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AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 • VOL. 9 — NO. 16

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

Council seeks $7.5M for Brook Run Park BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Designs for multipurpose fields, a band shell and more parking, restrooms and pavilions got the go ahead by City Council, but how to pay for an estimated $7.5 million price tag remains to be seen. “Get out your wallets,” Mayor Denis Shortal said after he and the council voted unanimously to move forward with the phase one designs presented by consultants at the July 23 council meeting. The proposed design plans from Lose and Associates that were approved show costs for construction See COUNCIL on page 15 CITY OF DUNWOODY

Design plans for phase one of Brook Run Park’s new amenities include a band shell with terraced seating in what is known as the Great Lawn in the center of the park.

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

Appointment process for city boards questioned

Around Town

Raising the curtain on a new theater

BY DYANA BAGBY

PAGE 13

dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

► Unwind in the hills: North

Georgia, Blue Ridge getaways

► Mountain towns: shopping, dining and attractions beckon

SPECIAL SECTION | P20-28

The process for appointing residents to volunteer on city boards and commissions is under scrutiny after the mayor personally asked a state legislator to serve on the Planning Commission despite other residents already applying for the post. State Rep. Tom Taylor said he recently applied to serve on the Planning Commission after being asked to do so by See CITY on page 30


2 | Community

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Community Briefs R U NO FF ELECTIO N S ET S U P NO VEM B ER R ACES

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.

D U NWO O DY M AN SENT ENC ED TO 10 YEAR S FO R FRA UD A Dunwoody man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison following a conviction on market manipulation and investment fraud. Marc E. Bercoon, 58, of Dunwoody and

William A. Goldstein 54, of Alpharetta, were both sentenced July 24 to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release following their prison terms and a nearly $1.5 million payment of restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office based in Atlanta. In February, Bercoon and Goldstein were convicted by a jury on 12 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. The two men were found guilty of manipulating the market from July 2009 through September 2011 for shares of MedCareers Group Inc., a publicly traded company and owner of Nurses Lounge, a professional network for nurses. They were also found guilty of carrying out a second investment fraud scheme using a new business corporation that they organized as the bait for investors, according to the press release. From May 2009 through June 2010, Bercoon and Goldstein also carried out a second investment fraud of Find.com Acquisition Inc., a privately-held company, and then solicited investments from dozens of individuals, according to Pak. In 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Bercoon and Goldstein in connection with a separate investment fraud scheme. A judgment of over $3 million was entered against both men in that case.

P O L I C E S EEK M A N A C C US ED O F EX P LO I TI NG EL DER LY PA R ENT S Dunwoody Police are asking the public’s help in locating a man who is accused of embezzling money and property from his elderly parents. David R. Haase, 52, was last seen leaving his parents’ home in their black Subaru Legacy, Georgia tag DC76Z1, according to a press release. Haase is from New York and has family in Pennsylvania but could be in the Ellijay or Dawsonville area, Sgt. Robert Parsons said in the release. Haase is out on bond from DeKalb County on a similar incident against his parents, Parsons said. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective R. Ehlbeck at 678-382-6925.

NAT IO NA L NI G HT O UT S ET FO R A UG . 7 AT P ER I M ET ER M A L L The Dunwoody and Brookhaven police departments will host the 35th annual National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and is an annual community-building DUN


Community | 3

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net campaign that promotes police-community partnerships. This year, the two hosting Police Departments will have patrol cars, SWAT vehicles and other specialty vehicles on display. The DeKalb County Fire/Rescue Department will also have fire trucks and other pieces of equipment on display. Local businesses and community groups will have display booths set up. Music and entertainment will be provided, along with free food and drinks.

M U NIC IPA L C OUR T H OL DIN G AM N ES TY PR O GRA M TH R OUGH A U GUST Dunwoody’s Municipal Court is holding an amnesty program for those with past due traffic citations and/or active bench warrants for failing to appear in court.

