8-18-17 Brookhaven Reporter

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AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017 • VOL. 9 — NO. 17


Brookhaven Reporter



► High school football team tackles community needs PAGE 8 ► Local librarians recommend autumn reads PAGE 14

Ice, ice, baby!

BeltLine founder turns focus to Buford Highway BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine is setting his sights on Buford Highway as the very first project of a new urban planning nonprofit he created. “I love Buford Highway,” said Ryan Gravel in a recent interview in his office on the eighth story of Ponce City Market. “Buford Highway has this amazing spirit, culture and vibrancy, [and it] would be inspiring to see the next chapter of that story.” Gravel, whose thesis at Georgia Tech evolved into the renowned BeltLine, recently created a new nonprofit called Generator, an “idea studio” that is “committed to the production of ideas about cities that nobody is asking for, but that just might change the Hannah Davis, 2, enjoys an ice treat from King of Pops, bringing a smile to the face of mom Laura, at the Brookhaven Farmers Market on Aug. 12. The market runs every Saturday into December at the corner of Dresden Drive and Fernwood Circle. For more information, see BrookhavenFarmersMarket.com.

STANDOUT STUDENT Creating 3-D printed prosthetic arms

We knew we couldn’t stay in this area ... because they are making it a really rich area. They’re going to tear everything down.

OUT & ABOUT Walking, wagging for a cause

A displaced Park Villa tenant

See Story, page 16

See BELTLINE on page 18

Council splits on for-profit probation services BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net Despite one councilmember’s objection about the fairness of having a forprofit company manage probation in the city court, the City Council recently voted to hire Georgia-based Professional Probation Services for the job. Councilmember Linley Jones cast the lone vote against the contract, saying she didn’t believe a for-profit company could administer fair justice. The council voted 3-1 on Aug. 8 to hire PPS. The city had used



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Left, Bobby Dunn, regional director for DeKalb and Gwinnett Boys & Girls clubs, speaks about the possible sale of the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club to developer Ashton Woods at an Aug. 2 public meeting at the club. Mike Busher, senior vice president of Ashton Woods Atlanta, is in the background. Right, The Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club at 1330 North Druid Hills Road, which the organization is trying to sell to developer Ashton Woods.


Townhomes plan for Boys & Girls site worries residents BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Residents near the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club are concerned a proposed townhome development on the property will add to their traffic woes and want to see fewer units proposed. “You’re going to turn a very comfortable, residential street into a traffic nightmare,” one resident said at an Aug. 2 public meeting about the possible sale of the Boys & Girls Club property at 1330 North Druid Hills Road to developer Ashton Woods. About 50 people attended the meeting. The Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club is trying to sell its property to move to another location about four miles away to a property the organization already owns at 2880 Dresden Drive in Chamblee. Bobby Dunn, regional director for DeKalb and Gwinnett Boys & Girls clubs, said the new location meets all three of the organization’s goals: it offers more space and better facilities and is closer to the children it serves. “The decision that we made to move from this location was very emotional and it was well-thought through,” Dunn said. Mike Haun, a Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club board member, said during the meeting that the sale of the property to Ashton Woods, which is contingent upon it being rezoned for multi-family developments by the Brookhaven City Council, is important to furthering the Boys & Girls Club’s mission. “In the facilitation of this sale, this mission gets to be carried out to another location,” Haun said. Some residents argued that connection is misleading and that club officials are employing an unnecessary emotional appeal. “I just don’t think you’re ever going to get the people here to buy into that connection,” a resident said. The new location is more than twice the size of the current one, and will be able

to accommodate 250 kids, an increase from the 150 the club can accommodate at the North Druid Hills Road location. The new location also has air conditioning in the gym, a fact mentioned several times at the meeting, which was held in the current gym on a hot summer evening. Ashton Atlanta Residential LLC, a subsidiary of Ashton Woods, seeks to rezone the property for the townhome development from R-75 (single-family residential) to RM-100 (multi-family residential). RM100 would allow Ashton Woods to build 12 units per acre, and the current site plan comes in right under that at 11.9 units per acre on a property that is just over six acres. The site plan calls for 74 units, a density almost everyone who spoke at the meeting objected to, and a topic Mike Busher, senior vice president of Ashton Woods Atlanta, grew weary addressing. “I’m not the sharpest knife, but I picked up on that one early,” Busher said of residents’ plea for lower density. Busher said they can consider changing the plan or lowering the density, and appreciated residents offering their perspective on it. However, he said proposing 74 units for a 6-acre property is similar to other townhome developments in the area. The plan calls for one entry-and-exit point on Sylvan Circle at the north end of the property, which concerned residents. “It’s an awful thing to do to a very quiet circle,” a resident said. Residents would like to see other entry points on Logan Circle to the east or North Druid Hills Road to the west, if possible, but Busher said limited sight lines make those bad options. Busher also said residents on Logan Circle previously have objected to an entry point on that road and the developers have to balance everyone’s opinions and perspectives when making the site plan. Residents are mostly concerned about traffic and want to see traffic spread out on different roads. Busher said the devel-

oper will do more traffic studies to determine the best course of action. A traffic study already completed, using the assumption there will be one entry on Sylvan Circle, projects 41 cars entering and exiting during morning peak hour traffic and 47 in the evening. A few residents also said they and their children will miss having a playground in the area, and asked if a public park could be built on the site. Busher said that is unlikely because the Boys & Girls Club would have to sell the property at a lower price. Bates Mattison, the City Council mem-

ber representing the district, attended the meeting and said the council will consider the public input. But he cautioned that if the plan doesn’t get approved, a “lower-quality” developer could try to buy the property. “We need to get something the community is on board with, and if they can’t get on board, the city can deny the zoning request,” Mattison said. “But if we do that, they could come back with a lower-quality buyer and we’ll be back in the same situation.” The case is slated to go before the Planning Commission on Sept. 6 and to the City Council on Sept. 26.

The proposed site plan for the townhome development calls for 74 units and one entrance on Sylvan Circle.



AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 3


Community Briefs


Officers with North Metro SWAT, the DeKalb Police Aerial Unit, Sandy Springs Fire, and Brookhaven Police with their K-9 Thor were honored at Brookhaven City Hall.


Members of the North Metro SWAT team, the DeKalb Police Aerial Unit, Sandy Springs Fire Rescue and Brookhaven Police and its K-9 unit were honored at City Hall on Aug. 8 for their actions in apprehending a suspect. Talawrence Slaughter, 33, was arrested Aug. 5 after an hours-long standoff with the North Metro SWAT team, made up of officers from Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Johns Creek, after he tried to elude capture by hiding inside and on the roof of the Guitar Center business on the Northeast Expressway.

When officers made their way to the business’s roof via a bucket truck from Sandy Springs Fire Rescue, the suspect was hiding under a box. He then tried to run from police. Thor, Brookhaven’s newest addition to the city’s K-9 unit, was able to capture the suspect after he was cornered on the roof of the business, according to city officials.


More parking and a new sidewalk are part of transportation improvements made in recent weeks at Ashford Park Elementary School as the new school year began this month. The cost for the project was $136,503 and was divided evenly between Brookhaven and DeKalb Schools, according to a city press release. The project was 21 percent under budget and completed a week ahead of schedule, according to the city. The improvements add 320 feet of

bridge Square shopping center at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The signs will prohibit left turns during rush hours, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Mondays through Fridays. The signs are intended to relieve rushhour traffic and delays caused by motorists attempting to turn left CITY OF BROOKHAVEN onto the two-lane road, according New parking spaces, a new sidewalk and to the Public Works Department. crosswalk were recently completed at The signs are also part of the imAshford Park Elementary School. plementation of the city’s AshfordDunwoody Corridor Study, which sidewalk to the existing network at the was approved in May. school, in addition to 29 new ADA-compliant parking spots. Pedestrian and student safety is also improved through the C IT Y R ES ERV ES UP construction of two raised crosswalks TO $8 .2 M I L L I O N complete with reflective striping and sigThe city has a reserve fund balance nage, according to the city. of $8.2 million — enough to cover 129 The project also incorporates aesthetdays of operating expenditures, or a 37.4 ic improvements which include the instalpercent reserve — according to a recent lation of sidewalk landscaping strips and external audit. The numbers indicate 225 feet of stained wood fencing along a more than 10 percent increase of rethe perimeter of the school. The project serves since 2015, according to city offialso sought to connect a local trail to the cials. school through the development of a trail The firm of Mauldin & Jenkins conhead for student and pedestrian use. ducted the audit, giving the city a “clean


The City Council on Aug. 8 unanimously approved installing “no left turn” signs at four entrances along the Cam-

opinion” during its review of city’s financial records for 2016. In 2015, Brookhaven’s reserve was 23 percent of budgeted expenditures. For the same year, the city received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.




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Community | 5


Test-driving Atlanta’s new bike share service BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

With Atlanta’s Relay Bike Share service recently rolling out, Reporter Newspapers took a test drive of the bicycle rental service. While the bikes gave a nice ride, the lack of bike lanes on local streets could make using them a challenge. Bike share systems have recently been proposed in Sandy Springs and some private systems are operating in Perimeter Center. But Atlanta is the first local city to launch a full public system. Buckhead is the latest neighborhood in Atlanta to join the city’s bicycle share station system, which allows users to rent a bike for a fee from an automated kiosk or with a smartphone app. Three stations, or “hubs,” were installed in July and can be found across the street from the Lenox MARTA Station at East Paces Ferry and Lenox roads; at Tower Place, at the intersection of Lenox and Piedmont roads; and in Piedmont Center, which is on the opposite side of Lenox Road from Tower Place. None of the bikes at the Lenox MARTA Station were out for use on a recent Sunday, but on some weekdays all the Tower Place bikes are being used. Other experienced cyclists were riding their own bikes were in the area.

