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SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 20

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► Innovation Center celebrates its first startup ‘graduation’ PAGE 12 ► As 285/400 interchange expands, air pollution is a concern PAGE 6

Group calls for independent school system

Festival friends

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Starr Alston says hello to Boots the goat at the petting zoo, just one of many attractions at the 33rd annual Sandy Springs Festival that ran Sept. 22-23. This year’s edition was held at the new City Springs civic center.

PHIL MOSIER

Two Sandy Springs residents, including City Councilmember Jody Reichel, have launched a group to study the feasibility of an independent school system, citing the desire for greater local control. The study would explore whether Sandy Springs’ taxes would generate sufficient funding to operate the 11 public schools within the city’s borders, which are currently operated by the Fulton County School System. Regardless of the results, creating a new district would require a state constitutional amendment. “It’s just an investigation right now,” Reichel said in an interview. Fulton County Schools and area school board members Julia Bernath and Gail Dean did not respond to questions about the idea. Members of the group suggesting an independent school system include Reichel, who says she is working on the effort as an independent citizen, and CherSee GROUP on page 22

Battle against Tesla CEO is latest high-profile case for local lawyer Page 4

Would a local Board of Education for Sandy Springs be able to better understand the unique needs of our 10,000 students at our 11 public schools? We believe all evidence points to ‘yes.’ CHERYL BARLOW CITIZENS FOR LOCAL AREA SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

See COMMENTARY, page 10

OUT & ABOUT Welcome fall with Apple Cider Days Page 16

City cites transitional housing in condos BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The city plans to take a controversial nonprofit to court over lack of a business license for using condos as transitional housing. The owner of Mary Hall Freedom House, which provides several services out of condos it purchased earlier this year, said it does have proper licenses and See CITY on page 15


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A 14-year-old plan to bring two new buildings to Barfield Road at Mount Vernon Highway has been updated with a proposed hotel. The original designs were approved in 2004 by Fulton County, before the city’s incorporation. Now the developer, MidCity Real Estate Partners, is seeking to have Sandy Springs approve a hotel in place of one of the office buildings, with construction to start next year. The 3.7-acre lot sits west of Ga. 400 and is adjacent to the Promenade at Northplace condo development. It is located at 6403 Barfield Road. There are already several hotels in the area, but Demetrops said MidCity sees demand for another one due to Mercedes-Benz USA’s new headquarters down the street and the new City Springs civic center nearby. “I believe it will be the nicest hotel west of [Ga.] 400,” he said. The original plan, under the name NorthPlace, was for two multistory buildings that have office space and retail on the bottom floor. Under the new proposal, one of those buildings would become a 7-story Aloft hotel, a brand owned by hotel chain Marriott. A hotel is allowed under the city’s new zoning rules, but the developer is to keep the original approval under the old zoning, said MidCity executive Kirk Demetrops. Demetrops said MidCity is seeking a rezoning under the old rules that would allow a hotel on that lot. The footprint is identical, and the only change is the use of one of the buildings, he said. The developer is in discussions with potential office tenants and hopes to start construction on that building at the same time, but the hotel would move forward regardless, Demetrops said. The project has been advertised as available to be custom-built for specific tenants. The project is scheduled to go before the city Planning Commission Dec. 19.

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SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Community Briefs LO C A L S TR I P C L UBS’ F U TU R E UN C L EA R A F TER F O R C ED C LO SURE

At least one of the strip clubs in Sandy Springs that was forced to close after losing legal battles with the city is not planning to relocate, its lawyer said. The city’s three strip clubs closed in early September following a court hearing on the city’s attempt to get an injunction against their operations. Alan Begner, who represents the Coronet Club/Doll House, a strip club that was located on Roswell Road, said the business is not planning to relocate. Begner is not aware of what the building owners plan to do next with the property. Begner spoke against the city’s decisions to pass laws that forced the strip clubs to close, saying “they never caused harm to anybody.” “This is a business that has been operating for over 25 years,” he said. “It employed hundreds people. It gave them a way to make a living.” Cary Wiggins, the attorney for the other two strip clubs in the city, Mardi Gras and Flasher’s, would not comment on possible new locations or action. Wiggins said he could not provide any information on legal strategy.

M T . V ER N ON PATH OP EN HOUS E S C H EDULED

Sandy Springs has set an open house for the Mt. Vernon multiuse path project for Oct. 4. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in Sandy Springs City Hall, 1 Galambos Way. There will be a presentation with a short question and answer period, followed by the open house, according to the announcement. The proposed project runs 1.5 miles from the Sandy Springs MARTA Station to Vernon Woods Drive. The concepts include a 10-12 foot multiuse path, 6-foot sidewalks, landscaping and a center turn lane. The path project is one of many around the city on the list to be funded by the special transportation sales tax approved by voters in 2016.

DEVELO PM EN T A UTH ORITY SP O N S OR S C I T Y GREEN C ON C ER T S ERI ES

The Sandy Springs Development Authority agreed to sponsor a concert seSS

ries on the City Green, the park outside City Springs. The series would include three free concerts that would be held in the fall this year, according to the proposal. The dates and times have not been determined, the proposal said. The Development Authority approved contributing $30,000 to sponsor the series, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

C ITY SPR ING S ALAR M SYSTEM TO B E RECO NFIG U R ED

The alarm system in City Springs is going to be reprogrammed to provide more accurate instructions in the event of an emergency or incident, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The system includes a recorded voice that tells occupants to exit the building between loud alarm tones. However, the city currently has a policy to wait for further instructions from city staff before exiting the building. The alarm was activated during a

Sept. 11 Board of Appeals meeting. City Attorney Dan Lee notified people at the meeting to instead wait for information before leaving. Shortly after, a staff member confirmed there was no emergency and the alarm was turned off.

“The system was installed with the automatic warning to leave the building. We’re in the process of reprogramming, so that we’re able to provide the right directions,” Kraun said.


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Battle against Tesla CEO is latest high-profile case for local libel lawyer BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A dramatic rescue of a dozen boys from a flooded cave in Thailand this summer was followed by a bizarre sideshow: a world-famous billionaire inventor groundlessly smearing one of the rescue advisers as a pedophile. On Aug. 28, Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down, taking to Twitter to ask why cave expert Vernon Unsworth hadn’t sued him over the slur. “@elonmusk should check his mail before tweeting,” came a prompt reply illustrated with a photo of an intent-to-sue letter. That mic-drop tweet came from the fingertips of L. Lin Wood, a Buckhead attorney who has become one of the nation’s top libel warriors after using similar inyour-face tactics to defend the honor of such clients as Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, and the family members of JonBenét Ramsey, the child victim of a notorious unsolved murder. “[The false accusations] change their life forever, because the shout of ‘guilty’ is never overcome by the whisper of innocence,” Wood said of his clients in a recent interview. Over the years, Wood has represented both sides in prominent sexual misconduct and assault claims. Current clients include casino mogul Steve Wynn, who denies several workplace misconduct claims, and 15 years ago Wood represented the woman who accused basketball star Kobe Bryant of rape in a case that was later settled without admission of wrongdoing. Such cases leave him with some strong concerns about the “#MeToo movement” and the social media era. While saying he is often the first to go to the “court of public opinion,” Wood is also concerned it “has no rules of evidence.” “I don’t know what the future of reputation is going to be. We have normalized, in so many ways, heinous accusations,” Wood said, predicting the court system eventually will tighten protections against defamation.

Early career and Richard Jewell

Growing up in Macon, Wood saw his family interact with the court system in one of the worst possible ways: his father killed his mother. “I grew up in a family household of domestic violence,” he said. While that was a factor in his decision to become a lawyer, he says his personal inclination to persuasion and advocacy was the prime motive. He recalls doing well as youth pastor for a day at his church at age 13. “Everybody was telling me I was called by God to be a preacher, and I said, ‘No, I’m going to be a lawyer,’ ” Wood says.

L. Lin Wood, left, and Richard Jewell at a 2006 event where Jewell was honored by Gov. Sonny Perdue as a rescue hero of the Atlanta Olympics bombing.

His career began with medical malpractice defense in Macon. Then he moved to Atlanta to advocate for patients in such cases. After working at various firms and other specialties, including Medicare fraud cases, he now runs his own boutique civil litigation practice in Midtown. Formerly a longtime Sandy Springs resident, he now lives in Buckhead’s Peachtree Park, close to his office, in a relatively modest home. He says what he likes best about his work is his personal connection with his clients, not material goods he can gather with the fees. “I don’t need a $5 million house. All I’d have is a lot of empty rooms,” he says, adding that he’s happy with his Buckhead neighborhood. “I love this part of the city. I love being surrounded by trees and the community.” Wood’s success in libel litigation — still a major focus of his firm — started with the extraordinary case of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, which killed one person and injured more than 100. Jewell, a security guard at the park, was at first hailed as a hero for discovering the bomb and guiding people away from its blast zone. But an FBI investigation leak led to a media frenzy suggesting Jewell was himself the bomber.

