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AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 16

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

Pitching in for charity

Buford Highway zoning to include affordability mandate BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

PHIL MOSIER

Chad Evans throws a pitch to Britt Buchanon, while Alison Bates gets ready to field a hit, in a Brittany Wiffle Ball League game July 23 at the Brittany Club on Silver Lake. Now in its fifth season, the 120-member, 16-team league recently incorporated as a nonprofit and is hoping to raise more than $20,000 for charity. Last season, the league raised $18,000 for juvenile diabetes research.

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

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Raising the curtain on a new theater

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

PAGE 13

Georgia, Blue Ridge getaways

See BUFORD on page 15

Residents to vote on $40M parks bond

Around Town

► Unwind in the hills: North

The city’s proposed Buford Highway Overlay zoning district will include an affordable housing mandate and apartment tenant protections as city leaders try to address gentrification of the corridor known for its international restaurants and immigrant residents. Besides an affordable housing mandate, other recommendations are expected to include requiring apartment complex owners to give “extended notices” to tenants when their complex is sold for redevelopment so they have ample time to find a new home. How long that extended notice will be is not finalized yet. Incentives to developers providing affordable housing are also expected to be part of the overlay recommendations, according to Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin, but she said she could not explain further.

► Mountain towns: shopping, dining and attractions beckon

SPECIAL SECTION | P20-28

City officials are rolling the dice and putting a $40 million parks bond referendum to the voters in November. Officials say it is the only way to pay for the parks master plans that have been sitting on the shelves for a couple years. But some residents are already expressing concern that there is no “plan B” to pay for park improvements if the referendum fails and recommend the city find other ways to pay for the parks master plans. Some are also questionSee RESIDENTS on page 30


2 | Community

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Community Briefs 5 ACR ES T O B E FENC ED O FF FO R D O G S AT B R O O KHAV EN PA R K

Members of the Kalonji Soccer Academy show off their skills at the first BuHi Soccer Fest held July 27 in the Northeast Plaza parking lot. DYANA BAGBY

SO C C ER IN T H E STREETS C OMES TO B U FO R D HIG HWAY

We Love BuHi teamed up with Soccer in the Streets, an organization that brings soccer and life skills to underserved communities, to host the first BuHi Soccer Fest in the Northeast Plaza parking lot on July 27. “We’re interested in extending our reach into this area and working with local schools and organizations to provide more opportunities for [youth] to play in safe environments,” said Laura Glancy, director of Youth Programs for the nonprofit Soccer in the Streets. Besides teaching soccer skills, Soccer in the Streets also focuses on teaching young athletes life skills through mentoring, character development and employability programs, Glancy said. We Love BuHi Executive Director and founder Marian Liou of Brookhaven said her organization envisions “activating” bus stops along Buford Highway with small soccer areas. Soccer in the Streets recently opened a Station Soccer at MARTA’s Five Points Station as part of a plan to create a network of fields connected by public transportation. Adult and children leagues play at the Five Points soccer field where turf was placed over concrete.

‘ B R UN C H B I L L’ TO BE ON N OVEM B ER BALLO T

Brookhaven voters will decide on Nov. 6 if restaurants in the city can start serving alcoholic beverages a little earlier on Sundays. The City Council voted unanimously July 24 to allow the “Brunch Bill” on the General Election ballot. If passed, restaurants will be able to serve alcohol from 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Sundays. Currently, Sunday hours are from 12:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. The General Assembly this year passed Senate Bill 17 to allow municipalities to place a referendum on the November ballot whether to adjust the hours during which alcohol can be served and purchased. The referendum applies to businesses that earn 50 percent or more of their gross sales from the sale of food.

Brookhaven Park at the corner of Osborne Road and Peachtree Road will soon have an approximately 5-acre area fenced off for use by dog owners and their off-leash dogs, a compromise finally reached after several years of drawn out debate. The city announced July 27 that steps are underway to install approximately 1,000 feet of a chain link fence within a month to keep dogs in the designated 5-acre area in the northwest corner of the park, near Post Brookhaven apartments. City staff worked with members of the Brookhaven Park Conservancy to come up with the solution. The fence solution allows dog owners and their pets to continue to enjoy the park that has become a de facto off-leash dog park over many years while allowing visitors who do not want to be around off-leash dogs to enjoy the park and its amenities in the remaining approximate 10 acres. A dog-friendly double-gated entry system is being designed to keep dogs within the designated area, and the proposed plan calls for at least two entries: one on the northeast side and one on the south-facing side of the area, according to a city press release.

