could tower 30 feet or higher over neighborhood s on elevated ramps, eat into back yards, and plug major interchanges into such local streets as Mount Vernon Highway and Raider Drive BY in BAGBY a state conceptual DYANA design that could start construction dyanabagby @reporternewspapers.net within five years. The “managed lanes” could have massive impacts With the on High neighborhood Street property character, local on Georgia’s traffic official and mass site list transit for options, its Amazon but the conquarters headcepts remain bid, residents largely unknown and officials to the aregeneral ing voicpublic. bothThe excitement city of Sandy and Springs wariness is protesting over the potential parts of city-sized the concepts complex and suggesting coming tosome town.alMichael but ternatives, andmostly Reneebehind Fraser the scenes. have The inGeorgia lived Dunwoody Department for 22 years. of Transportation They don’t’srefirst member public meetings ever seeing for the Ga. 400 lanes anything are exbut grass onpected the High to beStreet held late property this year inafter the conPerimeter Center ceptual near designs the Sandy are more solid. border. Springs A rare public display of the behind-theSee EXCITEMENT on page 22 See NEW on page 14
City fears new state laws would end local controls
BY JOHN RUCH
The city fears that several new state legislative proposals would undo recent local laws, from apartment construction to pet sales. One example is a proposed law that
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18 | Art & Entertainment
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Oglethorpe’s art museum showcases rarely seen works to mark 25th year Left, “The Factory 8am” (1967) by folk artist Mattie Lou O’Kelley is among the rarely seen works included in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art’s 25th anniversary exhibit. Right, A 14th century Japanese sculpture of the Amitabha Buddha is among the works on display. SPECIAL
BY JUDITH SCHONBAK
tions and outreach by OUMA director Elizabeth H. Peterson, who came to the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art museum in 2012 and curator John Daniel is celebrating a quarter-century of culTilford, who joined OUMA in 2013. ture with an exhibit of works from its “It’s rare for a school our size … to have permanent collection, some of which such a large collection of art,” Tilford said have not been displayed in years — or of the 1,250-student university. ever before. In addition to a cadre of dedicated “OUMA in Retrospect: Celebrating collector-donors, the upswing in dona25 Years,” which opened July 7 and runs tions can be attributed to demographics. through Sept. 16 at the Brookhaven uniA generation of baby boomers are downversity, showcases nearly 100 pieces, insizing their homes and holdings, and, in cluding paintings, works on paper and a many cases, their children don’t want or sampling of the Japanese porcelain colhave space for furniture and artwork, lection. said Tilford. Among the rarely displayed pieces is The greatest challenge in assembling the colorful mixed-media painting “The the exhibit, which was a year-and-a-half Factory 8am” by the celebrated Decatur in the planning, was choosing from among so many works of art, he said. His goal was to showcase various strengths of the collection: 19th-century French art, works from the Far East, pieces from the museum’s unique Japanese porcelain collection — more than 160 pieces from the 17th to early 20th century, and a sizable holding of 19th- and 20th-century American art. More recently, OUMA has broadSPECIAL ened its focus to build the The museum’s 25th anniversary exhibit was collection with works by organized by curator John Daniel Tilford, left, African-American artists and museum director Elizabeth H. Peterson. and women artists, who are also represented in the show. folk artist Mattie Lou O’Kelley, whose Two pieces bookend the exhibit. One work is also in the collections of the High is a 14th-century wood and lacquer sculpMuseum and New York City’s American ture of the Amitabha Buddha, a religious Folk Art Museum. figure, acquired by OUMA founder Lloyd Located in the third floor of the uniNick. The other is a small bronze datversity’s Lowry Hall at 4484 Peachtree ing to around 1900, “La Pensee” by HenRoad, OUMA houses approximately 700 ri Capeau, that is a study for a full-size works spanning seven centuries, from sculpture for a tomb in France. The two the 1300s to the 1900s. It has more than pieces represent the growth of the collectripled in size over the last five years, tion from its beginning in 1984 — when thanks to a significant increase in donaOglethorpe had an art gallery but not a
museum. With such a large collection, the museum has set an ongoing goal to bring more works out of storage into the light of day for accessibility and visibility by students, campus visitors and the greater community as well as for loan to other museums and universities and as exhibits on tour. “OUMA’s main reason for being is to offer academic support,” said Peterson, the museum’s director. Like most of OUMA’s exhibits, “OUMA in Retrospect” ties into school curricula. In the case of the anniversary show, 14 different courses are involved, including multimedia journalism, introduction to art studies and history. Past exhibits have included curriculum ties to biology, science, literature and more. Peterson was instrumental in developing museum studies courses, independent study and gallery assistant internships for students. In the past five years, OUMA has introduced student-led lectures, docent tours, performances and volunteer opportunities, according to OUMA’s website. Oglethorpe also offers non-credit community courses for students and the public. What began as a modest art gallery in 1984 was renovated in 1992 and opened in 1993 as Oglethorpe University Museum of Art with 7,000 feet of gallery space occupying the entire third floor of Lowry Hall, which also houses the university’s library. OUMA mounts two major shows annually, in the spring and fall, and several smaller shows during the year. The gallery space is divided into three areas. In January 2018, the largest Skylight Gallery was dedicated to exhibits from OUMA’s permanent collection, which, in keeping with the goal to expand the collection’s visibility, now rotate each semester. The Center Gallery, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Gallery are used for smaller shows, both organized by OUMA,