Wood got the case as a referral from another lawyer who knew him as an aggressive courtroom advocate. Among the challenges: “I didn’t know anything about libel law at the time,” says Wood. He plunged in, learning as he went, in a case that “seems almost surreal” in retrospect. Jewell had “the two most powerful entities in the world trying to put him in prison with the death penalty”— the U.S. government and the media, Wood said. “Those are spooky days.” Wood said it is important to him that he believes his clients are innocent of the accusations against them, a decision he makes after reviewing the case and his “instincts” when talking to them. So his first meeting with Jewell — in a conference room that happened to overlook Centennial Olympic Park — was crucial, especially because Wood had counted himself among those suspecting him. “Finally I said, ‘Richard, I’ll represent you if you want me to, but first you’ll have to accept my apology. … I thought you did it. I believed what I saw on TV. I believed what I read in the papers.’ ” Wood’s fierce defense helped Jewell avoid prosecution and won some settlements, including from NBC News, and

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some cases continued even after Jewell’s untimely death in 2007 at age 44. The real criminal was later revealed to be Eric Rudolph, a hate-driven terrorist who had also bombed an Atlanta lesbian nightclub and clinics that performed abortions in Sandy Springs and Alabama. But even Jewell’s vindication will not fully remove the cloud, Wood says, noting “his name does not appear in the [Olympic] park” and he never got a commendation from the International Olympic Committee or other Games organizers. “People are going to remember Richard Jewell as the guy falsely accused of bombing the Olympics,” says Wood. “Richard should be remembered as a hero of the Centennial Olympic Games. Richard saved hundreds of innocent lives. … He was a legitimate hero.” “I love Richard Jewell,” Wood adds. “I miss him every day.”

The Ramseys and presidential candidates

Wood soon was among the attorneys involved in another major media frenzy, the JonBenét Ramsey murder in Boulder, Colo., in 1996, where parents John and Patsy and brother Burke frequently involved in law-


Community | 5

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net suits to clear their names. Over 20 years of sexual assault allegations that were still later, Wood is still representing John and under investigation at press time. Wood Burke Ramsey in a pending case. likened the case to his defense of Cain on The Ramseys had previously lived in TV talk shows: “I made the point it’s a slipthe Atlanta area; JonBenét was born here pery slope and I don’t think we want to and is buried in Marietta. Wood said he got decide who’s going to govern us based on involved in the case when Patsy Ramsey guilt by accusation.” heard about him after contacting a local More generally in the social media age, family whose child had been murdered. Wood said, “The pendulum has swung too “People don’t know this. Patsy would far in favor of the First Amendment” and hear about people who lost a child and he believes libel laws will be tightened – reach out to them quietly,” Wood said. though not in the way President Trump As with Jewell, Wood developed a persometimes calls for. “The change in the lisonal connection with the family, includbel laws and First Amendment laws … it’s ing Patsy, who died in 2006. “I was a pallnot going to come from legislation. It’s gobearer at Patsy’s funeral,” he said. ing to come from the court system” and As Wood’s libel-law experience grew, how it interprets the definition of a “pubhe found himself involved in presidential lic figure” who has less defamation proteccampaigns. “I always said I want to repretions, Wood said. sent somebody who could be president,” That could make Unsworth’s case Wood says, “but realized if I’m representagainst Musk tougher, Wood said, being them, they have a problem that might cause he gave media interviews criticizprevent that.” ing Musk’s proposal for using a miniature That was the case submarine for the with Herman Cain, cave rescue, and whose 2012 Repubthus might be conlican nomination sidered a public figattempt failed amid ure “as if he’s a pressexual misconduct ident or movie star… allegations that he and I think that’s just denied and fought wrong.” with Wood’s representation. He said The Musk he also successfully case represented anothIn taking on er Republican conMusk, Wood says he tender, Rick Perry, is once again repreby killing a pending senting a rescue hero Huffington Post sto— in this case, Unry that would have sworth’s knowledge reported some sort of the Thailand cave of allegations. system was crucial Other clients information for the have included fordivers who got the mer California Consurvivors out. L. LIN WOOD gressman Gary Con“Vern is as close dit, who was caught BUCKHEAD LIBEL ATTORNEY to Richard Jewell as up in a media frenzy I’ve seen in my pracover the still mystetice,” Wood says. “But rious 2001 murder of Chandra Levy; Perri for Vernon, I’m not sure that rescue could “Pebbles” Reid, manager of the R&B group have happened.” TLC; casino and newspaper owner Sheldon As for Musk’s comments, Wood says he Adelson; and “Dr. Phil” McGraw. has seen many defamation cases and, after working with ultra-wealthy clients, is faThe ‘#MeToo’ era miliar with the “billionaire mentality.” But The “#MeToo” movement of revealing he says he was still surprised by the novellong-suppressed stories of sexual abuse ty of a tycoon issuing a slur while making and harassment raises some concerns it clear he had no evidence, then essentially from Wood’s libel-lawyer perspective. inviting the target to sue. “I have a healthy respect for the “I’ve been through enough that it ‘#MeToo’ movement,” Wood says. He said doesn’t shock me. But what Musk did is that based on what he’s read, he would declose to shocking me,” Wood said. “You cline to represent Harvey Weinstein, the can’t make this up. There’s no good explamovie producer who is now charged with nation for what Mr. Musk did.” rape after scores of sexual abuse allegaNaturally, Wood expects to win the tions against him sparked the movement. now-filed lawsuit and secure damages in Wood also says he believes the accuser he the “tens of millions of dollars.” represented in the Kobe Bryant case was “If you got $20 billion,” Wood asks, “how the victim of a crime in an “egregious case.” much do you have to pull out of your pockBut Wood also spends some time on et to learn your lesson?” Twitter defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is the subject

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As 285/400 interchange expands, air pollution is a concern spread vehicle exhaust similar to a smokestack, dispersing pollution over a larger area, but at lower concentrations.

Pollution types and mapping

An Atlanta Regional Commission map showing estimated levels of particulate matter pollution in the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange area in terms of average annual micrograms per cubic meter. High levels are red; low levels are green. All of the levels are within federal guidelines, but health officials say any level can cause illness.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Air pollution is a little-discussed aspect of the state’s I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction and expansion projects, partly because planning studies said it essentially has a neutral effect by improving air quality in some ways and harming it in others. But the interchange area’s exhaust-related pollution is already among metro Atlanta’s highest, and the expanded highway lanes will have one new impact: dumping pollutants closer to homes, businesses and parks. The state’s current “Transform 285/400” interchange rebuild, and its plan to add toll lanes over the next decade, present various pollution tradeoffs, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation and air-quality experts. Faster traffic flow and possible Ga. 400 mass transit could reduce local air pollution; more traffic, ineffective transit and lanes closer to neighborhoods could increase pollution. GDOT’s environmental study for Transform 285/400 found it had no overall significant impact on air pollution and meets federal standards. But, regardless of federal guide-

lines, motor vehicle exhaust contains dangerous, tiny particles of pollution that the World Health Organization says has no known safe level of exposure. An Atlanta Regional Commission map of how such pollution spreads off highways shows that the 285/400 interchange is rivaled only by Atlanta’s Downtown Connector for concentrations of the dangerous particles. Relatively high concentrations of the pollution blows onto some Sandy Springs city parks and the Medical Center’s hospitals, among other areas, according to the map — and that’s only one type of air pollution. “Too much time spent in that area outdoors … is probably not healthy,” said Paul D’Onofrio, an ARC planner on air quality and climate change who worked on the map, about those higherconcentration spots. Transform 285/400 is expected to wrap up in 2020. The additional toll, or “managed,” lanes — four on each highway — are in the planning stages. According to GDOT’s website, environmental studies for the Ga. 400 toll lanes are underway with construction expected to start in 2021 and finish in 2024; the I-285 toll lanes have early studies underway and are expected

to start construction in 2023 for a 2028 opening. GDOT has committed to design transit bus access on the Ga. 400 lanes, and local cities are studying the possibility of some sort of I-285 transit as well. Brian Gist, an attorney in the Atlanta office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, said his advocacy organization has various air-quality concerns about the toll lanes. Those include whether transit will actually work on the lanes, whether they will use “clean” buses, and whether drivers who can’t afford tolls will boost pollution by sitting in congestion or using local streets instead. “The question is, if we want these [toll lanes] to benefit regional transit … are we really incorporating transit into those lanes?” asks Gist. His group also believes GDOT could do a better job of “taking a hard look at the aggregate impact of all these projects,” he said. Another new factor with toll lanes is the proposal for portions of them to run on elevated ramps 30 or more feet tall. That idea has drawn some local criticism about aesthetics and right of way, but it may have air quality effects, too. Gist said his group has yet to study the issue, but that elevated lanes could