Amnesty will run during the month of August at the Dunwoody Municipal Court located at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Individuals may walk in to the Municipal Court on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays or Fridays during the hours of 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. only. During that time, if individuals pay their fines in full, all contempt fees will be forgiven. If the individual’s offense(s) requires a mandatory court appearance, the individual will be granted a future court date to appear before a judge and all warrants will be cleared and warrant fees forgiven. Forms of payment that will be accepted are cash, money order, cashier checks and Visa and Master Card credit cards. Personal checks will not be accepted. For more information, call 678-382-6973.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT BLOCK PARTY

Come together with friends and neighbors for a night of family fun. Hosted by Sandy Springs Police and Fire Departments, the community can look inside police cars, fire trucks, meet the K-9s and talk with the men and women who help keep our community a safe place to live. Activities include water-slides, and inflatable playground, giant hamster-balls, as well as a cookout.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2018 6–9 PM • CITY SPRINGS 1 GALAMBOS WAY National Night Out is part of a national initiative to promote public safety community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods a safer, better place to live. There is no charge to participate.

DUN


4 | Community

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In-h d e s i g n o m e i n te r i o r co n s u l tation s

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Founding City Council member Adrian Bonser dies at 60 BY DYANA BAGBY

cil and people like to refer to us as founding fathers of Dunwoody, but she was a founding mother — we were founding parents.” Adrian Bonser, a member of DunMayor Denis Shortal, who was also on woody’s first City Council, died July 20 at the first council with Bonser, noted she was her home in Dunwoody. She was 60. the first woman to serve on the City CounBonser had metastatic breast cancer cil. “She worked hard … and she has shown after first being diagnosed with cancer in all of us some personal courage for what 2009, according to her obituary. she has gone through in the past years,” Bonser joined the board of Dunwoody he said. “We are keeping her family in our Yes! in early 2008, to advothoughts and prayers.” cate for incorporating the Councilmember Terry Nall city, and became the first also praised Bonser for her woman to serve on the City role in helping found the city Council. She served from and her role on the first coun2008 until 2014 and during cil. much of that time was being “As a founding council treated for cancer. member of the city of DunState Rep. Tom Taylor (Rwoody, she leaves a legacy of Dunwoody), who served on public service that benefits futhe first council with Bonser, ture generations and helped said he remembers when the FILE make ‘A Better Dunwoody,’ ” city rolled out its first police Adrian Bonser, a founding he said. “Our prayers are with force at midnight on April member of the Dunwoody her husband Brian and her exCity Council, died July 20. 1, 2009, and Bonser said she tended family.” had to talk to him after the Councilmember Lynn event. Deutsch praised Bonser for her work to “She told me she got diagnosed that help the Georgetown neighborhood. day,” he said. “Many people didn’t realize “During her time on council, Adrian how long she was dealing with this. I’m made the redevelopment of the Georgesad to see her go, but I’m glad she’s at peace town area a priority. Since that time the now.” city has developed three new parks, a mulTaylor said after he was elected to the tipurpose trail and there’s so much more to first City Council, he also got diagnosed come,” she said. with cancer and Bonser was there for him “Her vision and advocacy for the area through his surgeries and treatment. led to early council decisions that have He said he remembers driving her to helped shape the area,” Deutsch added. council meetings because she was too sick “Her contributions have made Dunwoody to drive. She was receiving treatment and a better place now and in the future.” medication through a line in her heart, he She is survived by her husband of 17 said. years, Brian Bonser, and stepchildren “She was a good friend. She was tough,” Neil Bonser of Atlanta and Ian Bonser of he said. “She was the first woman on counGainesville. dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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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

13-year ANNIVERSARY! Congratulations from your neighborhood centers, on the city’s 13-year anniversary!

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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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FOR FOR AT AT CITY CITY SPRINGS SPRINGS FOR AT CITY ENTERTAINMENT M OV I E SSPRINGS BEGIN ENTERTAINMENT ENTERTAINMENT M OV M OV I E S I E B S E B G E I N G I N ENTERTAINMENT MAOV GAMES & PRIZES! T IES D BAE G RIN K GAMES GAMES & PRIZES! & PRIZES! T T AR A RK R K K GAMES & PRIZES! A AT A D DA D Join family and friends for a free, fun-filled evening & a movie under the Join Join family family and and friends for a free, aand free, fun-filled fun-filled evening evening a&in movie athe movie under under thethe Leadership Sandy Springs Announces New Location Join family friends forfor achair free, fun-filled evening a&movie under the stars! Bring a and blanket orfriends lawn towel for kids to&play fountain. stars! stars! Bring Bring a blanket a blanket or lawn or lawn chair chair and and towel towel for for kids kids to play to play in the in the fountain. fountain. stars! Bring a blanket orMoonlight lawn andon towel forGreen kids to play in theSprings! fountain. Pack a picnic orby buy food chair and drinks from concessions andCity vendors. For Movies The @ Pack Pack a picnic a picnic buy orfood buy food food and and drinks drinks from from concessions concessions and and vendors. vendors. Pack a picnic oror buy and drinks from concessions and vendors.