CITY R ECEIVES TR IP L E A R AT ING S FR O M M O O DY ’S , S &P

The city has received triple A credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investor Services (Moody’s). Both AAA ratings are for the construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, financed through the Brookhaven Public Facilities Authority using a dedicated portion of the city’s hotel-motel tax money. The city recently approved a $15 million revenue bond to fund the Greenway and is asking voters to approve a $40 million parks bond referendum in November. “This allows us to get the biggest bang for the buck, as we avoid high interest payments,” said Mayor John Ernst in a prepared statement. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are already underway. This is a testament to the strength of the Brookhaven economy, the responsible stewardship of our finance department and the collaboration of our resident stakeholders.”

R U NO FF ELECTIO N S ET S UP NO V EM B ER R A C ES

The July 24 primary runoff set up races for the upcoming Nov. 6 election, deciding who will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Karen Handel. A DeKalb judge race was also decided. In a runoff between two Democratic candidates in the 6th Congressional District, gun control advocate Lucy McBath beat technology businessman Kevin Abel. The 6th Congressional District includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs as well as sections of north Fulton and Cobb counties. In a race for a DeKalb County Superior Court judgeship, LaTisha Dear-Jackson defeated Tunde Akinyele in the race for the open court seat. That was the final election for the nonpartisan race.

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Community | 3

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

City enforcing 2 a.m. last call following federal judge’s ruling

Top, Josephine is one of three black-owned nightlife venues suing the city claiming the city’s new alcohol ordinance is discriminatory.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The city of Brookhaven will begin Aug. 1 shutting down the Pink Pony and other nightlife venues at 2 a.m. in response to a federal judge’s warning about treating businesses equally. The decision to enforce the 2 a.m. last call that went into effect in April follows the July 26 decision by a federal judge to allow a lawsuit filed by three nightclubs challenging the city’s new alcohol ordinance to move forward. The three venues, Josephine, XS Restaurant & Lounge and Medusa Restaurant & Lounge, argue in part in their federal lawsuit challenging the city’s alcohol ordinance that the city was not being fair by allowing the Pink Pony to skirt the rules of the new ordinance and stay open until 4 a.m. seven days a week. Cary Wiggins. The City Council late last year approved a new alcohol ordinance that went into effect creating a new “entertainment venue” category. Entertainment venues are defined as businesses with a stage, DJ or dance floor. These businesses must now also pay approximately $100,000 to sell beer and liquor by the drink on premises. They are also not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. The city said the new ordinance is intended to thwart what it says are rising crime statistics on Buford Highway while also forcing the venues to cover police costs through the new, much higher fees. The plaintiffs argued they would suffer significant financial losses if the city enforced its new hours and no alcohol sales on Sundays. And while the city argued the businesses can continue operating while the legal battle is underway, the city could decide to enforce its new rules without warning, according to the judge. “The city’s argument is somewhat like telling a lobster not to worry about the pot of boiling water nearby because the cook has not put it in yet,” Thrash stated in his ruling. “Such a statement would bring little comfort to the lobster.” Judge Thrash also noted the Pink Pony, a renowned strip club off Buford Highway on Corporate Boulevard, continues to operate and sell alcohol until 4 a.m. and on Sundays even though it employs a DJ and has a stage. “There is really no rational reason for this selective enforcement,” Thrash wrote in his ruling The judge’s ruling forced the city’s hand to enforce the 2 a.m. last call, according to City Manager Christian Sigman. The Pink Pony will be allowed to continue selling alcohol on Sundays. “We were disappointed by the ruling as it pertains to the other entertainment venues, but the message from the federal court was clear: Brookhaven must enforce its laws equitably, and that includes the Pink Pony,” Sigman said in a prepared statement. Due to an agreement between the Pink Pony in 2014, the club has been able to stay open until 4 a.m. seven days a week while also employing a DJ and having a stage despite the new BK

