August 2020 - Brookhaven Reporter

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AUGUST 2020 • VOL. 12 — NO. 8

Brookhaven Reporter COMMENTARY

Racial justice means talking and remembering





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Lynwood Park seeks historic recognition




sociation President Zane Douglass said survey results show the neighborhood “overwhelmingly opposed” opening the loop road, which is off of Candler Lake East Drive between the playground and east side of Murphey Candler Lake. “The MCNA will ask that the City Council pause existing plans for the loop

Amid city plans to continue a conversation about race because of nationwide protests, Lynwood Park resident Barbara Shaw said she just wants some recognition for her historically Black neighborhood. Shaw, who also grew up in the neighborhood and helped integrate DeKalb schools in the 1960s, said she thinks Mayor John Ernst could do a better job in including and supporting Lynwood Park, though she appreciates the support of Councilmember Linely Jones, whose district includes the neighborhood and who has helped recognize the history of the area. “He doesn’t put enough ‘oomph’ in helping us when you start thinking of the old Black history of Lynwood Park,” Shaw said. “He doesn’t support us like I would love for him to do.” Ernst last month said the city was “actively listening” to residents about their input to make the city more inclusive. Now, city officials are in the planning stages of possibly creating a commission on race relations and holding community dinners to continue conversations on race. No concrete plans have been made yet, spokesperson Burke Brennan said. Shaw worries that residents of Lynwood Park could miss out on opportunities for those conversations because of lack of access to computers or the internet. Ernst, who lives in Lynwood Park, said he has never had anyone call or mail him a letter about not having access to attend virtual events or meetings and supports all of Jones’ efforts to recognize the neighbor-

See RESIDENTS on page 12

See LYNWOOD on page 14

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Arona DeSure arranges tomatoes July 25 at the Brookhaven Farmers Market, a busy event with a largely mask-wearing crowd during the pandemic. July was a month of mask battles amid a COVID-19 surge, as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms established a mask-wearing mandate for which Gov. Brian Kemp took her to court, alleging it violated his own less restrictive executive order. Brookhaven was among the other Georgia cities that also established a mask mandate, backing down after the Bottoms-Kemp clash, but DeKalb County instituted its own mandate.

Residents oppose reopening road in Murphey Candler Park BY ERIN SCHILLING

The Brookhaven Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information:

With city plans to increase parking spaces in Murphey Candler Park, a neighborhood association has revitalized to fight the city’s plan to open the “loop road” to cars because of safety and environmental concerns. Murphey Candler Neighborhood As-

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2 | Education ■

DeKalb County Schools delays start date, using remote learning until COVID-19 spread slows BY ERIN SCHILLING

The DeKalb County School District delayed its start date by two weeks and will use remote learning until the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic slows, according to reopening guidelines presented July 13 by Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris and the COVID-19 Reopening Task Force. Remote learning was set to start Aug. 17 instead of the original start date of Aug. 3. The DeKalb Board of Education approved the delayed start date in the July 13 meeting, according to a DCSD press release. To review the reopening guidelines, see the DCSD website here. The board will re-evaluate the COVID-19 safety risk of students and staff returning to school at each monthly board meeting and update families on whether the schools will continue remote learning or move to a traditional or hybrid learning model. The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14. “Given the substantial spread in our area right now, this option is our best choice, but it will be re-evaluated on a regular basis,” Watson-Harris said in the press release. The district’s year-round staff members were scheduled to return on July 14 in a hybrid model of remote and in-person work with staggered schedules, according to the guidelines. If the community spread of COVID-19 drops to low or none, the school district will restart traditional, in-person learning, according to the press release. If there is minimal or moderate spread, the district may use traditional, remote or hybrid learning. “The whole thing has got to be worked out,” said school board member Joyce Morley during the discussion about students returning to the buildings. “That’s why this cannot be rushed. It cannot be political. It has to be for the health and safety of all children, all staff and all people of the district.” A community input survey conducted by DCSD showed that 70% of employees and 59% of parents were uncomfortable with having a traditional school model, though 56% of students said they were comfortable with it. Students were least comfortable with the remote learning option, but employees were most comfortable with this option, according to the survey results. The board meeting where the guidelines were presented was conducted virtually and had some technical difficulties for live viewers because of buffering problems.

Remote learning

Board member Vickie Turner said starting the school year with remote learning gives the district staff more time to prepare for the COVID-19 safety precautions that will be in place when students return to schools. To support remote learning, the district will be providing personal Chromebook computers to all elementary school students, which they did not previously have. The district also will replace devices for sixth- to 12th-grade students as needed so all students have a Chromebook to use at home. The distribution of those devices and other internet-supporting hardware will be staggered to promote social distancing. Watson-Harris said the devices will arrive around Aug. 25, so the first week of school will be for readjusting students to remote learning. According to the reopening guidelines, the district will conduct training for teachers and students for the software the district will use during virtual learning, such as Microsoft Teams for video lessons. Teachers will have more modules and training on social and emotional help for children, such as mental health and implicit biases, according to the guidelines. Counselors and support staff will also be able to check in with students virtually and hold classroom guidance sessions. Meal distribution via bus routes or curbside pickup will continue during remote learning. Watson-Harris said the district plans to continue to pay all employees, though some staff members have different roles during remote learning.

Back to brick-and-mortar

When students do return to the buildings, all teachers and staff will be required to wear masks, which will be provided if they don’t have one, according to the presentation. Bus drivers will also wear masks, and the district is still researching how to social distance during bus rides. Board members discussed specific questions about how the schools will enact and enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as student use of water fountains, temperature checks before the school day, and sanitizing buildings. The presentation of the guidelines did not answer all their questions, but staff said they will continue to work out the details as students and teachers do remote working. School maintenance will work in staggered shifts and put plastic dividers at receptionist counters and media center checkouts. Hand sanitizer will be placed at different locations around the school. DCSD Chief Operations Officer Noel Maloof said the district is bolstering supply chains for cleaning and disinfecting materials and will provide technical assistance for

school sanitation. Morley wanted to make sure that the district continues to monitor COVID-19 deaths and cases in the school district specifically, and also county-wide, to close down areas and sanitize more completely as needed. Deputy Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley said the district is still closely monitoring COVID-19 data to make a decision about what fall sports may look like when students return.

Former superintendent finalist claims Board of Education discriminated against him BY ERIN SCHILLING

A former DeKalb County School District superintendent finalist is claiming the DeKalb County Board of Education discriminated against him because of age and race, his attorney said. Rudolph “Rudy” Crew was named the sole finalist for the superintendent position in late April but ultimately rejected by the board of education after a 14-day public input period that is required by state law. The board rejected Crew in a 4-3 vote in mid-May and opted to hire Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris instead. Crew, who is the president of Medgar Evers College in New York and set to retire next year, now claims that the board discriminated against him and breached his employment contract, said attorney Steven Wolfe, who is representing Crew. Wolfe said he sent a letter to the school district on June 16 notifying board members about the complaints. He said the letter outlines the amount of money the claims would be worth if Crew won in court with the hope that the board of education would resolve the case without litigation. Wolfe said the letter does not make a settlement demand. “The board has received the letter from Dr. Crew’s attorney,” DSCD said in an emailed statement. “We are not able to comment at this time.” Wolfe declined to comment on the board’s response to the letter. Wolfe said the board of education offered Crew an employment SPECIAL Rudolph “Rudy” Crew. agreement and then revoked it after Crew signed it. Wolfe said he’s still in the “very early stages” of investigating the evidence about age discrimination, which he said reportedly happened in a closed board of education session where members allegedly discussed Crew may be too old for the position. “If evidence shows that the board did in fact decide to pass on Dr. Crew because he was too old, federal age discrimination laws would apply to protect him,” Wolfe said. The race discrimination claim comes because at least one board member seemed to be upset that Crew’s late wife was White, Wolfe said. Despina Lamas, a Dunwoody resident and parent of two DCSD students, said the announcement of this lawsuit shows that the 14-day vetting process for superintendent finalists worked. “I think the lawsuit is more of a reflection on the quality of character of Dr. Crew than the quality of character of our elected representatives,” Lamas said. Dunwoody resident and DCSD parent Michelle Fincher said she thinks Crew’s claims are “baseless accusations.” “I heard no one mention race or age in any of our concerns about him,” Fincher said. “It was his history of being a bully and mismanaging money.” Lamas and Fincher said Crew’s controversial track record, which includes allegations of misspending money at Medgar Evers College where he works as president and budget shortfalls at another school district where he worked as superintendent, is the reason that the board chose to reject him. “I’m very disappointed that the board brought him forth as a candidate in the first place. I felt like it was everything we were trying not to get,” Fincher said. Both parents said they’re happy with Watson-Harris as the superintendent, who has led the district since her official start date on July 1. BK


Community | 3

State Sen. Williams replaces Lewis in 5th Congressional District race BY JOHN RUCH

Nikema Williams, a state senator and Democratic Party of Georgia chair, is the party’s replacement nominee for the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis in the 5th Congressional District race. The Atlanta-based Congressional district includes parts of southern Brookhaven, including the Buford Highway corridor, Executive Park and LaVista Park. Before his death July 17, Lewis had easily defeated a Democratic challenger in the June 9 primary and was scheduled to face Republican challenger Angela StantonKing on the Nov. 3 ballot. State law allowed the state executive committee of the Democratic Party to appoint a replacement nominee. A special election will be called to fill out the remainder of Lewis’s term, which runs into January. That election will be held on Sept. 29 as well, according to Gov. Brian Kemp. It was not immediately clear whether Williams would run in that race also. Williams represents state Senate District 39 in Atlanta. “We congratulate Nikema on this appointment, and look forward to working with her in this new capacity as we uphold and build on Congressman Lewis’ legacy and elect Democrats across Georgia this November,” said Scott Hogan, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, in a press release. Hogan also cited Lewis’s legacy as a voting rights activist and acknowledged that the “system was not perfect” SPECIAL with the requirement to apState Sen. Nikema Williams. point rather than elect a replacement nominee. A legendary figure of the Civil Rights movement, Lewis was recently honored in the naming of a DeKalb County elementary school in Brookhaven. Mayor John Ernst praised Lewis in a Facebook post shortly after his death. “I’ve struggled with my words today as we lost Congressman Lewis last night. A hero of mine since childhood,” Ernst wrote. “While it is hard to lose such a beacon of hope during our troubling times, I am comforted by his memory to ‘not get lost in a sea of despair, to be optimistic and hopeful in order to move forward.’ I was honored to speak at the dedication of the very first John Lewis Elementary School in the country in Brookhaven. Mr. Lewis, we’ll continue to march, to speak out and get in good trouble. Gratitude and sympathy to Congressman Lewis’s family for sharing his time and life with all of us. May peace be with you in this difficult time.”