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CELEBRATE THE PERFORMING ARTS

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

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Minutes From City Springs!

AUGUST OPENING EVENTS City Springs Day August 11, 2018

Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018

Branford Marsalis Quartet August 11, 2018

Sutton Foster August 18, 2018

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

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival August 19, 2018

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

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10 | Special Section

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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.

BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET ►

SUTTON FOSTER

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COLONEL (RETIRED) JILL W. CHAMBERS

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

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

PERFORMING ARTS SERIES

KOBIE BOYKINS: EXPLORING MARS

TAJ MAHAL TRIO

March 14, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

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

THE FUN SHOW WITH CAT AND NAT

PROF. ISAAC BEN-ISRAEL

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

April 3, 8 p.m., Studio Theatre

LATE NIGHT TAILGATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

CITY SPRINGS NEW YEARS CELEBRATION

SIMONE DINNERSTEIN, PIANO, AND MATT HAIMOVITZ, CELLO Jan. 29, 8 p.m., Byers Theatre

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Special Section | 11

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12 | Commentary

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

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Commentary | 13

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

We are pround to welcome

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.” DUN

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14 | Community

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With new tax money, city looks at Perimeter Center parks, trails BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Proposed parks and trails within Perimeter Center are expected to be a hot topic during budget discussions this summer and into the fall. Economic Development Director Michael Starling said city officials are slated to talk about how to fund the projects in the next few months as part of the 2019 budget discussions. The City Council budget committee should take up some of the proposed projects in September with the mayor and council considering them in October as part of determining next year’s city budget. The city raised its hotel-motel tax last year from 5 percent to 8 percent with the intention of funding green space and trails for visitors staying in the hotels in the city’s urban center. Hotel owners agreed to raise their taxes because they said there was a need for such amenities for their customers. Of course, residents will be able to enjoy the new facilities as well. The city began collecting the new tax revenue in January and over six months collected $407,000, Starling said. Next year, the revenue is expected to be even higher. That’s because two major hotels in Perimeter Center — Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia and the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center hotel — are currently undergoing major renovations, which includes closing off several floors of rooms at a time. When the renovations are completed and the hotels are back to full capacity, more money will come into the city’s coffers, Starling said. The $407,000 collected in the first six months is on track for the $850,000 city officials estimated the new revenue to bring in annually. Another approximate $850,000 from the tax increase is going to the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau to fund marketing and placemaking materials. “That money is in a separate account and will stay there” until the mayor and City Council decide where to spend the money, Starling said.

CITY OF DUNWOODY

A map marks proposed parks and multiuse trails in Perimeter Center to be built with the new hotel-motel tax money generated from a tax increase.

“The idea was to get some revenue in and then have a conversation on future expenditures during the summer’s budget discussion,” he said. Designs and plans that have been sitting dormant for several years, such as the Perimeter Center East park and a walking trail and cycle track on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in front of Perimeter Mall, are expected to be funded with the tax increase. Potential green spaces that could be

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funded by revenues from the tax increase include one adjacent to the Perimeter Center Parkway flyover bridge and another off Perimeter Center East at the Perimeter Center East exit off I-285. The Parks Department is seeking to fund the Perimeter Center East Park and trail connection designs in 2019 and, if approved, potentially break ground in 2019. Starling told the City Council last year that hotel owners wanted to see some trail and parks projects completed quickly in Perimeter Center as part of their agreement to support the hotel-motel tax increase. Finding a way to quickly fund these projects will be part of the budget debate. “We have to discuss how we are going to do this, are we going to pay as we go or do some type of bond much like what they are doing in Brookhaven,” Starling said in a recent interview. The Brookhaven City Council recently approved a $15 million revenue bond backed by its own hotel-motel tax increase to pay for construction of the first mile of its 3-mile stretch of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a linear park city leaders say will bring an economic boon and tourism to the city. Brookhaven also voted last month to put a $40 million parks bond backed by property taxes on the November ballot.

