9-15-16 Sandy Springs Reporter

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SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 19


Sandy Springs Reporter


► Anchor kids, crews put school news ‘on the air’

reporternewspapers.net SPECIAL SECT

Fall 2017



High school TV : Student broadc asters link local scho ols to the world

► Solving real-world problems: One school’s innovation institute

A: North Spring School studen s Charter High t Amari Mosby right, interv , iews Hanna Quillen.


B: Westminster students WilliamSchools Bennett Porson Turton and Ireland in Augusbroadcast from t 2016. The Westminster varsity footba team travele ll d to play in the AmeriDublin to can Football Classic.


C: At Holy Innoce nts’ Episcopal School, Hollis Brecher, left, Faith Wrigh t broadcast fromand the studio while and Katie Smith Jack Wood work behind the scenes.


A BY DONN A WILL IAMS LEWI S Students are The AV Tech live streaming lab at North assemblies, plays, holida Springs Charter High Schoo y pageants and l crackled with concerts and producing featur creative energy on a recent es that will afternoon as be emailed, played on closed students produced stories circuit televis for their biweek ion systems, or posted on ly news show. Arnardo Vargas Facebook, YouTu , 18, worked be channels, school tro and ending on an inwebsites and streaming netwo for his video Relatives can featuring the rks. school’s Sparta get ns football player great views ations from of graduJaylan McDo s. Seniors across the countr nald and Paris y. (Check out The Westminster Talbert search apps for “positi ed Schools’ 2016 ve” background graduation on YouTube.) their New Teache music for r segment. Parents don’t Senior Matan have to agoniz Berman spliced e ing over their kids’ sportin misshis feature, video for “Stereotypica g events. They l Students,” watch them Amari Mosby can on their phone and , 16, searched s. among the six Westminster iting rooms edsophomore for equipment Turner Cravens knows to film an interview about last first-hand how spring’s school parents rely WCAT, the school trip to Spain, Portugal and on ’s Morocco. station. He recalle student-run online TV Local high school d dealin g s with increasingly was worried a dad who coming broadc are beabout wheth asting and er the station nitely was going filmmaking breeding groun defito cover a basket ds in a state he couldn’t attend with a boomi ball game film industry. ng .


Feeding the forest

Broken hydrants a focus of water debate

INNOVATION Mount Vernon ’s ‘sc a school’ tackle hool within s real-world projects

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See HIGH on

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LUNCH MONEY School district s develop policies for unp aid meal bills

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BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Water streamed from a broken fire hydrant on Kayron Drive all summer, digging a miniature riverbed along the curb as it flowed about 400 feet away. While the region was under state water-use restrictions due to drought conditions, the leak saturated neighboring lawns into muddy sponges. “I just can’t believe the amount of water,” said resident Richard Cross, pointing out the stream flowing into his lawn and driveway on a September afternoon See BROKEN on page 14

Crowd joins call for new North OUT & ABOUT Springs High PHIL MOSIER

Shannon Hawthorne wheels a load of mulch during Volunteer Day at Lost Corner Preserve on Brandon Mill Road on Sept. 9. She and other volunteers joined the city park’s master gardener, Diana Wood, in tending to plants and making beds of azaleas.

COMMUNITY Residents, visitors cope with historic storm Irma

We have the individual and collective responsibility to let it be known that DACA recipients are brave human beings who are making this nation extraordinarily great.

Southern culture and crafts at History Center

Maritza Morelli Executive Director of Los Ninos Primero,

a nonprofit organization that helps underserved Latino children

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BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net The group advocating for a new North Springs Charter High School building drew about 60 people to its debut meeting Sept. 6 in Sandy Springs. The next step: Trying to draw a similar crowd to a future Fulton County Board of Education meeting to push for a fresh review of the school’s condition before the district starts spending $18 million on still more renovations. “We won’t accept anything less than a new school,” said Jody Reichel, one of the five founding members of Citizens for a New North Springs (CFANNS). Reichel is

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Community Briefs ‘ SAN DY S P R I NG S R EA DS ’ TO FO CU S ON FA R M ER S M A R KET B O O KS








The “Sandy Springs Reads” program has chosen a farmers market theme for its sixth annual October event where residents are encouraged to read and discuss the same book. This year’s book is the 2013 bestseller “Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm,” a memoir by Virginia farmer Forrest Pritchard. The program’s companion book for young readers is “Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market” (2017) by Michelle Schaub with illustrations by Amy Huntington. “Sandy Springs Reads” hosts a variety of readings, discussions and activities revolving around the chosen books. The schedule for this October’s events has yet to be released. For more information, see artsandysprings.org.



A surprised Trisha Thompson, left, accepts a proclamation from Mayor Rusty Paul at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting.



The community garden at Lost Corner Preserve has been named for longtime community activist Trisha Thompson. The surprise honor was announced by Mayor Rusty Paul at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, where a resolution also proclaimed it “Trisha Thompson Day.” “I didn’t do this by myself, and you all know that,” said an emotional Thompson. She cited the work of Ronda Smith, who recently replaced her as president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, and Cheryl Barlow, her fellow activist in ensuring that Lost Corner was preserved as a city park. Paul called Thompson “probably one of the most important advisors and counselors I’ve had over the past four years.” Earlier this year, Thompson won the 2017 “Spirit of Sandy Springs” award from the Sandy Springs Society.

FULTO N CO UN T Y C H A I R MA N CANDIDATE FO R UM O C T. 4 Reporter Newspapers and the Riverside Homeowners Association will host a Fulton County Chairman candidate forum on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at Riverwood International Charter School, 5900 Raider Drive. For updates on candidates who will attend, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 3


Homelessness group’s condos draw legal scrutiny BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A local nonprofit’s controversial use of 33 condos as transitional housing has drawn a city zoning violation citation and new legal scrutiny amid complaints from other owners and tenants. Mary Hall Freedom House, which helps women with homelessness and addiction issues, in May bought more than a third of the 90-unit Reserve of Dunwoody condos at 9400 Roberts Drive. MHFH said it would use the units as transitional housing and might seek to redevelop the property into a larger facility or headquarters. The purchase immediately drew criticism for displacing many tenants, one of whom recently said she is now at risk of becoming homeless herself. Now other condo owners are complaining about MHFH van traffic and large groups of women congregating on the property. The city and an attorney newly hired by the condo association board say they are reviewing the legality of MHFM’s operation. “Code Enforcement recently inspected the Mary Hall units, and a citation was issued for running an office within an unapproved zoning district,” said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “Our legal staff is also examining the appropriate-

ness of the operation at this location.” The city is also consulting the state Department of Community Health as to whether MHFH needs a license to operate a “drug treatment facility” there, Kraun said. George Nowack Jr., the condo board’s attorney, said his clients believe MHFH is violating city codes, and he is reviewing the situation for violations of the association’s bylaws. “We understand the use of the units is not a permitted use under the zoning ordinance,” Nowack said. “We are deferring to the city.” MHFH founder Lucy Hall-Gainer, writing in an email, did not give specific responses to the complaints or to questions about the nonprofit’s operations at Reserve of Dunwoody. “We continue to work closely with the city of Sandy Springs as we have for our 20 years of calling the city our home and providing services to the community,” Hall-Gainer wrote. “We will be meeting with representatives from the city and will let you know if we have anything of substance to share.” MHFH previously rented nine units at Reserve of Dunwoody for transitional housing for homeless veterans. Hall-Gainer previously said that skyrocketing rents

forced her organization to start buying units, and an opportunity presented itself at the Sandy Springs complex. Other owners and tenants have said that MHFH’s original transitional housing use at the property was not a problem, but that the new, larger use is changing the conditions. “They’ve got so many problems over there because they’ve turned this thing into something it was never intended to be,” said Bruce Nicklin, the condo board’s past president, who recently sold his two units. Since MHFH turned the 33 units into transitional housing, Nicklin said, he saw groups of up to 60 women hanging out on the property. He said the board was concerned that MHFH might be violating a bylaw limiting occupancy to one person per 250 square feet. Another concern was that MHFH wanted to rent the condo’s clubhouse as an office, which the board’s previous attorney warned could be a “giant zoning violation,” he said. Jan Williams, a condo board member, complained directly to the City Council at its Sept. 5 meeting, saying she recently lost a tenant due to the large groups of women and van traffic. She said the women hang out on benches and make such comments as, “Don’t ever go to rehab.” “While I applaud Mary Hall’s mission…

