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AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 16

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City Springs to Life Arts an anchor for Sandy Springs’ new city center SPECIAL SECTION | P6-11

Green space added to Phipps Plaza plan BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Belk store in Phipps Plaza closed July 31, clearing the way for Phipps Plaza to begin its expansion on a revised plan that they say has improved pedestrian access to the hotel, office tower, restaurant and fitness center development that includes a renovated public green space. “It’s great to be able to activate existing green space,” said Sally Silver, a member of a zoning review committee that recommended the changes. “They know how important that is to Buckhead.” Meanwhile, the city approved permits in July for the fire station relocation that must be completed before See PHIPPS on page 14

As part of the expansion plans to bring a new hotel, office tower, restaurant and fitness center to Phipps Plaza, the existing green area will be built into a public park with walkways, plantings and seating.

OUT & ABOUT Wing it with butterflies at Nature Center fest Page 16

SIMON PROPERTY GROUP

At party mansion meeting, a surprise pledge to end events

Around Town

Raising the curtain on a new theater PAGE 13

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

► Unwind in the hills: North

Georgia, Blue Ridge getaways

► Mountain towns: shopping, dining and attractions beckon

SPECIAL SECTION | P20-28

A packed community meeting about a Buckhead mansion rented for “illegal” nightclub-style parties had a big twist ending, with an attendee claiming to be the property’s new owner and pledging that commercialized events there would end. The surprise claim late in the July 24 meeting was news to top city officials See AT on page 30


2 | Community

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Community Briefs

B U CKHEA D C O A L IT I O N DO NATE S B IKES TO NEW P O L IC E PAT R O L

The Buckhead Coalition has donated two bicycles and bike racks to the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2 for use by its new bike patrol. APD began deploying bike officers in June to help curb crime in commercial areas. Juanita Baranco, the board chair and owner of the Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead dealership, spearheaded the donation to help the new patrol, according to a press release.

CITY TO D ISCU S S P R O P O S ED ZO NING C HA NG ES

The Department of City Planning will hold another public meeting on Aug. 18 to provide input on proposed zoning ordinance changes. The proposed changes are part of phase two of “quick fixes” the city wants to make the zoning ordinance. The changes are easy fixes the city can make to improve the ordinance while it waits for a full rewrite that will come in three to five years. Changes include allowing accessory dwelling units, or “tiny houses,” in the R-4 zoning district; altering transitional height plane requirements; creating missing “middle housing”; and creating neighborhood design standards, among others. The meeting will be held at the Buckhead Branch Library, 269 Buckhead Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

M AR TA TO HO ST PUB L I C M EETI NG O N EX PA NS I O N P L A N

SPECIAL

From left, Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell, Zone 2 Maj. Barry Shaw, Buckhead Coalition Chair Juanita Baranco and her husband Gregory Baranco pose with a bicycle donation to the Atlanta Police Department.

MARTA plans to host a public meeting at its headquarters in Buckhead on its proposed expansion plan. The “More MARTA” plan includes adding light rail from the Lindbergh MARTA Station to Emory University, new transit centers and several new bus routes. The plan is funded with a half-penny sales tax approved by voters in 2016 that is expected to generate nearly $2.5 billion for transit expansion over the next 40 years. The meeting is planned for Aug. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MARTA Headquarters, 2424 Piedmont Road.

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The Georgia Department of Transportation has dedicated a southern section of Peachtree Road for the founder of the Shepherd Center, a Buckhead-based hospital that treats patients with spine and brain injuries. The segment of Peachtree Road that runs from Peachtree Battle Avenue to the Amtrak Peachtree Station was dedicated as J. Harold Shepherd Parkway. Shepherd and his wife Alana Shepherd founded the hospital in 1975 after their son James was paralyzed in a beach accident. The dedication was authorized in an ordinance by state Reps. Beth Beskin and Marie Metze, who both represent the area.

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The Buckhead Heritage Society will host a discussion on the long-defunct Limelight nightclub that was located at the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont roads. The club was in operation from 1980 to 1987 was often referred to as the “Studio 54 of the South,” according to the society. The Limelight featured a glass dance floor, a snow machine, a confetti machine, a fog machine and a movie theater that aired black-andwhite films. Celebrities like Burt Reynolds, Rod Stewart, Andy Warhol, Eartha Kitt and Ann-Margaret were entertained in the green room, the society said. Guy D’Alema, who worked at the club, will share stories and photos from his recent book “Limelight…in a Sixtieth of a Second.” The event will be held Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Sanctuary Night Club, located at 3209 Paces Ferry Place. Tickets, available online at buckheadheritage.com, are $10 for Buckhead Heritage Society members or $20 for non-members. For more information, contact Richard Waterhouse at 404.267.9447 or rwaterhouse@buckheadheritage.com.

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The Atlanta Audubon Society has received a grant to fund programs aimed at increasing diversity in their organization. The organization, which is located at Buckhead’s Blue Heron Nature Preserve, will use the grant to fund an internship in partnership with the Greening Youth Foundation, a local organization that works with minority youth interested in the environment. The society also plans to work with Atlanta’s historic Washington Park to install a bird-friendly garden, it said in a press release. The $23,950 grant was awarded by the National Audubon Society for equity, diversity, and inclusiveness work in Atlanta, said Dottie Head, Atlanta Audubon’s communications director, in an email. The annual internship will have young adults work on outreach programs and help certify areas as wildlife sanctuaries, the release said. BH


Community | 3

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

BCID Briefs ‘The buc’ shuttle could be on the chopping block

“The buc” shuttle drives on a Buckhead road in a promotional photo.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Will the “buc” shuttle keep running in Buckhead? A study will look at whether its performance is good enough to continue. The Buckhead Community Improvement District at its July 25 board meeting approved a $49,369 contract with consulting group Stantec to study the shuttle service. The service was started in 2003 with federal funding. It is funded by the CID and managed by Livable Buckhead, which was founded to run the shuttle and originally called the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association. The study will look at new technology, including introduction of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, demographic changes and the findings of the “Buckhead REdeFINED” master plan, said Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, at a previous meeting. “It’s time to take a look at it,” Starling said. The shuttle’s routes and operating hours were previously cut back in 2011 and 2015. The CID also extended the shuttle’s operating contract until December 2018, when the study will be completed, for $104,000.

Funding for wider South Fork bridge design The CID approved $200,000 to fund improvements it wants to see made to the South Fork Conservancy’s bridge design. The conservancy is building multiuse trails along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, which runs between Buckhead and Emory University. The organization plans to eventually connect its trails to PATH400, the BeltLine and Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Greenway. It unveiled a design for a bridge at the confluence of these trails in April 2018. The CID is committing funding to contribute to a new design that would widen the bridge from eight to 10 feet, which the CID believes is necessary to accommodate anticipated use, said Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead. The funding is contingent on the conservancy raising the remaining needed funds for the estimated construction cost of $2.38 million, said Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID. Although the bridge would be outside the CID’s official boundaries, Durrett said the district is allowed to fund design and engineering of projects as long as they would serve the district.

New crosswalk outside Charlie Loudermilk Park

BH

The CID is considering adding a new crosswalk outside Charlie Loudermilk Park to create easier pedestrian access to the park nestled in a busy intersection. Tony Peters, the capital projects implementation manager, said that park visitors are often darting through the road because there is only one crosswalk that connects to the triangle-shaped park.

SPECIAL

The board approved $20,000 to fund a study by Kimley-Horn to determine if a new crosswalk at Sardis Way and Roswell Road was possible or would help.

PATH400 gets green light for next segment

PATH400 has received approval from rail company Norfolk Southern Corporation to move forward with a trail segment that runs near an active rail line. This piece of the 5.2-mile multiuse trail will run behind Lenox Square mall. While waiting on the approval, construction has fallen about seven months behind schedule, Starling said. Construction should begin within one month, she said.

Millage rate approved The CID again approved a millage rate of three mills, the rate the district has levied since at least 2013. The 2018 assessed value of property in the district is over $2.4 billion, according to the CID. The CID revenue is expected to be $7.2 million, an 18 percent increase over last year, according to the district.

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4 | Community

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Chastain Park Conservancy co-founder Ray Mock dies BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Ray Mock, the co-founder and the director of operations at the Chastain Park Conservancy, has died. A lifelong resident of Buckhead, Mock’s July 15 death has brought many people to share memories about spending time at school or at the park on social media and his obituary page. He was 66. Mock was the first employee of the Chastain Park Conservancy, a nonprofit that supports the Buckhead park, and served as its director of operations, overseeing the grounds since 2003, the obituary said. He also once served as the director of operations at Park Pride, according to the obituary. “Ray has been a friend to the CPC since before the conservancy was even a formal organization. As the founder of the CPC, he was our first employee, a local historian and a constant advocate for the Park,” Rosa McHugh, the director of the conservancy, wrote on the organization’s website. “He will be missed by so many.” His funeral service was held July 20 at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, according to his obituary. District 8 Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit founded the conservancy in 2003 and served as its first president, working closely with Mock. “Ray was a visionary for the park and for the city. He was always thinking about ways to accomplish a lot with very little resources,” Matzigkeit said.

SPECIAL

Above, Ray Mock, the co-founder of the Chastain Park Conservancy, died July 15.

In addition to his work at the conservancy, Mock was an Atlanta-area developer and home builder who served on several neighborhood associations, according to his obituary.

Right, Ray Mock drives a golf cart on the park grounds in a photo from the Chastain Park Conservancy.

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He led the effort to refurbish the previously dilapidated building, a steel hut, that now serves as the conservancy’s office, Matzigkeit said. Mock also was heavily involved in creating the park’s 2008 master plan. “His fingerprints are all over it,” Matzigkeit said. Mock had a “passion for working with people that had gotten themselves in trouble,” Matzigkeit said. He frequently worked with people who were required to serve community service, and worked hard to get their respect and have them behave well while working at the park, Matzigkeit said. “He got them to become his friend and see his vision,” he said. “They respected him and became committed to his vision for the park.” Mock was instrumental in the conservancy’s work turning the park’s condition around, Matzigkeit said. “The park was in pretty bad shape 10 to 15 years ago,” he said. “He was a visionary.” Mock was also a “history buff” who worked hard to preserve the sites history, including picnic areas that were built decades before using prison labor, Matzigkeit said. Mock attended Garden Hills Elementary and North Fulton High when he grew up in Buckhead, according to his obituary. Many people shared memories of playing school sports together and helping Boy Scouts with their Eagle Scout projects at the park. “Ray was an invaluable and unstoppable advocate for Chastain Park, along with being a knowledgeable historian. We stand in awe of his years of dedication, expertise and hard work to make Chastain Park the amazing place we all know and love,” the North Buckhead Civic Association wrote in its email newsletter.

