SEPTEMBER 2019 - Dunwoody Reporter

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SEPTEMBER 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 9

Dunwoody Reporter


Fall Education Guide

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Dunwoody voters will see contested races for the mayor’s office and two City Council seats this fall. All races are to be decided in a citywide vote. The only uncontested race is in District 3, where incumbent John Heneghan is the only candidate. All the council seats are at-large seats, which means they are represented by someone living in that district who is elected citywide.



The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information:


Mayoral, City Council races are set for Nov. 5 election AN

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Dozens of guns stolen locally from cars, police say

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DUCA debate teams excel Up for deb TION GUIDE ate ►Should school districts be smaller? ►New school leaders FALL 2




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The iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural at the Spruill Gallery could be the prototype for similar, positive public art around the city as the City Council is expected this month to define public art as ‘black copy against a white background.’

tember to consider a text amendment to its zoning ordinance to define public art as distinct from commercial signage. And public art in Dunwoody is proposed to be “black copy against a white background” specifically imitating the iconic “Everything Will Be OK Mural.” “It’s baby steps,” Community Development Director Richard McLeod told mem-

Lynn Deutsch Lynn Deutsch has served on the Dunwoody City Council since 2011 and as mayor pro tem since 2017. Before her election, she served on the Dunwoody Planning Commission, the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and her neighborhood Women’s Club. Deutsch served in a variety of volunteer roles at local schools, including Chesnut Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary, Peachtree Middle and Dunwoody High. She also served as the vicechair of the Citizen Planning Task Force for DeKalb County Schools. She is a graduate of the University

See CITY on page 14

See MAYORAL on page 22

City to define public art in black-and-white BY DYANA BAGBY

The words public art may conjure images of colorful murals painted on the side of a brick building, crosswalks painted in a variety of shades, or a bright, shiny sculpture planted in the middle of a park. But in Dunwoody, don’t think too colorfully. Actually, think in black-and-white. The City Council is scheduled in Sep-



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Neon-colored spray paint on city sidewalks and streets used to mark various underground utilities for construction projects touched a nerve with Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal, who said the markings are a stain on the city’s overall clean-cut appearance. “I think it looks terrible, tacky,” said Shortal, a retired Marine brigadier general, in recent interview. The recent bright orange spray-painted markings on a sidewalk on front of City Hall at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road inspired Shortal to try to do something. He introduced an ordinance in July to heavily restrict where and for how long the spray-painted markings could remain marking up city streets. “I think to be a great city you have to have a lot of things done and done right,” Shortal said. “Some aren’t huge, but they all add up to something big. We just put in a new sidewalk at City Hall and now it looks like we’re advertising for a paint com-

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Community | 3

pany.” Shortal was at first met with skepticism from city staff and fellow City Council members. Such a move would be unusual to because local heavy restrictions are not the industry standard. The ordinance would be difficult to enforce and could be costly, they also said. One council member also questioned the need for such an ordinance. But after more discussion and two deferrals, the City Council voted unanimously Aug. 26 to approve a much scaled-back version of the mayor’s proposal. The new ordinance requires any person doing any kind of excavation work or utility markings on public streets or sidewalks to first get a permit from the city. As part of the permit, they are then required to remove all markings following completion of the project, explained Public Works Director Michael Smith. Exceptions are made for emergencies, according to the ordinance. “Because they have to get a city permit, we can enforce this,” Smith explained at the Aug. 26 meeting. But not all spray-painted markings are for utilities, he added, so the ordinance would not address all markings. Councilmember Terry Nall, who previously questioned the need for such an ordinance because he didn’t feel it was a major issue facing the city, said he also opposed the idea at first because Smith said it would likely be unenforceable. But because the city would have the authority to impose fines or other punishments through the city permitting process, Nall said he could now support the ordinance. “Because they are getting a permit from the city ... we can hold them accountable,” Smith said. The new ordinance strikes out Shortal’s original proposal to impose what is known as “white lining.” White lining is the practice of using white paint, stakes and flags to mark the general area of where excavation is to happen if the area cannot be clearly described. Any utility markings would then only be allowed in that white lined zone. Utility companies use water-based paint that can often remain visible months or as long as a year after a project is completed before fading away, degrading the overall appearance of the city, Shortal said in support of his ordinance.



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September Calendar of Events 2 5

Labor Day

City Hall closed


Master Gardener Session


Open House


Food Truck Thursday


Farmer’s Market

“Groovin’ Food Truck Thursday” Brook Run Park featuring the Josh Gilbert Band 5-9 p.m.


Farmer’s Market Brook Run Park 8:30 a.m.-noon

FREE First Saturday — Reptiles Dunwoody Nature Center 11 a.m.

7-15 8

Back to Spruill Week


Food Truck Thursday


Farmer’s Market

Brook Run Park 5-9 p.m. Brook Run Park 8:30 a.m.-noon

Brook Run Park 8:30 a.m.-noon

Dunwoody Wine Stroll

Dunwoody Nature Center 2-4 p.m. City Hall 6-8 p.m.

Brook Run Park 5-9 p.m.

Donaldson-Bannister Farm 9:30-11 a.m.

Wine and Reading Playwright Series


New North Shallowford Annex 4-6 p.m.

History Alive!

Spruill Arts Center

City Council Meeting

Cool Season Planting Dunwoody Community Garden 11 a.m.- noon

Pernoshal Park 2-6 p.m.

21-22 Nuno Felting

Chattahoochee Handweaver’s Guild North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center


City Council Meeting City Hall 6-8 p.m.

Tickets now available for Dunwoody’s 3rd annual Wine Stroll


4 | Community ■


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The Dunwoody Reporter is joining the Dunwoody Homeowners Association in presenting a Sept. 22 candidate forum for the city election. All candidates for mayor and three City Council seats will be invited to participate in the forum, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road. DHA President Adrienne Duncan and Dunwoody Reporter Managing Editor John Ruch will lead the forum. The election will be held Nov. 5.


The City Council is moving forward on seeking potential legal remedies to stop DeKalb County school officials from putting more trailers on campuses without more city input. The council also revoked a two-year memorandum of understanding with the school district that was meant to streamline the city’s permitting and inspection process for trailers, but instead was ignored by school officials, according to the city. The actions were approved at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting. Councilmembers Lynn Deutsch and Terry Nall, both of whom are running for mayor, recommended revoking the city’s 2017 MOU with the school district. The MOU’s intent was to ensure city officials reviewed site plans and issued land disturbance permits for any construction projects, including adding trailers. But the district failed to get a permit in July when it installed more portable quad classrooms at Dunwoody High School, angering many parents and residents who began demanding the City Council stop the school district from adding trailers at schools. Nall secured council support for a plan that includes potentially taking the school district to court if it violates city ordinances and state statutes in construction, maintenance and repair projects at school facilities.

Terry Nall For Mayor For Promises Made. And Kept. For Fiscal Responsibility. For A Better Dunwoody.

Dunwoody is a community with a special quality of life that makes us unique in the Atlanta area. We have a low cost of living thanks to our homestead exemption and careful government budgeting, amenities both within our town and close by, and a diverse network of neighbors and neighborhoods. Dunwoody and public service are my passion. Small, efficient, disciplined government with accountability is my principle. I’ve made a positive contribution for the past 8 years, and hope to continue serving our community in the years to come. Working together, we will be on a thoughtful path forward for our city's second decade as “A Better Dunwoody."




Public Safety | 5

Sandy Springs appears on another ‘safest cities’ list an expert calls useless BY JOHN RUCH

Sandy Springs has appeared on yet another “safest cities” website list, this time for purportedly “keeping children safe,” and a criminologist is once again saying the ranking is useless. is one of two websites that get a lot of free press around the country for publishing “safest cities” lists, on which local cities frequently appear. Last year, Utah-based SafeWise acknowledged to the Reporter that its lists are made by staff members with no expertise in criminology or law enforcement as part of a marketing business that drives customers to security companies and Josh Hinkle, an associate professor at Georgia State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, said at the time that SafeWise’s ranking method was not an effective way to calculate a resident’s risk for random crime. Now SafeWise is back with a list of “The 50 Safest Cities to Raise a Child in 2019,” on which Sandy Springs appears at number 36. The list was widely promoted with a press release quoting its author, Kaz Weida, and identifying her as a “security analyst.” The press release already resulted in one uncritical story, featuring a quote from Weida and a local mayor, in a New Jersey newspaper.

However, the report itself describes Weida only as a parent who “spends her time reviewing products,” and SafeWise spokesperson Krystal Rogers said she is a freelance writer who has no degree in criminology or law enforcement. In written messages sent via Twitter, Weida said she did not write the promotional quote that identified her as a security analyst. She said she has “a degree in education and several years of experience as a journalist writing pieces about home safety, crime, politics, parenting and community policing.” She also characterized the Reporter’s scrutiny of her qualifications as a “security analyst” as a form of personal criticism that was “despicable” and “truly off-base and irresponsible.” Weida did not directly respond to Hinkle’s criticisms of the report, but said she was not responsible for the method or the data. “I’m not involved in developing the methodology. I simply receive the data and a creative brief and craft the piece,” she said. The method SafeWise says it used to create the ranking involved comparing crime rates, graduation rates per capita, and the number of sex offenders per capita who are registered as living in the city. Hinkle, the GSU criminologist, said that method is based on a false assumption about citywide crime rates and that the sex offender registry is a “poor measure” of

child molestation risk. “Thus, I see no utility to this list,” said Hinkle. Rogers, the Safewise spokesperson, made no specific response to Hinkle’s criticisms, instead saying generally that crime is “a complex topic” and that SafeWise writes about “safety trends.” “The bottom line is that we want people to talk about and think about safety — if we get a conversation started that can help increase that everyday awareness and inspire ‘safety as a lifestyle,’ then we’re on the right track,” Rogers said. “We appreciate the conversation and will continue to evolve our process. We are constantly striving to provide more relevant and helpful information and resources, and we are learning from thoughtful inquiries such as this.” When asked why SafeWise doesn’t simply hire criminologists to conduct valid studies, and whether the company intends to correct misinformation, Rogers replied, “Thank you for the suggestion. If a mistake is discovered in the data, we are happy to correct it.” Hinkle said the entire premise of “safe cities” and comparing cities to each other makes no sense in terms of crime rates and risks. That is because street crime is highly localized. “It’s pretty moot to look at citywide safety when we know crime is highly concentrated at the microplace level… [which

means] street blocks and lots of block-toblock variation in crime even in ‘bad neighborhoods,’” Hinkle said. Another overall flaw in SafeWise’s method, Hinkle says, is the use of violent crime statistics. That’s because most assaults, rapes and murders are committed by a family member or acquaintance of the victim, not a stranger whom one might randomly encounter in a city. In the new list, the use of sex offender data has the same problem, Hinkle said, because the majority of child abuse and molestation also is committed by family members and acquaintances. And SafeWise appears to have counted all registered sex offenders, not just those convicted of child molestation, when in fact, “most of those aren’t pedophiles,” Hinkle said. For useful information on finding a safe place to live in terms of avoiding random crime, Hinkle said, the best places to go are the websites of local police departments, which usually offer a map of recent crimes. On those maps, anyone can see where there are local concentrations of random crime, such as burglaries and robberies. The Sandy Springs Police Department uses the site “Finding a safe street in a safe neighborhood is what matters, not picking a safe city,” said Hinkle.