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no one wants to live among people who make them uncomfortable,” Williams said. “This community has not been very pleasant to live in since all those units became occupied,” said Brandon Bradley, a tenant who said he is trying to break his lease and move out due to MHFH’s operations. “The community is nothing like what it used to be like. It went from being peaceful and quiet to women and vans walking [and] driving around at all hours.” Jarita Davis, a tenant forced to move out for the transitional housing, said in profanity-laced complaint email to the City Council that she found another apartment in Sandy Springs, but is at risk of losing it due to the financial turmoil of the sudden move. “I now face being homeless in less than 30 days if I can’t come up with the money.” In a response email, Hall-Gainer said Davis refused MHFH help and “chose to move on, riding out in a black Lincoln Navigat[or] with a bad attitude as I see you still have by the tone of your email. I pray you humble yourself to allow someone to want to help you or better yet get honest. MHFH hasn’t done this to you.” Davis responded that the luxury SUV belonged to a friend and that MHFH had only offered her a short-term sub-lease on a “roach-infested dump.”



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Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE USA, based in Atlanta, recently spoke to more than 100 members of the International Club of Atlanta in Sandy Springs.

International Club of Atlanta highlights global issues BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

More than 100 people gathered at a recent International Club of Atlanta discussion group gathering in Sandy Springs to hear from a noted speaker with plenty of international knowledge — Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE USA, based in Atlanta. Nunn, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 but lost to David Perdue, gave the crowd at its Sept. 5 meeting a general introduction of CARE, one of the longest-serving humanitarian organizations dedicated to eliminating poverty across the globe. Founded as the “Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe” in 1945, the organization helped the millions of people in need following World War II by organizing a program to send them food relief, or CARE packages, of U.S. Army surplus meal-ready-to-eat food parcels that included such items as meat, butter, coffee, sugar, egg powder and chocolate. In the 1990s, CARE changed its acronym to mean “Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere” to better encompass its mission of helping other countries. Nunn explained that CARE specifically focuses on empowering women and girls through human rights, education, health care, economic opportunities and other resources. Poverty can only be defeated when there is equality, she said. Recently CARE partnered with seven other humanitarian organizations to form the Global Emergency Response Coalition in response to some 20 million people starving in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia as well as Niger, Uganda, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya and Ethiopia. Drought and wars contribute to the crisis, Nunn said.

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Michelle Nunn addressed a crowd of more than 100 members of the International Club of Atlanta about how CARE USA is working to eliminate poverty across the globe.

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017


Community | 5

Tr a n s f o r m y o u r s p a c e t o f i t Y O U

Teji Sahni, left, and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, father of Michelle Nunn, greeted each other during a recent meeting of the International Club of Atlanta where Michelle Nunn spoke about the mission of CARE USA to eliminate poverty.

Getting the word out about the global poverty is difficult in “the world of Donald Trump” where the news media is focused on his tweets, Nunn said, adding there are special challenges as a society to tell a global narrative. She also touched on climate change and said CARE “believes in the science of climate change.” “Increasingly we are seeing climate change refugees,” she said. “The impact is not theoretical.” Last year, CARE reached over 70 million people in 94 countries and by 2020 aims to help 150 million people overcome hunger, poverty and social injustice. While the numbers may appear troubling, there is reason to be optimistic because poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, Nunn said. Members thanked Nunn with applause. And for Teji Sahni, who founded the International Club of Atlanta in 1991, the meeting was more proof that such as club is needed, and important, in the world today. “The basic idea is we broaden our outlook,” Sahni said. “We go outside the narrow confines of our world and find that human beings are the same, but of different cultures.” The International Club promotes international ties and offers members social and intellectual settings that reflect its diversity, from a book club to bridge night to monthly “Curry Nights” where members visit the more than 100 curry-serving restaurants in metro Atlanta. Bill Bozarth, president of ICA, worked for IBM in the 1970s and 1980s, including a stint in Germany in the mid-1980s. “Other than the birth of my children, nothing in my life has had such a profound effect on me as the experience of living abroad,” he said. “My interests and perspective on the place of America in the world were forever changed. Subsequent jobs after returning with my family to the U.S. in 1988 brought me back to Europe on a regular basis. I stopped all that travel in 1995, and since then, have sought out opportunity to get to know like-minded people.” The discussion group, which hosted Nunn, is a monthly gathering where speakers from various professions share their thoughts on what is going on in the world and the U.S. On Oct. 8, the discussion group will host Jonathan Mann, who recently retired after 30 years of international reporting for CNN. “We offer a tremendous enriching experience – and it’s fun,” Sahni said. “This is not a networking group. Members are from all parts of the world and we intermingle with each other. This is really about learning from each other.” Socializing with people from different countries helps break down barriers and defeat prejudices, Sahni said. “I think ignorance dictates certain prejudices. When people discuss and learn from each other, I think that helps everyone,” he said.

INTERNATIONAL CLUB OF ATLANTA Oct. 8 discussion group: Jonathan Mann, CNN international reporter 7 p.m. at Heritage Sandy Springs 6110 Blue Stone Road intlclubatlanta.org










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Local leaders react to MARTA chief’s departure BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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Keith Parker, the MARTA CEO and general manager who helped put mass transit back on the agenda in north metro communities, will leave for another job this fall, he announced Sept. 5. Now local leaders are expressing a mix of gratitude and uncertainty as they push ahead with that transit agenda – including key SPECIAL General Assembly proposals Keith Parker, MARTA’s CEO and general manager. next session. Parker, who is leaving to “Transit Master Plan” of priority projects become the new president and CEO of to take advantage of any funding that Decatur-based Goodwill of North Geormight come out those discussions. gia, spent nearly five years as MARTA’s MARTA’s board will name an interchief. In that time, he oversaw a finanim general manager while conducting cial cleanup – from massive debt to rea search for a permanent replacement, serves of more than $240 million – and MARTA said in a press release. In addiimprovements to service that also retion, the board has named a deputy generduced the perception linking MARTA to al manager, Arthur “Rob” Troupe, who will rampant crime. start work Sept. 18. Troupe arrives from Years of progress the infrastructure project consulting firm A politically savvy leader, he built reHNTB – one of the companies working on lationships with local and state leadFulton’s Transit Master Plan – where he led ers, whetting an appetite for more tranthe Northeast Division’s transit and rail sit. That helped to win landmark MARTA services. Troupe previously served as a depexpansion funding, including to Clayton uty general manager at the Washington County via a 2014 vote, and last year’s vot(D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. er-approved sales tax boost within the city Leaders react of Atlanta. The Atlanta funding, expectAmong local leaders, the loss of Parked to draw more than $2.5 billion over 40 er was met largely with caution that tranyears, could bring light rail to Buckhead’s sit talks will find a way forward without BeltLine segment and the Clifton Corridor the pioneering transit agency chief. out of Lindbergh Center Station, among Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul has many other improvements. emerged as one of the north metro arParker also led the agency through ea’s biggest transit evangelists. Earlier new attempts at transit-oriented developthis year, speaking about regional transit ment with varying results; in Brookhavsolutions, he prophetically warned that en, the community earlier this year MARTA’s improved reputation could be rejected a planned mixed-use redevelopin trouble if Parker leaves. ment at the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Sta“How long is he going to be here? tion. Local transit-oriented corporate deWill MARTA revert to its previous bevelopment has been more successful, havior if someone new comes in?” Paul such as the new State Farm office towasked at the time. er that is directly connected to the DunIn a written statement on the day of woody MARTA Station platform. Parker’s resignation announcement, Then there was this year’s fire and colPaul expressed the need for continued lapse of an I-85 overpass in Buckhead, good leadership. which Parker could see smoking from “By correcting many of its management MARTA’s Lindbergh Center headquardeficiencies, he has completely turned ters. The snarled traffic afterward was a around the perception of MARTA among watershed moment for Atlanta transit, the policymakers across the region, though and Parker was widely praised for MARMARTA has been slow to develop a regionTA’s increased service for the many new al plan for transit expansion,” Paul said. “I riders avoiding the disaster. hope the MARTA board will find someone Parker’s resignation comes at a cruwith similar credentials who can build on cial time for state and local transit planwhat Keith has done and develop a consenning. The General Assembly is expected sus around a true regional transit strategy.” next session to have unprecedented proFulton County Commissioner Lee posals for possible increased state fundMorris said that a “key player change ing of mass transit and of a new, regional that occurs in the midst of significant initransit governing agency. Fulton Countiatives always creates pause for thought. ty is attempting to quickly wrap up a