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Community | 5

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Mass transit gets a boost, but local officials seek options, control BY DYANA BAGBY, EVELYN ANDREWS AND JOHN RUCH Mass transit has had a banner year in Georgia after decades of resistance. The state legislature approved a new regional transit authority encouraging possible MARTA expansion in such longtime holdouts as Gwinnett County, and Gov. Nathan Deal announced $100 million in bond funding for bus rapid transit on Ga. 400. But in Perimeter Center cities that drove much of the transit advocacy in recent years, leaders are expressing anxiety as to whether they’ll get anything close to what they wished for. They are concerned that Ga. 400 “rapid transit” may just mean buses sitting in traffic with everyone else — far from the locally preferred MARTA Red Line extension — and top end Perimeter cities have commissioned a study to see whether I-285 could handle meaningful transit routes, too. The one certainty for now: both highways are getting bigger. Then there’s the question of who will represent the area on the board of that new Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, or “The ATL.” Local officials say the selection will be a political battle through a complicated process.

I-285 transit study

The Georgia Department of Transportation is in the midst of rebuilding the I-285/ Ga. 400 interchange, a huge project continuing into the year 2020. But that’s only the beginning. GDOT plans to add “managed” or “express” lanes to both highways in the interchange area. The I-285 portion is expected to begin a design phase in 2020 and could add four more toll-only lanes. Leaders of top end Perimeter cities are concerned that GDOT’s plan could eat up right of way for mass transit along the highway. Last year, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst convened a group of officials from the major cities to talk about transit. Now those cities are joining in a formal transit feasibility study for transit running along I-285 between Tucker and Smyrna. Other cities involved are Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Chamblee and Doraville, and community improvement districts in Perimeter Center and Cumberland are joining, too. The $129,500 study, approved July 24 by the Brookhaven City Council, will be conducted by consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates and Moreland Altobelli. In a June 19 letter to Ernst, Kimley-Horn staff indicated the study will include a comparison of light rail to bus rapid transit and possible funding through a “special service district” — a form of local taxing district. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul praised the study effort. “It’s crucial and I’m excited about it,” he said. GDOT is aware of the study, according to spokesperson Natalie Dale, and “will continue to engage and coordinate with the city [of Brookhaven] as the study moves forward.”

Ga. 400 buses

Similar right of way concerns are dogging Ga. 400 transit plans. Lost in publicity for Deal’s “bus rapid transit” funding — which was presented as making metro Atlanta look more transit-friendly to Amazon as it selects a second headquarters site — is that “rapid transit” might not mean what it says. In a Fulton County transit master planning effort last year, extending the Red Line train line was the locally preferred option for Ga. 400 corridor improvements, but political resistance in other north Fulton cities got that reduced to “bus rapid transit” or BRT. BRT means high-capacity buses typically using a dedicated lane or other traffic priority method, and officials say it’s unlikely that can happen — at least in a traditional way — on the ever-widening Ga. 400. That also makes less likely the idea, expressed in planning meetings, that a bus route could become a rail route. Paul, the Sandy Springs mayor, was among the Red Line extension advocates — “if it were me, I’d extend it to the Tennessee line,” he says — but he acknowledges that BRT won immediate priority. However, he indicated he’s giving up on the idea of getting dedicated bus lanes and instead advocating with GDOT for using the future toll lanes, which in theory will have less

traffic. “If the buses get stuck in [regular] traffic, we’ll have a bunch of empty buses going back and forth,” Paul said. The type of bus is also up in the air. Paul said options include articulated buses — essentially a double-body bus connected with a flexible joint — or four to five buses hooked together in a way that would “look and feel very much like a light-rail train.” Paul said it is possible that some other form of transit could be chosen for Ga. 400, especially as technology changes. Dale, the GDOT spokesperson, spoke only of general coordination with MARTA on Ga. 400 options. She said GDOT is “confident” that the agencies’ collaborative work “will result in a successful transportation solution in the [State Route] 400 corridor.” “What we’re going to end up with, heaven only knows,” Paul said. “But we’re at the front end of a very important planning process.”

The ATL board

Another big question is who will be advocating — or not advocating — for local transit on the board of “The ATL,” the new umbrella authority for 10 transit systems in 13 counties. It will have a regional governance board with 16 members serving four-year terms, who must be in place

by Dec. 1, according to a recent Dunwoody City Council presentation by Scott Haggard, The ATL’s director of government and external affairs. Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs will be in The ATL’s District 3 along with Chamblee, Doraville, Kennesaw, Marietta, Peachtree Corners and Smyrna. The selection process for the district board member is a complicated series of internal votes, with significant influence wielded by state legislators, the Cobb County chairman and the Atlanta mayor, among others. State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) chairs the House’s side of MARTOC, the legislature’s MARTA oversight committee. He told the Dunwoody City Council that The ATL board member selection is crucial. “This is going to be a very political process,” Taylor said. “Everyone has to be a selfadvocate for their city.” “This is probably the most important thing we do as a city in shaping this board ... which will be a huge economic tool. We have State Farm because of MARTA,” said Taylor, referring to the insurance company’s huge, multi-tower complex going up alongside the Dunwoody MARTA Station. Sandy Springs Mayor Paul agreed and said he will push for the district board member to come from Dunwoody or Sandy Springs due to their locations at the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange.

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6 | Special Section

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It’s showtime at City Springs. Vernon Highway and Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads. After years of dreaming and planning for a new downtown, the curtain is rising The City Hall, which opened in May is a gleaming, glass-walled tower five stoon the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Debuting Aug. 11 with a “City Springs ries high, fronting on a park and flanked by fountains, while the Performing Arts Day” of free short performances followed by a concert by jazz great Branford MarCenter, which boasts the 1,100-seat Byers Theatre, fronts Roswell Road with a towsalis, the PAC is the key attraction to the city’s new mixed-use civic center — what ering glass facade and a bank of lighted fountains. The city still needs to add the fiMayor Rusty Paul calls “everybody’s neighborhood.” nal touches to the development, including adding outdoor signage and the City Hall The project is also a large-scale experiment in “place-making” — efforts to create sign. vibrant public spaces. Other area examples include Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Tibby DeJulio, who has sat on the City Council since the city incorporated in Greenway, Dunwoody’s Project Renaissance and Buckhead’s potential park capping 2005, has been involved with the plans from the beginning. Ga. 400. But Sandy Springs’ version is especially ambitious, “I’m very proud of the facility,” said DeJulio. “I think it’s a public-private investment of well over $230 million that turned out even better than we anticipated. It’s a beautiful includes a new City Hall, a large park, hundreds of apartplace.” ments, shops and restaurants, and arts spaces to not only The civic center was originally conceived with the desire entertain, but also to establish an arts education program. to create a downtown in Sandy Springs. Creating a “unique, It’s an experiment that in some ways has already begun, vibrant, walkable City Center rich in amenities” was origias privately developed mixed-use projects inspired by the nally envisioned in a 2012 “City Center Master Plan” creatcivic center plan began going up nearby two years ago, and ed by consultants with public input. Following that plan, the new streets like Denmark Drive have opened as part of the city has not only built the civic center, but also encouraged downtown “grid.” denser development in a City Springs “district” roughly runOpening in phases throughout this year after a relaning along Roswell Road between Allen and Johnson Ferry tively fast four-year construction, City Springs has already roads. successfully staged major events like the Heritage Sandy “There’s no question that that’s been accomplished by doSprings Farmers Market and Food That Rocks restaurant ing this,” DeJulio said of the place-making goal. “You can see tasting, and the new City Hall has been in business since that by all the outgrowth coming away from City Springs. We May. Hundreds of people — including some of the owners of expect there to be more of that over the years.” City Springs businesses — are living within the complex and enjoying its new downtown lifestyle. The PAC has drawn a Watching a vision unfold new musical theater company whose tickets are selling like hotcakes and next year will host the likes of the Atlanta OpEight years ago, the Reporter held a panel discussion with era and the Atlanta Symphony. And more may be coming, as citizens involved in the early discussions for what became city officials say hotel developers are interested in the area the City Center Master Plan and, now, City Springs. Among immediately around the civic center. them were Trisha Thompson, the former president of the It remains to be seen how all of those pieces work togethBY EVELYN ANDREWS AND JOHN RUCH Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, and Kirk Demeer in the long term, and there is a lot of experimenting left trops, president and founder of Sandy Springs-based MidCity Real Estate Partners. to do. After construction delays, City Springs has been opening in stages, and the reBoth are now watching those early visions unfold. tail and restaurant part is still a month or more away from a debut. A foundation inDemetrops is a former owner of the lot where the Adley at City Springs mixedtended to subsidize smaller shows, shape the still undefined arts education element use project is being built within the City Springs district. He’s also now the developand spur community donations is also not yet fully up to speed. er of Alpharetta’s City Center, a similar downtown place-making project. For now, the stage is set, the curtain is rising, and the public — based on comHe said City Springs should be a “tremendous asset for the city for years.” ments at public events and ticket sales — is eager to see the show for themselves. “With our … experience [and] involvement in town centers, we find that there is a desire to create an identity, or personality, for the town center. The Performing A season begins Arts Center and distinctive architecture of the entire project, in my opinion, are the unique features,” he said. The PAC will host its grand opening and season kick-off events Aug. 11-19. The mixed-use civic center sits on a 14-acre site bounded by Sandy Springs Circle, Mount Continued on page 8

City Springs to Life Arts an anchor for Sandy Springs’ new city center

SPECIAL

Rock musician Rickie Moreno performs on the Byers Theatre stage during a private test concert in June.


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 7

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8 | Special Section

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 6 Although Thompson agrees City Springs is an improvement over the vacant Target building and parking lot it partly replaced, she said she’s not completely on board with some of the other development. “Am I thrilled at some of the build-outs? No,” she said. “I think we needed stricter design standards. A few of the new properties look like the stick-built [wood construction] we tried so hard to do away with. In those, the quality just isn’t there. “Do I think that what’s there now is 1,000 percent better than the old Target and the huge asphalt parking lot? Yes,” she added. “And I do like the new street configurations with the intersection improvements.” Thompson said she’ll have to wait until the theater is open to give an opinion on the development’s success. “That’s what the PAC was geared to do — provide foot traffic and evening street action. The interior shops and food sites aren’t open, either. Both of those parts of the whole are still missing,” she said. Much of the redevelopment so far has come in the form of dense multi-use apartment complexes along Roswell Road. Demand is reportedly solid for the apartments, but they have been controversial — both among the community and sometimes on the City Council — for creating traffic and perceptions that renters are less involved in the community than homeowners. The scale and price tag of the civic center also has its skeptics, who privately refer to the complex as a “Taj Mahal” or similar joking names. The City Springs civic center plan received some criticism when first introduced — including from the city’s founding mayor and city center visionary, the late Eva Galambos. In letters to the Reporter at the time, she questioned whether the Performing Arts Center would be successful and whether meeting spaces risked becoming a convention center that might fail to compete with the private market. DeJulio, who worked closely with Galambos while she was mayor, said he continued briefing her on the project after she left office. As the project developed, she became more supportive of it, he said. DeJulio said he, too, was initially concerned the city could not afford the project, but after he was assured through studies it could be done, he was on board. “The Performing Arts Center evolved because, obviously, the main purpose of being a city is to serve the people,” he said. Developers are thinking of constructing a hotel in the area, DeJulio said, and the city would consider if it fits there if something formal is brought to them. City spokesperson Sharon Kraun said no official plans have been filed yet.