That money, if approved, will pay for parks master plan designs that were approved two years ago. City officials say a parks bond would allow the city to complete many parks projects in three to five years rather than over many decades. The Park at Perimeter Center East or a new, wide sidewalk and cycle track on Ashford-Dunwoody Road in front of Perimeter Mall are just a few of the projects designed over the years intended to create a more pedestrian-friendly urban center. Starling said paying for parks and trails at $800,000 to $900,000 a year won’t complete much and taking a hard look at revenue bonds is in order. The need to offer something for visitors to do when they stay at a hotel in Perimeter Center is crucial in ensuring Dunwoody attracts tourism and economic development, according to members of the CVB. Parks and trails do those things, especially for weekend travelers. The city also voted last year to dedicate 15 percent of the new hotel-motel tax money to a Tourism Facility Fund after representatives from the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and Dunwoody Nature Center argued their facilities already bring in tourist dollars and they should be eligible for some of the new revenue. DUN


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

Community | 15

Council seeks $7.5M for Brook Run Park Continued from page 1

of two multiuse fields with artificial turf at $3.2 million; the Great Lawn area including a band shell and terraced seating as well as a pavilion and restrooms at $1.7 million; a new parking and picnic area adjacent to the Great Lawn at $800,000; a new park entrance at $56,000; an open play field also adjacent to the Great Lawn at $37,000; and a disc golf course at $30,000. While the construction budget comes in at about $5.9 million, there is $1.6 million in other fees, such as contingency fees and construction manager fees, bringing the total to the estimated $7.5 million. No budget has yet been finalized. The council will take another vote before any money is spent. The city still has approximately $2.8 million in the bank from its 2015 parks bond settlement with DeKalb County. But that is not enough. “Where do we find additional dollars?” Councilmember Terry Nall asked before suggesting perhaps some of the hotel-motel tax the city is now receiving could go toward construction of the band shell. The city raised its hotel-motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent to primarily build trails and parks in Perimeter Center at the request of hotel owners in the area. The city began collecting the new funds in January. City officials say the higher tax would bring in an estimated $850,000 a year to the city and another $850,000 to the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB is required by state law to use its new revenue stream to promote tourism in the city. The city also voted last year to dedicate 15 percent of the new hotel-motel tax money to a Tourism Facility Fund after representatives from the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and Dunwoody Nature Center argued their facilities already bring in tourist dollars and they should be eligible for some of the new revenue. The hotel-motel tax money is required by state law to be spent to bring tourism to the city. Nall said in an email to city staff that “Given the nebulous definition of ‘tourism’ for the hotel/motel tax, the Great Lawn with its band shell and concerts expected, might well qualify for that 15 percent portion.” The city hopes to complete all the construction of the proposed projects in one year. City Manager Eric Linton said if everything can get approved by the council and bids for the projects DUN

are sent out by the end of the year, a groundbreaking could come as soon as March and the work could be finished in 2020. Lemonade Days, a large festival at Brook Run Park, is held each April, and there were some concerns from the City Council about construction taking place at the same time. Linton said it would not be a problem to work around the fest. At the council meeting, members also asked for several tweaks to the design plans. Concerns about the band shell being located on the west side of the Great Lawn and people having to look into the sun for concerts was discussed. The west site was selected to ensure the least amount of tree loss, explained Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services and Brook Run Park project manager. He noted that trees behind the band shell may also block some of the sun. Moving the band shell to the east side or even a bit north of its current site will result in more tree loss, he added. Shortal said that Sandy Springs has a stage where concert-goers also look into the sun and their concerts are always packed. Finding shade from the sun for soccer players and other athletes using the multiuse fields was also debated. Councilmember Tom Lambert said there should be larger pavilions and shaded areas near the fields so people can get out of the hot sun. He said the new baseball fields adjacent to Brook Run Park don’t have any shading. People are often forced to sit along the walking trail in the park and under trees for shade, he said. “Players need a place to get out of sun and to me it is worth investment … for safety purposes to go a little bit bigger,” he said. Some of the details under discussion include: Multiuse fields: 155 parking spaces; a pavilion with eight restrooms, four for men and four for women; several retaining walls; and underground stormwater storage. Great Lawn: A band shell with some sidewalks for accessibility for people with disabilities and equipment transportation; eight restrooms, four for men and four for women; 123 parking spaces, reduced from 160 to save more trees; a total of 12 restrooms, with eight in the band shell and four in a pavilion.

