9-29-16 Buckhead Reporter

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SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 20


Buckhead Reporter


► BCID holds media-free meeting about park plan PAGE 12 ► Voters Guide: City Council, State Senate candidates PAGE 14

Catching the beat





New projects should have less parking, leaders say BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

As traffic problems continue to plague Buckhead, two city councilmembers say one answer is limiting parking required in new developments. Councilmembers Yolanda Adrean of District 8 and Howard Shook of District 7, introduced legislation at the Sept. 18 City Council meeting that would create the “Buckhead Parking Overlay District,” their response to what they see as worsening traffic issues caused by the development the Peachtree See NEW on page 22


Felicia Wheeler, right, shows Jordyn and Cameron Faichney some drumming techniques during the Fall Folklife Festival at the Atlanta History Center on Sept. 23. Held at the center’s 1840s-era Smith Family Farm, the event drew large weekend crowds to see a wide variety of folk arts.

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR From math class to ‘Jeopardy!’ studio

At first, I thought the absence of electricity would be no problem. After all, people lived happily for millennia before Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse came along.

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Lake Forrest Dam fixes could cost over $7M BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net The troubled Lake Forrest Dam finally has two repair designs on the table — and they could cost more than $7 million and require up to 18 months of road-closing construction. The 60-year-old earthen dam sits directly under Lake Forrest Drive, right on the Atlanta-Sandy Springs border. Since 2009, the state Safe Dams Program has pushed for fixing the aging dam, but that has been delayed due to complex co-ownership among both cities and several private residents. For over two-and-half-years, the cities have been See LAKE on page 22

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A community group has received permission from Atlanta City Council to raise funds to renovate the clubhouse at the Bobby Jones Golf Course to host meetings and music education events. A resolution by District 8 Councilmember Yolanda Adrean was adopted by the council Sept. 5 and will require the unidentified group to raise at least $1 million for the renovation by early 2018. The clubhouse is located at 384 Woodward Way. Chamber music education programs will be the focus of the work, Adrean said, but she declined to name the group. “They’re committed to making this project work out without city assistance so it’s a win-win,” Adrean said at an Aug. 29 Community Development and Human Services Committee meeting. The group will schedule a public meeting to get community input, Adrean said. The golf course is currently undergoing its own renovation, having been transferred to the state in June 2016. The clubhouse is leased to the city from the state.


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A friends group supporting Channing Valley Park hopes to receive enough funding to purchase this new playground equipment.


A friends group for Channing Valley Park, a small neighborhood park at Channing Drive and Sunbury Place, will receive funding from Atlanta City Council to buy new playground equipment. The council passed an ordinance by Councilmember Yolanda Adrean Sept. 18 that allots $20,000 for park improvements. The money will come from the District 8 carry forward fund, which holds money left over from previous years. The friends group will also seek a grant from Park Pride, a local nonprofit. Thy Colquitt, who is involved with the friends group, said the group hopes to fundraise about $10,000 as well. With those combined sources, Colquitt believes they will have enough to replace current playground equipment, which is nearing 20 years old, he said. Future park renovation plans include creating a gathering space, seating area, ADA access, landscape improvements and creek conservation.


District 8 Councilmember Yolanda Adrean has introduced an ordinance that reduces penalties for false security alarms. Atlanta collects penalty fees for false security alarms from residents through a partnership with a third-party service called CryWolf. “The constituents I serve have been pretty unhappy with the program,” Adrean said. Currently, residents get one warning with no fee. The second false alarm results in a fee of $50. Adrean would remove that fee and allow residents to have a second warning. She would decrease the third false alarm fee from $100 to $50. The ordinance is currently being referred to appropriate committees and will go before Atlanta City Council again in the coming weeks.




Advancing Atlanta Together.

Construction returns to Charlie Loudermilk Park as the Buckhead Community Improvement District adds a shade structure over the seating area. The Buckhead CID recently completed its renovation of the park, adding a new John Portman sculpture, clock tower and landscaping. Several umbrellas previously shaded the seating area, but they required maintenance, and often blew away, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID said. They settled on a structure made of metal and synthetic fabric. BH

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017

Community | 3


BC I D PA R T N ERI N G WI TH C I TY ON SI DEWA L K I M PR OVEMEN TS The Buckhead Community Improvement District is seeking funding from the city’s Renew Atlanta bond program to improve Buckhead sidewalks and make them accessible to people with disabilities. The ordinance that will allot $400,000 from the bond to the CID will go back before Atlanta City Council on Oct. 2. The CID will also use $400,000 from its own funds to do the project, said Jim Durrett, executive director of the CID.

B U CK H EA D Y M C A H I RES N EW D I R EC TOR The YMCA of Metro Atlanta has hired a new director for its Buckhead branch, which recently underwent an expansion overseen by the former 11-year director Kristin McEwen. Jill Moore will replace McEwen, now senior vice president of operations at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, as the director of the branch located near Memorial Park at 1160 Moores Mill Road. Moore was most recently the director of YMCA Camp Thunderbird, a camp for children in Charlotte, S.C., according to a press release.

Three candidates vie for Fulton Chair

cently triggered debate; and the role of county government is getting some rethinking with the recent formation of the city of South Fulton. There are diplomatic questions, too: Can county govern-


Three candidates will vie for the Fulton County chairman seat on the Nov. 7 ballot, after a qualifying period ended earlier this month. The contenders include: Robb Pitts, a former Fulton commissioner and Atlanta City Council president; Gabriel Sterling, a current Sandy Springs City Council member; and Keisha Waites, a former state representative. The candidates are vying in a special election to replace John Eaves, who resigned to run for the Atlanta Mayor’s Office. The chair is an at-large, countywide position that leads the Board of Commissioners. Sandy Springs and Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood are within Fulton County. The election comes at a time of change for Fulton County, which will have its first new chair in more than a decade. Just a few of the big issues facing Fulton: Leaders are in the midst of planning for public transit and road expansions; skyrocketing property tax assessments re-

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The three contenders for Fulton County Chair will appear at a candidate forum. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 4 Co-sponsored by Reporter Newspapers & Riverside Homeowners Association 7 p.m. at Kairos Church 5855 Riverside Drive N.W. in Sandy Springs. The forum, moderated by Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor John Ruch, is open to the public and will include time for audience questions.

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4 | Community

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Big costs, and some lessons, from Irma storm response CITY OF SANDY SPRINGS

Two trees fell during Tropical Storm Irma on Montavallo Drive in Sandy Springs.

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Responding to Tropical Storm Irma on Sept. 11 and 12 left local cities with significant bills and such suggestions as better real-time power outage information, according to early government reports. In Dunwoody, See related Irma cleanup cost commentary the Public Works and reader and Parks and survey, page 10 Recreation departments alone an estimated $20,000 to $30,000, according to the city. In Sandy Springs, a rough estimate from City Manager John McDonough was that storm response cost the city “six figures plus.” Atlanta and Brookhaven did not have cost estimates available yet. “The city is currently reviewing costs associated with Hurricane Irma and will undergo a cost-reconciliation process,” said city of Atlanta spokesperson Jewanna Gaither. “We predict to have figures in the next few weeks.” Among Reporter Newspapers communities, Sandy Springs had the most detailed report available, as McDonough briefed the City Council on Sept. 19. The storm “reminds us, it humbles us, about the power of nature,” McDonough said. McDonough said the city began outlining emergency response plans even