A

B

City Springs life Some people who are already living in the adjacent complexes say the city has accomplished its goal of place-making. In fact, some of the entrepreneurs who are opening businesses in the civic center’s retail spaces have moved into its apartments, embodying the live-work-play, pedestrian-friendly lifestyle the city is aiming for. One of them is Dave Green, who is opening a restaurant in City Springs called The Select. He says the city has “definitely” achieved the vision of giving residents somewhere they could live, work and be entertained. “More than anything else, it’s great to walk to work,” he said.

C

A - Visitors gather in the Byers Theatre lobby during a private test concert in June. (Special) B - The “Food That Rocks” restaurant-tasting event drew a big crowd to the new City Green park in June. (File/Phil Mosier) C - The Modera Sandy Springs on Roswell Road, about two blocks from City Springs, is among the mixed-use developments inspired by the City Center Master Plan. (Evelyn Andrews) D - A Google Maps Street View photo shows the old Target store that once stood roughly where the City Green park is today before demolition in 2014. (Special)

D

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CELEBRATE THE PERFORMING ARTS

AT CITY SPRINGS DAY AUGUST 11, 2018 Mark your calendar for City Springs Day on Saturday, August 11, 2018. The daylong celebration will include performances and activities for all ages taking place on the City Green and in the Studio Theatre. Enjoy a street party/carnival mash-up while relishing talented local artists and organizations including: Act3 Productions, Atlanta Ballet 2, the Atlanta Opera, Dance it Off, Roswell Dance Theatre, Franklin Pond Chamber Music and more! The day will also feature Circle Singing with New York-based musician, actor, street & solo performer Nick Demeris.

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AUGUST OPENING EVENTS City Springs Day August 11, 2018

Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018

Branford Marsalis Quartet August 11, 2018

Sutton Foster August 18, 2018

National Geographic Live with Wildlife Photographer, Steve Winter August 14, 2018

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival August 19, 2018

Joe Gransden Big Band, feat. Landau Eugene Murphy August 16, 2018

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10 | Special Section

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

The Performing Arts Center’s debut season For tickets and more information, see citysprings.com

OPENING CELEBRATION NATIONAL NIGHT OUT

Aug. 7, 6 p.m., City Green The free annual police-community relations event is not part of the arts lineup, but is moving to City Springs after years at Perimeter Mall and is another early chance to see the civic center.

CITY SPRINGS DAY

Aug. 11, activities all day. City Green, Studio Theatre and Byers Theatre City Springs Day will begin with the Farmers Market and include games and theatrical and musical entertainment.

STEVE WINTER: ON THE TRAIL OF BIG CATS: TIGER, COUGARS, AND SNOW LEOPARDS

Aug. 14, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre Part of the “National Geographic Live!” lecture series.

JOE GRANSDEN BIG BAND, FEATURING LANDAU EUGENE MURPHY Aug. 16, 8:30 p.m., Studio Theatre

STEINWAY CELEBRATION

Aug. 17, 8 p.m., Studio Theatre Kenneth Broburg and Daniel Hsu, the silver and bronze medalists of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, perform for the debut of City Springs’ concert grand piano.

BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET ►

SUTTON FOSTER

SPEAKER SERIES

ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS HEADING HOME

COLONEL (RETIRED) JILL W. CHAMBERS

Aug. 18, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

Aug. 19, 4:30 p.m., Byers Theatre A film about the underdog journey of Israeli’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic.

PERFORMING ARTS SERIES

KOBIE BOYKINS: EXPLORING MARS

TAJ MAHAL TRIO

March 14, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

Sept. 8, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

THE FUN SHOW WITH CAT AND NAT

PROF. ISAAC BEN-ISRAEL

Sept. 29, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

April 3, 8 p.m., Studio Theatre

LATE NIGHT TAILGATE

MIREYA MAYOR: PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE May 6, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

Oct. 25, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

Aug. 12, 8:30 p.m., CityView Terrace A surprise guest artist will perform following a concert by Electric Avenue at the nearby Heritage Sandy Springs on Blue Stone Road.

KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY Nov. 1, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER: NEW ORLEANS LIVE! Nov. 3, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

BOSTON BRASS: CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE SWINGIN’ Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

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12 | Commentary

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Commentary / As tariffs hit local business, think North America first Mexico’s trade with Georgia goes way beyond peaches and tequila. Most of what we trade are intermediate goods, as part of a complex and successful supply chain that has made our region the most efficient manufacturing hub in the world. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1993, Georgia’s exports to Mexico have increased by 781.8 percent, while those to the rest of the world have risen 356.6 percent. This means that Georgia’s export growth rate to Mexico is 2.2 times higher than its export growth rate towards Javier Díaz de León is the consul the rest of the world. As of togeneral of Mexico in Atlanta. SPECIAL day, Mexico ranks as Georgia’s third trading partner in the world and the second buyer of tiation leverage. We will remain vigilant for any unjustified goods from Georgia (Canada being the first). Mexican com- trade restriction and will exercise our rights to ensure that panies operate over 190 businesses in Georgia and provide the Mexican automotive industry is not adversely affected.” 3,900 local jobs. On the other hand, over 152,500 jobs in GeorIt is worth noting that the tax on foreign cars and auto gia rely on trading with Mexico. parts that the U.S. administration is considering is not only At the end of May, the U.S. federal administration an- opposed by the closest trade allies of the U.S., but also by auto nounced steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from manufacturers and makers of auto parts, who have warned some of its closest allies, including Mexico. As a response, that it would drive up the price of cars by thousands of dolMexico’s Ministry of the Economy imposed equivalent mea- lars and cause the loss of anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 sures to various U.S. products up to an amount comparable to jobs, depending on the extent of trade retaliation. the level of affectation. Regardless the size of the tariffs, the impact on overall exThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that these tar- ports and the ensuing retaliation, what we should focus on iffs threaten to spark a global trade war and represent a tax is how the narrative is changing on how we relate as neighincrease on American consumers and businesses, including bors in this common manufacturing space. For the last two manufacturers, farmers and technology companies, who will decades, Mexico, the United States and Canada have had a all pay more for commonly used products and materials. Re- free trade agreement with no tariffs on goods going back and taliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports forth. We have had disputes on several occasions, but the bawill make American-made goods more expensive, resulting sic consensus has been to settle them within the framework in lost sales and, ultimately, lost jobs. This scenario poten- of the NAFTA agreement. That is how we have been interacttially impacts 1,283,800 Georgia jobs supported by trade and ing with each other for the last 25 years, but now we face the over $749.8 million in Georgia exports to Mexico. need to update our agreement in a way that it better reflects Regarding the possibility of imposing tariffs on automo- current technological advances and new challenges to globbiles and auto parts to allegedly protect national security, al trade. during a recent Commerce Department hearing, Mexican Since 1993, we have built in North America the most efAmbassador to the United States Gerónimo Gutiérrez noted ficient and competitive manufacturing powerhouse in the the integrated nature of North American vehicle production, world. We must work together, as the three partners and alwhere parts can cross the border many times before a car is lies that we are, in order to find a way to consolidate our wincompleted. “Mexico stands firm against the use of a national win-win formula. North America first. security argument in an effort to restrict trade or gain nego-

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Commentary | 13

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Around Town

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

Raising the curtain on a new theater As Michael Enoch tells it, he got his first taste of big time rock-and-roll at age 14 by sneaking out with an older pal to see Led Zeppelin. Then, in college, he caught the theater bug. Enoch grew up in a small West Virginia town where his family had lived for generations. “I got out as soon as I could,” he said. After high school, he served in the Air Force and trained in electronics. After that, college. One day, Enoch’s roommate asked him to see if he could repair a damaged tape recorder in the theater department. He went just to fix the recorder, he recalled recently, but ended up hanging around, enamored by what he saw. “I got hooked,” he said. Many college students dabble in theater for a while and then move on, but with Enoch, the lure of the bright lights stuck. He found his place on the technical side of the show — the lights, sound, design. He graduated with a theater degree and found jobs at nearby performance venues, then moved on to jobs at other, larger venues. “I just liked being around theater,” he said. “The people I worked with doing shows were so different from where I grew up and what I did.” Over the past several decades, he’s traveled the world while working backstage. He’s run theaters, arenas, stadiums or convention centers scatJOE EARLE tered from Champaign, Ill., to Michael Enoch. Las Vegas, Nev., to Thailand and China, he said. “I have never really done anything else,” he said. Now, at age 64, he’s in a new job as general manager of Sandy Springs’ shiny new Performing Arts Center located in the $229 million City Springs development the city government built to be the new center of town. The performing arts facility is part of the same elegant, glass-fronted building that houses Sandy Springs City Hall. Enoch figures that when the new facility stages its first shows later this month, it will be the eleventh building he’s opened. “I’m excited to get started,” he said one recent afternoon as he walked through the building while construction workers made last-minute fixes here and there. “I’ve been a yearand-a-half now without doing a show. I just want to do a show.” The center features a 1,070-seat, three-level Broadway-style theater, a smaller 350-seat theater, rehearsal space and rooms for conventions. When it’s in full operation, it’ll provide spaces for anything from bar mitzvahs to operas, from weddings to lectures to open-air concerts with room for a couple of thousand people in the park outside. Enoch says the facility will host about 300 events a year (including Sandy Springs City Council meetings). “I have heard a few people who have not been here say we built a small, community theater,” he said. “That’s not what we built. We built a Broadway-level theater.” As general manager, Enoch oversees everything at the center from booking shows to food service. He’s ambitious for the place. There are a lot of venues in metro Atlanta where people can see a show, he admits, but he thinks the Sandy Springs center will find its niche. “We think we’re going to be the premiere event facility of our type in Atlanta,” he said. In the past, he’s worked with professional sports teams and run venues he says brought performers such as the Rolling Stones, Metallica and Tony Bennett to China. (Not U2, he said; the band couldn’t get government-issued work permits in China because they were too friendly with the Dalai Lama.) He argues City Springs’ shows may differ in scale, but not necessarily in quality. The big theater opens Aug. 11 with a performance by jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis. A week later, Broadway star Sutton Foster is scheduled. But as he talked about upcoming shows, Enoch seemed most eager to spotlight one set for the small theater on Aug. 16. In that one, the center has paired local jazz performer Joe Gransden and his big band with singer and “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy. Enoch said he met Murphy, a fellow West Virginian, in China. He calls the show “a match made in heaven.” Once it’s up and running, how will he determine whether City Springs is a success? “Success to me is to have a series of events and educational programs that bring a diversity of people into the site,” he said. “You’ll see millennials all the way to families. The mayor wants to make sure we have a diversity of programming so we have all sorts of people in the place. “What I see as success is when I hear people talking and saying this is the center of the community. And that this is where they bring their families. I’ll call that success.” BH

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14 | Community

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Green space added to Phipps Plaza hotel, tower expansion plan

Let’s talk about something retirement communities hardly ever mention. Accreditation. Because having the confidence and peace of mind of accreditation is important. So, let’s talk. The Piedmont at Buckhead is accredited by CARF International. It’s an independent organization that sets exceedingly high standards for care and service. It’s a lot like an accreditation for a hospital or college. Or a five-star rating for a hotel. But like most things in life, you have to see it to believe it. So, let’s talk some more at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.

