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

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Around Town

Raising the curtain on a new theater PAGE 13

Residents brainstorm north end redevelopment

City Springs to Life

Special Section pages 6-11

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs is ready for its curtain to rise on Aug. 11 with a “City Springs Day” of free short performances followed by a concert by jazz great Branford Marsalis. The Performing Arts Center, which fronts Roswell Road, is the key attraction to the city’s new mixed-use civic center and home to the 1,100-seat Byers Theatre.

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

JOHN RUCH

We must work together, as the three partners and allies that we are, in order to find a way to consolidate our win-win-win formula. North America first.

Residents voiced a mix of ideas for north end redevelopment at a July 25 public meeting, varying between wanting more highend retail and dining options and affordable housing and community centers. Over 200 residents packed Sherwood Event Hall, located on northern Roswell Road, to provide input on the north end that is intended to guide the city’s new “North End Revitalization Task Force.” The North End Revitalization Task Force was set up by the city in March. Intended to be focused on practical solutions, the 15-member task force is heavy with developers and financiers, along with some advocates for affordable housing and community-oriented development. The group met for its first official meeting July 11, discussing what they need to do to achieve the goal of attracting upscale retail and residential developments without gentrifying the area. See RESIDENTS on page 30

‘Restaurant row’ joins mix of intersection redesign ideas

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BY JOHN RUCH

See Commentary, page 12

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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Saving a stretch of commercial buildings as a possible “restaurant row” is among the ideas the city is considering for its redesign of the Mount Vernon Highway/Johnson Ferry intersection in advance of a public meeting within about a month. Earlier this year, the city proposed rebuilding the X-shaped intersection as a “grid” of parallel streets. One side effect would be taking some or all of a half-dozen commercial properties along Mount VerSee RESTAURANT on page 14


2 | Community

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Dale and Michael Yoss of the BBQ’n Hebrew Hillbillies serve up food at the 2017 Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival, which was held at Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park.

KO SHER B B Q FESTIVA L M O VES TO CITY SPR ING S

The annual Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival is moving to City Springs this October after years at Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park, as another big event comes to the new civic center.

Expected to draw 3,000 attendees, the Oct. 21 festival will feature a juried competition of barbecue that is kept kosher — meaning it meets Jewish dietary laws — and tastings that are open to attendees. This year’s version will debut a chili competition as well. “We’re really excited about our new City Springs location,” said Jody Pollack, the festival’s executive director, in a press release. “It’s a beautiful location, and we hope it will bring out people who love kosher barbecue and want to check out Sandy Springs’ new downtown. With our teams barbecuing all night long before the event, we hope the aromas will waft over all the adjoining neighborhoods and encourage people to follow their noses.” The Kosher BBQ Festival, celebrating its sixth installment, started at Sandy Springs’ Congregation B’Nai Torah before becoming established at Brook Run Park. For more information about the barbecue festival, see theatlantakosherbbq.com. Located at 1 Galambos Way, City Springs combines a City Hall, a park, apartments, shops, restaurants and a large Performing Arts Center, which will have a grand opening in August. The complex has been opening in stages this year. The Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market and the Sandy Springs Festival are among the other major events that are moving to City Springs this year. The city of Dunwoody recently placed an attendance cap and higher fees on events in Brook Run Park to reduce and mitigate wear and tear.

DEFENDA NT FO R M A L LY C HA R G ED WI TH I NJUR ING FB I AG ENT DUR I NG A R R ES T

An alleged gang member was formally charged in July with assaulting an FBI agent in a Jan. 5 Sandy Springs arrest SS


Community | 3

AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net where the defendant allegedly dragged the agent from a truck and was shot. Cedrick Hill, 26, of Marietta was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 17 and arraigned on July 26, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. No trial date has been set. Last fall, Hill was among 30 alleged members of a drug-trafficking gang called the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods who were indicted on federal conspiracy charges. On Jan. 5, an FBI agent found Hill in the lobby of the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria hotel on Powers Ferry Road and attempted an arrest. According to new details released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hill allegedly fled the hotel and got into his truck, with the pursuing agent becoming “lodged in the driver’s side door.” Hill allegedly sped away and hit another vehicle in the hotel parking lot, crushing the agent against it. The agent’s arm and upper leg were broken. The agent

responded by shooting Hill twice, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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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 Fulton County Superior Court judgeship, Kevin Farmer defeated Fani Willis in the race for the open court seat. That was the final election for the nonpartisan race.

