Seal the deal
Vote on city seal design COMMUNITY 3
Students re-enact 1776
OCT. 2 — OCT. 15, 2015 • VOL. 7 — NO. 20
AROUND TOWN 20
United we stand
Williams drops out of mayoral race BY JOHN RUCH
From left, Jocy Castillo, Cross Keys varsity cheerleader Maggie Ramirez, and her brother Omar Ramirez, walk arm-in-arm during halftime ceremonies at the school’s football game against Mount Vernon Presbyterian School on Sept.18. The Cross Keys Indians lost to the Mustangs 45-7. See additional photos on page 25.
SEE INCUMBENT, PAGE 27
Busy Dresden Drive brings parking crunch BY JOHN RUCH
A parking crunch is the downside of the booming business district on narrow Dresden Drive near Peachtree Road. Brookhaven city officials are trying to provide relief by gathering business owners to cooperate on identifying and leasing new lots. But one of those business owners, Joey Riley of the Kaleidoscope restaurant, says the city is more problem than problem-solver with its approval of projects with insufficient onsite parking. And University Baptist Church, owner of a prime lot being eyed by the city, says it’s not interested in leasing its spaces. “Yes, looking for additional parking is a great idea,” said Riley. “What isn’t a good idea is allowing new businesses to pop up when there’s not adequate parking.”
One particular new business in the Dresden corridor has triggered the parking-solution push from City Council. The forthcoming Dixie Moon restaurant, in the building at 2536 Caldwell Road known as the “Little White House,” received rezoning approval from the council in August with strong community support. But there was also concern that it plans only 15 parking spaces—the minimum under the current zoning code. Ben Song, the city’s community development director, told council that the code bases the parking count solely on the squarefootage of the dining area and does not account for employee parking. Dixie Moon founder Scott Serpas pledged to use expert SEE WITH DRESDEN, PAGE 7
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Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams announced she is dropping out of her re-election campaign because of her family’s health issues. “I’ve decided to drop out of the race,” Williams said in an interview, explaining that her husband Dick’s recent emergency hip surgery prompted the decision. “My priority has to be my family, especially my husband of 36 years,” she said. “I couldn’t live with myself if he was still in a walker three months from now and I was out sticking signs in people’s yards…Family first.” Her husband’s surgery is the latest of several recent family emergencies for Williams, including her own kidney surgery and the death of her mother. Williams also recently canceled the City Council’s annual retreat due to her husband’s emergency. Williams will complete her current term
Candidates forum set for Oct. 20 The Brookhaven Reporter will host a public forum to give voters a chance to hear from the candidates running for city offices in the Nov. 3 election. Candidates for mayor and City Council are being invited to take part in the event. The forum will be held at Oglethorpe University on Oct. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. and ending about 9 p.m. To find out more about the mayoral candidates, check out our Voters Guide on page 5.
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The Brookhaven Arts Festival returns Oct. 17-18 under new leadership, a year after an abrupt shutdown took artists and the community by surprise. Leading the revival is Kelly Marsh, a Brookhaven real estate agent who volunteered at the festival during its decade as a popular local event. She teamed with artist Ida Beth Barner and her husband, Greg, a long-time arts festival volunteer, to resurrect the event. â€œItâ€™s been more successful than we thought it would be,â€? Marsh said of their efforts. So far, they have booked more than 100 artists, four bands and a classic car show. Started in 2004 by Gretchen Roberts and her Brookhaven Arts Alliance, the annual arts festival drew thousands of attendees to its Apple Valley Road location. But last year, organizers announced via Facebook that they were â€œunable to hostâ€? the 11th annual festival. A follow-up post in February said the festivalâ€™s demise was permanent. The statements gave no reason for the festivalâ€™s shutdown. Roberts, who is not involved in the revived festival, did not return a call seeking comment for this article. â€œI was very disappointed last year,â€? Marsh said. â€œI loved the event. I loved volunteering. â€œMy mother was an artist. I always loved and appreciated art,â€? she said, adding she volunteered at the hospitality booth, selling T-shirts and posters. After 20 years of success as a local real estate agent, Marsh said, she was looking for ways to give back to the community. She saw an opportunity in reviving the arts festival. â€œI was like, â€˜Gosh, I know everybody who did it,â€? she said. She reached out to Greg Barner, who runs the promotionalproducts firm Bubbling Creek Company, and Ida Beth Barner, an artist who once toured the country with similar festivals. â€œI donâ€™t want this thing to die,â€? Marsh recalled telling the Barners. Marsh and Greg Barner became co-executive directors of the new arts festival.
They sought out several local business sponsors and the city of Brookhavenâ€™s tourism department. And Marsh is forming a new nonprofit called the Brookhaven Community Foundation as an organization to possibly continuing operating the festival and other community or charitable events in the future. â€œThis year, weâ€™re going to be grateful if we just break even,â€? Marsh said, but having a nonprofit in place will aid fundraising and reinvesting any profits that a future event might bring. While theyâ€™re still using the Brookhaven Arts Festival name, they did everything else â€œfrom scratch,â€? Marsh said, including a new logo, website and Facebook page. The lineup they have booked for the revived festival is a bit smaller than the 2013 edition, but is comparable to the festivalâ€™s early years, Marsh estimates. It will be held in the same location, the stretch of Apple Valley Road behind the Brookhaven/ Oglethorpe MARTA station. As in previous years, the event includes a juried art show, with a $250 firstplace prize, and there will be food and drink. Music will be provided by at least four bands, with those currently booked include Crane, The Instructors, John Thrasher and Sailing to Denver. One difference from previous festivals is the use of a professional artist-networking website to book artists from around the country. â€œWe have at least 30 percent of artists from out of state,â€? some from as far as Maine and Minnesota, Marsh said. The artist lineup includes a variety of media and a range of prices â€œso thereâ€™s something for everybody,â€? she said. Another new touch is a classic car show on Oct. 18. Brookhaven Arts Festival Where: Apple Valley Road, behind the MARTA station When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 17; noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 18. For more: brookhavenartsfestival.com. To preview work by some of the artists, go to Facebook.com/brookhavenartfestival.
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City considers buying house for parkland, but questions remain BY JOHN RUCH
The city of Brookhaven may purchase a house on Ashford-Dunwoody Road for a new “pocket park.” But first, City Council members’ concerns about funding and pending litigation must be answered. At the Sept. 22 council meeting, Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and Councilwoman Linley Jones pushed for a quick purchase of the half-acre property at 4131 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, at the corner of Oak Forest Drive. The house is on the market for $350,000. The purchase would represent a partial revival of Williams’ call for a “linear park” to be created in the area in conjunction with a proposed townhome development plan the council rejected earlier this year. “Now is an incredible opportunity… to provide a pocket park to this neighborhood [and] provide a gateway entrance to Brookhaven,” said Williams, noting the property’s location on the Brookhaven-Sandy Springs border.
Jones said it is important for the city to “set a precedent” of acting fast on opportunities to acquire parkland, especially as it works on such efforts as the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city needs a “mechanism by which to lock a property down while we discuss it,” she said. However, Councilmen Bates Mattison and John Park noted some outstanding questions, including how to fund such a purchase and the possible impact of litigation stemming from the former townhome plan proposed by Rockhaven Homes, whose rezoning request was denied by the council in May. “I’m all for green space. I have concerns about this space,” said Mattison. “There are a lot of questions to be answered, and the biggest one for me is how to pay for it.” Williams and City Attorney Christopher Balch said the pending litigation challenges the rezoning and property assembly for the townhomes. They did
not say who the parties in the litigation are, and Balch indicated it remained unclear whether the litigation would impact the sale of 4131 Ashford-Dunwoody. Balch did not respond to an email seeking more information, and Doug Dillard, who represented Rockhaven in its rezoning requests, did not have a comment. The council’s denial of Rockhaven’s rezoning followed repeated deferrals as the council discussed the possibility of the linear SPECIAL park, which would have been The city of Brookhaven may purchase formed from a piece of the land property at 4131 Ashford-Dunwoody Rockhaven assembled for the Road, at the corner of Oak Forest townhomes. The linear park was Drive, and turn it into a “pocket proposed by Williams, who was a park.” To see a larger version, go councilwoman at the time. to ReporterNewspapers.net. After discussion of the pros and cons at the Sept. 22 meetriod during which Garrett can figure ing, the council decided to auout the funding and litigation issues. thorize City Manager Marie Garrett “I think it’s important that we move to begin negotiating a purchase of the forward, and we have no risk” in let4131 Ashford-Dunwoody property, ting Garrett examine the purchase, said contingent on council approval. That Councilman Joe Gebbia. essentially began a due-diligence pe-
Prefer big ‘B’ to babbling brook? New city seal gets online vote A couple of images show babbling brooks. A few bear giant “B”s. Flowers are popular, too. Those are some of the decorative touches in 13 sketches under consideration to be Brookhaven’s new official city seal. Residents can see all of the designs and cast a vote for their favorites in an online survey run by City Councilman Bates Mattison. The seal is a symbol used to stamp official documents. The design also probably would hang in the City Council chambers and municipal buildings. Unlike the city logo, which may be updated, the seal is “something you want as a timeless piece you want to never change,” as Councilman Bates Mattison put it.