I n de p e n de n t & A s s i s t e d L i v i ng

650 Phipps Boulevard NE • Atlanta, GA www.ThePiedmontatBuckhead.com • 404.381.1743

SIMON PROPERTY GROUP

A map shows the plan for the expansion, which includes a hotel, restaurant, office tower and fitness center and moving the existing Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Station 3.

Continued from page 1 demolition can begin. Simon Property Group, which owns both Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls, announced in late 2017 plans to bring the major expansion to Phipps Plaza. The plans include demolishing the Belk store at the north end of the mall. Belk has said it will not reopen in the area. The development would bring the first Nobu hotel and restaurant brand to Atlanta, a company co-founded by actor Robert De Niro. A two-level food hall is also planned that would bring an outdoor event space and about 20 food stalls, according to the plans. Simon began leasing the 13-story office tower, called One Phipps Plaza, in May. The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Station 3 is located underneath that parking deck, meaning it has to be moved. Construction has begun on the new station, which is planned to bring upgraded facilities in a slightly larger space. Simon has received its required demolition and building permits from the city, but has not yet set a date to begin building, spokesperson Haley Sheram said. Simon is still on track to begin this year and open the development in phases starting in 2020. The Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 12, a city zoning area that includes the mall, has finished its review of the plans after approving revised plans changed based on the group’s recommendations. The committee’s chief recommenda-

tion was to improve pedestrian access. SPI12 is set up in part to increase walkability in the area, which covers both the Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls. The committee expects a lot of pedestrian traffic due to the mall’s proximity to the Lenox and Buckhead MARTA stations, PATH400 and the planned multiuse trail on Lenox Road, according to the report. Because of that, the committee recommended Simon exceed the bicycle parking requirement of 50 bikes, but Simon said they plan to only meet the requirement, the report said. The committee was dissatisfied meeting with the developers for the first time in December, saying the Phipps Boulevard facade, the main entrance to the development, was an “unwelcoming fortress-like aesthetic.” Simon moved the existing staircase and added an additional staircase that accesses the new green space to be more visible and easier to use, according to a Simon presentation. The changes to the plan also included making the pedestrian entrance more visible and “inviting,” and improving lighting and signage to make access easier, the presentation said. The green space would be a more developed version of the grassy lot currently on the site now outside the parking deck. The plan would add trees and other plantings, a walkway and seating to the space. The committee encouraged Simon to “activate and enliven” the park space with programming, outdoor fitness and a play space, according to the report. BH


| 15

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

12 MORE AWARDS FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE W

General Excellence

e’re honored (again!) that Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards in its division in the Georgia Press Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Competition.

Business Writing (John Ruch) News Photography /3 awards (Phil Mosier)

Added to last year’s recognitions, the four Reporter editions have now won a total of 24 awards for editorial excellence in GPA competitions, which are

Lifestyle Column /2 awards (Robin Conte) Layout & Design /2 awards (Rico Figliolini) Enterprise Story (Dyana Bagby)

judged by newspaper professionals from around the country. Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who

Local News Coverage Newspaper Website

support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

Your #1 preferred source for local news and information!* MAY 12 - 25, 2017• VOL. 8 — NO.

MAY 26 - JUNE 8, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 11

FACEBOOK.COM/THEREPORTERNEWSPAPERS

Sandy Springs Reporter

TWITTER.COM/REPORTER_NEWS

Perimeter Business

► New law is a boost to local beer, whiskey crafters PAGE 4 ► Cuban sandwich shop mixes tastiness with tenacity PAGE 5

Dawn of a new church

10

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Dunwoody Reporter

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ERS

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► Eyed for trails, pipeline routes are serious business

Current City Hall site City proposes targeted for redevelopment $106 million

Little-known vet memorials | 8

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city is proposing a $106 million operating budget for fiscal year 2018, an increase of about a half-percent over the current year, officials said at a May 23

OUT & ABOUT Lantern Parade will light up the Hooch

Page 20 buys condos, displaces tenants

Page 16

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

JAN PAUL

Chairperson, Georgia Public Broadcasting

See Commentary, Page 14

GRUBB PROPERTIES

OUT & ABOUT Storyteller ‘Rosie the Riveter’ comes to town Page 19

BY JOHN RUCH

From documentaries on diversity and inclusion to community partnerships on autism awareness, GPB is an educational lifeline to millions of Georgia students, teachers and residents.

TERNEWSPAPERS

TWITTER.COM/REPORTER_N

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EWS

MARCH 3 -

on ► MARTA’s CEO speaks response to I-85 disaster PAGE 5

► ‘The good, the bad the ugly’ of 2017 legislative session

SPECIAL SECTION | P22-26

PAGE 14

City’s new medical center wants to grow

Mary Hall Freedom House, a nonprofit that helps women with homelessness and addiction issues, has bought 33 units of a Sandy Springs condominium complex for use as transitional housing and possible redevelopment into a larger facility or headquarters. One of the two dozen tenants currently renting those condo units is complaining about the “irony” of losing her home to an organization that helps the homeless. See HOMELESSNESS on page 22

I want to see a competition that celebrates our everyday Home Kitchen challenges. ... The Chairman would be the Original Iron Chef’s Mother-in-Law. Prizes are a month’s supply of lasagna and a spa weekend. A chef wins if her kids eat her food. Robin’s Nest, page 15

See CURRENT on page 22

DeKalb CEO: EMS response time improves BY DYANA BAGBY

dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Ambulance response times in the city are improving after changes were made by the private company contracted by DeKalb County to provide the emergency service, including hiring more staff, according to county officials. The City Council in December raised serious concerns with the DeKalb Fire & Rescue chief and the regional director of American Medical Response over ambulance response times in the city, noting there were numerous instances of ambuSee DEKALB on page 13

PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

on April 8 as part Corporate Boulevard page 19. of Peachtree Creek around For more photos, see a bank of the north fork “Sweep the Hooch” event. Volunteers clean up Riverkeeper’s annual of the Chattahoochee

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Passing on her culinary passion Page 27

I believe [President Trump] is strong enough to force Congress to break through this nonsense and get something done. DAVID PERDUE U. S. Senator

See PERDUE, page 21.

OUT & ABOUT Get grounded with Earth Day events Page 6

11 — NO. 5

FACEBOOK.COM

Glowing for a cause

BY DYANA BAGBY spapers.net dyanabagby@reporternew

A developer plans to build two residential towers and an office tower at Perimeter Center East, where Dunwoody City Hall now is located. Representatives from North Carolina-based Grubb Properties described their proposal, which is still in the concept stage, to the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association on May 7. The company owns about 19.5 acres in Perimeter Center East, with three mid-rise office buildings, one of which serves as City Hall. The property is behind the Ravinia complex off Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The city is relocating to a new City Hall

16, 2017 • VOL.

Buckhead Reporter

and

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.n et

percent decline. The police department would get a budget boost of more than 9 percent to about $22.8 million. Part of that is a salAbove, a a bird’s eye view of the proposed redevelopment in ary increase to remain competitive as Perimeter Center East includes, residential towers and a new office to the left, two new tower. In the State Patrol pay boost is attracting offiremain and have retail on the ground center are two current mid-rise office buildings that would floor. To the right are two new apartment Inset, an illustration of what the buildings. cers away from the department, city offistreetscape might look like in the development. cials said. The boost also includes hiring

EXCEPTIO 11 See CITY on pageNAL EDUCATOR ss literature Teaching Homelessne through life nonprofit

FACEBOOK.COM/THEREPOR

Picking up at Peachtree Creek

BY JOHN RUCH

PHIL MOSIER

VOL. 9 — NO. 8

Brookhaven Reporter

PAGE 6

FY2018 budget

home of St. Joseph Maronite to the first Mass, held Sunday, May 14, at the new Rev. Dominique Hanna welcomes his congregation the former building of Apostles St. Joseph moved from an Atlanta location into Catholic Church at Glenridge and Hammond drives. attended St. Joseph’s debut. financial turmoil. More than 400 parishioners Church, a Lutheran congregation that closed amid

Pages 18-19

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 •

► Buckhead company keeps ‘quirky’ old-school sodas fizzing

City Council meeting. The budget will take effect July 1. The council will hold public hearings on the budget on June 6 and June 20. The budget projects revenues of about $92 million, with money from a reserve fund balancing the expenditures. The revenue projection is about 1 percent higher than fiscal 2017. While most revenue sources are projected to increase, property taxes are expected to show a 2.2

EDUCATION Top of the Class

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/THEREPORTERN

EWSPAPERS

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► Historic locomotive makes tracks to Buckhead PAGE 4 SPECIAL SECTIO N | P22-27

Buckhead ma ster plan to allow more input on big ideas

Wearing glow necklaces and Garden Hills shirts with in the Garden Hills/Pe second annual Family reflective shoeprints, adults, Flashlight Fun achtree Park kids of all ages, Run, held Sunday Friends Group strollers and PHOTO BY volunteers, PHIL MOSIER dogs take benefits Childre evening, Feb. 26. The nearly 1-mile to the streets of n’s Healthcare race, organiz of Atlanta. More pictures, page ed by 18.►

BY DYANA BAGBY

apers.net

dyanabagby@reporternewsp

Classroom gam from math to es, Shakespeare

to the April 18 As the days tick down the open 6th Conspecial election to fill each of the 18 cangressional District seat, furiousPage are trying 28 didates in the large field from the pack. ly to separate themselves was at opportunity public The latest forum hosted by the April 9 candidate rs Association the Dunwoody Homeowne at Dunwoody High and Dunwoody Crier early voting in School. Voters are already seat that had been the election to fill the Tom Price, who reheld by Republican

See 6TH on page 18

OUT & ABOUT

[Students need] A very special more ‘reallife’ education scenarios: finan es, investing, c- performance of budgeting. A lot of ‘The kids graduate Wizard of Oz’ and don’t know how to balan ce a checkbook, Page but know how 6 to do some math problem with only symbols.”