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 7


Keith’s leadership has been terrific and his involvement with the Fulton transit study and the upcoming General Assembly session would have been positive.” But, Morris added, MARTA has good board and staff leadership, and “a growing group of legislators who know how important transit will be to the region’s future. So I am optimistic that the change will not set us back.” State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) has a wide-angle view of MARTA’s leadership question as a member of MARTOC, the General Assembly’s joint committee with oversight of the transit agency’s budget, and as a member of the new House Commission on Transit Governance & Funding. Taylor says that while Parker’s loss will be felt, there are other political factors as the General Assembly takes up a likely discussion on a broader, regional transit system. “My first thought — ‘Gosh, he’s going to be hard to replace,’” Taylor said. But, he added, “No one’s irreplaceable and the system is going to be there … But I think you’ve got some hard political choices to make … With more state funding [of transit] comes more state control.” MARTA’s immediate challenges, Taylor said, are filling Parker’s big shoes from a small pool of likely candidates, at least in terms of executives who have run large transit systems. He said the larger political question, however, is whether the timeline for hiring a replacement

wraps up by, say, year’s end with somegoing to be,” Taylor said. one who could participate in General But whoever is in that next General Assembly discussions. Parker has been Assembly session, Taylor said, “I think serving as an ex ofyou’re going to ficio member of the see more of a Transit Governance & move to expand Funding commission, regionally [bewhich next meets on yond MARTA’s Sept. 15. current threeOther political faccounty system]… tors have nothing to and I’m not sure do with MARTA’s leadwhat that animal ership, Taylor said. On looks like.” Asked the funding end, he whether such talk said, a big question is of a regional syswhether Atlanta will tem — maybe an annex the Emory Uniagency that could versity area of DeKalb supersede MARCounty and thus autoTA — could have matically provide its been a factor in newly boosted sales Parker looking at tax money to fund a new job opportumissing link of that nities, Taylor said planned Clifton Corhe doesn’t think ridor light rail. And so. STATE REP. TOM TAYLOR there are leadership R-DUNWOODY “I don’t think questions not only for that is the issue,” MARTA, but for the Taylor said. “He General Assembly and MARTOC itself. was not being looked at like a guy we need Taylor noted that state Sen. Vincent Fort to get rid of — quite the opposite.” (D-Atlanta), a fellow MARTOC member, State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) and state Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) called it a “tremendous loss … He certainrecently resigned to make runs for other ly put MARTA on the right track – right offices. choice of words – going forward.” “I don’t know who the new faces are But asked about effects on the Gen-

No one’s irreplaceable and the system is going to be there … But I think you’ve got some hard political choices to make … With more state funding [of transit] comes more state control.

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eral Assembly proposals, Millar said, “I don’t think so. I think it’s more of a governance situation we’re looking at anyway,” rather than funding models that Parker might have helped to sway. Parker’s exit “also calls attention to the fact of how important it is to have regional transit,” Millar added, and not just MARTA as it exists today with limited county participation. Fulton Commissioner Bob Ellis was another leader expressing caution about continued transit progress. “Mr. Parker has made significant contributions to MARTA, and his leadership will certainly be missed,” Ellis said in an email. “As the Atlanta region continues to grow, congestion and traffic will as well and it will be critical for smart and aggressive transit planning to address the current and future challenges we will face in Fulton and the Atlanta region. Despite a leadership change at MARTA, it is important that efforts like the transit plan that is being developed in Fulton and the work being done at the state level not be delayed.” In Atlanta, which already got the MARTA expansion funding it wanted, Mayor Kasim Reed expressed gratitude. “Keith set a new standard for the role of general manager,” Reed said in a press release. “I cannot compliment him enough on the terrific job he did at a pivotal time for one of the most important public transit agencies in the nation.”

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of land there, so that meant the Google Fiber hut had to be placed deeper into the park, much closer to a stream and Dresden Drive. The proximity to Dresden triggered community complaints about a fence at least 55 feet long front the street in a public park. The first hut is apparently being used, but when and if a second hut will be needed is not known at this time, according to a Google Fiber spokesperson. Google Fiber does continue to lease land from the city of Brookhaven for the Fiber hut in Blackburn Park. In addition to lease payments for the land, Google Fiber also maintains landscaping around the structure. The city and Google Fiber did not respond to requests for how much the lease payments are by press time. The Google Fiber hut in Blackburn Park is currently being used for operational needs, but what that means exactly a Google Fiber spokesperson did not say. Plans are still in the works to use the Blackburn Park Fiber hut in the future to serve customers in the Brookhaven community. Google Fiber announced in January 2015 that it was officially coming to Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Atlanta, Avondale Estates, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville and Smyrna.

The high-speed rollout of Google Fiber in metro Atlanta including Sandy Springs and Brookhaven has significantly stalled, although representatives say plans are still in the works to provide the internet service. “Google Fiber is currently available in over 100 residential buildings in the metro Atlanta area and in several neighborhoods in the center of the city. We’re working hard to connect as many people as possible, and encourage people to sign up for updates on our website,” a Google Fiber spokesperson said. In Sandy Springs, however, permits to install the fiber-optic cable stopped six months ago. “I’ve checked with our utilities manager and to date, Google has not provided any formal notice of delay,” said Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “They halted their permits about six months ago. Restoration work continues, which ensures property where work was conducted is left in order.” Brookhaven city officials say they are not sure when the service will be provided in the city. “We continue to be in contact with Google Fiber. They have communicated that they are still very much committed to the Atlanta market including Brookhaven, but we do not know exactly when service will be offered,” city spokesperson Burke Brennan said. Google Fiber’s quest to offer services in Brookhaven hit a roadblock dating back to 2015 shortly after the rollout was announced for metro Atlanta when the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied its request to build a utility hut in Parkside Park. Google Fiber’s system requires a number of utility huts in central locations. In Brookhaven, the city had agreed to provide space for two huts in public parks. One is already built in Blackburn Park; the other was to be in Parkside Park, a narrow strip of green space running along Dresden Drive between Apple Valley Road and Parkside Drive. Former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis at the But it turned out that announcement two years ago that the city was one the city was mistaken in of nine metro area communities where Google will begin providing high-speed Internet connections. thinking it owned a strip


SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 9



Workers installed fiber-optic cables for Google Fiber along North Druid Hills Road in Brookhaven in July 2016.