Exhaust-related air pollution is broadly trending downward due to tighter fuel-efficiency standards and other regulations, Gist and D’Onofrio said, but remains a significant problem, and new transportation technology hasn’t solved it. Electric vehicles, which eliminate local pollution, are still a small factor, and such new developments as ride-sharing services and autonomous vehicles may increase congestion and pollution, Gist said. Fossil-fuel vehicles produce several types of air pollution, such as ozone, which can cause health problems, and greenhouse gases that SPECIAL contribute to climate change. They also produce “particulate matter” — tiny particles of pollutants that, when inhaled, can cause cancer and heart and lung disease, among other lethal ills. Metro Atlanta’s highway pollution was a major issue and legal battle in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gist said, when the region was ruled out of compliance with federal air-quality standards. Various regulations, along with tighter federal fuel-efficiency standards, now have the region in compliance, Gist said. Road projects like Transform 285/400 are required to be built in ways that do not increase air pollution above those federal rules. But federal standards don’t tell the entire story about such dangerous pollutants as particulate matter. An example is a type known as “PM2.5,” meaning particles 2.5 micrometers in size — so tiny they can go directly into the bloodstream when inhaled. PM2.5 from vehicle exhaust usually falls out of the air within 300 to 500 feet of roads, Gist and D’Onofrio say. The federal limit for PM2.5 exposure is an annual average of 12 micrograms per cubic meter, which the metro area at least meets, according to Gist and D’Onofrio. But the World Health Organization recommends a practical standard of 10


Community | 7

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net micrograms per cubic meter, and also says that any amount of PM2.5 air pollution has demonstrated illness-causing effects. “There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur,” the WHO said in a 2013 report, which estimated 3.1 million deaths from the pollution worldwide in 2010. To the ARC, even today’s lower levels of PM2.5 are a significant health concern. In 2016, the ARC produced the “Atlanta Roadside Emissions Exposure Study” to look at the local effects of PM2.5 pollution from vehicle exhaust. A major motive, D’Onofrio said, is informing governments that might build along roadways about pollution risks. “People shouldn’t be building schools right next to freeways. Playgrounds shouldn’t be next to freeways,” he said. The study includes a highly detailed map of how PM2.5 pollution is estimated to spread from metro Atlanta roadways, color-coded to show annual average concentrations of 1.2 to 7.1 micrograms per cubic meter. The map uses traffic, emissions, weather and physics modeling based on 2015 data that D’Onofrio said would not have changed significantly yet; an update is planned in about two years. On the map, the 285/400 interchange puts much of Perimeter Center into red and orange areas reflecting higher PM2.5 concentrations. The most intense estimated pollution is along I-285 in Sandy Springs between Long Island and Glenridge drives. Allen Road Park, featuring a playground and sports courts, is within that area; the city’s Hammond and Ridgeview parks are in higher-concentration areas as well. So are Dunwoody’s Georgetown Recreation Club and the publicly accessible green spaces in Perimeter Center’s Concourse and Ravinia skyscraper complexes. All of the “Pill Hill” hospitals — Northside, Emory Saint Joseph’s and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite — are also in higher-concentration zones; Northside said it uses industry-standard air filtration and monitoring systems that would keep out pollutants. But air patterns make some results surprising. Fulton County’s Heards Ferry Elementary and Riverwood high schools are directly next to I-285, but in lower-concentration areas for PM2.5 — though they still get some, between 2 and 3 micrograms per cubic meter. D’Onofrio said that exhaust-related particulate matter is only about 30 to 50 percent of overall air pollution, so areas with higher PM2.5 concentration probably have other significant air pollutant levels as well. “You should be worried about any kind of air pollution in general,” he said.

285/400 impacts

When GDOT’s 2015 environmental study for Transform 285/400 reported “no significant impact,” that meant it will meet federal pollution standards. What that means at the local level has some nuances. The study broadly refers to what Gist calls the typically “give and take” concept of vehicle-caused pollution: If traffic moves through the area faster as intended by the project, vehicles will dump less pollution in any given spot; but the improved road might attract more drivers, which will boost overall pollution. The study does not quantify the assumptions and generally presented it as a canceling-out effect. The study predicted that Transform 285/400 will slightly reduce carbon monoxide emissions in the entire area, but may slightly increase around certain interchanges. Particulate matter pollution would continue to meet federal standards, and GDOT avoided doing a “hotspot” analysis of the effects after a state and federal review. Another type of pollution addressed by GDOT’s study was “mobile source air toxics,” referring to various particular pollutants, including cancer-causing substances. GDOT said there are no agreed-upon standards for measuring and controlling them yet and predicted the project would have “no appreciate impact” on their local levels. But that still meant a projected 9.4 percent increase in the interchange area by 2039. And, GDOT said, new lanes added as part of the interchange reconstruction would put such pollution closer to homes and businesses. GDOT also addressed “environmental justice” issues, saying that minority and low-income households within the project area were clustered along the western section of I-285. GDOT reported no project impact on that area, but it’s the zone that the ARC maps show as having the highest local concentrations of PM2.5 highway pollution. As GDOT begins planning the additional toll lanes, Gist said air quality should be a significant concern. The bus transit, which could reduce vehicle trips, will only work if the design doesn’t leave the buses “stuck in traffic like everybody else,” he says. There is also the possibility the buses themselves will produce pollution.

A closer look at the interchange’s particulate matter pollution in the Atlanta Regional Commission map.

“We strongly support clean buses,” Gist said, saying his group prefers compressed natural gas fuel over diesel, and electric power above all. Another concern is that drivers who cannot afford the toll lanes will be stuck in traffic and divert their trips onto local streets, increasing conges-

tion and pollution there. Pollution on local streets has a bigger impact, Gist said. “Where there are people walking and riding bikes and waiting for the bus,” he said, “they’re breathing that automobile exhaust.”

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8 | Education

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State school superintendent talks local control, start dates BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

State Superintendent Richard Woods spoke on his support for local control, including on trade-oriented classes and school start dates, during a Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon Sept. 14. Woods, who took office in 2015 and is running for re-election this year against Democrat Otha Thornton, has focused his platform on decentralizing control, saying he thinks local districts should make the big decisions for their schools, including school schedules. Legislation was introduced in the General Assembly’s last session that would prohibit schools from starting prior to the third week in August. A state Senate study committee is researching how changing the school schedule could affect the travel and hospitality industries. Woods said he understands some industries could be helped by a longer summer, but the school calendar would have to be made up somewhere, either by ending later or cutting mid-year breaks, he said. He also believes the start date should not be mandated by the state. “I really believe in local control and I think they know what is best for their kids,” said Woods, who oversees 1.8 million students across 180 districts. About 90 percent of Georgia children attend public schools, he said. He also believes the importance of tests should be de-emphasized, Woods said at the luncheon, which was held in the City Springs Studio Theatre. “Success is not measured by test scores,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure our kids are ready for life.” Encouraging every student to pursue a college degree from a four-year university is also unnecessary, he said. There is a shortage of employees to fill manual labor jobs, including electrician and contractor positions, he said. “Those are good and honorable trades. They are things that we need,” he said. Shop classes have upgraded dramatically to fill that need in recent years, he said. Increasing local district decisions also includes creating programs focused on trades, Woods said. He has encouraged prominent industries to partner with their local districts to create coursework that could support that business, such as mining in North Georgia or entertainment industry needs. One of the major missing pieces in Georgia needed for the entertainment industry is people who write scripts, so they created new coursework for that, he said. “We want to make sure that we are listening to businesses throughout the state,” he said.

EVELYN ANDREWS

State Superintendent Richard Woods speaks with luncheon attendees at the end of the Sept. 14 event, which was held in the City Springs Studio Theatre.

Agriculture remains the largest industry in the state, he said, but entertainment jobs have grown rapidly as a state tax credit and other incentives draw film and TV productions to Georgia. “Opportunities like we have never seen are at the doorstep for our children,” Woods said. Large school districts in the north metro area should be leaders for smaller districts in the state, Woods said. “You are great incubators of innovation,” he said of Fulton County and other large districts in the area.

Education Briefs S CHO O L S A F ET Y C OMMITTEE NEAR S EN D O F RESEA RC H

The Senate school safety study committee held its next-to-final meeting at Chamblee Charter High School on Sept. 18 as it begins to wrap up its research. The study committee has met with teachers, students, parents and local first responders across the state. Its members inSPECIAL clude local State Sen. Fran Millar. Sens. John Albers, who chairs the committee, Kay Kirkpatrick and Fran Millar. Following the meeting, where the committee heard mostly from Gwinnett County community members, Millar said he expects recommendations to center around needing more funding for safety improvements. That may include allowing schools to

use special purpose tax, or EPLOST, funds for the projects or initiatives, Millar said. “We have to make a safe environment for children,” Millar said. Millar does not support or expect any recommendations to arm teachers. “I don’t see that happening in the metro area,” he said. “It is more important to arm school resource officers.” The committee will meet a final time with community members in Savannah on Oct. 26 before reviewing the information in November at the state Capitol. The committee will then draft a report on its findings and recommendations for the Senate.