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@rep orternewspape rs.net The Buckh ead master plan will keep on planning for a while. A Feb. 27 community meeting for the “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” scheduled to plan was be the last, but now input will continue into April to hash out some controversial ideas, said Eric Bosma lead consul n of tant Kimley -Horn. Those clude ideas inlarge and small for Buckhead’s commercial core, from a new terchange to Ga. 400 ina neighborhood trail loop. A crowd of about 100 at the Atlant Internationa a l School receive ing, 90-min d a sprawlute presen tation that rowed some narearlier ideas, others, and elaborated introduced still more concepts, all new while mingli ng short- and long-term plans. Several of its recommende steps” are alread d “first y underway, ing the PATH4 like finish00 trail along Ga. 400; some See BUCKHEAD on page 16

Massell: Buckhead getting bigger busier, wealth , ier

BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@repo

rternewspapers.

Residents grad on preparing e schools students for careers and civic life See COMMUNITY SURVEY Page 14

*Source: independent reader survey

www.ReporterNewspapers.net ■ Published by Springs Publishing LLC BH

reporternewspa pers.net

PAGE 5

of Atlanta is seekChildren’s Healthcare along the Northing to have 11.4 acres into the city of east Expressway annexed 8-story office Brookhaven for a proposed massive expansion of building as part of a at North Druid Hills its new 45-acre campus includes buyRoad and I-85. The expansion ing out a church. city officials say is It’s just part of what redevelopment commajor medical-related to the Execuing after years of anticipation tive Park area. request with annexation the filed CHOA is asking for a spethe city on April 5. It also for some of the propcial land-use permit the 8-story, 340,000erty in order to build on land currently square-foot building CHOA also wants zoned only for five stories. to build a parking deck. SLUP requests are The annexation and up by the Planning expected to be taken Council in June. Commission and City SLUP is approved “If the annexation and See CITY on page 20

6th District hopefuls squareEXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR off in debate

EPORTER_NEWS

► New prog ressive attracts activ group ists

net

Buckhead is big, busy and wealthy. And by 2020, it’ll be even bigger, wealthier. busier and So said Buckhe ad Coalition Sam Massel president l in his annual “State of the Community” address Feb. 23 at the City Club of Buckhe ad, hosted by the Buckhead Business Associa tion. Massell listed branding points” several “bragging and projecting the the neighborhood booms in ’s population, real estate See MASSELL on page 17


16 | Art & Entertainment

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GET ACTIVE DIVE INTO SHABBAT - POOL PARTY AT THE MJCCA

BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

DUNWOODY

SANDY SPRINGS

PERFORMANCES SUNDAYS ON THE RIVER CONCERT

Sunday, Aug. 12, 6-9:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket or chairs and have a picnic as you take in the sounds of blues, jazz and Americana delivered by The Electromatics in the next Sundays on the River Concert at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Cash bar. $12-$18; children 2 and under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

Friday, Aug. 10, 5-7 p.m. Celebrate Shabbat at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s outdoor pool and splash pad. Bring your own picnic or potluck to share. Open swim begins at 5 p.m. followed by Shabbat songs and blessings at 6 p.m. Drinks and snacks available for purchase. Free. Also, free ice pops, challah and grape juice. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/diveintoshabbat. Weather hotline on afternoon of the event: 678-812-4011.

DATE NIGHT RIVER CANOE TRIP

Fridays, Aug. 17 and 24, 6 p.m. Chattahoochee Nature Center canoe guides will lead this 2.5-hour adult-only evening paddle. Learn all about the Chattahoochee River and look for wildlife with naturalists. When the trip is done, roast marshmallows over a campfire. Ages 21+. $35; $30 CNC members. 135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

BROOKHAVEN COMMUNITY BIKE RIDE

Saturday, Aug. 18, 2 p.m. Join the Brookhaven Bike Alliance for monthly community rides at varying locations. Rides cancelled in inclement weather. Aug. 18 location is Skyland Park, 2600 Skyland Drive, Brookhaven. Info: facebook. com/groups/BrookhavenBikeAlliance.

KIDS AND FAMILIES LITTLE DIGGERS: MOSS TERRARIUM

Saturday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. Kids will learn about moss and terrarium environments and make a terrarium to take home and nurture. Little Diggers is a free family gardening series presented monthly through October by Heritage Sandy Springs. Best suited for ages 6-10 with accompanying adult. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, Mount Vernon Highway at City Springs, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL

CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS

Sunday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. The group Electric Avenue presents ’80s hits in this installment of Heritage Sandy Springs’ 22nd annual outdoor summer concert series. Picnic baskets and coolers welcome. Free. Food and beer, wine, sodas and water available for sale. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

A Place Where You Belong

Saturday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual Butterfly Festival is back at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Participants can explore three huge tents full of free-roaming butterflies and enjoy live animal encounters, arts and crafts, live music and a nature scavenger hunt. Food and drink concessions. $10 adults; $5 ages 4-12; younger children free. Advance purchase tickets are $8 adults and $4 ages 4-12. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org/butterfly.

Spend the day or evening on the Town! Discover over 50 shops, services and restaurants. Town Brookhaven is truly your one stop shopping and dining destination with a blend of interesting boutiques, delicious restaurants and useful services.

www.townbrookhaven.net Conveniently located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University. BH


Art & Entertainment | 17

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

STORYTELLING SATURDAY FEATURING CARMEN AGRA DEEDY

GENERAL GARDEN PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS

Saturday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Carmen Agra Deedy, the author of 11 books for children including “14 Cows for America,” a New York Times best-seller, will appear for two 45-minute storytelling sessions in an event including a book signing, art-making workshops, and family-friendly tours of the History Center’s “¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South” exhibit. Deedy’s narratives are culled from her childhood as a Cuban refugee in Decatur. Included with general admission; free for Atlanta History Center members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Ticket info: AtlantaHistoryCenter.com.

Saturday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m. to noon. Master Gardener Richard Oosterholtz addresses common garden problems at this month’s Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard Master Gardener Session. Refreshments served. Free. DCGO greenhouse complex in Brook Run Park, opposite the skate park. 4770 Georgia Way South, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.

PARTIES WITH A PURPOSE SPIRITS FOR SPRUILL Tuesday, Aug. 14, 6-9 p.m.

BUCKHEAD TABLETOP ROLEPLAYING CLUB

Ongoing Wednesdays through Dec. 19, 6-7 p.m. Middle school and high school students interested in questing for treasure, exploring vast foreign lands and battling fierce monsters are invited to play “Fantasy AGE” every Wednesday at the Buckhead Library. Ages 12+. No experience necessary. Registration required. 269 Buckhead Ave. N.E., Buckhead. Info: Sign up by emailing Ruben Lebron at Ruben.lebron@fultoncountyga.gov or call the Buckhead Library at 404-814-3500.

LEARN SOMETHING

Wander through the Sculpture Garden and check out the Spruill Gallery’s Student & Faculty Juried Exhibition in an evening of support for the Spruill Center for the Arts. Hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and a signature cocktail. $40 includes two drink tickets. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs. Info: spruillarts.org/spiritsforspruill.

COMMUNITY FOODSTOCK 2018

Ongoing Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Meditation classes open to all levels are offered every Wednesday at the nonprofit Georgia Meditation Center. $5. 4522 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: meditationcircle.org.

Saturday, Aug. 11, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, in partnership with Rise Against Hunger and Simpsonwood United Methodist Church, will bring together 1,200 community volunteers to assemble more than 300,000 dehydrated meals for children in need around the world. Volunteers are needed to bag the meals in two-hour shifts. 1549 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Registration: foodstock.us.

KNOWLEDGEWISE SPEAKER SERIES

NEWCOMERS MEET AND GREET

MEDITATION CLASSES

Thursday, Aug. 9, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta invites adults ages 60+ to hear presentations on topics ranging from wellness to international affairs on select Thursdays. Free for first-time attendees; $5 for subsequent sessions. Aug. 9 speaker is Dr. Jillian Whatley of the Atlanta Public Schools, who will discuss sex and human trafficking. Berman Commons, 2026 Womack Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/ama.

Northside

The Dunwoody Newcomers Club is sponsoring a Meet and Greet Tea Party on Wednesday August 15th from 7-9pm. This event is open to current and prospective members. There is no charge, but an RSVP is required to attend. The DNC is a social organization for women residing in the Dunwoody area fewer than three years. Established as a secular, non-political, non-profit organization, its objective is to foster friendship and fun through various monthly activities. Until August 31st, long time residents who have never previously belonged, may join the Club. For more information about DNC and this special event, contact our membership team at: membership@dunwoodynewcomers.com.

Heart

NorthsideHeart.com We are proud to serve the Atlanta community with the highest standard of cardiovascular care. Our board-certified physicians serve each patient with the latest technologies and treatments, and work with referring physicians to optimize treatment plans and individualize care. One of the largest cardiology groups in the North Atlanta area, we offer 8 locations throughout the Metro and Greater Atlanta areas.

We offer services for complete cardiovascular care, including:

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Visit our website for Information on our six other convenient locations


18 | Food & Drink

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Food for Thought Bringing upscale Mexican dining to Sandy Springs’ new downtown BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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An upscale Mexican restaurant with the ambitious name Casi Cielo — “Almost Heaven” — is coming to the new City Springs district, where Sandy Springs is making its own ambitious attempt to create a new downtown. Casi Cielo, under construction now in the Modera Sandy Springs mixed-use development at 6125 Roswell Road, comes from the owners of La Parrilla, an Atlanta-based chain that is the official Mexican restaurant SPECIAL of the Atlanta United soccer team. Juan Fernando Henao of Casi Cielo. Casi Cielo, an upscale casual dining restaurant focuses on an Oaxacan menu. Oaxaca, a state in southwestern Mexico, is known for its indigenous people and cultures, including food focusing on cheese, mezcal, grasshoppers and chocolate. The 135-seat restaurant with a patio is expected to open in late August and is just a stone’s throw from the new City Springs, a $229 million mixeduse civic center. For updates, see casicieloatl.com. The menu from Executive Chef Juan Ruiz of Bogota, Colombia, will feature specialties such as sous-vide and charcoal-baked octopus and lobster, foie gras meatballs with tenderloin tartar, mole sauce, grasshopper salt for cocktails and chocolate lava cake with guajillo chili. Ruiz is making his debut in the U.S. at Casi Cielo after working at Michelin star restaurants in Panama and Spain. Juan Fernando Henao is vice president of Casi SPECIAL Cielo. He started Left, the working at his famtype of rib-eye steak Casi Cielo ily business, La Parrilexpects to serve. la, when he 16, and has worked in all areas of the Below, octopus tacos are among the dishes expected restaurant industry, from to be on Casi Cielo’s menu. dishwasher on up. We asked him about the new restaurant.