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4 | Community ■

City won’t use LaVista Park tax district money on welcome signs after local complaint BY ERIN SCHILLING

Brookhaven will change the funding source for two city welcome signs after a civic association leader complained it wasn’t a good use of money from the LaVista Park special tax district. The city annexed the LaVista Park neighborhood late last year as a “special tax district,” which means residents in the area will continue to pay the higher DeKalb County tax rate to cover costs for infrastructure improvements promised by the city. Larry Hoskins, the president of the LaVista Park Civic Association, did not consider the $89,380 construction of two “Welcome to Brookhaven” monumentstyle signs an improvement to the area’s infrastructure. “In the wording of the resolution adopted in September that established the annexation policy of the special tax district, it specifically called for projects that were deficiencies or improvements,” Hoskins told the council during a June 23 council meeting. “This monument clearly is not a deficiency, and I also fail to see how it is an improvement for LaVis-

ta Park.” The council approved the construction contract for the welcome signs, but Mayor John Ernst said the city will change the source of the funding. City spokesperson Burke Brennan confirmed the project will not come from LaVista Park funds and said the funding source will be identified later this year. Since the contract is approved, the change in funding will be administrative and not need another council vote. The city has constructed six Brookhaven signs so far on city borders since the council approved a design in November 2017, according to the construction contract. The welcome signs are tall, stone towers with “Brookhaven” lettered down the center above the city seal with hanging vinyl banners with a welcome message on either side. The two approved signs will be at the edge of the annexed area on LaVista Road

A city monument sign on Peachtree Road at the Chamblee border.

and Sheridan Road. The city still has plans for two more signs in different areas of the city, Brennan said. These signs will not use LaVista Park tax funds, either. Brookhaven may be annexing more land further south of the LaVista annexation at the request of some property owners, but Brennan said the possibility of the incorporation is still being reviewed by the state. The new area would not change the location of the welcome signs, Brennan said, because it would be a small extension of the city. LaVista Park is Brookhaven’s first special tax district and annexation, so Hoskins said he expected a few “bumps in the roads.” “They resolved it very quickly and very fairly,” Hoskins said. Hoskins said the city has otherwise been communicative and responsive to LaVista Park residents and problems. He said city code enforcement officers have come to requests about rundown buildings and police have posted up at roads with heavy speeding. At his request to fill potholes, the city fixed them within five days, Hoskins said. “We feel really good about where we’re going and what we’re doing,” Hoskins said. The city has a year to evaluate the infrastructure improvement needs of the entire LaVista Park area before they should start on road, sidewalk, stormwater and park improvements, Hoskins said. The special tax district was enacted


to be fair to residents of the other areas in Brookhaven while also responding to LaVista residents, according to the city. The higher tax rate allows for improvements to the annexed area without diverting tax money from other parts of Brookhaven. There is no cap on the amount of time LaVista Park residents will continue to pay a higher tax rate than other Brookhaven residents. Hoskins said he wasn’t thrilled that LaVista Park residents wouldn’t get the benefit of lower city taxes and instead have to keep paying the higher tax rate of unincorporated DeKalb County. However, he said he understood the logic and would rather pay the higher rate to see infrastructure improvements than to see no improvements from the county. The annexation added 2,000 new residents to Brookhaven, including 601 single-family residences, two apartment complexes and eight commercial parcels across about 330 acres. The LaVista Park Civic Association requested annexation using what is called the “60% method,” which requires that at least 60% of property owners and 60% of voters in the area sign a petition agreeing to become part of the city so no referendum is necessary. Hoskins previously told the Reporter the association requested the annexation to have input in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Executive Park developments near North Druid Hills Road, I-85 and Buford Highway because LaVista Park is close to that area. BK


Community | 5

Juneteenth becomes official holiday for DeKalb and Fulton county governments Juneteenth, the annual June 19 observance of the end of slavery in the U.S., is now an official holiday for the DeKalb and Fulton county governments. The boards of commissioners in both counties approved adoption of the holiday in votes earlier this month. In both law and enforcement, the actual end of slavery took many years during and after the Civil War. Juneteenth is a grassroots holiday that marks the June 19, 1865 announcement by a U.S. Army general that slavery was abolished in the state of Texas. The adoption of the holiday by the county governments is a direct response to the nationwide protests and activism regarding racism, police brutality and social equity that followed the May police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. “I am honored and proud to represent the tradition of metro Atlanta and Fulton County leadership in the continuing fight for equity and justice for all residents,” said Fulton County Commissioner Joe Carn in a press release about his county’s July 8 approval of the holiday. “I believe that we are witnessing something that our ancestors

have been waiting and praying over for years.” The language of DeKalb’s Juneteenth resolution, adopted July 14, notes that “racism, discriminatinon and violence against African Americans have persisted in the United States and recent murders of African Americans have been captured on film.” It says that “recent events have led to broad-based opposition to racism, discrimination and senseless acts of violence such that the Governing Authority finds it is important to now honestly confront our sordid past and combat racism with acknowledgment of the often neglected but important history of these issues.” In Fulton County, Juneteenth will replace Columbus Day, which honors explorer and colonizer Christopher Columbus. The protests have renewed controversy about Columbus, who is traditionally celebrated as the “discoverer” of the Americas from the European point of view in 1492, but who was criticized in his own time and today for enslavement, brutality and other major abuses. Statues of Columbus have been damaged or removed in several cities during the ongoing protests.

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6 | Public Safety ■

Brookhaven officer involved in Chamblee police killing of suspect in shootout BY JOHN RUCH

A man was shot to death July 12 after allegedly opening fire on Chamblee and Brookhaven officers. The suspect killed in the shooting

was identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as Marcos Reyes, 28, of Forest Park. According to the GBI, which is investigating the killing, two Chamblee officers and one Brookhaven officer shot at

Reyes. It is unknown at this stage which officers’ shots actually hit and killed Reyes, according to Brookhaven Police Department spokesperson Sgt. David Snively. According to the GBI, the officers who fired the shots were Jared Nuttall of the Brookhaven Police Department and Oliver Dukes and Ricardo Ricketts of the Chamblee Police Department. Reyes was Hispanic; the BPD officer is White and the CPD officers are Black, according to a GBI report. Nuttall was on administrative leave pending an Internal Affairs unit review of the shooting, which is BPD’s standard practice in use-of-force cases that seriously injure or kill someone, according to Snively. It is BPD’s first case of lethal use of force, he said. “This is the first instance in our almost exactly seven years as an agency that a BPD use of force has resulted in the death of a suspect,” said Snively. The GBI will investigate the killing and give its findings to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for legal review. The GBI frequently acts as an independent investigator of the killing of

suspects by police officers and in this case was invited to investigate by both local police forces. According to BPD’s account, Reyes was spotted with a rifle in the parking lot of a business on Shallowford Terrace near Buford Highway in Chamblee. CPD called for support from other agencies, including BPD. Reyes allegedly left the vehicle, stepped onto Buford Highway, and fired at officers, hitting a CPD vehicle. At least one shot of return fire from police officers struck and killed him, according to BPD. The fatal shooting comes amid increased scrutiny of police use-of-force procedures due to the national wave of Black Lives Matter protests that have followed the May killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. In response to those protests, BPD created a “Transparency Project” social media campaign about use of force and other policies, and the Reporter recently examined its use of force records as well. BPD also dedicated its annual fundraiser 5K run to Floyd.

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Perimeter Business | 7

Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Summer 2020 | Navigating the pandemic

Restaurants navigating pandemic guidelines stick to one big rule: building customer trust BY JOHN RUCH

Like most restaurants, Ray’s on the River, a fine-dining bastion in Sandy Springs for over 35 years, has been sharply focused on all the safety rules and guidelines it must follow to operate in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. When Ray’s learned on June 3 that an employee tested positive for asymptomatic COVID-19, the restaurant began a required deep-cleaning -- but also did something big it didn’t have to do. It went on Facebook and told the world about the COVID case. “I think the public is entitled to know what goes on and be [made] aware of it,” said Ray Schoenbaum, the restaurant’s founder and operator of two other Ray’s locations, about that decision. “We owe it to them as a service organization to do what’s right. And, you know, it’s something we all should do and be honest about it, and tell them that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that it doesn’t pass on.” Customers who assume that restaurants and other businesses must notify them about positive COVID cases are in for a surprise. The pandemic precautions Georgia restaurants operate under are largely unenforceable guidelines that it appears inspectors are not proactively double-checking, and which do not include public notice of cases. For restaurant owners, that means navigating an ever-shifting sea of suggestions and rules for avoiding a devastating outbreak. Beyond the basics of cleaning and distancing, the biggest practical rule is adapting quickly to maintain customer trust and confidence. “I’ve been practicing law now for 39 years and this has been the most unique set of circumstances I’ve worked at because the law is unclear” and new ones are still in the works, said Rick Warren, a labor and employment attorney at the Atlanta office of FordHarrison who specializes in the restaurant industry. Rules like social distancing are easy enough to figure out, Warren and some restaurant owners say. But applying bigger issues, like legal liability for COVID infections, to a particular business can be a complex puzzle. And the answer can lie somewhere between what businesses can do and what they might want to do for better customer and employee relations.