N EW GRAD U ATIO N R ATES MI XED F OR LO CAL SCHO O LS

Graduation rates for DeKalb and Atlanta public school districts increased last school year while Fulton’s remained the same, according to state data. Statewide, the graduation rate rose to 81.6 percent in 2018 from 80.6 percent in 2017. DeKalb County School District DeKalb’s graduation rate for 2018 was 75 percent, an increase over 2017’s rate of 74 percent. Chamblee Charter and Dunwoody high schools are two of nine schools in the dis-

trict with rates above 80 percent. Chamblee Charter’s new rate is 83 percent, an increase over 2017’s 81.9 percent. Dunwoody’s is 86 percent, an increase over 2017’s 85.7 percent, according to the state. Cross Keys High’s rate fell to 64.4 percent. Last year, it was 68.7 percent. Fulton County School District The district’s rate remained the same at 86.8 percent, the highest graduation rate of all large metro Atlanta school systems, according to the district. North Springs Charter High School’s rate fell from 90.4 to 90.1. Riverwood International Charter School’s rose from 87 to 92.2, according to the district. Atlanta Public Schools Atlanta Public Schools’ rate increased to 77 percent in 2018. The rate in 2017 was 71.1 percent, according to the district. North Atlanta High School’s rate fell from 94.9 percent to 92.5, according to the state.

R IVERWO O D CLU STER FI R S T IN D ISTR ICT TO R ECEIV E IB CER TIFICATIO N

Three elementary schools that feed into Riverwood International Charter School have received International Baccalaureate certification, making Riverwood the first Fulton cluster to be completely certified.

Heards Ferry, High Point and Lake Forest elementary schools have been certified by the elite education organization, the Fulton County School District announced Sept. 14. Riverwood International Charter School was certified in 1999 and Ridgeview Charter School in 2009, the district said in a press release. IB certification is a long process that includes consultations and verification visits from the international organization. Becoming an IB school allows it to be part of global of network of schools that focus on the personal development of students and academic rigor, according to the website. Schools pay thousands in fees to apply and annual fees each year to be a member. There are also fees associated with the special tests administered to students, according to the website. Lib Roberts, High Point’s certification coordinator, said in the press release that the certification is expected to increase student performance and provide more opportunities for students after graduation. “The greatest benefit will be that entire generations of students will begin to see the world as a more connected place where people with varied heritages and cultures are able to celebrate and embrace our human commonalities rather than our differences,” Roberts said in the release.


Education | 9

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Riverwood International Charter School budget rises by $5M

FULTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

An illustration shows the planned design for the new Riverwood International Charter School.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

After expressing surprise and disappointment, the Fulton County Board of Education voted unanimously to increase the budget for a phase of the new Riverwood Charter International School in Sandy Springs by more than $5 million. District 5 Board Member Linda McCain said she understands that construction costs are rising nationwide, but is concerned that the Riverwood project has risen to encompass about 10 percent of the district’s capital budget for the next five years. “This is unbelievable,” McCain said. “Did we design this building to be one of the most expensive buildings we’ve done in Fulton County? That’s my only takeaway from this,” she said. The Fulton County School District staff attributed the increases to rising construction costs, particularly for such materials as cement and steel. The school, located off of Heards Ferry Road at 5900 Raider Drive, is being built in seven phases to allow the school to remain open during construction. That process is causing the construction time to be much longer than typical, another factor driving up costs, said Patrick Burke, the district chief operating officer, said during a presentation at the board’s Sept. 13 work session, which is archived in video online. Delaying approval of the “Phase 2B” contract increase, which totals $5,766,746, could affect costs and schedules, he cautioned. The total budget for Phase 2B, which includes roofing, doors, windows, interior finishes and landscaping, now comes to $29,580,046. To prevent similar increases for the following phases, Burke said phases 3 through 7 will be bid in a way that locks in the prices. District 2 Board Member Katie Reeves expressed disappointment and shock that district staff or the construction manager did not see the cost increase coming.

“Somebody should have caught this,” Reeves said. “I’m having a tough time trying to absorb that every single gut check along the way failed us.” District 4 Board Member Linda Bryant said that this is not the only project funded by the special purpose local option tax that has gone over budget. She renewed her call for an audit of SPLOST projects that gets into more details than the annual audit already done.

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10 | Commentary

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Commentary / A call for Sandy Springs’ own school system When it comes to education, bigger is not better. Simply put, the mega county school systems in the Atlanta area are too big to be effective. This is why Sandy Springs needs its own school system and I am supporting a school feasibility study. It’s hard to comprehend the size of Fulton County Schools. FCS serves an area that is 70 miles from north to south; oversees 105 schools and more than 10,000 employees; has nearly 100,000 students; and has an annual budget of $1.7 billion. It’s an enormous school district. This enormity became apparent when I worked with a group of parents called Citizens for a New North Springs. We successfully lobbied for a new facility to replace our local high school — the oldest in Fulton County. It was noticeable to many, besides the two school board members representing Sandy Springs, that the board was unfamiliar with North Springs High School. Understandably, it is a challenge for seven board members to have in-depth knowledge of 105 schools. This begged the question: Shouldn’t all those governing have a comprehensive knowledge of all schools they are making decisions about? Would a local Board of Education for Sandy Springs be able to better understand the unique needs of our 10,000 students at our 11 public schools? We believe all evidence points to “yes.” A new group has formed — Citizens for Local Area School Systems — and is raising funds to commission a study to look at the feasibility of a Sandy Springs school system. We know that the creation of the city of Sandy Springs resulted in improved services for citizens, greater accessibility to

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elected leaders, more accountability, a noticeable tax increase this year. Last increased community input for desired year, Sandy Springs paid $135 million outcomes, and better fiscal responsibilin local school taxes — or 25 percent of ity. the FCS local tax budget. Yet we have 10 Local control of school systems folpercent of the students and schools in lows the same result. It’s no surprise the county. We could keep our tax monthat six of the top 10 ranked Georgia ey here in Sandy Springs for our stupublic school systems are city school dents. systems. Dozens of studies show smallFounding Mayor Eva Galambos said er, local control means better student of her fight to create the city of Sanoutcomes, regardless of dy Springs: “The thing that the racial makeup and really brought about the economic status of stuchange was when we startdents. ed paying huge income taxBetter outcomes for es and we realized how students are key. Smallmuch of our income was beer school systems are able ing redistributed. When you to be more flexible in how see how the money is wastthey approach education. ed, you get a different phiA smaller school district losophy.” knows the strengths and The city of Dunwoody needs of the local schools, commissioned an economstudents and communiic feasibility study that ty. For example, Sandy showed a city school system Springs is home to more would result in a $30 million businesses than any muis a member of Citizens dollar annual surplus. It folnicipality in the area. for a New North Springs lows that Sandy Springs Our city is rich in busiand Citizens for Local should see similar results. ness, civic commitment, Area School Systems. This could mean better use volunteers and activism. of tax money, breaks for seWe could better leverage nior citizens, and increased this strength for students. compensation for teachers. Currently, there is a limited amount of In the next state legislative session counselors and internship/vocationthere will be many people working for al training coordinators. Many parents locally controlled, smaller school sysfeel earlier counseling and more coortems. The first step for the citizens of dinated internship experiences could Sandy Springs is to fund this feasibility better serve our kids on college applistudy to see if we can support our own cations or career success after high school system. We can then bring it to school. our mayor and City Council to ask for Beyond student outcome, properfurther action. ty owners in Sandy Springs should For more information about the take notice. Fifty percent or more of study effort, see gofundme.com/localyour property tax bill goes to schools. area-school-systems. Many residents, myself included, saw