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alcohol ordinance. It also is not required to pay the new $100,000 alcohol license fee. As part of the agreement with the city, the Pink Pony does pay the city $225,000 a year to cover public safety expenses. The agreement also states the Pink Pony must shut down in 2020. “We were blindsided by this and are very disappointed,” Pink Pony owner Dennis Williams said. “I believe we have always acted in good faith with the city and in compliance with the city,” he said. “We want to continue working in harmony with the city as we always have and will be in compliance with their request. Right now we will be closing at 2 a.m.” Williams added the hardest part of the new ordinance is telling his employees of the 2 a.m. last call. “They rely on tips and income to support their families and this will be a negative impact on their income,” he said. “We look forward to working with the city in getting this matter resolved.”

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4 | Community

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City, developer disagree on affordable housing deal BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The city has rejected developer Ardent Companies’ request for a $30 million tax abatement as part of a mixed-use development off Buford Highway after no agreement could be reached on affordable housing. But Neville Allison, managing director for Ardent Companies, said the deal with the city was a “real nonstarter” because the city insisted on becoming an equity partner when the project to be located on Bramblewood Drive sells. “A city’s profit participation in a private developer’s real estate deal in exchange for a tax abatement is simply unheard of,” Allison said. Ardent Companies submitted a multiuse project that called for 10 percent, or 30 units, of the housing to be affordable. The developer requested a 30-year tax abatement on all property taxes — school, county and city — totaling approximately $30 million, according a city press release. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst sent letters to property owners living on Bramblewood Drive, explaining that the sticking point was the true affordability of “affordable” housing. “We could not come to an agreement as to the area median income (AMI) that would be the threshold for ‘affordable,’ ”

Ernst said in the letter. “Ardent Companies wanted to use an Atlanta region AMI of $68,000 and the city wanted to use the average AMI for the census tracts around Bramblewood Drive at approximately $50,000,” Ernst stated. “An AMI of $68,000 would essentially be out of reach for many living on Buford Highway, our city employees, or teachers serving local schools.” Allison claimed his company’s AMI was a verifiable number that should have been used, adding it is the same AMI used for affordable housing along the Atlanta BeltLine. “Obviously there were many points in this first proposal that we challenged and also most of which the city backed off of, but the AMI definition was one they [the city] stuck to and yet refused to provide an actual source,” Allison said. City officials said their $50,000 figure is based on HUD numbers specific to the Buford Highway corridor. Ardent Companies was seeking to rezone 15 acres on Bramblewood Drive and Buford Highway to build a 197-unit townhome development. There are currently 29 single-family homes in those 15 acres on Bramblewood Drive. But in June the City Council deferred the rezoning for 90 days because members said they wanted to see a mixed-use development and different housing price

points. Since that time the city and Ardent have apparently been trying to negotiate a deal on what to build on the Bramblewood property. Allison disputed the city’s claim it was seeking an AMI of $50,000 and said the city was actually seeking an AMI of $35,000. That number was discussed early in the months-long negotiations, according to a city spokesperson, but the $50,000 figure was what was settled on. “All Ardent wanted was a fair and unbiased process for the rezoning that would bring a dynamic mixed-use development, including affordable housing to Brookhaven and the Buford Highway corridor,” Allison said. “It’s a shame that the mayor, City Council and the city manager prefer to bully and extort its developers rather than give developers a fair process.” In his letter to the Bramblewood property owners, Ernst explained the “claw-back” provision the city was seeking as part of the negotiations on the tax abatement. “Ardent would not consider a clawback provision if the multi-family property sold at a price much higher than the actual cost,” he said. “Specifically, if the Ardent Group sold the multi-family component within 48 months of occupancy at a greater price than 8 percent annual return on investment, the city would get a portion of the sales proceeds above the 8 percent rate of

return. “As a matter of prudent stewardship of taxpayer funds, the city’s $30 million contributions to the project should be reconsidered if the property flipped with an exorbitant profit within 48 months of opening,” Ernst stated. The Atlanta Regional Commission sided with Brookhaven in its decision to break off negotiations. “Housing affordability is a complex and context-sensitive regional issue. Therefore, it behooves each city and county to assess what makes the best decision for its community, based upon its economic situation and community goals,” said ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker in a prepared statement. “It appears that Brookhaven has taken this approach.” Allison said his company first introduced the idea of affordable housing in the proposed development project back in December and was originally seeking to build townhomes in the high $200,000 range. He is unsure of what will happen with project moving forward. City Manager Christian Sigman said the Buford Highway corridor is “home to many redevelopment opportunities from end to end.”