Warren said that, under a new shield law passed by the Georgia General Assembly poised to take effect by Aug. 7, it is highly unlikely that a customer could prove and win a liability case for a COVID-19 infection against a business that is making good-faith efforts to follow safety rules. But, Warren said, businesses still need to consider whether they want to cover their bets by posting a sign at the door warning customers that they enter at their own risk. “I’m not sure the posting in itself gives you any more protection than the law does without posting the notice,” said Warren. “But as a prophylactic measure, I think you’re going to see businesses putting the signs up because… it will dissuade the public from filing frivolous claims.” But at McKendrick’s Steak House in Dunwoody, another fine-dining mainstay, such signs have already come and gone. “We did that initially,” said Carol Conway, the restaurant’s general manager. “We’ve taken those signs down. We feel that’s intrusive.” Instead, she said, the restaurant focused on following federal and state public health guidelines so that there is no pandemic problem to worry about. The sorts of signs she is interested in posting are those issued by the state’s “Georgia Safety Promise” campaign, where businesses can publicize themselves as following basic COVID-fighting rules. The most complex decision of all comes when a COVID diagnosis rears its ugly head. For every restaurant that chooses to publicize a positive test on Facebook, it seems, more are dealing with COVID-19 behind the scenes. Warren said there’s a clear trend in the questions he is hearing from his clients: “A lot of calls about positive COVID-19 tests. Someone has come in and they have tested positive. What do we need to do? What is the extent of what we need to do? How long do we have to do it?”

Shifting rules

Georgia restaurants currently operate under non-mandatory guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration. They also have been following 35 mandatory rules under an emergency executive order from Gov. Brian Kemp, the latest version of which was set to expire July 31 as

Ray Schoenbaum gets his temperature checked at his Ray’s on the River restaurant in Sandy Springs.

the Reporter went to press, but which Warren said is likely to be extended and tweaked as long as the pandemic continues. The governor’s rules cover such topics as cleanliness, social distancing and employee screening. At Ray’s and McKendrick’s, the guide-


lines and rules haven’t been hard to understand and follow, according to Schoenbaum and Conway. For example, Conway said, while Kemp’s orders have shifted from restricting dining room occupancy Continued on page 8

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8 | Perimeter Business ■

Restaurants navigate pandemic guidelines Continued from page 7 by square-footage to basic social distancing, the solution at McKendrick’s was similar and simple: “We seat every other table.” For customers who wonder whether a restaurant or other business is really following all the procedures, however, there is little to go on besides word of mouth and their own experience. Warren said he has not heard of any proactive inspections of restaurants for pandemicprecaution compliance and expects that they would be driven by customer complaints if they happen. Schoenbaum said he hasn’t seen inspectors, either, and has noticed some breaches when he has dined at other spots. “I think the government people are all busy trying to figure out stuff that they haven’t figured out yet. They don’t want to start arguments with the restaurants,” said Schoenbaum. “I’ve been to several restaurants that are definitely not in [compliance with] code.” Violating the governor’s order is officially a criminal misdemeanor, Warren noted, and he said businesses have plenty of motivation to stick to the rules because of the devastation a shutdown could bring as they struggle to survive the pandemic economy. But the flip side of no government inspections is little government help

in interpreting those rules. Warren said about a COVID-positive coworker, some theoretically some state official could anmight do so for a “philosophical, moral, swer questions, but when they are “overemployee-relations reason.” whelmed and understaffed and people are A similar reasoning is followed by the working remotely, good luck.” restaurants that choose to inform the Warren is advispublic. ing clients on dealing “Keeping a secret’s with COVID-positive just going to get you employees, which varin trouble, because ies widely depending somebody’s going to on the type of busireport,” said Schoenness and the situabaum. “Somebody in tion. At least for now, the kitchen’s going there is no mandate to say something to for notifying anyone somebody. It can get about such cases, he back to you.” said, while CDC guideThe PURE Talines recommended queria restaurant in informing coworkers Brookhaven gained SPECIAL some who may have been online supAttorney Rick Warren. exposed -- a definiport after a June 16 tion that requires inFacebook announceterpretation. Then there are wrinkles, like ment that two employees had tested poslegal prohibitions on disclosing medical itive. Some commenters replied that they information, and in Georgia, the possibilweren’t surprised, saying they had avoidity that a Department of Public Health ofed the restaurant due to lack of social disficial likely can compel notification of othtancing and employees wearing masks ers for contact-tracing or other purposes. incorrectly or not at all. When PURE -“There is substantial flexibility in what which did not respond to a comment reemployers choose to do in terms of notifyquest -- reopened eight days later, it aning the workforce and notifying the pubnounced new training and CDC guideline lic of a positive test result,” said Warren. compliance as well, writing on Facebook, He added that, while businesses have no “We’re sorry and we can do better.” That obligation to tell non-exposed employees drew praise from at least one of the com-

menters who had expressed concern. Customers have a big say in how businesses work, and as they act as their own safety watchdogs, they may want some tighter rules than the government requires. At McKendrick’s, Conway said, some customers ask for even more distancing -- even individual family members sitting apart -- and the restaurant is happy to help. “Even the most gung-ho and cavalier of all of this, they’re skittish among us,” she said, describing a “day-to-day adjustment” of how to meet customer demand. Schoenbaum said that when he dines out, he personally doesn’t care about more elaborate precautions. “As long as I got my mask on, I feel OK,” he said. “I listen to Fox, not CNN, OK?” But for his customers at Ray’s, Schoenbaum said, he goes well beyond the guidelines. All the way back in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, he installed virus-killing ultraviolet lights in the air conditioning system in response to the possibility of the disease spreading in circulated air, a factor that got little attention at the time but is better appreciated now. “That’s one of the things we did over and above that we didn’t have to do…,” said Schoenbaum. “We owe it to [customers] to do absolutely everything we can to make them feel comfortable.”


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A local lab joins the COVID-19 battle BY JOHN RUCH

Ipsum Diagnostics began 2020 with its routine business of checking samples for dermatologists, neurologists and other medical practices. But it also heard about a novel coronavirus beginning a global spread. Now the rapidly growing Sandy Springs laboratory is dedicated to the COVID-19 battle, cranking through as many as 7,000 tests a day on behalf of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “It’s really important to everyone here,” says Lauren Bricks, Ipsum’s co-founder and chief operating officer, who grew up in Sandy Springs. “You can see it. You can feel it. It’s really amazing how everyone has really stepped up.” Bricks is a graduate of the school now called Riverwood International Charter School. She had a previous career in medical research, including biodefense on behalf of the Army and Navy, and setting up labs for various medical practices and companies. In 2011, she returned to Sandy Springs, where she now lives with husband Peter, an attorney, in the house where she grew up. In 2016, she co-founded Ipsum with Colin Rogers, who was the national sales director at her previous job. The plan was to go into the lab business for themselves, with their own specialty tests and protocols. A core of their medical diagnostic work is polymerase chain reaction, a technique for quickly identifying pathogens by amplifying a small amount of their DNA or RNA genetic material. Ipsum -- the name means “accuracy” or “precision” in Latin -- operates at 8607 Roberts Drive, a Sandy Springs location chosen so that the Bricks could stay settled in their hometown. Amid the normal lab work, Ipsum in late 2019 learned about the coronavirus. “We heard about it just like everyone else, in the news,” said Bricks. They also knew “that it was better to get in front of it.” She recalled that by early February, the staff was saying, “We don’t’ know what it’s going to look like in the United States. But we’re going to go ahead, as soon as we have the genetic sequences [of the coronavirus], we’re going to start the development work.” Bricks said Ispum knew it was ideally suited to help on the testing front of the pandemic battle. “We already had the whole infrastructure in place,” she said. “We had the right equipment. We had the right technology… We already had the safety measures in place to work with these types of specimens.” Foreseeing that supplies would become scarce for standard tests, Ipsum developed its own, which gained emergency authorization from the U.S. Food SPECIAL Lauren Bricks, COO and and Drug Administration effective April 1. co-founder of Ipsum Diagnostics. What they didn’t foresee was the immense demand. The company, now at about 100 employees, had good timing in that it was already planning a 10,000-square-foot expansion. “When you think about the demand just surging overnight, and you think about any business that is producing something -- take shoes, for example, and one day you’re making 5,000 pairs of shoes and the next day you’re being asked to do 20,000 pairs of shoes. A laboratory’s no different,” Bricks said. As of late July, Ipsum had processed between 250,000 and 300,000 COVID-19 tests, Bricks said. Accuracy of COVID-19 tests has been a topic in the local and national news, with some patients seeing false positive or false negative results, and others frustrated by “inconclusive” results. Bricks said that designing and refining controls for accurate results is basic to all diagnostics, but that the COVID-19 mass testing has some unusual challenges. For example, it was not normal practice before the pandemic to collect a specimen from someone sitting in their car in a parking lot -- a less than ideal environment. Among the techniques Ipsum uses is also checking the amount of human genetic material in the sample; if there is not enough evidence of the patient themselves, then there probably isn’t enough material to confirm a COVID result, either. The vast quantity of tests is providing Ipsum with large amounts of data to refine the testing models, she said. Ipsum is dedicated to COVID testing now, with its normal business virtually nonexistent due to the pandemic reduction in elective medical visits. Bricks declined to discuss the financial impacts on Ipsum, but said it is a time of unusual collaboration among labs, including on proprietary matters like test designs and protocols. “Yeah, of course in a normal, non-pandemic world, you are very protective of that,” Bricks said of such information, but Ipsum has shared its protocols with two other labs and brought technicians in to train them. “No lab can absorb the entire capacity that’s needed,” she said. Ipsum has to do all that work while following the same safety guidelines as any other business, including social distancing and daily testing of anyone who enters the building. While spreading COVID-19 is a public health problem anywhere, quarantines and cleanup shutdowns would be especially devastating at a diagnostic lab. “If we have COVID here, it impacts everybody outside these walls because of the volume [of testing] we’re doing for the state,” said Bricks. For the lab staff, it means tremendous pressure and stress, said Bricks, but also a dedication to the mission. “It’s inspiring,” she said.