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6 | Public Safety ■

Police raise alarm on guns stolen from cars BY DYANA BAGBY

At a recent Brookhaven City Council meeting, Police Chief Gary Yandura gave a brief report on the department’s activities. A fundraising 5K to benefit a police program was scheduled in the next few days, traffic at Montgomery Elementary School seemed to be running smoothly at the start of the school year with help from the traffic unit. But one final item stood out to council members. Yandura reported that on Aug. 12, a day before the council meeting, an AR-15-style rifle was reported stolen from the backseat of a person’s pickup truck while it was parked in the driveway of a house on Becket Drive. The victim, who lives in Alabama, had parked his vehicle at the house on Aug. 7 before he headed to Maryland for a vacation, according to police. When he returned Aug. 12, he noticed the $400 rifle, kept in a military case, was gone. The victim told police his car was unlocked the entire time he was gone, according to a police report. “Any valuable, especially a firearm, should not be left in an unlocked vehicle,” Brookhaven Deputy Chief Brandon Gurley said in an interview. “We are inviting criminals to come into our community, into our neighborhoods, because we make it easy.” The Brookhaven victim did not say exactly what kind of firearm was stolen from his car, other than it was a high-caliber rifle that he described as an AR-15-style weapon, Gurley said. He also did not have its serial numbers. The bullets the gun uses can pierce an officer’s body armor. It is the first known high-caliber weapon of that type reported stolen in the city, he said. “Most of what we see taken are handguns. This was unique and different,” he said. This year alone, dozens of guns from unlocked cars have been reported stolen in Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Buckhead, according to spokespersons 960 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 500 Atlanta, GA 30342

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2017 / 16 2018 / 9 SANDY SPRINGS

2017 / 84 2018 / 54

2019 February to Aug. 21 / 3 2019 February to Aug. 21 / 30


2017 / 284 2018 / 230 2019 January to Aug. 22 / 146 Including firearms or firearm accessories

from each department. But data shows the numbers of weapons stolen from cars are on a downward trend. Georgia does not require private gun owners to report stolen guns. The issue is not just occurring in metro Atlanta. In Nashville, 20 guns were stolen from unlocked cars in one week in August, according to WSMV-TV. In Charleston, S.C., 40 of 44 handguns stolen from vehicles between January and July were from unlocked cars, according to an ABC affiliate. In Mobile, Ala., approximately 1,200 guns were stolen from vehicles last year with 80 percent of those being taken from unlocked cars and trucks, according to a report at The prevalence of people leaving high-valuable items in their unlocked cars has essentially put a target on those communities for criminals who see these areas as easy pickings, Gurley said. None of the guns stolen in Brookhaven have been tracked to any other crimes in metro Atlanta, Gurley said, but the likelihood they end up in another criminal’s hands is significant. An Aug. 25 New York Times report investigated how firearms stolen in the U.S. end up on the streets of Jamaica, where they are used in killings. In Jamaica, 80 percent of its homicides are committed with firearms and most of the guns come from the U.S. where lax gun laws help facilitate the carnage, according to the report. Between February and August, there were 23 guns stolen in Brookhaven. Of that total, 18 were stolen from vehicles. The majority of these were from unlocked cars, Gurley said. In neighboring Dunwoody, seven firearms have been reported stolen in the past six months; three of those being stolen from unlocked vehicles, said Sgt. Robert Parsons, spokesperson for the Dunwoody Police Department. “We are begging people to stop leaving things in cars that leave you a target for theft,” he said. “We beg people to not leave firearms in their vehicles,” he said. “Because once they get in the hands of the wrong people, it can result in tragic results.” Parsons said criminals like to come to Dunwoody because they understand people here tend to leave valuables in their cars and often leave them unlocked. The city and police department have initiated community programs, such as at Perimeter Mall, where signs are posted through the parking lot urging patrons to “Lock, Take, Hide.” Parsons said people may have a belief that that because they live in a nice neighborhood and city, “it won’t happen to me.” In Sandy Springs, there have been 412 reported thefts from autos so far in 2019. Of that total, 30 firearms were stolen from vehicles, with most taken from unlocked


Public Safety | 7

cars and trucks, according to Sgt. Samuel Worsham, spokesperson for the Sandy Springs Police Department. “We try to remind everyone to keep their vehicles locked, remove all valuables, and take the keys with them,” Worsham said. “So many of the vehicles are left unlocked and it makes it easy for thieves. Sometimes people get comfortable or complacent and forget that they may be a victim of theft.” In the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, there have been 146 guns, ammunition or holsters stolen from vehicles so far this year. How many were stolen from unlocked cars was not readily available. Maj. Barry Shaw, commander of Zone 2, said car break-ins throughout Atlanta are down 11 percent; in Zone 2 they are down 20 percent. But if you are a victim, you don’t always care about those numbers, he said. Slowing or stopping the stealing takes a partnership, Shaw said: police working areas where crimes are reported to catch the offenders; the courts and judges sentencing the criminals when caught; and residents not rewarding criminals by leaving valuables in their cars. “It’s like fishing,” he said. “If I go to a lake and I’m not catching anything ... I will go elsewhere.” Guns being stolen from cars keep officers on edge from the fear they will be used to seriously hurt someone, Shaw said. Shaw said he knows there are some places people cannot carry their firearm, so they will leave them in their car. They say they want the gun for their protection, but at the same time they are not responsible enough to protect others by ensuring their gun is not stolen, he said. “If you are going to carry a gun in your car and not take it inside, then you need to secure it in the car,” he said. Lock boxes and other special gun locks are readily available, he said. Shaw stressed he was not victim-blaming, Even Atlanta Police officers have had guns stolen from their vehicles, he said. And while the APD will continue to pursue criminals, getting help from the citizens would also help, he said. “Quite frankly, if everyone would stop leaving valuables and guns in their cars, then this problem would go away,” he said.

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8 | Community ■

In a leap of faith, a new church is born Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at

In the last 20 years, attendance at American houses of worship has dropped 20 percent, according to Gallup. Last year, the percentage of Americans reporting church or synagogue membership reached an all-time low of 50 percent. So, why would anyone want to start another church? That’s what I asked a group of Dunwoodians who five months ago started a Bible study in a private home that is now preparing for its official launch as an independent church in a 70-year-old stone chapel in Sandy Springs. Miracle? You decide. It all started last March when a popular worship leader left his position at a promiCarol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodySandy Springs line and about people whose nent Dunwoody church. Doug Allen hadwrites followers, but nolives jobinspire prospects. others. Contact her at “It was blind faith,” said Allen. “I walked away from my only job not knowing what was next, but my wife and I knew He would provide.” He joined a small group that started meeting in a private home in Misty Creek, in the Sandy Springs panhandle. The group soon became a nondenominational “house church” with guest preachers. Meanwhile, Stephen Streett, a popular former Dunwoody church youth minister who had moved to Dalton to head another church, had left that church to become a hospital chaplain. Ironically, Streett and Allen had both served at the same Dunwoody church, though at different times, and had never met. “One of the people in our home church suggested I meet Stephen. We met at the Dunwoody Starbuck’s. It seemed like a divine appointment,” said Allen. The next Sunday, Streett drove down from Dalton as guest preacher. “Not knowing it would become a church, I came down every Sunday,” said Streett. “After five weeks, they decided to become a church and asked me to become the pastor. Everything happened very fast.” He was made official in June.

“We didn’t have much to offer and were asking him to move his family from Dalton,” said Allen. “The fact that he would uproot his family for this little home church didn’t make logical sense.” Despite the lack of logic, things moved quickly. As word spread that the two popular Dunwoody church leaders were involved, the home church grew. “The music and preaching are a big part,” said founding member Ragan Defreese. “But it’s also the genuineness of the people.” By late spring, the group had grown to more than 40 and needed a real church building. Once again, things that didn’t make sense somehow came together. Over in Sandy Springs sat the little stone chapel of the First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs. Built between 1938 and 1949, the chapel had gone through many iterations. Now rented to Orbit Arts Academy during the week, it sat sadly unused on Sundays. Luckily, Defreese knew a member of First Baptist who told him about it. But would First Baptist be willing to rent it to a “competing” church? Once again, the unexpected happened. “We’d been praying for a church to occupy that building,” said David Shivers, First Baptist senior pastor. The deal was struck. The new church, now called Misty Creek Community Church, would become the resident at the old stone chapel. “It’s a story of God pulling strings to bring us together,” said Shivers. Though not officially launched, the new church has been meeting in the stone chapel since July and has been growing steadily, with an average weekly attendance of 90. Non-denominational, Biblically based and conservative, it invites people to come as they are, meet after service under a tent on the front lawn for refreshments and fellowship, and join small home groups to explore every week’s message. The church will launch officially with a meet-and-greet on Sept. 15. On Oct. 6, the two churches - Misty Creek Community Church and First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs will have a joint service featuring bluegrass music and a free barbecue. “We’re bringing in one of the best bluegrass fiddle players I’ve ever heard,” said Allen, now official worship leader of the new church. Services at Misty Creek Community Church are Sundays at 10:30 am at 590 Mt. Vernon Highway NE. The joint service on Oct. 6 will be across the street at First Baptist Church of Sandy Springs at 10:30 am at 650 Mt. Vernon Highway NE. For more information, go to




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Community | 9

Council considers Ravinia Parkway mixed-use development BY DYANA BAGBY

The City CounThe site plan for the cil is considering proposed mixed-use a mixed-use develdevelopment at 11 Ravinia opment at the inParkway shows Ashfordtersection of AshDunwoody Road at the bottom and I-285 at the ford-Dunwoody right. Parking is in the Road and I-285 center of the development that would include surrounded by retail and restaurants and rerestaurant buildings. tail as well as an CITY OF DUNWOODY 8-story hotel. GMC Real Estate Acquisitions is seeking to rezone 11 Ravinia Parkway, the approximate 4 acres of undeveloped property that sits south of the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia hotel, from OCR (office, commercial, residential) to a Perimeter Center 2 District. The council on Aug. 26 heard details of the rezoning request. A second and final presentation is scheduled for September, when the council is expected to vote on the project. The proposed development includes an InterContinental Hotels Group 8-story boutique hotel with 275 rooms at between 140,000 to 150,000 square feet; 12,500 square feet of shops; 30,000 square feet of restaurants; a parking deck; and streetscape amenities. The area, known by some as the “grassy knoll” for the undeveloped land at the center of site surrounded by trees along the perimeter, is also considered a “gateway site” into the city, City Planner John Olson told the council. Questions about tree loss, stormwater detention and how the planned I-285 toll lanes could impact the project dominated questions asked by council members. Representatives for the developer said the Georgia Department of Transportation has told them they are not interested in taking any of the property for the planned toll lanes and they do not expect the project to interfere with the proposed development. But, they added, they are still working with GDOT to find out more information and get clearer information on what is being planned for that area. Community Development staff stated in a memo that the development would require the removal of 68 trees, including 14 specimen trees. The majority of trees would be removed on the eastern portion of the site where a stormwater detention facility would be built if the project is approved. A representative for the developer also said they would be willing to narrow sidewalks to try to save some other trees.