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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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18/19 THE INAUGURAL SEASON

18/19 S ANDY SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

NGS I R P S y d san 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

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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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Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018

Branford Marsalis Quartet August 11, 2018

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10 | Special Section

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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.

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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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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.” BK

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14 | Community

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Prayer vigil at Plaza Fiesta focuses on families of detained immigrants

PHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY

Left, Dulce Esquivel of Chamblee stands next to a mural at Plaza Fiesta and reads a prayer. She said she and members of her family attended the vigil to show support for their community. Right, Rev. Tom Hagood, center, chair of the Atlanta Sanctuary Movement and pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church in Decatur, and other area pastors held a prayer vigil July 19 at Plaza Fiesta for the families being detained and separated at the border.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.met

A small group of people gathered July 19 near the children’s play area at Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway for an interfaith prayer vigil for the families and children of those detained at the border by federal authorities and for those who have been deported. Pastors from several metro Atlanta churches led more than a dozen people in prayer for the families being separated and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The names of dozens of people recently deported were also read aloud. Prayers were also said, in English and Spanish, for President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, ICE employees and border patrol agents, asking they show compassion and mercy for immigrants. “This is affecting us all,” Rev. Fabio Sotelo of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church said in an interview following the vigil. Sotelo said he works with many immigrants as part of his ministry. Small children being tak-

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Those attending a vigil at Plaza Fiesta prayed for immigrant families being separated by ICE.

en from their parents and families is not Christian, Sotelo said, and people are being treated inhumanely. Arizbeth Sanchez of Norcross said she is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and is attending Freedom University in Atlanta, a school for undocumented students. She said she attended the vigil to support the families that have been separated. “We are under attack,” she said. “I have protection, because I have DACA, but that doesn’t mean my parents or my community have protection.” For Fede Apecena, a pastor at The Nett Church in Gwinnett County, a United Methodist Church, holding the vigil at Plaza Fiesta was intentional. “This is a safe place for the Latino community and the church should be a safe place, so we are bringing a safe place to a safe place,” he said. “We want to create awareness that we are all human beings and ask more than anything that people hear and listen to our stories … rather than our status.” The vigil was held by the New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta, an interfaith and multicultural immigrant rights organization.

© 2018 Always-Care ® BK


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

Community | 15

Buford Highway zoning to include affordability mandate Continued from page 1 Affordable housing, or workforce housing, is currently defined in the zoning rewrite as “For-sale housing that is affordable to those households earning no more than 80 percent of the median household income for the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area, as determined by the current fiscal year HUD income limit table.” That median income is about $68,000. The hold-up in finishing the recommendations for the Buford Highway Overlay is due to the city attorney studying them to ensure they can be legally implemented, Ruffin explained. Ruffin said city staff is still working with consultant Duncan Associates to finalize what will be included in the proposed new Buford Highway Overlay district. Those recommendations should be ready for public review in mid-August. Original plans were to have these plans available in mid-July The lack of specifics about the Buford Highway Overlay available for public review to date concerns Marian Liou, founder and executive director of We Love BuHi, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the culture and diversity of Buford Highway. “Zoning is always an imperfect and rigid tool for executing the broader vision for a community,” she said. “I think what we need here is time and intention,” she said. “There should be no rush.” Mayor John Ernst said the city has received “considerable input” during the zoning rewrite process and more public input will be gathered at Planning Commission and City Council work sessions and meetings in August and September. “At any time, the Buford Highway Overlay can be separated from the rest of the rewrite and advanced or decelerated per the will of the council,” he said in a prepared statement. In June, the city approved a 6-month moratorium on development along Buford Highway as the zoning rewrite is finalized. Councilmember Joe Gebbia has indicated that if the zoning rewrite can be completed by September, then the moratorium can be lifted sooner. Liou said that September goal by Gebbia put pressure on the process. “I think the moratorium was a good beginning. But how we use that time we created for ourselves … there can be more in-

