08-30-18 Buckhead Reporter

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AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 18


Buckhead Reporter

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Local moviemaker attracts stars to ‘inspirational’ stories PAGE 20

AROUND TOWN: Cheers to the geeks at Battle and Brew PAGE 11

Activists criticize local white nationalist; civic group debates response

Back in the Limelight

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


The legendary Limelight nightclub of the 1980s lived again in a slide show from former in-house photographer Guy D’Alema (center) at an Aug. 22 event. Joining him were Buckhead residents and former regulars Sandy Goldstein, left, and Kathy Marsik, right. See story, page 13.►

A white nationalist’s ownership of a Peachtree Hills house is being criticized by the far-left group Atlanta Antifascists, leaving the local neighborhood association divided on how to respond. Donna Lorenz, secretary of the Peachtree Hills Civic Association, says she asked the group to issue a pro-diversity statement after the Antifascist group in August flyered the neighborhood about prominent white nationalist Sam Dickson’s ownership of a house on Ridgeland Way. The result, she says: The board issued a generic statement that flyers are illegal and asked her to resign for speaking to the media. And Dickson joined the association – though he says it “had nothing to do with the Antifa.” “I think they made the wrong choice, the easy choice,” Lorenz said of the civic See ACTIVISTS on page 22

Perimeter Business

Transit and 285/400 the focus of new PCIDs master plan PAGE 4GE 4

Atlanta United’s greatest impact is having made soccer ‘cool’ beyond its normal supporter realm. ... Kids from all sports backgrounds are now supportive of the team. SCOTT SNYDER VARSITY BOYS’ SOCCER COACH, THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS

See COMMENTARY, page 10

OUT & ABOUT Japanese comic theater group comes to Dunwoody Page 16

Garmon Road party mansion heads to auction block BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A palatial mansion controversially rented for nightclub-style parties that the city says were illegal is heading to a foreclosure auction on Sept. 4, according to an online notice. Once owned by music star Kenny Rogers, the 4499 Garmon Road N.W. mansion will be auctioned on the Fulton County Courthouse steps with an opening bid of $2.15 million, according to an See GARMON on page 23

2 | Community

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BeltLine creator says rail transit would benefit Buckhead BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Atlanta BeltLine creator Ryan Gravel says Buckhead would benefit big-time from light-trail transit on the linear park amid concerns that a MARTA expansion plan will back-burner the trains or replace them with buses. And one major Buckhead institution, the Shepherd Center hospital, is backing his call for BeltLine rail. The private hospital for people with spinal injuries and other neuromuscular problems is located at 2020 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, adjacent to a future section of the BeltLine. “Shepherd Center is in favor of railbased public transit along all parts of the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Jane Sanders, the hospital’s director of public relations. “It would benefit Shepherd Center’s workforce, outpatients, sports teams, volunteers and visitors.” Gravel, the urban planner who envisioned the BeltLine as a master’s degree thesis, is leading a “BeltLine Rail Now” campaign for it to have rail and to make that transit plan a top priority for MARTA. He cited Shepherd Center’s neighbor, Piedmont Hospital, as another potential beneficiary. Piedmont did not have a comment. “The Atlanta BeltLine’s Northside [segment] connects growing but trafficjammed Piedmont Hospital directly into the MARTA rail network to the east and into fast-growing communities for its workforce to the west,” Gravel said in an email. “For Buckhead, this makes a carfree way of life possible for employees at Piedmont and others along this booming stretch of Peachtree.” Another reason Buckhead BeltLine rail matters, says Gravel: regional connections to Cobb County via the Tilford rail yard in northwest Atlanta and to Emory University via the planned “Clifton Corridor” light rail.

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Left, a map, created by BeltLine planner and BeltLine Rail Now advocate Ryan Gravel, showing the threatened BeltLine rail transit in pink and how it could connect to Cobb County and Emory University.


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“For the region, the Atlanta Beltline’s Northside makes a strategic connection between the future Clifton/Emory line and the Tilford Yard route up to Cumberland/ Galleria,” he said. The BeltLine is a linear park, multiuse trail and transit system being built in a ring around Atlanta along old railroad corridors. The currently open sections only include the park and trail parts, and there is concern MARTA will not build the lightrail trains and that Clifton Corridor is one reason the BeltLine plan is threatened. The backdrop is debate over “More MARTA,” an expansion of MARTA’s transit service within the city of Atlanta that is funded by a half-penny sales tax. Approved by voters in 2016, the tax is expected to generate nearly $2.5 billion for transit expansion over the next 40 years. The “More MARTA” tax was approved with a proposed list of projects. Some of the biggest ones involved southeastern Buckhead, including constructing light rail on the BeltLine; building the new Clifton Corridor light rail line between Lindbergh Center and Avondale stations through the

Emory University area; and adding a new station on the Gold and Red lines at Buckhead’s Armour Yard, offering connections to the BeltLine and Amtrak. Now that the tax is in place, MARTA says it can’t afford all of the projects — the Armour Yard station is among the casualties —- and is debating construction priority on others. Major controversy has erupted over MARTA’s plan to prioritize the Clifton Corridor and delay BeltLine rail or even change it into bus service or something else. The controversy has caused MARTA to delay a vote of its board on a final project until early October, though an official public comment deadline was still set for Aug. 31. Rail is still on the list for a small section of the BeltLine that would come into the Lindbergh Center area, but even that is in doubt now, and the plan does not include immediate work on rail on most of the BeltLine, including a large section that would run roughly east-west through southern Buckhead. The “BeltLine Rail Now” campaign also calls for restoring the Armour Yard station to the mix. Other “More MARTA” projects for Buckhead on the original list are still slated to happen. They mostly involve bus service upgrades intended to mean faster travel times on Peachtree Street/Road and Northside Drive. The North Buckhead Civic Association has called for more transit improvements in its neighborhood. For more information about the “More MARTA” expansion, see itsmarta.com. For more information about the “BeltLine Rail Now” campaign and a related petition, see beltlinerailnow.com. BH

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Community | 3


Community Briefs

work has pushed the anticipated opening date back to Feb. 22, 2019, museum spokesperson Howard Pousner said. The museum, at 130 West Paces Ferry, has been at work cleaning and restoring the painting since August 2017. The historic cyclorama painting of the pivotal Civil War battle was moved to the Atlanta History Center from Grant Park earlier in 2017. The experts anticipated removing fluffy clouds in the sky that were added in an earlier restoration, but after removing varnish that caused a yellow hue, they discovered the sky needs to be fully repainted, Pousner said. The technicians also had to recreate

two missing vertical panels, he said. The work to create and curate exhibits that will be installed outside the cyclorama building and provide context to painting is taking longer than anticipated, another factor in pushing back the opening date, Pousner said. The “Texas,” a legendary locomotive dating to 1856, has been installed inside a glass enclosure in the museum’s new wing built along with the cyclorama. The two exhibits were initially planned to open together, but, because of the cyclorama delays, the “Texas” will open first, on the anticipated date of Nov. 17, according to the museum.


A painting conservator works on the “Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama painting at Buckhead’s Atlanta History Center on Jan. 25.


Buckhead’s Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Atlanta Memorial Park plans to host a grand opening for its new courts named for a “beloved” employee on Sept. 4. The courts were rebuilt by the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation during renovation and reconfiguration of the golf course, located adjacent to the tennis center, according to a press release. On Sept. 4 at 4 p.m., the center will host the grand opening for 12 new hard courts and new bathrooms, according to the release. The courts replace 10 courts that were demolished in July to make room for golf course renovations. The new courts are dedicated to and named for Ralph Foster, known by visitors and players as “Tennis Center Ralph,” who worked at the tennis center for more than 30 years, the release said. Foster died in 2007. “His natural charm, practical jokes, and dynamite checkers skills kept players entertained and engaged through long court wait times,” the release said. The dedication is open to the public. More information: bitsytennis.com.


Piedmont Hospital and the Buckhead Coalition have partnered to distribute trauma kits to the synagogue and 35 churches in Buckhead, the groups announced in an Aug. 20 press release. The Buckhead Coalition provided the kits to the Buckhead public schools earlier this year. The coalition was concerned that Buckhead’s houses of worship could be “targeted for mass shooting attacks as has occurred elsewhere,” the release said. BH


The opening of the “Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama exhibit at Buckhead’s Atlanta History Center has been pushed back to February, the museum said. The exhibit was initially planned to open in the fall of 2018, but unexpected

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4 | Perimeter Business

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Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Fall 2018 | PCIDs master plan

Transit and 285/400 the focus of new PCIDs master plan BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Nearly two years into a major reorganization, the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts is poised to unveil a new master plan that is laser-focused on better transportation in the booming business district. In a new preliminary project list approved by the self-taxing business group, the PCIDs is shedding old ideas that aren’t transportation-related, including a sister business association and a long-planned new park at the Dunwoody MARTA Station. Topping the new todo list: New multiuse trails, mass transit planning and grappling with towering new toll lanes that will transform neighborhoods along the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange in the next decade. “This is our lane. We’re going to stay in it,” said PCIDs Executive Director Ann Hanlon about the transportation focus during a recent interview in the group’s office in Sandy Springs’ Northpark complex. “The fact that our work plan is a list of just [transportation] projects speaks volumes about the direction we’re heading in.”