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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.

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4 | Community

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City reduces man’s sentence after bias accusation amid judge review BY EVELYN ANDREWS

said the court is still functioning normally. “The system is working fine,” he said. He said he doesn’t want an “artificial” The city has reduced the sentence of deadline to prevent him from having the a man who accused a judge of having antime to make the right decisions. ti-Iranian bias after she made controverThe four-year term is stipulated in the sial comments. The city is City Charter, and the reapcurrently reviewing all the pointment date was stated judges in preparation to rein the judges’ appointment appoint or replace them. letters. The judge, Sharon Dick“Any major appointson, drew criticism for her ments I make, particular recent comments to Fazito the courts, are very deal Azizan, the defendant, liberate. I don’t let artificial that an appeals court condeadlines get in the way of demned while upholding making good decisions,” he her ruling in the case. Dicksaid. son is up for reappointNash said the passage of FILE ment this year to the Sandy Judge Sharon Dickson the deadline for the judgon the day of her Springs bench, and also sits es to be reappointed could confirmation in 2014. on Dunwoody’s city court. provide a legal argument Azizan’s attorney Jason that their rulings since that deadline could McLendon worked with City Attorney Dan be challenged. Lee to reduce Azizan’s sentence to 60 days Kraun did not respond to questions of probation from the original sentence about that issue. of five months in jail, McLendon said. The However, Nash said it’s not unreasonorder was signed by Chief Judge Donald able to expect the court to keep hearing Schaefer on July 27. cases despite an authority missing the “We are relieved that justice was done in deadline. this case,” McLendon said. “It’s not that odd to think that if an apIn Sandy Springs, the mayor appoints pointing authority doesn’t do its job in time city judges, who are confirmed by the City that the court would keep functioning,” he Council. Mayor Rusty Paul is currently said. evaluating the reappointment of all city Since a judge in this case has been the judges, including Dickson, who were due subject of controversy and has had comto be reappointed in June. The mayor did ments condemned by a higher court, it not have a role in the negotiation of Azishould be expected that the judges be subzan’s sentence, city spokesperson Sharon ject to extra vetting, Nash said. Kraun said in an email. A Muslim civil rights organization had Jonathan Nash, the director of the Emsaid that Dickson’s comments were “bigotory University Center for Law and Social ed” and based on the race of Azizan, an IraScience, said the way the city appoints nian-American. judges is not uncommon. “We welcome the city’s decision to over“It’s really hard to select judges. There turn the judge’s sentence, which was faare problems with a lot of the systems,” he tally tainted by her expression of bigotry. said. This should not have been a hard decision A private selection process is used comfor Sandy Springs to make,” said Edward monly from the municipal to the federal Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the level, he said. Although not the most transGeorgia branch of the Council on Ameriparent way, other systems, like voting, can-Islamic Relations, in a press release. bring their own problems, such as voters If someone believes a judge has been binot knowing who they are, he said. ased or behaved inappropriately and they “It’s a tough nut to crack,” Nash said. can’t reach another resolution, they can Paul said in an interview that he plans submit a complaint to the state’s Judicial to make reappointments “soon,” but did Qualifications Commission, Nash said. not give a date. The next City Council meetAzizan had appealed the ruling to the ing is Aug. 7. Superior Court of Fulton County, which He said he is again using a team of lawcondemned Dickson’s comments in a June yers to review the judges and make recom18 ruling, but did not throw out the convicmendations, but wouldn’t comment on tion. whether any changes will be made. Mitchell argued Bill Riley, the city solic“Judges ought to be part of a peer reitor who prosecuted the case, should have view process. Just like transportation infraintervened when Dickson made the constructure shouldn’t be designed by liberal troversial comments. Riley is a partner arts majors, judges shouldn’t be appointat Riley McLendon, the law firm the city ed without some advice from their peers,” contracts with to provide legal staff. Jason Paul said. McLendon has no relation to that law firm. Although the deadline has passed, Paul evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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

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

I-285 transit study

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

Ga. 400 buses

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

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

The ATL board

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

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

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6 | Special Section

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

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

SPECIAL

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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 7