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12. 2017

Community | 5


before Irma approached the U.S. mainland as a historically powerful Category 5 hurricane. Sandy Springs initially was watching Hurricane Harvey as it devastated Houston, Texas, with flooding. Among the local planning was monitoring the Lake Forrest Dam, a troubled structure under Lake Forrest Drive on the Atlanta-Sandy Springs border, on Sept. 1. Both city governments and a group of private residences are working on a plan to repair or replace that aging dam, which the state fears could collapse and flood in a major storm. As Irma approached, Sandy Springs’ first concern was the large number of evacuees heading to metro Atlanta, where they filled up hotels. Then Irma finally arrived here as a tropical storm. Sandy Springs got its first call about a fallen tree at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, McDonough said. By the storm’s end, about 45 roads had been closed by fallen trees or electric lines, and a local resident was killed when a tree fell on his house — one of three people the storm killed in Georgia. Sandy Springs Police officers knocked on doors of homes near Nancy Creek to alert residents about possible flooding, and city officials checked on conditions at assisted living facilities after hearing what McDonough called “horror stories” of seniors dying in Florida blackouts. Irma affected the city’s Call Center, which handles any type of city services request. Providing through an outsourcing contract, the Call Center service is based in Orlando, Fla., and had to evacuate for the storm. Backup service was provided from a Virginia office, McDonough said. Officials say the Call Center handled 1,930 calls during and immediately after Irma, but received only one complaint for poor response. McDonough said Sandy Springs had generally good communications with

other governments and such private agencies as Georgia Power Co. While generally pleased with the storm response, McDonough had one recommendation: Better real-time information from Georgia Power on where its crews were working. As an example, McDonough said he had a tree removal crew on standby and had to send them home because he could not tell whether Georgia Power was working on fallen lines in the same area. Such information also could allow cities to use their own crews to do some basic electrical repairs, he suggested. “Let’s be transparent about those things for all of our communities,” he said. Sandy Springs also quickly reviewed city streets for “dangerous” trees that will be proactively “eliminated” so they don’t eventually fall onto power lines or structures, McDonough said. He estimated the list, which was not immediately available, at about 100 trees. City spokesperson Dan Coffer later said it is about 50 to 60 trees. All local cities activated their versions of an emergency response headquarters, where staff worked around the clock to monitor conditions and supervise response. For Brookhaven, it was the city’s first use of the “Emergency Operations Center,” and officials deemed it a success— especially because the government itself fell victim to a power outage. “We had most of our staff in 24-hour mode, either at work or on-call, throughout the duration of this event,” said Mayor John Ernst in a written statement. “The EOC was able to function and succeed even though City Hall was in a blackout like most of the rest of the city.” –Evelyn Andrews and Dyana Bagby contributed

LOCAL STO RM IMPACTS BY THE NUMBERS Here are some of the early numbers on the impact of and responses to Tropical Storm Irma provided by local cities.

BROOK H AVEN ■ City government handled 209 incident reports, including downed trees, blocked roads and traffic signal outages.

DUN WOODY ■ Approximately 25 trees removed from roads. ■ Four city crews of combined staff from Public Works and Parks and Recreation were dedicated to cleanup from Sept. 10 to 15 and logged 80 hours of overtime work.



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6 | Community

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Traveling exhibit celebrates the area’s Jewish community BY JACLYN TURNER Heritage Sandy Spring’s newest exhibit, “L’Chaim Sandy Springs,” celebrates Jewish participation in the community. “The Jewish community has been a significant part of the culture of Sandy Springs from its formation to now, and we wanted to highlight that contribution,” said Leslie Walden, an HSS board member. The exhibit’s title refers to a common celebratory toast that means “To life!” in Hebrew. The exhibit, consisting of images and comments from local leaders and community members arranged in a timeline, opened at the William-Payne Farmhouse on Sept. 23 during the Sandy Springs Festival and will remain there until Oct. 1. Next, the exhibit is scheduled to be displayed at Temple Sinai and The Weber School in Sandy Springs and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody. “The way this exhibit works, is if it travels to a school, the kids are really fa◄ Melissa Swindell, HSS’s director of historical resources, stands in front of the first panel of the “L’Chaim Sandy Springs” exhibit. PHOTOS BY JACLYN TURNER

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miliar with Instagram, so they will initially be attracted to it because it’s something they know,” said Melissa Swindell, HSS director of historical resources. “When it travels to a synagogue, the adults will say, ‘I remember when this happened,’ and be attracted to the photos and the art.” Each panel is themed, and focuses on Sandy Spring’s Jewish schools, synagogues, arts, food, media and the roots of Jewish participation in the city. Representatives of the Atlanta Jewish Academy, Chaya Mushka Children’s House, The Davis Academy, the Epstein School, and The Weber School explore their approaches to Judaism and education. Members of Congregation Beth Tefillah, Congregation B’nai Torah, Congregation Or Hadash, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Sinai, and The Kehilla discuss their histories and what makes them unique. HSS collects and manages information and documents related to the history of the community with archives going back to the Civil War, but this is the first time the organization has collected artifacts to document the Jewish community in Sandy Springs. “We wanted to represent the entire population of Sandy Springs, which the Jewish community is a large population, with a complete and thorough archive,” Swindell said. Swindell and Walden conducted more than 120 interviews and conversations to understand the oral histories of Judaism in Sandy Springs as well as current achievements. The two started with Temple Sinai congregant and Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman and the synagogue’s history committee, who wanted to create an exhibit to commemorate Temple Sinai’s 50th anniversary in 2018. Their explorations spread from there. “Being able to just network with everybody; there was so much we didn’t know who to contact or how to get in contact with them ... but one person would point us to another,” Swindell said. While the city of Atlanta and the Southeast have the Breman Museum, which holds archives for Temple Sinai, several newer synagogues and schools haven’t processed archives. “Some of the information can be found on websites, but this is the first time [that information related to Sandy Springs] is being pulled together into one space,” Swindell said. The Dewald family, the first identified Jewish family in Sandy Springs, moved into the area in the 1930s. Robert Ney opened the first pharmacy in Sandy Springs in 1955. In 1968, Temple Sinai was formed in Sandy Springs with the blessing of The Temple in Atlanta, which was overcrowded.

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When metro Atlanta started booming, and people started moving to the suburbs, Sandy Springs gained its Jewish population, crediting medical complexes such as Northside Hospital, as drawing Jewish Atlantans north of the city and helping to create a community feeling. The medical community and especially the hospital chaplains helped initiate the religious integration of the city, according to Walden. The exhibit also pays tribute to the city’s first mayor, Eva Galambos. Her family, survivors of the Holocaust, helped make the decision to give a home to an exhibit based on the life of Holocaust victim Anne Frank. In 2016, the city formed a sister city relationship with the Western Galilee Cluster in Israel with the coordination of Mayor Rusty Paul. The Consul Gen-

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eral of Israel and Andrea Worthy, economic development director for the city of Sandy Springs, spoke about both cities’ unique and diverse populations and commitment to technology and medicine for the project. “It’s not just a Jewish community. It’s a place where Jews, Arabs, Druze, and Christians all live together. They take a lot of pride into that,” Worthy said. Swindell and Walden said the exhibit took more time to pull together than they originally had expected because they kept finding more to include. “It kept growing,” Walden said. “We first started with questions for schools and synagogues, we didn’t want to leave anything out and to be as thorough as possible.” For more information, see HeritageSandySprings.org.

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8 | Education

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Rand Wise, Marist School

ing at the private Brookhaven school in 2014. He teaches calculus, geometry and problem-solving for math competitions.


Why are you involved with the American Mathematics Competitions program? How do you think it helps your students?


Rand Wise was a runner-up contestant on NBC’s “Jeopardy!” in May.

Marist School teacher Rand Wise last month won an award for encouraging his students to participate in math competitions, and, in May, used his competition experience to become a runner-up contestant on NBC’s “Jeopardy!” Wise was awarded the Edyth May Sliffe Award in August for his work with American Mathematics Competitions, which have students complete examinations. They move on to harder rounds if they score high enough. Wise said they are an “incredible means of challenging students to go beyond the math they learn in the classroom.”


The award is given annually by the Mathematical Association of America to approximately 20 teachers in the U.S. “who have done outstanding work in motivating students in mathematics through participation in one of the MAA American Mathematics Competitions,” according to the organization’s website. Wise also coaches the school’s academic and math competition teams, which compete in quiz games similar to “Jeopardy!” A teacher since 1991, Wise began teach-

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I think it is an incredible means of challenging students to go beyond the math they learn in the classroom, and to apply the math they do know in creative and challenging ways. No matter how much math you know, there is always more math and harder math out there. Working with students on AMC questions is a nice way to get outside of a fixed curriculum and explore. It is intellectually stimulating and great fun; there is no other feeling in the world quite like the feeling you get when you finally solve a



really tough problem.


Why did you choose to go on “Jeopardy!”? What was the experience like?


I have wanted to be on “Jeopardy!” ever since I watched with my family growing up. It was definitely a “bucket list” experience. I was disappointed in myself for coming in second, but the experience was amazing. Getting to see behind the scenes, meet the incredible crew, talk with Alex Trebek, and getting to share the experience with my wife and son were fantastic.

Q: What attracted you to teaching at



I discovered even as a student that I was good at explaining things so that people could understand even complex topics. I enjoy learning and knowing things at a deep level, and setting out to teach challenges me to know things even more deeply than my students do.


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I enjoy teaching greatly. Also, it is very rewarding to hear from old students who have gone out into the world and done amazing things, and who have grown and matured into responsible adults who contribute to their communities.


What do you think makes a great teacher?


Someone who cares about helping people, who makes a personal connection with students, who knows their subject really well and fosters a love of


Wise poses at one of his students’ math competitions.

that subject in their students, who is patient and forgiving, who can find a way to challenge each and every student to rise to their potential.