Mattison is in charge of directing Sky Design, the Atlanta-based firm coming up with the design for the seal. It’s been at work for a few months, and the city authorized spending around $3,000, according to City Council minutes. The City Council said at its Sept. 22 meeting that it intends to narrow the list to three or four options, then allow the public to vote online. However, Mattison already circulated a link to his full online survey to constituents. And the council’s annual retreat on Sept. 25, where it planned to discuss the seal, was canceled and has yet to be rescheduled. Mattison is keeping his online survey alive, and any votes that come in may help
sway the mayor and council’s final decision. A couple of the designs echo the current houses-and-stream city logo and are in finished versions. Most designs are just rough-draft pencil sketches on lined notebook paper. One council concern was that the finished versions might get more votes than the rough drafts simply because they were more polished. Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams couldn’t resist weighing in a bit early, saying, “I would like to put a tree or blossom in there somewhere.” To vote in the online survey, go to surveymonkey.com/r/YXXTZN5 -John Ruch
Here’s a sampling of possible designs for a new seal for the city of Brookhaven.
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ARC director: Connectivity is key for Perimeter’s success BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
The executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission says the growth of the Perimeter area shows the benefits of infrastructure planning and says the rest of the metro Atlanta area has to catch up or die. “If regions fail to adapt quickly enough, they can become irrelevant or actually extinct,” Doug Hooker told members of the Sandy Springs Rotary Club on Sept. 28. Hooker said the region must continue to innovate to stay relevant and efficient for its people, natural life and built structures. The way to do this, he said, is through collaboration. The biggest change the region must contend with is its continued growth, Hooker said. Attracting company headquarters such as those for Mercedes-Benz USA and State Farm shows the Perimeter’s strength in connectivity, with highways and MARTA, he said, but continued innovation happens best through collaboration. “The only way to meet these challenges is through cooperative action and collaboration,” Hooker said. “We have to work together across jurisdictions, business sectors, cultural divides and socioeconomic lines in order to win the future.” Hooker wants to choose a path to win the future, he said, by getting serious about improving education and the quality of the workforce, providing for affordable housing and coordinating growth as a unified region. Part of the reason Mercedes, State Farm and other leading companies want to invest in the Perimeter area is because of connectivity between major highways and MARTA, Hooker said. “Your economy is booming as a result of that,” he said. “With MARTA being here, your neighbors to the north, up Ga. 400, want a taste of what you are experiencing now, so they want MARTA to extend out to the north of Fulton County. They want what you have.” After a 2014 public opinion poll showed transportation to be the region’s biggest issue, the ARC made creating a “world-class infrastructure” a priority. But finding funding has become increasingly difficult, Hooker said, and he cautions not to expect more trans-
Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, says the biggest change the Perimeter area must contend with is continued growth.
portation money to come from the federal government. The ARC works toward better “livability,” Hooker said, which includes connectivity as much as an investment in education and affordable housing for all people. “We’re talking about real human lives,” he said. Hooker spoke about a woman who had to move to Smyrna after losing her apartment in Sandy Springs. She had to walk 19 miles a day to her job at Walmart, Hooker said. Developing and nurturing an innovation economy is crucial, Hooker said. Were the Atlanta region a country, it would be the 36th largest economy in the world, he said. “We are as a region as big as the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined,” Hooker said. “We are not a small, sleepy, Southern enterprise anymore.” Having some of the highest rates of income inequality in the region drains its economy, Hooker said. “The average household income in 2013 was about the same as it was in 1998,” He said. “Fifteen years, and essentially unchanged.” Hooker said too many places import talent and leave locals to low wage jobs. Through collaborative innovation, the communities in the region can continue Atlanta’s growth in a manageable way, he said. “Our region is at the precipice of tremendous change and opportunity,” Hooker said. “The choices before all of us are more important than ever. Our future is not written.”
Brookhaven Government Calendar Brookhaven City Council usually meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Rd. For complete and up-to-date schedule of Brookhaven city meetings, go to http://brookhavenga.gov. BK
Mayoral candidates share vision for Brookhaven With Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams deciding to end her campaign, two candidates remain in the race for mayor. The Brookhaven Reporter submitted questions to the candidates. Here are their replies. For more on the candidates, go to ReporterNewspapers.net.
Transparency means engaging in an open and honest dialogue with all citizens. Brookhaven is strong because of its citizens. In order to reach our next level of success, we must invite all citizens and taxpayers to the conversation and embrace a shared vision for our future. As mayor, I pledge to be the most accessible and accountable elected official in the city, and conduct city business in the most open and transparent manner possible.
Occupation: Competitive eater Elective offices held and previous elective or appointive offices held: President, Oakwood Neighborhood Association Previous community work: Brookhaven Yes, the Brookhaven Police Commission, and East Point Georgia Parks and Recreation Commission.
What’s one thing about Brookhaven you think should be changed? When the city of Brookhaven analyzes the impact of development in major corridors, it should require a greater study of the effects for more than just the immediate surrounding neighborhoods and area. Any development along Peachtree in Brookhaven will have an effect on the majority of the city, not just those neighborhoods directly adjoining a development. We must look at what the greater effect is on congestion and quality of life for all of our citizens.
Why do you want to be mayor? I am running for mayor to protect our quality of life by working to reduce traffic congestion, lower taxes and protect our community by addressing the crime that is aﬄicting Brookhaven. As the only candidate who has fought for homeowners, I have attended City Council, zoning, Planning Commission and Development Authority meetings as an advocate for our citizens. I will continue to fight to balance quality development while protecting the qualities that make Brookhaven great.
What is your vision of Brookhaven in 10 years? Brookhaven is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire because of its citizens. In order to reach our next level of success, we must invite all citizens and taxpayers to the conversation and embrace a shared vision for our future. My vision is a city government that embraces the values of its citizens and encourages their input. Together, we can create a community that prides itself on transparency while promoting the highest quality of life possible.