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18/19 THE INAUGURAL SEASON

18/19 S ANDY SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

NGS I R P S y d san AUGUST OPENING EVENTS City Springs Day August 11, 2018

Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018

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8 | Special Section

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

A

B

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

C

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

D

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CELEBRATE THE PERFORMING ARTS

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

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AUGUST OPENING EVENTS City Springs Day August 11, 2018

Steinway Dedication and Concert August 17, 2018

Branford Marsalis Quartet August 11, 2018

Sutton Foster August 18, 2018

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

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival August 19, 2018

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

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10 | Special Section

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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 ►

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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

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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.” SS

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14 | Community

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‘Restaurant row’ joins mix of intersection ideas

Gerard Gunthert’s sketch of his building at 285 Mount Vernon Highway turned into a restaurant.

Continued from page 1 non between Roswell Road and Boylston Drive. Gerard Gunthert, a Sandy Springs developer, owns one of those buildings, at 285 Mount Vernon, where his current tenant is a chiropractor. He’s sketched out a plan for turning it into a restaurant with a roof deck, and would like to see the whole strip become a “restaurant row” with on-street parking, an idea he said he has floated with city officials. Gunthert — who currently has a highprofile plan to bring an Antico Pizza Napoletana restaurant to another Boylston Drive address — suggests the “old and cool” buildings could echo downtown Roswell and perhaps be branded as “The Row.” “The city is currently reviewing public feedback received over the past several months and evaluating design options, including one that Mr. Gunthert has suggested,” said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “We anticipate scheduling a public meeting in late August or early September to update the public on the latest design recommendations based on that feedback.” Located just a block east of busy Roswell

Road, the intersection is known as dangerous and gridlocked during rush hour, though traffic can be light at most other times. City officials say there were more than 150 accidents reported there in 2014 through 2016. For years, the city has worked on various designs complicated largely by disputes about property-takings in the tight area. This year, city engineers introduced two new grid options, saying they would improve safety and traffic flow. They make Mount Vernon and Johnson Ferry parallel roads. However, the plan created new controversy with an apparently option “cutthrough” road somewhere in the vicinity of the Sandy Springs Branch Library, with its adjacent Reading Park as one route. The cut-through idea has sparked neighborhood opposition. Green space is an issue with Gunthert’s concept as well. It would require narrowing the grid design, reducing green space between the parallel streets. Gunthert said the Sandy Springs Conservancy, a parks advocacy group, has pushed back on that idea.

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Conservancy board chairman Steve Levetan said that “the Conservancy is always pushing for as much green/ park space as possible — our core mission. “That said,” he added, “the Sandy Springs Conservancy does not have a formal position regarding that specific intersection plan. However we would view the loss of any park or greenspace, including the Reading Park, to be a step backwards for the city.” Gunthert is especially concerned with the “full grid” option, which is the wider of the two designs presented earlier this year. “The expanded grid more or less wipes out the buildings” on that commercial section of Mount Vernon, he said, and mostly for construction easements. “I don’t want to see TSPLOST funds wasted on tearing down buildings we don’t need to,” he said, referring to project funding via a transportation special local option sales tax. He has sketched out a design with head-on, on-street parking added to the street, and at least his own building being transformed into a restaurant. He said he has spoken with some other property owners on that section of Mount Vernon, including the Fido Fido dog-boarding business and Andy Porter, a developer and Sandy Springs Planning Commission member, who did not respond to questions. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which operates a branch at the Mount Vernon/Roswell corner, intends to remain — but is also about to open a new branch roughly a half-mile north at 6509 Roswell

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

Community | 15

Insurance agent fights eminent domain land-taking BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