and national and international touring exhibits. The museum works frequently with the High Museum, and has worked with other museums and universities, including Yale, the University of British Columbia and the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah. OUMA accepts shows of outside groups such as Georgia Watercolor Society and Southeastern Pastel Society. OUMA does not solicit work from any group, but requests come in frequently, and the galleries are booked for three years. The OUMA Research Center opened in the fall of 2017. Once a storage room cluttered with paint and old catalogs, the research center is now a pristine room furnished with chairs and a work table. A sizable stack of flat files holds the majority of the OUMA collection’s hundreds of works on paper, allowing for hands-on — in this case, white-glove — study and research by students, faculty and even the public. There is an assistant available to any student or visitor using the center. A comprehensive online database of the collection — illustrative and searchable — is under development.
OUMA IN RETROSPECT: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS Through Sept. 16
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art Third floor of Lowry Hall, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays, noon-5 p.m.; Wednesdays noon-8 p.m. Admission $5; children under 12 and members free. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Art & Entertainment | 19
Southeastern Railway Museum honors vintage trains from Atlanta’s past BY JOE EARLE Randy Pirkle came across the Southeastern Railway Museum when he was looking for a place to do some volunteer work that would incorporate his love of history. “History and old iron go together for me,” he said. Seventeen years later, Pirkle runs the museum as its administrator, and there’s plenty of old iron for him to visit in the displays at the 48-year-old museum of trains and transportation. It’s everywhere: vintage Pullman sleepers and steam engines tower near metalwheeled tractors, historic yellow taxis, fire trucks and MARTA buses at the museum, which is located on 35 acres in Duluth. The museum, designated the state’s official transportation museum, is operated by a nonprofit owned by the Atlanta Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Its collection of railroad items alone features 90 pieces of rolling stock, including passenger cars, locomotives, box cars, cabooses, a mail car, a tank car and other railroad equipment, Pirkle said. It’s even home to a private passenger car called the “Superb” that was used by President Warren Harding and that served as his funeral train, carrying his body across the country after his death. Why keep all this stuff? “Educating the community about
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history ensures that history is not forgotten,” Pirkle said, “and [the museum] gives people a different perspective on transportation than just their time on interstate [highways]. It’s fun to see kids today, who see trains in the sense of ‘Thomas [the Tank Engine],’ as a cartoon entity. So many of their grandparents experienced trains as transportation — and you can still do that.” The museum sprawls across four buildings, including a display building that once housed a factory where train cars were made and repaired. At its entrance, the museum displays the former Duluth passenger depot, which dates to 1871 and was moved to the site a few years ago. The facility even offers visitors the chance to take a short ride in a train caboose or in a miniature train that once operated at a zoo. The museum also hosts special events, ranging from summer camps for kids to showings of the movie “Polar Express” around Christmas. It hosts antique tractors and trucks for a day and has even hosted antique typewriter shows, Pirkle said, because typewriters were important to running the railroads. The roots of the museum go back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, Pirkle said, when train metro area train buffs joined together to save an Atlantic and West Point Railway locomotive known as 290. “It was a great big steam engine used to pull the Southern Crescent from Atlanta to Montgomery,” Pirkle said. The engine, saved from the scrap heap, remains part of the museum’s collection. It even appeared in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” The museum operates primarily through efforts of volunteers, many of them retirees. They come from all sorts of backgrounds, Pirkle said. There are about 145 regular volunteers and, on any given weekend, there could be as many as 45 or so at work spread across the museum’s campus. One recent Friday, volunteers Ken Birmingham and Cliff Smith were decked out
PHOTOS BY JOE EARLE
Southeastern Railway Museum administrator Randy Pirkle with one of the large tractors on display at the museum.