Perimeter Business | 9



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Picture the Dream celebrates the story of the civil rights movement, told through the art of children’s picture books. The first exhibition of its kind, this show will take viewers by the hand to walk them through the power and relevance of an era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today. This exhibition is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation and the Rich Foundation, Inc. PREMIER EXHIBITION SERIES SUPPORTERS The Antinori Foundation Sarah and Jim Kennedy Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot


CONTRIBUTING EXHIBITION SERIES SUPPORTERS Lucinda W. Bunnen Marcia and John Donnell W. Daniel Ebersole AMBASSADOR EXHIBITION and Sarah Eby-Ebersole SERIES SUPPORTERS Peggy Foreman Tom and Susan Wardell Robin and Hilton Howell Rod and Kelly Westmoreland Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones Joel Knox and Joan Marmo Margot and Danny McCaul The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust 2020 GRANDPARENTS CIRCLE OF SUPPORT Spring and Tom Asher, Anne Cox Chambers, Ann and Tom Cousins, Sandra and John Glover, Shearon and Taylor Glover, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, and Jane and Hicks Lanier GENEROUS SUPPORT IS ALSO PROVIDED BY Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund



Jerry Pinkney (American, born 1939), illustration for A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein, 2019, collection of the artist. © 2019 Jerry Pinkney.

10 | Perimeter Business ■

More than 1,400 large Paycheck Protection loans given to Perimeter area businesses head received a loan between $150,000 and $350,000 for its 20 employees on payBY BOB PEPALIS


Perimeter Center, Buckhead and cities of Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs received loans between $150,000 and $5 million. The U.S. Small Business Administration did not release specific loan amounts, but instead labeled each organization with a range of value for the loans. Nonprofit organizations took advantage of the PPP, including universities, churches, senior living facilities and private schools. Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University, which switched to remote learning at the end of the spring semester due to the pandemic, received a loan between $2 million and $5 million. The loan was to protect 341 jobs. In Brookhaven, the Lenbrook Square Foundation accepted a loan between $2 million and $5 million. The organization operates a continuing care facility that served an average of 487 residents according to its latest filing with the Internal Revenue Service. The loan was to protect 260 jobs. TekStream Solutions, a Sandy Springs business, received a loan between $5 million and $10 million to protect 239 jobs for the company, which helps clients with technical expertise and staffing solutions. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, based in Dunwoody, asked for a loan that fell between $2 million and $5 million for payroll for its 491 employees. Even healthcare organizations needed PPP funds, with Visiting Nurse Health Systems of Sandy Springs receiving a loan between $2 million and $5 million for payroll of 355 employees. Consumer guru Clark Howard’s corporation on West Paces Ferry Road in Buck-

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School on Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs got a loan in the range of $2 million to $5 million to protect its 337 employees on payroll. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King in Buckhead received a loan from $1 million to $2 million to protect the payroll for its 144 employees. The neighboring Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip received a loan in the range of $350,000 to $1 million for its 69 employees on payroll. The Galloway School in Buckhead got a loan in the range of $2 million to $5 million for its 160 employees, while Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs applied for $1 million to $2 million to protect the payroll for its 118 workers. Buckhead-headquartered businesses Hennessy Cadillac and La Cima Restaurants both received loans valued between $5 million and $10 million to protect their payrolls of 500 workers. La Cima is one of many restaurant-owning or -franchising companies that sought loans to keep employees after suffering closures and limited service with takeout and delivery services only for several months. Many hospitals put elective surgery put on hold or extremely limited them. Clinics and physicians’ offices encouraged patients to stay away from their offices if all possible, and definitely if they had coronavirus symptoms. That meant less revenue generated from fewer patient visits. Practices like the Interventional Spine and Pain Management Center on Peachtree Road in Buckhead sought PPP loans to support their payroll, in that case with a loan between $5 million and $10 million for 414 employees. Springs Publishing, the Reporter’s Sandy Springs-based parent company, also received a PPP loan in the $150,000 to $350,000 category.





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Community | 11

City Council approves referendum to remove mayoral term limits BY ERIN SCHILLING

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City Council approved a resolution allowing a referendum in which residents will decide whether to allow unlimited term limits for the mayor.

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spokesperson Ann Marie Quill read in the meeting. The unlimited terms would apply to incumbent Mayor John Ernst. Councilmember Joe Gebbia has expressed opposition to unlimited terms but did not voice his opinion about the referendum in the July 28 meeting. Three years ago, a city charter review commission recommended term limits for the mayor and council members. The city has to get approval from the state to hold the referendum because it’s a change to the city’s charter. A bill allowing the vote passed the General Assembly on June 26, the last day of the session, and still awaits the governor’s signature. If the bill is signed into law, the referendum would be on the ballot during the November general election this year.

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The deadline to call the vote is Aug. 5, 90 days before the election, attorney Chris Balch said, which is why the council approved the move before the governor signed the bill. According to the agenda packet, the text of the referendum vote will say, “Shall the section of the Act be approved which repeals the provision that limits the terms of the mayor of the City of Brookhaven to allow the voters of Brookhaven to choose the mayor of their choice?” If a majority of residents voted to remove the term limits, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. Currently, the mayor can serve two consecutive four-year terms, while council members have unlimited terms. Ernst was elected in 2019 for his second term, meaning the change would allow him to serve as long as he kept getting the majority vote. The legislation originally sought to lift the term limits without a public vote. State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) made a last-minute change during last year’s legislative session to include the referendum, which Councilmember Madeleine Simmons said was a good addition. “This is consistent with allowing people to vote for what they want and who they want,” Simmons said during a June 23 council meeting. Gebbia voted against supporting the state bill while all other council members voted for it.


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“I ran from Day One, back in 2012, on the grounds of term limits,” Gebbia said in the June 23 council meeting. “I’m living true to my commitment. I have self-imposed term limits. I understand the arguments for this, but I do not believe it is the proper action.” A 2017 review of the city charter by a city-appointed commission suggested implementing three-term limits for both the mayor and council to encourage other residents to run for office. “The Commission found that the city has a wealth of well-educated, civic-minded and otherwise qualified residents available to serve elected office,” the 2017 report said. “Because of the advantages of incumbency, these talented people are reluctant to stand for office.”

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12 | Community ■

Residents oppose Murphey Candler Park road reopening Continued from page 1 road so that the residents’ concerns can be appropriately addressed,” Douglass wrote in a MCNA statement. Since voters approved a $40 million parks bond in a 2018 referendum, the city has been moving forward with improvements to its public parks. As Murphey Candler Park renovations move into the next phase, residents don’t feel their representatives are hearing the complaints. The loop road was originally gated to cars in the late 1970s because of crime concerns, residents and city officials said, and residents think cars along the road will ruin the natural environment of the area and create prob-

lems for pedestrians. “I think in their enthusiasm to push forward, there have been times when I wish that they would slow down and get more input,” Murphey Candler resident Rudy Fernandez said. “I think that’s the ire that you hear.” The city points to years of input and community meetings about the parks bond, dating back to 2014, as its explanation for the origin of the designs. Residents say the city could stop the loop road renovation, similar to the way it dropped a plan to add a “lazy river” water feature to Lynwood Park last year. In 2018, Mayor John Ernst and City Councilmember Linley Jones worked behind the scenes to add the lazy river to the bond referendum.

Jones hosted a virtual community meeting on July 21 to clarify some of the “misinformation” and “dramatization” that she said she was hearing about the plans. She and Mayor John Ernst said the city would close the gates of the loop road each night and make sure the parking is configured to preserve trees. The meeting ended after an hour and 15 minutes despite unanswered resident questions. For Fernandez and other residents, the meeting only highlighted their frustration because, they said, it seemed city officials were moving forward with plans without taking their opinions into consideration.

Proposed improvements

Murphey Candler Park is located

on West Nancy Creek Drive off Ashford Dunwoody Road and has baseball fields, nature trails and a lake. The $8.9 million park bond improvements include trail renovations, a boardwalk, additional parking, a new playground, an amphitheater and a community center, according to estimates for the projects approved in the referendum. The city is finishing up the design phases of loop road parking and will start bids for construction later this year, according to the city’s website. The City Council approved a contract for a new playground on July 28 to replace the existing one near the loop road. The playground will be a “natu-



Community | 13

ral play area” because of its emphasis to not overdevelop or draw attention away from the nature of the park, and the loop road parking spaces will be gravel and in between trees. Jones said the city will have security cameras, and they could close the gate again if there’s problems. The purpose of opening the loop road to cars is for additional parking, Jones said, so cars do not park in the neighborhood streets in front of residents’ houses. “My question is, what’s the difference from today?” said Ernst, who doesn’t think adding some parking would change the natural aspect of the area. “Right now it’s a concrete path that was designed for parking with green space pull-offs. This is just reimagining that space as it was supposed to be.” Jones said without more parking, any new amenities to Murphey Candler will be overshadowed by lack of access. The city already reduced the amount of proposed parking in response to public input, she said. Some residents said they didn’t know about the proposed improvements until recently. City officials said these plans were in the park bond plans. The Parks Bond Oversight Committee approved design concept plans for the parking on the loop road in May 2019. Horseshoe playground and parking, which is the loop road area, is listed in July 2018 project estimates along with a new community building.