The new “managed lanes” for Ga. 400 run on elevated ramps in this sample concept design from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The PCIDs’ board approved the project list on Aug. 22. With budgets and timelines attached, the list is the basis for the new master plan, which is scheduled for a board vote Sept. 26. Hanlon says the master plan will be a “glossy document,” but with a technical and practical focus. “This is not propaganda for the district,” she said. “This is meant to be a tool to guide our actions. … This is a real work plan.” The PCIDs consists of two separate but jointly operated districts in Perimeter Center, one on the DeKalb County side and one on the Fulton County side, whose members voluntarily pay extra taxes to fund local improvements. The PCIDs fell into turmoil in September 2016 with the surprise resignation of its previous executive director, a change that exposed some doubts about the group’s focus and organization. Hanlon said the PCIDs, which had a record revenue last year of about $8 million, lacked a solid budget or work plan. One of the PCIDs most attention-getting acts in recent years was a $10 million contribution to the state’s I-285/Ga. 400 project. While Hanlon doesn’t directly criticize it, PCIDS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR she made it clear that sort of unrestricted donaAnn Hanlon. tion won’t be happening in the future. The PCIDs had a backlog of 66 projects and studies that dated as far back as 10 years and were “all over the place,” Hanlon said. For the master plan, that list was whittled down to about 37 projects, prioritized under the categories of “access,” “mobility” and “sense of place.” Aside from getting a budget and timeline, each project will have a “fact sheet” laying out its goals and partners. In part, that aims to avoid paperwork problems that last year led to the embarrassing situation of the city of Sandy Springs suing the PCIDs, a case that was later settled. While the project list got trimmed, the PCIDs itself might expand. Hanlon said the group would welcome more property owners and likely would seek to add them to carry out other transportation-related projects, such as extending the PATH400 multiuse trail from Buckhead. Also possible is a change in the self-taxing millage, but for now it is staying the same at 4 mills.

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Transit and the I-285/Ga. 400 highway changes are first among equals on the new project priority list.

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Perimeter Business | 5


“Realistically, I think transit is the future here,” says PCIDs project manager John Gurbal, who spends a lot of time figuring out how to move commuters in and out of Perimeter Center. For the PCIDs, that means planning better access and rider options. Perimeter Center and the Medical Center already boast four MARTA stations. But so-called last-mile connectivity – getting riders to and from the stations and their destinations – remains an issue. That’s why multiuse trails are among the priorities. The locations include Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and the Medical Center. “I think I’ve heard from my board pretty loud and clear they want to get some shovels in the ground and start building these things,” said Hanlon about the trails. The biggest transportation project right now is highwaydriven. The state is in the midst of reconstructing the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange, but that’s only the beginning. The state wants to SPECIAL add toll lanes on elevated ramps A design of the once-planned park at the Dunwoody MARTA Station. 30 or more feet high around the interchange over the next 10 years. That has sparked questions about effects on mass transit options and quality of life in the area, though the concepts remain little-known to the general public. Hanlon says the highway project is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to wrangle some localized transportation improvements. It also shows the importance of having a master plan for “exploring what in the world we can do to affect that,” she said. On Aug. 22, the PCIDs board approved contributing $15,000 to a multi-jurisdictional study of transit options along I-285, an idea spearheaded by Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst. With the toll lanes, Hanlon said the state has been “guarded” with information, but the PCIDs is thinking about ways to approach them. “Some board members really want us to prioritize the aesthetic part of it” and help “those big overpasses look better,” she said. “We call it extreme bridge makeover.” Others are interested in the increasingly controversial topic of where the lanes would connect to surface streets. The PCIDs is among the backers of adding such lanes to Johnson Ferry Road in the Medical Center. Less settled options previously discussed by local leaders include Hammond Drive and Mount Vernon Highway. On both aspects, Hanlon said, the PCIDs will work to “shape them into what is going to help the district.”

What’s out of the plan

Among the projects that didn’t make the master plan cut is what Hanlon calls a “kind of grandiose idea of a park” under elevated tracks at the Dunwoody MARTA Station along Perimeter Center Parkway. Unveiled in 2014, the plan involved turning a drainage ditch into a park-lined stream with a lawn on land owned by the city of Dunwoody and Perimeter Mall. “The price tag was very expensive,” says Hanlon, and the group has “board members who feel PCIDs shouldn’t be in the parks business.” The PCIDs might still create a multiuse trailhead there, she said, but a park would be left to the city or other groups. Also meeting its end is the Perimeter Business Alliance, a kind of sister organization founded in 2012 by PCIDs board members. The PBA’s purpose was fuzzy and the group was most visible to the public as host of luncheon speakers on business and development topics. Hanlon said the PBA will be formally dissolved as of Dec. 31, but it’s defunct and its logo was already removed from the lobby wall in the PCIDs office. Even some projects that made the final cut may not happen for other reasons, Hanlon said. One example is a proposed Perimeter Center Parkway extension between Lake Hearn Drive and Johnson Ferry Road in the Medical Center area along the Brookhaven/ Sandy Springs border. Hanlon said there is “recognition on our board that this is not a popular project” after talking with Brookhaven city officials.

Business Briefs


State Farm’s regional headquarters stands in the background of where a new 16-story office tower is now under construction on about 4 acres of former Perimeter Mall parking lot adjacent to the Dunwoody MARTA station. Plans are also to build a 10-story hotel on the site. Both are expected to be completed in 2020.


Construction has started on the new transit-oriented 16-story office-tower next to the Dunwoody MARTA Station named Twelve24 for its address on Hammond Drive. The office tower will include 335,000 square feet of Class A office space and 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants. Developer Trammell Crow is also working with Concord Hospitality Enterprises to develop a 9-story, 177-room Hyatt Place hotel directly connectDUDA PAINE ARCHITECTS An illustration of the new Twelve24 office tower with the ed to Twelve24. Hotel Dunwoody MARTA station and tracks in the foreground. guests and Twelve24 The building is expected to be completed in 2020. tenants will share the elevated outdoor terrace level between the two buildings. The hotel is expected to open in mid-2020. Tenant occupancy for the office building is expected to be available in early 2020, according to a press release from developer Trammell Crow Company. National staffing company Insight Global Insight has already announced plans to relocate from its curContinued on page 6

6 | Perimeter Business

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Business Briefs

Continued from page 5

rent headquarters building at the Ashford Green building at 4170 Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven to the Dunwoody office tower. “Given the transit-oriented, mixed-use environment neighboring a combination of restaurants, retail, office and hospitality businesses, Twelve24 creates an exceptional work space atmosphere in a location where tenants can connect, innovate and advance their businesses,” said Brandon Houston, principal with Trammell Crow’s Atlanta Business Unit, in the release. The 3.94-acre site is located on an unused portion of the Perimeter Mall parking lot purchased from the mall’s owner, General Growth Properties. Trammell Crow also purchased the west parking deck once used by the Dunwoody MARTA station. MARTA had been leasing it from General Growth Properties but said it was never fully utilized. The new building also located across the street from the massive State Farm regional headquarters now going up. The entire project is expected to cost $140 million. The Dunwoody Development Authority approved a tax abatement on the project with the value of the abatement expected to be $9.4 million over 13 years of the abatement, according to city officials. The Twelve24 building is a development project of Trammell Crow Company and a joint venture partner advised by CBRE Global Investors, according to the press release. Duda Paine Architects is the design architect, and Wakefield Beasley & Associates is the architect of record. Brasfield & Gorrie is the project general contractor.


A Hyatt House extended-stay hotel is planned for a site in Sandy Springs’ “Pill Hill” medical center area, part of a long-stalled office park redevelopment. The nine-story, 186-room hotel would replace a parking lot in the Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion office park at Lake Hearn Drive and Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. The project passed a hurdle on July 10, gaining approval with conditions from the city Board of Appeals for zoning variances related to setback and pedestrian access.

The hotel would be built by Atlanta-based Legacy Ventures, which also developed the Hyatt Regency at Villa Christina in Brookhaven and manages the Hotel Indigo in downtown Atlanta, among other notable hotels. According to city applications, the hotel is still considered to be part of a mixed-use redevelopment of the 20-acre Pavilion office park by the Midtown-based Simpson Organization. After various renditions, that plan was withdrawn from city consideration in late 2016 over traffic and parking concerns. The hotel’s zoning variance application says the overall Pavilion proposal now includes: an eight-level, 1,010-space parking garage with a restaurant built in; a seven-level, 480-space garage; 230,000 square feet of new office space; more than 26,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and a 300-plus unit multifamily housing building by Toll Brothers. SPECIAL Previous verA conceptual drawing of the Hyatt House extended-stay hotel from a city zoning variance application. sions of the plan included a hotel of up to 300 rooms. Boyd Simpson, head of the Simpson Organization, did not respond to phone and email messages about the status of the overall proposal. Earlier this year, the City Council approved a zoning code change allowing extendedstay hotels with various requirements to ensure they are high-quality. Hyatt House is a wellknown sub-brand with existing locations in Cobb County’s Cumberland area and in downtown Atlanta. Hyatt is expanding the extended-stay brand rapidly, with other Hyatt Houses proposed in Colorado and Missouri this week alone, according to media reports. Hotels have become a popular component of mixed-use projects around the world. The Pill Hill hotel would have 2,500 square feet of meeting space; a pool; a fitness center; and 96 on-site parking spaces as well as space leased from the office park. A sign and abstract sculpture currently located at the Lake Hearn/Peachtree-Dunwoody corner would be “displaced,” according to a city zoning application.