Q. Why did you choose to open in Sandy Springs? A. Sandy Springs has grown so much in the past few years and has truly become one of the best areas for restaurants, businesses and the community members in general. We chose a mixed development space for Casi Cielo because it guarantees foot traffic. Sandy Springs is also a very central location and is only a short drive away from all of the greater Atlanta area neighborhoods. Lastly, Roswell Road has become one of the best streets to go out to eat in Atlanta. This area is really

BH


Food & Drink | 19

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net booming with culture and we felt like Atlanta was ready for this other version of authentic, refined Mexican food.

Q.

How did you decide on the name of the restaurant, which translates in English to “Almost Heaven”?

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It has been a benchmark in the language, standing for something that is very hard to reach. The word “cielo” [“sky” or “heaven”] in Spanish is a very beautiful word in itself but it also has both spiritual and magical aspects in the Spanish language. For example, as a kid, when you ask your parents, “How much do you love me?”, your parents would respond, “To the sky.”

Q. How was Chef Juan Ruiz selected for Casi Cielo?

A. I met him through mutual friends in

the food and beverage industry, but what really got my attention was his passion for traveling and cooking and how is passion showed whenever he began talking about food. He has worked in so many different countries with distinct cultures and has learned how to cook for people with differing backgrounds. He’s the type of chef that enjoys a nice meal in a Michelin star restaurant, but will also eat tacos in a plaza in Mexico. As a person, a friend and a husband, he is someone you want to be around. Essentially, we knew he was the right fit for Casi Cielo due to his passion for good food, his immense knowledge of culture and his talent in the kitchen.

Q.

What was it like growing up and working at La Parilla?

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20 | Special Section

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Fire Mountain Inn

Unwind in the Hills

North Georgia and Blue Ridge getaways include inns, bed &breakfasts, cabins and treehouses BY KATHY DEAN More than a few Atlantans have found the perfect place to get recharged and refreshed — the north Georgia and Blue Ridge mountains. They enjoy cool temperatures, breathtaking natural landscapes and a relaxed lifestyle. The mountains also offer friendly mountain communities and opportunities for activities like golf, fishing, boating and hiking. “Our guests say that when they head here and first see the mountains in the distance, the stress just melts away and they feel lighter,” said Joan Chambers of Pinnacle Cabin Rentals. “Take a ride down any country road, roll down the windows, smell that sweet country air and listen to some great tunes; it will transform you.” Pinnacle Cabin Rentals, in Helen, Ga., offers luxury cabins ranging in size from one to eight bedrooms that typically have gorgeous views, are near water and offer guests what they want, whether it’s peace and quiet or nearby activities like fishing and hiking. “Our cabins are clean, well-stocked and well maintained,” Chambers said. “We White Birch Inn have very high standards and our guests appreciate that. They tell us we have the best cabins in the Helen area, and once they found us, they come back again and again.” The White Birch Inn is located on the square of downtown Clayton, Ga., allowing easy access to all the shops and restaurants. Owners Chuck and Brenda Patterson offer personalized service and small but important touches that include daily wine and cheese in the lounge. “We have six individually decorated guestrooms and suites, two of which have fireplaces,” Brenda said. All the rooms feature impeccably clean and elegantly rustic interiors with unique furnishings and plush bedding. “Our manager also serves as an adventure concierge,” she said. “And our sister business, White Birch Provisions, is a coffeehouse and bakery just a few doors down from us.” It’s important to note that The White Birch Inn has policies of no smoking, no pets and no children under 12. While there’s no bad time to visit the area, Brenda said that Thanksgiving is a festive weekend with The Turkey Trot, Christmas in Clayton and the Festival of Trees. “In spring,

we have Celebrate Clayton, always the last weekend in April,” she said. “It’s a highquality arts festival.” Off the beaten path, Lakemont, Ga. is a small, historic arts village that’s minutes away from world-famous Tallulah Gorge. The only public lodgBlue Ridge Inn ing facilities in town are The Historic Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant, just across from the beautiful Lake Rabun, and the recently opened Lake Rabun Fish Camp. “Our unique mountain lodge and Fish Camp offer guests an escape from technology and the fast pace of urban life,” said Josh Addis, General Manager at Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant, “a reminder that our history is steeped in the love of nature, family and places to reconnect with what matters most.” The award-winning restaurant features farm fresh local ingredients creatively prepared, and concierge services for guests provide custom designed reservations, maps and guides to a vast array of mountain and lake adventures. There’s a long list of activities to choose from, including boating, fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, zip lining, golfing and hiking, as well as waterfall and winery tours. Visitors appreciate the outstanding service and hospitality, as well as the unique, authentic mountain lodge, which has been “restored by a preservationist and features aged heart pine walls, large stone fireplaces, native locust balconies, charming, upscale furnishings and beautiful grounds,” Addis said. The child and pet friendly Lake Rabun Fish Camp is a beautiful woodland gathering place consisting of five two-bedroom cottages, with living and dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens and a large deck nestled in the woods. Lake Rabun Hotel gets especially busy in summer and fall, but it’s a year-round resort. As Addis explained, “Hiking is a favorite all seasons activity in the north Georgia mountains along the nearby Appalachian and Bartram Trails.” The Blue Ridge area and north Georgia mountains have activities for everyone, according to Jon Edenfield, General Manager at Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast. “Whether you Continued on page 22 BH


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 21

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22 | Special Section

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Lake Rabun Hotel

Continued from page 20 want an active outdoor itinerary of kayaking, hiking and fishing or a more leisurely day of shopping for antiques, local art and dining, it’s all here for you,” he said, adding that The Blue Ridge Bed and Breakfast is in the center of it all. “The fall foliage is exceptional in the north Georgia mountains and just one of the reasons why so many come here,” he said. One of the oldest residences in historic Blue Ridge, Ga., the Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast is a three-story, Victorian home that features eight guest rooms, fireplaces, 12-foot ceilings, original handcarved woodwork and claw foot tubs. The inn provides exceptional service, personal attention and traditional Southern hospitality. “There are many choices for people to stay in the area, whether in a cabin tucked away in the mountains or a quaint bed and breakfast,” Edenfield said. “My best advice is to book early especially during the fall, local festival weekends or holidays. Many places book a year in advance.” Ed and Luci Kivett, innkeepers at GlenElla Springs Inn, said that while their season runs April through November, “… spring and fall tend to be our busiest times, with October typically being our busiest month.” Glen-Ella Springs Inn, over a century old, is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Tallulah Falls and Clarkesville. “Our historic bed and breakfast has the perfect atmosphere for a romantic getaway, a gathering of family and friends, a corporate retreat or a North Georgia destination wedding venue,” said Ed. “It’s also one of the finest dining experiences in north Georgia.” He added that the goal at Glen-Ella Springs is to delight each guest and enrich their experience through a combination of an inspiring environment, outstanding food and exceptional service. “We offer

great seasonal packages and other amenities,” he said, and suggested that visitors experience all the fantastic activities and attractions in north Georgia. The Highlands-Cashier Plateau in North Carolina has a lot to offer as well. Due to the high elevation, the town of Highlands generally runs about 15 degrees, and Cashiers is normally about 10 degrees, cooler than Atlanta. “The approximately two-hour drive from Atlanta is just enough time to leave your cares behind and watch your daily distractions disappear in the rearview mirror,” said Amanda Sullivan, Marketing Director of Old Edwards Hospitality Group. “As soon as you turn onto the mountain road leading into Highlands, you start to feel yourself fill up with a new energy, a relaxation that continues for your entire time in Highlands.” Set along one of the East’s highGlen Ella est ridges, Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, N.C., is a world-class retreat known for its European-style luxury and peaceful, rustic setting. It features Old Edwards Club, an 18hole, Tom Jackson-designed championship golf course as well as clay tennis courts and panoramic views. Old Edwards Inn also has two sister properties — 200 Main and Half-Mile Farm — so visitors can find the ideal spot for their getaways. 200 Main boasts a Main Street location that’s perfect for exploring local shops, restaurants and galleries and well-appointed rooms and suites designed with a blend of rustic and modern mountain chic. “On property, guests can relax in hammocks in a parklike setting on the shady hillside,” Sullivan said. Half-Mile Farm is a luxury country inn set on 14 tranquil acres with a garden and private lake. The secluded retreat is reserved for guests 18 and older. “All three Continued on page 24


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DISCOVER

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Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This is not intended to be an offer to sell nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate in Old Toccoa Farm by residents of Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania or South Carolina, or any other jurisdiction where prohibited by law. No offering can be made to residents of New York OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC AND ITS PRINCIPALS TAKING PART IN THE PUBLIC OFFERING OR SALE ARE NOT INCORPORATED IN, LOCATED IN, OR RESIDENT IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THE OFFERING IS NEITHER MADE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK NOR MADE TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THE OFFERING IS NOT DIRECTED TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK BY, OR ON BEHALF OF, OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC OR ANYONE ACTING WITH OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC’S KNOWLEDGE. NO OFFERING OR PURCHASE OR SALE OF ANY PROPERTY SHALL TAKE PLACE AS A RESULT OF THIS OFFERING, UNTIL ALL REGISTRATION AND FILING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE NEW YORK MARTIN ACT AND THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL’S REGULATIONS ARE COMPLIED WITH; A WRITTEN EXEMPTION IS OBTAINED PURSUANT TO AN APPLICATION IS GRANTED PURSUANT TO AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH COOPERATIVE POLICY STATEMENTS #1 OR #7; OR A “NO-ACTION” REQUEST IS GRANTED.