Rick Muszynski sells tickets at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth.
in trainmen’s work clothes for their stints as volunteer conductors on the museum’s train ride. Smith, who’s 69 and said he’d liked trains “since I was a little kid,” wore jeans, a work shirt and a striped hat. Birmingham, who’s 75 and said he grew up across from the Long Island Railroad’s main line, wore a stiff-sided conductor’s hat. What convinced them to spend their time at the museum on a hot June afternoon? “It’s just fun,” Birmingham said. “It’s just fun working with the kids,” Smith added. Leo Schiltgen, who’s 70, volunteers as a conductor, too, and said he helps train other volunteers to do the job. But he also spends time restoring old train cars for the museum. He’s working now to replace wooden and tile flooring on a vintage Southern Railway dining car. He learned how to fix metal machines while he was working, Schiltgen said, and he likes working on train cars. “It’s just something I’m interested in,” he said. “I’ve learned the skills. I might as well use them for somebody’s benefit.” As the museum and its volunteers keep the big stock rolling, they also help preserve important links to Atlanta’s past as a train town. The museum helped put together a photo history book, called “When Atlanta Took The Train,” that shows how the city grew up around railroads. “Atlanta is a child of the railroads,” Pirkle said. “It’s important to get people to see that. It’s very difficult to do that because Atlanta has been very successful in wiping out its own past. There’re virtually no downtown railway stations left because progress got in the way.”
20 | Art & Entertainment
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The future of a historic marker of Atlanta’s center could be moved to Buckhead as debates continue about the its fate. The Zero Mile Post marks Atlanta’s beginnings. It originally stood at the place where the Western & Atlantic Railroad’s terminus became Terminus, a settlement that eventually grew into the city we know as Atlanta. For decades, the Zero Mile Post was literally the center of town, as Atlanta’s city limits were measured at a fixed distance from the post. “It’s a really important part of our history,” said Jeff Morrison, an architect who occasionally leads tours of the places where Atlanta began as a railroad town. His tours used to include the post. But Atlanta being Atlanta, the Zero Mile Post has now all but disappeared from public view. The 42-inch-tall granite post is locked away inside a building that is owned by the state of Georgia and no longer in use.Now the mile post faces a new threat: reconstruction work on the Central Avenue Bridge is scheduled to begin soon and may mean the post must be moved. The Georgia Building Authority, which maintains the property that houses the mile post, says it will announce in August whether the post can stay where it is or must be relocated to another site. “We haven’t made a decision yet,” GBA communications director Morgan Smith-Williams said in early June. “There are arguments on both sides,” Smith-Williams said. “There are arguments that the significance of the post is where it is, because of what it marks and not the post itself. But on the other side, it’s not where people can visit it, so there’s an argument to move it to a place where it would be more visible.” The Atlanta History Center in Buckhead offered to include the granite marker in the center’s collection of Atlanta’s historic artifacts, which now includes a replica of the post. But others with an interest in Atlanta history argue the post should stay where it is, near Underground Atlanta and close to the site it originally was erected. “What we need to do is leave it where it is, but make it more accessible,” Morrison said. “It really hasn’t moved much at all since the 1850s. I think it would be a shame for us to move it now.”