To Learn More, Visit PerimeterCID.org or Call 770-390-1780

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Perimeter Business | 7


Ribbon-cuttings: Business openings Celebrating the ribbon-cutting for Russell Cellular, left, a Verizon-authorized retailer in Dunwoody, on June 1 are, from left, Jennifer Howard; wireless sales representatives Elexus Fulton and A’Sheriah Jackson; store manager Torre Davis; district sales manager Drickson Toussaint; wireless sales representative Darnell Garner; Patrick Halverson; Chirag Patel; and Stephanie Freeman, president and CEO of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. Info: russellcellular.com. SPECIAL

Bottom left, Great Expressions Dental Center at 4920 Roswell Rd in the Fountain Oaks Center celebrated its opening on Aug. 21. From left; Suzanne Brown, Christine Ritchie, Wendy Flanagan, Ursula Ray, Dr. Daniela Lemoine, Wanda Hill, Lisa Jackson and Ashley Williams. Info: greatexpressions.com SPECIAL

Dr. Caroline Ceneviz, second on right, cuts the ribbon on August 10 to open Chamblee Orthodontics, located at 5070 Peachtree Blvd. SPECIAL

The following are some of the new businesses that recently opened in Reporter Newspapers communities. Dunwoody Christian School, 2250 Dunwoody Club Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: dunwoodycs.org. Frutta Bowls, restaurant, 4920 Roswell Road, No. 46, Sandy Springs. Info: fruttabowls.com. Gastroenterology Atlanta, 5669 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Suite 240, Sandy Springs. Info: gastroenterologyatlanta.com. Hollywood Feed, pet food, 3535 Northside Parkway, Suite 8B, Buckhead. Info: hollywoodfeed.com. Industrious Atlanta-Perimeter, coworking offices, 7000 Central Parkway, Suite 1100, Sandy Springs. Info: industriousoffice.com. La Quinta Inn & Suites Atlanta Perimeter/Medical Center, reopened after renovation, 6260 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs. Info: laquintaatlantaperimeter.com. North Georgia School of Ballet, 8610 Roswell Road, Suite 710, Sandy Springs. Info: ngaschoolofballet.com. Puppy Haven, 230 Windsor Parkway, Sandy Springs. Info: puppyhavenatl.com. Russell Cellular, 2458 Jett Ferry Road, Suite 200, Dunwoody. Info: russellcellular.com. Sandy Springs Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Suite 100, Sandy Springs. Info: sspediatrics.com. Savi Provisions-Pharr Road, 308 Pharr Road, Buckhead. Info: saviprovisions.com. Sheri’s Finishing Touch, 1155 Mount Vernon Highway, Suite 440, Sandy Springs. Info: sherisfinishingtouch.com. She Sparks, branding agency, 400 Northpark, 1000 Abernathy Road, Suite L-10, Sandy Springs. Info: shesparks.com.

8 | Education

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Erica Holmes Dunwoody High School A junior at Dunwoody High School has focused the past two years on helping young students who speak English as a second language, locally and in Costa Rica. Erica Holmes’ project, “Beyond the Backpack: Removing Barriers to Education,” aided students in the Chamblee and Doraville area with a backpack distribution event on Aug. 3 at Cross Cultural Ministries, a Doraville-based organization that provides free tutoring and English classes. At Erica’s event, the students received a backpack full of school supplies, a dental hygiene kit, a personal hygiene kit and fresh produce, including vegetables Erica grew in a garden. Erica’s interest in helping students started in March 2017 when she began learning Spanish in preparation for a Costa Rica trip where she taught girls how to sew skirts they needed for school uniforms. She was able to use this community of people that she knew so closely as a mandatory project to achieve her gold award for Girl Scouts. Erica spent 200 hours and most of her weekends for 18 months preparing for her March 2018 trip, which helped her achieve the Gold Award from the Girl Scouts. She took lessons on how to sew and worked with her project advisor to make a basic pattern for the skirts. “We had to get the pattern as simple as possible then write out its steps,” Erica said. Her Sundays consisted of working with a Spanish tutor to put the steps in Spanish, and then they would work on the teaching of the steps in Spanish. Erica says that the best part of the project was seeing the girls’ faces when they finished the skirts. “When they went into the bathroom and came out with the skirt on smiling and twirling this was the reward. I did not simply give them a skirt to wear to school,

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they made the skirt for themselves, which I think was empowering,” she said. Erica later learned that some of the girls she taught are using their newfound sewing skills as a source of income for their families. When Erica returned from Costa Rica, she began working on a community garden at Cross Cultural Ministries, tending to the garden and taking produce over to the organization. The garden project later spurred the backpack distribution event, which was held in early August. “The kids were so excited to get their pack,” Erica said. Most of us take a new backpack and school supplies for granted, but the joy on their faces was rewarding knowing I helped with that.” Sherri Vultaggio, Eri-

Erica Holmes poses with a student at Cross Cultural Ministries.


Erica Holmes, center, taught young students how to sew during a March 2018 trip to Costa Rica.

ca’s project advisor, was tremendously proud of her work with her projects as she had the opportunity to watch her grow along the way. “Erica has become amazingly confident in her abilities to teach and lead. I watched her work with her peers here with confidence teaching in both English and Spanish the items that would be made in Costa Rica,” Vultaggio said. “She has a contagious spirit that translates into people seeking her out to assist in whatever project she starts,” she said.

What’s next?

Erica hopes to attend Lee University in Tennessee, and later work with students in special education or English as a Second Language, or both. This spring, she plans to tutor students in English at Cross Cultural Ministries to help teach English and help them become academically successful. This article was written and reported by Kaitlyn Garrett, a student at The Lovett School.

Education | 9

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In an effort to draw students who don’t consider private colleges due to the cost, Oglethorpe University will begin matching the tuition of flagship public schools in all U.S. states, the Brookhaven private college announced. The matched tuition will be available to students who qualify for a merit scholarship program open to students across the country. The school plans to start the program for freshmen starting fall 2019. “Many students and their families believe they must attend a large state school because they can’t afford a private college education,” said school President Larry Schall in a press release. “Because of perceived costs, many of those students never even apply to a small private college like Oglethorpe. We want to change those misconceptions,” he added. Tuition at Oglethorpe is close to $38,000 a year, according to the school’s website.



Fulton students will stay home from school on Election Day this November due to safety and security concerns. The Fulton Board of Education unanimously voted at its Aug. 16 meeting to make Nov. 6 a teacher workday. The board previously discussed the change at a June 12 meeting, where Board of Education Vice President Linda McCain cited parents’ safety and security concerns as a reason to close schools. The board voted at the same time to change March 8, 2019 from a teacher workday to a regular school day, meaning students will not lose any instructional time due to the Election Day closure, according to the board agenda. Fulton joins the DeKalb County School District and Atlanta Public Schools in having Election Day be a teacher workday. The Atlanta Public Schools board voted to amend the school calendar Aug. 6 due to traffic and security concerns, the district said in a press release. The DeKalb Board of Education made Election Day a teacher workday when it approved the 2018-2019 calendar at its January meeting, according to the district.

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All Fore One Dunwoody, a nonprofit group that supports local public schools, plans to host its second annual golf and tennis tournament to raise funds for capital and education improvements Oct. 1. The first tournament, held last year, raised $20,000, which was donated to the “Game On” campaign supporting Dunwoody High athletics, the press release said. The group behind that campaign held a ribbon-cutting Aug. 19 on the first phase of improvements, which included 1,000 new spectator seats, a new track around the athletic field, storage facilities, a walkway and landscaping. SPECIAL The funds this year are planned to be put toThe logo for the All Fore One ward improvements at Dunwoody High School and Dunwoody organization. Peachtree Charter Middle School, the release said. The competition will be held at Dunwoody Country Club, at 1600 Dunwoody Club Drive. For more information, including registration and competition start times, visit allforeonedunwoody.org.

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The Epstein School, a private Jewish school in Sandy Springs, announced it has raised more than $5 million that will be used to improve science and math educational programs and address affordability concerns. The funds will be used to launch an affordability program called “Pay It Forward” in the 2019-2020 school year. The program will reduce tuition for current and new families who are just starting their careers, the press release said. The school plans to grow its science, technology, math, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM programs, throughout the year, with a new STEAM coordinator overseeing integrating hands-on learning into all subjects and expanding coding instruction, the release said.