The nine cities were to work closely with Google to build a brand-new fiber-optic network capable of delivering gigabit speeds throughout the service areas. It appears building that fiber-optic cable network was more difficult than anticipated, resulting in the slow-down of getting the service to these cities. Teri Anulewicz, the former mayor pro tem for the Smyrna City Council, wrote on georgiapol. com last month that Google Fiber repre-

sentatives told Smyrna officials that the “construction project is a large, complicated infrastructure project, and they encountered more challenges than they expected in many markets” including metro Atlanta. In July, Gregory McCray, the CEO of Google Access, which oversees Google Fiber, resigned following Google Fiber’s announcement in October 2016 it was stopping work in cities it was in talks with to bring their service. The average American broadband speed is 11.5 megabits per second. In contrast, Google Fiber is expected to bring metro Atlanta residents access to gigabit internet connections up to 1,000 megabits per second. Google Fiber internet plans cost either $50 or $70 a month; internet and TV plans combined cost $140 or $160 a month. -— John Ruch contributed.

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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 www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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Commentary: DACA youths help make America great When a country declares education to be a priority, it demonstrates a clear vision of the path to a more developed society. An investment in education implies the development of the nation, it gives citizens the opportunity to cultivate their own minds and instills within them the capacity to be leaders. An investment in education produces conscientious citizens who are responsible for the role they are to play in a productive society and the world. In 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announcing the Global Education First initiative said, “People today often ask about my country’s transformation from poverty to prosperity. Without hesitation, I answer that education was the key.” In 2017, on Sept. 5, President Trump announced the end of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program which offered opportunities for development to those who were brought into the country as children, a country which they know to be their native land where they have built their lives. The end of DACA will affect approximately 800,000 young people who have sought to reach their universal right to education here in this country. For them, DACA has been an opportunity to feel part of the only country they have ever known, not in the shadows but in the light. DACA is the face of María, José, Jorge, or Camila, who were able to walk free from the fear of being detained, or drive without the fear of being arrested. For many families, DACA has provided opportunities which have kept them out of poverty and all that poverty implies. These families, who arrived over a decade ago with the courage to seek out a better life for their children, learned to survive and guide their children through the complex process of assimilation to a new culture in the so-called “land of dreams.” In Los Niños Primero, a nonprofit organization that helps

underserved Latino children from age 3 to be successful in school and develop passion for learning, we have seen the faces of many DACA recipients. As children, they found the space to grow and learn English. They were able to build a solid foundation from which successful academic careers could blossom. Thanks to DACA, these children had the space to create, a space where their parents could build hope. Maritza Morelli These same children have matured Executive Director into self-assured young people. María, of Los Ninos Primero, José, Jorge or Camila, they have since a nonprofit organizagraduated from high school, and purtion that helps undersued their dreams on to higher educaserved Latino children tion, never losing hope of attaining a college education. They, who were once children, now return to the program having developed a sense of social responsibility to help others in their community, and contribute in service of an organization that opened its doors to them when they were only 3 and 4 years old. The suspension of DACA ends a world of possibilities: the dream of escaping poverty, of being prosperous citizens. María, José, Jorge and Camila won’t be added to the list of graduates, or doctors or engineers, now they will go back to believing that the opportunities they’ve longed for are simply not for them. As community leaders in this country, who have seen the enrichment of our society thanks to diversity and the desire that this group of young people have to thrive, we have the individual and collective responsibility to let it be known that DACA recipients are brave human beings who are making this nation extraordinarily great.

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More than 100 Dunwoody High School students rallied Sept. 8 in support of DACA recipients.


SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Commentary | 11


Atlanta’s Mexican consulate is ready to help Dreamers

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Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta

Since the new federal administration came into office, the government of Mexico has promoted the continuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in order to safeguard the protection of thousands of young beneficiaries of this program, known as “Dreamers,” who make significant contributions to the economy, culture and society of the United States of America. Without any doubt, U.S. immigration policy is solely determined by American people and institutions. However, Mexico cannot ignore the fact that thousands of Mexican-born youths will be potentially affected by the rescission of the program. In the face of this situation, the government of Mexico has the moral duty to act, through diplomatic channels and always fully respecting the rule of law, to actively promote both with the U.S. executive and legislative branches a solution to the legal uncertainty faced now by DACA youths. The Mexican government, through our ambassador to the U.S., Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, sent a letter to U.S. legislators in which he underscored the significant contributions of these Dreamers to American society and invited them to continue analyzing options to permanently solve the legal situation. The Mexican Government will keep an open and permanent dialogue with the U.S. Congress to support a solution. Also, we are in contact with Department of Homeland Security authorities to learn in full detail the implementation process of the measure announced on Sept. 5. Furthermore, Mexico will receive with open arms those young Dreamers that eventually return to our country. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has instructed federal agencies to reinforce actions that support these young people and make the most of their talents and abilities, as well as fully integrate them to our national economy and society. The Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta has the responsibility of protecting young Dreamers born in Mexico that live in Georgia, Alabama and most of Tennessee; hence, it will strengthen its actions to offer personal and comprehensive consular assistance to every Dreamer that asks for it, particularly legal advice and representation. There is a very particular danger of fraud from paralegals, “notarios” and false attorneys. We urge the Mexican community to keep informed through official channels and report any abuse. We invite them to contact us at informacion@consulmexatlanta.org; to call the Center for Information and Assistance of Mexicans (1-855-463-6395), a toll-free line available 24/7; and to download the free app “MiConsulmex,” which has an emergency button to contact any Mexican consulate in the U.S. Javier Díaz de León was appointed as the consul general of Mexico in Atlanta in 2016. He previously served as consul general in Raleigh, N.C., and as deputy consul in New York and San Diego, Calif.

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Atlanta, but with the traffic and conditions, and having a child in the car, my daughter was calling from the car to secure a place that was pet-friendly.” They tried a stop at a pet-friendly hotel in Valdosta, Ga., but found it unpleasant. So they aimed farther north and ended up at the brand new Residence Inn by Marriott

Tropical Storm Irma had major impact on Sandy Springs Sept. 11, including killing a local man when a large tree fell on his house as the storm pummeled metro Atlanta with rain and wind. The city spent days clearing streets of trees and downed power lines as Georgia Power worked to get power restored to residents, some who had been without power for hours, others for days on end. As the remnants of the storm hit metro Atlanta, many Florida evacuees were hunJACLYN TURNER kered down in PeSome members of the Grant family of Naples, Fla., waiting out the rimeter Center area storm included, from left, Josh Grant, Jennifer Goetzl, Jason Grant, hotels and homes Scott Grant and Lisa Grant, joined by dogs Cara and Tessie. where they had arrived days earlier to escape the historically in Dunwoody. The hotel, located next to the powerful storm’s full destruction. Spruill Art Gallery on Ashford-Dunwoody Some came here because they knew the Road, just opened on Aug. 30 and has found area. Some simply found it a good place to housing Irma evacuees to be one of its first stop as traffic worsened and fear of gasomissions. line shortages grew. And all of the evacuees The majority of cars in the Residence wondered whether Irma’s strike on AtlanInn’s parking lot sported Florida plates, ta would extend their stay in their tempowith a few from Texas as well. General rary shelters. Manager Joe Fallis said the hotel placed orThe following are the stories of three ders for glow sticks, flashlights and a largFlorida families who spoke to Reporter er than normal food order. The hotel also Newspapers while they waited out Irma froze prices for those needing to extend at Perimeter Center businesses on Sept. 10, their stay due to the storm. the day before the storm followed them to Shaffner spoke highly of the hotel for metro Atlanta. its friendliness to pets, walkability to res-

The Shaffners, from Fort Myers

As Irma approached their home in Fort Myers, Fla., the Shaffner family packed two cars and a small U-Haul for their valuables. They drove through the middle of the state, attempting to avoid I-75 because of the evacuation gridlock. “When [Florida] Gov. Rick Scott said this was the time to leave, we took that seriously,” said Sue Shaffner, whose group included her daughter and grandchild, adding the family had Hurricane Harvey’s recent Texas landfall on their minds. “After Houston we were thinking, we can leave, so we should. “We have a grandbaby and five animals between us, so we weren’t going to leave them,” she continued. “I don’t want to be rescued off the roof of my house.” The group averaged 40 mph on the drive into Georgia. “Gas was a problem. Only one out of 10 gas stations probably had gas,” Shaffner said. “We didn’t plan to come here. We were trying to get north of

taurants, and general hospitality. “I just want to cry. [We] don’t even know these people, but that aspect of Atlanta has blown us away,” she said, recalling a server at a restaurant who gave the family her business card in case they needed a place to stay.