What do you want to see in your students?


I want my students to give 100 percent; to feel comfortable making mistakes and asking questions. I want my students to love mathematics, especially if they come to me having had bad experiences with math. I want to see my students grapple with the “why” of a process rather than simply memorizing a series of steps.


Do you have a project or special program you use year after year?


I have done some interesting projects over the years, but usually mix them up. I have had students build kaleidoscopes and produce geometrical art, and last year a fellow teacher and I had our students make geometry-inspired lanterns. We got the idea from the popular BeltLine Lantern Parade. In calculus, I have some favorite problems that I bring back every year, including designing things to optimize certain parameters.


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


My “trick” is simply a mixture of perseverance, humor and humanity. I try to make things student-centered as much as possible. Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” articles, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend a teacher or administrator to be the subject of an Exceptional Educator article, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12. 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Students from local schools have qualified as semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. About 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide qualify as semifinalists. The students were chosen for their scores on qualifying tests, and now must submit letters of SPECIAL recommendation, college entrance exam scores and inforEthan Moon. mation about their leadership and community activities. Students then chosen as finalists receive a $2,500 scholarship. The Fulton County School District, Wesleyan School and Marist School sent out announcements on students who qualified. Fulton announced that 123 students qualified as semifinalists, including several students from Sandy Springs schools. North Springs Charter High School students Claudia Chu, Jared Coffsky, Daniel Lopez and Eric Miller and Riverwood International Charter School students Saya A. Abney and Lily Schneider qualified. Six Marist School students, Allison Hart, Jack Pantlin, Paul Plaia, Beatrice Russell, Conor Walsh and Benjamin Wise, qualified as semifinalists, the school announced. Ethan Moon, a student from Dunwoody who attends Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, qualified, the school said.


DeKalb Schools will extend school days by 20 minutes from October to December to make up for days missed during Tropical Storm Irma. Every school day will be extended beginning on Oct. 2 and lasting through the end of the first semester on Dec. 20. DeKalb schools and offices will also remain open on Election Day on Nov. 7, according to the release. “We lost four days and we’re trying to be as creative and productive as we can about recapturing that time,” Superintendent and CEO R. Stephen Green said in a statement. DeKalb chose to extend schools days rather than shorten fall or winter breaks. The district did not want to use all of its allotted inclement weather days in case it needs them during the winter. Fulton County School District spokesperson Susan Hale said the district is discussing plans, but has made no decision yet. Atlanta Public Schools spokesperson Latisha Gray said the district has no plans to add any make-up days.


Five students and one teacher from Riverwood International Charter School, a Fulton public high school in Sandy Springs, traveled to Japan in June for a two-week language education program. Five of the school’s Japanese language students flew to Tokyo, where they visited museums and palaces before travelling to Shizuoka to attend Inatori High School. In addition to attending classes, the students learned about Japanese flower arranging, calligraphy and martial arts, and volunteered at a preschool. The students also visited Kyoto, where they visited temples, shrines and museums. In the past year, Riverwood sponsored student trips to Nicaragua, Spain and France as part of the school’s international studies program.


St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School, a school in Sandy Springs, has created a new softball team that has won several of its first games. The team members all reside in Brookhaven, Dunwoody or Sandy Springs, and have won against the Roswell Junior Hornets, Epstein, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, Galloway and FelSPECIAL lowship Christian, according to a press Front row, from left, St. Jude’s new softball release. team includes students Latifa Madesko, St. Francis and Marist have both deMary Grace Troncale, Riley King Walker, feated the team in recent games, ac- Nina Parker and Taylor Monaghan. Back row, from left, Megan Stewart, Amanda Hassler, cording to the release. Coach Jonathan Worrell, Meghan Hamrick, “I could not have asked for a better Katie Brandt Brawwell, Coach Scott Braswell, group of girls to coach for the first seaAshley Benson and Rachel Quinnelly. son of St. Jude softball. The girls are incredibly supportive of each other, have hit the ball well and have played great defense,” Jonathan Worrell, the head coach, said in a press release.


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10 | Commentary

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Commentary: A power-ful lesson from Irma Irma taught me something. I like electricity. Hurricane Irma wreaked horrible damage on the Caribbean and Florida. I don’t want to diminish that in any way. But when Irma blew through metro Atlanta, downgraded to a tropical storm, we thought we’d dodged the worst of it at our house. The winds blew, but they didn’t seem as bad around us as had been predicted. Rain fell, but it didn’t seem much worse than a usual rainstorm. Yet Irma managed to do something that we’d never seen at our house. Despite decades of keeping an eye on tornadoes, cooling it during snowstorms, waiting out downpours and fearfully watching windstorms, we’d never lost power for more than a few hours. Irma changed that. This time, we had no electricity for more than two days. And I discovered that I missed it. No, more than missed it. Electricity had become part of just about everything I do. Without realizing it, I had filled my days with electronic stuff. Electricity was everywhere and part of everything. We were never in any sort of danger, but without electricity, things changed. A lot. Without electricity, I couldn’t work. I couldn’t read the news on the internet, play solitaire on the computer, find real cards to play solitaire without the computer, listen to music, see the Braves play baseball or enjoy watching the detectives in some quaint English village solve a murder on TV. I fell way behind on my daily quota of outrage for the goings-on in Washington and lost track of what Irma was doing beyond my house. Without electricity, I couldn’t even make coffee. I couldn’t even grind the beans to make coffee.

Without electricity, I suddenly realized, life was boring. At first, I thought the absence of electricity would be no problem. After all, people lived happily for millennia before Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse came along. And we never had power during those camping trips I took with my sons during their Boy Scout days. We did just fine. It was kind of fun not having electricity. No music on the stereo? No problem, I thought. I’d just make my own. My son and I broke out our acoustic guitars and played together by candlelight. But in a half-hour, we’d run through every song I had memorized. We didn’t have enough light to read sheet music to other songs, so we gave up. I decided to fill the dark hours by reading a book or two. But after a couple of hours of enjoyable reading, my e-book ran out of power. I couldn’t plug it in for a re-charge. No problem, I thought. I’ll simply read a real book, one with pages and not digits. I have plenty in the house. I thought that given the circumstances, I’d try re-reading Thoreau. But then I realized that without lights, I’d never find my ancient copy of “Walden” buried away in darkened bookshelves. I settled on Twain, pulling out a dusty copy of “Roughing It” that had been stored closer to hand. But reading by candlelight proved more difficult than I had expected. I don’t know how Abraham Lincoln did it. To make out the words in tiny type, I had to move the candle dangerously close to the page. I suddenly envisioned a book aflame, followed by the sound of fire trucks. I gave up on reading. Finally, I decided to try a jigsaw puzzle. I like them and they take lots of time to complete.

Puzzling during daylight hours worked fine. As it grew darker, though, I found I had a hard time telling the pieces apart, I switched to a flashlight to spotlight the piecJoe Earle es. That meant I Editor-at-large at could only clearReporter Newspapers. ly see one piece at a time. It turns out, that’s a surprisingly frustrating way to do a jigsaw puzzle. I went to bed. I wondered, how did we keep from being bored on those scout camping trips? Then it hit me: We stayed busy staying busy. We had to build fires, pitch tents, tend fires, police camp, watch the fires burn just to make sure they didn’t burn the place down. The whole day was built around eating and sleeping and staying warm. My electric life takes care of just about all of that stuff. I thought to myself that I should learn from this experience and be better prepared for next time. I’d get bigger flashlights, more batteries, a radio that didn’t plug in, maybe even a battery-powered phone charger. I’ll get a new French press for coffee. I’ll figure out how to get by using less electric stuff. But now, the next morning, the power is back. I’m typing on my computer, drinking a freshly ground cup of coffee from my Mr. Coffee while listening to a new Randy Newman CD and trying to get the TV cable and internet to work again. There’s news to follow. And somewhere on Netflix, there’s a detective in a quaint English village with a murder to solve.

Community Survey: Planning for future storms Local residents say they’re happy with the local response to Tropical Storm Irma, though they had some ideas for better dealing with the next one. Respondents to the 1Q cellphone survey of 200 residents of communities served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown generally gave local officials and utilities good marks for their handling of storm repairs. But some respondents offered suggestions on how to improve the response to future storms. “They did a fine job,” a 53-year-old Buckhead man commented. More than nine of 10 respondents said local governments and utilities responded either very well or OK in repairing damage from the storm. Only 9.5 percent rated the response as poor or terrible. Hurricane Irma, which inflicted extensive damage on the Caribbean and Florida, was downgraded to a tropical storm in Georgia, but it still brought high winds and rain and knocked out power, closed roads and downed trees across the state, including in metro Atlanta. More than half of Georgia Power Co.’s customers in DeKalb County lost power, according to media reports, and some local residents were without power for days.