The loop road used to be open to cars, but now the gate stays closed most of the time. ERIN SCHILLING

an expansive mind and let all ideas out there” but weren’t serious considerations. The city has had multiple pop-up meetings, sent out flyers about the park bond improvements and held other public input meetings in the years be-

Continued public input process

Fernandez said it is the elected officials’ jobs to make sure the public knows about things, and he felt like Jones and Ernst blamed residents for not knowing rather than constructively asking about better ways to get information across to them. The city has started its public input process for a new community center, which is set to take the place of the old caretaker’s house near the baseball fields. The city lent out virtual public input tool kits in July to get feedback on community center amenities, but Fernandez and other residents said the kits didn’t have the option to not have a community center. Residents are worried the community center or proposed amphitheater on the community green will increase traffic in their neighborhood and overdevelop the park’s green spaces. “It’s just a neighborhood park and people access it through neighborhood streets, and you’re trying to make it a big destination park when that’s what Blackburn Park is off Ashford Dunwoody Road,” resident Elizabeth Deck said. Ernst said some of the bigger suggestions for the community center, like an indoor pool and track, were to “have


fore and after the park bond vote, according to city records. City officials said the ongoing process for the community center is the same one they do for all public input on park projects. Deck and other residents said they would have liked to see more outreach

in the Murphey Candler neighborhood specifically, since park changes affect them the most. Jones said she’s glad to see more people participating in the process and encouraged residents to continue to reach out to her.

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14 | Community ■

Lynwood Park seeks historic recognition as city discusses race Continued from page 1 hood. “We have always recognized the historical significance of Lynwood Park and continue to do so,” Ernst said. “We walked that walk from the beginning.”

Historical recognition for Lynwood Park Black residents settled Lynwood Park in the 1930s. Considered DeKalb County’s oldest Black community, it is located north of Windsor Parkway and bordered by Nancy Creek and the Fulton

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County line. During 1960s desegregation, Park Recreation Center in 2019, Jones said Lynwood Park students, who are now the city improved the building in a way recognized as “Lynwood Trailblazers,” inthat didn’t destroy the history, such as tegrated schools, and the community has adding the Lynwood school insignia on been a former home to celebrities, such as the floor of the gym. comedian George Wallace and Olympic “The original plan for Lynwood Park gold medalist Mel Pender. would have made it nearly unrecognizPart of the reason why Jones wants to able,” Jones said. recognize Lynwood Park’s history is beJones also wants to add “significant sigcause of gentrification of the neighbornage” at the entrance of the neighborhood hood, which she said started in the early to recognize its Black history and add an 2000s. “established date” for the community, “It resulted in a significant displacewhich Ernst said he supports. She said the ment of a lot of the longtime residents,” signs would also help slow traffic coming Jones said. “But there are still many longinto the residential community. time residents in the community, and so Shaw said she and other residents apit’s very important to me as the council preciate Jones’ fight to preserve the historepresentative to remember and honor the history of Lynwood Park and the residents.” Jones said the city hasn’t done anything to stop the gentrification in the neighborhood because “people have the right to buy and sell property.” Jones has worked for historical recognition for the area, including applying for a historiFILE cal marker, planning Lynwood Park resident Barbara Shaw, right, is joined by for more historical former Lynwood School classmate Virginia White at the signs and implement40th annual Lynwood Park Community Day in 2018. ing a Martin Luther King Jr. Day dinner celebration. ry of her community. Shaw said she has also noticed gentrification as the neighborhood has grown Days of celebration and worries about the developers who The city also started a Martin Luther come into the area just to sell houses. She King Day dinner six years ago to honor remembers the neighborhood being a the Civil Rights activist and also the “Lynfriendly and safe place growing up, where wood Trailblazers.” Jones said the annual residents could call their neighbors for event is always popular and brings back help and not worry about locking their former Lynwood Park residents. In 2020, doors at night. the keynote speaker was former resident Now, the culture of the neighborhood James Brown Sr., who was the Federal Rehas changed with more people who mostserve Bank’s first Black officer in 1976. ly keep to themselves, Shaw said, but she Before the city incorporated, Shaw said she hopes the neighborhood can still said the neighborhood has had Lynwood come together to recognize its history. Park Community Day, in which former “It’s a beautiful neighborhood,” Shaw residents return for a parade. In 2018, the said. “We all try to get along here, and we community day was in its 40th year. really are trying to preserve this history.” Shaw said she would like to see more Jones and current and former resiparticipation on the community day from dents applied for a historical marker from new Lynwood Park residents, including the Georgia Historical Society in 2018 to Ernst. She said she and the Lynwood Park recognize the former Lynwood ElemenFoundation, which is an organization that tary and High School, which was a segreaims to honor the history of the neighborgated school for Black students and is now hood, have not felt welcome to meet with the Lynwood Park Recreation Center. Ernst despite trying. Jones said the city was rejected but enErnst said he has always attended the couraged to apply for the marker again beMartin Luther King Day dinner and Lyncause the process is very competitive. She wood Park Day and has only missed one plans to put in another application, and because of a conflicting MLK Day event. if she cannot get statewide recognition at In the recent months, he said, Jones has the recreation center, she wants the city to been meeting with the Lynwood Park recognize the building as historic. Foundation. As a “Lynwood Trailblazer” and 50 years out of high school, where she spent Continued conversations her later years in the formerly all-White Ernst said the city is moving forward Cross Keys High School, Shaw hopes the in conversations about race relations. He history of her old school will be recogand the council have not worked on denized. tails on what a race relations commission During renovations to the Lynwood could look like, but City Councilmember BK


Madeleine Simmons said she wants it to be able to “make meaningful recommendations and effectuate change.” The community dinners will be hosted by virtually Civic Dinners, a company that helps clients plan and format dinners and conversations about varying social topics. Brookhaven hosted a Civic Dinners meeting in September 2019 about welcoming immigrants and plans to use that as a model for the upcoming one on race. “We want to continue the conversation on racial justice and ensure it is not just lip service,” Simmons said. Brookhaven Planning Commissioner John Funny came up with the idea of the commission, Simmons said. Simmons also invited Funny to participate in a June 29 town hall with her about racial justice

and equality, where they discussed the importance of having candid conversations about race. For the Civic Dinners conversation, members of the community would “gather” for a meal over video call to discuss big community issues in light of the protests. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul is using the Civic Dinners program to continue conversations about race in his city as well. Brennan said participants would agree on a date and restaurant, and a meal would be delivered to their location and the meeting would take place via video call to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Brookhaven Police deny lawsuit’s claim of role in firing Dunwoody officer who alleges harassment BY JOHN RUCH

The Brookhaven Police Department and its deputy chief are denying claims made in a lawsuit that they conspired with a former Dunwoody Police lieutenant to hire and quickly fire an officer who was complaining about harassment. Brookhaven Deputy Chief of Police Brandon Gurley called the claim “completely false” and a department spokesperson said it “simply defies logic.” Roger Halstead, a former officer for both departments, made the claim in a lawsuit filed July 7 against the city of Dunwoody and various officials in its government. The lawsuit does not name anyone at the Brookhaven Police Department or in Brookhaven city government as a defendant. Halstead is one of three current or former Dunwoody Police employees who have filed complaints alleging sexual harassment and other misconduct against former Lt. Fidel Espinoza, who resigned as a result of an investigation into the claims, according to Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan. A July 2 report issued by Grogan ruled that Espinoza sent improper sexual messages to Halstead and others, but did not harass or coerce him. In the lawsuit, Halstead claims that at the Dunwoody Police Department, he was subjected to unfair write-ups that opened him up to sexual harassment from Espinoza, who offered extra work assignments on the condition of providing sexual material. When Halstead complained about misconduct by various officers, the lawsuit alleges, Espinoza conspired to have him hired by the Brookhaven Police Department, then quickly terminated and blackballed elsewhere. Grogan’s report ruled against those claims. The lawsuit describes Gurley, the Brookhaven Police deputy chief, as Espinoza’s “best friend.” Halstead claims in the lawsuit that, four days into his employment at Brookhaven, Gurley accused him of insubordination. Halstead claims that his protests “fell on deaf ears and it became immediately apparent that the change in employment status arranged by Espinoza was a set-up to get Halstead out of Dunwoody and negatively fired by Brookhaven.” Halstead was terminated within seven weeks, the lawsuit says. “This allegation is completely false,” Gurley said in an email in response to the lawsuit’s claim. “We would never accept the liability of negligently hiring a known problem employee.” Sgt. David Snively, the Brookhaven Police Department’s spokesperson, said the department could not comment on specifics of the case, but added that “a suggestion that BPD would assume the liability associated with knowingly hiring a ‘problem’ officer from another agency, especially as a ruse to later fire him on behalf of that other agency, simply defies logic.” Gurley also said that the characterization of him as Epinoza’s “best friend” is untrue. “Espinoza and I were professional colleagues from neighboring cities. … We have never socialized or ‘hung out’ off duty,” Gurley said. Gurley said that he and Espinoza once had similar public-outreach roles in their departments and would “contact each other occasionally to discuss social media and other community policing strategies.” He said they attended the same 10-week professional development course in 2016 and attended cross-department public outreach events, such as National Night Out. BK