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10 | Commentary

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Commentary / Atlanta United gives soccer a cool factor early teams lacked How has Atlanta United’s popularity affected high school soccer in metro Atlanta? Reflection on this question could not be done without reflecting on the recent history of professional soccer in Atlanta. While I am a fairly recent transplant to the area, arriving in 1999, I was aware of previous professional teams from having former teammates and friends play or coach for some of Atlanta’s various iterations, as well as playing against their indoor component myself when I played on a similar team, the Chattanooga Express.

The Atlanta Chiefs Since Atlanta has emerged as a true international city in recent years, the profile of soccer has grown in the area. The largest impact from this early era — the late 1960s to early 1980s — came from the Atlanta Chiefs, Atlanta’s NASL team, which won the league championship in 1968 and were runners-up in 1969 and 1971. The NASL was the first soccer league to have national impact, having famous foreign players come over and ply their trade in the U.S. Other notable teams such as the New York Cosmos, Los Angeles Aztecs and Tampa Bay Rowdies all helped to push soccer forward. The Chiefs were early champions in the league and the best league commissioner, Phil Woosnam, was their former manager. Perhaps the best memory of the team is that they beat Manchester City twice in international club friendlies. According to ussoccerplayers.com, “The team even went as far as to use a woman on horseback around the city’s streets declaring, ‘The British are coming! The British are coming!’” The team “gained unprecedented coverage in the sports pages.”

Atlanta’s Olympics and the Silverbacks The Chiefs’ demise left Atlanta without a real soccer presence, which was not filled until Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996. Soccer was given a big boost with the championship game being held at UGA’s Sanford Stadium. This led to new attempts for Atlanta to have a professional team, and they were in the running to have one of the original 10 MLS franchises. When this petered out, Atlanta forged ahead with many various semiprofessional teams, with the most prominently known team being the Atlanta Silverbacks. Notable facts from that era include making it to the league championship in 2007; having former U.S. World Cup stars play or coach for them (John Doyle and Bruce Murray as players and Eric Wynalda as a coach); and having a former member of the 1994 Bulgarian World Cup team that reached the

semifinals (Velko Yotov). With all of this said, the Silverbacks went the way of all the other professional soccer attempts and suspended operations in January of 2016.

Atlanta United

Scott Snyder

This brings us to the story of Atlanta United, which has well exceeded is the varsity boys’ all expectations for sucsoccer coach at cess. The “Five Stripes” have led the league in The Westminster Schools. attendance since their start and they show no signs of slowing down. While the city’s previous professional teams had their good days of support, they all struggled to find a lasting fan base beyond the ardent soccer supporters, and this was a main reason they did not last. They simply were not able to build a connection to the city, and this is where Atlanta United has changed the soccer dynamic. It does help that they are investing in the local soccer scene and have brought in some young local talent, including Andrew Carlton, Lagos Kunga and George Bello, who currently play on their reserve team. Kunga was a member of Paideia School’s 2014 state championship team. With all of this said, Atlanta United’s greatest impact is having made soccer “cool” beyond its normal supporter realm. This has filtered its way down to the high schools, as kids from all sports backgrounds are now supportive of the team. While I am a soccer coach at heart, I also help coach ninth-grade football and work the clock at the varsity basketball games, and I see as many kids wearing United gear as I do with my soccer team. Younger fans support United not because they necessarily love soccer as much as because Atlanta United is cool. This in turn has had a ripple effect on the sport as a whole. The student base is much more knowledgeable about the sport in general and this has made them more willing to come support their classmates during the high school season.

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AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Commentary | 11


Around Town

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

Cheers to the gaming bar geeks at Battle and Brew

Enjoying some gaming at Battle and Brew on a recent night are, from left, Austin Wright, Keraline Morales and Julia and Steve Watson.

It’s a bar, but it’s no Cheers. Battle and Brew doesn’t look a thing like that cozy neighborhood tavern made famous on TV. Battle and Brew is a place where patrons go to interact with TVs. “In 1983, bars were like Cheers,” Battle and Brew’s general manager Nate Sanders said. “In 2018, a bar can mean a lot of things.” So, how does he describe the place he runs, which is tucked into the Parkside Shops shopping center on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs? “We’re a geek bar,” Sanders said. In other words, it’s designed to attract folks who would proudly describe themselves as “geeks” or “nerds” or other members of the “geekdom,” the culture that has sprung up around video games, science fiction, technology and fantasy literature and takes in anything from Japanese cartoons to the “Star Wars” movies, from Dungeons & Dragons games to the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” from the TV series “Stranger Things” to even stranger things. It’s the culture celebrated by the tens of thousands of fans who gather in downtown Atlanta for Dragon Con every Labor Day weekend. If you can name the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or get in a heated debate over whether Han Solo shot first, you might be a geek, or at least know one. What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd? “Basically, a geek is someone who appreciates STEM [science and technology],” said Brian Smawley, the marketing manager for Battle and Brew, “whereas a nerd is someone who consumes culture at such a level they get obsessed by it.” Regular folks, Smawley said, might say, “I like ‘Lord of the Rings.’ ” “A nerd,” he said, BH

ing a TV and were firing up a computer that would provide easy access to I-285 game. Battle and Brew rents its couch and and more parking. The bar opened in Sangaming machines by the hour. Julia Watdy Springs on a Friday the 13th in 2014, he son said she and her friends come to the said, in a space four times as large as the bar to be “around fellow gamers.” one it occupied originally. “People like us,” Morales added. “It’s kind of the geek cultural hub of Sanders, who grew up in Marietta, said metro Atlanta,” said Sanders, a 36-year-old he started playing electronic games when whose bushy beard reaches his chest and he was 5. He says that although many peowhose forearms are covered with tattoos. ple play alone, Customers video games don’t come to the Sandivide. “I feel that dy Springs bar it’s a misnomer to “from all over,” think that gamSanders said. “We ing is antisocial,” get people from he said. “I‘ve got downtown. We folks I get togethget people from er with … and we north of Kengame five, six or nesaw and from eight hours tosouth of the airgether. It’s more port. … We’re a JOE EARLE Nate Sanders, general manager of Battle and fun to be sitting welcoming safe Brew, sits at a gaming computer in the bar. next to the perspace. We offer son. That’s what a fun, accessible we offer – that ability to have a social conplace to get lost in. My idea of the perfect nection as well.” bar is a place where you can go on vacaBattle and Brew got its start in 2005. tion. We want you to forget about the outIt outgrew its original location in Mariside world and enjoy yourself.” etta, Sanders said, and looked for a place Maybe it’s kind of like Cheers after all.


“is someone who says, ‘I like “Lord of the Rings” and my favorite character is [soand-so] and on page 873 …’ They’re hyperfocused.” The decor of Battle and Brew reflects that culture. A mural of a mutant ninja turtle snarls from one wall. Paintings with sci-fi subjects cover other walls. They were done by customers, Sanders said. One depicts a one-eyed space cat saying, “I’m from Meowter Space.” The bar’s bathrooms lie hidden behind a blue police call box like the one that provides entry to Doctor Who’s Tardis. Battle and Brew’s patrons come to drink cocktails or fancy beers, but mostly they come to play games. Or to watch other people play games. The place looks like a sports bar – an “esports bar,” Sanders calls it – and is packed with TV screens showing video games being played by customers sitting in front of them, groups of patrons and even by people in other parts of the world. One recent Friday night, Neil Patel, a 27-year-old pharmacist from Brookhaven, was sitting at the bar watching a TV screen showing some of the world’s top players compete in the video game “Dota 2.” Teams from China and Europe were playing in Vancouver, Canada, in a tournament offering $25 million in prize money. “I like to watch the pros play,” he said. “I also play soccer and I watch the premier league every weekend. When the NBA finals are on, I watch that. This is no different from that. You can see what the pros do and say, ‘Oh, I wish I could do that…’ ” On the other side of a big room filled with towers of TVs and computers, Austin Wright, Keraline Morales and Julia and Steve Watson had settled in on a couch fac-

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12 | Community

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‘Contextualize’ Buckhead’s Confederate monument, History Center head says


This Confederate monument is located on Peachtree Battle Avenue. A city advisory board recommended the monument be removed and put in city storage, although state law prohibits that. Inset, Atlanta History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale. (Special)

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The City Council is now considering renaming Confederacy-themed streets in Grant Park, taking up a dormant committee recommendation. But a Confederate monument in Buckhead was on the removal list, too, and the president of the Atlanta History Center says its historical inaccuracy should be tackled. The Peachtree Battle Avenue monument should get a companion sign addressing slavery and racism, says Sheffield Hale, the history center president and co-chair of the committee that reviewed Confederate monuments on city property. The monument, which was erected by the Old Guard of Atlanta in 1935 on what is now a Peachtree Battle median near E. Rivers Elementary, says in part, “This memorial is a tribute to American valor, which they of the blue and they of the Blue and they of the Gray had as a common heritage.” “If you’re concerned about it, don’t sit there and do nothing. Contextualize it,” Hale said in a recent interview. “Take the artifact and explain it. Say the war was actually about slavery. Start with that.” The advisory committee co-chaired by Hale was formed by previous Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2017 after white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Va., to call for preserving such monuments.