The test drive started at the Relay hub at the Lenox MARTA Station, followed by a quick ride around the block bounded by Lenox Road, East Paces Ferry Road, Oak Valley Road and Wright Avenue. None of those streets in that area have bike lanes, making for a challenging ride, and city code bars bike-riding on the sidewalks. For a first-time user, getting a Relay bike takes about five minutes. Instead of renting from a kiosk and swiping a credit card, riders type in an account number and PIN on a small display on the rear of the bike powered by a solar panel. But first, they must download the Social Bicycles app or visit the Relay Bike Share website at relaybikeshare.com to create an account and enter payment information. If a rider isn’t a monthly or yearly subscriber, he or she must buy a 30-minute ride for $3.50 manually on the app or website before each ride and before entering the account number on the bike’s display. A monthly membership costs $15 and allots members 90 minutes of daily ride time. An annual membership costs $10 a month and a full year has to be paid up front. Individual rides are $3.50 for 30 minutes and 15 cents for each minute after. Monthly or yearly subscribers can tap a member card on the same display, similar to tapping a MARTA Breeze card at the


This Relay Bike Share station outside the Lenox MARTA station was installed in July along with two other bike share stations in Buckhead.

transit gates. After paying for a ride online, riders activate the display and follow the prompts to enter the account number and PIN. Then, riders pull out the metal U-shaped lock and place it in the holes on the side of the bike. The display on the back keeps tabs on the duration, distance and cost of the ride. Riders may return a bike to any Relay Bike Share rack for free. Bikes also may be returned to any normal public bike rack in the Relay system’s area for a fee of $2. It will cost a rider $20 to leave a bike at a pub-

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lic bike rack outside of Relay’s system area, which can be seen on an online map. Riders can also pick up a bike left at a public bike rack and receive a few dollars in credit toward future rides, referred to by Relay as a “bounty.” Bikes can also be reserved online or on the app, but will be released for use by other riders if not claimed within 10 minutes. Although Relay recommends wearing helmets, there are none to rent at the stations. The bikes have lights on the front and back and a handlebar bell to ring.

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Joe Congleton with his original Snoopy patch from the Sandy Springs Civil Air Patrol unit.

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Civil Air Patrol unit celebrates 50 years of Snoopy patch BY JACLYN TURNER There are more than 1,500 Civil Air Patrol units performing search and rescue missions around the country, but the Sandy Springs unit boasts a singular historic distinction. This year, the unit is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a logo featuring Snoopy, the Flying Ace who pilots his

doghouse-turned-airplane in the comic strip “Peanuts.” The logo appears on a patch — authorized by the late “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz — that has been worn by the unit’s cadets ever since. “The patch represents taking on a difficult foe and facing our challenges and coming out on top,” said Brian Berry, a pilot and the Sandy Springs unit’s

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Community | 7


historian. “It’s unique, it’s bold and simple, and it’s authorized.” The Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, is an auxiliary of the Air Force that specializes in aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services. A civilian nonprofit organization, CAP is known for providing search and rescue missions. CAP was created in 1941 to fly anti-submarine combat patrols during World War II. There are currently more than 1,500 units with 57,000 members. The Sandy Springs unit started meeting in 1963 at Sandy Springs High School. Today the squadron meets weekly at St. Jude’s Catholic Church. Senior members teach cadets ages 13 to 21 about aviation and the military. They are trained how to survive in the woods and how to search for missing aircraft. Cadets who complete training receive the Snoopy patch. The patch was designed to adorn the Sandy Springs unit’s uniforms in 1967 by Cadet Commander Joe Congleton. He modeled the patch on the cover of Schulz’s 1966 cartoon book “Snoopy and the Red Baron.” Congleton added the words “The Flyin’ 45th” to refer to the squad’s charter number. Lt. Harry Topliss wrote to Schulz to ask permission for the use of Snoopy’s image on the patch. In a brief letter dated July 25, 1967, Shultz replied, “You

certainly may have my permission to use Snoopy in your squadron patch. I am flattered that you wish to do so.” In the years since, copies of the patch have traveled with CAP alumni to space, to the Middle East, and even on Air Force One, the president’s airplane. Significant wearers have included former Georgia cadet and astronaut Eric Boe in 2011; Andrew Steadman, a White House military aide promoted in 2016 by President Obama; and Thomas McArthur, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer who saved 12 lives in 2010. “[The patch] represents the continuity of the squadron that has done great things in the past and plans to do great things in the future,” said Berry. “It shows a determined Snoopy facing a difficult foe and taking a few hits on his

doghouse and yet with either a grin or a grimace on his face, is working through his problems and facing his challenges.” Congleton is part of that sense of determination. He received a nomination to the U.S. Air Force Academy, but couldn’t qualify for medical reasons. He studied at Georgia Tech before dropping out to go to flight school with the U.S. Army. He was selected to fly the AH-1G Cobra fighter helicopter in 1969. He flew Cobras in Vietnam until April 1970, when his base was attacked and he was severely injured. He earned the Air Medal and a Purple Heart for his service. For more information about the Sandy Springs unit, see ga045.org.

CHECK OUT ANOTHER LOCAL CAP CADET SQUADRON The DeKalb Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron meets on ongoing Thursdays, from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Boys and girls ages 12 to 18 can learn about aviation, aerospace, leadership, search and rescue, first aid and character development in weekly Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron meetings at Peachtree DeKalb Airport. The squadron also participates in aircraft orientation flights, field trips and community service. 2000 Airport Road, Suite 227, Chamblee. Info: GA065.org.

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8 | Community

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Jeremiah Collier, left, and Ethan Haas, seniors on the Dunwoody High School Wildcats football team, were up early the night after a pre-season game to volunteer to pack food to be sent to impoverished communities in Honduras.


Dunwoody football players tackle community needs BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Jeremiah Collier, a senior linebacker on Dunwoody High School’s football team, is known for some fierce licks against running backs trying to sneak up the middle during a game.

Jeremiah Collier, a senior linebacker, carries a box of prepackaged food to be shipped.

He also could easily carry a heavy box filled with bags of rice in Dunwoody United Methodist Church’s recent Foodstock event, where volunteers prepared boxes of food to be sent to impoverished communities in Honduras. “I like to help the less fortunate,” Collier said. Collier was working an 8 a.m. shift at the church along with about a dozen other DHS football players who also had played late the night before in a pre-season game against Appalachee High School. The Dunwoody Wildcats won 30-7. “Yeah, I had a good game,” Collier said, smiling. “Had some good tackles.” DHS Head Coach Mike Nash says how his players perform on the field is important – but even more important is how they carry themselves off the field. When Nash came to DHS two years ago from Shiloh High School in Snellville, he wanted to instill in his players not only the fundamentals of football, but also the importance of service to the community. “For me, football is a community thing,” Nash said. “Football does a lot to

bring a community together.” While volunteering for various organizations is not required, Nash said it is strongly encouraged. “It’s important the players understand they are part of something bigger than themselves,” he said. Daneen Collier, Jeremiah’s mother, and Tricia Casey, whose son Charley is a senior wide receiver for the Wildcats, are in charge of organizing volunteer opportunities for the players. The team has done jobs ranging from clearing brush and weeds at the historical Stephen Martin Cemetery, which is tucked behind the strip mall adjacent to the massive State Farm development, to cleaning up and setting up for the city’s annual Fourth of July parade. “There are a lot of projects where it helps to have some brawn,” Daneen Collier said. Tricia Casey said the team’s dedication to community service creates “the closest thing to Mayberry, in a good way,” for the city and its residents. “These boys need to be going out into the community to help the community that supports us so much,” she said.

Ethan Haas, a senior running back, carries packaged rice to be put into food boxes.

Ethan Haas, a senior running back, was all smiles despite the early morning at DUMC as he helped organize the boxes of food. “This is a chance for us to give back to the community, to be part of it, because we want them to come out and support us on Friday nights,” he said.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 9


FALL 2017 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Listed are the public high schools in the Reporter Newspapers communities


Sept. 1: At McNair Sept. 29: At Pataula Charter Oct. 6: At North Springs Oct. 13: Clarkston Oct. 20: At Glascock County Oct. 27: Pataula Charter


Freshman Wildcats Davis Ledoyen, far left, Conner MacDonald and Grey Kuriger measure rice as part of prepared food packages.

Those Friday nights are when a community comes together to cheer a team and the players on the field represent their parents, their school and the entire community, Nash said. “Our motto is, ‘Family,’” he said. “We are helping raise these kids to turn them into men.” Sweating on a field in practice and during games is one thing, Nash said, but then to volunteer side-by-side unloading pumpkins for a church sale or hammering 2-by-4s at the Donaldson Bannister Farm as part of its preservation project is another way to bring players closer together. He hopes that dedication to each other will translate into good plays and strong efforts on the field. “Football is a game played with emo-

tion and passion,” Nash said. “But it’s more important to coach the community.” Ben Stecker, a senior and long snapper for the Wildcats, said volunteering in the community “is a way to make our mark on Dunwoody.” Junior cornerback Will Forth said helping others is a way to “try to make things better.” Ricki Vann, a member of Dunwoody UMC, was packaging food with her husband, Mike, and a group of players. “They are hard workers,” she said. “It shows they have integrity and they want to help others. It’s great to have young people involved in positive things and not negative things.” She said she and her husband watch the Wildcats every Friday on TV. The team is forced to play at North DeKalb


Sept. 1: Chamblee Sept. 8: North Atlanta Sept. 22: At Chattahoochee Sept. 29: Northview Oct. 6: At Cambridge Oct. 13: Pope Oct. 20: At Centennial Oct. 27: At Alpharetta Nov. 4: Johns Creek


Sept. 1: At KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Sept. 8: At Dunwoody Sept. 15: Chattahoochee Sept. 22: Pope Sept. 29: At Alpharetta Oct. 13: At Centennial Oct. 20: Northview Oct. 27: At Johns Creek Nov. 3: Cambridge

Stadium in Chamblee because of the poor conditions of its own home field. A $2 million capital campaign is underway to build a new athletic complex at Dunwoody High School. When Nash came to Dunwoody in 2015, there were 17 players on the Wildcats squad. Today there are more than 100. The team’s records have been notably dismal the past several years and the team is still “learning how to play


Aug. 25: At KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Sept. 1: At Towers Sept. 15: Decatur Sept. 23: At Carver, Atlanta Sept. 29: Jackson, Atlanta Oct. 6: Cross Keys Oct. 13: At Grady Oct. 20: Riverwood Oct. 27: At Banneker Nov. 3: At Lithia Springs


Aug. 25: Jefferson Sept. 1: Holy Innocents’ Sept. 8: Woodward Academy Sept. 15: At Banneker Sept. 22: Lithia Springs Oct. 6: At Decatur Oct. 14: Carver, Atlanta Oct. 20: At North Springs Oct. 27: Grady Nov. 3: At Jackson, Atlanta

football,” he said. “We’re miles ahead of where we’ve been the past two years,” he said. “Now we are learning how to be competitive.” Nash also praised the city of Dunwoody, saying the players come to him already with a sense of knowing they are part of a community and helping others is a priority. “This is a special community,” he said.