She made wings to fly. Oct 5 - 13, 2019 Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs

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10 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter Atlanta INtown ■

Commentary: Nicknaming the new 285/400 interchange It’s big. It’s expensive. It already has created controversy and angered drivers and it’s not even going to be finished until next year. But one thing the rebuilt interchange at I-285 and Ga. 400 doesn’t have is a name. It needs one, if only to keep up with Spaghetti Junction, the Cobb Cloverleaf, the Downtown Connector and other metro Atlanta highway landmarks. We came up with a few suggestions of our own and asked our readers on social

Atlanta Senior Life

C O N TAC T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch INtown Editor: Collin Kelley

media to suggest more nicknames for the collection of concrete taking form on the Perimeter. And they came through. In a big, big way. A strong contender: “The Top Knot.” That kind of says it all. Plus, there’s the source: the Twitter account of North Perimeter Contractors, the folks who are building the thing at the behest of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Who knew construction contractors had a sense of humor? The “Perimeter Pretzel” was by far the

readers’ favorite among our own suggestions. Less beloved were “GDOT Knot,” “Traffic Twister” and “Rush-Hour Ramen.” Here are some of our readers’ suggestions. We couldn’t print them all, of course. Frankly, some were a tad racy. Others, while apt, seemed less sobriquets than the stuff of protest signs, such as “Welcome to Standing Springs.”



Meatball Junction New Spaghetti Junction Linguine Links or Linguine Lanes The Golden Pretzel ▼ Peachtree Pasta Spaghetti Strainer The Blender

Bumper-to-Bumper Incompetence Intersection Diverging Disaster Top End Travesty Purgatory Highway to Hell Apocalypse Now Bypass Boondoggle Malfunction Junction Dysfunction Junction The Can of Worms Jungle Junction Area 51 The Towering Tie-Up The Insane Interchange

Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Hannah Greco Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer Julie Murcia Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter Office Manager Deborah Davis Contributors Robin Conte, Kathy Dean, Kevin C. Madigan, Phil Mosier, Jane Nah, Carol Niemi, Judith Schonbak, Jaclyn Turner

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are mailed monthly to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and delivered to more than 200 business/retail locations. For delivery requests, please email

Honored as a newspaper of General Excellence

2018 © 2019 with all rights reserved

Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any

FLYING AND TWISTING The 400 Flyover, aka The Fly The Springs Flyover The 400 or Top End Twister ▲ The Serpentine

—- Illustrations by Jane Nah

AMUSEMENTS AND TOYS Loop De Loop The Carousel Vertigo The Slinky

KNOTS AND BOWS The Bowtie Knot Junction The Shoelace Top End Tangle ► North Knot The Gordian Knot

GEOGRAPHY Perimeter Peaks The Peak Empire Exchange The Gateway





reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily

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

Commentary | 11

As the school years pass, so do the backpack fashions In the beginning, there was the diaper bag. It was made of vinyl, and no matter what any designer did to disguise it, it was still a vinyl diaper bag. Ours was covered with teal-colored elephants, so there was no doubt to anyone that it was not my purse or my weekender travel bag, but that it was there to serve the youngest among us. It contained everything we needed to feed, change, entertain and care for our baby—everything short of an actual nanny, although it was big enough to hold one. We lugged it around for years until our toddler outgrew it, passed it to his younger sister as a back-up, and promptly replaced it with the preschool tote bag. It was then I realized that, rather than marking the growth of my children with penciled lines on the wall, I was registering their growth by the size of their bags. The Preschool Tote Bag phase lasted for three more years. It was launched when my son entered the house with a bright purple bag personalized with his handprint and name — in paint that was still wet -- so this phase was marked on the kitchen cabinets for a while, along with the name of the girl he had a crush on. The smeared purple tote bag took him until first grade and to many a grandma sleepover as well. Soon his sister had one, too. Something about that gloppy gel paint made me smile, and those bags grew on me as they hung around in the closet, signaling the Stage of Carefree Childhood. When the kids hit primary grades, the Backpack Era began. My son and daughter started wearing backpacks, but they were little adorable ones that came with matching lunch bags covered with fire trucks or daisies, or packs that were fashioned to look like zoo animals. We had a turtle with a zippered shell, and a ladybug, I believe, but my favorite was a lion with a mane made of yellow tassels. These were backpacks so cute and lunch boxes so clever that I used to play dress up with them myself. They were artfully camouflaged so that children were duped into wearing them for fun. Little did we know that these were actually training packs, because our kids would be lugging backpacks to school and beyond for the next 25 years of their lives. Sure enough, as soon as the children moved from preschool to elementary school, the bags dropped the cute decor, sprouted wheels, and went industrial. Robin Conte lives with her In middle school, though the bags were heavier, wheels husband in an empty nest were not cool, and my kids would leave for school each day in Dunwoody. To contact looking like they were embarking on a three-month trek her or to buy her column across Europe. collection, “The Best of the When the day came that their backpacks were too large Nest,” see and heavy to meet the carry-on standards of an airplane, I knew that my kids had arrived in high school. Once they hit college, they were in fact embarking on a three-month trek across Europe, and their backpacks were fitted accordingly. Each school year ended with the ripped and tattered remains of nylon, and I retired the remnants, thinking of their increasing size, my kids’ growth, and how far we’ve all come since the smeared purple tote bags and the vinyl diaper bag. The lion-shaped bag still rests on the top shelf of the twins’ closet, as a reminder of the days when kids and packs alike were small and playful. Yet even now, bags are still marking rites of passage in our house. Those would be the bags under my eyes.

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Rosin up the bow: Jamming on the old tunes in Sandy Springs Libby Lintel played piano, but she decided it was too solitary an instrument. She wanted to tackle music that would allow her more chances to play with other people. So, a little more than six years ago, she took up the banjo. Learning to play her new open-backed banjo led her to “old-time” music, the slice of American folk music associated with songs and string bands of the Appalachians. “The old tunes JOE EARLE are pretty,” the 57-year-old Cobb Jeremy Aggers, foreground, plays banjo County resident said. “They’re while, left to right at rear, Libby Lintel, Hal simple melodies. They’re historic. Rabinowitz and Vicki Page play along. It kind of links you with the past.” It links her with like-minded musicians, too, which is why one recent Saturday afternoon she joined nine other instrumentalists in the back room at Slope’s BBQ in Sandy Springs to play old tunes. “The reason I picked up banjo was so I could get good enough to come play with a group like this,” Lintel said. Old-time players gather at Slope’s most Saturday afternoons and many Tuesday nights to perform old tunes that sometimes may sound familiar, but often bear strange names. At any time, they may start up “Shove That Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire” or “Camp Meeting on the Fourth of July” or “Floppy-Eared Mule.” The number of players at Slope’s varies from jam to jam, as does the instrumentation. On this Saturday, the group featured five fiddlers, a mandolin player, a guitarist, a hammered-dulcimer player and two banjo players. Mandolin-player Don Sinisi said that when he was young, he played what he called “hippie mountain music,” meaning acoustic music by performers such as the Grateful Dead or John Prine. He moved on to bluegrass and old-time music, then stuck with old-time because he enjoyed it more. Bluegrass jams turn into individual players performing solo after solo, he said; old-time musicians play together as a group. The instrumentalists gathered in a room decorated with wooden and ceramic pigs, a country quilt, lots of Georgia license plates and a serving tray printed with the photo and signature of Elvis Presley. They set their chairs into a circle and sat facing one another as they strummed or hammered or plucked their instruments and took turns calling out songs to play. The informal old-time jam has been meeting in Sandy Springs for about two years, but it’s been going for decades. Decades ago, the players gathered in Decatur. Then they moved to Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta for a while, until renovation of the tavern forced them to move to Sandy Springs, said Dan Byrd, an 80-year-old fiddler and Buckhead cardiologist who now pulls together the gatherings. Byrd, known to everyone as “Doc,” said he started fiddling about 40 years ago. Before that, he played banjo. “I’ve been playing music all my life,” he said in a telephone interview a couple of days before the jam. “It’s relaxing. There’s no pressure on you and people are learning new songs all the time.” Now Byrd keeps a mailing list of 86 musicians who show up for the jam at one time or another. On any given Saturday, anywhere from four to 15 may join, Byrd said. “The jam session is open to anybody,” he said. “If you want to show up with your instrument, we welcome you.” And once they start playing, the group draws notice. As they worked their way through tunes such as “Snake River Reel” and “Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine,” diners applauded or wandered over to snap photos with their phones of the musicians. Mary Jacobsen of Marietta said she and her husband, Quen, drop by Slope’s for lunch just about every Saturday in order to hear the music. “They call us their groupies,” she joked. Tyler Ellis was pleasantly surprised to find the group jam when he stopped by for a barbecue sandwich for lunch. The 29-year-old Sandy Springs resident, who grew up in Simpsonville, S.C., said the music reminded him of home. “It’s awesome,” he said, before snapping a souvenir photo. On this Saturday afternoon, fiddler Vicki Page of Roswell filled in for Doc as the group’s leader. The 64-year-old said she began playing fiddle after college. She started off playing Celtic music but felt a kinship with the old mountain tunes. “My family is from eastern Kentucky,” she said. “That’s where old-time comes from.” She and the others started discussing what tunes to play next. Before long, it would be time tackle “Nail that Catfish to a Tree.”




The long-dormant High Street appears to be inching forward to becoming a reality, with new land disturbance permit plans recently submitted to the city. GID and North AmeriSPECIAL can Properties have proposed An illustration of the planned High Street massive mixed-use development in Dunwoody. the $2 billion development on about 42 acres in Perimeter Center. It would total 8 million square feet of mixed-use development, including 400,000 square feet of shopping and chef-driven dining; 635,000 square feet of Class A office space; and a 400-room hotel. A small public park area is included in the central area. The permit plans for the first phase were submitted Aug. 15 and are currently being reviewed by city staff. Land disturbance permit plans have been submitted in the past without action, but city officials say they believe developers plan to break ground possibly by the end of this year or early 2020. A video posted to the High Street Instagram account on Aug. 22 includes GID Senior Vice President of Development Jeff Lowenberg touting High Street’s proximity to State Farm and Cox Enterprises as part of the project’s “great placemaking and great urban design.” The project area includes the 211, 219 and 223 Perimeter Center Parkway office park. Phase one of the proposed project, according to the plans, includes keeping the 211 building along with its parking deck. The rest of the site, including surface parking, will be razed. The scope of the first phase is to build four blocks of mixed-use development, parking decks, private internal streets, and stormwater pipes and other utilities. The development has been zoned for 3,000 residential units, but the first phase shows just one apartment tower being built with 600 units. The plans for the first phase also include construction of 200,000 square feet of retail.