An insurance agent says he is fighting the city’s eminent-domain taking of his business at the corner of Mount Vernon Highway and Sandy Springs Circle, a court battle that appears to be delaying a streetscape project. Randy Beavers, who had sold State Farm insurance from 135 Mount Vernon since 2005, said the city already forced him to move out to rented space, a situation he calls a “nightmare.” The City Council in February approved eminent domain takings of Beavers’ property and parts of others as right of way for a redesigned Sandy Springs Circle featuring sidewalks and a multiuse path. The city is offering $358,000, Beavers says. He wants $2.2 million. “Until this is resolved, they can’t do anything,” said Beavers. “They can’t widen the road. They can’t tear my building down.” The city did not respond to questions about Beavers’ case and the streetscape project. The Sandy Springs Circle project is part of a 2012 master plan for a denser, more walkable downtown area, now known as City Springs and anchored by the brand new, $229 million civic center of the same name. The plan was developed with public input and approval, but carrying it out has involved land-takings that have sometimes been controversial, both in the community and on the City Council. The city has authorized eminent domain in many cases, but officials usually emphasize it is a negotiating tactic that in all but one case has been resolved without a court trial. Officials made similar statements when the eminent domain of Beavers’ property and three others was approved. City Attorney Dan Lee said at the time that it was largely triggered by a technical deadline for right of way acquisition that was attached to federal funding for the streetscape project. Mayor Rusty Paul said at the time that the city would “continue to negotiate in good faith” with property owners. SPECIAL Randy Beavers. Beavers said the city never responded to his counteroffer, instead ordering him to move out of his building — a house converted into an office — by May 19 or pay $3,000 a month in rent to stay. He called the city’s legal team “the most ruthless people … I don’t know how they sleep at night.” Beavers started his insurance agency in the late 1970s and acquired the Mount Vernon house from a former client. According to Fulton County property records, the house dates to 1940 and sits on about a quarter-acre. The county values the entire property at about $390,000 for tax purposes. “When they sent me that offer, it was like a gigantic slap in the face,” Beavers said of the $358,000 offer, which was noted as an appraised value in the City Council’s original eminent domain approval discussion. He said the condemnation order gave him 45 days to move his business, and imposed a big new expense: $40,000 in rent at the Springs shopping center on Johnson Ferry Road. He said he hoped to stay at Mount Vernon and never retire, but eminent domain also removes the option of renting to another business if he did. Beavers said his attorney, Harry Camp, is seeking to get the condemnation order set aside and leave his property alone. Camp did not return a phone call. The City Springs civic center is still frequently described by city leaders in terms of a shuttered business it replaced: a vacant Target big-box store. But the project also required taking the property of many existing businesses, from a Waffle House and a Sherwin-Williams paint store to smaller, local shops. All told, the city spent more than $37 million acquiring more than two-dozen parcels, according to data previously provided by the city. Many of those acquisitions began as eminent domain filings, and some went into court-supervised negotiation, but only one went to trial, according to the city. That was a case involving a restaurant that sat on the main City Springs site. In the other cases, a price was agreed on, and sometimes included moving expenses. Beavers’ $2.2 million counteroffer is based partly on one of those City Springs agreements just two doors down. That’s where photographer Eric Bern, in a similar dispute over relocating his business in 2014, got about $1.1 million from the city for the land and expenses. The city wanted the site for an extension of Blue Stone Road, which recently opened. The Sandy Springs Circle project is different but related via the City Springs district master plan. It stalled in 2016 as well over concerns about public input and land-taking at the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church Activities Center, across the street from Beavers’ property. The church says the city has altered the design to resolve its concerns. More recently, the city last year bought 140 Hilderbrand Drive, right next door to Beavers’ property and similar in size, for about $686,000. Partly that was for the same streetscape project, and partly so the city could bank the land for possible denser redevelopment, as sketched out in that old master plan. The plan’s sketch includes Beavers’ property as well. SS

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

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

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


16 | Art & Entertainment

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GET ACTIVE DIVE INTO SHABBAT - POOL PARTY AT THE MJCCA

BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

DUNWOODY

SANDY SPRINGS

PERFORMANCES SUNDAYS ON THE RIVER CONCERT

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

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

DATE NIGHT RIVER CANOE TRIP

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

BROOKHAVEN COMMUNITY BIKE RIDE

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

KIDS AND FAMILIES LITTLE DIGGERS: MOSS TERRARIUM

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

BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL

CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS

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

A Place Where You Belong

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

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

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


Art & Entertainment | 17

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

STORYTELLING SATURDAY FEATURING CARMEN AGRA DEEDY

GENERAL GARDEN PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS

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

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

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

BUCKHEAD TABLETOP ROLEPLAYING CLUB

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

LEARN SOMETHING

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

COMMUNITY FOODSTOCK 2018

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

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

KNOWLEDGEWISE SPEAKER SERIES

NEWCOMERS MEET AND GREET

MEDITATION CLASSES

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

Northside

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

Heart

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

We offer services for complete cardiovascular care, including:

• • • • • • • SS

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

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

Visit our website for Information on our six other convenient locations


18 | Food & Drink

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

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

Q. Why did you choose to open in Sandy Springs? A. Sandy Springs has grown so much in the past few years and has truly become one 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

SS


Food & Drink | 19

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

Q.