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16 | Art & Entertainment

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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. DUN


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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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• • • • • • • DUN

Arrhythmia Evaluation & Treatment Cardiac Ultrasound Stress Testing Pacemaker Implantation Cholesterol & Hypertension Management Cardiac Cath/Coronary Stent Defibrillator Implantation

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Visit our website for Information on our six other convenient locations


18 | Food & Drink

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Food for Thought Bringing upscale Mexican dining to Sandy Springs’ new downtown BY DYANA BAGBY

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

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

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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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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 DUN


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Special Section | 21

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RIVERFRONT

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Lake Rabun Hotel

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

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


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DISCOVER

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Laurelwood Inn

Continued from page 22

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

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

SPECIALISTS ON THE PLATEAU WITH AN INTERNATIONAL REACH

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

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

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

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

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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

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Release the Kraken!

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

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

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

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


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Teaching at Kraken Springs

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

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

The Practice Pond

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

Escape to the Mountains

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

Thoughtful Therapy

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

VACATION RENTALS

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

Dip a Toe

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

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Parks & Recreation

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

Hardman Farm

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

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

Amicalola Falls

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

Etowah River Water Trail

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

Tallulah Gorge offers spectacular views.

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

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

Tallulah Gorge

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

Mountain Towns

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlonega

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

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

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

Rabun Gap


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

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Appointment process for city boards questioned Continued from page 1 Mayor Denis Shortal. But Taylor, who is not seeking reelection to the state legislature, said he learned later from some City Council members that the process traditionally involves filing an application and joining a list. He withdrew his application after learning that. “A few weeks ago, out of the blue, the mayor called me and said that since I was leaving office he would like to appoint me to the Planning Commission,” Taylor explained. “I said sure, I would be glad to do it.” Taylor submitted his application on June 19, according to city records. He said he later learned there were other applications before him from residents wanting to serve on the Planning Commission and that his application had caused a “rift” on the City Council. “I got a couple calls from some council members who are all friends, and I was not aware there is a backlog of people who wanted to be on the Planning Commission,” Taylor said. “I hadn’t sought the job, but when asked I said I would do it. But I was not aware of any backlog to serve on various city boards.” Taylor did not say who on the council called him, but he said he was told there would not be enough votes from the council to support his appointment to the Planning Commission, so he withdrew his application. “It was about the process,” he said. “I wanted to avoid any controversy and I withdrew my name. I didn’t want to be on the agenda and then not have the votes and there be a lot of confusion. “I felt uncomfortable being in that position and causing a rift on the council because of the process and because of that I decided to step aside,” Taylor added. “There was no secret agenda. There was just concern about how the process was handled.” In an interview, Shortal said he reviews many applications for the 12 city commissions and boards. “But not all have the qualifications needed,” he said. His process includes interviewing applicants in person, he said. “There’s been times when we’ve been thin on applications,” he said. When asked about Taylor’s application, Shortal suggested calling Taylor for an explanation. An open records request shows that between March 19 and July 19, there were 21 people who submitted applications to serve on various city boards. Of those 21, there were six people who sought to serve on the Planning Commission, including Taylor. Three of the six applications were submitted in May, two in June, including Taylor, and one in July. Frustration with the process was evident at the July 9 council meeting when Shortal asked for approval of his appointments of Ed Wagner, a technologist at Cox Enterprises, and Jared Adams, a small business owner, to be on the Planning Commission. Appointments are traditionally approved without discussion during the consent agenda, but Councilmember Lynn Deutsch asked Shortal how he selected