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Laurelwood Inn

Continued from page 22

to enjoy the peace and quiet and to relax in front of a roaring fire,” he said. Winter acproperties offer heated outdoor mineral tivities include snowtubing, sledding and pools, heated marble bath floors, hand-sehiking and star-gazing. lected décor, fine Italian linens, corporate Autumn is one of the big draws for visimeeting spaces and access to Old Edwards tors to Cashiers, N.C. In additional to viewClub,” Sullivan said. ing the colorful leaves in fall, “the sumShe suggested that guests call the hotel mer is a great time for families to enjoy the directly as all three properties are booked cool weather, hiking, fishing and, of course, seeing all the beautiful waterfalls,” said Kathy Korb, Manager at Laurelwood Inn, which offers unique lodging accommodations at a reasonable price. The inn is in the heart of Cashiers, but Korb says that the Pinnacle Cabin Rentals property backs up to four acres of wooded land. “It’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “You can walk to the nearthrough central reservations, so guests can by shops and restaurants — including Whget help determining the right property iteside Brewing Co., Cashiers first and only and perfect room type. “None of the hotels microbrewery that serves amazing food — are cookie cutter and there are many variabut still enjoy the beautiful grounds with tions to choose from,” Sullivan said. the feel of being in the mountains.” The Highlands area is a retreat from the Many guests take advantage of the nearoutside world where guests come to expeby Blue Ridge Mountains hiking trails and rience cool, clean mountain air and to eswaterfalls or spend a day shopping in the cape the stresses of daily life, according to Mathew Gillen of Fire Mountain Inn, Cabins & Treehouses, a mountaintop resort on the western edge of the plateau. “The average mean temp in July is 67 degrees. We offer a true, restful mountain experience,” he said. Fire Mountain is located in the Nantahala National Forest and adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is within a few miles of the Sumter National Forest Old Edwards Inn and Chattahoochee National Forest. The inn welcomes guests all year long, but Gillen noted, “Fall season many antique and gift shops, she added. starts in October, and our mountaintop Whether looking for natural beaucomes alive with color that draws people ty and relaxed settings or a wide range of from all over the southeast and abroad to recreational opportunities, Atlantans have view the spectacular changing of the leaves. learned that it’s all easy to find when they During the winter months our guests come head for the hills.

WHERE TO STAY Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast 477 W 1st St., Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513 706-661-7575 or blueridgeinnbandb.com Glen-Ella Springs Inn 1789 Bear Gap Road, Clarkesville, Ga. 30523 706-754-7295 or glenella.com

SPECIALISTS ON THE PLATEAU WITH AN INTERNATIONAL REACH

Laurelwood Inn 58 Hwy. 107 N., Cashiers, N.C. 28717 800-346-6846 or laurelwoodinncashiers.com Old Edwards Inn & Spa 445 Main St., Highlands, N.C. 28741 866-526-8008 or oldedwardsinn.com

Fire Mountain Inn 700 Happy Hill Rd., Scaly Mountain, N.C. 28775 800-775-4446 or firemt.com

Pinnacle Cabin Rentals 8063 Main St., Helen, Ga. 30545 888-906-4334 or pinnaclecabinrentals.com

Lake Rabun HoteI 35 Andrea Lane, Lakemont, Ga. 30552 800-398-5134 or lakerabunhotel.com

The White Birch Inn 28 E Savannah St, Clayton, Ga. 30525 706-782-4444 or thewhitebirchinn.net


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

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Release the Kraken!

You won’t find sea monsters, but there’s plenty of adventure at Kraken Springs Scuba

BY GRACE HUSETH Want to learn to scuba dive, but don’t want to drive to the coast? Drive just 45 minutes north of the city and you’ll find plenty of underwater adventure at Kraken Springs Scuba and Watersports Park. Kraken Springs is just off I-75 in White, Ga., actually the same exit as two other popular attractions, Tellus Science Museum and Old Car City. The former quarry is constantly replenished by underground water, while limestone acts as a natural filter and fosters an abundance of freshwater fish. Back in the 1950’s, the quarry excavated stone that built the Allatoona Dam, but when workers hit an aquafer, bubbling fresh spring water turned the pit into a reservoir. Dive Georgia saw potential in the ever-refreshing spring and started operating dives there in 2016. Pat Smith, facility manager for Kraken Springs, said scuba diving takes con-

fidence and concentration, but it’s also a form of centering. “It’s like meditating — you focus on your breathing, you focus on relaxing, being one with the water and floating,” Smith said. “Imagine you are a hot air balloon floating through the sky — that’s what you are doing underwater.” Many think being a strong swimmer is a prerequisite for scuba, but the sport is more of a mental than physical challenge. The gear for scuba diving can be heavy: one tank of compressed air is 35 pounds, the buoyancy vest adds another 10, and the tight wetsuit usually requires a two person job to tug on and leaves divers staggering to the water. Much thought and planning goes into each dive to prevent nitrogen build up in the body and decompression sickness. However, the end result is feeling weightless underwater.

Lake Dining & Lodging at it’s Best Reserve your room or table at 706-782-4946 or book online at lakerabunhotel.com


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Teaching at Kraken Springs

Kraken Springs is the only recreational open water diving resort in the state and is used for training and checkoff dives on the path to becoming scuba certified. My scuba instructor for the day, Asher Garrett, got his certification at Kraken Springs and now teaches new divers how to explore the springs. The Kennesaw State University biology major got his open water certification in 2015 and has now logged over 300 dives at Kraken Springs. He’s young for a dive instructor, but his experience and confidence in the water builds the trust of his students. In the future, Garrett aspires to get certified to teach with Diveheart, an organization that brings adaptive scuba to those with disabilities. “Once you have all the background knowledge and know what you are doing, scuba diving is not a hard sport,” Garrett said. “Scuba is one of those things where it doesn’t matter who you are or what your limits are, you can jump in and [the water] equalizes everyone.” With much patience, Garrett adapted his dive plans to meet my rusty scuba skills and took me for a full tour of the wonderfully whimsical things underwater at Kraken Springs. Since the spring doesn’t boast the same sea life as ocean dives, Kraken Springs has sunk a variety

of jet skis, sculptures and boats to lure divers deeper. At just 15 feet under the surface we saw a sunken jet ski, driven by a skeleton of a pirate who did not get away with his booty. It was eerie to come across a dark blob, only to discover an abandoned sailboat. Kraken Springs was clear with quite high visibility despite a mild algae bloom every summer.

The Practice Pond

The first dock at Kraken Springs drops down to 130 feet. With varying stages of diving depths, the springs are used for working up to deeper dives. At 35 feet, divers can explore a bay liner and further down at 45 feet is the excavator that was used during the mining of the rock. At 60 feet rests the Sea Breeze — a cabin cruiser — and a big yellow school bus stripped of seats and windows to be used for wreck diving training. Even deeper are sunken cars and training platforms at technical-diving depths. The only thing limiting divers from experiencing these sunken treasures is certification levels (basic open water divers cannot exceed 60 feet) and the ability to not only keep your cool, but be fine with cooler water. The most challenging part of my dive was mentally preparing for the chilly temperature that awaited me at the bottom. As much as I wanted to explore the Sea Breeze, my frozen fingers would not

Escape to the Mountains

let me continue. Seasoned diver Jonathan Arnett is not fazed by the temperatures in deep water. Since 1996, Arnett has logged 264 dives, meticulously recorded in his logbook. Since he only lives 20 minutes away, the Technical Communication professor at Kennesaw State University dives at Kraken Springs nearly every weekend to train for the PADI Tec40 technical diving certification. He has a variety of wetsuits and drysuits, including a 400 gm jumpsuit, that allows him to experience water in the mid-40s and seek out sunken cars at depths of 130 feet. “This is my practice pond,” Arnett said. “The Tec40 will prepare me to go to more interesting places in the Caribbean. There are some really deep spots that are supposed to be beautiful and I can’t get to them — yet.”

Thoughtful Therapy

While the mission of Kraken Springs is to offer a unique opportunity to escape to the underwater world, Pat Smith’s personal mission is to use scuba as meditation for fellow veterans. Smith spent 25 years in the Army, but is now an Underwater Criminal Investigator in Columbus, Ga. He also teaches public safety and underwater investigation and stresses the seriousness of diving to dig through the muck and mud to recover crucial evidece. When he’s not on the job he’s

VACATION RENTALS

still in the water, camping out at Kraken Springs during the weekend to teach scuba courses. Smith encourages those also suffering from PTSD and depression to see scuba as a form of active relaxation that helps the mind refresh and refocus. “It’s a release from the world’s problems. All that stuff goes away. You are relaxing, but relaxing isn’t always lying on your back, taking a nap or turning to a bottle,” he said.

Dip a Toe

The first step to the healing waters is to get certified as an open water diver. Kraken Springs’ partnership with Dive Georgia in Woodstock uses pool facilities and Kraken Springs to get divers certified in as quickly as two weekends. In addition to scuba, Kraken Springs welcomes snorkeling, and non-motorized small watercraft on the springs such as kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards for a watersports entry fee of $35. After a morning of panting as I pulled on my wet suit, breathing easy underwater, shivering as I descended into colder water and sailed in smooth, warm water, I sunned like a turtle on a stand up paddleboard and felt accomplished. Learn more about hours and pricing at krakensprings.com. Those interested in scuba diving training can call Dive Georgia in Woodstock at 404-285-8600.

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Parks & Recreation

State parks and rivers offer recreation, history and more BY COLLIN KELLEY North Georgia is home to some of the state’s most scenic — and popular — parks. If you’re planning a move to the mountains or even just looking for a weekend getaway, these state parks offer recreation, history and fun for all ages.

Hardman Farm

Georgia’s newest state park, which opened in 2015, is the 173-acre Hardman Farm located in historic Sautee Nacoochee, just south of Helen. The farm is best known for a favorite landmark: The gazebo-topped Nacoochee Mound, a burial site probably used long before the Cherokee inhabited the area, which sits in the middle of verdant cow pasture. Visitors can make reservations for guided tours of the house and dairy barn. The house, built in 1870 by Captain James Nichols, is a grand example of Italianate architecture and was originally known as “West End” because it was at the west end of the Nacoochee valley. Visitors will enjoy seeing the house, with its 19th-century parlor, original lighting, and interesting telephone and climate control system. The large barn was the focal point of Nacoochee Dairy that operated from

1910 until the mid-1920s. During tours, guests will learn how milk was processed and transported in the past, plus they will see a spring house and former horse barn. The last owner of this property was the family of Dr. Lamartine Hardman who was governor of Georgia from 1927 to 1931. The farm was preserved and donated to the state of Georgia in 1999. For reservations and more information about events and activities at the farm, visit gastateparks.org/HardmanFarm.

Amicalola Falls

At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascade in Georgia. There are various options on how to best view the tumbling waters, ranging from an accessible pathway to a challenging trail with staircases. Those who tackle the latter can join the park’s Canyon Climbers Club. An 8.5mile trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the famous 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail. For more information, visit gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls.