Public Safety | 15

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16 | Commentary

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Commentary: Proactive voices, remembering history are keys to peace and racial justice As the residents of suburParticularly, we should be ban Atlanta look at the curmore proactive and less reacrent uproar over racial justive. There are a number of tice issues here in Georgia’s adages that seem fitting here, capital city, we should not such as “a stitch in time saves think that it is just an Atlanta nine,” or the statement made problem. We must remember, by the philosopher and essaywhether it’s brutality, racism ist George Santayana, who or systemic discrimination, penned the well-paraphrased every locale has the same phrase “those who cannot problems or issues — it’s just remember the past are conhow many zeros you put bedemned to repeat it.” hind the statistic. On the stitch: Perhaps we SPECIAL We who call Buckhead, should create a BrookhavJohn J. Funny is the owner of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs an international planning en commission on race relaand my city of Brookhaven and engineering firm based tions. A body like this would home have a responsibility be proactive. It could be comin Atlanta and serves as to play a role in making for “a vice chair of the Brookhaven posed of members of all dePlanning Commission. more perfect union.” Now is mographics in Brookhavnot the time to remain silent, en. Brookhaven has a good or only post or talk about in55,000 residents. White persignificant matters. We must sons make up 63%, 11% are stand up for what is right, but we must do African American, and 28% are Latino. A it strategically and peacefully. Doing the commission could serve as the catalyst right thing is always the right thing to do. and conduit for dialogue on critical issues We recently lost three civil rights giamong these diverse groups, especially on ants: the Reverends Joseph E. Lowery and the sensitive issues we often shy away from C. T. Vivian and Congressman John R. Lewand prefer to avoid — equity, equality, race, is. These three civil rights giants were key gender and more. advisors of the Reverend Martin Luther On remembering our past: We should King Jr. They organized pivotal campaigns contemplate securing federal and state and spent decades advocating for justice historic designations for our neighborand equality. I personally knew Rep. Lewhoods that were a part of our history. For is. I supported and embraced his mission example, if we look at Brookhaven’s culto protect human rights, secure civil libtural past, back when it was part of what erties and the building of what Dr. King was called “North Atlanta,” we find that called “The Beloved Community.” We must this was home to many prominent pockets continue the hard work of these men — inand “Subs” (subdivisions) of African Amerdeed, their legacy — so that we may fully icans. realize “life, liberty and the pursuit of hapTake the historic Lynwood Park compiness,” for all Americans, especially in the munity. As journalist Peter Scott wrote for city of Brookhaven. this publication two years ago, “at the time

(in the 1950s), Lynwood Park claimed more than 1,000 residents and was known as DeKalb County’s oldest all-black community.” But unless you look deep and hard, you might never know because so much of the remnants of communities like Lynwood Park have been eradicated for new development. Preserving neighborhoods and historic cemeteries and churches will provide a physical sense to help all of us remember the past while providing context about the evolution of our cities. I know from personal experience the pain of losing a loved one at the hands of law enforcement. In 1984, while attending South Carolina State University, I had to digest the loss of a brother whose life was taken by sheriff deputies in Newberry, S.C. This was a tragic experience for me, my siblings and my entire family. We will never understand why certain people feel it is their right to take the life of innocent individuals, more specifically, African Americans. So, each time this happens, it reopens a wound for every member of my family. While my family and I have not had an open discussion with many of our friends and associates about my brother’s killing, we do have a complete understanding of the larger community’s anger and pain. But I know that if we remember and learn from the past while having honest open discussions (led by, say, a race-relations commission) perhaps no one in Brookhaven or the ’burbs we call “North Atlanta” will ever have to face what my family and I did 36 years ago. It may seem simplistic to create a commission, or to remember our history. But sometimes it is the simple things that make the most sense and can have the greatest impact.


Professor was wrong about racism in Dunwoody cityhood In response to the article titled “How race and racism shaped growth and cityhood in north metro Atlanta”: Retired history professor Ronald Bayor suggests, without evidence or even due diligence, that the city of Dunwoody incorporation movement was motivated by racism. That is a terrible mischaracterization and attributes a serious character flaw to the founders who worked to create the city. Our drive for cityhood was fueled by a large county that had become unresponsive and dysfunctional at virtually every level. What drove us was a desire to control zoning decisions that impacted our neighborhoods and schools. What drove us was the need to ensure adequate police protection. What drove us was the county’s unwillingness to repave badly deteriorated streets or install sidewalks. What drove us was a desire to invest tax dollars to create much needed green space and parks. In short, what drove us was what drives every new government creation, the desire to improve our community and control our own destiny, thus enhancing the quality of life for all of our citizens. It is true that DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones’ arrogance and antagonism helped galvanize a community that is generally reluctant to embrace change, but race was not the issue. Longstanding county government incompetence was the issue. That incompetence included the White, Republican county commissioner at the time, who ended up serving jail time for corruption. It is also worth noting that at the time of incorporation in

2009, Dunwoody had long since ceased to be a Whites-only enclave. Dunwoody was 17% Black, 17% Hispanic, 12% Asian, 51% White non-Hispanic and 3% multiracial. Racial and ethnic diversity was and is a driving force of Dunwoody’s success and the founders were all looking for that to continue. The founders of the city of Dunwoody helped pave the way and map a path to success for other neglected multiracial DeKalb communities to follow suit in forming new cities. These new cities include Brookhaven (14.4% Hispanic, 9.76% Black, 6.3% Asian, 7.46% multiracial, 56.9% White non-Hispanic), Tucker (57.8% White non-Hispanic, 22.3% Black and 10.6% Hispanic), and Stonecrest (92.6% Black, 3.5% White non-Hispanic, and 1.9% Hispanic). To ascribe racist motives to our deep commitment to improve our community wounds us deeply and taints our sacrifices to achieve a stronger community. Ken Wright, founding Dunwoody mayor Robert Wittenstein, founding Dunwoody City Council Danny Ross, founding Dunwoody City Council Tom Taylor, founding Dunwoody City Council Dennis Shortal, founding Dunwoody City Council

John Heneghan, founding Dunwoody City Council and current mayor pro tempore BK


Commentary | 17

Finding our true selves in the pandemic Faced with the COVID our lives to the basics, and changes in our lives during in so doing, finding our these past months and how true selves, so to speak. much time we have been At least, I did that. I left to our own without exwashed away the inches of ternal distractions, many my metaphorical soap unof us are learning a lot til I found that, buried deep about ourselves. We might within, my surprise figuhave discovered that we rine is a person who likes are extroverts who thrive monotony. on social interaction, or inFor me, this has been a troverts who are recharged time of self-awareness. I by solitude, or omniverts have raised my kids and who are a sort of cross- Robin Conte lives with her had my share of experienchusband in an empty nest es, and I have learned that, breed of the two. in Dunwoody. To contact at this point, I do not need I, for one, have realher or to buy her column to meet lofty goals for fulized that I am more of an collection, “The Best of the filment. I’m quite happy “cawnfigovert,” which is to Nest,” see when my accomplishment say, a person who is Content Alone When Nothing of the day is filling the Fun Is Going On. bird feeder. My goal for next week is to Anyway, I liken this period of time make a batch of hummingbird food. Evto the old novelty store soap, the one ery time I do start to be productive, Netthat you’d wash away until it revealed flix interrupts me and reminds me to a surprise figurine buried within. Durkeep watching that show I started two ing these months of relative seclusion, nights ago. we’ve been paring down the layers of More than that, I have learned that

Robin’s Nest

even if all I have to do to attend a meeting is roll out of bed and logon, I will still be late. But that’s just me. Some of us have learned that given a bit of unscheduled time, we will use it to write a book, build a treehouse, or plant corn. Some of us made best friends with the pizza delivery boy. Some of us of became the pizza delivery boy. Some of us learned to pivot, start a new business, or restart the old one. Some of us perfected the art of making sourdough bread. Others burned our homemade biscuits, with every attempt. Some of us have learned that we can make a delicious cocktail from cucumber water and muddled basil (kudos to my genius neighbor). Some of us sent cards to friends, made sandwiches for strangers, or made masks, for both friends and strangers. Some of us started teaching our children, and some of us discovered how much they have been learning from us,

all along. Some of us prayed, and some of us are still praying. Some of us learned exactly which kind of Scrabble player we are. (We are either the type of player who can only come up with 3-letter words, or we are that formidable opponent who can form “ischemia” without breaking a sweat and garner 48 points with a single well-placed “OX.”) Some of us read, some of us listened, some of us watched. Hopefully, all of us learned. Some of us made night after night of delectable meals and yet resisted the temptation, every time, to post photos of them on Instagram. But through it all, I think we have also learned an important commonality, in that no matter who we are and where in the world we live, given the chance to work from home, most of us would rather do so in our underwear.

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING… UNDER THE FIDUCIARY STANDARD, DOES PAYING A FEE FOR FINANCIAL ADVICE ASSURE AN ADVISOR IS ACTING IN YOUR BEST INTEREST? People assume that, of course. But, just because a financial advisor is associated with a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm does not mean all advice will be fully subject to the fiduciary standard. The majority of financial advisors working under an RIA firm also affiliate with a broker-dealer and routinely “switch hats” from advisor to broker when working with clients. This switch may be unapparent, but it means the legal standard for advice has been lowered. WASN’T THE LAW RECENTLY CHANGED SO THAT BROKERS ARE UNDER A FIDUCIARY STANDARD? You are referring to the new Regulation BI (“Best Interest”) that does indeed apply to brokers. It IS a step up from the old “Suitability” standard, but it stops short of applying a fiduciary standard to brokers on all of their activities for clients. So, this means the client must understand when their broker is offering investment advisory services (and acting as a full fiduciary) versus when they are functioning in a product-selling mode (and under the new, but lower, BI standard). THAT SOUNDS A BIT CONFUSING TO SORT OUT… It can be confusing. Firms are now required to provide a simple disclosure to you called a “Client Relationship Summary”. In plain language and just a few pages, this must answer key questions about fees and potential conflicts of interest.