Some called for better coordination. A 49-year-old Brookhaven man suggested officials “proactively communicate before, during, and after the storm of current and/or potential problems.” Others suggested preparing for the problem before it arrives by burying power lines or identifying trees likely to fall. “Bury Buckhead power lines!!!!! Too many trees,” a 48-year-old Buckhead man said. Other respondents called for better use of technology to communicate with residents about the storm cleanup. “They should use mobile websites to show consumers in detail where damage has occurred and which houses/businesses are off,” a 49-year-old Sandy Springs man noted. “Then show specifics about the progress -- known, dispatched, on-site, repairing, testing, etc.” A 36-year-old Atlanta woman thought it would help to have the information in one place. “When the power is out use of radio announcements are key! It would be great to have one website dedicated to when disasters happen,” she wrote. Not everyone was pleased with the response. One 20-year-old Brookhaven woman had a simple suggestion for bettering communications with the public: “Answer the phone.” BH

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017

Commentary | 11


Compliments to the comma I confessed in a previous column, “Grammar Snob,” that I am, in fact, a Grammar Snob. I am one of those people (there are three of us) who find robust humor in Jack Sparrow’s use of parallel structure in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” where he states, “I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.” Ha! Ha! I’m giggling right now. But I reserve special affection for the comma. It is so often misused, unused, and underused, I feel that the least I can do is devote 675 words to the little guy. Honestly, the comma is an invention of our civilized world that is not unlike the zipper: Even though we might occasionally get hung up on it, it truly makes our lives easier. Ironically, another construct of our modern world Robin Conte is a writer is hastening the demise of our friend, comma. I am reand mother of four who ferring, of course, to texting. You can find a teenager at lives in Dunwoody. She a Barry Manilow concert more often than you’ll find a can be contacted at comma in a text. My texts, however, will come to you robinjm@earthlink.net. properly punctuated. I can’t help it. I take heart in the fact that I’m in good company regarding my respect for the comma, as there is an Oscar Wilde anecdote that has been entertaining Grammar Snobs for decades. The story goes that when Wilde was questioned smugly about what kind of work he did all day, he responded that he spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out. Go, Oscar! I do, too! (Or is it, “Go Oscar; I do, too”?) Anyhoo, then my editor gets in the game with me, because I’ll put a comma in, and he’ll take it out. I happen to enjoy writing the occasional long, breezy and rhythmic, free-flowing sentence — not so free-flowing and stream–of-consciousness as James Joyce, per se, but lengthy enough to cover the lumpy parts and loose enough to be comfortable, like a swing top. But my editor doesn’t like long sentences. He likes them short. He likes them punchy. He likes them short and punchy. He takes out commas and puts in periods.

Robin’s Nest

This brings me to another comma entirely, which is the serial comma, a.k.a. the Oxford comma, my absolute favorite comma of all. I think of it as a rare gem when I see it glowing brightly in its perfect setting between the penultimate word in a series and a conjunction. My editor, however, uses the Associated Press comma, which SPECIAL is invisible. So I’ll write a Robin keeps a spare comma handy phrase such as, “planes, in case her editor kills one. trains, and automobiles,” and as soon as I pass it along to my editor, my attentively placed serial comma (the one after “trains”) will disappear like my kids when it’s time to do yardwork. I maintain that the conjunction is not enough. Imagine us walking through a garden, stopping along the way to smell the roses, as it were, and then when we near the end of our stroll, we are shoved right past the final bed of flowers. Well, that would be rude. It’s the same way with the written word. We walk along through a series, pausing politely after each word or phrase in it, and then we hit the no man’s land of comma blankage and stumble clumsily, head-first into the final word. It’s madness. My affection for the serial comma was rekindled several months ago when I learned about a court case in Maine that involved said comma; it had to do with dairy workers and the tasks they performed that would or would not garner them overtime pay. Without going into journalistic details, I will tell you that the final two items on the list of tasks ineligible for overtime pay were not separated by a comma. The judge stated, “For want of a comma, we have this case,” and, in fact, for want of a comma, the dairy workers won. The devil is in the details, and the clarity is in the comma.

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To hash out internal controversy over the proposed park over Ga. 400, the Buckhead Community Improvement District board held a special meeting Sept. 19 with little notice and no alert to the media. Specific details about what was determined during the special meeting remain unclear as the group takes a step toward forming a nonprofit to oversee the park. The meeting was held in response to requests from board members that the board discuss the CID’s role in the proposed park over Ga. 400 and in the midst of forming a steering committee to create a nonprofit to plan and fundraise for the park. The special board meeting, referred to as a retreat, was advertised on Sept. 12 in the Fulton County Daily Report, the county’s official legal organ, while other meetings are advertised on the CID’s official website and emails. It was held in the office of the board chairman, David Allman. The Sept. 27 board meeting was the next meeting following the retreat and the next opportunity for the public to hear an update on the park and other CID projects. However, the agenda for the meeting was not posted until a half an hour before the meeting began, so the public had no way of knowing what the board would discuss. Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID, said this was “an oversight.” No reporters attended the special meeting, and Durrett said that he would have requested any press members leave the meeting if they did attend. Durrett said he could not require the press to leave because the board meeting is open to the public, but he would have asked that of them because he believes the board can speak more openly if the press is not present. “When the reporters are there reporting on everything we say, it chills good conversation,” Durrett said. Nothing about the special meeting was discussed at the Sept. 27 board meeting, but Durrett said in an earlier interview that the board “got into detail on everything we were working on so everyone had an understanding of our role.” The board also used the meeting to “clear the air about any of the concerns or questions on the [park over Ga. 400],” Durrett said. The CID is in the process of creating a steering committee to build a nonprofit that will manage the park and raise funds for its construction. Some core members have been determined, but not announced publicly, and the CID aims to have the steering committee members finalized by the end of October, David Allman, the board chairman, said at the Sept. 27 board meeting. The CID plans to provide an update at the November board meeting. Howard Shook, the District 7 city coun-

cilmember who sits on the CID board, requested the retreat during the July 26 board meeting that provided major updates on the park. Shook argued the board needed time to learn about two new board members who were elected at the previous meeting and to discuss the CID’s role in the park. “I think we need a full-blown pause with a retreat to find out who these new board members are, why are they here, what are their expectations of their fellow board members,” Shook said at the July board meeting. “For this [the park over Ga. 400] to move forward, we need to be a team. We need to be partners. This is not a partnership.” Shook was expanding on CID board member Robin Suggs’ suggestion that the board needed to have further discussion about the park. “We all need to have a better understanding as to where we are headed,” Suggs said. Shook said in an interview after the retreat that he still has concerns about the park and questions that have not been answered, especially concerning how the park will be funded. Durrett said the board also used the retreat to discuss and decide what the CID’s role should be in the projects proposed and suggested by the recently completed Buckhead master plan, “Buckhead REdeFINED.” During the interview about the retreat, Durrett said he had no more time available to discuss what the board specifically determined and asked the Reporter to send an email to follow up, but Durrett did not respond to the email.

Park over Ga. 400 update

Durrett played a video of a simulated tour of the proposed park over Ga. 400 created by Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, consultants working on the park. The video looks similar to previously released renderings of the park. The simulation is still in the draft stage and not released publicly, but will be released when it is completed, Durrett said.

Operation Shield update

The board ratified spending $29,150 more on the Operation Shield project, which has placed 52 cameras throughout the CID’s coverage area in Buckhead. The extra money was used to install two cameras in Charlie Loudermilk Park, as previously installed cameras near the park did not provide a complete view of it, said Darion Dunn, the CID’s director of capital improvements and planning.

Public safety housing update

The CID committed $20,000 to start a new phase of its public housing program, a partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation that provides a one-time stipend to help police officers move to the area.


SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017

Community | 13


Breakfast at subway!