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

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

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

A. I met him through mutual friends in

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

Q.

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

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20 | Special Section

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Fire Mountain Inn

Unwind in the Hills

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

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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 21

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Lake Rabun Hotel

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

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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 23

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DISCOVER

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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

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

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

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

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

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


AUGUST 3 - 16, 2018

Special Section | 25

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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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Special Section | 27

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Teaching at Kraken Springs

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

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

The Practice Pond

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

Escape to the Mountains

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

Thoughtful Therapy

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

VACATION RENTALS

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

Dip a Toe

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

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Parks & Recreation

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

Hardman Farm

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

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

Amicalola Falls

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

Etowah River Water Trail

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

Tallulah Gorge offers spectacular views.

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

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

Tallulah Gorge

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

Mountain Towns

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlonega

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

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

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

Rabun Gap


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Residents brainstorm north end redevelopment

EVELYN ANDREWS

A resident speaks as his small group’s spokesperson at the June 25 public meeting on north end redevelopment held at Sherwood Event Hall.

Continued from page 1

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One resident said at the end of the meeting that she hopes the task force truly intends to redevelop the north end without pushing out existing, lower-income residents. “I really hope the folks are really seriously intent on making it an inclusive community,” Gnosisia Johnson said. The meeting split residents into small groups to voice what types of improvements they think are needed on the north end and how they should be done without displacing residents. The attendance at the meeting far exceeded city officials’ expectations, causing them to add chairs and create new small groups during the meeting. The residents who attended lived in diverse housing types, including the aging apartments, several condo buildings and houses in the upscale Huntcliff neighborhood, according to residents’ introductions at the meeting start. The original meeting plan had each small group, which took the form of a circle of chairs with one transcriber writing ideas on a pad, would be split between north end residents and people who live outside of the area. However, the need to add several additional groups may have disrupted that idea. For the task force, the north end area is a “J” shape from Dalrymple Road up to the city’s border at the Chattahoochee River. It’s bordered on the right by Ga. 400, with Roswell Road running through the middle. Steve Soteres, the task force chair and City Council member, said the diversity of the residents attending would ensure the task force gets opinions from all types of people in different living situations. However, there are no current plans to solicit and separate opinions from different groups, he said. Most groups said they want affordable housing for low and middle incomes, including affordable single-family detached

houses; much more dining and shopping options; more greenspace, including a better connection to the Chattahoochee River; better transportation options, including more walkable and bike-friendly streets; and a continuation of perhaps the city’s most diverse community. One group drew applause with its demand to keep the north end inclusive, including for all races, incomes and ages. Some of the groups, including ones with mostly Huntcliff residents, said they desire high-end retail, restaurants and grocery stores to make the north end more upscale. Johnson, a resident who lives in the north end on Morgan Falls Road, said she doesn’t believe that should be a focus. “I don’t see the need for it to be highend. Buckhead is a few miles down the road,” she said. Otis White, the facilitator for the task force and public meetings, said the city wants this redevelopment done without causing gentrification, and asked the residents what the city could do to prevent that. Many groups proposed tax incentives for business and homeowners. Businesses could receive tax incentives to encourage them to come to Sandy Springs, and existing residents could receive a property tax break, residents said. They also encouraged a property tax exemption for seniors from the school tax, similar to Cobb County’s exemption. Another resident criticized the meeting for being too vague and with too large a group. He would rather see smaller meetings with stakeholders. “The intent was great, but when you bring in this many individuals, there is a limit on what you can say,” he said. “We’re going to need actual projects.” The next public meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1 Galambos Way. SS


Public Safety | 31

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Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Steve Rose, who runs the Citizens on Patrol and volunteer units, provided the following information, which represents some of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police from July 20-July 24.