Why should the voters choose you? As a trusted voice for homeowners, I earned the support of my neighbors to achieve the position of president of the Oakwood Neighborhood Association, and I previously served as a member of Brookhaven Yes, the Brookhaven Police Commission, and the East Point Georgia Parks and Recreation Commission. I am uniquely qualified to serve as mayor, and will bring my experience serving the people of the city of Brookhaven. What do you see as the most significant issue facing the city right now? How will you address this? Transportation. I will fight to alleviate traffic congestion by ensuring our development does not outpace infrastructure. Transportation is about more than dollars and cents—it’s about our quality of life. Time spent in gridlock is time away from our families and charitable endeavors. As mayor, I will work with our legislative delegation to secure more funds for local traffic improvements while fighting for smarter development that reflects our current infrastructure and protects our quality of life. What does “transparency” in Brookhaven’s government mean to you? BK
Occupation: Attorney Elective offices held and previous elective or appointive offices held: Chair of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, 2012-2015. Previous community work: Executive committee, Atlanta Soccerfest; member of the Knights of Columbus; volunteer for Brookhaven Farmers Market Why do you want to be mayor? I grew up in Brookhaven, and I love this city. For the past three years, others have had the opportunity to address the exact same challenges we are still facing today. We must get back to the basics and fulfill the promise of tax relief, better parks, more green space and an open and honest government. I believe that by working together we can deliver the
promise of Brookhaven — this is why I am running for mayor. Why should the voters choose you? Unfortunately, we’ve all read the bad headlines. Trust has been broken here. Since 2013, our City Council has met secretly over 100 times. Our state’s Attorney General ruled that our city government improperly met behind closed doors. The city admitted to many more violations to the Open Meeting Act and is in the process of releasing more documents. As a former chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, I understand what it takes to clean up government. Secret meetings, cover-ups of alleged harassment, and sweetheart deals for developers do not create a relationship of trust between residents and our city. What do you see as the most significant issue facing the city right now? How will you address that issue? There is angst about the future of Brookhaven as higher-density developments encroach on our lives with increased traffic and the potential for overpopulation of our schools. In many cases, these high-density developments comply with our comprehensive plan, which is a critical factor in zoning decisions. Unchecked, however, Brookhaven could become unlivable in a very short period of time. Therefore, I think the city should: 1. Invoke at least a six-month moratorium on rezoning applications that increase density. There is precedent for this action in Sandy Springs and Atlanta. 2. Create a steering committee of the brightest and most committed citizens for each character area in the comprehensive plan. This steering committee would work with the citizens to create a plan that reflects the direction we want to go in their area. 3. Direct the zoning ordinance recodification committee to reflect the results of the new comprehensive plan into our zoning ordinance. As mayor, I look forward to bringing the citizens of Brookhaven together to preserve the quality of life we all love here. What does “transparency” in Brookhaven’s government mean to you? Transparency means making our city government’s actions known and accessible to its citizens. Our citizens deserve to know what our government is doing and how it’s coming to those decisions. The reprimand from Georgia’s Attorney General and numerous embarrassing media gaffes demonstrate that Brookhaven does not conduct its business with the highest degree of ethics and transparency. It’s time for Brookhaven to focus on what matters most: effective and efficient delivery of services to residents. We must
focus on the core functions of our city, and not spend hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on litigation against local businesses, such as the Pink Pony. [Mayor Williams] decided to use our tax dollars to go after the Pink Pony as one of her first acts in office. If elected, I will cut government waste and block unnecessary debt that will cause problems for our city in the future. [Mayor Williams] supported creating more debt for our new city last year with the proposed TAD and cannot be trusted on this issue. If elected mayor, one of my first acts would be to dramatically curtail meetings not open to the public. I would also create more avenues for citizen input and hold monthly town halls. Only when we fully engage our citizenry will we have a responsive city. I will also prohibit my campaign consultants and staff members from being considered for city contracts. Furthermore, if elected, I will not use city resources for my re-election campaign. What’s one thing about Brookhaven you think should be changed? In addition to restoring citizens’ trust in our municipal government, my other highest priority will be enacting permanent property tax relief for Brookhaven homeowners by increasing the homestead exemption, first for seniors, then for all homeowners. Currently, the Brookhaven city budget is on pace to more than double in six short years. Elected officials claim to have reduced property taxes while so many homeowners are seeing higher property tax bills. While the City Council has rolled back the millage rate, neither time have they rolled back to the statutory rollback rate, and each time the city has been required to advertise a property tax increase. It’s time to fulfill the promise of property tax relief for homeowners and raise the homestead exemption. What is your vision of Brookhaven in 10 years? In 10 years, I envision a Brookhaven that continues to lead the way in the metro Atlanta area when it comes to quality of life. We will continue to be in the best city to live, work and play. To ensure this, we must make sure that our quality of life is not impacted by the many developments that are being planned for our area. Revising our comprehensive plans and recodifying the zoning ordinance is just one step I want to make in that direction. I also envision the creation of the Brookhaven Beltline that would connect our city with the Atlanta Beltline and permanently create a more walkable, bikeable Brookhaven. Amenities like these will help us continue to be the best city to live, work and play.
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 5
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The city of Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Department hosted a community yard sale in the Briarwood Park gymnasium on Sept. 27. Above left, five local vendors had plenty of items for sale, including games, toys, clothing and books. Center, Elena Stadler, 2, and her doll patiently wait while her mother and grandmother shop. Right, Taylor Jones, 4, left, is gleeful that she bought a huge haul of Barbies from Ilana Hilley, 12. Above, Tom Spencer, left, takes a call while at Norma Henney’s table.
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
With Dresden Drive booming, city searches for parking options CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
car-parking valets to cram up to 28 cars into the 15 spaces. But, despite City Councilman Joe Gebbia pressing for that promise, the city can’t enforce it as a requirement. Song said a long-term solution is amending the zoning code to require more parking spaces. The city is launching a rewrite of the zoning code soon that offers the opportunity. But that doesn’t affect current projects. Riley said he’s concerned about customers of the new restaurant and other businesses using his Village Place lot, even though it’s marked as private. And Green Meadows Lane and other nearby streets are about to get resident-only permit parking to cut down on spillover business parking. With its business district close to residential neighborhoods and the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, walking should be a good alternative for Dresden Drive visitors. But several local streets and older segments of Dresden lack sidewalks. At a recent council meeting, Councilman John Park said he tried leaving his car on Parkside Drive for a stroll to local restaurants. But the lack of sidewalks, he said, made that a “dicey” adventure where he risked “twisting an ankle or getting run over.” At a work session prior to its approval of Dixie Moon’s rezoning, City Council members discussed Dresden’s parking problem. Among the solutions they considered was the city leasing area property for valet parking. City attorney Christopher Balch warned that the city should “be careful of getting into the parking business” due to the many liability issues. During the Sept. 22 work session, Song presented a rough inventory of parking spaces in the area and potential solutions. Song said there are about 665 parking spaces in the area, about half of them in the Village Place mixed-use development. That figure includes residentonly parking. Most of Dresden is too narrow to add on-street parking, Song said. He provid-
ed a map of several lots in the area that potentially could be leased by the city or businesses for parking, though he said some property owners have similar liability concerns as the city attorney. The prime spot Song identified is the 69-space University Baptist Church lot at Dresden and Fernwood Circle. The council directed city staff to arrange a “symposium”-style meeting of local business owners to brainstorm leasing options or other solutions. The eyeing of the University Baptist lot was news to Senior Pastor Gary Ledford, who said in an email that no one contacted the church in advance of that meeting. Ledford noted that the Brookhaven Farmers Market uses the church parking lot on Saturday mornings. And during weekdays, the church donates parking to the nearby DeKalb County tag office and the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. “With all that said, we feel that we are already doing more than enough with regard to parking at our location,” Ledford said. The church doesn’t want more wear and tear on its lot, and doesn’t want to risk its tax-exempt status through lease deals, he said. “We knew that with all the construction and new businesses coming to our area there was definitely not going to be enough parking available,” Ledford said. “Hindsight is always 20/20 and should always be remembered the next time added expansion and growth to our area is considered. So to answer your question about the businesses leasing our parking lot, the answer is ‘no thank you.’” Riley said he and the owners of such businesses as the Haven restaurant and the Verde Taqueria already have met to look into potential lot-leasing deals, particularly for employee parking, so far without success. Owners of Haven and Verde did not respond to emailed questions. “We’re all willing to sit down and talk,” Riley said. But, he added, the city is “thinking of solutions after the fact… That is not real good city planning, in my opinion.”
City officials are seeking parking options, such as using a church parking lot shown above in blue, to handle cars from businesses on Dresden Drive. Village Place, shown in purple, now has the largest number of parking spots in the area, city officials say. To see a larger version, go to ReporterNewspapers.net.
The University Baptist Church parking lot at Dresden Drive and Fernwood Circle.
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 7
COMMENTARY Reporter Newspapers Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities.