Community | 13


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14 | Community ■

City to define public art in black-and-white Continued from page 1


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bers of the Planning Commission in June. The “baby steps” include defining public art narrowly to ensure the city’s first public art installations imitate the famous mural, though they will be allowed to have different sayings on them. Baby steps also may be just what it takes to get a traditionally conservative City Council on board. Over the years, public art has been raised, only to be dismissed by some members over the fear of confrontation and controversy in deciding what art is. Some members have expressed qualms that public art could mean graffiti or the types of radical murals notable in downtown Atlanta. Alan Mothner, former executive director at the Dunwoody Nature Center, is heading up the new CREATE Dunwoody, a nonprofit board of arts supporters dedicated to putting public art throughout the city. Public art and culture are ways to set Dunwoody apart from neighboring cities and to reap the economic rewards that countless studies say arts and cultures bring to communities, Mothner said. The proposed zoning ordinance defining public art also specifies the black-andwhite sign must be painted directly on or affixed to walls in busy areas where they are visible to the entire community and be only 120 square feet in area. The proposed ordinance further states public art can only be erected after getting permission from the CREATE Dunwoody board “For me, arts are such an economic driver in cities,” he said. “It’s difficult to put a specific economic impact on art, but it certainly enhances the quality of life.” The most famous piece of public art in Dunwoody is the “Everything Will Be OK” mural located at the Spruill Gallery at 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The mural is handpainted black words against a white background. The mural is one of Dunwoody’s most iconic images and is regularly used in tourism and other advertisements by the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We don’t have a lot of public art, but we do have the history of that sign. It really resonates with the city,” Mothner said. At the June Planning Commission meeting, Mothner said he and the 13-member CREATE Dunwoody board have been in talks with Jason Scott Kofke, the artist behind the “Everything Will Be OK” mural, about creating more of the same kind of murals. “The idea is to put uplifting messages throughout city, that resonate with residents, that resonate with visitors, and collectively the signs send messages of positivity,” Mothner told the commission. But will “Everything Will Be OK” become “Everything Will be the Same”? One commissioner balked at only having the black-and-white concept, saying having one such mural is fine, but to have several could earn Dunwoody the reputation as the city with “bland white signs.” The concept, Mothner explained, is being done purposefully to roll out a small public art initiative. Eventually, plans are to incorporate color and more kinds of art into the definition the board gauges the community’s response. Public art has been a difficult subject in Dunwoody for many years with many city leaders shunning discussions because of potential controversy. But in 2017, the City Council did pay nearly $86,000 to Massachusetts-based CivicMoxie to create the city’s first Arts and Culture Master Plan, known as Create Dunwoody. The council then approved the hefty document that outlined dozens of suggestions and recommendations on funding, facilities, where to place public art and how to promote events in the city as part of creating its own identity. That plan “went promptly into a drawer,” as Spruill Center for the Arts Executive Director Bob Kinsey recently described it at a separate meeting. Mothner said he noticed the costly arts and culture plan had stagnated following council approval. He said he decided to “pick up the mantle” and implement some of the recommendations the master plan outlined. One of the first recommendations was a 13-member board representing various community interests. While the master plan also recommended the city putting funding into the board and possibly hiring staff, Mothner said all members are volunteer and the group just recently got its nonprofit status from the state. The current board members include local business owners, members of such nonprofit groups as the Dunwoody Nature Center, Stage Door Players, and the Dunwoody Fine Arts Association, and city officials with the Parks and Recreation and Economic Development departments. DUN


| 15

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16 | Community ■

Perimeter Marketplace developers to seek tax abatement BY DYANA BAGBY

the project could break ground in early 2020. Branch plans to build a 25,440-square-foot, anchor “prototype” grocery store to include a large section of “grab-and-go” meals for lunch and dinner. Branch Senior Vice President Jack Haylett told the Development Authority the store would the second in Georgia and the first in the Perimeter Center market. The development also includes a 5,411-squarefoot RaceTrac convenience store; a 2,800-squarefoot bank on Meadow Lane; and 35,400 square feet of restaurant and retail space. About 1 acre that will be the site of a future hotel will be initially saved as greens pace. A detention pond on the site that is popular with Canada geese will be filled to build a surface park-

The developer for the planned Perimeter Marketplace mixed-use project in the heart of Perimeter Center plans to ask for a tax abatement for the project, but the amount is not yet known. Representatives from Branch Properties said an at an Aug. 22 Dunwoody Development Authority meeting that they plan to bring to the board in November an inducement resolution for the development on 10 acres along Ashford-Dunwoody Road between Ashford Parkway and Meadow Lane Road. SPECIAL An inducement resolution is the first step in obtainAn illustration of the planned Perimeter Marketplace mixeding a tax abatement. use development along Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The project includes public amenities, such as a new road, a small corner park and streetscape landscaping as well as construction of a ing lot. stretch of the Ashford-Dunwoody commuter trail. Building the public road and other pub“We want your support, we need your support,” Branch President Nicholas Telesca told lic infrastructure is going to cost about $6 million. the Development Authority. “We need to defray some of these costs. Hopefully we can work “Branch can’t carry [these costs] entirely on its own,” said Branch attorney Laurel David. in partnership with you.” The City Council approved the approximately $40 million project in June and were told

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Art & Entertainment | 17

Stage Door Players bringing laughs and drama in its new season BY JUDITH SCHONBAK The Stage Door Players, Dunwoody’s professional theater company, closed its celebratory 45th season just a few weeks ago. Now it’s heading straight into Season 46, which debuts Sept. 20 with “The Savannah Sipping Society,” the story of four women from different parts of the South, who are thrown together by fate and a hot-yoga class. Plenty of laughs are in store with this opening production and with several more during SPECIAL the season. Robert Egizio, producing In Novemartistic director at ber “A Nice Stage Door Players. Family Gathering,” a prequel to last season’s holiday hit, “A Nice Family Christmas,” finds the Lundeen family on Thanksgiving Day and the first family gathering since the patriarch died. Family dynamics and Dad’s return as a ghost keep the laughs coming. The classic drama “The Glass Menagerie,” a memory play by Tennessee Williams, comes to the stage in January. The narrator, Tom, leads the audience through the story of his family: his fragile, disabled sister Laura who spends much of her time with her collection of glass animals; his mother Amanda and his own role in their lives. “The Outsider,” a regional premiere of a sharp satirical, political comedy about an unlikely gubernatorial candidate follows in March. In May, the musical, “The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee” sees six quirky adolescents compete in the bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups. Audience members, take note: You may be tapped to help out in the bee. The season closes in July with “The Fox on the Fairway,” a madcap farce set in a snobbish, upscale country club. A parody and tribute to man’s love affair with golf, it will be directed by Egizio. First up on the playbill is “The Savannah Sipping Society.” The humor and one-liners keep the laughs coming throughout the play. And no wonder. The playwrights, Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, were the writers for the TV series “The Golden Girls.” The play made its debut in Buford, Ga. in 2016. “It’s a play for everyone,” said Producing Artistic Director Robert Egizio. “A lot of the women in our audiences may recognize themselves; both women and men will recognize someone they know. And men may get some insight about how women talk about them.” Stage Door Players has a small theater with 125 seats in a half-round configura-

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tion of low-rise, red, comfy seats. Egizio noted a big plus is that all the seats have great stage views. “The joy of an intimate theater is authenticity,” he said. “Audiences really can feel like they are part of the story rather than watching from a distance, and, at times, they actually become part of the story.” The size of the stage – 36 feet by 22 feet –dictates what can be performed as does backstage space. Actors and stage crew slip by each other in a narrow corridor behind black curtains surrounding the stage. “In choosing productions, we have a long list of considerations in addition to the physical space of the stage and backstage. Most important are our audiences and the actors who perform here,” said Egizio. Founded in 1974 as a Community Improvement Project of the Dunwoody Woman’s Club, Stage Door Players performed in various locations until 1988, when it found a permanent home in the North DeKalb Cultural Center in Dunwoody. The transformation of Stage Door Players from a small community theater in 1974 to an award-winning professional company can be attributed largely to Continued on page 18

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18 | Art & Entertainment ■

Stage Door Players bringing laughs and drama in its new season Continued from page 17

Egizio’s arrival on the scene in 2004. Egizio was bitten by the theater bug early on and graduated from Temple University Theater School in Philadelphia. Over the years, he has worked and performed around the country and he has called Atlanta home for more than 20 years. His network is extensive. He was worked as director, choreographer and actor in most of Atlanta’s theaters. What drew him to Stage Door Players? “I saw so much potential in this theater when I first came here in 2003 as director and choreographer for ’Dames at Sea’ and returned the following year to direct and choreograph ‘Ain’t Misbehavin,’ which won the theater’s annual Woodie award for Best Show of the Year,” he said. That success led to an invitation to join Stage Door Players as its first full-time pro-

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

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Stage Door Players 2019-2020 season 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody Info:

The Savannah Sipping Society Sept. 20 – Oct. 13 A Nice Family Gathering Nov. 22 – Dec. 8

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee May 22 – June 14

The Glass Menagerie Jan. 24 – Feb. 16

The Fox on the Fairway July 17 – Aug. 9

ducing artistic director. “When I signed on, we gave each other a season to see if we were a good fit. And here I am in my 16th season. It’s been a long steady growth,” Egizio said. “I don’t have a formula, but I love shows that are character-driven, family-driven and friendship-driven. We build our season with a combination of popular, new and lesserknown shows and include comedies, classic dramas, musicals and a premiere,” he said. When Egizio came on board, the company had a loyal following of about 238 subscribers. By his tenth year, it had grown to more than 1,200. In its 45th anniversary season, the players counted nearly 1,400 season ticket subscribers. About 10,000 people come to the six-play season, said Debbie Fuse, executive director of Stage Door Players. “Keep in mind that we’re a 125-seat theater, and that number pretty much maxes out our space.” In total some 12,000 visitors come to the theater each year with all events, such as readings, cabarets and special shows. Stage Door Players is presenting several special events during October for Dunwoody’s Art & Culture Month, orchestrated by Discover Dunwoody. A Playwright Works in Progress Play reading is scheduled for Oct. 2, as part of a series throughout the year, and on Oct. 8, actor Elliot Folds of “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” takes the stage for a one-man show.

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Art & Entertainment | 19

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Sunday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. With tasting competition, vendors, silent auction, live music and children’s activities. Free; tasting tickets $20-$50. The Green at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way. Info:

Thursday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m. Tickets: $30. Studio Theatre at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:



Thursday, Sept. 19, 6 p.m. The Buckhead Business Association hosts a tasting event with top restaurants. The event will also feature a “Spirit Wall” fundraiser to benefit Nicholas House, a nonprofit agency operating an emergency shelter and temporary housing for homeless families. Tickets $75, ASW Distillery, 199 Armour Drive, Buckhead. Info:


Saturday, Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The two-day arts festival will showcase 100 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists and jewelers, and also offer artist demonstrations and live acoustic music. Free. Buckhead Village, 200 Buckhead Avenue, Buckhead. Map and other info:


Saturday, Sept. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The Sandy Springs Festival returns to offer two days of art, live music, cultural performances, children’s programming, classic rides, gourmet and festival food options, and more. Heritage Green, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info:


Friday, Sept. 13-Sunday, Sept. 22 The City Springs Theatre Company brings the classic Disney film to life. Tickets: $30$65. Byers Theatre at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: events/mary-poppins.