Resident makes fighting voter apathy his full-time job BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Frustrated by his community’s low voter turnout, a Buckhead resident is taking three months off from his job to encourage his neighbors to go to polls this November. Justin Wiedeman, an accountant and Chastain Park neighborhood resident, announced at the September Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting that he would leave his full-time job until after the Nov. 7 election to take on this effort. SPECIAL “The trends are clear. Our neighbors are not as enJustin Wiedeman. gaged and not participating to the degree they did in the past. We need to turn that around,” Wiedeman said later. “I’m fortunate I can spend the time to do that and have the resources to do that,” he said. Wiedeman said he has been engaged in local politics for over 30 years, beginning when his father held fundraisers for candidates at his family’s home. He has worked with individual candidates in the past, but said this effort will not focus on specific campaigns. “I’m not concerned about who people are supporting,” he said. “I’m hoping it will be a unifying effort.” Wiedeman is a third-generation Buckhead resident, and he said that contributes to his dedication to helping Buckhead turnout. His parents and cousins still live near Pace Academy, he said. As the contests for Atlanta City Council and mayor heat up, Wiedeman said he is concerned the negativity between some campaigns could turn residents off from voting. “We have a very polarized climate. I’m afraid as a result, people will just not vote,” Wiedeman said. Since 2001, voter turnout for mayoral and council elections has been about cut in half, a sign people now need more motivation to vote, Wiedeman said. In 2001, turnout of registered voters was recorded at 36.5 percent in Buckhhead’s City Council District 7 and 47 percent in District 8. In 2013, those numbers fell to 17 percent and 23 percent, according to Wiedeman’s data and the Fulton County Board of Elections archives. “In looking at the Buckhead districts voting patterns, the trend over time is negative as voter turnout has continued to fall,” he said. Other than believing voting is responsibility of residents, Wiedeman also hopes a strong turnout from Buckhead will force elected officials to pay more attention to the area. “It’s critical that our neighbors get out and vote. If we want the next administration to address suffocating levels of traffic, collapsing streets, storm sewers, sewage spills as well as flooding, we must be engaged and we must vote,” he said. Wiedeman said he is nailing down strategies he and other volunteers will use to bump up voter turnout. He is considering distributing generic voting signs that don’t note a particular candidate or race. He said he will analyze urnout to find what precincts typically draw the highest and lowest turnouts and may attempt to unofficially pit precinct against precinct in a turnout competition — one idea thrown out at the Buckhead Council meeting. “Some competition could be good,” he said. He said he will not provide meals or money in exchange for voting and said his group will also not hire vehicles to drive people to polling locations. The effort will also only focus on turnout and not on registration because most people are already registered, he said. Wiedeman can be contacted at BuckheadMustVote@gmail.com for more information.














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Voters Guide: City Council District 7 Voters in Atlanta City Council’s District 7, covering the area of Buckhead around Ga. 400, will have a choice on the Nov. 7 ballot between challenger Rebecca King and 16-year incumbent Howard Shook. The Reporter asked both candidates for a biography and the answers to questions about their political stances, and part of their answers appear below. For their full answers, including positions on crime, bicycle facilities and the park over Ga. 400, see ReporterNewspapers.net.


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Why should the voters choose you for this position?

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As a resident that has a record of service on boards that are already working to improve the city of Atlanta, I feel qualified to serve my district and the city of Atlanta. My diverse career experience as an educator and as a business owner has given me a broader perspective in how government affairs affect the daily lives of people. People voting for me will have someone that is interested in changing the status quo and looking for fresh ideas to improve the quality of life in Atlanta.

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What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? As is the case throughout the city of Atlanta, the infrastructure backlog is the biggest issue facing District 7. While the Renew Atlanta Bonds totaling $250 million took a major bite out of the $1 billion backlog, we need to do more to try and tackle this issue. With all of the development happening in District 7, impact fees need to be evaluated and right-sized to more accurately reflect the strain that any new development puts on the city system. City Council should also work with neighborhoods to create lists of community improvements that they think are high-value projects.


howardshook.com Occupation: Atlanta City Council member.

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Why should the voters choose you for this position? My experience and track record of advocacy for Atlanta and our neighborhoods make me unique in this race. What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?


There really are two: crime and traffic congestion. Crime can be reduced by completing our camera network and working with the courts to end its culture of “catch-and-release.” Traffic congestion can be eased by following through on the initiatives I’ve supported, including a reduction in commercial parking allowances, an updated traffic signal system, improved transit options, issuance of fewer “prime time” lane closure permits, and completion of ongoing projects designed to tackle our worst intersections and bottlenecks.

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Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, 175 students taking The men are among most of whom adults, (PALS). By Kathy education for senior Learning & Services from the start.Dean providing continuing of year members 25th been its PALS is in need for of Dunwoody, have Wethe care of hear it all the time: and his wife, Dot, and this kind of takes rings are 60-plus. Yates less is more. especially true to help other people, The phrase for older adults “People our age want made lifelong friends.” empty nests and who are facing Yates said. “We have are4 ready to Continued on page fellowship,” Dot of their enjoy the lives. Intown and north metro second half many comfortable Atlanta offer options for them. “Baby boomers have spent much working and of their lives building their wealth for retirement,” said Dawn Anderson, Realtor, Dorsey “As retirement Alston Realtors. becomes more of a reality, they plan their transition begin to to downsize. Ease and affordability of life, proximity are certainly the goals of most downsizing boomers.” common The trend of continues to grow, 55+ active adult communiti Anderson said. es well qualified “Baby boomers buyers and know are looking for.” exactly what they are Kim Isaacs, aged 58, said that Avalon in Alpharetta her townhome in gives her and everything they her husband want. “We had home in Johns lived in our previous Creek for 19 years. left for college, When our last we decided that child and really didn’t we need a large housewanted a change of us,” she said. for just the two



Continued on


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SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017

Community | 15


Voters Guide: State Senate District 6 Eight candidates will vie for the state Senate District 6 seat in a Nov. 7 special election. The district includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, along with a section of Cobb County. They are seeking to replace Hunter Hill, who resigned to run for governor. The Reporter asked all of the candidates for a biography and the answers to ques-


LeahforGeorgia.com Occupation: Attorney and owner of Atlanta Breastfeeding Consultants, LLC. Why should the voters choose you for this position?

tions about their political stances. Five candidates responded, and part of their answers appear below. The candidates who did not respond are Charlie Fiveash, Jen Jordan and Leo Smith. For their full answers, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

JAHA HOWARD JahaHoward.com Occupation: Pediatric Dentist

Why should the voters choose you for this position?

Voters should choose me to be the next state senator for the 6th District because experience matters. I am a small business woman, running a healthcare business in Fulton County for the last five years, and a corporate attorney who has closed multimillion-dollar public company deals. I advocated for four years under the Gold Dome on a piece of Republican-sponsored legislation — from drafting the bill, to testifying in six hearings, to negotiating amendments, to working with the Governor’s Office. I have proven I can and will get the job done at the Capitol for the 6th!

I believe it’s important to be involved in the community. When I encounter an issue, I like to work with people that have the knowledge, experience and passion to find the best solutions. For example, six years ago, families wanted more from their dental practice — more connection, less stress, happier children. I started a practice that connected to the community through fun events, interactive social media and more quality patient-doctor time. Four years ago, parents expressed concerns about our neighborhood schools, so I founded Wave of Excellence, a massive network of parents that has helped to positively transform our schools.



votemattbentley.com Occupation: Attorney. Why should the voters choose you for this position? I am the candidate with the deepest local roots, which is why I care so much about our great community. I was born in Marietta, raised in Vinings, went to the Westminster Schools in Buckhead, lived in Buckhead while attending Emory Law School, and now live in Smyrna with my wife and dogs. I was trained to draft, analyze and find loopholes in legislation that is crafted by our state legislators, and have been litigating on behalf of local governments. I am not a politician and will advocate for strong conservative values, including individual responsibility, less government and lower taxes.

TaosWynn.com Occupation: Nonprofit President Why should the voters choose you for this position? My focus is the people: getting impactful results that will better our communities, protect individual freedoms, and allow the voice of the people to be heard. As long as I am in office, I assure that when I enter the Senate chamber, so will the voice and best interest of the people of District 6. I understand the privilege and responsibility of representing the district’s constituents and I am willing to work across party lines to see more than just political differences, but to see and find meaningful solutions ensuring that Georgia’s future includes all of us and that we are indeed building Georgia together.


kathycanfor.us Occupation: Chief Operating Officer of Smart Door & Delivery.

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Why should the voters choose you for this position? We need a Republican leader who will lead the way to common-sense, business-minded solutions on the issues that matter. I have the experience to lead the way. I have done so as a successful executive with public and Fortune 500 companies, as a mother and as a leader in our community. I have worked hard to earn a reputation for being the person to turn to if something new and innovative needs to be launched or if an organization is broken and needs direction. That is what we need in the state Senate, and I can lead the way. BH

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16 | Out & About

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Opening reception Wednesday, Oct. 4, 5 to 7 p.m.