The Smiths, from Oviedo

For the Smith family of Oviedo, Fla., fleeing to Dunwoody was a natural choice. “We just decided to leave,” said father Omar Smith. “We used to live here and have family here.” Mother Christine said the family watched everyone else leave their street in Oviedo, which is near Orlando. The family placed sandbags out to block flooding, then left. It took them 13 hours to drive to Atlanta – more than twice the usual time. While they are able to stay in that family home in Dunwoody, the evacuation is taking its toll, the Smiths said. “We would like to leave Tuesday [Sept. 12], get our kids back in school and [get]

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 13


back to work,” said Omar Smith. “The storm’s playing with everybody’s emotions, but it is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

The Grants, from Naples

It took three cars and 18 hours for the Grant family – seven adults, two young children, three dogs – to flee Naples, Fla., for Perimeter Center. And a good thing, too, as that Florida city took a strong hit from Irma. Lisa and Scott Grant, the family grandparents, have been watching TV between supply runs to a local Target store, and managed a visit to the Georgia Aquarium to occupy their 2-year-old granddaughter. The grandparents learned that their home, eight miles from the Gulf Coast, had already lost power on Sept. 10 after a call to her home phone went straight to an answering machine. The Grants were able to find rooms in another Residence Inn by Marriott on Savoy Road on the Dunwoody/Chamblee border. For Lisa Grant, it means facing her own uncertain future just weeks after she donated to hurricane relief efforts in Texas. “Ironically, I just gave a lot to Harvey, and now I’m paying for three rooms and food,” she said. “But we gotta do what we gotta do. I’m glad I’m here and safe, but nervous about what we are going back to, or when we’re going back.”

Crowd joins call for new North Springs High Continued from page 1 also a candidate for the Sandy Springs City Council District 4 seat, competing with Le’Dor Milteer. Advocacy for replacing the 54-year-old school at 7447 Roswell Road dates back several years, but there is new fuel as Sandy Springs’ other public high school, Riverwood International Charter School, this year opened the first phase of its roughly $80 million new building. And there’s new political traction, too, as the effort coincides with the city’s renewed plan to promote redevelopment of older apartments and shopping centers along northern Roswell Road. City Councilmembers Chris Burnett and Ken Dishman attended the meeting, and Mayor Rusty Paul said in a social media post, “Add my voice to those supporting this effort.” Burnett told the crowd, gathered at the North Fulton Annex on Roswell Road, that he played his first varsity football game at North Springs 42 years ago and the school looks similar today. “So I think it’s time. It’s past time,” he said of the replacement effort. After the meeting, Burnett added that “intuitively, a nice, new school is a real catalyst to spur redevelopment.” The audience applauded after a presentation that included photos of nicer, newer Fulton County Schools buildings compared to cramped and windowless rooms at North Springs, and documentation of the fall 2015 assessment that kept the school on the list for renovation, rather than reconstruction. CFANNS questions the assessment’s method and results. Riverwood, built in 1971, scored as slightly more in need of facilities and was granted the new building. CFANNS says that it appears that one subcontracted consultant did the most recent inspections for 96 schools and that the findings are riddled with major errors, such as counting stairways and closets as education-

al floor space. No officials from the school, the district or the Board of Education were in attendance. However, in a Sept. 1 letter to school board members, Douglas Carey, FCS’s director of capital planning, said that the measurements of educational spaces met accepted standards that were applied to all schools in the same way. Joseph Metoyer, the consultant listed as conducting the North Springs assessment, referred all questions to FCS. FCS has previously noted that North Springs got $14 million in upgrades in a 2010 SPLOST, and is marked for a major addition and other upgrades in a 2022 Capital Plan. But CFANNS says most of that past and future work is aimed at maintenance, like replacing the roof, and won’t provide the modern spaces the school needs to stay relevant. “That truly is lipstick on a pig,” CFANNS’s Cheryl Barlow said of a new entryway added to the façade. She also argued CFANNS’s theme that it is not equitable for Riverwood to get an entire new building while North Springs continues to patch and add. “It’s like giving one kid a lollipop and the other kid the stick,” Barlow said. Audience comments were generally supportive and focused on possible replacement timelines and funding sources, and such strategies as using form letters to present a unified message. The timeline and funding are unclear, but CFANNS says a new North Springs likely would be much like the new Riverwood: a lengthy, phased project with several funding sources. The next special local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for education funding is another five years away. And North Springs may not be the only school agitating for a new facility; CFANNS member Betty Klein said that Roswell High parents want a new building, too. For more about CFANNS’s presentation materials, see cfanns.org.

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Broken hydrants are a focus of water debate

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Resident Richard Cross discusses the water flowing through his yard and driveway from a broken hydrant on Kayron Drive. Opposite page, a broken hydrant leaks a stream of water onto Kayron Drive. The water has flowed since June.

Continued from page 1 – more than 10 weeks after he first called it in. That hydrant at 6076 Kayron is one of more than 170 around the city that are broken or malfunctioning, with repair wait times averaging three or four months, depending on severity, according to Sandy Springs officials. And there’s nothing they can do directly, because the hydrants — and almost the entire city water system — is owned and operated by the city of Atlanta, which built it out decades ago. Lingering leaks and high water rates have been complaints since Sandy Springs incorporated in 2005, but Mayor Rusty Paul is vowing to finally find a fix in his upcoming second term. He’s even threatening to sue Atlanta for control of the water system. “Fire hydrants are the most visible public safety issue, but the water system here is riddled with problems,” Paul said at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, following the latest report on hydrant issues. “It’s going to be a top priority.” However, both the nature of the problem and possible solutions remain partly mysterious. Paul, through a spokesperson, declined to elaborate on what city control of the water system would involve. And it remains unclear why a water repair agreement between the two cities, under which Sandy Springs would make local fixes and Atlanta would pay reimbursements, fell apart after coming close to being signed in April 2016. “It was their decision, not ours,” said Sandy Springs city spokesperson Sharon Kraun, adding that the exact reason was never clear. Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, which is in charge of the water system, did not respond to emailed questions — though it did, on the same day, send a notice to Kayron Drive residents announcing that leaking hydrant

would soon be fixed. In early 2016, during a previous round of concerns about broken hydrants, a Watershed Management spokesperson said the department aims to repair the devices within 45 days, but could not explain why it often takes months. At that time, the spokesperson noted Atlanta’s system includes about 14,000 hydrants and that Sandy Springs’ own permitting process can take weeks.