tention and strategy for using that time,” she said. Ruffin said the city has spent sufficient time gathering input for the Buford Highway overlay and staff intends to have the zoning rewrite completed for a Sept. 26 vote by the City Council. Liou, who served on the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force, said she understands there have been many plans on Buford Highway before now. “But who did we see engaged in the process?” she asked. A Spanish interpreter was not at any of the four public meetings for the zoning rewrite and none of the draft zoning documents have been translated into Spanish. Much of the city’s nearly 25 percent Latino population live and work on or near Buford Highway. The city’s bilingual outreach specialist who translated city documents recently resigned her job and has not been replaced. The city is currently working on a paid contract with the Latin American Association to translate materials and perform other Latino community outreach. Ruffin said the city did conduct one pop-up meeting at Northeast Plaza with Spanish surveys and documents during the character area studies it completed of all the city’s residential neighborhoods in 2016. Information gathered from the Buford Highway character area study, along with recommendations last year from the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force and Georgia Tech School of City & Regional Planning graduate students, are also being considered in the Buford Highway Overlay, Ruffin added. Last year, the city paid a consultant $135,000 to conduct a BrookhavenPeachtree Overlay rewrite process following demand from residents living in affluent neighborhoods surrounding Dresden Drive and near the BrookhavenOglethorpe MARTA station. The Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay and Buford Highway Overlay were supposed to be created as part of the zoning ordinance rewrite, Ruffin explained. The mayor and City Council decided to pull the Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay out to be done separately due to a developer’s lawsuit and public outcry against a proposed massive transit-oriented development at the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station.

A draft of the zoning ordinance rewrite can be viewed at brookhavenga.gov MEETINGS TO DISCUSS THE ZONING REWRITE, ALL AT CITY HALL, 4362 PEACHTREE ROAD ■ Aug. 14 at 3:30 p.m. – City Council work session ■ Aug. 28 at 3:30 p.m. – City Council work session ■ Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. – Planning Commission regular meeting (possible vote on adoption) ■ Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. – City Council regular meeting (possible vote on adoption) BK

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


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. BK


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.

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Two convenient Atlanta locations Sandy Springs Office 6135 Barfield Road NE Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30328 Phone: 404-847-0049 Atlanta Office 5670 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Suite 880 Atlanta, GA 30342 Phone: 404-256-2525

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

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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 DRESDEN DRIVE | 1375 FERNWOOD CIRCLE BROOKH AV E N FA R M E RS MA RKET.CO M SPONSORED BY

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

BK


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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When I was growing up, working at La Parrilla was a fun experience but I actually wanted to be a lawyer at the time. I fell in love with the food and beverage industry and the environment at La Parrilla so I decided to stay. The hospitality industry is one of the few businesses that people thank you and come back for more. There aren’t many businesses in the world where you can generate the same feeling and loyalty from your customers or guests.

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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 BK


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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 23

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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

Special Section | 25

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• Delicious award-winning southern cuisine • A variety of stables, petting zoo, stacked pond for fishing, offsite private fly fishing & a natural backdrop that is one of kind!

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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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 27

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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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SERVICES AVAILABLE

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.

Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576.

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Assistant Manager/Volunteer Coordinator - The Community Assistance Center is seeking a full-time Thrift Store Assistant Manager/Volunteer Coordinator to oversee daily operations of the CAC thrift store, as well as, Recruitment, Training and Engagement of Volunteers. Visit www.ourcac.org for full description. Apply to ceo@ourcac.org.