More than 30 businesses and 30 artists will showcase original paintings, drawings, collages, mixed media and photography for sale to the public throughout the month. A portion of proceeds from each sale will benefit the Dunwoody Arts Association and other organizations. The public is invited to the opening reception at Fidelity Bank, 2 Perimeter Center East at Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Artwork locations and other info: dunwoodyfineart.org.


Friday, Oct. 6, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 8, noon to 5 p.m.


Wednesday, Oct. 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Dunwoody Woman’s Club 45th annual Dunwoody Home Tour features four homes in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. $25. Info: dunwoodywomansclub.com.

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The 16th 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 chilis can also be sampled. Free. Spruill Arts Education Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.


Saturday, Oct. 7, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., VIP admission starts at noon.

Taste chili or Brunswick stew from more than 75 restaurant and amateur competition teams at this sixth annual event at Brookhaven Park. Live music, beer and wine, kids’ activity zone. A portion of proceeds benefit the Atlanta Fundraising Foundation and the Brookhaven Park Conservancy. Free parking behind MARTA’s Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station and Brookhaven City Hall. 2660 Osborne Road, Brookhaven. Kids 12 and under free. General admission: $20-25; VIP: $56-60. Info: brookhavenchilicookoff.com.


Saturday, Oct. 7, 8 to 11 p.m. Free beginner dance lesson at 7 p.m.

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The Big Easy Playboys put on a Louisiana-style dance party at the Dorothy Benson Center in an event sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. Tickets: $18; $14 active military; $5 students. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun/Creole food for sale. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877338-2420.

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12. 2017

Out & About | 17


SUKKOT FARM-TO-TABLE FESTIVAL Sunday, Oct. 8, noon to 4 p.m.

Celebrate the Festival of Booths at this Jewish festival featuring chef demonstrations, garden workshops, craft beer garden, live music and kids’ activities. Free, and open to the community. Food available for purchase. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or Rabbi Glusman at 678-812-4161.


Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., VIP event noon to 1 p.m.

The Chattahoochee Nature Center holds its sixth annual outdoor food, live bluegrass music, craft beer and wine event to raise funds for CNC’s Unity Garden, which supplies more than four tons of fresh produce annually to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry. Garden tours and games. All ages. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Ticket info: chattnaturecenter.org.



Saturday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m. to noon.

Kids can learn about planting bulbs for spring and growing them in containers in sunny windows. Each participant takes home a container of bulbs planted in this family gardening program presented by Heritage Sandy Springs. Best suited for ages 6 to 10 with accompanying adult. Free. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org. Continued on page 18

18 | Out & About

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Continued from page 17


Saturday, Oct. 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Meet local health and wellness providers at an event featuring fitness demos, health presentations, kids’ activities and healthy snacks. Free. Presented by Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber’s Health & Well-Being Council. North Springs United Methodist Church, 7770 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: Sarah Galambos, sarahhmas@gmail.com.


The “Sandy Springs Reads” program is gearing up for its sixth annual October event where residents are encouraged to read and discuss the same book. This year’s book is the 2013 bestseller “Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm,” a memoir by Virginia farmer Forrest Pritchard. The program’s companion book for young readers is “Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market” (2017) by Michelle Schaub. Events revolving around the chosen books will be announced. “Sandy Springs Reads” is a collaborative program of Art Sandy Springs, the Sandy Springs Education Force, Friends of the Sandy Springs Library, Los Ninos Primero, Altrusa International, the Abernathy Arts Center and the Sandy Springs Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Info: artsandysprings.org.


Saturday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

See famous aircraft, take plane rides, meet World War II veterans and noted authors and visit with war reenactors in the fourth annual Atlanta Warbird Weekend at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. The Weekend’s 2017 theme is African-American pilots from World War II to the present. Free. Parking: $15, cash only. On Saturday at 7 p.m., hear original Tuskegee Airmen veterans share their stories in a dinner event at the 57th Fighter Group restaurant. Dinner tickets: $149. 2000 Airport Road, Atlanta. Info: atlantawarbirdweekend.com or 404-913-2635.



Atlanta native Lynne Bird discusses her memoir on being a “Georgia Peach” at Heritage Sandy Springs. Free. Garden Room at the Williams-Payne House, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: Melissa Swindell, mswindell@heritagesandysprings.org or 404-851-9111 x2.

Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m. to noon.

Master Gardener Richard Osterholtz explains how to build and repair raised garden beds at the next Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard edu-session at Brook Run Park. Free. Refreshments served. Meet at the DCGO greenhouse complex opposite the skate park at Brook Run, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.

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SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12. 2017


Out & About | 19

DISCOVER NATURE LECTURE SERIES: BATS! Sunday, Oct. 15, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Learn about bats common to this community and how you can help save them from a potentially extinction-causing disease. Bat box installation tips and sunset bat viewing over the gardens. Ages 6 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. $5 individual; $10 family. Info: 770-206-2035 or registration.sandyspringsga.gov.


With so many things to do, we suggest getting an early start on your want-to-do list.


Saturday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The 14th annual Vintage Affair brings together top local restaurants, fine wines, music and live and silent auctions in the largest annual fundraiser for the Community Assistance Center, which has helped neighbors in need in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody since 1987. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, 805 Mount Vernon Highway N.W., Sandy Springs. Ticket info: vintageaffair.org.


An evening of local food, live music and dancing observes the market’s 10th anniversary. All proceeds benefit the market, located at The Cathedral of St. Philip, in Buckhead. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. Ticket info: prfm10thanniversary. brownpapertickets.com.



There’s a lot to do at The Piedmont Retirement Community — clubs, events, socializing, and more. So, go ahead and make your want-to-do list. But please don’t include a bunch of chores. We’ll take care of most of those for you. We invite you to see all that The Piedmont has to offer (including assisted living services if needed) at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.

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20 | Community

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GPB CEO discusses education programs at Sandy Springs chamber


Left, Teya Ryan, CEO of Georgia Public Broadcasting, with Jan Paul, GPB board chairperson, executive director of Leadership Sandy Springs, and wife of Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, at the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber luncheon Sept. 13.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

As the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce hosted representatives

from all public Sandy Springs schools at a Sept. 13 luncheon, Teya Ryan, CEO of Georgia Public Broadcasting, spoke about how GPB has furthered its “educational mission” in the last few years by producing

interactive textbooks and games. “I’m really honored to have so many educators here because what we do is really for you,” Ryan said. Educators and administrators from local public schools set up booths in the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North hotel, where the luncheon was held. Jan Paul, the GPB board chairperson, executive director of Leadership Sandy Springs and wife of Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, introduced Ryan at the lunch. Jan Paul has served on GPB’s board of directors for 14 years and served on the search committee that hired Ryan as CEO. In introducing Ryan, Paul said GPB’s education division is what she is “most proud of.” Also at the luncheon, Tara McGee, principal of Woodland Elementary, spoke about her school becoming the 16th elementary school in the state to be designated a STEM school with the help of the Sandy Springs Education Force, a group that works to improve local public schools. While most people know GPB provides radio and television across the state, many are not aware it provides significant educational materials and programming to public schools, Ryan said. Since becoming CEO in 2009, Ryan has worked with her team at GPB to produce

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more educational materials, saying airing educational shows is not enough to further GPB’s education mission. One of those programs included a live-stream discussion with biologists at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary on the Georgia coast. More than 45,000 students and teachers viewed the video and submitted over 1,000 questions, Ryan said. The audience included students and teachers from Ridgeview Charter Middle School in Sandy Springs. The live stream was planned to last half an hour, but was extended to an hour and a half due to the number of questions, Ryan said. “It was an astonishing experience,” she said. GPB’s educational efforts are provided through digital media because children have grown up with digital media, understand it and are motivated to use it, Ryan said. “Our children are digital media natives. They are completely absorbed, good or bad, in their digital world,” Ryan said. One of the first education projects GPB worked on was the production of the Georgia history books used by all eighth graders at public schools in the state. GPB transformed it into an interactive digital book with original videos, which schools in Fulton County use, she said. Printed copies of the book cost schools $100 each, but digital copies are made free to the public through federal funds and grants. When the book is updated, schools using the digital version only have to download a new version instead of buying new copies, Ryan said. “The beautiful part of this is it doesn’t take $100 a book to update it,” Ryan said. The use of the textbook initially stagnated, and Ryan found the release was “one step ahead” of digital media knowledge among teachers. “We assumed these very busy teachers had time to go and learn how to use digital media. We were wrong in that assumption,” Ryan said. GPB hired two educators and sent them across the state and to many metro Atlanta schools to educate teachers on using digital education tools. Since then, the use of the digital book has more than doubled, Ryan said. They will be visiting schools again this year to educate more teachers, she said. “The education side of what we do is now the highest-trafficked part of our website. It used to be TV, so it’s changed dramatically,” she said. GPB is considering producing university books because the cost of textbooks is often a barrier for students, she said. The education division at GPB has also created 40 “elaborate” interactive lessons, games and virtual “field trips” for free use by schools and the public. For more information visit gpb.org/education.

SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12. 2017

Classifieds | 21


Reporter Classifieds SERVICES AVAILABLE


Matthew’s Handy Services – Small jobs and chores are my specialties. Shelves, organizers, carpentry, drywall, painting, and plumbing. Member of BBB – 404-547-2079 Email: mwarren8328@gmail.com.

Piano Lessons – Looking for piano lessons? Affordable lessons for ages 4 & up. Serving Dunwoody, Roswell, and Sandy Springs. Call 770-367-0024. www.facebook. com/keys4soul

Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576.

Piano Lessons in Your Home – lessons for all ages, levels & styles. Call Kimberly Izor 404-444-8440 or www.pianolessonsforyou.net

Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490. Handyman Services – Moving and Delivery too! Local owner – call 803-6080792 Cornell Davis.

LOT FOR SALE Lovely, level Dunwoody Lot for Sale in “Sellars Farm”. 134’ frontage and 178’ deep. Call 770-512-3463 or 770-394-3604

Kebensa Math Tutoring – Honors Algebra, Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra 2, Trigonometry, Honors Pre-Cal or AP Cals AB/BC. Single & Group rates --- in-person or online. Better grades guaranteed! Call 678-641-8871 or email: keithsawyer@ bellsouth.net.

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110

Drivers Wanted Senior Services North Fulton, a non-profit organization, has an opportunity for drivers in their transportation program. If you live in the Sandy Springs or Roswell area of north Fulton, would like to earn some extra money, set your own hours, like to drive, have a car, and like to be of service to seniors, please contact Mobility Manager at

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Arlington Memorial Park – 4 grave plots, Masonic Gardens section. Retail $24,000 – asking $17,000. Call 770-606-9886.


Arlington – Sandy Springs – 1 lot, Garden of Cross. Retail $3,995 – asking $2,000. 4 lots, Section A w/2 vaults. Retail $19,000 – asking $10,000. 404-402-6253. Arlington Memorial Park – Sandy Springs - Beautiful, Pine crest section, Plots 11B, spaces 3 & 4. Arlington staff will be happy to show plots. Call 973-714-2499.

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22 | Community

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New projects should have less parking, leaders say

Lake Forrest Dam fixes could cost over $7M

Continued from page 1

Continued from page 1

Road corridor has undergone in the past few years. The councilmembers are attempting to lower the ratio of parking spots to square-footage to match Downtown requirements. The basic idea of the overlay district is to no longer allow parking requirements typical of suburbs, Shook said. SPECIAL “Neighborhoods are getting choked in traffic. The goal is to create not as much of a car-centric development,” Adrean said. District 8 Councilmember Yolanda Adrean. “Sometime between the last two to three years, Buckhead’s traffic volume went from being a nuisance to something much worse,” Shook said. Mayor Kasim Reed signed an executive order Sept. 18 creating a 120-day moratorium that prohibits developers from applying for permits for new projects while the legislation for the overlay district is reviewed by the public. Developers can apply for projects during the moratorium if the planned parking falls under the proposed requirements. SPECIAL The legislation would eliminate minimum parking reDistrict 7 Councilmember quirements in the district and lower the ratio of allowed parkHoward Shook. ing spaces for retail, office, lodging and residential properties. The overlay district would allow a maximum of 1.25 parking spaces for each one bedroom residential unit and 2.25 for each two bedroom residential unit. A maximum of one space for each hotel room would be allowed at motels and hotels. Retail spaces would be allowed 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor area. Current parking ratios vary depending on zoning districts. The new overlay district would capture Peachtree Road, the Buckhead Village area and the large commercial area around Lenox Square mall. The proposed development at 99 West Paces Ferry Road project is one example of a development that would have to conform to the new parking ratios. The development is currently in SPI-9, which allows a maximum of two parking spaces per unit plus a half space for each unit with three or more bedrooms. Developers are seeking to build 989 parking spaces for 525 apartment units. The developers are also proposing 16,000 square feet of commercial space. That project is currently attempting to be rezoned and has not received its building permit yet, meaning it would have to comply with the proposed parking ratios before it could receive a permit. The SPI-9 committee previously “expressed concerns about the number of parking spaces proposed and recommends it be reduced significantly,” according to documents about the developers hearing with committee. The councilmembers believe the abundance of parking in Buckhead has exacerbated the area’s traffic congestion problem. “The excessive amount of accessory parking in office and commercial uses has greatly contributed to the traffic and congestion in the area,” the ordinance says. Shook also said previous studies have shown Buckhead is “rapidly exhausting our road capacity.” Instead of changing development density, which Shook said can’t legally be changed, the councilmembers will seek to change parking. “Neighborhood representatives grimly understand that development rights cannot be taken away, but that doesn’t apply to the number of parking spaces that directly contribute to our congestion problem,” Adrean said in a press release about the ordinance. The councilmembers will seek input from the Georgia Department of Transportation and conduct studies on the effects the legislation would have, Adrean said. The legislation will also follow the normal city legislation protocol of being presented before Neighborhood Planning Districts, where the public has an opportunity to give input. It will also go before the Zoning Review Board and the Department of City Planning. Rebecca King, who is challenging Shook for the District 7 council seat, did not respond to a request for a comment. The proposed overlay district is part of a package of ordinances the two councilmembers have drafted in an attempt to relieve traffic. The legislation would take effect citywide if passed. One ordinance would prohibit the Department of Public Works from closing lanes for work during “peak” periods, defined in the ordinance as 6:30 to 9 a.m. and 4:15 to 6:30 p.m., unless it is emergency work. Another ordinance would prohibit commercial vehicles from parking on the street to make deliveries and blocking a lane of traffic. These two ordinances were referred to the Transportation Committee and will be read again at the next city council meeting on Oct. 6. Shook and Adrean also seek to stop the Atlanta Police Department from stopping motorists in lanes, and instead pull motorists over in parking lots or side streets when possible. This ordinance was referred to the Public Safety and Legal Administration council committee.

studying repair options, with Sandy Springs taking the lead and splitting the costs with Atlanta. Officials from Schnabel Engineering have finally narrowed the alternatives to either an upgraded version of today’s dam or a new, smaller dam built farther upstream. A previous, simpler-sounding concept to get rid of the dam completely and replace it with a culvert has been discarded as too expensive, they said. “Those two alternatives, they basically would bring [the dam] into compliance with the Safe Dams regulations,” said Schnabel engineer Brad Boyer at the Sept. 19 Sandy Springs City Council meeting. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and the councilmembers listened with grim expressions, many frowning and gripping their chins in their hands, as Boyer laid out a lengthy construction timeline and early cost estimates ranging from about $5.9 million to $7.5 million. But they did not question the need to fix the dam, which the state has classified as “high-hazard,” meaning that if it were to fail, the flood would likely kill people downstream. Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management is “working closely” with Sandy Springs on the plan, said Atlanta city spokesperson Jewanna Gaither. Atlanta City Councilmember Yolana Adrean, who represents the dam area, said she had not seen the designs, but added, “It’s one of those things that we have no choice but to fix it because that road is not safe.” All of the owners will have to review the plans and choose a design option. There are no signs that the dam is about to fail, but it has “structural deficiencies” and cannot handle a worst-case, hurricane-style rainstorm of 15 inches falling in six hours, Boyer said. Last year, the city lowered the water level in the pond behind the dam by about 12 feet to make it “less unsafe,” as Dane Hanson, the city’s Stormwater Services unit manager, put it. But permanent fixes are needed. “There are significant issues with the dam,” Hanson told the council. He showed an image from a 2013 video camera inspection of a pipe that provides drainage through the dam, pointing out “significant corrosion in that pipe.” Leaks within the pipe could cause the dam to fail internally. On the exterior, the dam’s approximately 30-foot-high slope is covered in trees that could destabilize it. And the dam’s spillway – the outflow for excess water – simply doesn’t have the capacity to handle the major rainstorm that Safe Dams uses as a measure. In such a storm, the pond could overflow, with water spilling down the dam’s surface, causing erosion and possible collapse.