Time for the state Legislature to form a fair, more transparent process for new cityhood
Senior Account Executives Jeff Kremer Janet Porter
I currently have the honor of serving as the chairman of the Georgia Senate Committee on annexation, de-annexation and municipal incorporation. I sponsored the legislation forming this study committee, S.R. 609, after having witnessed firsthand the confusing, chaotic and all-too-divisive efforts to create the new DeKalb cities of Brookhaven, LaVista Hills and Tucker. The current General Assembly process that gets to a referendum on the formation of a new city could almost be described as ad-hoc. The lack of a formal process leads to the results being even more political than typical legislation taken up by the General Assembly, and this does a disservice to Georgia residents. The time for thinking “this is the last new city so we don’t need a real process to cope with this” is over. A new city is proposed even in Forsyth County, and there is talk of several others. It is time for the Legislature to come up with a fair, less political, more transparent process that serves Georgians SEN. ELENA better. PARENT At our first hearing, we heard testimony from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, who represent Georgia’s counties, and the Georgia Municipal Association, representing Georgia’s citGUEST COLUMN ies. At our second hearing, we heard from the Andrew Young School at Georgia State and the Carl Vinson Institute for Government at the University of Georgia (CVI). Other knowledgeable groups have presented as well. As we move toward our third meeting, some common themes are emerging. A number of speakers have recommended that we implement a statutory process that would be more transparent and less open to manipulation. Many have also made a recommendation that the committee consider some sort of petition threshold that must be met by a new incorporation. Georgia is one of a small minority of states that have no petition component. A petition process, suggested by CVI, would have additional benefits of ensuring that the borders of the area to be incorporated or annexed are set and can’t be changed at the last minute, leading to more certainty in attempting to conduct a feasibility study. It would also give a better measure of true grassroots support and buy-in. Additionally, including consideration of the broader impacts of new incorporations and annexations has been repeatedly raised. The feasibility studies currently performed by GSU and CVI look at potential impact in the area to be incorporated from a revenue perspective, but no accounting is taken of the potential effects on existing cities or the county, or on school systems. School systems are impacted if an area to be annexed would change school districts, as the case would be with annexations into Decatur or Atlanta. The committee will discuss whether consideration of these impacts should be part of the process. Other states deal with these difficult issues in a myriad of ways. Some have boundary committees or committees at the General Assembly level with professional staff to investigate the need for the city, how it will function, and impact on existing governments before making a recommendation on a new incorporation. Most have a statutory process with a list of factors to be considered. Most all require petitions. At our third and fourth meetings, we will flesh out these themes, hear public comment, hear recommendation and deliberate. The third meeting is on Oct. 21 from 2 to 5 p.m. and the final meeting will be Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon. I am grateful to my committed colleagues, including Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), for serving on the study committee, and hope that we can adopt a process that will serve our citizens and our collective future better - no matter where we live.
Account Executives Susan Lesesne Jim Speakman
Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) represents District 42 in the Georgia Senate. Her district covers much of central DeKalb County and takes in a portion of Brookhaven.
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Thanks, Chris! With this issue, we bid farewell to our founding Creative Director, Chris North. Since January 2007, when the first Reporter paper went to press, he has been involved in the production of every issue—227 in total, including this one—as well as the 29 monthly Atlanta INtown issues published since that acquisition in 2013. Chris was a driving force behind the design of our papers and their respective websites; he’s also been our in-house IT consultant. We’ll miss Chris, but wish him well in his next endeavor, where he’ll be able to spend more time with family (and less time stuck in Ga. 400 traffic).
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Perimeter Business A monthly section focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities
Cities seek a prescription for Pill Hill’s traffic BY JOHN RUCH
Pill Hill in Sandy Springs is nicknamed for the three major hospitals—Northside, Emory Saint Joseph’s and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta—that treat hundreds of thousands of patients a year. But it might as well refer to the aspirin a driver might need for the medical center’s rush-hour traffic headaches. The heart of Pill Hill, the intersection of Peachtree Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads, often is clogged. A recent surprise plan for a dense apartment building on a piece of Emory Saint Joseph’s property sparked calls for better Pill Hill planning from the mayors of Sandy Springs and neighboring Brookhaven. Meetings among both city’s engineering staff and the hospitals are in the works. “I’m going to be sitting down with the hospitals…to talk about mobility,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in August. “It’s truly a public safety issue.” “The bottom line is still the traffic,” said Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams. “We try to work, and certainly talk about working, with a regional view. But now we’ve got to walk the walk.” Emory Saint Joseph’s and Northside said they offer various commuting options to their thousands of employees, many of whom use MARTA’s Medical Center station. But they are open to meeting, they said. “We always welcome dialogue that addresses traffic conditions and traffic safety,” said Northside spokeswoman Katherine Watson. The hospitals agree that there is more to be done in an area also impacted by the neighboring Perimeter Center and the Ga. 400/I285 interchange. Heather Dexter, Emory Saint Joseph’s chief operating officer, said at a recent Sandy Springs Planning Commission meeting that traffic is sometimes a challenge for the hospital’s doctors and ambulances. All three hospitals work with the Perimeter Center Improvement Districts, which offers commuter consulting, and is planning various street and bike path fixes in the area. “We’re very engaged with our hospital community,” said
The intersection of Peachtree Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads is often clogged with traffic atop Pill Hill. A recent surprise plan for a dense apartment building on a piece of hospital property sparked calls by the mayors of Sandy Springs and Brookhaven for better planning.
Yvonne Williams, the PCIDs president and CEO. “We know traffic is going to be expanded because so much growth is going on with the medical area and the corporate area in general.” Pill Hill’s boom began when Northside opened its doors in 1970. The other hospitals followed within the next eight years, along with a sprawling array of medical offices and nursing colleges. Today, the medical center is a jewel of the Perimeter, offering a full
range of well-regarded health care, employing thousands, and offering millions of dollars worth of free health screenings and other local charitable activities. At the same time, it’s become increasingly hard to get in and around the area, at least during peak hours. “It’s wonderful we have this fabulous complex of hospitals,” said Sandy Springs City Councilman Tibby DeJulio, whose district includes Pill Hill. Not so
CONTINUED ON PAGE 15
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 9
Abernathy Road corporate corridor is booming BY JOHN RUCH
A long-planned office complex dubbed NorthPlace is moving ahead at Barfield Road and Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs’ booming corporate-headquarters corridor along Ga. 400 and Abernathy Road. The Perimeter’s thriving office-space market is moving NorthPlace forward. But it remains to be seen whether that momentum will spread to other stalled plans—including an office skyscraper and a luxury hotel—on major parcels around the Ga. 400/Abernathy intersection.
“The rental rate on office space…is really at the highest levels ever,” said Kirk Demetrops, president of Sandy Springsbased MidCity Real Estate Partners, which is teamed with Atlanta’s Crocker Partners on the NorthPlace project. The apartment market was the first real-estate sector to come booming out of the recession, Demetrops said, and now the office market is following suit. Both trends have made a splash on Abnerathy Road just west of Ga. 400, where Mercedes-Benz USA will build its new headquarters alongside more than
The 3.7-acre NorthPlace site would be anchored by two office towers.
1,000 units of housing from developer Ashton Woods.
Having “one of the premiere brands in the world” moving just up the block
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14 NEIGHBORHOOD LOCATIONS IN METRO ATLANTA 10
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Local Estate-Planning Attorney Focuses on Keeping Children Safe Jim Fletcher lives in Dunwoody with his wife Sara and their 3 daughters. After seeing what can happen when families fail to plan, he has become passionate about helping parents (like him) make sure that they have a fail-safe plan to make sure their kids are cared for by the right people, and provided for financially, if tragedy strikes. Jim also founded the “Kids Protection Center” to help educate parents about ways to keep their children safe.
Dunwoody Attorney Jim Fletcher
Get Dunwoody Estate-Planning Lawyer Jim Fletcher’s free guide SPECIAL
NorthPlace will be located just west of Ga. 400, near other corporations. To see a larger version, go to ReporterNewspapers.net.
sure doesn’t hurt in marketing NorthPlace’s office space, Demetrops said. Then again, he noted, the Ga. 400/ Abernathy/Mount Vernon area has long been attractive to corporations, with its highway and MARTA access. “Corporate headquarters after corporate headquarters have chosen to relocate here,” Demetrops said. Those include UPS, Newell Rubbermaid and Global Payments on Glenlake Parkway. The following projects are pending or underway around the Ga. 400/Abernathy intersection:
The 275-room luxury hotel was proposed by the Kessler Collection in 2008 on the wooded parcel ringed by Abernathy, Mount Vernon and Peachtree Dunwoody Road. The project has stalled since then, reportedly due to difficulties in securing financing. Kessler currently has a sign posted on the property advertising 34,500 square feet of it for sale as a “potential high-rise condominium development” to be done “in conjunction with” the hotel. A Kessler spokeswoman said there will be no “official updates” on the hotel until next year at the earliest as the company focuses on an Alabama hotel.