people to serve. “I feel like I’m starting to embarrass myself asking a lot of people to spend a lot of time to fill out applications” to be considered but then not selected, she said. Shortal told her he reviews all applications submitted to the city and tries to ensure people from various districts are serving on everything from the Planning Commission to the Alcohol Review Board to the Audit Committee. He told her he always selects the most qualified people to serve. The vote was 6-1 to approve the appointments, with Deutsch casting the lone dissenting vote out of visible dissatisfaction with the mayor’s response. This is not the first time city board appointments have been TOM TAYLOR scrutinized. Shortal and the STATE REPRESENTATIVE rest of the council came under fire two years ago when Shortal and the city’s legal staff told DHA executive board members serving on city boards they had to resign from one or the other due to a potential conflict of interest. DHA members often see development plans before they go to the city’s Planning Commission or ZBA and the mayor expressed concerns that developers could sue due to that potential conflict of interest. At the July 23 council meeting, the mayor appointed, and the council unanimously approved, Erika Harris to serve on the Planning Commission. Harris was vice president of the DHA executive board but resigned that seat to serve on the Planning Commission. “With the best interest of the city and the DHA in mind, I stepped down from my executive and board role on the DHA in order to avoid any conflicts of interest that may present themselves,” she said.

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

LARCENY/ SHOPLIFTING/THEFT „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 22, in the evening, a larceny incident was reported. „„6600 block of Peachtree Industrial

Road — On July 23, in the early morning, a robbery was reported. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 23, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4500 block of Ash-

„„100 block of Perimeter Center — On

duct.

July 25, at night, items were removed from a car.

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

„„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 26, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 26, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„200 block of Perimeter Center Park-

way — On July 26, in the afternoon, items were reported missing from a car. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 26, a theft was reported in the afternoon.

ford-Dunwoody Road — On July 23, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„ 3100 block of Garrard

„„4500 block of Ash-

ford-Dunwoody Road — On July 27, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

ford-Dunwoody Road — On July 23, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 23, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„Dunwoody Park — On July 23, at night,

a man was arrested and accused of theft by receiving property. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road —On July 24, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

—On July 24, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4400 block of North Peachtree Road —

On July 24, in the evening, two incidents of items missing from vehicles were reported.

Place — On July 27, in the morning, a theft was reported. „„ 4500 block of Ash-

„„ 100 block of Perimeter Center Place — On July 27, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

A S S AU LT block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 26, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of simple assault.

„„1200 block of Meadow Lane — On July

25, at night, a woman was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license and no insurance.

„„1200 block of Hammond

Drive — On July 24, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of marijuana possession.

„„4500 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

Road — On July 27, at noon, a man was arrested and accused of forging a check. „„4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 27, at night, a man was arrested and accused of marijuana possession.

„„1800 block of

Cotillion Drive — On July 25, in the morning, a man was arrestand accused of driving un-

„„I-285/ Chamblee-Dunwoody Road —

On July 28, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license.

ed licensed.

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

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HOBBIES

on the run Claytime making a difference

volunteers dig in the dirt and into history Story on page 4 page 20

Story on page 4

Read our monthly publication for active seniors! Pick up a copy around town or read online at atlantaseniorlife.com

Story on page 4

ing with this? Tired of sleep obstructive sleep an alternative for Learn more about apnea treatment.

ARRESTS „„2000 block of Pernoshal Court — On

July 22, at midnight, a man was arrested and accused of failing to appear. „„1400 block of Cedarhurst Drive — On

July 22, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of five larcenies from vehicles and a burglary to a residence. „„I-285/ Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 24, at night, a shoplifting incident was reported.

July 22, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of marijuana possession.

„„100 block of Perimeter Center — On

„„Olde Perimeter Way — On July 22, in

July 25, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a vehicle.

the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of improper lane usage.

„„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On July 25, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported.

„„4500 block of Dunwoody Club Road —

„„500 block of Old Branch Court — On

„„2400 block of Dunwoody Crossing —

DUN

July 24, in the early morning, three people were arrested and accused of fraud.

„„4400

„„4700

July 25, in the evening, a no-forced entry burglary to a residence.

July 25, at noon, a man was arrested and accused of opium possession.

On July 23, at midnight, a woman was arrested and accused of speeding. On July 23, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of disorderly con-

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Sleepand Centers Sinus of Georgia Visit the back cover n. for more informatio

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


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08-03-18 - Dunwoody Reporter  

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