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Residents to vote on $40M parks bond Continued from page 1

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ing the millions the city is dedicating toward the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a new linear park expected to break ground this year. The City Council voted 3-1 to put the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot at its July 24 meeting. Councilmember Bates Mattison cast the lone dissenting vote after it was decided during the council work session to lower funding for Brookhaven Park, which is in his district, from approximately $8 million to $4 million. Another $2 million was also approved for land acquisition, bringing Brookhaven Park’s total amount in the parks bond to $6 million. Mayor John Ernst recommended lowering the amount after Mattison asked the council delay voting on the Brookhaven Parks master plan submitted at the meeting due to an ongoing debate over dogs at the park. The dog debate was settled a few days after the council meeting when the city and residents agreed to fence off about 5 acres in the back half of the park for off-leash dogs. But there is still no final plan for where to add other amenities in the park. With the delay in approving the Brookhaven Park master plan, the mayor and other council members said it was unwise to promise nearly $8 million in the parks bond to Brookhaven Park when there were no master plan and specific projects to tie the money to. The other parks included in the bond have master plans with specific projects outlined. “We are bonding out for known improvements we can identify … and residents know for certainty where their money is going,” Councilmember Linley Jones said. “We can’t fund something that is not specific.” Ernst said he believed the $4 million would cover the master plan design and the improvements and amenities residents want to see in Brookhaven Park. He said the city has also built in $9 million in contingency funds in the parks bond that likely will not all be used. Some of those remaining contingency funds can be used at Brookhaven Park if needed, he added. Mattison asked if the council was punishing his district by cutting Brookhaven Park’s funding while other city districts saw no cuts. Jones said it “hurt her heart” to hear council members talk about individual districts and parks. “This isn’t tit-fortat,” she said. “We all use the parks in the city. People don’t stay in the parks in their districts.” Mattison then asked the council to

delay putting the parks bond to a vote for at least one year. “From the bottom of my heart, it is not my intent to see this effort fail. My intention is to hit the pause button … and let this be citizen-driven rather than city-driven,” he said. City Manager Christian Sigman said the parks bond was not city-driven because the master plans already went through a public process in 2015 and were approved by the City Council in 2016. “When a community passes master plans … I would hope there is some desire to get them done and I hope it was not just a wishing exercise,” Sigman said. Rising construction costs, inflation and other factors over time will only add to the costs of fulfilling the city’s promise to improve its parks, officials say. A parks bond could mean all parks improvements and new amenities could be completed within three to five years. Paying off the bond would take about 25 years. Members of the Parks and Recreation Coalition, a committee formed by the Governor’s Commission when the city was incorporated, expressed concern that the City Council is spending millions of dollars on the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a new linear park that will eventually connect Brookhaven to Chamblee, Doraville and eventually the Atlanta BeltLine. City leaders expect the Greenway to boost economic development along Buford Highway. The Greenway, approved at $35 million two years ago, is being funded in large part by a $15 million revenue bond backed by a hotel-motel tax increase approved by the General Assembly last year. The city has also paid several million dollars to acquire land along the Greenway through eminent domain. Terrell Carsten, member of the PARC funding task force that worked for nearly a year with city administrators to come up with a parks project list to be funded by the parks bond, said in a presentation to the council that all city parks have received less money than the planned Peachtree Greenway. Carsten also said she was upset with the parks bond process. “I cannot believe what has gone on here tonight,” she said during public comment at the close of the July 24 meeting, visibly angry with the council’s decision to cut Brookhaven Park’s funding. “This process is what’s wrong with the city. It is not transparent.” After the meeting, Mattison questioned the city’s decision to ask the voters to approve debt for the city without more vetting. He also said the city could approve the original nearly $8 million

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Public Safety | 31

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net for Brookhaven Park and if not all that money is used, the remaining dollars could go back to pay off the bond. “I do believe for the citizens in my district and those who use Brookhaven Park, this may put a sour taste in their mouth,” he said. “I was simply blindsided.” Mattison added he was not against funding parks or against debt, but PARC’s recommendations to find alternative funding sources for parks projects is one that needs to be discussed further. PARC members asked the city to consider a “multidimensional approach” to funding parks capital projects. They suggested moving money from the general operating budget to parks construction. They also suggested using money from a special local option sales tax, which is currently being spent on such projects as street paving. Trails in parks, for example, may be covered by SPLOST funding because they deal with transportation. They also recommended including parks funding in a new SPLOST if one is proposed after the current one expires in six years. Mattison said the city, which had a $40.7 million budget for 2017, was created to lower taxes for residents, but a parks bond could threaten any tax savings promised through the recent approval of the SPLOST. Sigman said a $40 million parks bond, if approved, would not increase the city’s property taxes and would be offset by the rolling off in 2020 of a DeKalb County parks bond as well as increased EHOST property tax credits approved last year as part of the SPLOST 1-cent sales tax increase. As for how to fund parks projects in the future if the referendum fails, city spokesperson Burke Brennan acknowledged there are no other funding sources for capital improvements to parks. The city would continue to pursue grants and partnerships for funding opportunities and use SPLOST funds as allowed for park maintenance at the recreation centers, he said. Steve Peters of the PARC funding task force said in an interview the city was very open about making available funding information. The process opened the group’s eyes to the complicated process of funding parks projects, he said. “Our biggest focus is multidimensional,” he said. “The city has a singular focus.” He said he hopes the council will fully support and back more ways to fund city parks as it has with funding the Greenway. The recommended project lists, park bonds referendum report and other documents can be found at brookhavenga.gov.

Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated July 22 through July 29. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.

T H E F T A N D B U R G L A RY „„100 block of Executive Park Drive —

On July 22, at noon, items were reported missing from a car. „„3300 block of Buford

Highway — On July 22, in the evening, a shoplifting incident occurred. „„100 block of Executive

Park Drive — On July 22, in the evening, a theft by taking auto was reported. „„3100 block of Buford

Highway — On July 23, in the early morning, a robbery at a residence involving a gun was reported. „„1800 block of Corporate Boulevard —

On July 23, in the morning, an entering auto incident was reported. „„3900 block of Peachtree Road — On

July 23, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„2700 block of Buford Highway — On

July 23, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a car. „„2100 block of Colonial Drive — On

July 23, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of theft by receiving stolen property. „„1200 block of Pine Ridge Road — On

July 23, in the evening, an entering auto incident was reported.

cense.

„„2700 block of Buford Highway — On

„„4200 block of Peachtree Road — On

July 29, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of aggravated assault.

July 24, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of a suspended registration.

ARRESTS

„„3000 block of Buford Highway — On

„„ 2000 block of John-

son Ferry Road — On July 22, at midnight, a man was arrested and accused of driving unlicensed. „„ Buford

Highway/ Clairmont Road — On July 22, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of following too closely. „„ 3300 block of Buford

Highway — On July 22, at night, a man was arrested and accused of public intoxication. „„3700 block of Buford Highway — On

July 22, at night, a man was arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. „„3100 block of Buford Highway — On

July 23, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. „„3300 block of Buford Highway — On

July 23, in the morning, a woman was arrested and accused of driving unlicensed. „„3600 block of Buford Highway — On

July 23, at night, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended li-

„„3700 block of Buford Highway — On

A S S AU LT „„3200 block of Buford Highway — On

July 22, in the early morning, a simple battery incident was reported.

July 24, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of a suspended registration. „„3000 block of Buford Highway — On

July 24, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of driving unlicensed. „„3300 block of Roxboro Road — On July

24, at night, a man was arrested and accused of marijuana possession. „„2900 block of Clairmont Road — On

July 25, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving unlicensed. „„3700 block of Bailey Road — On July

25, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of possession of a firearm or knife while attempting to commit a crime. „„2000 block of Johnson Ferry Road —

On July 25, in the evening, two men were arrested and accused of forgery in the third degree. „„3400 block of Buford Highway — On

July 25, at night, a man was arrested and accused of driving unlicensed. „„2900 block of Buford Highway — On

July 25, at night, a man was arrested and accused of theft by taking auto, criminal damage and marijuana possession.

@

July 29, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

BREAKFAST MEETING FEATURING

„„2200 block of Weldonberry Drive —

Karen Handel

On July 22, in the afternoon, a verbal dispute was reported.

Congresswoman

„„1900 block of North Druid Hills Road

Thursday, August 16th 8:00-9:30am

— On July 22, in the evening, an aggravated assault involving a gun was reported. „„1000 block of Barone Avenue — On

July 23, at night, a verbal dispute was reported.

$20 members, $35 non members $40 CASH at the door Register at www.brookhavencommerce.org

„„3100 block of Buford Highway — On

July 29, in the early morning, a man was BK

arrested and accused of family violence.

S I LV E R S P O N S O R


32 |

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