The committee, among many recommendations, called for removing and storing the Buckhead monument. But state law currently bars removing such monuments under a provision that is itself controversial. Neither state Sen. Nikema Williams or Rep. Beth Beskin, who both represent the area the monument is located, responded to request a for comment. The office of Atlanta City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, who represents the area, declined to comment. Hale said the city should add context about what the monument does, and doesn’t, say. Adding context is a strategy the Atlanta History Center, headquartered in Buckhead on West Paces Ferry Road, has championed since 2015. A report it released at that time questioned monuments that celebrate the Confederacy while leaving out key facts about the Civil War. The museum’s report followed a white supremacist’s mass murder at a Charleston, S.C., African-American church, which triggered a debate about Confederate monuments and symbols. Although Hale co-chaired the advisory group, the committee’s majority voted to recommend the monument be removed. “What I would recommend, if I was asked, was that we contextualize it, like we’ve been recommending,” he said. The decision was made after the mon-

ument’s inscription was read aloud in the meetings, he said. “When this language was read out in public meetings, there was a visceral reaction from the committee that said this is offensive and it needs to be removed,” Hale said. The monument is part of the category of “reconciliation” monuments that celebrate the U.S. unifying after the Civil War, but are problematic because they ignore other important facts, Hale said. Buckhead has at least two Confederate monuments, but the other is located on private land and owned by the private Piedmont Hospital. It is temporarily in storage while the hospital completes its renovation. The two monuments both refer to the “valor” of both sides of the war Members had a problem with the Peachtree Battle monument equating both the Union and Confederacy and ignoring slavery as the cause of the war, Hale said. Hale would add context that explains what the monument doesn’t say, including the ramifications of Jim Crow laws, which perpetuated racial segregation and were still in effect at the time the monument was erected. “That’s the issue with these reconciliation monuments. They ignore the cause of the war and they ignore the aftermath and the institution of Jim Crow,” Hale said. “But I think that also gives you

an opportunity to contextualize and tell that story of what’s missing.” While the city does have several monuments in cemeteries and another “reconciliation” monument in Piedmont Park, the Peace Monument, Hale said Atlanta has much less than other Southern cities. He said it was important that the committee appropriately treated monuments in cemeteries that are more about mourning differently from the more celebratory monuments, like the one on Peachtree Battle Avenue. “Whether you agree that it should be removed or not, it’s clearly different from the ones that are in Oakland Cemetery,” he said. Hale said he is not surprised that Confederate Avenue was the first recommendation the City Council chose to address because it was “the hot-button issue.” Besides being prohibited from state law, removing or even adding context to the monument in Buckhead may be a low priority due to its lack of visibility, Hale said. The monument is tucked away in the middle of a median and surrounded by bushes. “This is a diminutive statue in a place that nobody really goes,” he said. “It’s not in your face, so it’s probably not at the top of list of major issues. But it’s also something that can easily be dealt with, in my view, with a contextualization marker.” BH

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Community | 13


Photographer recalls Limelight nightclub’s wild days BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The legendary Limelight nightclub that anchored Buckhead’s 1980s nightlife scene came back to life Aug. 22 in a slide presentation by its former inhouse photographer. Guy D’Alema showed images of movie stars, the glass dance floor and more in the presentation based on his recent book “Limelight…in a Sixtieth of a Second.” Sponsored by the Buckhead Heritage Society, the event drew more than 70 people — including some former patrons in disco gear — to the Sanctuary nightclub in Buckhead Village. Buckhead residents Sandy Goldstein and Kathy Marsik showed up in their original Limelight satin baseball jackets. They used to be regulars at the club at Piedmont and Peachtree that gave the neighboring grocery store the “Disco Kroger” nickname it still sports today. “Everybody came together and there was no separation. … We weren’t separated by race or gender or anything,” recalled Marsik of the disco glory days. She lamented the loss of not only the club, but most of Buckhead’s nightclub scene, largely wiped out by redevelopment. “My children will never experi-

ence anything like that,” she said. The Limelight was in business from 1980 to 1987, the brainchild of reclusive, eyepatch-wearing owner Peter Gatian. Features at various times included an artificial snow machine, an in-house theater showing old movies, and theme nights that encouraged as little clothing as possible. It drew such stars as Burt Reynolds, Rod Stewart and Andy Warhol. It also played a role in supporting the gay community with “tea dances” earlier in the day. D’Alema, a New Jersey native who attended Mercer University, scored a job as the house photographer in 1981. “For a lot of people, it was a voyeurs’ paradise,” he recalled, showing photos of a balcony that ringed the dance floor. He said it was like a “fishbowl [for watching] all the strange behavior going on on the dance floor.” D’Alema said the club had a dress code that was really an “attitude code.” Many people were rejected for entry, and if they asked why, the stock response from the bouncer: “It’s not up to you to ask and it’s not up to me to answer.” “It was part of the allure and magic of the club … not everyone would get in,” he said.

Long, four-hour lines to enter were also in part a PR gimmick, he revealed. The owners would deliberately delay entry so that passers-by would see the huge line and think the club was even more popular than it really was. D’Alema photographed many major and underground stars, from Warhol to iconic singer/model Grace Jones to Divine, the start of John Waters’ punk-style movies. His biggest photo was of singer Anita Bryant, by then a notorious opponent of LGBT rights, whom he snapped dancing with a relatively gay-friendly pastor on the eve of a gay rights march. The photo was picked up by worldwide press and drew Bryant’s wrath. D’Alema debunked some myths about the Limelight and confirmed others. No, it did not have a pet black panther; that was staged for a publicity photo. Yes, it did have sharks swimming under the glass dance floor for a while, though scuff marks quickly obscured them. The club went downhill when Gatian left its management to a brother who turned to more mainstream events and décor, D’Alema said. “He wanted the endorsement of normal society, to put it that way,” he recalled. “It was the kiss of death.”

Today, D’Alema shoots photos for movie and TV productions, and the long-gone Limelight site is now the home to the Binders art supply shop, which sports a disco-themed mural.


Sherry Hoger sports disco fashion at the Limelight event.

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General Excellence

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

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

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

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

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

Local News Coverage Newspaper Website

support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

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

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


Sandy Springs Reporter


Perimeter Business

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

Dawn of a new church



Dunwoody Reporter




► Eyed for trails, pipeline routes are serious business

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

Little-known vet memorials | 8


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

OUT & ABOUT Lantern Parade will light up the Hooch

Page 20 buys condos, displaces tenants

Page 16



Chairperson, Georgia Public Broadcasting

See Commentary, Page 14


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


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






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

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



City’s new medical center wants to grow

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

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

See CURRENT on page 22

DeKalb CEO: EMS response time improves BY DYANA BAGBY


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


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

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Passing on her culinary passion Page 27

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

See PERDUE, page 21.

OUT & ABOUT Get grounded with Earth Day events Page 6

11 — NO. 5


Glowing for a cause

BY DYANA BAGBY spapers.net dyanabagby@reporternew

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

16, 2017 • VOL.

Buckhead Reporter


BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.n et

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

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


Picking up at Peachtree Creek



VOL. 9 — NO. 8

Brookhaven Reporter


FY2018 budget

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

Pages 18-19

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 •

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

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

EDUCATION Top of the Class






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

Buckhead ma ster plan to allow more input on big ideas

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




Classroom gam from math to es, Shakespeare

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

See 6TH on page 18

reporternewspa pers.net


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

6th District hopefuls squareEXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR off in debate


► New prog ressive attracts activ group ists


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

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

Massell: Buckhead getting bigger busier, wealth , ier




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

*Source: independent reader survey


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

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AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Community | 15


Revisiting Buckhead’s first major cap over Ga. 400, as park progresses

Far left, The tunnel beneath the Atlanta Financial Center as seen on Ga. 400 southbound. Above, Exhaust fans were installed in the tunnel as a safety measure. Left, A broader view of the Atlanta Financial Center. EVELYN ANDREWS

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

If a new park is successfully built atop Ga. 400, it won’t be Buckhead’s first major highway-capping project. In fact, it would be built near the first: the Atlanta Financial Center, a three-tower office complex. The park would span the highway between a spot near that building and the Lenox Road overpass, whose concrete beams would be incorporated into the park. Since 2015, the Buckhead Community Improvement District has been spearheading an effort to build a highway-capping park that would provide 9 acres of green space between Peachtree and Lenox roads. The CID, which has been forming an independent nonprofit to oversee fundraising efforts and later the park, announced in May that it has received its first grant from public funds. An unidentified donor also is interested in pledging $1 million, the CID announced at the time. The Atlanta Financial Center was specially built in 1990 to accommodate Ga. 400, which came three years later. The first tower of the building was completed in 1982. Then the owner decided to expand in 1984 and agreed to straddle the right of way for the future Ga. 400, building a cap over a highway that did not yet exist. The Georgia Department of Transportation and the building owner were able to work out a deal that allowed the BH