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10 | Education

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Max Seidel Riverwood International Charter School, junior



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Max Seidel has always had a passion for engineering. “Since I was really young, I always wanted to take apart things and put them back together, and I still am that way,” he said. So it seemed only natural for him to enter Riverwood International Charter School’s Science Fair during his sophomore year. His project was a 3-D printed prosthetic arm that a wearer can move with electric impulses from their remaining muscles. “It was basically an alternate way of giving people who don’t have the money to afford $50,000 prosthetic arms individual finger movement, which I achieved by making it 3-D printable and lowering the cost to around $500, which was a big thing for children, specifically,” he said. Although it was his first science fair, Max impressed the judges and won first place. He then went on to a Fulton County fair. He recalls being overwhelmed with pride and excitement. After the county fair, Max competed at the state level and won numerous awards, including “Best Biophysics Project” and “Intel Excellence in Computer Science.” He was also interviewed by Dr. Christopher Horvoka, a professor of prosthetics at Georgia Tech, and won an award from him for “Prosthetics and Orthotics Wearable Technology.” Additionally, Max’s prosthetic arm was shown at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville as part of a four-week exhibition. He then went on to the International Science Fair, where he was able to meet teenagers around the globe with a passion for science, technology and engineering. “It really enlightens you to learn that these people are all there for a goal,” he said. “The goal is advancing humanity, whether it be in the sciences, in engineering aspects, biology, biomedical, physics, chemistry, everything. No matter what politics say, people want to do good.” He cites the people he met at the International Science Fair as his favorite part of the experience, and noticed the importance of their passion. “It’s easier to teach someone the

Standout Student


Max Seidel

knowledge behind something. It’s not really easy to teach someone to have a passion,” he said. He was also able to meet Nobel laureates and MacArthur fellows, and was inspired by the work they do to help others. “I’m more into helping other people because I’ve seen how you can do it through other people, how big of a deal it is,” he said. Max always had a deep passion for helping others, and this passion was a large motivator in his project. “I want to help people to achieve things that previously they couldn’t,” he said. Max now is working with his synagogue’s nonprofit organization to fund and create a prosthetic arm for a child in need. Although it was a difficult process to teach himself how to create the arm, Max considers it well worth the effort. To learn how to build the project, he used a combination of YouTube videos and help from teachers, physical therapists and a Georgia Tech graduate student. Max says he has two statements that he lives by. Number one, never let age get in the way of pursuing a passion, and number two, “It doesn’t matter what other people think of you.” “In my philosophy,” he said, “weird people change the world.”

What’s Next?

Max will continue to compete in science fairs, and plans to pursue engineering as a career. This article was reported and written by Sarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

Education | 11

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Vonda Vrieland Pace Academy

ing, reading and writing, with the child’s voice as the primary instrument. The Creative Movement approach teaches elements of music (such as beat, rhythm, dynamics and tempo) and personal expressions through movement. I also use folk dancing to teach sequential dance patterns and world music.

Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” series, Reporter Newspapers is showcasing the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend an Exceptional Educator, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.


A: I was inspired by my mom and teach-

ers I had throughout my school years. As a child, I went to my mom’s music classroom during Spring Break. I remember participating and having the time of my life because I was able to play the instruments, sing and dance. In fact, after her day was over, I would venture out to other classrooms and act like I was teaching a class. Back at home, I am grateful I had friends who loved to play school. We would set up a classroom with a blackboard and assign a teacher and a few students. We all wanted to be that difficult student to see how our friend [playing the role of the teacher] would handle the situation.

Q: Has the appeal changed? A: No, the appeal has not changed. I

think I have the best job in the world because I get to sing, dance, play instruments, listen to music and act every day!

Q: What keeps you going year after year?

A: The exuberant response of the children as they sing, dance, play instruments and create.

Q: What do you think makes a great teacher?

Is there a “trick” that works to get students involved?

Vonda Vrieland




The “trick” is making it fun, while the child is unaware of how much they are learning.


What do you hope your students take away from your class?

During the holiday season, the entire Lower School presents “Light One Candle” to the families and community. The program is a unique reenactment of the Jewish story of Hanukkah, as well as the Christian story of Christmas. Every student learns and sings songs in multiple languages and American Sign Language.


I hope my students gain an appreciation and love for music, progress in musical skills development, become independent learners, and continue to learn and enjoy music throughout their lifetime.

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A teacher who is passionate about teaching, loves children, [is] an encourager, a good role model, mindful of individual needs, actively involved in their lessons and a lifelong learner. A great teacher should be involved in the community by attending workshops, conferences and being part of a network supporting excellence in music education.

Q: What do you want to see in your A:


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Q: What attracted you to teaching at


Drama is a collaborative effort between the classroom and music teacher. Each student in the elementary school participates in a musical play where they have a significant role through speaking, singing and choreography.


Pace Academy’s Vonda Vrieland, who has been teaching music for 21 years, was inspired by her mother’s career in the same field. As a child, Vrieland said, she pretended to teach music classes at her mother’s school during breaks. Vrieland uses singing, dancing, writing and composing, among other activities, to teach her students about music, hoping to see them “to reflect the joy of making music,” she said. The students all participate in plays, including one in the holiday season that has them sing in multiple languages and perform in American Sign Language.

Another feature of our program is the Lunchtime Concerts. Students who take outside music lessons are able to perform in front of their peers, teachers and parents during lunchtime.

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I want them to reflect the joy of making music and take personal investment in their learning.

Q: How do you engage your students? A: I use a myriad of teaching manip-

ulatives and games. Sometimes a puppet introduces a song; a beach ball is tossed from student to student to practice reading rhythms and pitch; a stonepassing game to encourage steady beat; chasing games to teach a musical concept; an interactive board to assist in musical writing; and many other fun games and teaching tools.

Q: Do you have a project or special A:

program you use year after year?

I weave together three best practices in music education: the Orff-Schulwerk, Kodaly, and Creative Movement. Through the Orff-Schulwerk approach, the child experiences music naturally and unconsciously through imitation, exploration, improvisation, composing, drama and speech. The Kodaly Method uses a sequential approach to teaching skills such as singing, listening, mov-

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12 | Community

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Eclipse viewing parties offer safe way to watch BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Two local nature centers and a public library will host viewing parties for a solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. A total solar eclipse, where the moon blocks the light from the sun, will occur in parts of the U.S. on Aug. 21, including parts of north Georgia. While metro Atlanta will not experience a full eclipse, about 97 percent of the sun will be covered, causing the temperature to drop significantly. The eclipse in Atlanta is expected to peak at about 2:30 p.m. The eclipse should only be viewed through solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses,” which are available at viewing events, because even the small amount of sunlight that gets around the moon can severely damage the eyes. Even very dark ordinary sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun, according to NASA.


The city of Brookhaven is inviting the public to Brookhaven City Hall at 4362 Peachtree Road and all city parks to watch the eclipse. The city is urging residents to only view the eclipse with protection. The city gave away 500 free solar eclipse viewing glasses to Brookhaven residents on Aug. 16, but ran out within a few hours. “A common misconception regarding solar eclipses is that it is safe to look at the sun during the event due to the diminished sunlight; however, this is not the case. Looking into direct sunlight, for even brief periods, can cause eye damage and even blindness. For this reason, it is important to use special-purpose solar filters when enjoying the eclipse,” Paul White, Brookhaven’s emergency management coordinator, said in a press release.

Only northeastern areas of Georgia will see a total solar eclipse, while areas in the metro Atlanta area will see the sun covered around 97 percent.


The Dunwoody Nature Center will hold an eclipse event from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Dunwoody Senior Baseball Fields at 5321 Roberts Drive. The nature center will provide eclipse viewing glasses. The center asks that visitors park in the baseball field parking lot and bring blankets or chairs. Call 770-394-3322 for more information.

The Northside Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System will host a viewing party from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The library will provide viewing glasses, refreshments and educational viewing clips. The library is located at 3295 Northside Parkway in Buckhead. Call 404-814-3508 for more information.

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead welcomes the public to gather in front of its building at 4055 Roswell Road from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Call 404-4553650 for more information.


Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman, front, and other staffers get ready for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 13





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A preliminary rendering of a planned bridge that would cross Peachtree Creek behind the Corporate Square office park.