Design options Schnabel’s two alternative design options amount to either repairing or replacing the dam. Both involve major changes to the dam, such as a new concrete spillway or turning that short section of the 4600 block of Lake Forrest Drive into a bridge over a culvert. Either option has a similar, lengthy timeline, Boyer said: Nine to 12 months of design and permitting, and 15 to 18 months of construction. The repair option is known as the “full pool” design and the replacement option is known as the “reduced lake level” design. The early cost estimate ranges are higher for repair and lower for replacement. However, the replacement option has more cost variables, and its high-end estimate is similar to the repair option’s low-end estimate, both around $7 million. The “full pool” repair option is so called because it would allow the pond to be refilled to around its original water level. The dam’s height would be increased by several feet; all trees would be removed and the slope flattened; and a new spillway and drainage system would be built. Lake Forrest Drive would continue to run along the top of the dam. This option also could involve “acquiring properties downstream” for easements, Boyer said. The “full pool” cost estimates: $7.027 million to $7.622 million. The “reduced lake level” replacement option is so called because it would create a smaller pond with the water level similar to the current partly drained state. In what is now the pond’s bed, a new, smaller earthen dam would be built to contain the water. Instead of the dam running under Lake Forrest Drive, there would be an open or closed culvert carrying excess water, which could mean building a small bridge. The new dam would need a concrete structure for controlling water flow. The dam’s surface would have what Boyer called “armoring” of stone blocks, allowing high water to spill over it without severely eroding the surface. The “reduced lake level” cost estimates: $5.854 million to $6.953 million. --Evelyn Andrews contributed


SEPT. 29 - OCT. 12, 2017

Community | 23


New bike rack, sidewalk guidelines proposed in zoning change BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Buckhead residents attending a Sept. 20 meeting said they want better tree protection and more opportunities for public input on proposed changes to Atlanta’s zoning ordinances. At the same meeting, city consultants say they also plan to propose new rules for bicycle racks and requirements that developers build sidewalks in some zoning districts. The proposed changes represent the first phase of “quick fixes” consultants from Canvas Planning Group, the firm working on the new zoning ordinance, want to address. A second phase will come next year, and a full rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance will come in three to five years, consultants said at the meeting. About 30 people attended the forum held at Passion City Church, which is located near the Peachtree Hills neighborhood. The meeting was the second of two public forums held by the consultants working on the update. The consultants said at the meeting they soon will announce dates and locations for additional open houses in October. The proposed changes will then go before Neighborhood Planning Units

later in October and November, the Zoning Review Board in November or December and the City Council in December or January. Drafts of the legislation will be available in October. The proposed changes include several minor alterations to the zoning ordinance that will address problems voiced during meetings with city planning staff and the public last year, when consultants were putting together a diagnostic report that will guide the zoning rewrite. The proposed changes deal with inconveniences and inconsistencies in the zoning ordinance that the consultants said should be easy to fix and can be dealt with quickly. One of the main changes would be creating a citywide set of bike parking standards, instead of the 18 separate and conflicting standards currently in place. Current standards don’t include requirements for residential areas and allow the bike racks to be “poorly located,” documents on the proposed standards say. New standards would require developers to install bike parking at each building on a site in both nonresidential and residential areas. Outdoor bike racks would have to be publicly accessible and lit, accessible to street or trail without using stairs and must be no more than 100 feet from the building door. Indoor racks

Waites wants to be ‘bridge-builder’ in Fulton chairman race BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


Former state Rep. Keisha Waites is pledging to be a “bridge-builder” with crucial state political connections if she wins the Fulton County chairman office Nov. 7. Waites, an Atlanta Democrat, made an earlier, unsuccessful run for chairman in 2006, losing to John Eaves. Now she joins Robb Pitts and Gabriel Sterling as candidates to replace Eaves, who left to run for Atlanta mayor. “I’ve had the unique opportunity to gain experience in the Georgia House of Representatives,” Waites said of what has changed since her previous chairman run. “I have alliances and relationships I did not have before.” She cited property taxes and transit as among the top issues facing the county. Waites has run unsuccessfully for several offices over the past 15 years, including various General Assembly and Atlanta City Council seats. In 2010, she ran for the Fulton Commission’s District 4 seat, losing to the late Joan Garner. In 2012, Waites won a special election for the state House District 60 seat, representing an area around East Point, Hapeville and southeast Atlanta. Waites cited her sponsorship of several House bills: the “Fallen Hero Bill,” pro-

viding college tuition assistance to children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty; SPECIAL restoraKeisha Waites. tion of driver’s education funding for high schools; “April’s Law” addressing domestic violence; efforts to address distracted driving; and funding to ensure accessibility in state buildings for people who use wheelchairs or are visually impaired. “A lot of issues facing Fulton County, I’ve already dealt with at the state level,” Waites said. “I want to be frank with you. Every one of us who qualified…will probably do an outstanding job,” Waites said when asked about the race’s other candidates. But, she added, “I walk into the door with immediate relationships with the speaker of the House” and other key officials. “These are people I dial on my cellphone,” she said. Waites resigned from her House seat on Sept. 18 to run for chairman. She said she views the chairman seat coming open as “a signal and a sign it was time to move on and do greater public service.”

would have to be lit and accessible to occupants without using stairs. Another change would be requiring developers of new developments to repair existing sidewalks or to build sidewalks if they don’t already exist. Newer zoning districts currently require this, but older ones do not and this would reconcile that inconsistency, consultants said. The new requirements would call for 10-foot-wide sidewalks on major corridors and six-foot-wide sidewalks on all other streets. It would also allow for 3-foot-wide sidewalks in places necessary to accommodate trees and their roots. Consultants also hope to fix problems with “storage pods” being left for extended periods of time on people’s property. The zoning ordinance does not currently have any guidelines to address the issue and the new changes would limit the amount of time storage pods could remain on a residential property to 30 days out of the year. Other smaller changes would eliminate the requirement for independent driveways, delete unused zoning districts in Midtown and allow for taller HVAC units. The hope of the changes is to make administering the zoning guidelines easier and help the public more easily understand the rules, consultants said. Christina Gibson, a canopy conservation coordinator at Trees Atlanta, told

the consultants that she would like to see the zoning ordinance work more closely with the tree ordinance, which is getting its own rewrite by consultants as well. “We need a more holistic code that makes it easier for arborists, conservation advocates and plants and animals to do their job,” Gibson said. Aaron Fortner, a consultant at Canvas Planning, said the consultants will make sure the tree ordinance and zoning ordinance rewrites are closely connected and “on the same page.” Laura Dobson, an advocate for tree protection and a resident of Peachtree Hills, said consultants should seize the opportunity offered by the zoning rewrite “to actually preserve our trees more effectively.” Jim Snyder, a Castleberry Hill resident, suggested the city incorporate resident perspective more consistently and more often, such as by including them on steering committees with stakeholders. “It’s the way this city has always worked, but it needs change,” Snyder said. The city’s consultants maintained they value residents’ perspectives and urged people to spread the word about the October meetings, when more details are announced. For more information, visit zoningatl.com.

Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events in Buckhead between Sept. 3 and Sept. 16, was provided by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.


2500 block of Chantilly Drive — Sept. 16

R O B B E RY 100 block of W. Paces Ferry Road — Sept. 3

3500 block of Piedmont Road — Sept. 6

3200 block of Lenox Road — Sept. 4

2300 block of Parkland Drive — Sept. 6

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

BURGLARY 100 block of Sheridan Drive — Sept. 3 2300 block of Parkland Drive — Sept. 3 2000 block of Main Street — Sept. 3 3200 block of Roswell Road — Sept. 4 900 block of Buckingham Circle — Sept. 4 2500 block of Piedmont Road — Sept. 4 5100 block of Arbor Gates Drive — Sept. 5 600 block of Lindbergh Drive — Sept. 5 2200 block of Dunseath Avenue — Sept. 6 2200 block of Arbor Gates Drive — Sept. 7 1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — Sept. 7 2300 block of Parkland Drive — Sept. 9 700 block of Cumberland Drive — Sept. 10

Sept. 6

3000 block of Peachtree Road — Sept. 8 2400 block of Morosgo Way — Sept. 9 3100 block of Mathieson Drive — Sept. 10 3200 block of Lenox Road — Sept. 10 1700 block of Howell Mill Road — Sept. 12 1700 block of Monroe Drive — Sept. 14

LARCENY Between Sept. 3 and Sept. 9, there were

37 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 38 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting. Between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16, there were 59 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 39 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.


3000 block of Bolling Way — Sept. 12

There were 15 auto thefts reported from

1700 block of Peachtree Street — Sept. 12

Sept. 3 to Sept. 9. There were eight auto thefts reported from Sept. 10 to Sept. 16.

2000 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

Sept. 13

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