Cheryl Barlow

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

Remembering an old-fashioned journalist One of the things that takes some getting used to as you get older is that you have so much more to remember. Not new things; you forget those. Old things. Something you see will set off a little Roman candle in the back of your brain and suddenly you’re remembering something that happened in 1969 or someone you knew in 1975. The confluence of recent high-profile funerals for John McCain and Aretha Franklin sparked in me the memory of the quite different memorial event that occurred a generation ago. I hadn’t thought about my friend Jim in a long time, but (although I was living half a continent away at the time, so I wasn’t present in person) stories I heard of his funeral stick with me all these years later. It was either the saddest or the most affectionate memorial I’ve ever heard of. And I still can’t quite figure out which it is. Jim was an old-fashioned newspaperman. He was a little guy, had a white beard and wore a coat and tie to work every day. He’d hacked his way for years around small-town papers scattered across the Carolinas. I knew him when I was just starting my career at the afternoon paper in my hometown and he was finishing up his as the daily columnist on the bigger morning paper. Jim was like other newspaper columnists I’ve known through the years — very little like the man his readers thought he was. In real life, he was a quiet guy who was friendly, but mostly kept to himself. He dated a woman on the copy desk and may have been married before, but he never talked much about his personal life or history. He smoked a lot of cigarettes and loved a cherry-flavored soft drink called Cheerwine that was made in his hometown and that he enthused over in print whenever he couldn’t think of anything else to write about. The person he appeared to be in his column was quite different. He came off as a complete extrovert, a friendly guy who loved to chat anytime, anyplace about anything. People who’d never met him thought he was a gabby, bubbly guy. He wasn’t. There were a few stories about him that made the rounds, of course. One time, the office wags said, Jim was sitting quietly in the newsroom when a call went out over the police scanner about an armed robbery that had just taken place. The dispatcher described the getaway car and Jim looked up, bemused. The car sounded a lot like his car. Then the dispatcher called out the license plate number and it was his license plate number. Then the dispatcher broadcast Jim’s address and said officers were being dispatched there immediately to arrest him. Jim scrambled to the phone to call the cops and say it couldn’t be him because he had been sitting in the newsroom all morning surrounded by fellow reporters and please don’t come arrest him. It must be a mistake. It wasn’t. It turned out the robbers had stolen it from a parking lot to use in the holdup. Jim was probably best known among us younger reporters for his group beach trips. He’d worked at a lot of papers and knew a lot of writers, so every year — sometimes twice a year — he’d gather a crew of 15 to 25 at the Cadillac Motel in Myrtle Beach for a long weekend of poker, drinking, fishing and eating seafood. Jim loved to play a game we called “monte.” A player started with a two-card or three-card hand and could improve it with several draws of replacement cards followed by betting. Best two-card or three-card hand won. Jim liked it because it moved fast and a lot of us could play at once. He also liked it because he won a lot. He didn’t drink alcohol, so he’d sit at the table with bottle of Cheerwine and quietly stack up the chips as the rest of us grew drunker through the evening. After Jim died, there was some sort of service, but his buddies held on to his ashes. A few months later, some of the beach trip regulars carried his urn along on a poker trip to the Cadillac Motel. At some point during the evening, someone called for a round of monte. They set Jim’s ashes at the head of the table, opened a bottle of Cheerwine and set it next to him and dealt him a hand. Jim won the hand. The players gathered the chips and put them in the urn with his ashes and raised a glass to him. The next morning, they dumped the ashes and chips into the ocean at a spot where Jim like to fish. There were no anecdote-filled eulogies or public outpourings of affection and grief that I ever heard about. Just a few guys sharing a last card game and a drink. Perhaps that’s sad. But I think Jim would have liked it that way. He always kept to himself.

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12 | Community

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Innovation Center celebrates its first startup ‘graduation’

PHOTOS BY EVELYN ANDREWS

Helium Services founders Terrence Jackson, left, and Joe Norton.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Sandy Springs Innovation Center is celebrating the “graduation” of its first homegrown startup company and marking its first birthday with a better sense of its small-business mission. The space got off to a slow start, but after more than a year of planning, it officially opened in October 2017. Now, it’s planning a major reconfiguration with new furniture and new employees, said Dan Giannini, a volunteer leading the center, on a recent visit. “The center now has proven its concept,” Giannini said. “Our next step is to grow.” The center planned a Sept. 27 “graduation ceremony” for the business that is moving out, Helium Services, a website development company that has grown from two founders to around 10 employees. “I think they should continue to focus on connecting companies,” said Joe Norton, one of the company founders. “I think one of the most important paths to suc-

cess here is connecting people like us to the business community in Sandy Springs.” The center, located at 1000 Abernathy Road in the Northpark office complex, is a nonprofit spun out of the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce with major funding from the Sandy Springs Development Authority and Comcast. The center is a small version of larger business “incubators” it was modeled after, such as Atlanta Tech Village and the Alpharetta Innovation Center. The space started off with $75,000 from the Sandy Springs Development Authority, with $25,000 of those funds spent on constructing a patio that delayed the opening and is now empty. Comcast funds operating costs in exchange for branding the space. Northpark owner Cousins Properties is offering reduced rent and other assistance. The goal of the reconfiguration of the space is to provide more room for small businesses, Giannini said. “We thought about the purpose of the center, which is to create available desk space for new people who want to start

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businesses,” he said. room before deciding she needed a perThe changes include a reconfiguration manent location in March. The center proof the main space from an open area with vides a place to host her workshops and standalone tables to more cubicles. The meet with clients rather than hopping becenter plans to hire a receptionist who will tween coffee shops, she said. sit at a front desk and an event planner to “The trend is toward coworking spacprovide more networking opportunities, es, and to have a community that offers he said. programming and to help entrepreneurThe patio furniture was removed after ial growth is going to be great,” Sparks said. being blown around in the wind, but there As the center begins to reorient and Heare plans to replace it, Giannini said. He’ll lium’s business grows bigger, the business wait to get input from the next tenants, but it will likely be some sort of picnic tables, he said. Prices for renting space, which include a private office, dedicated desks or “hot” desks as options, may change, but are not yet nailed down, Giannini said. The Innovation Center started off as an unclear idea to help local small business and advertise Sandy Springs, but has grown into something similar to the Warrior Alliance staff members Alexandria coworking model that Carvalho, left, and Olivia Garrison. has rapidly expanded nationwide, including with many in the perimeter area. However, Giannini pushed back against calling it a coworking space and said the center can’t and is not trying to compete with those businesses, which provide desks or offices in a similar model but typically on a larger scale. “Once a company reaches a certain stage, She Sparks founder Clarissa J. Sparks. [the center] really can’t support that company and is not intended to support that compaplans to move into Industrious Perimeny,” he said. ter, a branch of the nationwide coworking The center filled up its previous lower chain, where it will have more space. The amount of desk space without any promofounders, Norton and Terrence Jackson, tion, but now they plan to run an awarecredit the Chamber with being the driving ness campaign, begin social media marketforce behind Helium coming to, and staying and rebrand the website, he said. ing in, Sandy Springs. They also plan to work with local “I can’t say enough about how helpschools to plan an entrepreneurial comful Tom was in getting us plugged into the petition that will likely include posing a Sandy Springs ecosystem,” Norton said of business question or problem and having Tom Mahaffey, the Chamber’s president students come up with the best answer, Giand CEO. annini said. Without the center, Helium, like many The two tenants remaining in the centechnology companies, would likely havter are She Sparks, a marketing and brand ing chosen a space in Midtown or Buckstrategy agency, and The Warrior Alliance, head, Norton said. a veteran services group. Olivia Garrison, an employee at the She Sparks was founded by Clarissa Warrior Alliance, said she enjoyed the “inJ. Sparks, who remains its only full-time novative” atmosphere and being able to employee. It works mostly with female talk to the other startups in the center. The entrepreneurs to help them shape their month-to-month contracts and ability to businesses and get exposure, as well as rent more desks or offices also allow for businesses in the healthcare and education growth, she said. industries, she said. “It changes and moves as your company She started the business in her living changes and moves,” Garrison said.

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| 13

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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14 | Community

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More LGBT protections may be needed after bias report, council member says BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

FILE

City Councilmember Andy Bauman.

Following a reported case of anti-LGBT discrimination by a private business owner in Sandy Springs, a City Council member says there should be more investigation into these incidents and new protections introduced if evidence shows it is needed. Sandy Springs adopted a policy in 2016 that strengthened protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and applied them to all aspects of city business for the first time. It previously only applied to city employment practices. However, the city has no protections for residents discriminated against by private businesses. Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman, who called for the 2016 change to Sandy Springs policy, said he wants evidence of discrimination to be presented so the city could consider measures to protect residents

against it. “If there is data or anecdotal evidence of discrimination of this (or any) sort being an issue in Sandy Springs such that existing city, state or federal law is not sufficient to protect our citizens, then I would ask that to be brought forward for consideration — not by just me, but by the mayor and entire council,” Bauman said in an email.

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A man said in a July 13 Yelp review that he contacted a landscaping company for a project in Sandy Springs, but was denied service after the business learned he is married to a man. A man who claimed to be the business owner confirmed the denial on the site and said he believed the man’s marriage to be “perverse and foolish.” The incident was reported in local and national LGBT media. Calls to the company were not answered. Bauman said he was not aware of the recently reported incident, but he hopes, if the allegations are true, people don’t continue to patronize the business. “Obviously, if true, I would hope this is the most isolated of incidences and my heart goes out to this or any family on the receiving end of discriminatory treatment,” Bauman said. “I would also hope that if true, such a company would be publicly shamed and all people of good conscience would choose not to use that company so that they would eventually go out of business.” JEFF GRAHAM Bauman has previously vocally opGEORGIA EQUALITY posed state “religious freedom” bills that could allow discrimination. He said he still views religious freedom bills as “unnecessary and discriminatory.” The city of Atlanta has laws that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in any type of city decision as well as in many practices of private businesses and landlords, including the selection of customers. Bauman said he is only “vaguely familiar” with the city of Atlanta policy, and would want more information on what could be done, he said. “The quick answer is anything is possible and of course I would have an open mind,” he said. City spokesperson Sharon Kraun said the city could not enact such an ordinance, but the head of an LGBT advocacy group says that is a misunderstanding of the law. “Any city ordinance dealing with anti-discrimination would apply to the city not discriminating,” Kraun said in an email. “We do not have the authority to police private sector complaints of discrimination.” Jeff Graham, the director of the LGBT advocacy group Georgia Equality, said that because Georgia lacks a statewide non-discrimination law for any group of people, many cities believe that they cannot enact local ordinances. He said legal experts have argued, and Georgia Equality believes, that is a misinterpretation of the state’s authority. Graham said Atlanta has enforced the ordinance, though the instances of complaints are relatively rare. “Overall, I believe there is simply a lack of SPECIAL understanding that the LGBT community is Georgia Equality Executive not covered by the same federal laws that proDirector Jeff Graham. tect against discrimination based on characteristics such as race, age and disability, and the importance of local municipalities taking action to ensure their constituents are protected,” Graham said. Sandy Springs has scored low — 22 out of a possible 100 — in 2016 and 2017 on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual rating of how well cities protect and support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. Atlanta received a 100 from the advocacy group both years.