Safety concerns

Fire hydrants are a focus of Sandy Springs’ water complaints because the leaks are easy to see and the public safety implications get attention from the city Fire Rescue Department, which inspects all hydrants. Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders, in a report at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, said broken hydrants on public streets are a concern, but the fire hazard is limited because of the large number of other hydrants that firefighters can usually access with a long hose. As of this month, Sanders reported, there are 171 broken or malfunctioning public hydrants. That amounts to about 5.5 percent of the 3,115 Atlanta-operated hydrants in Sandy Springs. (Another 90 hydrants in the panhandle area are operated by Gwinnett County.) “Fortunately, we do have good water pressure in the city and we have a significant number of hydrants,” Sanders said. The real safety concern, he said, are the additional 1,082 hydrants located on private property, where private owners are responsible for inspection and maintenance. Non-working hydrants were a major issue at two local apartment complex fires in 2011 that drew city attention. Of those private hydrants, 470 are on commercial property, which includes apartment complexes. That means they must file hydrant inspections as a requirement to get a business license, and

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 15

www.ReporterNewspapers.net compliance is good, Sanders reported. The other 612 private hydrants are in such residential locations as condo complexes, where owner association leaders can change and inspections are hard to track. At one property, Sanders said, Fire Rescue officials recently found a “dead hydrant” – one that was installed but never connected to the water system. In March, the city hand-delivered letters to owners at all of those private-hydrant addresses asking for proof the hydrants had been professionally inspected. In re-

sponse, owners proved compliance on 220 hydrants, and not on 392 hydrants, he said. Another round of letters went out in late August.

Long repair times

Broken hydrants on public streets are a safety concern for Sandy Springs officials. Councilmember Tibby DeJulio, at the Sept. 5 meeting, said that long repair waits could leave the city telling a fire victim, “Sorry your house burned down, but we had another five months before your hydrants were repaired.” And the wait times can indeed be that long, according to statistics provided by Sanders. Between August 2016 and August 2017, 140 hydrants in the city were marked as “out of service.” The average repair time was over three months. Another 105 hydrants were marked “ur-

gent,” meaning they were malfunctioning but could still be used; their average repair time was over four months. And, Sanders said, “repaired” doesn’t always mean what it says. “And the sad part is, we have to go out and check those hydrants … to ensure they were repaired by the city of Atlanta,” Sanders said, only to find that that “many times, they were not repaired.” Sanders, who previously served as fire chief in Alpharetta, said such wait times do not seem normal to him. “I never experienced a hydrant out over a week or two” in his former job, he said. “So it’s been a real eye-opener here.” The real surprise to the City Council: repair times for hydrants and other water leaks are actually shorter than they were roughly a year ago. “They have improved over time,” said Kraun.

CITY SPRINGS PUBLIC TOURS Scheduled to open Summer 2018, City Springs will feature a performing arts center, studio theatre, meeting space, retail, residential, and a 4-acre park. This is the community’s opportunity to see what’s happening inside the construction fence.

Saturday, September 23, 2017 • 9 am – noon Tours will be conducted in groups of 20. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. No flip flop footwear permitted. GEORGIA

16 | Out & About

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HIGH HOLIDAY WORKOUT Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:45 to 9 p.m.

All ages are invited for Zumba and a Sh’Bam dance party at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Beginners to advanced welcome; open to the community. Free. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Register: atlantajcc.org. Info: Rachael Rinehart at 678-812-4022 or rachael.rinehart@atlantajcc.org.


Bring your flashlight for a guided, family-oriented hike and hear the sounds of nocturnal creatures at the Dunwoody Nature Center. The hike follows trails around the wetlands and returns about an hour later to the meadow, where hot cocoa will be served around a fire. Strollers not recommended. Free. RSVP requested: email holly@ dunwoodynature.org or call 770-3943322. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

SANDY SPRINGS LIGHTNING 10K/5K Saturday, Sept. 23, 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. race start.

This 27th annual race on a fast, flat course through Sandy Springs neighborhoods is a Peachtree Road Race qualifier and kicks off the 32nd annual Sandy Springs Festival. $30-$40. Race day registration: Sandy Springs United Methodist Church Activities Center parking lot, 85 Mt. Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Parking and other info: sandyspringsfestival.com.


Sunday, Sept. 24, 4 to 7 p.m. Free beginner dance lesson at 3 p.m.

The Grammy Award-winning Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band bring their traditional accordion, 70s funk and classic R&B sound to the Dorothy Benson Center in an event sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. Tickets: $18; $5 students; $14 active military. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun/Creole food for sale. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

FALL NATIVE PLANT SALE Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members only preview: Thursday, Sept. 28, 4 to 7 p.m.

Azaleas, hazelnuts, ground covers, evergreens, veggies and a variety of butterfly attractors in full bloom are among the items that will be up for grabs in the Fall Native Plant Sale at the Chattahoochee Nature Center Greenhouse. Horticulturists and master gardeners will be on site. Admission is free to the horticulture area. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: 770-992-2055 ext. 229 or horticulture@chattnaturecenter.org.


Saturday, Sept. 23, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 32nd annual two-day festival will feature art, live music, cultural performances, a pet parade with prizes on Saturday at 10 a.m., children’s activities, classic rides, 10K and 5K races, a Battle of the Bands on Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m., a car show and a variety of food options. A new Heritage Sandy Springs exhibit about Jewish life and culture in the city, L’Chaim Sandy Springs, officially opens during the festival. Festival admission is free, for the first time in its history. Heritage Green, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsfestival.com.


Saturday, Sept. 23, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members preview begins at 9 a.m.

The Atlanta History Center’s celebration of Southern culture includes folk art, storytelling, demonstrations of crafts such as woodworking and blacksmithing, and acoustic music by The Whiskey Gentry band at the Smith Family Farm, a preserved 1840s farm. Michael W. Twitty, author of “The Cooking Gene,” will demonstrate open hearth cooking. Hot dogs, craft beers available. Admission is included in cost of general admission; free to members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Tickets and other info: atlantahistorycenter.com/family.

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Out & About | 17





Tuesday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 1, mall hours. Preview night is Monday, Sept. 25, from 6 to 9 p.m.

More than 75,000 gently used books will be for sale at bargain prices when the Atlanta, Cobb County and North Fulton branches of the American Association of University Women hold their 58th annual book fair. Free. $10 admission on preview night. Lower level of the Dillard’s wing at Perimeter Mall, 4400 AshfordDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Proceeds fund educational endeavors. Info: bookfairaauw.com.

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Thursday, Sept. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 15

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason in this classic crime mystery presented by Stage Door Players. North DeKalb Cultural Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Schedule and ticket info: stagedoorplayers.net.

DINNER AND A DIVA Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

Singers from the Capitol City Opera Company will perform highlights from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida” in the monthly Dinner and a Diva program at Petite Violette restaurant. Appetizers and cash bar begin at 6:30 p.m. Three-course dinner includes a glass of wine. Reservations required. 2948 Clairmont Road N.E., Brookhaven. Pricing and reservations: 404-634-6268. Dinner and a Diva info: ccityopera.org. Continued on page 18

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18 | Out & About

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Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.

The acoustic band Crooked Wits performs in the last “Sunset Sips” event of the year at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. The family-friendly event welcomes picnics. Cash bar. Free to CNC members; included with general admission for others. $10 adults, $7 seniors and students; $6 children ages 3 and up. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Through Saturday, Oct. 28. Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Artist Andrew Lyman’s photography and multimedia work is on display at the Spruill Gallery & Gift Shop in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography, a community photo festival. An Artist Talk at the gallery is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Both events free. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org/ gallery or 770-394-4019.

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SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Out & About | 19


LEARN SOMETHING “THE COOKING GENE” Thursday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m.