The 3.7-acre NorthPlace office site would be anchored by two office towers, one about six stories and one about 10 stories, along with build-to-suit structures. It’s the second phase of a redevelopment that began about a decade ago with the Promenade at NorthPlace condos farther up Barfield Road. The entire site previously was a car dealership. Demetrops said some potential tenants “have been waiting for us” and will be ready to occupy the site.
This massive proposal along Abernathy between Ga. 400 and Barfield broke ground in 2007, but only the Serrano mixed-use building has been built. Plans for over a half-million square feet of offices and a hotel have yet to materialize, though the current development team—Cousins, Ackerman & Co. and H.J. Russell & Company—issued updated drawings last year. The developers did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Tell them you saw it in Reporter Newspapers
A gigantic mixed-use plan with 500 apartments and a 50-story office tower was proposed last year for the 16acre open space in the southeast corner of the Ga. 400/Abernathy intersection. The developer is Hines, who built Dunwoody’s Ravinia tower. After community debate, Hines reduced the scale of its plans, then withdrew them about a year ago. Hines did not respond to emailed questions about the project’s status.
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This 200-unit luxury housing for seniors by Dominion Partners is under construction at 25 Glenlake Parkway. Dominion did not respond to emails seeking comment, but company websites say the project will offer independent living, assisted living and memory care, and is slated for a late 2016 opening.
Dan Sasser loves coming and going as he pleases. That’s just one of many reasons he chose Canterbury Court to be his home. “I left a tenured position so I could live wherever I wanted. Then I retired at 60 and was working part time when I discovered Canterbury Court. I thought, ‘How wonderful it would be to live there.’” When he decided to move to Canterbury Court, he chose a studio apartment, which he says “is more than big enough for me.” The maintenance-free lifestyle also lets him keep a second home in Florida and take frequent road trips. Dan says people are “missing the boat” by not moving to a retirement community sooner. “Here you have several restaurant options, all kinds of activities and excursions, a theater with daily showings, a heated pool and wellness center, 11 acres of beautiful gardens ... it’s like being on a permanent vacation!”
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
The grand opening of C2 Education of Dunwoody, located at 1402B Dunwoody Village Parkway, was attended by many supporters on Sept. 9. Front row, from left, Stephanie Snodgrass, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber president, Farrah Joseph, Christopher Babb, Eunice Kwon, Hanh Giang, Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, Wendy Hayes and Jina Pak. Back row, from left, Dr. Betsy Wampler, MJ Thomas, Officer Trey, Dunwoody Police Department, Jeff Kremer and Dan Farrar. C2 Education offers personal tutoring, SAT/ACT test help, customized curricula, personalized attention and a wide variety of enrichment services for elementary, middle and high school students.
AXA Advisors, LLC held a ribbon cutting on Sept. 16, at its location at 780 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 600, in Atlanta. In attendance, from left, Zack Napier, Joye Swanson, Kathy Benton, Wesley Coxwell, Sam O’Neal, Steve Howell, Antan Wilson, Dave Watson, Lennise Morris, Alan Range and Patty Conway. The company helps connect consumers and businesses with financial services and products to help protect their futures.
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 13
‘Funky and fun’ Psycho Sisters store closing its doors BY JOE EARLE
Stephanie Cramer intends to stay in business through at least one more Halloween. “Halloween is so much fun,” she said. “Come in right before [the holiday] and sit here. It’s energy. Everybody is happy. ... It’s really, really fun at Halloween.” Cramer says she plans to close the Sandy Springs branch of Psycho Sisters, her vintage clothing and costume shop located at 280 Hammond Drive, by the end of the year. The closing won’t affect the remaining Psycho Sisters shops in Little Five Points in Atlanta or in Hapeville, company representatives said. Cramer, who bought the Sandy Springs location 14 years ago, hasn’t set a formal closing date, but says she’ll certainly hold Perimet er on at least through Pro fil e the spooky dress-up holiday that brings big sales to Psycho Sisters shops. How important is Oct. 31 to her business? “We start counting down to Halloween on Nov. 1, the day after Halloween,” she said. But every day can’t be Halloween. And the marketplace for vintage clothing and Halloween costumes is changing, Cramer said. Too many big chains are moving into the suburbs to hawk Halloween costumes and sell vintage clothes. “Everything has a season and Psycho Sisters’ [business] in suburbia has been taken over by the national chains,” said Angie McLean, the store’s founder and original owner, and now CEO of Psycho Sisters Clothing LLC. “She’s really smart to close the store gracefully.” McLean said she started the Psycho Sisters business back in the 1990s, when the nightclubs in Buckhead were booming and people wanted to dress up in fancy clothes for a night on the town.
She started the business with a lookalike friend – they were the “sisters” – she had known in Florida and from metro area clubs, she said. The Sandy Springs shop was the first Psycho Sisters to open, she said. Why Sandy Springs? Partly for its proximity to the club scene, she said. But mostly, “I just picked a place on the map,” she said. Soon, she opened another Psycho Sisters shop in Little Five Points. Psycho Sisters branches started spreading across the metro area, from Hapeville to Cartersville. Cramer, who lived in Dunwoody, was a regular customer of the Sandy Springs shop, the two women said. Fourteen years ago, when McLean decided she’d spread herself too thin and that she needed to sell the Sandy Springs shop, Cramer happened to be looking for a business to move into. “I needed something,” she said. “It fell right into my lap.” She had just had her first child, she said. Owning and operating the shop meant she could bring her child to work with her. “I wanted something where I didn’t need to day care my child. I went in one day and saw a for sale sign. I called my husband and said, ‘Sisters is for sale.
Business and retail briefs The Buckhead Atlanta development quietly changed its name to The Shops Buckhead Atlanta last month, according to a report from Tomorrow’s News Today. No formal announcement was made, but the development’s website and social media accounts were all updated to the new moniker. SRS Real Estate Partners (SRS) announced that the project leasing team in Atlanta has secured three new leases at Gateway, a 21-acre, mixed-use development at the intersection of Roswell Road and Windsor Parkway in Sandy Springs. The 121,071-square-foot mixed-use development project, which is owned by Core Property Capital, consists of 630 apartment units, a 20,000-square-foot office component and 100,000-square-feet of commercial/retail space. Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, which makes handmade pies, has leased a 1,530-square-foot space. Kale Me Crazy, an organic juice and smoothie bar, has leased 850 square feet; and Blast, a boutique fitness concept, is relocating from Buckhead to a 2,765-square-feet space. This will be Kale Me Crazy’s fourth location in the Atlanta market. The Metro Atlanta Chamber has announced that Kate Atwood will join the organization as vice president of marketing. In this newly created role, she will be responsible for leading the recently launched ChooseATL regional marketing campaign. At-
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
PHOTOS BY JOE EARLE
Left, Stephanie Cramer, who bought the Sandy Springs Psycho Sisters location 14 years ago, will close the store by the end of the year. Above, Halloween brings big sales to the chain.