building to pass over the highway’s route. Today, the towers connect over the highway on several floors. The tunnel that runs under the center is named in honor of Justus C. Martin, the former chairman of Robinson-Humphrey Co., now known as SunTrust Bank. SunTrust still anchors one of the towers. Martin helped make the Ga. 400 extension possible by agreeing to allow it to pass beneath the Atlanta Financial Center, GDOT said when it named the tunnel in 1993. The Atlanta Financial Center backers were adamant about building the expansion, said Sam Massell, the president of the Buckhead Coalition, which was heavily involved in the Ga. 400 extension. They owned the land, and although the state could use eminent domain, it would be a legal fight with high costs, Massell said. “They were going to build that building with or without Ga. 400,” he said. After a lot of negotiation, the state agreed to the deal with safety measures, including large exhaust fans within the tunnel to funnel out fumes, he said. “They agreed to these big exhaust fans. In case anything happened underneath, it could be helped before damaging other people, other properties or the building itself,” he said. The person credited with successfully negotiating the deal to build the center

over Ga. 400 is Arthur B.L. Martin, who was a partner at the Morris, Manning & Martin law firm, which still anchors one of the center towers. Martin served on the Buckhead Coalition at the time and was later a board chair, Massell said. Martin, who died in 2014, was remembered for his work on the deal in a press release announcing his death. “His many notable accomplishments included negotiating and drafting all the documentation for the construction, ownership and operation of a tunnel under the Atlanta Financial Center in Buckhead,” the release said at the time. Massell said the center is his secondfavorite building in Buckhead, behind Tower Place, which is where the coalition office has always been located. “I think it worked out well, definitely. We are proud to have that building,” he said. On the north end of the proposed highway-capping park, several cement columns cross horizontally over the highway around the Lenox Road overpass. Those will be incorporated into the park design, CID director Jim Durrett said. Massell previously tried to convince

GDOT to allow an Olympic monument, called the World Athletes Monument, to be placed on those beams, but the agency wouldn’t allow it due to weight concerns. GDOT compromised and donated land in Midtown for the monument, which is a tall structure with athletes holding up a globe, he said. The statue, which was dedicated at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, is still located in Midtown on Peachtree Street at an intersection known as Pershing Point, Massell said. Lobbying in support of construction of Ga. 400 through Buckhead was the first initiative the Buckhead Coalition undertook after its 1988 formation, Massell said. It faced enormous opposition from neighborhood groups who feared housetakings. “It’s understandable because they felt it would split the community in half,” he said. “It was not a pleasurable experience, for them or for us.” The park over Ga. 400 is proposed, in part, as a way to reconnect a part of Buckhead that was split in two by the highway.

16 | Out & About


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Thursday, Sept. 13, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sainte Jane, a new Americana duo, performs at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Picnics welcome, cash bar. Included with general admission. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Friday, Sept. 14, Noon to 1 p.m. The Nomura Kyogen Group of Nagoya, Japan brings its first international performance of traditional Japanese comic theater to Georgia State University’s Dunwoody Campus Auditorium. The group’s founder is a 14th-generation Kyogen performer who appeared in the movie, “The Last Samurai.” Hosted by the Consulate General of Japan and partner sponsors, including the Japan Club of GSU’S Dunwoody Campus. Free. 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody. Info: 404-926-3023.


Sunday, Sept. 9, 6-9:30 p.m. Ben Sollee, a cellist, singer-songwriter and composer known for his political activism performs at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Bring a blanket or chairs and have a picnic in this year’s final Sundays on the River concert. Cash bar. Doors open at 6 p.m., with access to CNC grounds until concert begins at 7 p.m. $12-$18; children 2 and under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Ongoing Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Move your body, put on some boxing gloves and challenge yourself with agility ladders and other fitness equipment in this GEM event for active adults ages 60+ at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. $5 community; free for members. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/gem.


Friday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about activities that can improve health and reduce falls; get health screenings for issues that can make you more likely to fall; and learn how to minimize fall risks at an event in its fifth year at the Shepherd Center. Flu shots; hearing, vision and bone density screenings; Tai Chi demonstrations. Free. Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health, Shepherd Center, and other partners. 2020 Peachtree Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: eventbrite.com/e/georgia-falls-prevention-awareness-day-atlanta-tickets-48350044284.


Sunday, Sept. 9, 7-8:30 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. Heritage Sandy Springs wraps up its Summer Concert Series with the funky soul of Bogey & The Viceroy. Picnic baskets and coolers welcome. Free. Food and beer, wine, sodas and water available for sale. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.


Saturday, Sept. 15, 8 a.m. to noon. Mary Hall Freedom House, a nonprofit that helps women break the cycle of poverty, homelessness, and addiction with recovery, housing and support services, celebrates National Recovery Month with a day of music, food, testimonials, games and a 2.5 mile walk. Free. Rivercliff Lutheran Church, 8750 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: maryhallfreedomhouse.org.

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17




Tuesday, Sept. 11, 6-7 p.m. Local author Jerome John Dobson, who, with his wife, Bridget, was head writer for several soap operas, discusses his first novel, “Paricutin: The Miracle of Daniel Pulido,” in a wine and cheese event sponsored by the Friends of Northside Branch Library. “Paricutin” is a story about premonitions, the San Andreas Fault and love at first sight. Free. Northside Branch Library. 3295 Northside Parkway, N.W., Buckhead. Info: afpls.org/events.


Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8, 5-10 p.m. Sample barbecue from 60 teams competing for prizes in an event sponsored by The Rotary Club of Dunwoody. Event includes a kids’ area, local vendors and live music. The majority of funds raised support education and First Responders in the local community. Free. Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodybbqfestival.com.


Wednesday, Sept. 5, 9:30 a.m. Refreshments and social time are followed by a program featuring Amy Spanier, interior designer/owner of I.D.E.A Gallery in Chamblee. Free, and open to all artists. Spruill Arts Center, 5339 Chambee-Dunwoody Road, Room 4, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyfineart.org.


Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A reception will be held for an exhibit that observes and reveres the feline form at the Abernathy Arts Center. Free. Exhibit runs through Oct. 5. 254 Johnson Ferry Road N.W., Sandy Springs. Info: fultonarts.org.



Wednesday, Sept. 12, 9:30 a.m. Guest speaker Wayne Juers, aka “The Plant Doctor,” talks about creating interest in your garden with new plants and varieties. The garden club meets monthly on second Wednesdays from September through May at the Williams Room of the Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodygardenclub.com.

CHEROKEE GARDEN LIBRARY LECTURE: LOUISE WRINKLE Wednesday, Sept. 12, 4 p.m. Louise Wrinkle discusses her new book, “Listen to the Land: Creating a Southern Woodland Garden,” in a conversation with her friend Jim Landon at the Atlanta History Center. The book is her memoir of tending a woodland oasis in Alabama according to her philosophy of allowing the land to speak for itself. Book signing and light refreshments follow the conversation. $10; $5 AHC members. Reservations required. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter. com/programs.


Sunday, Sept. 9, 1-4:30 p.m. Dogs get their chance to cool off in the Murphey Candler Pool after city pools close for the season [Sept. 3] in an event sponsored by Brookhaven Parks & Recreation. Dogs under 35 pounds get the pool from 1-2:30 p.m. Dogs 35+ pounds can paddle from 3-4:30 p.m. $10 per dog. 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.


Sunday, Sept. 16, Noon to 4 p.m. Meet farm animals and farmers, learn about local food, explore harvesting and join the Unity Garden Guided Hike at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Garden activities, native plant sale, live music. Bring a picnic or pick up food from a food truck. Included with general admission. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.



Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.


Tuesday, Sept. 4, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Join the Literary Society’s book club discussion on the first Tuesday of each month. The next book selection is “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel. Free. Dorothy Benson Center Conference Room, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.

SEPT. 9 & OCT. 14


Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. Presenter Ann Bone offers tips on planning and planting a fall vegetable garden at this month’s Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard Master Gardener Learning Session. Free, refreshments served. DCGO greenhouse complex in Brook Run Park, opposite the skate park. 4770 Georgia Way South, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.

Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

18 | Art & Entertainment

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Award-winning Act3 prepares a new season of community theater

BY JUDITH SCHONBAK Fresh from winning five awards for last year’s offerings — including best musical — Sandy Springs’ Act3 Productions theater company is preparing for its 16th season, starting Sept. 7 with “Godspell.” “Community” is a word Act3’s directors use frequently in describing how they select a season’s worth of shows. “Important in all these considerations is what makes the season appealing to our audiences and to the actors who will audition and perform,” says Artistic Director Michelle Davis. “In a small space like Act3’s, the actors and audiences need to feel a connection. It is like being part of a community.” The community approach has the small black-box theater regularly in contention for local theater awards. Act3 took home five awards at the 2018 Metropolitan Atlanta Theater (MAT) Awards ceremony on Aug. 26, led by Best Overall Performance of a Musical for its 2017-2018 season production of “Into the Woods.” Act3 was nominated for 15 awards for last season. Act3 began in 2003 in East Cobb County and moved to Sandy Springs seven years ago. It was long the city’s only community theater company. It is based in what had been a nameless warehouse be-

hind all the retail shops and restaurants in Sandy Springs Plaza at the intersection of Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads. Now Act3 has theatrical neighbors virtually across the street with the birth of City Springs, a new civic center that includes the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, which opened in early Au-

gust. The new City Springs Theatre Company is performing larger-scale Broadway-style musicals at City Springs. Act3 aims to fill a smaller niche, and its youth troupe performed at the City Springs grand opening.