Friday, Sept. 13-Sunday, Sept. 29 A drama based on the television movie about jurors arguing the fate of a murder defendant. Tickets: $16-$25. Act 3 Playhouse, 6285R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info:


Friday, Sept. 20 -Sunday, Oct. 13 The Stage Door Players present a comedy about four Southern women, all needing to escape their day-to-day routines, who find themselves drawn together by fate. Tickets: $34. Stage Door Playhouse, 5539 ChambleeDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info:



Sunday, Sept. 8, 5-8:30 p.m. Band X plays rock, R&B, jazz and pop starting at 7 p.m. Food trucks on site. Free. Heritage Sandy Springs. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info:


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Friday, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. The City Green in Sandy Springs wraps up its summer music series with singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Free, no tickets required. Tables may be reserved starting at $40. Info:



Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, Two days of service projects that serve the Atlanta area, including Chattahoochee River Cleanup, Project Open Hand Meal Delivery, and Peachtree Creek Greenway Cleanup. Various locations. Info: ymcaofmetroatlanta.



Sunday, Sept. 15, 1-4 p..m. Wine-tasting and designer fashion show benefiting the Leukemia and Women’s Cancer Programs at Northside Hospital. With raffle, live and silent auctions, and more. Tickets: $150 and up. The Grand Hyatt Atlanta, 3300 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info:



Thursday, Sept. 19-Saturday, Sept. 21 The Forward Arts Foundation hosts its annual Swan Coach House Flea Market with proceeds from the event supporting visual arts in Atlanta. Catch the “Fleur de Flea” Frenchthemed preview party on Sept. 19 6-9 p.m. at $30 a ticket or $100 for four. Otherwise, free to attend. The market runs Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21. Lower level parking lot at the Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: 404-261-9855.


Sunday, Sept. 15, 1-4 p.m. All ages and skills are invited to “Paint the Park.” Completed pieces will be displayed at Blackburn Park pavilion. Winning pieces will be shown at City Hall. Art supplies and paper will be provided. Free. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford- Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven, Info:

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20 | Art & Entertainment ■

Atlanta History Center exhibit chronicles women’s fight for right to vote

Atlanta and included floats from groups like the Fulton and DeKalb County Branch and the Atlanta Equal Suffrage League. “She drove in Atlanta’s first suffrage parade … and her mother was a catalyst to the Upstairs at the Swan House on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center are two founding of the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia,” VanLanduyt said. rooms filled with dozens of historic artifacts, from documents to dresses to a judge’s The passage of the 19th amendment did not mean all women could cast ballots, howrobe and gavel. They all come together to contribute to the story of the women’s votever. Mostly, white women benefited. The law required women voters to be citizens, and ing rights movement in Atlanta and Georgia different states had different definitions. and its impact on women in politics. African American women still could not The artifacts are part of a new exhibit, vote, nor could Native American or Chinese “Any Great Change: The Centennial of the women. 19th Amendment,” commemorating the As the curator of the exhibit, VanLan100th anniversary of women gaining the duyt said she wanted to acknowledge this right in 1920 to vote in elections. The exhibpiece of history as well. Several women of it about the advocacy for suffrage – a term color are highlighted for their activism for voting rights – remains open through in the women’s suffrage movement, even Jan. 31, 2021. though they knew they would not benefit. “What we wanted to do was capture a One such woman was Mary A. McCurdy, full year of time … to show people that, over whose portrait is featured on a purple bantime, people have been fighting for their votner in the exhibit. She was an African Amering rights and to take down barriers to the ican journalist who moved to Atlanta in voting booth,” said Jessica VanLanduyt, lead 1886 and then to Rome, Ga., where she becurator for the exhibition and the Atlanta came editor of the “Woman’s World” newsHistory Center’s vice president of guest expaper. periences. In her 1895 essay “Duty of the State to “And hopefully in an election year [in the Negro,” McCurdy wrote, “Then we dare 2020], people will be inspired to vote or be to insist upon the State doing its duty to the inspired to participate in some way,” she Negro [men], and in the meantime we forget said. not the thousands of women who are pleadThe artifacts on display include dozing to-day for equal franchise.” ens of political buttons, one from the 1963 Another was Dr. Mabel Lee, whose famPHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY March on Washington by Civil Rights acily moved to New York from China when Political buttons are just some of the artifacts featured in the exhibit. tivists; a vintage purple dress fitted with a she was 4. By the time she was 16, Lee was a gold-and-white sash that reads “Votes for well-known figure in the women’s suffrage Women”; and a banner hanging in a window inked with the portrait of Grace Towns movement. But she wasn’t able to vote until 1943 due to a federal law banning Chinese Hamilton, who in 1965 became the first African American woman elected to the Georimmigrants from becoming citizens. gia General Assembly. “We really wanted to call out that all types of women participated, and whether they In the center of one room stands a mannequin draped with a black robe that bewere going to get to exercise the right to vote is not any sort of barrier to participating in longed to former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. Sears was the the movement,” VanLanduyt said. first African American woman to serve as a chief justice of a state supreme court. Barriers to voting have existed since the country’s founding and continue today, VanHer successful election as chief justice is a direct link to the women’s suffrage moveLanduyt said. A goal of the exhibit is get people to not just think as voters but as citizens, ment, VanLanduyt said. The same thing can be said for all women elected to hold office, to think about issues facing their communities and how to find solutions. including the ones who last year made up the largest group of women elected Congress. “We’re not just talking about voting, but also about community service, attending “This is still so present for us,” she said. “It has not happened in a far-away past.” community meetings, just being informed, registering to vote,” she said. Lining the top of a wall in one of the rooms is a “Road to Suffrage” timeline. On one And, yes, voter registration forms are available within the exhibit. end is the year 1848, marking the first women’s rights convention, held in Seneca Falls, “When you have access to vote, you should use it,” VanLanduyt said. N.Y.; at the other end is the year 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify The History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. For more inthe 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it law and giving some women the formation, see right to vote. And just past that 1920 entry is the year 1970, when Georgia belatedly voted to ratify the 19th amendment. VanLanduyt said the Swan House was specifically chosen to host this exhibit because two of Atlanta’s top women’s suffrage activists were Emily C. MacDougald and her daughter, Emily Inman, who built the house in 1928. Inman is named on a yellowed piece of paper from 1915 that is labeled “Suffrage Parade Program” by the Equal SufDresses worn by voting rights activists included some that were styled after military Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Sears frage Party of Georgia. uniforms, while others wore “Votes for Women” sashes to rallies and parades. donated her robe and a gavel to the Atlanta History Center, That was the first womwhich are now on display in the “Any Great Change.” en’s suffrage parade in BY DYANA BAGBY


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Mayoral, City Council races are set for Nov. 5 election Continued from page 1

of Texas at Austin with bachelors’ degrees in Government and Journalism. She earned a master’s degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a graduate certificate in gerontology from Georgia State University. “My main priority is to ensure Dunwoody’s quality of life remains high and then to improve that,” she said. “That means we have to focus on the amenities we have in the city limits and we have to be concerned about negative impacts of projects that could do harm to our city.” Terry Nall Terry Nall was first elected to the City Council in 2011 and was the first candidate to announce his bid for mayor. “After eight years on City Council, I’m ready to step up to serve as our city’s ambassador and leader,” he said in a written statement after qualifying on Aug. 19. “We have issues coming before us that will greatly benefit from my senior-level financial and business acumen,” he added. Nall said his experience as a CPA and senior financial services executive have helped him make “a positive contribution to the success of Dunwoody.”


Stacey Harris Harris, a longtime civic activist and current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, has said she is running for City Council because she is “committed to making Dunwoody a community for everyone through new ideas, smart planning and transparency of actions. Harris has served as chair of the city’s Sustainability Committee and is a past president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. She has also served on the board of the Dunwoody Nature Center, been involved with the Dunwoody Community Garden and the Kingswood School Board. She helped create the Walk to School Day in the city and has served on the Fourth of July Parade Committee. Harris is the director of the gymnastics program at Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics and economics from Middlebury College. She was awarded a Watson Fellowship and spent a year living in Moscow, Russia. Robert Miller Robert Miller, a real estate broker

and member of the Dunwoody Development Authority, said he is running for City Council because the city is at a “crossroads” where it needs to focus on long-term strategic planning. Miller said a major contributing factor to his decision to run for office is the number of trailers at local schools and ensuring they are safe. DeKalb County Schools has been using trailers to handle overcrowding at schools for many years. School officials have said they are safe for students and teachers to use. Miller served on the steering committee for the city’s first Comprehensive Master Plan and was appointed to serve on the DeKalb SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committee for 2015-16.


Joe Seconder Joe Seconder, leader of the advocacy group Bike Walk Dunwoody, founded the Perimeter Progressives political group in 2017. That was one of several regional political groups that rose in the wake of President Trump’s election, but folded last year due to concerns of overlapping goals with other similar groups. Seconder has lived in Dunwoody for 11 years and is a board member of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. He is a senior sales solution consultant with Workday, a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Seconder is a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserve (Infantry) with 23 years of service. He volunteered for Operation Desert Storm and spent a year in a combat zone in Kuwait and Iraq during the 2003 invasion for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Heyward Wescott Heyward Wescott is a founding member and former chair of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. He has served on the city’s Planning Commission and helped found the recently formed Dunwoody Police Foundation that assists officers and their families when in need. Wescott, owner of Custom Signs Today in Midtown Atlanta, worked with a group of local graphic designers in 2017 to create and donate a new city logo. The City Council selected Wescott’s design and the new logo was incorporated into the city’s new branding as part of its move in 2018 to its City Hall building at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. DUN


| 23


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SEPTEMBER 2019 Sandy Springs Dunwoody Brookhaven Buckhead




PAGE 37-42





Up for debate

Local schools ride high in speech competitions

Marist School debate coach Jeffery Miller, center, with debate team members Sophie Verska, left, and Will Sjostrom, right, with trophies the team has won. PHOTO BY JOE EARLE

For school districts, is smaller better? BY KATHY DEAN The Sandy Springs advocacy group Citizens for Local Area School Systems (CLASS) is pushing to create its own city school district. According to an April 2019 study commissioned by the group, Sandy Springs’ taxes would generate sufficient funding to operate the 11 public schools within the city’s borders. Sandy Springs schools are part of Fulton County Schools (FCS), the fourth largContinued on page 30

BY JOE EARLE Jeffrey Miller portrays his introduction to high school debate as a happy accident. He signed up for his first debate class at his south metro Atlanta high school because he was looking for something that wouldn’t be too demanding. “I heard it was an easy A,” he joked. But debate turned out to mean a lot more to Miller than just something to fill out his schedule. He was hooked. “I took debate all four years,” he said. “I really caught the fever. It’s all I did in high school.” And it stuck. Now, he’s director of speech and debate at Marist School and coaches the school’s team, which travels the country for competitions in places spread from New York to New Orleans and Florida to Minnesota. Dozens of big silver trophies Marist’s team has collected during his tenContinued on page 26

26 | Education ■

Up for debate Continued from page 25

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ure now gleam side-by-side in Top, Dunwoody debate team members show trophies they collected in competition. Miller’s classroom, and he’s savBottom, Jordana Sternberg, debate coach ing room for more. Last year, at the Westminster Schools, hoists her Marist’s debate team placed third Georgia Debate Coach of the Year plaque. in a national competition, he said. They took part in 18 competitions altogether last year, he said, and they will compete in 11 competitions by Thanksgiving this year. Jordanna Sternberg, director of debate at The Westminster Schools, got her start as a high school freshman in Massachusetts back in the 1980s. She signed up for junior varsity debate only because a friend wanted company for that first meeting. At the end of the year, Sternberg made the varsity team; her friend didn’t. She, too, was hooked. “I loved it,” she said. Her affection pays off. Her Westminster students, like the students at Marist, have argued their way to trophies at competitions around the country. In 2017, a pair of Westminster seniors took first place in a national championship competition in Utah. This year, 2018, according to the organization’s Westminster debaters plan to take part website. in about 20 competitions, Sternberg Other north metro schools, such as said. Dunwoody High School, Pace Academy, Galloway School and Lovett School, Coaches of the year also field debate teams. Last year, about Sternberg and Miller each have been 70 Georgia schools participated in the named “debate coach of the year” by forensic coaches association’s invitathe Georgia Forensics Coaches Associtional tournaments, which drew 4,100 ation, Miller in 2012 and Sternberg in entries, according to Mario Herrera,

Education | 27

SEPTEMBER 2019 ■ the organization’s executive chair and the debate teacher and team coach at Grady High School in Atlanta. Three other organizations, Herrera said, also promote debate and speech events: the Atlanta Urban Debate League, the Georgia Independent School Association and the Georgia High School Association. The forensic coaches association promotes competition in various forms of debate and various kinds of public speaking. It calls itself a “forensics” organization because it includes various public speaking events and the word

meant an argumentative exercise before taking on the more common meaning of applying scientific analysis to police cases. In debates, competitors go heard-tohead to argue different sides of issues. In speech contests, individual competitors may present opinions, or they may do other kinds of public speaking, such as giving humorous talks.