I’m buying it!’ I raised my daughter in the store... “It’s been a wonderful journey. I think it made [my daughters] very special children because they grew up with shoppers coming in.” Psycho Sisters still is crammed with Halloween costumes – Harry Potters and Elvises and Disney princesses and “Star Wars” outfits for the kids, and nurses and showgirls and other more adult disguises for the grownups – but Cramer says some of her customers have changed through the years. Nowadays, she said, older women drop by the shop to try out jewelry because they’ve never had their ears pierced. Psycho Sisters still sells clasp earrings. At the same time, teenagers come in to check out the racks of vin-
tage tops and skirts, she said. “Sandy Springs has changed so much,” she said. “This shop was more funky 14 years ago. I’m still trying to keep it funky and fun.” Besides, after 14 years of running her own shop, Cramer decided the time had come to try something new. Her daughters now are at an age where she wants to spend more time with them after school. And she and her husband, who remodels houses, are talking of working together in a real-estatebased business. “I’m ready for a life change,” she said. “It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s a life change. I love doing this, but I’m ready for a change. “I think I could do well at real estate. It’s something that interests me.”
wood will focus on managing a multipronged marketing campaign that includes paid, earned, social and digital media. She will also spearhead the campaign’s fundraising efforts and work closely with multiple partners and stakeholders in the 29-county region to showcase metro Atlanta. Prior to joining MAC, she served as executive director of the Arby’s Foundation. In 2003, Atwood founded Kate’s Club, an innovative grief support organization for children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Burn Studios, a multiplatform boutique studio offering stadium-seated cycling, high-cardio kickboxing and various forms of yoga, will open in the new Brookleigh Development, 3575 Durden Dr., Suite 202, in Brookhaven. Burn Studios will open alongside Pure Taqueria, Primrose, Brookwood Provisions, and the soon-to-open Glaze, a doughnut and coffee bar. Elite Crowdfund has launched its online equity-based platform in Atlanta, which allows investors to connect directly with vetted, early stage investment opportunities in exchange for an equity share in the company, while offering startup or early stage funding. Elite Crowdfund’s portfolio of business opportunities is only available to accredited investors, defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an individual with annual net income of more than $200,000 individually or $300,000 jointly, or whose net worth is more than $1 million annually, excluding the value of a primary residence. For more information, visit elitecrowfund.com.
Pedestrians may encounter safety and wayfinding challenges when navigating around Pill Hill.
Cities seek a prescription for Pill Hill’s traffic CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
wonderful, DeJulio said, was when he recently was stuck in traffic through 10 cycles of a traffic light next to Northside Hospital. “We need to have a coordinated plan for traffic in the Pill Hill area, where we need to bring all three hospitals together,” DeJulio said. “As the hospitals continue to grow and the population continues to age more…I think it’s just going to continue to get worse.” Children’s Healthcare last month filed paperwork to expand its Pill Hill hospital by 60 beds. A new, much larger Ronald McDonald House, which houses families of ill children, is going up at Peachtree Dunwoody and the Glenridge Connector. Northside owns a huge vacant parcel, the site of a former hotel, marked with signs saying only, “Planning for growth, investing in the future.” Then there’s Emory Saint Joseph’s plan to sell a Johnson Ferry parcel to North American Properties for a 305unit apartment building along the Brookhaven border. North American says it will be just the sort of walkable project that could help relieve Pill Hill’s traffic crunch. Neighbors worry it will add to the traffic nightmare. Lack of notice in Brookhaven was also a concern, drawing Mayor Williams to hold unusual meetings with Sandy Springs officials, helping to spark the new attention to Pill Hill. Communication is an underlying issue: city to city, hospital to city, and both to the neighborhoods. Mayor Williams said she was surprised by Emory Saint Joseph’s “radio silence” on the apartment plan. DeJulio said, “We don’t really hear from the hospitals.” “We are open to having broader conversations and look forward to working with city officials, since the governments will ultimately be responsible for the infrastructure required to make…improvements,” said Emory Saint Joseph’s spokeswoman Mary Beth Spence.
Yvonne Williams said the PCIDs work with the hospitals in two major ways that have helped. One is the new Perimeter Connects commuter consulting program, which helps with such efforts as carpool and reduced MARTA fares. It’s also talking with hospitals about consolidating some of their shuttle services. Then there are major infrastructure projects like the proposed widening of Peachtree Dunwoody, including adding bike lanes, under I-285. That would connect with the PATH400 multiuse trail planned to run between Pill Hill and Ga. 400. Such “multimodal” transportation projects would be a huge help, Williams said, and the pending Ga. 400/I-285 interchange project is a big opportunity for fixes. A previous project, completed in 2009, added better sidewalks and other streetscape for pedestrians. Another big opportunity is some type of transit-oriented development directly around the MARTA station, as MARTA is planning at some other stations, including in Brookhaven. Williams said there no formal plans for that yet. Pill Hill’s issues can be complex. While rush-hour traffic is bad, the streets can be relatively clear on off hours. Pedestrians, on the other hand, can still have safety and wayfinding challenges. The streets have wide crossings where cars turn against walk signals. Construction blocked some local sidewalks last week. On two recent Pill Hill visits, lost pedestrians were struggling to find Emory Saint Joseph’s and a medical office located in one of the many nondescript buildings. Yvonne Williams said that having the Perimeter Center’s “corporate community, a Fortune 500 community, right adjacent to a medical center is very unique…It makes it a very appealing area. Our assets are very strong. We just need to develop opportunities to connect those uses.”
Ultimately, it’s your experience that matters. To be sure, we’re proud of our 27 years of experience in senior living. But, to us, what really matters is your experience at our communities. We do everything with that idea clearly in mind. So, go ahead, enjoy yourself with great social opportunities and amenities. Savor fine dining every day. And feel assured that assisted living services are always available if needed. We invite you to experience The Piedmont for yourself at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.
Ask about our Assisted Living services.
Supportive services are available at The Piedmont. See how a little help can give you so much peace of mind.
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 15
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Dunwoody Home Tour
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. –
Saturday, Oct. 17, 6-10 p.m. – The Commu-
The 43rd annual Dunwoody Home Tour brings visitors to five homes in Dunwoody and nearby Sandy Springs. Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 on the day of the tour. Purchase online at the Dunwoody Woman’s Club website: dunwoodywomansclub.org. All ticket proceeds benefit the diversified service products of the club, a 501.3c charitable organization.
Tour de Dunwoody Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. – The Dunwoody
Elementary School presents their annual family bike ride. Riders can participate in the Tiger Route, a police escorted 3-mile ride through the streets of Dunwoody, or take the Cub Route, a shorter, closed course through the campus. Students will be accepting pledges to raise money for the Dunwoody Elementary Tiger Fund Campaign, which makes possible activities and equipment for the school. All riding abilities welcome. Registration: $20 per person and comes with event t-shirt. Dunwoody Element ary School, 1923 Womack Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. Have questions? Go to tourdedunwoody.com or email: email@example.com.
nity Assistance Center presents the 13th annual Vintage Affair fundraiser event. Award winning wineries, top local restaurants, silent and live auctions all come together for an evening of charity and giving. Tickets are $110 per person or $200 per couple. For information on sponsorships, volunteer opportunities and tickets, contact Vintage Affair chairwoman Shelly Dozier-McKee at shelly.confettistyle@gmail. com. Go online to vintageaffair.org to purchase tickets. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, 805 Mount. Vernon Hwy., NW, Sandy Springs, 30327.
Harvest on the Hooch Sunday, Oct. 18, 1-4 p.m. – The Chatta-
hoochee Nature Center presents “Harvest on the Hooch,” celebrating farm-to-table practices. Visitors enjoy a garden party tasting, featuring high-profile restaurants, live bluegrass music and activities. Proceeds benefit the center’s Unity Garden, which supplies more than five tons of fresh produce annually to the North Fulton Community Charities’ food pantry. Rain or shine event. Tickets: $40 for adults; $15 for kids; free for ages 10 and under. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075. Find out more at chattnaturecenter.org.
FOR KIDS & FAMILIES
Run Your Happy Tails Off
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Kids and
Saturday, Oct. 10, 8 a.m. – The second an-
families are invited to watch this PG film following Eggs, a young orphaned boy raised by underground, cave-dwelling trash collectors. Light snacks provided. Free and open to the first 25 participants. Brookhaven Branch Library, 1242 N. Druid Hills Rd., Brookhaven, 30319. To learn more go to dekalblibrary.org or call 404-848-7140.
Button Mania Thursday, Oct. 8, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. –
Drop in and craft one-of-a-kind buttons for yourself and your friends at this workshop. Use personal photographs, illustrations, magazines and other artwork to make unique pins for your bags and jackets. Free. Appropriate for teens and adults. Registration requested by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Need more information? Go to afpls.org. Buckhead Branch Library, 269 Buckhead Ave., NE, Buckhead, 30305.