Greenway construction on track to begin early next year BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

other side of the creek, where the Greenway will continue. Plans are to make the bridge an iconic structure for the city and a preliminary rendering includes cable work. “We want the bridge to be a big focal point for this phase,” McBrayer said. “We do have to cross the creek here. We’re just throwing out ideas right now ... but we want something other than a typical bridge.” “I love the plan and timeline,” Councilmember Bates Mattison said. “Everyone in Brookhaven wants to see this sooner rather than later.” The paved multiuse path for the Greenway would be similar to the Atlanta BeltLine and be 14 feet wide, McBrayer said. McBrayer told the council that for the past 26 years he’s been trying to connect Atlanta with a network of trails. “I think this is a great addition,” he said. The city is currently using eminent domain to gain some 19 acres of undeveloped land on Briarwood Road, where a trail head also is planned. City officials and property owners could not reach an agreement on price for the land. The 1.2-mile stretch of the first phase is the central link of the entire 2.9 -mile Greenway section in Brookhaven. The Greenway is planned to run through Chamblee and Doraville, and its proponents want it eventually to connect to PATH400 in Buckhead and then to the Atlanta BeltLine.

Design of the first phase of the Peachtree Creek Greenway is 30 percent complete with the possibility of the project going out to bid by the end of this year and construction beginning as soon as February. That was the news delivered to the City Council at its Aug. 8 meeting by PATH Foundation Executive Director Ed McBrayer. The city contracted with the nonprofit PATH Foundation in March for approximately $350,000 for the design of the first phase of the Greenway, between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road. “We’re working feverishly on the 60 percent documents right now and hope to get them back to you soon ... and have them all ready for bidding before end of the year,” McBrayer said. “Our timeline is to have construction start early next year.” The 30 percent phase included having the alignment of the trail specifically defined; conducting flood and hydrology analysis; environmental permitting; civil engineering; erosion control; and structural and geotechnical engineering. Acquisition of easements is also taking place, McBrayer said, and the city continues to be in talks with the Salvation Army about the donation of an easement on its property for a small trail head at the top of the property’s hill. The Salvation Army headquarters is located off the Northeast Expressway and its property backs up to Peachtree Creek. There are also talks with Corporate Square office park for some parking access, he said, to go with a planned plaza area. A bridge is planned at Corporate CITY OF BROOKHAVEN Square office park A plaza area behind the Corporate Square office park is from the plaza to the planned as part of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. BK

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Commentary / Local librarians recommend autumn reads School is back in session, so students have new reading lists for the fall. But what about their parents? We asked local folks who know about books — librarians in Reporter Newspapers communities — to recommend some fall reading for adults. Here’s what they suggested, just in time for the arrival of National Literacy Month in September.

Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com



by Ruta Sepetys No, this book has nothing to do with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Instead, this is the story of a Lithuanian family and their deportation to Siberia during the Stalin era. It’s a gripping story about a part of history that doesn’t get much attention.

by Andrew Davidson This book will grab the attention of readers from the get go. It opens with a single-car accident leaving the driver with severe burns all over his body. The rest of the book entails his recovery in the burn ward and his relationship with a patient from the psychiatric ward who visits him during his stay.



C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial

Catherine Lampley Librarian, Brookhaven Library

by Hanya Yanagihara In a way, this is a coming of age story. It’s a book about friends, careers, relationships — past and present — and figuring out one’s lot in life. At times the subject matter is extremely difficult to read, but readers will turn page after page in the hopes of a happy ending.

Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews

by Chris Bohjahlian A beautiful story written about the Armenian genocide. It alternates between 1915 and 2012 as a writer from New York researches her family history. Readers will become engrossed in this book about a segment of history that often times fails to get recognized.

Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Janet Tassitano


by Ryan Gravel The creator of the Atlanta BeltLine discusses his inspiration for the BeltLine and his personal journey towards more sustainable, walkable cities.


by Margaret Atwood The author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” sets Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the modern day with a college professor ready to employ a team of prisoners to exact his petty revenge. You don’t need to be a Shakespeare buff to enjoy this one!

Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Phil Mosier, Jaclyn Turner

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

© 2017 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily

MY TWO SOUTHS: BLENDING THE FLAVORS OF INDIA INTO A SOUTHERN KITCHEN by Asha Gomez Local chef Asha Gomez shares recipes for delicious and fresh dishes, with her unique fusion of South Indian and American Southern cooking.


by Curtis Sittenfeld In this modern day re-telling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the Bennets are an old, moneyed Cincinnati family struggling to keep up with the Joneses; Mr. Darcy is a highly-eligible bachelor neurosurgeon; and Mr. Bingley is a reality TV-show contestant looking for a bride.

Madigan McGillicuddy Principal librarian and branch manager, Sandy Springs Library branch

THE LONELY POLYGAMIST by Brady Udall Golden Richards has an enormous amount of responsibility on his shoulders keeping his construction company afloat and struggling to pay the bills while caring for four wives and 28 children in rural Utah. This novel takes a surprisingly humanizing look at the struggles of polygamist Mormons.

represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. BK

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Commentary | 15




by Sarah Miller This highly anticipated historical novel, authorized by the Laura Ingalls Wilder estate, retells the classic story of “Little House on the Prairie” from the perspective of Caroline “Ma” Ingalls, detailing the hardship she and her family faced on the frontier of the late 1800s.

by Brené Brown. Self-help books may be a dime a dozen, but this one is a modern classic. Based on her popular TED Talk, Brown’s insightful and heartfelt book describes how having the strength to admit your own vulnerabilities can transform every aspect of your life.

Jared Millet Manager, Dunwoody Library branch


by Bill Bryson Autumn is a great time to get back in touch with nature. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can curl up indoors and read about Bryson’s ill-fated and hilarious attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail without getting lost or eaten by bears.


by Attica Locke The author of “The Cutting Season” and producer of the TV show “Empire” returns with the brand new thriller about a black Texas Ranger on the trail of a double homicide. Described as a “rural noir,” Locke’s latest novel could be the sleeper hit of the season.

POLICING THE BLACK MAN: ARREST, PROSECUTION, AND IMPRISONMENT Edited by Angela J. Davis This collection of essays explores the way the criminal justice system is failing black boys and men. A very readable book that is filled with alarming data and statistics as well as heartbreaking stories.


by Gabrielle Zevin An uplifting and funny book about a young intern who has an affair with her Congressman boss, and, when the scandal breaks, it ruins her life, not his. She escapes to a faraway place with a new identity but must come face to face with her past when she decides to run for mayor in her small town. (Scheduled for release this month. The author is scheduled to appear at the Margaret Mitchell House on Sept. 14.)



by Brad Meltzer My 7-year-old loves these approachable and wonderfully illustrated history books about how ordinary people changed the world through following their passions and/or taking a stand. “I Am Sacagawea” will be released this fall and will be a great addition to the collection. (Scheduled for release Oct. 3.)

SMITTEN KITCHEN EVERY DAY: TRIUMPHANT AND UNFUSSY NEW FAVORITES by Deb Perelman Fall always makes me think of food, and getting back into the kitchen to try out new recipes. Deb Perelman’s “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” is one of my all -time favorites and I eagerly await her new book “Smitten Kitchen Every Day.” (Scheduled for release Oct. 24.)


by Ernest Cline Don’t wait for the movie next spring. This surprise hit novel from 2012 packs a truckload of adventure wrapped in a feast of 1980s nostalgia, arcade games, movies and Saturday morning cartoons. Anyone who fondly remembers that decade must read this book.

THE BREAKDOWN by B.A. Paris I love a good psychological thriller, and this one kept me in suspense until the very end.

Kate Whitman Vice President of Public Programs, Atlanta History Center, who orchestrates author programs for the center and the Margaret Mitchell House.

16 | Community

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Forced out by redevelopment, Park Villa tenants make their moves BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net


Melinda Ward, forced to move out of Park Villa apartments, cries as volunteers from Brookhaven Presbyterian Church load her belongings into a truck.

The young men grunted as they maneuvered a large armoire down the narrow staircase from Apartment F-3 to the lot below. There, a U-Haul truck was parked, surrounded by liquor boxes wrapped in red tape, a laundry basket filled with purses, several large black plastic bags packed tight and metal bed frames leaning against the pile. “We did nothing wrong,” Melinda Ward said tearfully as she watched the Brookhaven Presbyterian Church volunteers load her belongings. “We paid our bills. We never paid our rent late.” Ward is one of dozens of people forced to move out of the Park Villa Apartment Homes on Coosawattee Drive at the intersection of North Cliff Valley Way and just a short distance from Buford Highway. Developer Taylor Morrison recently purchased the property with plans to raze the apartment buildings to construct luxury townhomes priced in the high $400,000 range. The developer originally notified residents in late

June that they would have to move and allowed them 30 days to leave, but Mayor John Ernst negotiated with Taylor Morrison to give residents until Aug. 21. On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, about 10 volunteers were helping Ward and her 13-year-old daughter, Angelina, move out of their apartment. Another moving truck could be seen in the complex being loaded with furniture. Several vehicles remained in the parking lot, but a wall of empty mailboxes symbolized the recent exodus of people, many of them immigrants and some who were undocumented. “It’s been a little hard. This makes me nervous about everything,” Angelina said of moving out of the building that had been her home for the past three years. “It’s a little hard packing with just two people.” The Ward’s dachshund, Scooby, watched nervously from his crate as Angelina showed the volunteers which boxes and bags were ready to go. “We were already planning on moving, but didn’t think it would be so soon,” Angelina said. “We knew we couldn’t stay in this area ... because they are making it a really rich area. They’re going to tear everything down. There’s nothing we can do unless we have millions of dollars.” Angelina said she knows her mother does not have much money. Before the move, her mother, who has a back injury

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Top, Empty and abandoned mailboxes at the Park Villa apartment complex are reminders of dozens of people forced out of their homes to make way for new development. Right, Angelina Ward looks at her empty bedroom at the Park Villa complex in Brookhaven. She and her mother moved to a new apartment in Tucker.