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

IS THERE A SIMPLE WAY CLIENTS CAN ENSURE THEY ARE ALWAYS UNDER THE FIDUCIARY UMBRELLA? Ask your advisor to answer one question, in writing: “Will 100% of the recommendations you make to me in all of our business interaction be subject to the fiduciary legal standard?” Imagine how a “Yes” response can eliminate a myriad of concerns in the client-advisor relationship. This is the model we follow at Linscomb & Williams. Now in our 49th year of business, our experienced team is ready right now to meet and renew your confidence in a truly client-centered wealth management relationship, either virtually, or in person, from any of our locations.

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18 | Commentary ■

Around Town

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

New leader of Sandy Springs Conservancy helms park expansions

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Here’s one way old suburbs are changing in the 21st century: parks. When Boyd Leake was growing up in Sandy Springs and Buckhead a half-century ago, neighborhood playgrounds could be hard to find. There were the big parks salted across the map -- Chastain Park in Atlanta, Hammond Park up north of the Chattahoochee River, Murphey-Candler Park over in DeKalb County -- but not a lot of little neighborhood parks that a kid could easily walk or bike to. Kids played in their yards. “We were lucky living in a suburban area,” Leake said. “Everyone had a big back yard.” That was then. Now several of his old neighborhoods are seasoned with community parks. Leake likes what has happened and wants to see it continue. He recently took a job as executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, a group that has promoted local parks and trails since before there was a city of Sandy Springs. “Our goal,” the 57-year-old said, “is to build out more parks and trails in Sandy Springs.” SPECIAL Leake sees his new job as a comfortable Boyd Leake fit. He has a thing for the environment and for local history. And he knows the area pretty well: he went to The Lovett School, has advanced degrees in history, and started and oversees a Facebook page for “Buckhead Natives.” One of his first jobs was volunteering for Trees Atlanta, a nonprofit that promotes the metro forest. Through the years, he’s worked for a nonprofit that planted trees to pretty up Atlanta for the Olympics and for a city of Atlanta office dedicated to improving the city’s “resilience.” For the past couple of decades, he worked as a private consultant specializing in composting. When a friend suggested he take a look at the conservancy job, he liked what he saw. “I looked at what they had done, at the almost explosion of parks in Sandy Springs, and I saw where [the city] had passed the trail plan,” he said. “It really appealed to me. They were really building something, and they were helping the city build something.” Two weeks after Leake started work at the conservancy, the coronavirus caused everything to shut down. “We’re having to bob and weave and change what we’re doing” because of the virus, he said. These days, much of his job is done at a distance – on the phone, in Zoom meetings – and often from his home in the north Georgia mountains, he said, rather than the conservancy’s office near Morgan Falls Dam. There’s plenty to do. The conservancy reaches its 20th anniversary next year, so there’s a celebration to plan. Then there’s that Sandy Springs trails plan, which city officials adopted last October. It calls for years of work by various groups to add to the network of trails knitting the city together and to surrounding communities. Leake said the conservancy’s biggest job will be helping the city promote the plan and build a consensus around it. He said conservancy members sometimes can serve as intermediaries with property owners or businesses that might not be comfortable dealing with city officials. “Sandy Springs is a new a city and for a long time was very busy in getting basic stuff done,” he said. “Now things are filling out a little and I think the conservancy can help the city get things done. There’s an even greater need for these kinds of greenspaces. I think that’s been reinforced by COVID-19. People are just aching to go outside.” The conservancy also is joining with other local groups to try to convince residents to get out and walk more on the area’s existing trails, he said. The group will promote the use of public trails in places as varied as Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs and the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead. Some of the places to be highlighted didn’t even exist until the 21st century. It’s just another sign of how things have changed over just a few decades in these old suburbs.


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

TurningPoint helps breast cancer survivors with ‘support puzzle’ of pandemic era California-based, an online continuing education resource for physical therapy professionals that she helped launch, Pink was uniquely ready for the challenges the pandemic would soon pose. When she was just a few months into her new job, everything began to shut down. Thanks to her experience with Educata’s online learning, she brought all of TurningPoint’s services online in what she calls the “support puzzle for breast cancer patients during COVID-19.” “TurningPoint is so unique it needs to be grown into other locations, and COVID gave us the opportunity for tele-rehab,” she said. “Now we can serve other areas of Georgia and other states, as well as develop relationships with physical therapists who have never developed anything specifically for breast cancer. In just six months, we’ve already had 6,000 views of our educational pieces.” With tele-rehab operating smoothly, Pink sees a combination of online and on-site services for when the economy reopens, though she says she and Binkley are still figuring out how to nurture the personal relationships built during on-site services that patients value the most. How to continue to “treat the whole woman” while staying online is the challenge. The other thing Pink is still figuring out is how to meet people and get to know metro Atlanta since she had barely gotten settled in her new Sandy Springs apartment when everything shut down. TurningPoint’s mission is to serve everyone regardless of ability to pay. If you know of anyone, male or female, struggling with breast cancer recovery, please go to

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One day in 2015, while riding in the car with her mother, eighth-grader Lauren Scalise overheard her mother Stephanie take a phone call. “She got this random phone call, and we pulled over so she could answer it,” said Lauren. “I was confused until she hung up the phone, looked me in the eyes and told me she had breast cancer.” The two sat by theCarol side of isthe road in silence processing Niemi a marketing consultant whowhile lives on the Dunwoody- what they had just Sandy flowed. Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire learned, and then the tears others. Contact her at “I couldn’t believe that my strong and resilient mom would be the one going through breast cancer, and there was nothing I could do to stop it,” said Lauren. Perhaps no diagnosis is as devastating to women as breast cancer. Besides threatening a woman’s life, it usually entails excruciating treatments and surgery, bodily mutilation, long, painful recovery, loss of mental and emotional well-being and terror for loved ones. For Stephanie Scalise, it was Stage 3 and resulted in a double mastectomy and multiple other surgeries -- all in one year. During treatment, she began to suffer lymphedema, a debilitating swelling that results from a blockage in the lymphatic system, an alltoo frequent result of the surgery. Stephanie soon couldn’t move her left arm. That’s when she was referred to TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation in Sandy Springs. After six months of lymphatic massage three times a week, she regained the use of her left arm. “They gave me my life back,” said Stephanie. “I felt like I was getting my mom back,” said Lauren. That same year, grateful for what TurningPoint had done for their mother, Lauren and her two older sisters started an annual fundraiser called Strides for Survivors, which continues to this day. “I want people to know how amazing TurningPoint is. They were able to really help our mom while she was going through treatments, but they’re still helping her now, four years cancer free,” she said. Founded in 2003 by physical therapist and two-time breast cancer survivor Jill Binkley, TurningPoint offers physical therapy, massage therapy, emotional support, exercise classes, nutritional counseling and educational programs -- all with the goal of helping breast cancer patients live their best lives. According to a board SPECIAL member, it’s the only orgaMarilyn Pink, the new executive director of TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabiliation. nization in metro Atlanta that offers “all of this under one roof with the same degree of thoroughness.” Testimonials posted on the TurningPoint website repeatedly highlight the care and compassion with which the services are provided and the personal relationships that grow from them. “You feel safe,” said one. “You can be honest about how you feel, as opposed to having to be strong for your family,” said another. In 2017, Binkley retired from her role as executive director to work on special projects so that a more experienced leader could come and begin spreading TurningPoint’s message and methodology to other parts of the country. That leader is Marilyn Pink, who in December assumed the role. Previously CEO of BK

Commentary | 19

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20 | Education ■

Oglethorpe University postpones fall sports to 2021 BY ERIN SCHILLING

Parts of the basketball, golf and tennis

seasons will also be affected.

Oglethorpe University will postpone its 2020 fall sports season to early next year. The Southern Athletic Association, a National College Athletic Association Division III conference which includes Oglethorpe athletics, announced its decision to suspend all athletic competition on July 16. Oglethorpe’s campus is on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven. “We, of course, are disappointed; however, we remain steadfast in our commitment to optimizing our univer-

Class of 2020 Congratulations Class of 2020 on your outstanding high school acceptances! 3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Brookhaven, GA 30319 404.237.4260

sity experience for everyone and look forward to a more positive future,” Oglethorpe President Nicholas Ladany said in a press release. Fall teams at Oglethorpe include cross country, soccer and volleyball.

Students at Oglethorpe University will move back into the resident halls during the first week of September, according to a July 15 weekly update from the university’s COVID-19 task force. Courses will be offered as a mixture of online-only or hybrid in-person and online teaching models. About 42% of classes are scheduled to be completely online, and 58% will be a hybrid model, according to a COVID-19 task force update. Student athletes at Oglethorpe will still train using COVID-19 safety guidelines from the SAA, NCAA and federal and state public health guidelines, according to the release. “We want to keep our athletes in top shape and ready to compete as soon as advisable,” Oglethorpe Athletics Director Todd Brooks said in the release. The SAA said in a statement the postponement was a months-long decision. “As the pandemic evolves, the SAA will continue to monitor the situation and intends to resume fall sports competition in early 2021,” SAA Commissioner Jay Gardiner said in a press release. The SAA is also requesting the NCAA to postpone fall championships until spring 2021. NCAA plans to continue to have sports competitions following specific guidelines to protect athletes and prevent COVID-19 community spread, according to a July 16 press release. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the release that spring 2020 championships could not go on because there was no safe way to host them and hopes sports can resume if the COVID-19 rates become more manageable. “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic,” Emmert said in the release. NCAA Division I football, which includes athletics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is set to start conference play on Aug. 29. BK


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Weekend Getaways

Mountain attractions in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee have reopened BY COLLIN KELLEY Whether you want to take a daytrip or make it a weekend getaway, attractions have reopened in North Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee with safety precautions due to the ongoing pandemic. We rounded up a list of places open to visitors, including outdoor attractions, railway adventures, vineyard tours, and playing the slots. Don’t forget your masks!