Night Hike Friday, Oct. 9, 8-9 p.m. – Bring the family
for a leisurely night hike around the wetlands and back forests of Dunwoody Park. Educators from the Dunwoody Nature Center will guide groups through the hike and educate participants on the sounds of nocturnal creatures. Free. Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody, 30338. Call 770-394-3322 or go online to dunwoodynature.org to learn more.
nual Run Your Happy Tails Off Run and Festival benefiting Happy Tails Pet Therapy returns to Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. Fun Run begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 5K at 8:30 a.m. Post-race festival starts at 1 p.m. and offers food from local vendors. Course is USATF qualified. All dogs must be on a fixed (not retractable) leash no longer than six feet. Two dogs maximum per person. Go to runyourhappytailsoff.com for more details and to register. Advanced online registration is $35 for the 5K and $25 for the Fun Run through October 9. Day of registration is $40 for the 5K and $30 for the Fun Run. 4770 North Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody, 30338.
Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. – The Open Arms Child Development Center
preschool hosts their annual Fall Festival fundraiser. Wristbands are $5 each, and include pony rides, petting zoo, beauty station, pirate make-over, inflatable bouncy houses, go fish, matchbox races and silent auction. Proceeds benefit programming at the center. 4000 Ro-
out & about swell Rd., Buckhead, 30342. To find out more, email: email@example.com or go online to openarmsbuckhead.org.
Fall Fun Day Sunday, Oct. 11 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Celebrate
the onset of fall at the Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody. Families will enjoy a petting zoo, bounce house, face painting, crafts and more. Snacks and drinks provided. Suitable for all ages. For additional information go online to atlantajcc.org, contact Ilana Schlam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-812-5342. $20 for members, $32 nonmembers. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody, 30338.
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Bluer Heron Nature Preserve hosts a guided walk around the property, aimed at engaging children with sensory experiences in nature. Accompanying adults will learn how to provide and encourage similar experiences in a safe and positive way. As a bonus, come away with a treasure made from natural materials. Suitable for kids ages 5 and under. Tickets: $5 for adults. Free for children. Strollers are welcome, but the terrain is uneven. Register online at bhnp.org. 4055 Roswell Rd., Buckhead, 30342.
Big Hero 6 Thursday, Oct. 15, 5 p.m. – Come out
CSI Academy Tuesday, Oct. 13, 4:30-5:30 p.m. – Learn all about the science behind forensic investigation in this familyfriendly class and workshop, part of the Big Thinkers series. Made popular by TV shows such as “CSI” and “Law & Order,” kids have an opportunity to learn about the technical aspects of the job. Registration required. Space is limited. Stop in the Sandy Springs Branch Library, call 404-303-6130 or email: email@example.com to register. Go to afpls.org for details. 395 Mount Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs, 30328.
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and see a family-friendly movie, “Big Hero 6,” under the stars at Brook Run Park. Snacks available for purchase from food trucks starting at 5 p.m.; screening of the movie begins at dusk. Lawn chairs and blankets encouraged. Free and suitable for all ages. Sponsored by the Dunwoody Police Department. 4770 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. For more details go to cvbdunwoody.com.
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PCMS Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. – Peachtree
Monday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Kids are
invited to show off their favorite costumes in a Halloween parade and festival at the Atlanta History Center. Kids will enjoy costume contests, trick-ortreating throughout the museum, creepy tales and themed art projects, and toddlers and preschoolers will learn a bit of history. Free for members; nonmember tickets are $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for children. Discounted rates available for groups of 10 or more children. Call 404-814-4110 or go to atlantahistorycenter.com with questions. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW, Buckhead, 30305.
Charter Middle School presents the sixth annual fall festival following the CV Classic 5K Run. 5K starts at 8 a.m.; 1-mile run/ walk starts at 8:30 a.m. Bracelets are $15, and include access to inflatables, games, crafts, face painting and fair hair. Concessions, a bake sale, book sale, photo booth and silent auction available for cash sale. Race and run/walk are rain or shine events. Race registration, $20. Find out more online at peachtreechartermiddleschool.org. 4644 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody, 30338.
Tree Climb Adventure Saturday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. –
Join Peter “Treeman” Jenkins and his team from Tree Climbers International for an afternoon of tree climbing education. Participants learn techniques from the founders of the sport at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Must be 6 years of age or older. Admission is $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Questions? Go to dnc. org or call 770-394-3322. 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody, 30338.
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Center Ceramics Department hosts the 14th annual “Free Beans with Every Bowl” sale. Visitors can peruse and purchase a wide variety of high-quality ceramics created on site by Spruill students and faculty, then stay for a helping of chili. Cash and checks only. Free and open to the public. Continues Saturday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Spruill Center for the Arts, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. Need additional information? Go to spruillarts. org or call 770-394-3447.
Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm Sunday 12pm-10pm
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ua Rashaad McFadden’s series, “After Selma,” is on display through Oct. 24 at the Spruill Gallery in Dunwoody. McFadden’s photography touches on intimate moments in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. On the evening of Oct. 8, McFadden hosts a night of projections and an open forum to discuss his work. Free to attend. Spruill Gallery & Gift Shop, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. For more information, call 770-394-4019 or go to spruillarts.org.
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 17
out & about
State parks provide public places to admire autumn leaves BY JOE EARLE
The return of autumn means it’s time to hit the highway and check out the changing colors of fall in the Georgia mountains. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says late October and early November usually bring the peak weeks to admire the reds and golds of the changing leaves. Georgia’s state parks system brags that its parks offer some of the best leaf-peeping around. And, through a website called Leaf Watch, the park system guides tourists to places where they can find the best fall color. For regular updates on where to see leafy views that are at or near their colorful peaks, go to gastateparks.org/leafwatch. “Beginning in October, regular updates will keep travelers posted on how fall color is progressing across Georgia’s Blue Ridge,” the state says. “The website is filled with top trails and overlooks, mountain cabins and campsites, fall events and safe hiking tips.” And state officials enourage photographers to post their favorite shots to the Georgia State Parks’ Facebook page and on Instagram. This year, DNR recommends a number of state parks to check out for fall color. Here are 10 likely prospects:
CLOUDLAND CANYON STATE PARK A hike down a long, steep staircase in this park takes visitors to a pair of waterfalls. The 5-mile West Rim Loop is moderately difficult and offers great
views of the canyon. For more: gastateparks. org/CloudlandCanyon
RED TOP MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Located about a 40-minute drive north of Atlanta, Red Top Mountain offers views of lake and forest. Families with young children will find a paved walking path behind the park office, park officials say. For more: gastateparks.org/RedTopMountain
FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Although it may be best known for a mysterious rock wall along the mountain top, Fort Mountain offers a variety of hiking trails. They range from a 1.2-mile loop around a lake to an 8-mile, all-day hike. Ga. 52 has beautiful mountain scenery and overlooks. For more: gastateparks.org/ FortMountain
AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK Located an hour north of Atlanta, this park includes the Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall. The falls can be viewed from both easy and difficult trails. The park gets very busy on pretty October weekends, the state says. For more: gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls/Trails
VOGEL STATE PARK The 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail makes a nice day trip for experienced hikers, offering great mountain color and a bird’s-eye view of the park’s lake, state parks officials say. The twisting roads around Vogel, particularly Wolf Pen Gap Road, offer some of north Georgia’s prettiest fall scenery. For more: gastateparks.org/Vogel
SMITHGALL WOODS STATE PARK If you’re heading to Helen’s Oktoberfest,
1. Cloudland Canyon
2. Red Top Mountain 3. Fort Mountain State Park 4. Amicalola 5. Vogel 6. Smithgall 7. Unicoi 8. Moccasin 9. Black Rock Mountain 10. Tallulah Gorge
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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UNICOI STATE PARK Unicoi promises hiking, mountain biking, a lake with a beach and a 100-room lodge that hosts conferences, weddings and retreats. For more: gastateparks.org/Unicoi
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MOCCASIN CREEK STATE PARK Georgia’s smallest state park sits on the shore of a gorgeous deep-green lake. Ga. 197 is a particularly pretty road, according to state officials. For more: gastateparks.org/MoccasinCreek
BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Black Rock Mountain (altitude 3,640 feet) is Georgia’s highest state park. It offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from roadside overlooks and its visitor’s center, according to the state parks system. For more: gastateparks.org/ BlackRockMountain-Hiking
TALLULAH GORGE STATE PARK Tallulah offers one of the most spectacular canyons in the Southeast. Visitors can choose from easy or difficult trails as they hike through the park. Hikes along the rim offer several overlooks with waterfall views. Hikers with permits from the park office may trek all the way to the bottom of the gorge. Exhibits in the park’s interpretive center highlight the history of the Victorian resort town and the rugged terrain and ecosystem. An award-winning film features footage of kayakers and news clips from daredevil Karl Wallenda’s tightrope walk across the gorge. For more: gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge
At Insignia of Sandy Springs we offer a wide range of services and amenities in a safe and joyful environment where you and your loved one will be surrounded by people who are passionate about their relationships with residents. Tours Daily - Please call to schedule one 404-843-8857 690 Mount Vernon Hwy. NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 www.insigniaofsandysprings.com www.facebook.com/thecarltonalf
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MUSIC FROM 5,000 YEARS OF CIVILIZATION Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is the first to seamlessly combine the distinct sounds of Chinese instruments with the foundation of a Western orchestra. The result is a rich, vivid sound that leaves an impression on everyone who hears it.