Culinary and cultural historian Michael W. Twitty, author of “The Cooking Gene,” a memoir of his roots and the origins of Southern cuisine, will speak at the Atlanta History Center. Twitty was named one of “Fifty People Changing the South” by Southern Living magazine. $10 general public, $5 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

“THE CUBAN AFFAIR” Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.

New York Times best-selling author Nelson DeMille presents his new novel, “The Cuban Affair,” at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. DeMille will appear in conversation with Alan P. Gross, who was accused of spying when he was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development and spent five years in a Cuban jail cell. $10-$15. Info: 678-8124005, or atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.


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20 | Community

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‘Camino Tom’ Beck shares his 50 years of experience on the trail BY GARY GOETTLING Tom Beck and his fellow Arctic hikers didn’t think twice about cooking a fresh fish dinner out in the open over a campfire — until company arrived. “A huge grizzly bear came into our camp area and raised up on his haunches and just looked at us,” the 72-year-old hiking enthusiast and longtime Sandy Springs resident recalled. Fortunately, “we made a lot of noise, and he turned around and walked off.” Beck and two companions had been flown from an Alaskan Eskimo village named Bettles to a point about 250 miles into the bush, where they began their trek. Heading northwest through the Atlanata Valley, they hiked for two weeks to a rendezvous with a supply plane bearing kayaks. After six days of paddling along the Noatac River, they were picked up and returned to civilization. “It was an awesome trip and a jawdropping experience as well,” Beck said. “We had caribou running through our camp, too.” Over the past five decades, the retired insurance executive figures he’s walked about 8,000 miles, including hikes at “just about every major mountain in the U.S.” Three years ago, he completed his fourth journey along the Camino de Santiago — The Way of St. James — a 1,200-year-old route followed by early Christians making a pilgrimage to the burial site of the apostle James at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the coastal town of Galicia, Spain. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the

Camino de Santiago is the collective name for a number of pathways that all converge at Galicia. Beck favors the 500-mile route starting in St.-Jean-Piedde-Port, France, and continues over the Pyrennes Mountains and across the width of Spain to the coast. This popular route draws about 200,000 hikers and cyclists a year. “You walk through a lot of tiny and medium-size Spanish towns on a paved surface, but about 70 percent of the trail is through woodlands, eucalyptus groves and vineyards,” said Beck, who first hiked the Camino in 2011, then again in 2012, 2013 and 2014. “It’s a moderate hike,” he continued. “It’s definitely not strenuous like the Appalachian Trail, but some parts are a little tougher than others. “If you’re relatively fit and don’t mind getting up in the morning and walking 12 or 15 miles a day for 35 days, you can do the Camino,” he added. “I’ve hiked with people in their nineties, and I remember walking with a lady pushing a carriage with her eight-month-old son inside. She was walking the whole trail.” Hostels along the way provide places to eat, socialize and spend the night. “After a long day of hiking, it’s great to get to your hostel in the late afternoon and sit and drink beer and wine with interesting people from all over the world,” he said. Beck started serious hiking more than 50 years ago when he and his best friend and co-worker, David Adams, decided on a whim to walk the 2,190-mile-

Reporter Classifieds

long Appalachian Trail. They completed all but the final 250 miles. “I don’t know why I haven’t walked the rest of it,” Beck said, “except that it’s strenuous and I’m getting older, and I no longer feel the need to say I’ve hiked the whole thing.” Beck teaches a class on international hiking every other month at the REI at Perimeter Mall, where he’s affectionately known as “Camino Tom.” His classes draw anywhere from 25 to 150 experienced and would-be hikers, with more than 1,000 having attended since Beck began the lectures five years ago. For long-distance hikes like the Camino, Beck recommends placing 25 pounds of sugar or flour — they’re compact and easy to load — in a backpack and wearing it for a 30-minute walk every day or every other day for a month prior to the hike. “This helps prepare your back, but otherwise there’s not much else you can do to get ready for walking several miles every day for weeks,” noted Beck, who also works part-time in REI’s shoe

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department. Beck stays in hiking shape by walking around his neighborhood and jogging about a mile and a half a day, but he’s not necessarily preparing for another Camino hike. “I’ve had a little bit of heart problems, and I don’t know if my legs would allow me to do that again, so I don’t know,” he said. “But I’d like to do it again, definitely.” For more information on the Camino de Santiago, call Camino Tom at 404-680-2325.

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22 | Community

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City buys house, may rent to public safety employees BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city is buying yet another house for a possible street-widening project – and also short-term use as affordable housing for police officers or firefighters. The $400,000 purchase of 6017 Kayron Drive, at the northeast corner of the Hammond Drive intersection, was authorized by the City Council on Sept. 5. It’s the eighth such purchase the city has made since February 2016 at a total cost of more than $1.5 million. The purchase of the properties – some with houses, some with vacant lots – are what the city calls “protective buys” to acquire right of way for a potential Hammond Drive widening. That controversial widening is only in the concept stage and construction would be many years away, if it happens at all. However, studying the project and acquiring land is a $16 million item on the city’s transportation special local option sales tax, or TSPLOST, list approved by voters last year. Meanwhile, the city faces the shorterterm question of what to do with properties it buys. Another challenge for the city is the local lack of housing afford-

able to its own public safety employees. The City Council last year informally agreed to try solving one problem with the other: Any house bought for the Hammond project that can be renovated for less cost than demolition will be rented to public safety employees at a discount rate. Of the seven properties the city previously bought in the Hammond corridor, five had houses, largely ranch-style dwellings dating back about 60 years. The city chose to demolish four of them, but renovated 521 Hammond. That house is now being rented to a Sandy Springs Police officer for $500 a month. The officer makes about $54,800 a year, not

The house at 6017 Kayron Drive.

counting bonuses and overtime, according to city payroll records. Now the house at 6017 Kayron Drive may be rented to a public safety employee as well. City officials said the house has yet to be formally inspected for renovation costs. But Mayor Rusty Paul and City Councilmember Gabri-


el Sterling said real estate listings indicate the house was renovated recently and appears to be in good enough shape for that public safety housing program. Properties the city previously purchased for the widening project include 372, 380, 400, 418, 521, 550 and 590 Hammond Drive.

Dunwoody Country Club’s senior men raise $220K for prostate research


From left, Dr. John Pattaras, Chief of Urology at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital; John Mills and Ed Kennedy, members of the Dunwoody Champions Golf Association; Martin Sanda, Chairman and Professor of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine; and Melissa Childress, Vice President of Cancer Services, Winship Cancer Institute.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

When John H. Kauffman, the president and CEO of Kauffman Tires Inc., was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009, he traveled from his home in Dunwoody to Houston, Texas, for treatment. An avid golfer and longtime member of the Dunwoody Country Club, Kauffman decided he wanted to receive treatment closer to where he lived and also to support those doing the research and treatment in Georgia. He convinced the senior

men of the club, also known as the Champions Golf Association, to begin raising funds for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, according to David Anderson, chair of the John H. Kauffman Fundraising Initiatives Benefiting the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University at the Dunwoody Country Club. “Our senior men have raised funds for prostate cancer for more than 20 years. Back in 2009, John Kauffman, who was a neighbor and very good friend, asked us to raise funds solely for Winship,” said Anderson.