Overall, I believe there is simply a lack of understanding that the LGBT community is not covered by the same federal laws that protect against discrimination based on characteristics such as race, age and disability, and the importance of local municipalities taking action to ensure their constituents are protected.

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Community | 15

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

City cites transitional housing in condos Continued from page 1

disputes the city’s allegations. 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. The purchase immediately drew criticism for displacing many tenants and has drawn complaints from residents for all-hours activity. The city has given the group 33 citations for operating with a business license — one for each of condos it owns, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said. A court hearing on the citations has been set for November, she said. The condos were purchased by a forprofit company called Freedom Hall, LLC and are leased to the nonprofit, Kraun said. Additionally, the group promotes the same condos for several uses, including veteran assistance, domestic abuse shelter and rehab, causing potential legal issues with their funding, Kraun said. State law prohibits mixing grant funds and using them for different purposes, she said. “If you’ve got battered women, you don’t put drug addicts next to them,” she said. Lucy Hall-Gainer didn’t answer specific questions and said the issues are all a “misunderstanding.” Hall-Gainer, who started the organization in 1996, said they are trying to work with the city to come to an agreement. “I feel like we have some differences and we’re praying for a resolution,” she said. The organization serves about 200 women and 80 children with transitional housing in Sandy Springs, Atlanta, Alpharetta, College Park and Roswell. It also offers career development services, mental healthcare, daycare and medical care, according to its website. Hall-Gainer said she hopes they are able to work out the issues with the city before it goes to court. “I just don’t think they understand what we do,” she said. “I believe prayerfully we can resolve this.” The organization has existed for 22 years in Sandy Springs and is headquartered a block north in the same zoning area, she said. Problems only arose when they decided to purchase the condos, she said. The condo board’s attorney, George SS

Nowack, said they are basically in a holding pattern while they wait to see the outcome of the city’s action. “From my client’s perspective, we obviously hope they are successful,” Nowack said. An effort to declare the operation was not permitted in its zoning district was unsuccessful, Nowack said. A judge ruled early this year that it was a permitted use, he said. Condo owners previously complained that large groups of woman and frequent van traffic were disturbing the complex, but Nowack said he has not heard any recent complaints. MHFH counts many major organizations and companies among its donors, including the Sandy Springs Society; the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs; such large corporations as Wells Fargo, The Home Depot and Coca-Cola; and the governments of Atlanta and Fulton County.

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16 | Art & Entertainment

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GET ACTIVE SUNDAY COMMUNITY CYCLE

BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

DUNWOODY

SANDY SPRINGS

PERFORMANCES ‘THE UGLY DUCKLING”

Sunday, Oct. 7, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. New Orleans-based Lightwire Theater brings the story of “The Ugly Duckling” alive on a stage lined with electroluminescent wire and charged with a blend of puppetry, technology and dance. $12-$16. Morris & Rae Frank Theatre at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/boxoffice or call 678-812-4002.

CONCERT AND CAJUN DANCE

Sunday, Oct. 7, 4-7 p.m. The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association presents Carolina Gator Gumbo, a group of musicians from Charlotte, N.C. who mix traditional Cajun and Creole arrangements with touches of country and blues. Cajun/Creole food for sale. All ages. No partner necessary. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. Free beginners’ dance lesson at 3 p.m. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

“THE GRADUATE”

Friday, Oct. 12 to Sunday, Oct. 28 Act3 Productions presents a play adaptation of the 1967 romantic comedy film “The Graduate,” the story of a recent college graduate who is seduced by an older woman and then falls in love with her daughter. $15-$23. Act3 Playhouse in Sandy Springs Plaza, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: act3productions.org.

“TWELFTH NIGHT”

Sunday, Oct. 7, 3-4 p.m. Join Bike-Walk Dunwoody on the first Sunday of each month for a community bicycle ride. The event starts at 2:45 p.m. at Village Burger on Dunwoody Village Parkway with a short pre-ride safety talk. Riders depart at 3 p.m. for a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. All ages and abilities welcome. Helmets required. Free. Hang out after the ride for $1 custards, $1 off beers, and postride socializing at Village Burger, 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.

FOOTPRINTS FOR THE FUTURE 10K/5K AND LITERACY EVENT

Saturday, Oct. 13, 7:30-11:30 a.m. Races begin at 7:45 a.m. The Sandy Springs Education Force hosts its fifth annual Peachtree Road Race qualifying 10K/5K and a new post-race Literacy Event featuring author and illustrator meet and greets, book signings and presentations, a book character dress-up parade and storytelling. Race fees vary. Literacy Event is free. City Springs Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: active.com/sandy-springs-ga.

FESTIVALS AND COMMUNITY EVENTS APPLE CIDER DAYS

Through October The Dunwoody Preservation Trust presents a series of fun and educational events at historic venues. Among the highlights are an Oct. 6 guided tour of a burial ground of some of Dunwoody’s founding families; an Oct. 13 “Village Fest” at the 1870 Donaldson-Bannister Farm with musical performances, food and family activities; and an Oct. 20 genealogy seminar on tracing your family tree. Most events are free. Info: appleciderdays.org.

Friday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Galloway Theatre Company presents a one-hour-long version of “Twelfth Night,” a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare characterized by mistaken identities, love triangles and emotional reunions. $10; $5 students. Chaddick Center for the Arts at The Galloway School, 215 West Wieuca Road. N.W., Buckhead. Info: gallowayschool.org.

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Art & Entertainment | 17

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

HIGH

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

CERAMIC BOWL SALE

Friday, Oct. 5, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 7, noon to 5 p.m. The annual Spruill Center for the Arts Ceramic Bowl Sale offers pieces created by students and instructors of the center’s Ceramics Department. All proceeds benefit the Ceramics Department. On Friday night, a variety of chili can be sampled. Free. Spruill Arts Education Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.

BLESSING OF THE PETS

Sunday, Oct. 14, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Animal lovers are invited to Brook Run Dog Park for the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s Blessing of the Pets. Rabbis and pastors will give public and private blessings to people and leashed or caged pets of all faiths and backgrounds. Vendors, pet adoptions, low-cost vaccinations, microchipping. Free. 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/pets.

HARVEST ON THE ’HOOCH TASTE FEST

OCT. 14 & NOV. 11 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

Sunday, Oct. 14, 1-4 p.m. The Chattahoochee Nature Center holds its annual outdoor food and craft beer event featuring food tastings from local chefs, samplings from local craft breweries, live bluegrass music and games. The event raises funds for the nature center’s urban farm which supplies more than five tons of fresh produce annually to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry. $50 adults ($45 advance); $15 children; ages 10 and younger free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org/ special-events/fundraisers/harveston-the-hooch.

LEARN SOMETHING HISTORIC

GROWING FRUIT IN GEORGIA

Mondays, Oct. 1 and Oct. 8, 7-8:30 p.m. Coming up next in a series of Monday fall lectures by North Fulton Master Gardeners at the Lost Corner Preserve: Oct. 1 — Learn about fruits that grow well in Georgia, even in small backyards; Oct. 8 — Composting. $10 donation requested. 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Info: friendsoflostcorner.org/master-gardenerclasses.

Continued on page 18

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18 | Art & Entertainment

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FALL WEATHER IS HERE!

Continued from page 17

DUNWOODY FINE ART ASSOCIATION PROGRAM

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 9:30 a.m. Artist and instructor Maureen Engle, who uses a fresh approach in her palette knife and watercolor paintings, presents the October program of the Dunwoody Fine Art Association. Refreshments and social time are followed by the program at 9:45 a.m. Open to all interested artists. Free. Spruill Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Room 4, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyfineart.org.

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ecks Patios/ D y At Ever ! n Locatio

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m. Daniel Tindol, owner of Floristique Weddings and Events, offers tips on designing a holiday wreath at the next meeting of the Dunwoody Garden Club. The club meets monthly on second Wednesdays from September to May. Free. New Pavilion at the Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodygardenclub.com.

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“FREDERICK DOUGLASS: PROPHET OF FREEDOM” Thursday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m.