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‘Speech is special to me’ Dunwoody High junior Morgan UnContinued on page 28



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Above, Marist School debate teacher and coach Jeffrey Miller works in his award-filled office. Below, Marist debates Will Sjostrom, left, and Sophie Verska, both seniors, discuss strategy.




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28 | Education

The first round is kind of dramatic, but they come back and … get more and more confident and you really get to see the kids grow stronger in their skins. That’s very exciting for a teacher. DAVID GAY DIRECTOR OF THEATER AND SPEECH AT DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL ■

Continued from page 26 derhill took part in two different presentations during speech competitions last year. In one, she portrayed the actress Vivien Leigh of “Gone with the Wind” fame in “Vivien Leigh’s Last Press Conference.” In the other, she was one of a pair who took the top award in the state by presenting “Malcom X Jefferson Elementary Proudly Presents a Fifth-Grade production of ‘A Cho-


Above, Westminster Schools debater Holland Bald, left, and his partner, George Alford, research a topic for debate. Below, Bald, right, with his partner last year, Chris Rascoe, at left, show awards they won.

rus Line.’” She portrayed five different characters in that one, she said. She also takes part in school plays, but says “speech is special to me. You’re so nervous, but you get up there and you get to embody somebody else. It’s not you. It’s showing what you can do.” David Gay, director of theater and speech at Dunwoody, said he takes teams to nine or 10 meets a year and two national competitions. Gay, who has been named the GFCA’s speech coach of the year, says speech teaches students discipline, to be able to think on their feet, to be confident and to be

competitive. “We’re teaching life skills,” he said. “It’s really exciting to see the kids the first time they go [to a competition],” he said. “They’ve got their tails between their legs. The first round is kind of dramatic, but they come back and … get more and more confident and you really get to see the kids grow stronger in their skins. That’s very exciting for a teacher.” Debate requires different skills. Herrera argues it requires “critical thinking, empathy, writing, logic, listening, argumentation, introspection, commu-

Education | 29

SEPTEMBER 2019 ■ nity engagement and sportsmanship, just to name a few.” In what are called “policy debates,” two-member teams research a topic and prepare both pro and con positions. They don’t know which side they’ll argue until just before the debate begins. Just like in a football game, the side a team attacks or defends is determined by a coin flip. Policy debaters stay with a single topic throughout the year. This year, they’re arguing about U.S. policy on arms sales. “You’ve got to learn about topics and learn about them in depth,” Sternberg said. “It takes the ability to engage in critical thinking with other students.”



‘You have to think fast’ Debaters also must learn to think on their feet, said Marist debate team members Will Sjostrom and Sophie Verska, both seniors. When an opponent presents a lot of points in favor of a position, your team has to knock them all down in the time allotted. “If you only have three minutes to prepare … you really have to think fast,” Verska said. “It helps with your self-confidence,” Sjostrom said. “If you have to give another speech at school or go to a job interview, you’ll know how to talk. It prepares you a lot for the real world.” Once a competition starts, debaters on one side try to make as many arguments as they can and then their opponents try, in turn, to rebut them all. Debaters learn to speak quickly in order to get in as many points as possible. Westminster junior Holland Bald, who with his partner ranked 10th in the country last year, according to Sternberg, said his favorite part is the research. Debaters must know a lot about a subject in order to be prepared to present an array of arguments or to answer any specific argument their opponents may offer. “It’s a very unique think to try to learn everything about a topic,” Bald said. And he likes being able to see how arguments work when presented to the judges. “I like the immediate payoff, when you prepare and see it pay off.” To prepare for their debates, students put in hours of extra work. They often miss classes while traveling to distant debates, so they must make up other work, too. Some attend summer camps, usually at colleges, where they learn more about debating skills and research. But it’s worth the extra effort, they say. “It’s really fun. It’s really rewarding, I guess is the right word,” said Westminster senior Sara Ann Brackett. “There’s a lot of payoff.” No argument there.




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30 | Education ■

For school districts, is smaller better? Continued from page 1

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est school system in the state. FCS employs more than 14,000 people, including 7,500 teachers in 106 schools, serving about 95,000 students. CLASS formed about three years ago, growing from the effort it took to convince the FCS Board that the North Springs Charter High School building needed to be renovated instead of replaced. Parents felt the aging facility could no longer meet modern scholastic demands, according to statements submitted by CLASS members Cheryl Barlow, Sandra Jewell, Betty Klein, Linda Trickey and Sandy Springs City Councilmember Jody Reichel. It is important to note that the city of Sandy Springs has not officially endorsed the idea of a city schools district. “We wondered why it was so challenging to effect positive change,” the group said in its prepared statement. CLASS studied the state of education in Georgia and Fulton County and found that, despite the good intentions of FCS personnel, the size of the organization, the number of schools and the large geographic area made it difficult to focus on the needs of specific schools and the variety of students. “Sandy Springs is a very diverse city and has broad diversity in its schools,” CLASS said. “FCS has seven board members that serve 106 schools and 95,000 students.” This isn’t the first time the issue has been raised. In 2013, a group of Dunwoody parents organized under the name Georgians for Local Area School Systems (GLASS) to lobby the state Legislature to amend the state Constitution to allow the creation of new city school systems. Schools in Dunwoody are part of the DeKalb County School District, the third largest school system in Georgia, with 140 schools serving nearly 102,000 students and employing about 15,500 people, including 6,600 teachers. GLASS member Heyward Wescott, a former chair of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce and current candidate for a seat on the Dunwoody City Council, said the group is not actively pursuing an independent school district. However, the group still files papers with the state every year to continue to operate. “We’re ready to go at any moment and become be active again,” Wescott said. “We still want to improve education. We’re keeping an eye on CLASS and waiting to see what happens with our neighbors.” CLASS said that research shows that smaller school districts typically have better student performance than larger school districts, regardless of the racial makeup and economic status of students. Many of the top public-school systems in Georgia

We believe that a local school system will provide many of the same benefits as cityhood—a more responsive organizational structure with greater accountability, the ability to quickly respond to changes, increased community input for desired outcomes and fiscal responsibility that would allow teachers to be paid more. CITIZENS FOR LOCAL AREA SCHOOL SYSTEMS (CLASS) are city school systems or smaller county systems with less than 12,000 students, the group said. Sandy Springs has approximately 10,000 public school students. “We believe that a local school system will provide many of the same benefits as cityhood—a more responsive organizational structure with greater accountability, the ability to quickly respond to changes, increased community input for desired outcomes and fiscal responsibility that would allow teachers to be paid more,” CLASS said. “Sandy Springs is proud to have the highest-paid fire and police forces in the state. Our teachers deserve the same consideration.” However, advocates for creating new school districts must jump a high bar: the state Constitution prohibits creation of new independent school systems. “City districts established prior to the incorporation of this language can continue to operate [under the state Constitution], but no new ones can be established unless the law changes,” said Meghan Frick, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Education. “Legislation has been proposed a few times in recent years that would allow cities to create their own school districts, but has not passed.” CLASS said that the school system cap was first set 70 years ago, when legislators didn’t envision mega school systems with tens of thousands of kids. “While there may have been good reasons then, there are better reasons to eliminate the cap now

SEPTEMBER 2019 ■ and allow for new approaches in education,” CLASS said. State Rep. Tom Taylor, a Dunwoody Republican, introduced legislation that called for a statewide vote to change the constitution to allow school districts to be created in cities, such as Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, that have been created since 2005. The legislation repeatedly stalled and Taylor is no longer in office. Still, supporters aren’t giving up. Dunwoody had its own feasibility study done, Westcott said, and found that they have the perfect footprint for a city school district, with one high school, one middle school and five elementary schools that feed into them. “What it comes down to,” Wescott said, “is that there’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done for the legislation to be changed so city school districts can form. We need more cities to be engaged in this issue.” When asked about Sandy Springs’ effort to create a city schools district, Fulton officials responded: “Fulton County has great schools in Sandy Springs. Our students are excelling. We have fantastic and talented teachers and staff. We will continue to provide the best education to the children in our jurisdiction. If the jurisdiction changes, we will continue to provide the best learning experience for the students

that remain in our schools.” CLASS said it has heard concerns from some citizens, including that running a school system is a big job and very different than running a city… “and those concerns are valid,” the group said in its statement. “We know there are major logistical challenges. However, smart people who are motivated can figure this out, just like the other city school systems.” Another concern is that students in other parts of the county could be affected by separation. The CLASS response is that FCS would receive more state and federal funding for their budget. Any difference in the budget can be substantially or totally offset with changes in spending at the district level. “We encourage Sandy Springs citizens to look at their tax bills,” CLASS said. “For most property owners, more than 50% of their taxes go to FCS. And 25% of the FCS operating budget—more than a billion dollars a year—comes from Sandy Springs.” CLASS said that what it wants is to give Sandy Springs citizens the right to choose. “Ultimately,” the group said, “this is about the students and teachers, and giving the citizens of Sandy Springs the right to decide what is important to them and whether they want a city school system.”

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Education | 31

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32 | Education ■

New Faces

Here are some of the new faces appearing on the campuses of schools in Reporter Newspapers communities this year.