Act3 is a semi-professional theater company that presents a full mainstage season of five diverse shows — musicals, dramas, improvisation and original productions — in its intimate 100-seat playhouse. The company also operates its Act3 Arts Academy with year-round classes, workshops and performance opportunities for K-12 students. Act3 is opening its 2018-2019 season on Sept. 7 with the award-winning 2012 revised version of the hit Broadway musical “Godspell.” The Christian-themed musical, with music and lyrics by Stephan Schwartz, first took Broadway by storm in 1971; a hit film followed in 1973. The revised version features new arrangements by Schwartz and the injection of contemporary cultural references. In the play, a small group of people help Jesus tell different parables using games, storytelling, audience interaction and comedy. The eclectic songs include the international hit “Day by Day,” “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “By My Side” and “Turn Back, O Man,” among others. The music ranges from pop and rock to vaudeville as the story of Jesus’ life unfolds from his public teachings to the Last Supper and, ultimately, his crucifixion. The company chose “Godspell” to open its season because it met Act3’s long

list of criteria for shows that will make a good season. Selecting productions that work together is a lengthy, multifaceted effort that starts almost a year before the first actor enters stage right. “Directors may pitch show ideas for the next season from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15, and we begin the selection process midJanuary,” said Davis. She and Mary Sorrel, Act3’s executive director and board chair, bring show candidates to the table. For musicals, they call on the expertise of John-Michael D’Haviland, music director for Act3 and instructor at the Cobb County Center for

Act3 Productions 2018-2019 season 6285-R Roswell Road Sandy Springs 30328 Info: act3productions.org ■ Godspell, Sept. 7-23 ■ The Graduate, Oct. 12-28 ■ Radio Christmas Carol, Nov. 30-Dec. 16 ■ Peter and the Starcatcher, Feb. 8-24 ■ Big Fish, April 12 - 28

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 19


Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School. “We look at our viable options, starting with a mix of shows that work well together,” said Davis. The selection process includes obtaining the license to produce a show. There are a number of small and mid-size theaters in metro Atlanta that may be vying to produce the same show; however, there is a 50-mile radius exclusivity rule, so the earlier Act3 can apply for a license,

the better. Act3’s season bookends are an opening production that is an attention-getter that will draw audiences, usually one with good name recognition and is a known hit, like “Godspell”; and a closing production that “will compel audiences to come back for the next season,” said Davis. For 2018-2019, that show is the musical “Big Fish,” which went from novel to Broadway hit to top-grossing film. In the mix of season shows, Act3 in-

cludes an edgier work — this season, “The Graduate,” based on the novel and hit 1967 romantic comedy-drama about a young man who has an affair with a married older woman and then dates her daughter. This season’s holiday production is “Radio Christmas Carol,” a sequel to “The 1940s Radio Hour,” an Atlanta favorite which ran for 25 years at the original Theatre in the Square in Marietta. Act3 also always offers one or two family shows, like the February production “Pe-

ter and the Starcatcher,” a prequel to Peter Pan and Neverland. Besides the mix of shows, there are physical considerations, too. The number of cast members and the orchestra, if it is a musical, must fit comfortably on the small stage as well as backstage. Act3’s entire stage and seating area is about 1,756 square feet in the 3,414-square-foot building. Generally, the cast ranges from 8 to 15.

20 | Art & Entertainment

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Local moviemaker attracts stars to ‘inspirational’ stories BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Harrison Powell loves romantic comedies — films like “Father of the Bride,” “50 First Dates.” “I’m the one that cries in those movies,” he says. But the 31-year-old Sandy Springs resident doesn’t just reach for the box of Kleenex. He also pulled out his wallet, getting into the moviemaking business himself. Now he’s producing a rom-com — as they call it in Hollywood lingo — that’s filming in metro Atlanta and starring Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn and “Godfather” icon James Caan. “Welcome to Pine Grove!” is based on Powell’s story idea, too. How did a local guy who studied finance at UGA get the mojo to make movies with stars? Speaking from Day 14 of the movie shoot at a retirement community in Duluth, Powell described a mix of work, luck — and, of course, money. In college, he “fell in love with venture capital and start-ups.” About four years ago, he started eyeing industries with “inefficiencies” that he thought could be improved at a profit. Healthcare and entertainment stood out. Then he partnered with a family friend, Rick Jackson, who runs a healthcare staffing and technology business in Alpharetta. Jackson’s a charitably minded entrepreneur and also had invested in roughly 20 films – about 90 percent of which lost money, Powell says. Powell and Jackson formed a production company to make religious — or “inspirational,” as Powell prefers — mov-

Above, sharing a hug on Day One of production on “Welcome to Pine Grove!” are, from left, producers Fred Bernstein, Dominique Telson and Sandy Springs resident Harrison Powell. Top inset, James Caan. Bottom Inset, Ellen Burstyn. Bottom left, Harrison Powell.

ies on a model of donating the profits to charity. “Not only telling inspirational stories, but making as much money as we can and giving it away,” Powell says. Their first effort, “90 Minutes in Heaven” (2015) gave away money in all the wrong ways. Despite starring Hayden Christensen of 1990s “Star Wars” fame, the film bombed. “I would say we ran out of toes, we shot ourselves in the feet so often,” Powell says. “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” released earlier this year, has performed better. It stars Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s controversial 2004 hit “The Passion of the Christ.” Also just released: “An Interview with God,” starring David Strathairn (“Good Night, And Good Luck”). With bigger films and more experience in mind, Powell teamed with Astute Films, founded in 2016 by Fred Bernstein, a former executive at Columbia and Universal studios. Also on the Astute team is Dominique Telson, former vice president of original programming at Showtime. Now Powell is branching out into more broadly “inspirational” movies. One coming soon to 1,500 screens nationwide is “The Best of Enemies,” based on a true story about a Civil Rights activist and a Klansman who became allies on a school committee, starring Sam Rockwell and Taraji P.

Henson. “Welcome to Pine Grove!” is a more personal effort. Powell says it’s based on his wife’s grandmother, who “begrudgingly moved into a retirement community in Jacksonville.” She found it was like “high school all over again,” with cliques set in their ways. But then she fell in love and married two years ago. Powell knew he had a great story for a movie — “the idea that it’s never too late,” he says. But it’s a long road from a story idea to hiring, say, Burstyn, who won a 1974 Academy Award for Martin Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Other veteran stars in the film include AnnMargret (“Grumpy Old Men”), Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) and Jane Curtin (“3rd Rock from the Sun”). Director Michael Lembeck previously helmed two of Disney’s “Santa Clause” movies and Dwayne Johnson’s “Tooth Fairy.” Bringing the $6 million budget to the table from the start helped a lot, says Powell. “If you have money, that is something that typically doesn’t happen in Hollywood,” he said, explaining that film funding usually works the other way around, trying to raise a budget based on the cast’s star power. Not only did he have the funding, but by filming in Georgia, the state tax credit will return 25 to 30 percent of it. A draw for the cast, he said, was the lack of leading roles for older actors in Hollywood. And he thinks the genre is a good selling point. “There’s not many heartfelt comedies anymore, especially


romantic comedies,” he said. He describes moviemaking as a tough and often “dysfunctional” business. “There’s a lot of egos and there’s a lot of mixed incentives,” he says, with crews wanting overtime and producers wanting the fastest possible shoot. (“Welcome to Pine Grove!” is planning a 23-day shoot.) And after assembling an 80-person cast and crew, a month or two passes and it’s time to start all over. “You’re constantly having to recreate yourself and your business,” he says. But getting the film into theaters is the hardest part, he says, especially in today’s endless viewing options online. “We need to be willing to jump on the coffee table and light our hair on fire because we believe in the story,” Powell said. “It can be so difficult to get above the noise.” Now that’s he got a taste of the artistic side by providing the movie’s story — though not the script — Powell wants to try his hand at playwriting. He said he’s inspired by Tyler Perry, the actor/director/playwright who runs an Atlanta film studio. The stage sounds like a good way to test out potential film scripts, Powell says. Of course, Powell is still a moviegoer as well as a moviemaker. Has working behind the scenes changed how he sees the silver screen? “It’s been hard to enjoy the story sometimes,” he says, as his mind starts calculating payrolls and shooting days. On the other hand, he says, “it caused me to appreciate the end credits a lot more.”

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Classifieds | 21


Reporter Classifieds

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110




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Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Matthew’s Handy Services – Small jobs & chores are my specialties! Shelves, organizers, carpentry, painting, etc. Call 404-547-2079 or email: mwarren8328@gmail.com

Single Office for Rent – Located in Class A space in Sandy Springs overlooking Buckhead. Access to 400/285. Covered parking, Fitness Center and Cafeteria. Access to Break room, Conference room and Storage room. Call Jonathan at 404-983-1279.