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Author and editor David W. Blight discusses his biography of Frederick Douglass, who escaped from slavery in Maryland and went on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. $10, $5 for members. Reservations are suggested. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: 404-8144150 or AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Lectures.

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Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m. Kids can make a bird feeder out of materials such as sticks, cardboard tubes and pine cones in this edition of the monthly Little Diggers family gardening series. Suited for ages 6-10 with an accompanying adult. Presented by Heritage Sandy Springs in partnership with the North Fulton Master Gardeners. Free. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 220 Mount Vernon Highway at City Springs, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

PARTY WITH A PURPOSE VINTAGE AFFAIR

Saturday, Oct. 13, 6-10 p.m. The Community Assistance Center hosts its 16th annual Vintage Affair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church. This year’s theme is the Golden Age of Hollywood and guests are invited to dress as their favorite Hollywood icons or in vintage Hollywood style. Food from local restaurants, wine tasting, auction. The Vintage Affair benefits CAC, a nonprofit that promotes self-reliance and helps people meet basic needs in the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody communities. $110; $200 couples. 805 Mount Vernon Highway N.W., Sandy Springs. Info: vintageaffair.org.

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Community | 19

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Between Buckhead and Bankhead, life expectancy has a 25-year gap BY ANDY MILLER Life expectancy at an English Avenue neighborhood address, in a low-income section of Atlanta, is 63.6 years. But less than 10 miles away, an address in the affluent Margaret Mitchell area of Buckhead, named after the famous writer, has a life expectancy of 87.2 years. Such startling variations commonly appear in new data that break down life expectancy at birth — the average number of years a person can expect to live — for most of the census tracts in the United States, for the period from 2010 to 2015. A census tract is an area roughly equal to a neighborhood. We all have heard how life expectancy can vary from nation to nation. But this is the first statistical information of its kind that speaks to how our health in the United States is influenced by conditions in the localities where we live. The data was collected through a joint effort of the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, the National Association for Public Health Information Systems, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the project. “This is really the first measure of health at the neighborhood level,’’ said Abbey Cofsky, managing director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which also helps produce health data by county in the County Health Rankings. The data comparing counties, she noted, “can mask differences between

neighborhoods.” Even a modest-sized county can have great internal diversity, and in some states, especially in the West, counties can be geographically very large.

What’s the problem? Life expectancy has been dropping in the United States over the past couple of years, though there is debate among experts about exactly why. The opioid epidemic may be a major reason for recent declines in Americans’ life expectancy, a new study said in August. Yet a second study found rising death rates among Americans ages 25 to 64, but cited a number of factors as potential causes, HealthDay reported. Nationally, average life expectancy at birth for the 65,662 census tracts studied was 78.8 years. Georgia’s is slightly lower, at 77.4 years, according to the tables. The report on neighborhoods, released in September, said that people in Vinings, an affluent area just outside the city of Atlanta, have the highest average life expectancy at birth in the state, at 87.6 years, while Georgians in Macon have the lowest average life expectancy at birth for the state, at 63.3 years. Factors influencing life expectancy can include access to stable jobs, good education, affordable housing and business investment in a community, Cofsky of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation added. “Some neighborhoods can be cut off from opportunity.’’ Areas with high poverty can lack access to healthy food, and may have safe-

ty problems for residents, she said. The life expectancy data can spark a conversation among stakeholders and community leaders about potential improvements, Cofsky said. The new resource is accompanied by an interactive tool that allows you to plug in your ZIP code or street address and see life expectancy rates in your own neighborhood and how it compares to county- and state-level data, as well as the national average.

Finding out who needs help

“Public health professionals have understood for a while that social determinants of health — the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, and age — are powerful predictors of one’s life opportunities and health outcomes, including life expectancy,’’ said Dr. Harry Heiman, a health policy expert at Georgia State University. In Atlanta, Buckhead and Bankhead are only a few miles apart, but the difference in life expectancy in the two neighborhoods is almost 25 years, he said. “Even in larger geographic areas whose health outcomes appear to be good, it is critical to assess disparities within the population or geographic area, particularly for disadvantaged groups — those with higher disease burdens, worse health outcomes, and shorter life expectancies,” Heiman said. The data should prompt a “call to action for state leaders and policymakers to not only address the gaps in our health care system, especially for low-

income and rural populations, but to also address the upstream, neighborhood-level social determinants critical to improving health and life opportunities,’’ he said. Tabia Akintobi, associate dean for community engagement at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, said the data “allow us to develop approaches that are more targeted’’ to individual neighborhoods ‘‘so we can target limited public health resources more equitably.’’ “In metro Atlanta and the broader state of Georgia, there are huge differences between communities,” said Akintobi, who’s also principal researcher for the Prevention Research Center at Morehouse. “These differences are not only related to individual behaviors, but, more importantly, the political investments, or lack thereof, in communities that result in poorer housing, lower community economic and workforce development and educational achievement. All of these issues result in the connection between where people live and how healthy they are.” Investment in neighborhoods with poor health outcomes is critically important to address health disparities and advancing health equity, she said. “We have to have strong alliances with businesses,’’ Akintobi said. Policy experts, researchers, government officials, community leaders and businesses and health care providers are all critical “to creating this culture of health that is a return on investment for all,” she said. This story was reported and published in partnership with Georgia Health News.

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e’re honored that Reporter Newspapers has won 24 awards in its division in the Georgia Press Association’s 2018 and 2017 Better Newspaper Competitions, which are judged by newspaper professionals from around the country.

Photography /4 awards Lifestyle Column /5 awards Layout & Design /3 awards Local News Coverage / 3 awards Newspaper Website / 2 awards Business Writing / 2 awards

Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

Enterprise Writing Special Issue Religion Writing

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

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

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Sandy Springs Reporter

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

Dawn of a new church

10

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Perimeter Business

ERS

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► Eyed for trails, pipeline routes are serious business

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

Little-known vet memorials | 8

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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

OUT & ABOUT Lantern Parade will light up the Hooch

Page 20 buys condos, displaces tenants

Page 16

johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

JAN PAUL

Chairperson, Georgia Public Broadcasting

See Commentary, Page 14

GRUBB PROPERTIES

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

BY JOHN RUCH

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

TERNEWSPAPERS

TWITTER.COM/REPORTER_N

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EWS

MARCH 3 -

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

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

SPECIAL SECTION | P22-26

PAGE 14

City’s new medical center wants to grow

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

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

See CURRENT on page 22

DeKalb CEO: EMS response time improves BY DYANA BAGBY

dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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

PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

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

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Passing on her culinary passion Page 27

OUT & ABOUT Get grounded with Earth Day events I believe [President

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

See PERDUE, page 21.

Page 6

11 — NO. 5

FACEBOOK.COM

Glowing for a cause

BY DYANA BAGBY spapers.net dyanabagby@reporternew

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

16, 2017 • VOL.

Buckhead Reporter

and

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.n et

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

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

FACEBOOK.COM/THEREPOR

Picking up at Peachtree Creek

BY JOHN RUCH

PHIL MOSIER

VOL. 9 — NO. 8

Brookhaven Reporter

PAGE 6

FY2018 budget

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

Pages 18-19

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 •

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

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

EDUCATION Top of the Class

reporternewspapers.net

PAGE 4

/THEREPORTERN

EWSPAPERS

TWITTER.COM/R

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

Buckhead ma ster plan to allow more input on big ideas

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

BY DYANA BAGBY

apers.net

dyanabagby@reporternewsp

Classroom gam from math to es, Shakespeare

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

See 6TH on page 18

reporternewspa pers.net

PAGE 5

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

6th District hopefuls squareEXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR off in debate

EPORTER_NEWS

► New prog ressive attracts activ group ists

OUT & ABOUT A very

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

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

Massell: Buckhead getting bigger busier, wealth , ier

BY JOHN RUCH

johnruch@repo

rternewspapers.

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

*Source: independent reader survey

www.ReporterNewspapers.net ■ Published by Springs Publishing LLC

net

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


Classifieds | 21

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Reporter Classifieds

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110

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SERVICES AVAILABLE

55+ Condo for Lease or Lease/Purchase – Renovated condo in Sandy Springs for 55+ active adults. $2495 per month includes all utilities, housekeeping plus more. Contact Kim at 404-4148307 or kim@dunwoodybrokers.com. Lease or lease to own options.

CNA – Flexible & Dependable with References. Minimal 4 hours available per client. Personal care for loved ones. 404-397-9429.