and lives on a fixed income, had purchased a new pair of shoes for Angelina to wear to school, but extra school supplies from last year will have to be used for this year. “We’re kind of struggling this year,” Angelina said. “We have no money for movers. Thank God these people are here. We obviously couldn’t do this by ourselves.” Ward said she initially wanted to relocate to an apartment along Buford Highway, but the complexes are filled. Instead, she moved to the Estuary Apartment Homes in Tucker. She said she expects to see more and more of the complexes along and near Buford Highway being torn down as new development comes to the area. “I’m pretty sure they’ll all be gone in two years,” she said. “That’s why I went further out, so we will not be put in this situation again.” Ward said she eventually wants to buy a house, but the inheritance her parents left her is now gone, much used to pay for moving costs, she said. The three-bedroom apartment she lived in at Park Villa with her daughter’s godfather cost $750 a month; the new three-bedroom apartment she is also sharing with her daughter’s godfather rents for $1,265 a month. Ward said she lived nine years in Brookhaven. Before moving to Park Villa, she lived in the Tempo Cabana Apartments, now named the Marquis Crossing Apartments, on Curtis Drive near Buford Highway. “The reason why I’m so sad about moving is because my daughter’s whole life has been in that area,” Ward said. Angelina regularly attended the Boys & Girls Club on North Druid Hills Road and knew many of the Brookhaven Presbyterian Church volunteers helping her move because they also volunteered at the club. “This has been stressful on all of us,” Angelina said. Rebekah Morris, who organized memBK

bers of her church to help Melinda and Angelina Ward move, said Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, a community organization seeking to empower those living in apartments on Buford Highway to have a voice in their future, is keeping a watchful eye on what is happening to apartment residents. “We’re working on a displacement response tool kit with best practices on how to support the community, such as having an updated list of apartments in the area, providing assistance with moving, trying to help students transition to new schools,” she said. One goal the group has is to find some way to preserve the current stock of affordable apartments in the area and perhaps one day to hold a panel discussion with apartment owners and property managers about ways to improve aging complexes and still make a profit without selling the land to developers to build pricey residences. “We know we can’t keep rents at the $600- to $700-a-month per unit [rate],” she said, “but maybe they can make renovations and raise the rent, but [at a rate that] is still affordable to those who live there, [and] not be forced to sell because they can’t keep up with maintenance.” The group also is looking for a more transparent public process. When officials in a city know an apartment complex is being sold, residents should be notified so they will have at least 60 or 90 days to move out, members of the group argue. The most important goal is to make sure people living in apartments are treated humanely, she said. “We’d like to develop a stronger relationship with landlords along Buford Highway ... and, if the property is going to be sold and be demolished, we want to make sure people are treated with decency and respect and honor them through the process,” she said.

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BeltLine founder turns focus to Buford Highway Continued from page 1 world,” he said. Funding for Generator will come from a restaurant, named “Aftercar,” that he said will have an urban dystopian theme, recreating the vibe of movies such as a “Mad Max” or “Blade Runner.” His first Generator workshop is a School of Design class at Georgia Tech that begins Aug. 22 and will focus on Buford Highway, the corridor that runs through Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. Home to more than 1,000 immigrant-owned businesses, Buford Highway is a regional attraction in large part because of its ethnic and cultural diversity that many know because of its numerous restaurants. Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Central American, Somali and Ethiopian goods and services are part of the fabric of Buford Highway’s “International Corridor.” But as metro Atlanta grows by an expected 2.5 million people in the next 20 years, the property values along the road will continue to increase. Gentrification and redevelopment threaten to change the nature of the corridor. Gravel’s Generator is partnering with another nonprofit, We Love BuHi, founded by Brookhaven resident Marian Liou to preserve and promote Buford Highway’s cultural diversity. The ideas they hope to be generated by Georgia Tech students will be ways to acknowledge the growth of the region while also finding ways to celebrate and preserve the diversity of the people who live and work on Buford Highway. Liou said Gravel’s focus on Buford Highway could become “a model for suburban immigrant communities nationwide and beyond.” “Ryan is not only a visionary, he went and helped make a big, bold idea happen,” she said. “I hope that this continued focus on Buford Highway and energy from one of our most innovative and fiercely conscientious thinkers encourages local residents, business owners, community leaders and city officials and staff to think even more protectively, appreciatively and creatively about this community we as Atlantans, and Americans, are so fortunate to have right here.” Gravel knows Buford Highway well. He grew up in Chamblee and his father, an Air Force veteran, flew Cessnas out of DeKalbPeachtree Airport. He remembers shopping at the mall that is now Plaza Fiesta. Last year, he was the keynote speaker for a “bus crawl” on Buford Highway organized by We Love BuHi and the MARTA Army [advocates for transit ridership]. He discussed his ideas for the corridor and the importance of culture-based planning. “I think a lot of immigrant communities are more inventive because they have lived in different kinds of conditions, different places in the world and know different models of how people live,” Gravel said. Gravel, Liou and others also recent-

ly wrapped up a Buford Highway Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) put together by the Atlanta Regional Commission for Chamblee and Doraville. Ideas from the LCI include everything from wider sidewalks and bus lanes to a night market, mixed-income residential units, and public art. Selecting the corridor as his very first foray into his new Generator nonprofit was a “no-brainer,” he said. The main mission of the Generator class is to allow students to become more comfortable generating ideas, he said. They will research information needed

litical climate, he said. “The only way we heal from this is that we get to know each other and make better decisions to support each other,” he said. “When you see people, that translates into the voting booth ... and you learn empathy for people different than you.”

Nurturing a cultural movement

Love is not a word one may associate with city planning, but for Gravel, the word and the emotion are crucial to

Ryan Gravel in his office at Ponce City Market.

to back up their ideas and to pitch them and also learn about the role of policy, politics and the press in finding ways to implement the ideas, he said. “Some ideas will be realistic, civic proposals,” Gravel predicted. “But some might just be provocative, to get people thinking. It doesn’t really matter. This [Generator workshop] on Buford Highway is about finding a way of recognizing the cultural diversity and the need to preserve the cultural diversity.” Cities tend to have straightforward issues and solutions that surround the ideas of transit and affordability, Gravel said. The suburbs, however, are built fundamentally differently than urban areas, “and are facing new challenges people haven’t faced before. How to solve them requires innovation,” he said. As Gravel explained, when people get in their cars in the morning to commute to work and are forced sit in traffic for hours on I-285, they do not even look at the other motorists surrounding them. Most likely, they have left a home where they live with people who look and think like them and drive to their job where they are most likely also surrounded by people who look and think like them, he said. Finding ways to get people outside those bubbles encourages empathy and creates spaces for national healing at a time communities are hurting due to a polarized po-


creating places people want to live. “I believe the challenges we are facing as a city, as a region, as a country ... that some answers are specific, but more broadly there is a cultural movement that has to take place where we love each other more,” the urban planner said. “I know that sounds Pollyanna,” he added with a grin. For Gravel, though, creating cities with such basics as public transit and parks that enable people from varying backgrounds to interact with each other, to get to know each other and, more fundamentally, see each other, will help create a social and cultural environment that will allow people to solve the bigger problems facing our world. It’s an approach he outlined in his recent acclaimed book “Where We Want to Live,” and one he is putting into practice with Atlanta’s new “City Design Project,” an attempt to plan for explosive Intown growth in the coming decades. And there’s nothing Pollyanna about that, he said. “It’s not that we don’t know the answers,” he said. “It’s we’re not doing them.” How to “do them,” to find ways to implement the answers, means coming up with ideas, he said. The restaurant Aftercar, slated to open next summer on the BeltLine under the ownership and management of a business partner of Gravel’s, will provide the reve-

nue stream for the nonprofit Generator, while also providing a place people can go to “break bread” while discussing the future of their cities. Many social movements began in bars and restaurants, from Atlanta’s own Paschal’s, known as the “kitchen table” of the civil rights movement, to Stonewall Inn, a New York City bar where the modern-day LGBTQ movement was sparked, he said. “There is value in ideas,” he said. “I want to create a place for that.” Buford Highway is very different than the Atlanta BeltLine, but the lesson learned from the BeltLine is how to look at infrastructure and public space, Gravel said. Buford Highway has amazing things going for it, but the physical environment is also very hostile to people, he said. “Instead of figuring out how many cars can fit or how we are going to pay for something, or any other preconceived ideas ... the first question should be, what kind of lives do we want to lead,” he said. A major issue facing Buford Highway is affordable housing as people, many of whom are immigrants, are being displaced from inexpensive apartment complexes to make way for luxury housing. Affordable housing along the Atlanta BeltLine is currently a hot and controversial topic. Gravel resigned last year from the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership over concerns of not enough emphasis on equity and affordability. “If our only aspiration for the BeltLine was new housing and jobs and green space, then we succeeded,” he said. But the vision created for the BeltLine included the people already living there and ensuring their success as well — and “the jury is out if we’ve been successful or not” on that, he acknowledged. “It’s not too late,” he said. “If we want to live up to the promise, we have to do things that are difficult. But if that [affordability] wasn’t even there, we wouldn’t be talking about it. The people are holding us accountable.” The Brookhaven City Council last year formed an Affordable Housing Task Force after faith leaders in the city raised the alarm of residents, largely immigrant communities, were being displaced in recent months due to redevelopment. Recommendations of that task force were presented to the council last month, but how they may be implemented remains to be seen. It was a grassroots movement that made the BeltLine successful and empowered political leaders to support it, Gravel said. It will take a similar grassroots movement to make sure equity is part of an overall vision for the Buford Highway corridor, he said. “This is especially important in vulnerable communities,” he said. “At a regional level, people love Buford Highway. If people speak out and become more vocal, then elected officials will support that, or be replaced.” BK