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22 | Community

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Activists criticize local white nationalist; civic group debates response Continued from page 1


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ferently than by the all-white board.” She said she proposed the board issue a general statement supporting diversity without naming Dickson or the property. She said it read, “The board of the PHCA will do everything in its power to assure each and every member or our community is respected, included and safe. Diversity is a preeminent value.” The proposal failed in a 9-1 vote, she said. Atlanta Police spokesperson Officer Stephanie Brown said a “concerned citizen” notified the police about the flyers. “Officers are aware of the concerns in the neighborhood and at this time we are monitoring any activities regarding these flyers,” she said. Fleming, the civic association president, said safety is his group’s goal. “Ensuring safety in the neighborhood is the core of the Peachtree Hills Civic Association’s mission, which is why we work closely with the Atlanta Police Department and invest the vast majority of our budget into a security patrol,” he said. “I strongly encourage anyone who has any reason to suspect that any kind of illegal or unsafe activity is happening to bring that information to the appropriate authorities.”


fa r m

et k r a m s er

“I believe that Caucasian Americans are the victims of massive government and system-imposed discrimination.” The Atlanta Antifascists flyers, posted in public and delivered by mail to some residents, were headlined “Neighborhood Alert,” but did not suggest any particular action. A post on the group’s website criticized Dickson and other alleged residents as involved in real estate gentrification as a white separatist tactic, and that the group wants to debunk a liberal perception that racism is only a working-class belief. With no direct threats from anyone involved, Lorenz acknowledged, the flyers largely raised the issue of how to live with neighbors whose views you find to be offensive or repugnant. But, she said, other residents might view the situation differently and should have had the chance to discuss it, rather than the “all-white board” of the civic association making a “paternalistic” decision not to notify them. “This is a substantially white neighborhood, but we have black and brown, gay and Jewish neighbors,” said Lorenz, a 45-year Peachtree Hills resident who had served for two years on the civic association board. “I think it is a disservice to them for the board to withhold information about a presence in the neighborhood that might be perceived by them very dif-



association board. “I think it was a disservice to our membership. The community deserved an open and honest conversation about something that potentially affects all of us. The board tried to suppress that. That said, they’ve taken a stronger stand against me than against Sam Dickson.” Ted Fleming, the civic association’s president, said the group consulted the Atlanta Police Department and “worked to remove the illegal posters” and notified its membership that such flyers on public poles are illegal. He did not directly respond to Lorenz’s report of the request that she resign — which she agreed to do — or Dickson’s civic association membership. “Membership in the association is open to all residents of the neighborhood,” said Fleming. “The Civic Association is and has always been apolitical.” The flyers from the antifascist or “antifa” group claimed that Dickson’s house is home to several racist or white nationalist activists and called it a “white power organizing hub.” Atlanta Antifascists did not respond to questions sent via its website. Dickson said in emails that he indeed owns the house and rejoined the civic association, whose rolls he believed he was already on. He did not respond to questions

about alleged political activities there. But he did strongly criticize the antifa group as “dangerous” and alleged its activists have “vandalized” other properties he owns, though later adding as an aside that “I don’t really give a damn about the Antifa and other internet attacks.” “They are not a credible organization,” Dickson said. “They are not a ‘liberal’ organization. They are themselves what they accuse others of being — a group of fascist thugs…. The Antifa targets Caucasians who are unwilling to go to the back of the bus, ‘uppity’ Whites.” Dickson, an attorney and real estate investor, is a well-known white nationalist who has appeared frequently in local and national media, including for his representation of a Ku Klux Klan leader in a 1988 civil trial. He often speaks and writes on white nationalist topics and has been criticized by such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has described himself in interviews and writings as a white nationalist, but said in emails that he prefers the terms “racial communitarian” or “racial idealist.” “I believe that European peoples have the same right to live in nations of their own that Jews claim for themselves in Israel. I believe this is a matter of simple reciprocity,” Dickson said in an email, adding,






apr 7 – sep 29

8:30 am – 12:00 pm

oct 6 – dec 15 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

The Cathedral of St Philip 2744 Peachtree Rd NW • Atlanta, GA 30305 www.peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com

1Q.com/reporter or text REPORTER to 86312 BH

AUG. 31 - SEPT. 13, 2018

Community | 23


Garmon Road party mansion heads to auction block

Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead Aug. 9 through Aug. 23, was provided by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its open data records.

700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

— Aug. 22 700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

— Aug. 22


700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

3200 block of Lenox Road — Aug. 10

— Aug. 22

2400 block of Coronet Way — Aug. 12

700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

— Aug. 23

2100 block of Faulkner Road — Aug. 16


1700 block of Northside Drive — Aug. 19



2100 block of Peachtree Road — Aug. 10

900 block of Collier Road — Aug. 10

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

1900 block of Monroe Drive — Aug. 12

Aug. 12

1600 block of North Rock Springs Drive

2100 block of Monroe Drive — Aug. 14

— Aug. 12

1800 block of Marietta Boulevard —

400 block of Armour Drive — Aug. 12

Aug. 17

3600 block of Kingsboro Road — Aug. 13

1700 block of Peachtree Street — Aug. 17

4000 block of Conway Valley Road —

3700 block of Roswell Road — Aug. 17

Aug. 13

500 block of Wimbledon Road — Aug. 19

400 block of Armour Drive — Aug. 13

1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — Aug.


1200 block of Monroe Drive — Aug. 14


3900 block of Lake Forrest Drive — Aug.


2300 block of Bolton Road — Aug. 10

3300 block of Peachtree Road — Aug. 16

1100 block of Chattahoochee Avenue —

Aug. 14

400 block of Lindbergh Place — Aug. 16

3100 block of Peachtree Road — Aug. 16

500 block of Wimbledon Road — Aug. 19

Morosgo Drive/Morosgo Place — Aug.

500 block of Northside Circle — Aug. 20


1100 block of West Conway Drive —


Aug. 20

Between Aug. 9 and Aug. 23, there were

2300 block of Parkland Drive — Aug. 20

120 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 50 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.

700 block of Cosmopolitan Drive —

Aug. 21


400 block of Northside Circle — Aug. 21

There were 21 reported incidents of auto

500 block of Bishop Street --Aug. 21

MARCH 201 8 Vo l . 2 4 N o. 3



theft between Aug. 9 and Aug. 23.

p 34

Tasty Tacos Story p 22

Auction.com listing. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, that will have on the string of party bookings. Tasia Holdorf, who claimed at a July neighborhood meeting to be living in the mansion and arranging to buy it, had little to say about the auction. “I’m aware of everything that’s going on there,” she said. She declined further comment, saying she was at work and would call back later, but did not. Holdorf is facing an Oct. 1 municipal court trial for code violations related to a Fourth of July party at the mansion, according to city online records. The owners of record in the county’s online database remain Adeyinka “Yinka” Adesokan and Paula Nelson, who bought the mansion from Rogers in 2006. Adesokan and Nelson are out of the country, according to city officials, and phone numbers listed for them are disconnected. The mansion’s “occupancy status is unknown,” according to the Auction.com listing. The listing says the owners are represented by the law firm Barrett Daffin Frappier Levine and Block. The firm’s call center said the auction is being handled by attorney Ellen Shepherd, who did not return a phone message. Commercial party venues are already illegal in residential areas, but complicated ownership issues have made enforcement and citations a problem on Garmon Road, officials say. Residents complained of at least 23 parties since January, creating noise and traffic with up to 300 guests and sometimes with alcohol service. Promoters even delivered guests by helicopter and displayed an AR-15-style rifle on social media as security, residents say, citing videos and social media posts. A Fourth of July party, where hit rapper Fabolous was among the hosts, was criticized as especially loud and disturbing.

City officials have said they have successfully gotten promoters and bookers to cancel or move events slated to be held at the mansion. National media reports show that renting mansions for ticketed parties and concerts is a booming business, partly as mansion-owners may be cash-strapped and partly due to cities cracking down on nightclubs and sending nightlife underground. Short-term rental sites like Airbnb.com are one place party mansions can be found, including one that drew similar controversy on Buckhead’s Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in 2016. But Atlanta is also seeing specialty sites, such as MansionHouseAtlanta. com, where the “Garmon Mansion” was rented until recently. More than 100 residents showed up at the July neighborhood meeting, organized by the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizens Association. At the meeting, Holdorf made the surprise announcement that she was buying the mansion, though she declined to provide any details, and promised no further events would be held. She said she accepted “full responsibility” for the Fourth of July party and claimed any ticketing or advertising was done by friends without her knowledge. But she also complained of police “harassment” and unequal treatment, and a friend who helped organize that party suggested that race played a role in neighbors’ complaints. Maj. Barry Shaw, the Atlanta Police commander for Buckhead’s Zone 2, denied there was harassment. At an Aug. 7 meeting of NPU-A, he expressed doubt about Holdorf’s claim of purchasing the mansion and said police continued to monitor it for code-violating event bookings. Sally Riker, the president of the Citizens Association, did not respond to a request for comment about the situation since the July neighborhood meeting.

3100 block of Roswell Road — Aug. 10

2300 block of Armand Road — Aug. 10

e r. c o m


Your monthly guide to the city’s vibrant INtown community!

Pick up a copy or read it online at atlantaintownpaper.com


Continued from page 1

500 block of Mountain Way — Aug. 9

Delfex Constru Premium Qualit


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

Monroe Drive — Aug. 9


y Renovations

678-437-317 7 delfexatlanta.c om

24 |

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