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

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

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22 | Education

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Group calls for independent school system Continued from page 1 yl Barlow. Both were founding members of the group that advocated for a new North Springs Charter High School. Fulton County Schools ultimately recommended a new school in a victory for the group, which was called Citizens for a New North Springs. A Fulton schools spokesperson, Cierra Chuly Boyd, said that the district supports “citizens in exploring the interests of their community.” “We are proud of the work happening in our schools and communities across our district, and will continue learning from one another to best meet the needs of our students,” the written statement said. The idea to create an independent school system was spawned out of CFANNS and its efforts, Barlow said. The new group, for now at least, is operating under the name “Citizens for Local Area School Systems,” or CLASS. Barlow and Reichel said in an interview that they are aiming to raise $25,000 for the initial economic feasibility study. They have raised $7,000 so far through private fundraising. The study would be conducted by a Georgia Tech economics

professor who has done similar studies for other cities and has agreed to conduct one for Sandy Springs, Reichel said. If enough money is raised, it could be completed sometime this fall, an information sheet created by CLASS said. The results would then be presented to the mayor and Sandy Springs City Council, Reichel said. In a written statement through a spokesperson, Mayor Rusty Paul did not take a position on the idea and said it is the residents’ First Amendment right to advocate for the school system. “While a member of our City Council is a part of that group, she is acting in her capacity as a citizen,” Paul said. “The city government has not adopted a policy supporting or opposing this initiative, nor is there a plan to [do] so.” Barlow and Reichel argue the benefits of an independent school system would include lower taxes, more customized and tailored education, more accountability for officials and increased salaries for teachers. School taxes would stay in Sandy Springs instead of being distributed district-wide, and it’s possible a city district could operate the schools for less than the county district, they said. “Many of the reasons are the same

reasons we became a city,” Reichel said. The information sheet said “understanding the feasibility of a local school system is the logical next step” after creating the city, which was incorporated in 2005. Even if the study indicates an independent school system is possible, an amendment to SPECIAL the Georgia Constitution A temporary logo for the group “Citizens for Local Area would have to pass the School Systems” is shown on an information sheet. General Assembly and be approved by voters. The 2013. That study found that an indepenconstitution currently prevents the state dent school system in Dunwoody would from creating more districts. be financially possible. Reichel approached state schools SuBut previous efforts by state Rep. Tom perintendent Richard Woods after a Taylor (R-Dunwoody) to pass legislation speech at a Sept. 14 Sandy Springs Perimthat would allow cities to create their eter Chamber of Commerce event and own school districts have stalled. asked him generally about independent Reichel said they have been in touch school districts. He said he would not with other cities who have previously adoppose legislation that would increase vocated for their own school system, but amount of districts. He said he supports are not officially coordinating efforts at having more control at the local level. this point. The same Georgia Tech professor who For more information on the group, would conduct the feasibility study for see gofundme.com/local-area-school-sysSandy Springs did so for Dunwoody in tems.

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Public Safety | 23

SEPT. 28 - OCT. 11, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police Blotter / Sandy Springs The following crime information is taken from the Sandy Springs Week in Review Report for the week ending Sept. 7.

North District Crime: The unit reported four burglaries and nine entering autos. Two of the burglaries were believed to be committed by the same suspect. Six of the nine entering autos occurred in apartment complexes. South District Crime: The unit reported two residential burglaries and five entering autos. Both burglaries were in multi-unit housing complexes. Street Crimes Unit (SCU): The unit reported two felony arrests, four misdemeanor arrests, conducted 25 traffic stops, and issued 23 citations. The unit located four wanted persons, made four field contacts, and conducted four suspicious persons/vehicles stops and two vehicle searches. Traffic: The unit reported seven misdemeanor arrests and five DUI arrests; conducted 157 traffic stops; and issued 178 citations. K-9 Unit: The unit reported three city

arrests, conducted 12 traffic stops and issued 13 traffic citations. The unit located one wanted person, made three field contacts, stopped two suspicious persons/vehicles, and conducted five K-9 searches. The unit worked five drug complaints, conducted two knock/ talks and seized two tabs of MDMA, 74 Xanax pills and one gun. The unit assisted SIU with a drug investigation with drugs and currency seized. A hotel interdiction yielded two persons arrested for outstanding warrants and one gun seized. Criminal Investigations Division: There were several armed robberies in Spring Creek Apartment Complex: a pedestrian exiting vehicle was robbed and cash stolen; a pizza delivery driver was robbed and cash stolen; a pedestrian was robbed and cash stolen. All appear to be related, but no arrest was made. A K-9 officer responded to a call from one of the victim’s seeing the suspect and when the officer attempted to stop and ID, the suspect fled.

stated he was robbed, but then allegedly admitted accidentally shooting himself. The subject was charged with multiple ordinance violations. At Spalding Trail apartments, a male and a female were sitting inside the female’s ground-level apartment when an unknown person fired a gun outside of the building. The victims were struck by bullets and transported to a hospital for treatment. The injuries were not life-threatening. A larceny case involves contractors doing work at the home on Wescott Lane while the residents were out. Arrest warrants were obtained. One of the sus-

Present Zoning: Request: Public Hearings:

Location:

The SSPD CID received communication from the FBI regarding a stolen Mercedes-Benz from the RBM dealership. The FBI agent informed CID that there may be a new owner for this stolen vehicle. He further indicated that the FBI is in the process of obtaining the audio and video surveillance recording from the DeKalb County Department of Motor Vehicles, as they believe a person of interest was on scene registering this stolen Mercedes with an altered vehicle identification number.

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs

Purpose:

An Ordinance to amend the Development Code as follows: To amend requirements associated with building height in Sec. 3.4.3. Residential Multi-Unit; Sec. 3.5.3. Residential Mixed Use; Sec. 4.2.3. Office Neighborhood; Sec. 4.3.3. Office Mixed Use; Sec. 4.4.3. Commercial Mixed Use; Sec. 4.5.3 Shopfront Mixed Use; Sec. 4.6.3. Transit Mixed Use; Sec. 4.7.3. City Springs; Sec. 4.8.3. Industrial Mixed Use; Sec. 4.9.3. Commercial Corridor; Sec. 5.3.3. Perimeter Mixed Use Low/Mid-Rise; Sec. 5.4.3. Perimeter Mixed Use High-Rise; Sec. 5.5.3. Perimeter Medical; Div. 5.6 Perimeter Center Frontages; Sec. 6.1.3. Height and Mass; Div. 6.4. Protected Neighborhood Transitions; and Div. 6.7. Height Bonus;

A person was shot in his lower legs on Glenridge Drive. The victim initially

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF USE PERMIT Petition Number: Petitioner: Property Location:

pects turned himself in, and the other is still at large.

To amend requirements associated to conceptual plans in Sec. 6.1.1. Lot Parameters; Sec. 11.4. Subdivision Review; and Div. 12.2. Defined Terms; To amend Div. 6.3. Development Patterns: Cottage Court to allow townhouses;

U18-0004 Masoud Zahedi 400 & 0 Carpenter Drive Parcel #s 17 009000020326 & 17 009000020334 CX-3 Request for a Conditional Use Permit for self-service storage use. Planning Commission October 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council November 20, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Sandy Springs City Hall 1 Galambos Way Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328 770-730-5600

To amend Div. 6.4. Protected Neighborhood Transitions to allow access points through the wall for maintenance purposes; To amend connectivity requirements in Div. 10.3 Blocks and Access; To amend the use standards in Sec. 7.3.2.E. Personal Care Home; Sec. 7.6.1. Industrial Uses – Artisanal; Sec. 7.8.3. Drive-Thru Facility; Sec. 7.8.22. Accessory Structures; To amend Sec. 8.1.4. Parking Reductions to allow for reduction in bike parking; To amend Sec. 8.3.9. Signs Area Allocation and Sec. 8.3.12. Crown Sign to allow larger crown sign areas; and Sec. 8.3.16. Wall Sign to modify the placement requirements of wall signs; To amend Sec. 9.2.4.A.2. Buffer and Setback Requirements to clarify the intent and purpose of the impervious surface setback; To amend Div. 11.7. Nonconformities to add provisions for the result of government actions on the nonconforming status of a property; To clarify the applicability of Sec. 6.1.1. Lot Parameters; Sec. 6.5.2.C. Parking Location; and Sec. 8.2.10. Fences and Walls;

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF REZONING Petition Number:

RZ18-0009

Petitioner:

Wayne & Gina Elowe

Location:

315 Breakwater Ridge

Request:

Rezoning from RE-1 to RD-18 to rectify an error on the zoning map

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission October 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

To make minor amendments (such as correcting typographical errors or reorganizing text) in Sec. 3.3.2. Residential Townhouse; Sec. 4.3.1.A. Office Mixed Use (OX-); Sec. 6.1.2.B. Setback Encroachments; Div. 7.3. Residential Uses; Div. 7.4. Public and Civic Uses; Div. 7.5. Commercial Uses; Div. 7.6. Industrial Uses; Div. 7.7. Open Uses; Div. 7.8. Accessory Uses and Structures; Sec. 9.2.2. Stream Buffer Protection – Applicability; Sec. 9.2.4. Stream Buffer Protection – Land Development Requirements; and Sec. 9.4.2.G. Grading. Draft documents will be posted on the City website: http://spr.gs/devcode

Mayor and City Council November 20, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Location:

SS

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

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission October 23, 2018, 6:00pm Mayor and City Council November 20, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Location:

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


24 |

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09-28-18 Sandy Springs Reporter  
09-28-18 Sandy Springs Reporter