After Kauffman died in 2013, the Champions Golf Association wanted to ensure his legacy lived on and unanimously agreed to name all prostate cancer fundraising activities in his name. This year the senior men raised $220,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar by Winship for a total of $440,000. The money goes toward prostate cancer research, Anderson said. Last year, the senior men raised more than $215,000. Activities to raise the money include golf outings and a major May reception with silent and live auctions. Next year will be the senior men’s 22nd year of fundraising, Anderson said. Some 20 men and women comprise a voluntary committee dedicated to fundraising to find a cure for prostate cancer, the most common cancer in American men. “Fundraising proceeds are used solely as seed capital for innovative research by oncologists and scientists working at Winship, the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the state,” said Anderson. When research projects prove successful, applications are submitted for multi-million-dollar federal or non-federal grants that include support for clinical trials to advance patient care. “The funds we give them helps them raise more money,” Anderson said. Martin G. Sanda, Professor and Chair of Urology at Emory and Director of Win-

ship’s Prostate Cancer Program, said support from the senior men of Dunwoody Country Club through their Kauffman fundraising initiatives has been “absolutely transformative” in advancing prostate cancer detection and treatment. “Pilot studies funded by the Dunwoody senior men have already led to larger federal grants that support the testing of new approaches to detecting and managing prostate cancer at Winship locations throughout Atlanta,” Sanda said in a written statement. The Dunwoody Country Club is located in Sandy Springs at the Dunwoody border. About 50 percent of members are from Sandy Springs and 50 percent from Dunwoody, said Anderson, who has lived in Dunwoody for 40 years and been a member of the country club for 30 years. The club is currently expanding its fitness center that is expected to take about two years to complete, according to Anderson. The club will soon tear down its current “cart barn,” where members park their golf carts, to build a new structure that will include a new cart barn and fitness center on the second floor. A temporary cart barn structure will be built until the new facility is finished, he said. “This is the result of a member survey in which members said they wanted more equipment and classes,” he said. “You will be able to do everything when the project is completed.”

SEPTEMBER 15 - 28, 2017

Community | 23


City’s adult business battles inch closer to Supreme Court appeal BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Is the city’s crackdown on adult businesses a legitimate fight against crime or an unconstitutional violation of civil liberties? After decade-long legal battles, that question is inching closer to being asked directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. In recent weeks, the city won yet another federal court decision, and faced yet another appeal, in its war with local strip clubs and an adult bookstore. On paper, the city is winning the cases, but in practice, it often does so by making last-minute changes to its laws which effectively loosen the intended restrictions on adult businesses. This year, that legal strategy has included deleting an entire ordinance banning sex-toy sales and expanding the districts where adult businesses are allowed in the new zoning code from one to seven. Such last-minute changes have themselves become part of the lawsuits’ controversies. Cary Wiggins, an attorney representing businesses involved in two of the legal battles, says appeals to the Supreme Court are on the table. While the Supreme Court accepts only a small number of the thousands of cases submitted, even a petition for its review would mean even more years of high-stakes legal combat. “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned,” Wiggins said of the strategy in one of the two cases. City Attorney Dan Lee declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. Wiggins represents two strip clubs, Flashers and Mardi Gras, and the bookstore Inserection, which is located on Roswell Road across the street from City Hall. The businesses are involved in two separate but related lawsuits that recently had significant developments: the main challenge to city zoning and alcohol laws, and a spin-off case about the sex-toy ban.

The main case

The main case began in 2006, when the businesses challenged new city codes suggested by Scott Bergthold, a

Tennessee attorney who specializes in The other Supreme Court decision was municipal laws cracking down on sexlast year’s influential Reed v. Town of Gilually oriented businesses. The codes bert, which said a city’s sign ordinance viaimed to ban the sale of booze — a maolated First Amendment free speech rights jor source of revenue — in strip clubs because it restricted the size of certain signs and to place strong zoning restrictions based on their content. In Sandy Springs, on where such businesses could operate. the adult businesses seem to suggest the The city has said it has no problem with case could apply to restrictions in zoning adult entertainment per se, but argues that categories, too, when they are treated difit produces crime as a side effect that needs ferent from other clubs or bookstores. to be controlled. The businesses say the city’s laws are motivated by a bias against The ‘sexual devices’ case their work and intended to make it impossiIn 2009, the city enacted a sex-toy ban ble for them to operate. The businesses sued, targeting adult bookstores. Under the orclaiming violations of the U.S. Constitution’s dinance, anyone selling a “sexual device” First and Fourteenth could have been fined, Amendments. jailed or sentenced to The city won an “confinement at lainitial hearing and bor.” Inserection chalalso won a federal lenged the ban as part court appeal on Aug. of the main lawsuit, 14. On Sept. 1, the busiand a court later ornesses filed a petition dered the dispute to for the case to be rebe a separate case, heard, preferably by with two individual a panel of all judges residents joining the of the U.S. 11th Circuit bookstore as plainCourt of Appeals. The tiffs. businesses claim a The city won iniJOHN RUCH three-judge panel that tial rounds in court. The sign for the Inserection adult bookstore on Roswell Road. heard the appeal did But in March, the ennot pay enough attentire 11th Circuit Court tion to certain constitutional arguments. threw out a previous decision and agreed If the court declines to re-hear the to re-hear the case, strongly suggesting the case, the next available step for the busiordinance was about to be ruled unconstinesses would be a petition to the U.S. Sututional. Days later, the City Council quietpreme Court. Wiggins said his clients ly deleted the ordinance from the books. aren’t looking that far ahead yet, but However, the lawsuit continued, though added, “We’re going to continue to purthe major point of controversy became sue the case, no question about that.” whether the ordinance’s deletion made the The petition to re-hear the case focuses dispute moot. On Aug. 23, a divided 11th on the interpretation of two Supreme Court Circuit ruled the case was indeed moot and decisions. In one of those cases, Los Angethe plaintiffs cannot seek damages. les v. Alameda Books, Inc. (2002), the court The last possible appeal would be a upheld zoning restrictions on adult bookpetition to the U.S. Supreme Court, and stores similar to those in Sandy Springs. that is under consideration. However, Wiggins asks the court to focus “We’re exploring options with an eye on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in to moving to the next level,” said Wiggins. that case, which cautioned that cities can In the Aug. 23 decision, the court maregulate the effects of such bookstores, but jority noted that it is fair to be skeptical not by directly suppressing their speech. of the city’s last-minute killing of the

City of Sandy Springs


Adoption of the Annual Capital Improvements Element (CIE) Update

Public Hearings: Location:

Mayor and City Council October 17, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

THE P O L IC E B LO T TER WI L L R ETUR N The Sandy Springs Police blotter was unavailable at press time, as Capt. Steve Rose and the rest of the department responded to Tropical Storm Irma. The blotter will be available soon at ReporterNewspapers.net and will return to these pages.



sex-toy ban in question. “We are cognizant of the fact that the city defended its ordinance for nearly a decade and … declined to concede that it was unconstitutional,” the opinion says. But, the court adds, “Appellants have already won” and cannot be given damages for “purely psychic satisfaction.” However, five justices joined a dissenting opinion that said the case should have continued. Letting the city slip away by killing the ordinance after years of subjecting the bookstore to it, the justice wrote, amounts to saying that “the government gets one free pass at violating your constitutional rights.” The court majority wrote that it believed the city’s deletion of the ordinance was sincere, not a manipulation of the system, partly because of City Council public “deliberation” and public votes on the subject: the actual repeal, and a resolution in which the council “disavowed” the ordinance and promised to never again pass one like it. The ordinance repeal was public, but carried out with no open council discussion and no hint of its controversial purpose. The repeal was approved by the council on its “consent agenda,” where various unrelated items are up for a single vote without elaboration or discussion. It appeared on that agenda under a generic title and its true details could be seen only by clicking through a link on the online version of the agenda. And it is unclear what resolution “disavowing” such laws the court referred to, as none seems to have been on any City Council agenda between the time of the ordinance repeal and the court hearing.

Petition Number:



Renaissance Development Corp.


6550 Scott Valley Road


Variance from Section 6.4.3.B of the Zoning Ordinance to encroach into the 50-foot minimum front yard setback to construct a new single-family detached house.

Public Hearing:

Board of Appeals October 12, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

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