Lovett School has a new assistant head of school for academic affairs. Chelle Wabrek had served as head of the middle school at the Episcopal School of Dallas. She has worked for 25 years as a teacher or administrator in independent schools and has worked at schools in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Heather Kerutis

Kyle Pietrantonio

Dr. Edward Lindekugel


New principals take the reins at Holy Spirit Preparatory School’s upper and lower school this year, according to the school. Dr. Edward Lindekugel has been named principal at the Upper School. Kyle Pietrantonio takes the new position of principal of the Lower School and also serves as Head of School. Heather Kerutis becomes director of the preschool. Lindekugel in 2018 founded and led the Catholic School Services division of the Southern Teachers Agency, the nation’s oldest teacher and administrator placement firm, the school said in a press release. Pietrantonio came to Holy Spirit Prep in 2005, the school said. He has served as the school’s director of community service, principal of the junior high school, principal of the lower school and associate head of school. In 2013, he was named Head of School.





ABOUT THE PHOTO: During the summer, Upper School students explored France through an Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) study tour.

Veteran Fulton County educator Kindra Smith took over as Riverwood International Charter School’s new principal in July. She succeeds Charles Gardner, who took a position as chief operations officer for Marietta City Schools. Smith, a former Fulton County Principal of the Year, was most recently at Elkins Pointe Middle in Roswell for four years. In 2018, Elkins Pointe received the Georgia Department of Education recognition of “Beating the Odds,” which identifies Title 1 schools that outperform schools with similar diverse populations, according to her Fulton County bio. In 2019, Elkins received a five-star school climate rating for its seventh year in a row, along with being chosen as an AVID Showcase School for its work with the college readiness program, her biography said. Smith was previously a teacher at Crabapple Crossing Elementary in Milton for seven years, an assistant principal of Northwestern Middle in Milton for eight years and for five years was principal of Roswell North Elementary, where she was named Fulton County Principal of the Year.


Oglethorpe University has named Peter D. Stobie as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Business & Finance. Stobie brings more than 30 years of finance and operational experience in both higher education and the corporate environment, the school said in a press release. He starts his new position on Sept. 16. “Pete is a vital addition to Oglethorpe’s leadership team,” said Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall. “He has a proven track record of strategically and successfully managing campus finances and operations. Pete’s depth of experience will be invaluable as Oglethorpe plans for continued growth and to reinforce our current position of financial strength.”

Education | 33


Education Briefs

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS At Galloway, students are inspired to be fearless learners, to embrace challenges, and to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

LO VET T S C H OOL STA RTS BUS S ERV IC E Lovett School cranked up the 201920 school year with the school’s first bus program. School officials said they were looking for a way to try to address Atlanta traffic and reduce carpool congestion around the school’s campus in north Atlanta. Buses will pick up and drop off students at stops in Brookhaven and North Buckhead or stops in Morningside and Garden Hills, the school says on its website. About 35 students participate, “which eliminates roughly 53 cars from coming to campus both in the mornings and afternoons,” the press release said.



For more information:


Atlanta Public Schools is offering a new online tool intended to make it easier for parents, students, members of the community and school employees to contact district officials. The new tool is named “Let’s Talk” and shows up on the district’s webpage, or through the APS mobile app on a smartphone or other mobile device. It is intended to make it easier for parents, students and others to ask questions, make comments and share ideas with distict officials. The new tool was launched Aug. 12.

Continued on page 34

As the oldest Montessori school in the Southeast, Springmont’s hands-on, experiential learning includes multi-aged classes, specially-designed materials and highly-experienced teachers who guide students’ curiosity towards meaningful discoveries.

Extraordinary by Design.

Inspiring students through 8th grade.

Limited Seats Available for 2019-20.

Call 404.252.3910 to Schedule a Tour.

34 | Education ■

Continued from page 33

dollars per year by selling snacks and


$23,500 for local charities in the past four years. Comprised of elected representa-


tives from the fifth through eighth

Student Council has raised a total of

grades, the council raises thousands of




by collecting a $5 contribution from students for a week of non-uniform days during Middle School Spirit Week. The snack cart brings in 80 percent of the council’s annual profit. It is a popular attraction at break time in the Middle School and features sweet and savory treats sold for 50 cents each. Council members donate their break time to manage the cart. Last year, the council distributed $5,500 between five organizations: The Good Samaritan Health Center, the Brookhaven



Foundation, Episcopal Relief and Development, the Suthers Center for Christian Outreach and Bella Vista Children’s Home.

From left, Dylan Mathis, Marshall Lisenby, Avalana Brock and Amelia Marsh. SPECIAL

Your neighbors go here.

Margo, age 11 GAC's Environmental Learning Center

Come and see why:

Lawrence M. Schall


Oglethorpe University is launching the search for its 17th president. The new president will succeed Lawrence M. Schall, who has held the job since 2005 and plans to leave it next June. Board of Trustees Chair Timothy P. Tassopoulos named a search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, student, and alumni representatives. The committee, chaired by trustee S. Tammy Pearson and assisted by a national search firm, includes: trustees Jack Guynn, Belle Turner Lynch , Timothy Randall Roberson, John Shelnutt and Jim Winestock; faculty members Mario Chandler, J. Lynn Gieger and Katharine Zakos; Mark W. DeLong, immediate past president of Oglethorpe’s alumni association; Colleen Donaldson, special assistant to the president; and student body president Glenn Kaiser; “Selecting a president is one of the most important responsibilities of any board,” Tassopoulos said in a press release. “Oglethorpe is fortunate to have an engaged and active board that will make a selection during a time of significant growth and positive momentum for the university. Our goal is to select a person who will continue to strengthen Oglethorpe while staying true to our mission.” Open forums will be held on campus at the start of the fall semester to gather input from students, faculty, and staff. A presidential search website ( also includes an opportunity for alumni and community members to submit nominations, input, and comments.

20-30 minutes from Brookhaven/Buckhead and Dunwoody/Sandy Springs. Take our WiFi-enabled buses.

The committee plans to conclude the search process in spring 2020, at which time the Board of Trustees will choose the new president

Education | 35


Riverwood student builds flight simulator for flying club Lucas Daniels, a junior at Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, has been interested in planes and aviation since he was in middle school. Upon beginning his freshman year, Lucas heard about the school’s flying club and immediately joined. After just one year, Lucas became the club’s president, when the club’s faculty sponsor, Alan Sohmer, decided that Lucas would be a good fit for the position. Riverwood’s flying club teaches students about aviation through instructional videos and takes the students to fly around the Gwinnett County Airport at the end of each semester, but the trip is financially difficult for some members. Lucas decided to look into alternatives for students to continue honing their craft. After finding an old PC at his house that he felt would be good for the club, Lucas was on the hunt for a monitor to attach to the PC for flight simulations so that club members could practice before their discovery flight. While looking for a monitor, Lucas

Standout Student

Continued on page 36

Open House | December 7, 12:30 - 2:30p.m. 510 Mount Vernon HWY NE | Atlanta, GA | 30328

Lucas Daniels onboard after his discovery flight around the Gwinnett County Airport. SPECIAL

36 | Education ■

Standout Student: Riverwood student builds flight simulator for flying club Continued from page 35

OPEN HOUSE Sunday, December 8, 1– 4 p.m.

Share in the Spirit Serving grades 7–12, Marist School provides an education where achievement exists within a spirit of humility and generosity. Students are challenged by an

space Career Education Academy and was selected as one of 12 participants to attend the solo flight academy. After interviewing “in the style that airline pilots are interviewed,” Lucas was accepted to the solo flight program. He has earned 15 hours towards his private pilot license through the program. Lucas also received a $1,000 scholarship to attend the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Fla., which brings students to learn about aviation on a Navy aircraft carrier. The sponsorship is given by Delta Air Lines and OBAP. Outside of school, Lucas enjoys working with computers, taking them apart and seeing how things work. He also keeps “a couple of guppies, some cherry shrimp and some goldfish in a pond outside.”

heard about the PTSA Student MiniGrant process, which awards funding each semester for projects and classroom needs. After some research, Lucas decided to apply for the grant in order to build a “full-blown simulator” that could be used for practice by all members, not just the students attending the field trip. For the next few months, the team figured out what the costs would be and what they could use the simulator for. With the help of Sohmer, Lucas received the grant and the simulator came to life. Lucas is mostly self-taught when it comes to planes. With the money the club was awarded, Lucas built a flight simulator called the “202 Lemma Delta.” He said that he purchased and installed software himself. He built the computer used to run the software by following YouTube tutorials and guides from various PC enthusiast blogs and websites. Lucas had built his own computer in the past, so he had some general knowledge about the technology. “[The club members] flew like experienced pilots due to having much practice in the flight simulator,” Sohmer said. The simulator helps students learn more about flying before attending the discovery flights. They can decide if they want to pay for the trip or if they want to continue learning on the simulator. During the summer of 2018, Lucas attended the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals’ (OBAP) Aero-

What’s Next? Lucas plans to continue to lead Riverwood’s flying club over the next two years. He would like to attend a college for aviation and eventually wants to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. This article was written by Sloane Warner, graduated from The Weber School and will be attending Northwestern University. Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.

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Education | 37


State grades local public schools BY JOE EARLE AND HANNAH GRECO Each year, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement publishes an annual report giving Georgia public schools a grade of A-F. The grade is based on a numerical score that reflects the performance of the schools. “This information will encourage parents and community members to understand the strengths and challenges of their local schools and will help focus improvement efforts,” the office’s website says. The A-F grade is based on the school’s score on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which is calculated by the Georgia Department of Education. The CCRPI score ranges from 0 to 100 and is based on state test scores, student growth on these tests, graduation rates and other factors. Source: The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement;

Atlanta Public Schools Enrollment: 50,847 students


Performance Snapshot ■ Atlanta Public Schools’s overall performance is higher than 58% of districts. ■ Its elementary students’ academic growth is higher than 73% of districts. 2018 LETTER GRADE 2018 SCORE ■ Its middle school students’ academic growth is higher than 47% of districts. ■ Its high school students’ academic growth is higher than 46% of districts. ■ 40.2% of its 3rd grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ 55.2% of its 8th grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 79.9%, which is higher than 10% of districts. ■ 43.7% of graduates are college and career ready.


DeKalb County Schools Enrollment: 97,363 students


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Schedule a tour today to experience Epstein for yourself. At Epstein, students experience an exceptional education led by specialized STEAM and Hebrew language programs. The school prepares confident lifelong learners grounded in their unique Jewish identities.

Performance Snapshot ■ DeKalb County’s overall performance is higher than 41% of districts. ■ Its elementary students’ academic growth is higher than 53% of districts. 2018 LETTER GRADE 2018 SCORE ■ Its middle school students’ academic growth is higher than 35% of districts. ■ Its high school students’ academic growth is higher than 57% of districts. ■ 36.2% of its 3rd grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ 54.1% of its 8th grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 75.0%, which is higher than 1% of districts. ■ 50.5% of graduates are college and career ready.

Fulton County Schools Enrollment: 93,448 students



Performance Snapshot ■ Fulton County’s overall performance is higher than 89% of districts. ■ Its elementary students’ academic growth is higher than 64% of districts. 2018 LETTER GRADE 2018 SCORE ■ Its middle school students’ academic growth is higher than 46% of districts. ■ Its high school students’ academic growth is higher than 82% of districts. ■ 51.7% of its 3rd grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ 65.4% of its 8th grade students are reading at or above the grade level target. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 86.8%, which is higher than 38% of districts. ■ 62.4% of graduates are college and career ready.


Continued on page 37

NEW THIS YEAR: Kindergarten–8th graders will also be learning the language of coding.