Consolidated Gold Mine Head to Dahlonega to tour the historic Consolidated Gold Mine, which was founded in 1896. The tour takes visitors 200 feet underground to show how miners blasted quartz veins to find big deposits of gold. You can also pan for gold, go gem mining and more. For details, visit consolidatedgoldmine. com.

BabyLand General Hospital If you want to see where the Cabbage Patch Kids are born, head to Cleveland, GA for a tour of BabyLand General Hospital. Admission is free, but masks are required, to watch doctors and nurses deliver hand-sculpted Cabbage Patch Kids, which are available for adoption. Visit for details. Hamilton Gardens Located on the shore of Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, GA, the 33-acre garden features the largest collection of rhododendrons in the southeast. Trilliums, shooting stars, wild ginger, trout lilies, and Solomon’s seal are just a few of the special plants found in the gardens. Social distancing is required and masks are recommended. Visit North Georgia Vineyards & Wineries The North Georgia mountains are home to some of the country’s best wineries, including Tiger Mountain, Wolf Mountain, Haberham, Frogtown Cellars, Three Sisters, and more. Visit to see all the wineries.

▲ Rock City and Ruby Falls Less than two hours from Atlanta, Chattanooga not only offers the famed Tennessee Aquarium, but is home to Lookout Mountain and its two big attractions: Rock City and Ruby Falls. Rock City – with its winding trails, See 7 States pan-


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22 | Special Section ■

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orama, Mother Goose Village and more – is open, but masks and timed tickets are required. A mask and timed tickets are also required to descend deep inside the mountain to see the spectacle that is 145-foot cascading Ruby Falls. Visit or rubyfalls. com for tickets and information. Biltmore The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is once again open for tourists along with is accompanying gardens, winery, resort. There’s also a special “Downton Abbey” exhibition on show through Sept. 7. Visit for tickets, weekend getaway packages, and safety information. ◄ Harrah’s Casinos High rollers can once again enjoy the slots and blackjack tables at Harrah’s Casinos in Cherokee and Murphy, NC. Social distancing is in place on the gaming floor and masks are required. Visit for details. Gibbs Gardens The nearly 300-acres of French and European-styled gardens features flora and fauna – as well as 24 ponds, 32 bridges, and 19 waterfalls – is open in Ball Ground, GA. Visit for more information. ►Dollywood Dolly Parton’s theme park and resort in Pigeon Forge, TN is open again, but there’s a new reservation system in place to help limit the number of guests in the park to maintain social distancing. Along with rides, shows, and dining, the resort is open and so is the water park. Visit for reservations and details.

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▲Blue Ridge Scenic Railway The passenger train takes visitors on a ride along the Toccoa River with sweeping views of the mountains. The four-hour summer trip takes passengers from downtown Blue Ridge up to Tennessee and back, passing through McCaysville and Copperhill along the way. The train departs daily at 11 a.m. Visit for tickets and information. BK



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Imagine the Escape ...

Small Is Beautiful

R I V E R L I F E , L A K E L I F E , M O U N TA I N L I F E



200 ROWLAND POINTE Morganton, Georgia 30560

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Tiny homes community in Highlands-Cashiers is a hit with buyers looking for small getaways

The Saltbox design.


Annie Boland has been selling properties in the area for 16 years and is now a full-time Blue Ridge resident. Whether you are looking for a cozy little cabin, a mountaintop lodge or a turn-key investment property, North Georgia has something to offer for everyone. Let Annie put her knowledge of the area to work for you!

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You might believe that size doesn’t matter, but for people who have embraced the tiny house movement, small is beautiful. That’s especially true when the home is set on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. Long known for its breath-taking vistas, the area boasts deep lakes, streams, waterfalls, meadows and densely wooded mountains. Residents take advantage of the natural bounty through its many nature trails, golf courses and streams, perfect for trout fishing. The interior of the Saltbox. In the heart of the plateau, and within minutes of the Chattooga River and the Nantahala National Forest, sits The Preserve at Whiteside Cliffs, a private, tiny home community that features designer cottages. Homeowners can choose from two designs – Low Country and Saltbox, both featuring one bedroom, one bath and high-end finishes throughout. The Low Country home blends minimalism with elegance, filling its 464 square feet with features like high ceilings and quartz countertops. The 452-square-foot Saltbox maximizes space while offering a 270-degree view of outdoors. Homesites and cottages in the gated community are built to maximize privacy and mountain views. Only 47 cottages are spread across the community’s 33 acres, and tree canopies are proThe interior of the Low Country design. fessionally sculpted to afford clear views of Whiteside and Black Rock Mountains. Lot home packages start at $299,000, with top elevation lots priced at $399,000. Since the median home price in the Highlands-Cashiers area is $625,000, The Preserve at Whiteside Cliffs offers homeowners luxury and affordability in a premier mountain location. For more information visit


Special Section | 25

September 25th – 27th

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Gainesville Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden satellite location has reopened to visitors

If you’re a fan of the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown, then you’ll love the Gainesville Garden. Reopened with extended summer hours, it’s a tranquil spots to take your mind off the news and reconnect with nature. The garden, located near Lake Lanier, is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. To help with social distancing, timed tickets are required for all guests, including members. Along with the winding trails full of flowers, plants, tress, and water features, there’s also activities and playtime for the kids in the Children’s Garden and adults can enjoy Wine in the Woodlands on Friday and Saturday nights. Stroll the garden with drinks from the bar and enjoy pre-ordered dinner from 2 Dog Restaurant. The garden is located at 1911 Sweetbay Drive in Gainesville. For tickets and information, visit



Special Section | 27


Your Trusted Advisor In Blue Ridge

475 TOCCOA RIVER LANE offered for $1,200,000

514 STEWART CAMP POINT offered for: $1,950,000

500 CHIEF WHITETAILS offered for: $769,900

701 ADA STREET offered for: $239,000

318 WILMOT FABUS MTN RD offered for: $450,000

2941 MOBILE ROAD offered for: $1,995,000

Kim Knutzen REALTOR®


404.480.HOME | ANSLEYMOUNTAINS.COM | 116 WEST MAIN ST. UNIT 1C, BLUE RIDGE, GA 30513 Equal Housing Opportunity | Christopher Burell, Principal Broker and Chief Motivation Officer | All information believed accurate but not guaranteed. If your home is currently listed, this is not a solicitation.


28 | Special Section ■

Tails on Trails

Club encourages four-legged friends on park trails Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites has launched a dog walking club, “Tails on Trails.” Hikers and their four-legged companions are challenged to hike 42 trails at Georgia state parks and upon completion, dogs earn a bandana and their owners earn a T-shirt for logging the miles. Dog walkers have always been welcome in Georgia state parks, and the Tails on Trails club offers a way for owners and their dogs to accomplish designated hikes. Those who would like to join can purchase a $20 membership card at any of the seven participating parks’ visitor centers or online at Owners must abide by state parks rules: keep dogs on a leash no more than 6-feet, clean up after dogs, and never leave dogs unattended in campsites, cottages or vehicles. Georgia state parks offer several dog-friendly cottages, which are available to book online. The following seven trails are part of the “Tails on Trails” club: Fort Mountain State Park (Chatsworth)

Photo from Georgia Department of Natural Resources website.

Explore a shaded forest and a serene creek valley along the 1.1-mile stretch of Fort Mountain’s Lake Trail. The trail is short and mostly flat, making a great running loop for owners and their dog. F.D. Roosevelt State Park (Pine Mountain) Dogs will enjoy roaming on the gentle, rolling mountains of F.D. Roosevelt, Georgia’s largest state park. The Mountain Creek Trail is one of the most scenic, and passes through several plant habitats such as pine and hardwood forests. Don Carter State Park (Gainesville) The hike on the Lakeview Loop Trail showcases Don Carter State Park’s prime location on the 38,000-acre Lake Lanier, and is paved for stroller and wheelchair accessibility. Dog owners who are seeking shade can venture into the forest to hike the Woodland Loop Trail.

Did you know your local

Virginia-Highland neighbor is a licensed North Carolina Real Estate broker?

I specialize in luxury mountain homes,

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Sweetwater Creek State Park (Lithia Springs) Sweetwater Creek features two trails for “Tails on Trails” club members, and both lead to the ruins from the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. The Red Trail, 2 miles, is the most frequently used trail and leads directly to the mill ruins. For a longer hike through the park’s wildlife and plant communities, members can hike along Sweetwater Creek’s rocky banks on the 5-mile White Trail. High Falls State Park (Jackson) Dogs can frolic along the Towliga River accompanied by the sound of the upcoming High Falls. The 1.5-mile Falls Trail is a moderately challenging trek through hilly forests that offers a rewarding waterfall view. Fort McAllister State Park (Richmond Hill) Stroll on the 3.1-mile Redbird Creek Trail under the cover of Spanish moss and discover scenic views of salt marshes, coastal wetlands and nature-viewing opportunities at Fort McAllister State Park. Red Top Mountain State Park (Cartersville) The White Tail Trail of Red Top Mountain State Park meanders through hardwood forest to a beautiful overlook of Lake Allatoona.

weekend or forever – give me a call.



Special Section | 29

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Based on receipt of federal financial assistance through a Paycheck Protection Program law administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CAREs Act, The Children’s School acknowledges its obligation to prohibit discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin sex, citizenship status, genetic information, handicap or disability in admissions, access, employment, tuition assistance, educational policies, or other school administered student and employee programs and activities. Questions regarding the School’s compliance with the application and administration of the School’s nondiscrimination policies should be directed to: Allen Broyles, Assistant Head for Academics and SBA Compliance Officer, The Children’s School, Email:, Phone: 404-873-6985, 345 10th Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or to the SBA. Please refer to the School’s SBA NonDiscrimination Compliance Policy on the School’s website for information on how to file complaints with OCR or the SBA. This notice will remain in effect until the School has satisfied and paid off the SBA Paycheck Protection Loan.

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| 32

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