Etowah River Water Trail

With the exception of the upper reaches of the river (Hightower and

Tallulah Gorge offers spectacular views.

Etowah Falls sections), Etowah is rated as a Class I river with fast water interrupted occasionally by small shoals and rapids, and is suitable for novice paddlers. Scenery along the river ranges from wild (Headwaters, Dawson Forest and other sections) as it winds through national forests and state wildlife management areas to rural and even urban. The river is home to more Native American fish weirs than are found on all other Georgia rivers combined and historic sites, including the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, dot its banks from Dawsonville to Rome. The river passes through three state wildlife management areas (Dawson Forest, McGraw Ford and Allatoona), the Chattahoochee National Forest and numerous

local parks. For more information, visit etowahwatertrail.org.

Tallulah Gorge

Try your hand at deep gorge rock climbing at Tallulah Gorge, which is two-miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda. For more, visit gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge.

Mountain Towns

Shopping, dining and attractions beckon in North Georgia BY COLLIN KELLEY If you’re visiting or thinking of buying a home in the North Georgia Mountains, you’ll obviously be looking for peace and quiet. But you’ll also want to be near shopping, restaurants and activities when you need a break from rustic living. Here are a few suggestions.

Helen The Bavarian-styled town is often overcrowded with tourist traps, but Helen also has its charms. Oktoberfest offers kitschy fun, while the annual Balloon Race in June is a must-see. Unicoi State Park is just north of town, offering swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and playgrounds.

Cleveland The town bills itself as the “gateway to the mountains” and has plenty to offer in the way of shopping and dining. The historic courthouse square area has eclectic shops, restaurants and even a soda foun-

tain. The old courthouse has been turned into an interesting museum, but Cleveland was really put on the map as the home of the Cabbage Patch Kids. Be sure to visit Babyland General Hospital to see how the kids are born and maybe adopt a new bundle of joy.

is in bloom April to late May with more than 3,000 azaleas and rhododendrons.

Dahlonega

The town is home to The Hambidge Center, a nationally known retreat for writers and artists, and Southern victuals mecca The Dillard House is nearby. Wolf Valley has Helen’s alpine village is full of restaurants and shops. become a favorite antique and craft shops, restaurants and spot for photogratwo vineyards to explore. For the advenphers to capture images of the waterfalls. turous, go white-water rafting on the ChatThe Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School offers tooga River or wander through the Chatevents and theater productions year round. tahoochee National Forest, which offers Clayton camping and trails for horse enthusiasts, waterfalls and overlooks. This mountain town has a multitude of

The town was made famous as the site of the first major gold rush in the U.S., but is now known for its vineyards and wineries. After you’ve had a tipple, head to the town square to visit the shops, restaurants and art galleries. The annual Gold Rush Festival in October attracts thousands to the city.

Hiawassee Located along the Appalachian Trail, Hiawassee is home to Lake Chatuge, a TVA reservoir popular for swimming, boating, jet skiing, paddling, sport fishing, and other water sports. The Georgia Mountain Fair is held at the fairgrounds each summer and the Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden

Rabun Gap


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55+ Condo for Lease or Lease/Purchase – Renovated condo in Sandy Springs for 55+ active adults. $2495 per month includes all utilities, housekeeping plus more. Contact Kim at 404-4148307 or kim@dunwoodybrokers.com. Lease or lease to own options.

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5505 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 412 | Atlanta, GA 30342

The mansion at 4499 Garmon Road as it appears on the rental site MansionHouseAtlanta.com.

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and raised more questions than answers about the future of the palatial estate at 4499 Garmon Road N.W., which music star Kenny Rogers once called home. The woman who says she’s the new owner — she asked to be identified only by her first name, Tasia — said in an interview that the sale of the mansion, whose owners of record have a complicated financial and legal history, has yet to close. And the city’s top building official said a promoter was still advertising a sold-out, no-refunds party at the property for Aug. 17. In the days after the meeting, city officials did not respond to questions about the next steps with the newly claimed owner. Whatever happens at the home near the Buckhead/Sandy Springs border, city officials are concerned about coping with the arrival of the national trend of renting mansions for parties staged by professional promoters. Atlanta City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit said he’s working on legislation to “tighten the screws” on such parties. “It’s illegal. It’s impacting our neighborhood, and we’re going to stop it,” Matzigkeit told roughly 100 residents at the July 24 meeting, held at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. Commercial party venues are already illegal in residential areas, but complicated ownership issues have made enforcement and citations a problem on Garmon Road, officials said. For many residents, that wasn’t good enough, as they complained of at least 23 parties in the past seven months, creating noise and traffic with up to 300 guests and sometimes with alcohol served. Promoters even delivered guests by helicopter and displayed an AR-15-style rifle on social media as security, residents say, citing videos and social media posts. A Fourth of July party, where hit rapper Fabolous was among the hosts, was criticized as especially loud and disturbing.

Meanwhile, city officials are proactively warning promoters away from the Garmon mansion and already got one party relocated to a Buckhead commercial venue. Tasia said she accepted “full responsibility” for the Fourth of July party and claimed any ticketing or advertising was done by friends without her knowledge. But she also complained of police “harassment” and unequal treatment, and a friend who helped organize that party suggested that race played a role in neighbors’ complaints. They identified themselves and spoke at the meeting only after another attendee got very close to them and repeatedly took photos of them, despite their objections. “Honestly, we felt like we were being attacked for being African-American,” said the friend, who asked to remain anonymous in an interview, referring to neighborhood complaints of strippers and “vice” that he said were inaccurate. He said social media images of women at a party were misinterpreted as strippers “just because they were black and in bathing suits.” He said the July 4 party was primarily a fundraiser that brought in $5,000 for a Morehouse College alumni group. One neighbor said he lives directly across the street from the mansion and has experienced a couple of disruptive parties, but nowhere near the 23 cited by Sally Riker, president of the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association, in the meeting’s opening remarks. Much of the concern expressed by neighbors is that the parties would grow and possibly create serious crime. “We’re not bad people. We just don’t want this going on in our neighborhood,” said one resident, who complained that the city had successfully issued only one citation so far, reportedly to a security guard working the July 4 party. Another resident, speaking several days before the meeting, said that BH


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fore moving into the mansion, she said she has been “back and forth” between South Carolina and Atlanta. She said she had not rented the property and that there was not a tenant in the house. Pace said he spoke to Adesokan as recently as the week of July 15, as well as on July 4, and that Adesokan had not mentioned any sale of the property.

‘No events’

City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, left, speaks to Tasia, right, who says she is purchasing the Garmon Road mansion.

when someone buys a ticket to a party at a house, “We don’t know if [they’re] a sex offender or if [they] have a felony on [their] record.” Added the resident, “Everybody’s saying, ‘Why did Kenny Rogers have to move?’”

Party mansion trend Dealing with the new party-mansion trend is a challenge for city officials, which is partly why so many of them showed up for the community meeting. They include Councilmembers Matzigkeit and Matt Westmoreland; Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Glazier and Buckhead district commander Maj. Barry Shaw; Gregory Pace, the interim director of the Office of Buildings; and Erika Smith, the city prosecutor handling the one citation currently in court and others that may be delivered. National media reports show that renting mansions for ticketed parties and concerts is a booming business, partly as mansion-owners may be cashstrapped and partly due to cities cracking down on nightclubs and sending nightlife underground. Short-term rental sites like Airbnb.com are one place party mansions can be found, including one that drew similar controversy on Buckhead’s Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in 2016. But Atlanta is also seeing specialty sites, such as MansionHouseAtlanta. com, where the “Garmon Mansion” was rented until recently. Glazier said it’s a case of culture outpacing policy and that police often lack the tools to stop such parties, in part because it’s hard to find the owner. He said that one promoter staging parties at 4499 Garmon was based in Baltimore, BH

Md., with no local ties. So APD is “trying to go after these promoters and make it uncomfortable for them to do business” in Buckhead, he said. Pace said the city is monitoring social media and warning promoters away from the mansion under threat of citations, which carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 and six months in jail. Matzigkeit said the city issued ceaseand-desist letters in May to the property owner and other “agents” involved in the parties. Glazier indicated that APD is considering sending undercover officers into such parties. However, one thing police won’t do, said Shaw, is “storm the castle” and raid a mansion for Instagram photos of AR-15s or alleged marijuana odors, as some residents have urged. Such guns are legal, and city policy is to “de-emphasize” pot arrests, he noted.

Ownership confusion The basic enforcement effort in this type of case is citing the property owner. But, Pace said, that is not simple in this case. And Tasia’s ownership claim complicates it further. The Garmon mansion is over 15,000 square feet in size, with six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, according to Fulton County online property records. It sits on a 5-acre walled site. In 2006, Rogers sold the mansion to Adeyinka “Yinka” Adesokan and Paula Nelson, who remain the owners listed in Fulton online property records as of July 24. According to media reports and court documents, the couple’s dermatology business got into legal trouble with the federal and state governments, reaching settlements on allegations of improper billing in 2015 and 2016 with-

JOHN RUCH

out admitting wrongdoing; and Adesokan declared bankruptcy. Pace said he has spoken to Adesokan recently and that the couple no longer lives in the house and is apparently “out of the country,” making it impossible to serve a citation. Pace said Adesokan claimed to be renting the property to someone under an oral agreement. The Reporter found that listed phone numbers for Adesokan and Nelson were disconnected. Tasia said she recently moved into the house, though she also said the sale is not closed. She declined to identify who she is working with to broker the sale, saying her lawyer advised her not to discuss it. Asked where she lived be-

Tasia said she was unaware of many of the parties listed at the property, except the Fourth of July bash: “I take full responsibility for that,” she told the meeting attendees. Any other listings would be removed, she said. “There’s nothing coming, no events,” said her event-organizing friend. However, Tasia also complained that another resident recently had “50 cars” parked on the street for a party without a similar crackdown, and that she had police “harassment” and “cops following me” — which Shaw later denied. Calling the complaints “upsetting,” she said, “I’ve not had one person come to the house” to speak with her directly, which led several other attendees to say they had no way of knowing she was there. In an interview, Tasia indicated she was aware of some complaints and arranged the Fourth of July party to mitigate them with such tactics as busing guests in from elsewhere — her friend said it was not from a strip club lot, as some neighbors allege, though where exactly is unclear. But some neighbors saw such moves as just increasing the size of the party. “It’s obviously just frustrating,” Tasia said. Matzigkeit thanked Tasia for attending, and after the meeting, she spoke briefly with the councilmember and Pace.

Introducing Robin Conte’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’ “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Reporter Newspapers columnist Robin Conte’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in the 2017 Georgia Press Association contest. To follow updates on Robin’s book-related appearances, visit robinconte.com To order the book, visit bestofthenest.net


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