38 | Education ■ Continued from page 36

Individual High Schools

Chamblee Charter High School




School grades for past five years: 2018: C 2017: B 2016: B 2015: B 2014: C

2018 SCORE

Performance Snapshot ■ Chamblee Charter High School’s overall performance is higher than 72% of schools in the state and is higher than its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 39% of schools in the state and lower than its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 82.7%, which is higher than 31% of high schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ 69.7% of graduates are college and career ready.

Cross Keys High School



66.6 2018 SCORE

School grades for past five years: 2018: D 2015: C 2017: C 2014: D 2016: B


Blessed Trinity Catholic High School - 11320 Woodstock Rd., Roswell, GA 30075 - (678) 277-9083 -


Blessed Trinity Catholic High School invites prospective students and their families to tour our facilities, meet our students, and speak with our teachers and coaches. President, Principal, and Director of Enrollment Management will speak at 1 pm and 2 pm. 28 Advanced Placement classes ~ Curriculum delivered on an A/B block schedule that maximizes instructional time ~ The 245 members of the class of 2019 earned more than $32.7 million in college scholarship offers in addition to Georgia’s HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships ~ A fully funded Fine Arts program that includes band, chorus, visual arts, and theater program that performs four first-class productions each year, including a musical, and one of the most highly honored dance programs in the state ~ A student-teacher ratio of 13:1; average class size of 19 ~ A comprehensive community-service program ~ An athletic department that fields more than 50 teams in 22 sports, and has won 44 state championships

Performance Snapshot ■ Cross Keys High School’s overall performance is higher than 32% of schools in the state and is lower than its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 74% of schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 64.4%, which is higher than 9% of high schools in the state and lower than its district. ■ 49.3% of graduates are college and career ready.

Dunwoody High School



81.5 2018 SCORE

School grades for past five years: 2018: B 2015: B 2017: B 2014: C 2016: A Performance Snapshot ■ Dunwoody High School’s overall performance is higher than 77% of schools in the state and is higher than its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 62% of schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 86.4%, which is higher than 45% of high schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ 75.6% of graduates are college and career ready.

Education | 39


North Atlanta High School



77.1 2018 SCORE

School grades for past five years: 2018: C 2015: C 2017: B 2014: C 2016: C Performance Snapshot ■ North Atlanta High School’s overall performance is higher than 66% of schools in the state and is higher than its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 41% of schools in the state and similar to its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 92.5%, which is higher than 76% of high schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ 61.0% of graduates are college and career ready.

North Springs Charter High School



for college for life forever

82.8 2018 SCORE

Holy Spirit Prep embraces the traditions of Catholic education to form students of deep faith, advanced intellect, and heroic virtue.

School grades for past five years: 2018: B 2015: C 2017: B 2014: C 2016: B Performance Snapshot ■ North Springs Charter High School’s overall performance is higher than 81% of schools in the state and is similar to its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 73% of schools in the state and similar to its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 90.0%, which is higher than 60% of high schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ 62.7% of graduates are college and career ready. ■ North Springs Charter High School is Beating the Odds, meaning that it performs better than similar schools.

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An independent Catholic school in Chastain Park, forming students 6 months-12th grade.

40 | Education ■

Individual High Schools

Riverwood International Charter School




School grades for past five years: 2018: C 2017: C 2016: B 2015: F 2014: C

2018 SCORE

Performance Snapshot ■ Riverwood International Charter School’s overall performance is higher than 71% of schools in the state and is similar to its district. ■ Its students’ academic growth is higher than 42% of schools in the state and lower than its district. ■ Its four-year graduation rate is 92.2%, which is higher than 74% of high schools in the state and higher than its district. ■ 60.8% of graduates are college and career ready.

Open House November 17 Monthly Forest to Farm Tours, check website for details

Health care for women by women Our team of experienced physicians provides comprehensive gynecologic services, in a compassionate environment, throughout every stage of a woman’s life.

MULTI-LEVEL Atlanta Classical Academy District: Atlanta Public Schools Grades: K-11 Clusters: Elementary, Middle, High Address: 3260 Northside Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

School Letter Grade: C

MIDDLE SCHOOLS Chamblee Middle School District: DeKalb County Grades: 6-8 Clusters: Middle Address: 3601 Sexton Woods Dr. Chamblee, GA 30341

School Letter Grade: C Peachtree Charter Middle School District: DeKalb County Grades: 6-8 Clusters: Middle Address: 4664 N Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30338

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School Letter Grade: C Ridgeview Charter Middle School District: Fulton County Grades: 6-8 Clusters: Middle Address: 5340 S Trimble Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30342

School Letter Grade: C

Sandy Springs Charter Middle School District: Fulton County Grades: 6-8 Clusters: Middle Address: 8750 Pride Place, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

School Letter Grade: C Sutton Middle School District: Atlanta Public Schools Grades: 6-8 Clusters: Middle Address: 2875 Northside Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

School Letter Grade: B

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS Ashford Park Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 2968 Cravenridge Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30319

School Letter Grade: A Austin Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 5435 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody, GA 30338

School Letter Grade: A

Education | 41




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Accepting New Patients! Primary Care of Brookhaven is a full-service primary care practice providing the highest quality care possible to families of the Brookhaven and the Atlanta Metro Area. Our board-certified physicians, Dr. Jennifer Burkmar and Dr. Jeffrey Reznik provide care for the whole patient, and offer a full range of family medicine services, including: • Primary Care for Patients of All Ages Including Newborns • Immunizations for Children and Adults • Acute Illness Care & Chronic Disease Management • School & Sport Physicals • Women’s Health Services • Preventative Health Consultations We take pride in serving each patient with personalized attention and care, accept most insurance plans, and offer same day appointments for sick visits.

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42 | Education

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Kittredge Magnet School District: DeKalb County Grades: 4-6 Clusters: Elementary, Middle Address: 1663 East Nancy Creek Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319

School Letter Grade: A

School Letter Grade: A

Chestnut Charter Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 4576 N Peachtree Rd, Dunwoody, GA 30338

School Letter Grade: A

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Dunwoody Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 1923 Womack Road Drive Dunwoody, GA 30338

School Letter Grade: A Dunwoody Springs Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 8100 Roberts Dr. Sandy Springs, GA 30350

School Letter Grade: C Garden Hills Elementary School District: Atlanta Public Schools Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 285 Sheridan Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30305

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Lake Forest Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 5920 Sandy Springs Cir, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

School Letter Grade: D Montgomery Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 3995 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319

School Letter Grade: B Rivers Elementary School District: Atlanta Public Schools Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 8 Peachtree Battle Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

School Letter Grade: C Sarah Smith Elementary School District: Atlanta Public Schools Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 370 Old Ivy Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30342

School Letter Grade: C

School Letter Grade: B

Heards Ferry Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 6151 Powers Ferry Rd NW, Sandy Springs, GA 30339

Spalding Drive Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 130 W Spalding Dr NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

School Letter Grade: B

School Letter Grade: C

High Point Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 520 Greenland Rd NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30342

Vanderlyn Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 1877 Vanderlyn Drive, Dunwoody, GA 30338

School Letter Grade: C

School Letter Grade: A

Kingsley Elementary School District: DeKalb County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 2051 Brendon Dr. Dunwoody, GA 30338

Woodland Elementary School District: Fulton County Grades: K-5 Clusters: Elementary Address: 1130 Spalding Dr, Atlanta, GA 30350

School Letter Grade: C

School Letter Grade: B


Classifieds | 43



Female Caregiver with 20 years exp. seeks to barter domestic services for a room in a nice home in the metro area. Senior cat coming with. 470-351-7237. Certified Respite Provider – Caring for Love Ones! Specializes in Alzheimer’s Care. Call Patricia 678-754-1831.

CEMETERY PLOTS Arlington Memorial Park - Three cemetery plots located in the Masonic section - selling for $6995 each. Call 404-403-5676.

Landscaping: Tranquil Waters Lawn Care – Hauling of debris, yard cleanup, aeration, leaf blowing, power washing, etc. Free estimates – No contract necessary – Commercial or Residential. Senior/Veteran discounts available. Call Mike 678-662-0767. Masonry: Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or Repaired. Masonry, Grading, Foundations repair, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe 770-616-0576. Property Home Tending – Regular inspections of your For Sale or unoccupied home. Call Charles 404-229-0490.

Home Services Directory


Handyman - Wood rot repairs, roof leaks, deck refinishing/repairs. Interior/ Exterior painting. Excellent references. 404-452-1812.

BOOK FOR SALE Parental Dementia by Keith Galas with Halle Eskew – A Guide Through All the Difficult Questions. The essential book for Dementia families. Order at www. use special code word – Mom.

YARD SALE: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH, 8:00-3:00 - BROOKHAVEN FIELDS Located behind the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110 Avoid Costly Roof Replacement *Save 80% compared to a new roof. *Extend shingle life up to 15 years. *100% environmentally friendly. *Roof tune-up included. Call for your free inspection and no-obligation quote.

No Lock-In Contracts

AT YOUR SERVICE Repairs & New installation

Showroom, Design, Build





Plumbing Appliances Water Heaters Shower Pan Leaks

404-219-1923 justTRASHit!

SINCE 1986



We Haul Away: We Clean Out:


REPAIRS LEAKS 404-697-6937

Windows And Doors

Buy with confidence! Visit our showroom in Chamblee!

770-939-5634 3660 N. Peachtree Rd • Chamblee, GA 30341

*Furniture *Appliances *Construction *Pianos *Hot tubs *Paint cans

*Basements *Garages *Attics *Offices *Storage units *Estate sales

(770) 314-9867

Oriental Rug Shop Antique and Decorative Rugs since 1976

Sales, Cleaning, Restorations, Appraisals, Pick-up & Delivery 5548 Peachtree Ind. Blvd Chamblee, GA 30341 770-452-0430

Best Selection & Values 1.5 miles inside 285 in Chamblee Plaza


Cleaning & Repair of OFF All Rugs


Preserve Roofing 770-314-9867

Kitchen Bathroom Basement

Georgia Commission on the Holocaust – Volunteer Opportunity. Greeters for Anne Frank in the World Exhibit 1929-45 - 5920 Roswell Rd. Sandy Springs 30328. Bring the lessons of the Holocaust to life, make A difference, help visitors understand dangers of prejudice, discrimination and hate to make a difference, engage with your community - training provided. A monthly commitment and 2 hour shifts required: Tuesday- Thursday 10- 4pm, Saturday-Sunday 12-4 pm. Call Sandra Craine 770 206-1558.

Sam 770-450-5955



Belco Electric

• Family Owned since 1972 • Fast, Dependable Service by Professional, Uniformed Electricians


Check out our new website and follow us on

Fall Clean-up Special With two professional in-house polishers, we can make your silver flatware, tea sets, bowls and trays more beautiful than ever before. Bring it by or call us for an estimate today!

Atlanta’s Premier

• Window Cleaning • Gutter Cleaning • Pressure Washing • Family Owned • Licensed and Insured • Free Estimates

since 1968


With coupon. One per family. “Serving Metro Atlanta Since 1998”


LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED BONDED & INSURED PROFESSIONAL & RELIABLE Serving Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven, and Peachtree Corners (770) 852-5453




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SANDY SPRINGS 10K The Heart of Our Community since 1984

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