B U R G L A RY „„200 block of Trowbridge Road — On

July 20, the victim was gone from midnight until 5:30 a.m. On return, he discovered his home had been entered through a window leading from the rooftop. The burglar was in the attic and accidentally put his foot through the ceiling before letting down the attic ladder. Video showed a male from about 5-feet10-inches to 6-feet with dreadlocks and a Nike sweatshirt. His Mini Cooper car was also rummaged through. He said that it is well known to his neighbors and friends that he is often gone from home. He added his brother’s friend burglarized his home some months back.

The caller said he told the man he’d take him to small claims court — not exactly a threat but rather a course of action, don’t you agree? 4900 block of Roswell Road — On July 24, a car service company’s district manager said an employee took $58 from the register sometime between July 16 and July 20. The employee resigned on the 20th. They didn’t want to prosecute but wanted the report to document it.

„„

Don’t tell people you are gone a lot. If you are going to float rumors, then tell them you have a snake collection and the little devils frequently abscond from their various cages and roam freely throughout the house. Maybe tell them you are experimenting with hazmat samples or maybe tell them anything other than, “I’m gone a lot.”

„„500 block of Northridge Drive — On

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

„„Between July 21 and July 24, four thefts

July 23, the resident said a front door was kicked in and the inside was ransacked. Keys to her car, personal Social Security card, jewelry and a Dell computer were stolen. She was gone from 12:45 p.m. until just after 5 p.m. An apartment complex employee said a suspicious male was reported in the area around 1 p.m.: 6-feet tall and wearing a white shirt. He was asking residents to let him into an apartment.

THEFT „„200 block of Mt. Vernon Hwy. — On

July 20, a clerk at the Chevron Store said a man took a soda and chips without paying. The cops found a man matching the description a short distance away and based on the lookout, they discovered he was the same person. He was arrested and accused of the $5 theft. „„5500 block of Powers Ridge Drive —

On July 20, a resident said someone stole her mailbox, damaging the post and the yard. „„5200 block of Northside Drive — On

SS

asked if she wanted a dead tree in her yard removed. She agreed and paid $400 for the removal. She told the officer she paid an additional $1,000 to remove another tree. She said he asked for an additional $500 once the tree was moved. So, after he was paid, the tree remains. The victim’s son called and spoke to the man, demanding they remove the tree or refund the money. The report said the man became agitated and said he would take them to court for threatening him.

July 22, a resident said an employee of a tree company came to her home and

Step up, sir. Someone steals from you, step up. Crooks need to answer for stealing.

ber. She later called Medicare and was told they do not request sensitive numbers on the phone.

„„4900 block of Roswell Road — On July

A S S AU LT

„„7300 block of Roswell Road — On July

„„Between July 20 and July 24, there

were four domestic violence complaints.

21, a 30-year-old man was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. 21, two 24-year-old males were arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. „„John Douglass Drive — On July 21,

ARRESTS „„6100 block of Roswell Road — On July

20, a man was arrested and accused of giving a false name. „„Northside Hospital — On July 20, a

man was arrested and accused of public drunkenness. „„8100 block of Colquitt Road — On July

20, a 30-year-old man was arrested and accused of domestic violence.

someone was arrested and accused of homicide by vehicle, of the second degree. „„I-285/Riverside Drive — On July 22, a

man was arrested and accused of possession of stolen property. „„7300 block of Roswell Road — On July

23, someone was arrested and accused of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

SANDY SPRINGS Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs

Request:

July 24, someone took the resident’s patio furniture and bike from his back patio.

Resolution to Authorize the Transmittal of the Annual Capital Improvements Element (CIE) Update to the Regional Development Center and State for Review and Comment

Public Hearings:

Mayor and City Council August 21, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES

Location:

Sandy Springs City Hall 1 Galambos Way Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328 770-730-5600

from vehicles were reported.

F R AU D „„400 block of Morgan Oaks Circle —

On July 20, a T-Mobile account was opened in the victim’s name. „„6000 block of Roswell Road

— On

July 20, the suspect paid a check to a law firm for closing and reversed the payment back to himself. „„200 block of Carpen-

ter Drive — On July 20, the complainant said a business called Global Sky Image, Inc., had been using her address as their business address. „„Parkgate Drive —

On July 21, a 70-year-old victim said someone called her, saying they were from Medicare and needed to verify her account. They asked for, and she gave them, her Social Security num-

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


32 |

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