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 19


Council splits on for-profit probation services


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Continued from page 1 Judicial Correction Services, which now is a subsidiary of PPS, city officials said. “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict of interest for a private corporation established as a for-profit company to run a probation system,” Jones, a trial attorney, said at the meeting. A for-profit company exists to make money and a way to make money on probation is to keep people on probation, she said, which could lead to people unable to pay small fines being jailed. “We as elected officials can’t do the level of supervision that is constitutionally [required] to do if we have a private corporation under contract to administer our justice for us,” she said. “I can’t support this.” The city does not pay money to PPS to run its probation services. Instead, PPS makes money from the people who are on probation – and their fees can include anything from supervision costs to enrollment fees to court fees to the actual probation cost. According to PPS, fees range from $35 to $75, depending on charges and level of supervision required. No-cost probation for indigent people can also be ordered by the court, according to PPS. “The probation service contract is a ‘no cost’ contract to the city because the fees paid to the provider are paid by the individuals on probation,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan. “The change of ownership [of JCS] did not drive the RFP process — the contract JOHN PARK was put out to RFP COUNCILMEMBER based on purchasing best practice to let out the contract every three years.” Private probation services have become controversial in recent years both nationally and locally. In 2015, the ACLU sued JCS and DeKalb County in federal court on behalf of a DeKalb County teenager who was jailed because he could not afford to pay fines associated with a traffic ticket. In 2016, the city of Decatur, Ala., was sued in federal court by four people on probation charged with traffic violations and misdemeanors who said they were jailed because they could not pay court fines and a probation fee to PPS, according to the Decatur Daily newspaper. Decatur now handles its probation services in-house, and Jones said that is something she would like to see Brookhaven pursue. In Brookhaven, city administrators







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put a bid out for contract of the probation services earlier this year and in May received four proposals from CSRA Probation Services, Integrity Supervision Services, JA&E Veterans Support Services and PPS, according to Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman. A city evaluation committee interviewed representatives from three companies – CSRA, Integrity and PPS – and recommended awarding the contract to PPS, Chapman said. The contract runs through Dec. 31 with options to renew the contract for up to four additional one-year terms, he said. Chapman said there are controls in place in the contract to ensure probation clients are not abused. Councilmember John Park said he, too, was concerned about a for-profit company running the city’s probation services. “I’m very concerned as a result of parole officers putting revenue in front of the well-being of defendants,” he said. “That being said, I’m heartened we have some controls in place and the contract can be terminated with 60 days’ notice.” Councilmember Joe Gebbia praised the reputation of PPS, which was founded in Georgia by state Rep. Clay Cox (RLilburn). He said Jones raised good questions and said he supported bringing probation services in-house, if necessary. “I have a high degree of confidence based on their history,” he said. “If we ascertain there is a problem, we will be ready if we want to bring it in house.” PPS plans to open a new office in Brookhaven next to the police department and municipal court. PPS also has handled DeKalb County’s probation services for 24 years.

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The city’s new bilingual communications specialist is working to bridge cultural barriers the way her family did when they came to the area. When she was 15, Claudia Colichon’s parents won a U.S. government lottery for a visa granting permanent resident status and moved from Peru to metro Atlanta. “We lived in a third-world country and had heard about the American dream, so we decided to come here,” said Colichon, the city of Brookhaven’s new public engagement specialist. She and her family first moved to Chamblee, where they had family, before they were able to buy a house in Loganville. There, Colichon attended Grayson High School and Georgia State University, where she got her degree in political science. Before coming to Brookhaven in June, she worked as Chamblee’s community outreach specialist, serving as the bilingual liaison between the Latino community and city government. She’s taken the skills she learned there and transferred them to Brookhaven, where approximately 25 percent of the city’s 50,000 residents are Latino. “I’m here as a liaison between the community and the municipality, especially our underserved residents, the Latinos who live in Brookhaven,” she said. “We want to help break down those barriers.” Last year, Mayor John Ernst and the City Council decided to invest in outreach and communications in a dedicated effort to reach as many of the stakeholders as possible, but primarily residents, said Communications Director Burke Brennan. This includes a larger presence on social media, sending out regular press releases and maintaining a weekly email newsletter that goes out to 10,000 subscribers. “With the addition of Claudia we are able to reach residents we’ve previously been unable to reach,” he said. Currently Colichon is spending time

translating press releases into Spanish to send to Spanish-language media outlets. She’s also translating the city’s new Activity Guide and monthly newsletter into Spanish. “We have in reality at a local level in Brookhaven and in other cities across America … residents, citizens, that are here and have a language barrier,” Brennan said. “We serve all taxpayers, all citizens, and we are trying to break down barriers. “We’re in the business of serving residents, and to that end that includes making our information available to them,” he said. Added Colichon, “We want all our residents to have the same opportunities to know what’s going on and the activities being offered by the city.” Providing this outreach to Latino and Hispanic residents is also a special cause for Colichon. When she and her family moved from Peru, her parents spoke only some English, and learning about the basic services their new city of Chamblee provided proved very difficult. “Ten years ago, we would have loved to have someone [in the city] help us,” she said. Understanding this struggle for families moving into a new city and not speaking English spurred Colichon to pitch her idea to Chamblee officials about its need for a community outreach coordinator. The city has approximately 29,000 residents and 43 percent speak Spanish, according to the city’s website. “I told them that I know the struggle and how hard it is … to feel welcome and to have someone understand,” she said. But Colichon is not only focusing her outreach in Brookhaven to Latino residents. She’s also visiting homeowners associations and other neighborhood and community groups to let them know what kinds of resources the city provides while also listening to their concerns, which she can bring back to City Hall. “The city wants to come to them on their terms,” she said. “We want to be there. We want them to invite us to their HOA meetings or other meetings so we can listen and bring their information back.” BK

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 21


Veteran’s book tells of brotherhood and war, faith and forgiveness BY JACLYN TURNER

Press, a publisher that specializes in military Vietnam veteran Michael March is history and veteran living his second childhood. He writes, memoirs. goes to the gym, spends time with his March grew up in family and girlfriend, and sings in the the 1960s and describes choir at his church. himself as a “peace and He’s also an author. March has writlove hippie.” His faten a fictionalized tale of serving in Vietther urged him to go nam and describes his book, “Each One a to Fashion Institute of Hero: A Tale of War and Brotherhood,” as a Technology for induswar novel in the tradition of “Catch-22” or trial engineering so he “M*A*S*H.” It’s based on his year as a memcould manage a knit ber of the 11th Armory Cavalry Regiment. shirt factory in North Many mornings, March sits at one Carolina, but Marsh of the large chairs in the corner at the followed his passion Panera Bread restaurant on Mount Verfor music. non Road writing, editing his books, “It was all I lived and hashing out more ideas. for,” he said. A loquacious 70-year-old, March has In 1965, March piercing blue eyes and long sandy hair competed in a battle peppered with grey. He moved to Sandy of the bands at the Springs five years ago from New York City World’s Fair in New York and took sevto help his brother with their 90-year-old enth place. mother. Two of his children March was drafted into soon followed, as the 11th Armory Cavalry did his ex-wife. Now Regiment and spent a year March is happy to in Vietnam coordinating talk about the acartillery fire. At the base complishments of his camp, he remembers, he children and the two played guitar for his felother books he’s in the low soldiers. He eventumidst of writing. ally went through four March wrote an guitars while in the early draft of his novarmy, he said. el more than 22 years “I did my year ago when he lived in and got out, but I New York, but life and also needed to write raising a family seemed about it,” he said. to get in the way. “The experience After he moved to Attaught me about lanta, he unearthed the God, life and how floppy disk holding the stoto be a better a ry, and decided to revive it. person and use the experiHe spent many months reence to do good. My parents thought I writing and trying to find the right pubwas out of mind when I came home, belisher before partnering with Hellgate cause all I wanted to be was a good person and God wanted me to represent good.” He said a stranger, who had been a sniper, sought him out, saying, “I’ve been looking for you. I’m a messenger from God. He sent me to find you. If God can forgive me, he can forgive anyone. Our generation is going to save the world.” March used that encounter as the climax of his book. His military service, he said, “taught me how to live life and MICHAEL MARCH be appreciative.” AUTHOR OF “EACH ONE A HERO: A TALE OF WAR Writing his book and AND BROTHERHOOD”

I did my year and got out, but I also needed to write about it. The experience taught me about God, life and how to be a better person and use the experience to do good.

Michael March settles in for some writing at Panera Bread.

its related spinoffs, he said, has brought a different sort of fulfillment. A fellow veteran told him he thought he was reading about himself, truly making the “blood and guts” of war into a story of connection, brotherhood and shared experiences.


“I don’t believe in hurting others and taking lives,” Marsh said, “but you do what you need to do when your country calls on you.” For more information about “Each One a Hero,” see hellgatepress.com.

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Local horror author is inspired by Atlanta’s history




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The story takes place in May 2010, when many people were still suffering from the housing and economic colA local science fiction and horror lapse. author is inspired by Atlanta’s urban“It takes place in a bedroom comization and sets his books in the city, munity that suffered heavily from the with its monsters Great Recession,” haunting the same Quinn said. places he’s lived and The book also gone to school. plays off the “The protago“atrocities of racnist is a student at ism” that occurred [Georgia State Uniduring the Civil versity]. He’ll walk War, Quinn said. the same halls I did Daly is threatand ride the same ened by a “monMARTA routes I strosity” with tendid,” said Matthew tacles that has Quinn, a Buckhead been worshipped resident, about his by a cult since beforthcoming sequel fore the Civil War. to his debut novel, The property it “The Thing in the lives on was the Woods.” site of a Civil War Quinn, a former battle. Recent dejournalist who now velopment of the teaches high school city threatens to history in Fulton MATTHEW QUINN reveal the cult’s County after getting AUTHOR OF and the monstrosa history degree at “THE THING IN THE WOODS” ity’s secrets. GSU, recently pubQuinn delished a new book drawing on his exscribes the novel’s genre as horror, but periences living in Griffin, a small city south of Atlanta. His new book is set in the fictional town of Edington, Georgia. The book not only plays off the urbanization of Atlanta, but off recent national events. The main character’s father buys a house after receiving a promotion at an Atlanta law firm, but loses his job during the Great Recession. The son and main character, James Daly, described by Quinn as “a teen Buckhead snob whose family has moved to a small town,” now has to work at the local Best Buy to help his family pay the Matthew Quinn’s first novel mortgage. was published in May.