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Classifieds | 21
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22 | Community
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Canine craze at Doggie Daze Dogs were treated to their own special day at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s third annual “Doggie Daze” event July 14. A- “Doggie Yoga” instructor Lauren Stevenson demonstrates a position while dog Brody finds standing on all fours much easier. B - Spencer the dog, held by owner Katy Callaghan, sports a pink crown in the doggie fashion show. C - Reta Keppler and Poe, left, join Haley Kaplan and Honey during the doggie fashion show. D - Dogs and their humans join in a walk through the nature preserve.
PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
JULY 20 - AUG. 2, 2018
Public Safety | 23
Police make arrest in Capital City Club shooting
Police Blotter / Buckhead
BY DYANA BAGBY AND EVELYN ANDREWS Atlanta Police announced July 13 the arrest of a suspect in the July 8 shooting of a man at the Capital City Club. Police arrested 17-year-old Jayden Myrick, charging him with three counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated battery and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, APD said in a press release. Four guests were robbed at gunpoint July 8 while waiting for a car after a wedding at the club, which is located on the Brookhaven and Buckhead border at 53 West Brookhaven Drive. One victim followed the suspect and was shot, according to police. The car used by the suspect was previously used in a July 6 carjacking in Forest Park, police said. Police are still looking for the driver of the car that was used by the suspect to flee the scene, police said. Police responded to a report of a pedestrian robbery near 53 West Brookhaven Drive at about 12:15 a.m. on Sunday, July 8. There they found a male victim in his 30s with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was transported to Piedmont Hospital. Three other victims were also found who told police they had left a wedding reception at the Capital City Club and were waiting for an Uber ride at the corner of West Brookhaven Drive and Capital City Lane. While they were waiting, a vehicle approached them and stopped a short distance away. A young black male wearing blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt got out of the vehicle, walked up to the four people waiting for their ride, took out a handgun and demanded their belongings. The four gave the suspect their belongings, including wallets and cell phones and $100 in cash. When the suspect was walking to return to his car, one of the victims attempted to follow the suspect. The suspect then fired one round, striking the victim in the abdomen. The suspect then got into the vehicle and fled the scene. The Capital City Club in Brookhaven is a members-only country club. The club includes an 18-hole golf course surrounding an approximate 25-acre lake in the middle of the 110acre property. Two of the victims are from San Diego, Calif., and one from Atlanta, according to a police report. The shooting victim is from Washington, D.C.
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400 block of Plasamour Place — June
2100 block of Piedmont Road — June
2200 block of Lenox Road — June 29
500 block of Main Street — July 1
1100 block of Liberty Parkway — June
1900 block of Peachtree Road — July 3
1900 block of Peachtree Road — July 3
2200 block of Lenox Road — July 2
B U R G L A RY-R E S I D E N C E
1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — July
600 block of Garson Drive — June 28 1700 block of Northside Drive — June
R O B B E RY 3300 block of Peachtree Road — July 4
29 7100 block of Chastain Drive — June
29 1900 block of Monroe Drive — July 1
LARCENY Between June 28 and July 5, there
were 61 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 29 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.
2300 block of Piedmont Road — July 3 2400 block of Parkland Drive — July 3 100 block of Nacoochee Drive — July 3
AU TO T H E F T There were 10 reported incidents of
auto theft between June 28 and July 5.
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The following information from June 28 through July 5 was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its open data records.
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18/19 THE INAUGURAL SEASON
S ANDY SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
AUGUST OPENING EVENTS City Springs Day August 11, 2018
Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018
Branford Marsalis Quartet August 11, 2018
Sutton Foster August 18, 2018
National Geographic Live with Wildlife Photographer, Steve Winter August 14, 2018
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival August 19, 2018
Joe Gransden Big Band, feat. Landau Eugene Murphy August 16, 2018
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