The protagonist is a student at [Georgia State University]. He’ll walk the same halls I did and ride the same MARTA routes I did.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Community | 23


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• Financial Assistance • Certifications • Accredited Curriculum • Job Placement Assistance • Day & Night Classes • English as a Second Language Program • GED Preparation Matthew Quinn, a Buckhead author, at a book signing event for his recently published horror and science fiction novel at an event at Tall Tales, a bookstore near Emory University.

also focusing on characters overcoming their prejudices, with the main character condescending to local “rednecks” while members of the cult have racist attitudes. “Part of James’ character arc is that he outgrows these attitudes,” Quinn said. Quinn’s experience as a history teacher also inform his novels and help address racial issues, he said. While Atlanta’s geography and culture inspire Quinn’s storylines, the metro area’s horror-writing community helps him write them. Quinn is a member of the Lawrenceville Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group in Gwinnett County, which require him to commit to writing a chapter before each meeting. That keeps him on schedule. “They kept me on deadline and helped me get the book done,” Quinn said of the writing group. Quinn was first inspired to write this book in 2007, but put it down for a few years before picking it back up in 2014, he said. He has published several short stories, but this is first novel. He is now working on a sequel. Quinn will host a book signing and discussion of the book Oct. 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Posman Books in Ponce City Market. For more information, see the author’s website at accordingtoquinn.blogspot. com.


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Thursday, Aug. 24, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Electromatics, a selfdescribed “blues, jazz and Americana band,” performs in this family-friendly event at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Cash bar available. Bring a picnic supper or snacks. Included with general admission and membership. General admission: $10 adults, $7 seniors and students; $6 children ages 3 and up. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

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Saturday, Aug. 26, 10 a.m. to noon.

Join us at Food 101 Thursday, August 24th at 7pm for a Night of Authentic Israeli Cuisine Prepared by Jenny Levison of Souper Jenny and Linda Harrell of Food 101.

Tickets $60 per person

Get your tickets today visit www.culinarylocal.com or call 404-497-9700

Choral Guild of Atlanta kicks off its 78th season with a workshop featuring guest composer and choral conductor Timothy Powell. Join the choir in singing excerpts from its fall concert including the “Bluegrass Mass” by Carol Barnett. All singers welcome. Free. Refreshments served. St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 1978 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: 404-223-6362 or info@cgatl.org.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Out & About | 25




Saturday, Aug. 26, 7:30 a.m.

The Ahimsa House Annual 5K and 1K Fun Run benefits the animal and human victims of domestic violence. Dogs are welcome on the course, which follows roads around Lenox Park. The 5K course uses chip timing and is a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. 5K: $30 early bird fee through Aug. 19; $35 through Aug. 25; $40 day of event. 1K fee: $15 anytime. Free parking adjacent to the park at 1025 Lenox Park Blvd. NE, Brookhaven. Register: ahimsahouse.org.





Ongoing Fridays, 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.


The Heritage Sandy Springs Outdoors Club hosts weekly hikes through Sandy Springs parks every Friday and Saturday and on some holiday dates. Free. Open to all ages and skill levels. Advance registration recommended, and all participants must sign an online liability waiver. Locations and other info: heritagesandysprings.org.




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MOVIES BY MOONLIGHT Friday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m.

“The Lego Batman Movie” will be presented by Leadership Sandy Springs on a huge inflatable screen in a community event also featuring performances, a Kids Zone, and food trucks. The movie begins at dusk. Free. Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, Activity Center terraced lawn, 85 Mount Vernon Highway and Sandy Springs Circle. Continued on page 26

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Continued from page 25 Inclement weather info: 404-256-9091. Other info: leadershipsandysprings.org or the Movies By Moonlight Facebook page.


Saturday, Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

For More Information Contact: Hilary Miller at hmiller@bnaitorah.org p. 404.257.1753

Participants travel through time via the perspectives of historic characters of the American Girl books in a monthly program hosted by Heritage Sandy Springs. This month’s topic is an art class with Saige, a resident of New Mexico who is skilled in horseback riding. Best suited for ages 5-12, and kids can bring their favorite dolls. Advance registration recommended. $8 members, $10 non-members, or $15 at the door. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

700 Mt. Vernon Highway NE Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328 www.bnaitorah.org

DUNWOODY COMMUNITY BIKE RIDE Sunday, Sept. 3, 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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A community ride for all ages and abilities kicks off at Dunwoody’s Village Burger on the first Sunday of each month through November. Helmets are required and bikes with gears are recommended to handle hills on a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. Riders age 10 and under must be accompanied by adults. Rides cancelled in inclement weather. 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Out & About | 27



The Atlanta History Center hosts a panel discussion on the Atlanta Beltline, a burgeoning 22-mile trail and transit loop. Speakers include BeltLine founder Ryan Gravel; Alexander Garvin, the city planner who created the “Emerald Necklace” plan of connected parks along the BeltLine; and Mark Pendergrast, author of “City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future,” which uses the BeltLine story as a narrative thread. $10 public; $5 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com or 404-814-4150

IMMIGRATION AND FAMILY RESEARCH Saturday, Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Sue VerHoef, director of Oral History and Genealogy at the Atlanta History Center, teaches you how to get information about your immigrant ancestors. $15 public; $10 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Buckhead. Info: 404814-4042.

DIOCESAN DAY ON IMMIGRATION Wednesday, Aug. 30, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Priests, Christian lay leaders and Episcopal bishops provide theological guidance and practical ways in which Christians can respond to the needs of immigrants during the current political turmoil over immigration. Free. The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NE, Buckhead. Info: episcopalatlanta.org.

AUDITIONS SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIAL NEEDS Sunday, Aug. 27, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Thursday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 27, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Tuesday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is helping parents take the bite out of meal prep time with a menu of classes that promote simple, healthy, home-cooked dishes. Among upcoming topics are classes on 30-minute meals (Aug. 24), freezer meals (Aug. 27), and cooking for babies and toddlers (Aug. 29). $45 members; $55 community. Culinary studio at the Kuniansky Family Center at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org, 678-812-3798 or sandra.bass@atlantajcc.org.

The Spotlight Theater Company for adults with special needs, ages 18 and up, is holding auditions for its second year of programming. The company is part of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s Blonder Family Department for Special Needs. Participants meet weekly on Fridays, perform productions, take trips to arts organizations and have classes with professionals. Free. Auditions are open to the community. Appointments required. MJCCA Zaban Park campus, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: 678-812-4073 or email auditions@atlantaSUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT jcc.org.


28 | Out & About

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Sandy Springs’ Act3 nominated for 38 theater awards Act3 Productions, a Sandy Springs semi-professional theater company, has been nominated for 38 Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards for its past season. The bevy of nominations includes the “Best Overall Performance” category for the play “And Then There Were None” and the musicals “Violet” and “Urinetown.” “The annual MAT awards are not only wonderful for recognizing individual theater professionals and stand-out performances, but the organization also brings us all together to celebrate the exceptional work being done by community and semi-professional theatre companies throughout the city,” Act3 artistic director Michelle Davis said in a press release. The awards have been granted annually since 2004. The 2017 award-winners will be announced at an Aug. 27 ceremony at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Act3, based at 6285-R Roswell Road, has been a frequent nominee and winner. The 2017 nominations mark the most the company has received in a single year, according to the press release. For its current season, a production of the musical “The Robber Bridegroom” began Aug. 11.

The full list of nominations includes: Leading Actor, Musical ► Tyree R. Jones, “Violet”; and Zac Phelps, “Urinetown”

Major Supporting Actress, Play ► Alisha Boley, “And Then There Were None”

Leading Actress, Musical ► Laura Gronek, “Violet”; and Barbara Cole Uterhardt, “Urinetown”

Minor Supporting Actor, Play ► James Connor, “And Then There Were None”; and Toby Smallwood, “And Then There Were None”

Major Supporting Actor, Musical ► Weston Slaton, “Violet”

Minor Supporting Actress, Play ► Jessica Hiner, “And Then There Were None”

Major Supporting Actress, Musical ► Summer McCusker, “Urinetown”

Sound Design, Play ► Ben Sterling, “And Then There Were None”

Minor Supporting Actor, Musical ► Andrew Berardi, “Violet”; and Jonathan Goff, “Violet”

Lighting Design, Play ► David Reingold, “And Then There Were None”

Minor Supporting Actress, Musical ► Doriane Velvet Alston, “Violet”

Costume Design, Play ► Alyssa Jackson, “And Then There Were None”

Youth Award, Musical ► Dorey Casey, “Violet”

Best Overall Performance of a Play ► “And Then There Were None”

Set Design, Musical ► Will Brooks, “Urinetown”

Best Ensemble, Play ► “And Then There Were None”

Lighting Design, Musical ► Taylor Sorrel, “Violet”; and Bradley Rudy, “Urinetown” Sound Design, Musical ► Ben Sterling, “Violet”; and Ben Sterling and Ian Gibson, “Urinetown” Moira Thornett Director’s Award, Musical ► Taylor Sorrel with Johnna Barrett Mitchell, “Violet”; and Liane LeMaster with Ian Gibson and Melissa Simmons, “Urinetown” Choreographer ► Misty Barber Tice, “Urinetown” Music Direction ► John-Michael d’Haviland, “Violet”; and Laura Gamble, “Urinetown” Best Ensemble, Musical ► “Violet” and “Urinetown” Best Overall Performance of a Musical ► “Violet” and “Urinetown” Moira Thornett Director’s Award, Play ► Amy Cain with Michael Rostek, “And Then There Were None” Leading Actor, Play ► Clay Johnson, “And Then There Were None” Leading Actress, Play ► Emma Greene, “And Then There Were None” Major Supporting Actor, Play ► Gwydion Calder, “And Then There Were None”; and Paul Milliken, “And Then There Were None”

“THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM” Through Saturday, Aug. 26

Act3 Productions presents “The Robber Bridegroom,” based on the novella by Eudora Welty about a dangerous, handsome rogue who’s a gentleman by day and bandit by night and who falls for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy planter. Act3 Playhouse, Sandy Springs Plaza, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Schedule and ticket info: act3productions.org.

AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Classifieds | 29


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30 | Community




for local news and information! We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards, including three first-place selections in its division, in the Georgia Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Contest.


Business Writing First Place - Managing Editor John Ruch Lifestyle/Feature Column First Place - Robin Conte, “Robin’s Nest” Page One First Place - Designed by Creative Director Rico Figliolini


Hard News Writing Second Place - John Ruch News Photograph Second Place - Phil Mosier Special Issues: Second Place - Fall 2016 Education Guide Humorous Column: Second Place - Robin Conte


General Excellence: Third Place Local News Coverage: Third Place - Staff Writers Religion Writing: Third Place - Staff Writers Serious Column: Third Place - Robin Conte Newspaper Website: Third Place

These awards are especially meaningful to us since they are judged by professional journalists and include respected, large-circulation community newspapers across the state. However, what’s most important is that they validate what you have already told us in our readership survey: Reporter Newspapers are your preferred source for local news and information. That’s the “prize” we value most. Thank you for helping to make us the most preferred and most-awarded local newspapers in our communities.

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Planning Commission rejects proposed townhome development BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Brookhaven Planning Commission unanimously voted Aug. 2 to reject plans for a 17-townhome development on Johnson Ferry Road near Pill Hill because commissioners said the development does not fit with the approved land use. Majestic Investment Corporation is seeking to rezone 1611, 1621 and 1659 Johnson Ferry Road, near Pill Hill in Sandy Springs, from R-100 (single-family residential) to R-A5 (single-family residential) to allow for 17 attached townhomes that would be priced between $650,000 and $850,000 per unit, according to city documents. The property, near the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange, includes Nancy Creek at its southeastern boundary. The total acreage is about 13.5 acres, although the city staff says the development would be on about 1.5 acres of it. But a representative of the developer said the development would cover closer to 4 acres. Nearby residents in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs raised concerns that density of the proposed project would bring increased traffic to the area and could damage the Nancy Creek floodplain. Residents also said the plans did not appear to be specific enough and while they support development on the property at some point, this was not it. The City Council is slated to consider the proposed project at its Aug. 22 meeting. The commission’s decision to deny recommending approval of the project rested primarily with the city’s character area study, approved by the City Council in January and then added to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Commission Chair Stan Segal said. “We have a comprehensive plan … and townhomes do not fit the vision for the Lakes District character area,” Segal said before casting his vote against the plan. Tom Platford, representing Majestic Investment Corporation, said he interpreted the character area study to just be merely a “guideline” and that it does not legally prohibit townhomes. He also said that the character area study seemed to only include input from residents, but that property owners also need to be considered when dictating land use. “It’s not clear cut you can’t do townhouses,” he said. “The demand is there. The land use plan calls for townhouses in this district.” Segal explained the character area study was conducted last year to provide an opportunity for residents to have input on how they want their neighborhoods to evolve and “provide some stability for them.” The character area was also intended to inform developers of what was expected in certain areas of the city so they would not have to waste time or money on a project they would know would be turned down, he said. The Lakes District character area calls

for only single-family detached homes and because the character area is part of the comprehensive plan “they are one in the same,” Segal said. Platford said he felt like this project was a “moving target.” The project first was delayed until after the city approved its Comprehensive Plan [in November 2014]. Once the Comprehensive Plan was completed, market and environmental studies were undertaken and a pre-development meeting with city staff was held in July 2016. Staff recommended some tweaks and when developers came back with a revised plan, the city was entering into a six-month rezoning moratorium, he said. “We made changes within a month and then we were told there was a moratorium. We kept waiting for things to stop,” he said. Former mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and former city manager Marie Garrett also talked with the property owner about purchasing some of the property along Nancy Creek for a linear park, according to Platford, but he said he advised Majestic Investment Corporation to wait to sell any property as park land until after it was rezoned. Talks have broken down with the current city administration, he said, but the property owners want to have a green space as part of the development. Platford also argued that townhomes are not allowed in the city’s Lakes District and pointed to townhomes “in the neighborhood” already, including the Glenridge Creek Townhomes that are approximately one-half mile from the proposed development. Those townhomes are located in Sandy Springs, not Brookhaven. “The townhomes are not in the Lakes District, but they are in the neighborhood. We’re talking semantics here,” Platford said. “Does a neighborhood end at the city line? Is that not part of the neighborhood? “What’s the definition of a neighborhood?” he added. “I’m sticking real close to the site here.” Daryl Cook, president of Watts & Browning Engineers, addressed floodplain concerns and said a hydrology study would be conducted before the development proceeds to ensure the floodplain is not damaged. “Hydrology is not going to be a problem,” he said. The project would have to get FEMA approval as well, but FEMA will not look at a plan unless it is a “real project first,” which means it has to be rezoned. “The federal government will not allow us to do anything harmful to the property,” he said. Segal asked why Majestic Investment Corporation was seeking to have three parcels rezoned when it only planned to develop on one. Platford explained the DeKalb County tax records are wrong and that Majestic Investment Corporation considers its land to be one parcel, not three.


AUGUST 18 - 31, 2017

Public Safety | 31


Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated Aug. 6 through Aug. 13. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.

1400 block of Johnson Ferry Road —

On Aug. 10, in the afternoon, a burglary at a home was reported.

Aug. 6, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of failing to stop at a stop sign.

rested and accused of the false report of a crime.


2800 block of Buford Highway — On

3300 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 11, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of theft by receiving stolen property.

Aug. 6, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of obstruction and interference following a traffic offense.

Road — On Aug. 8, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license.

3200 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 6, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of public intoxication. 3000 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 7, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, with his ability impaired more than three hours later. 2800 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 11, in the morning, a woman was arrested and accused of marijuana possession.

T H E F T A N D B U R G L A RY 3300 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 6, after midnight, items were reported stolen from a car. 1000 block of Lincoln Court Avenue

— On Aug. 6, at night, a car was reported stolen. 1800 block of Corporate Boulevard

— On Aug. 7, in the early morning, a strong arm robbery was reported at a residence. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 7, in the early morning, a forcedentry burglary took place at a non-residence. 3100 block of Ashford-Dunwoody

Road — On Aug. 7, in the evening, a theft took place. 3400 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 7, at night, a robbery involving a gun took place at a business. 1900 block of North Druid Hills Road

— On Aug. 8, in the evening, a theft from a vehicle was reported. 2300 block of Valley Brook Way — On

Aug. 8, at night, items were stolen from a vehicle.

of Buford Highway — On Aug. 13, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of theft by taking.


block of Briarcliff Road — On Aug. 7, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of forgery in the third degree. 1900


block of Brookhaven Avenue — On Aug. 6, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of family violence charges. 2200 block of Lake Boulevard — On

Aug. 6, in the early morning, an aggravated assault involving a gun was reported. 3200 block of Windsor Lake Drive —

On Aug. 6, in the afternoon, a verbal dispute took place. 1400 block of Briarwood Road — On

Aug.7, in the early morning, a battery incident took place. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 7, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of battery. 100 block of Windmont Drive — On

Aug. 7, in the afternoon, a simple battery incident took place.

block of North Druid Hills Road — On Aug. 7, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of failing to use his signal when changing lanes. 1800 block of Corporate Boulevard —

On Aug. 7, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and accused of prostitution. 1900 block of Dresden Drive — On

Aug. 7, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. 2800 block of Clairmont Road — On

Aug. 7, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license. 1800 block of Clairmont Terrace —

On Aug. 7, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license. 3800 block of Peachtree Road — On

On Aug. 8, at night, a car was stolen.

Aug. 9, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of simple battery.

Aug. 7, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license.

4000 block of Peachtree Road — On

100 block of Perimeter Summit Boule-

3800 block of Peachtree Road — On

Aug. 9, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a vehicle.

vard — On Aug. 10, at night, a man was arrested and accused of battery.

3900 block of Peachtree Road — On


1800 block of Corporate Boulevard —

Aug. 9, at night, an entering auto incident was reported. 3000 block of Clairmont Road — At

midnight on Aug. 10, parts were reported stolen from a car. BK

3300 block

3100 block of Buford Highway — On

2700 block of Osborne Road — On

Aug. 6, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of failing to obey traffic control devices. 1700 block of NE Expressway — On

Aug. 7, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license. 1700 block of NE Expressway — On

Aug. 8, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license. 3900 block of Parkcrest Drive — On

Aug. 8, in the morning, a man was ar-

Buford Highway/ North Druid Hills

1800 block of NE Expressway — On

Aug. 8, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license. 3400 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 9, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of striking fixtures on the highway. 2800 block of Clairmont Road — On

Aug. 9, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of following too closely. 2000 block of North Druid Hills Road

— On Aug. 10, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of begging and soliciting alms. 100 block of Town Boulevard — On

Aug. 10, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of wearing headphones where prohibited. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 10, at night, a man was arrested and accused of charges related to horns and warning devices. 3100 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 10, at night, a man was arrested and accused of loitering and prowling. 3700 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 11, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of criminal trespass. 1500 block of Chantilly Drive — On

Aug. 13, after midnight, a man was arrested and accused of public indecency. 2800 block of Clairmont Road — On

Aug. 13, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license. 1800 block of Briarwood Road — On

Aug. 13, at night, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license. 1800 block of Briarwood Road — On

Aug. 13, at night, a woman was arrested and accused of driving without a driver’s license.

OT H E R I N C I D E N T S 3400 block of Buford Highway — On

Aug. 6, in the morning, an incident involving an unruly child was reported.

32 |

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