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 19
These Founding Fathers take to Twitter as they start a revolution There were anachronisms, to be sure. George Washington tweeted the whole event. Ben Franklin’s cane looked more than a little like a Halloween prop. One Founding Father wore a patch for the New England Patriots. And in place of his usual tri-corner hat, John Hancock wore a cheese head. “It’s a triangle,” sniffed Adam Rubinger, explaining the orange headgear he wore as he played the part of Hancock. Still, by the time this particular meeting of the Second Continental Congress was done, all the major points had been covered. The delegates had voted to rebel against Great Britain, drum up a militia and sign a short, to-the-point Declaration of Independence that read: “In 1776, we solemnly declare ourselves independent of Great Britain.” Who needs the real Thomas Jefferson and all his wordiness? As Davis Academy history teacher Matthew Barry saw it, everything went just fine in this year’s version of his annual eighth-grade re-enactment of the Second Continental Congress, the gatherings in 1775 and 1776 that led to the creation of this country. Barry played Washington, complete with buff-and-tan coat, white wig, tricorner hat and Twitter account. “Thirty or 40 people are following [on Twitter]
right now, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which is cool,” he said shortly after the start of the class. (Washington isn’t the AROUND only historTOWN ic character Barry plans JOE EARLE to bring into class during the school year. He’s also got costumes he uses to portray Sitting Bull, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and a pair of Civil War soldiers, one from each side, and a few others, he said. “If there’s a chance for me to dress up, I will,” he said.) This was the 11th time he had organized a recreation of the Second Continental Congress. The four-hour event has become a favorite part of the school year. Students look forward to it. Parents come and watch for part of the day. It’s Barry’s way of trying to get students engaged with history, and have a little fun with it, rather than just reading about it.
Students re-enacting the Second Continental Congress gather around teacher Matthew Barry’s laptop to videochat with a class in Chicago.
“It’s one of the most exciting parts of the eighth grade,” said parent David Rubinger, whose twin sons Adam and Eric were taking part this year and whose two older children had been through previous congressional re-enactments. “He really brings history to life in a way I don’t remember when I
was going to school.” This year, 58 eighth-graders from Barry’s U.S. history and government classes gathered in the school library to portray the delegates. Flags of the rebellion, including several showing a coiled snake and reading “Don’t tread on me” lined the back walls, and an image of a
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net
PHOTOS BYJOE EARLE
At left, Davis Academy student Ian Quegan discusses revolutionary ideas with fellow delegates. Teacher Matthew Barry, above and at right, portrayed George Washington, and tweeted the entire event.
tax collector hanged in effigy was projected at the front of the room. Each student played the part of a particular delegate to the original Second Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia back in 1775 and 1776. Barry’s classes contained two students too many for the 56 actual delegates, so the extras portrayed other Sons of Liberty from the time, including Paul Revere. The students dressed in a variety of costumes to represent their 18th century characters. Some wore white wigs. Others donned costume tri-corner hats, boots, vests or long coats with knee-length pants.
At one point, someone shouted at Samuel Felner that he had a stain on his trousers. “They’re not trousers,” he replied. “They’re baseball pants.” There were girls among the delegates, too. Several wore long braids. “I think we’re supposed to be boys,” said Gabi Louis, who played the part of Arthur Middleton of South Carolina. Seated at 13 tables covered with green tablecloths and small, electric candles, the delegates shouted approval or disapproval as various positions were presented and argued. They banged on tabletops. They hooted at opponents.
“Arguing is a very fun aspect,” said Adam Prass, who portrayed New York delegate James Duane and drew catcalls for arguing against independence. Debate touched the major issues of the day: slavery, trade, how to raise a navy when you don’t have one, what to make of battles with British soldiers in Boston. At their table, Jonah Medoff and Arie Voloschin worked on a drawing of the tarring and feathering of a tax collector. Once all the shouting and tablebanging and presentation of arguments were done, 11 delegations voted to de-
clare independence, Barry said the next morning. Two delegations voted to abstain. That suited Barry just fine. “I just let them go with it,” he said. And you can take nothing for granted when it comes to recreating history. Past re-enactments have varied in their outcome. Over its 11 years, Barry said, the Davis Academy version of the Continental Congress is 10 and 1 when voting for independence. One year, the whole thing collapsed into bickering. “They went to war with each other,” he said. “North Carolina declared war on South Carolina.”
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 21
Food: It’s all good for you
Years of research help create years of memories.
In a perfect world, my favorite foods would have magical properties. Croissants would make my hair smooth and silky, potato chips would make me sing on key, and bacon would kill germs that cause bad breath. Lo and behold, dear readers, that world has arrived! Every time I log-on, I see a new announcement splashed across the Internet that a formerly forbidden food is now considered healthy. It started with chocolate…dark chocolate. Somewhere, somehow, someone discovered that dark chocolate is jampacked with antioxidants, which of course are the superheroes of our generation, and furthermore, that dark chocolate releases endorphins, which are good for the soul. Chocolate with ice cream is even better for the soul, and if there is coconut oil somewhere in the mix, it will kill your belly fat as you eat it. The happy news continues. Coffee is good for the muscles, red wine is good for the heart, hamburger and avocados are good for the brain, and beer is a probiotic. And to round things out, I will add that olive oil and garlic are good for the joints. It’s as if we’ve fallen into the Land of Oz. Pretty soon we’ll learn that apple strudel whitens teeth and pasta quattroformaggi improves your chances of winning the lottery. Why, just today, a headline appeared in the “healthy living” section of my newsfeed, entitled, “The Top Ten Best Foods You Can Eat.” I took the bait and clicked on the link. All the usual suspects were there—blueberries, kefir, beans, spinach—but buried in the middle were mushrooms, which gave me pause, and then, making a grand finale appearance on the list, was pork! Pork, people, pork! Well, now we’re talking. It appeared to me that all food is trending “good for you,” so I decided to try a little experiment. I googled random foods and attached the question, “Is it good for you?” And I have discovered that (with the exception of strawberries,
which we’ve been eating all wrong, but that’s another column) it’s all good! Guided by my original wish list, I went craROBIN JEAN zy and started with, “Are MARIE CONTE croissants ROBIN’S NEST good for you?” I found a site which explained that, sure enough, they are! Croissants contain iron and selenium, and even though I have never in my life heard of selenium, it happens to be an essential mineral, and that is good enough for me. And take our old friend bacon, for example. I googled, “Is bacon good for you?” and up popped a post that is entirely devoted to the virtues of bacon. It’s on a website called Bacon Today, posted by Boss Hog (who else) and liked by, at last count, 24,735 humans. It is titled “Top Ten Reasons Bacon is Actually HEALTHY for You!” and it informs us that bacon is good for the brain, the heart, blood pressure, general well-being, and that it can fuel your car and major industry, too. I have spent several days researching the health benefits of foods-formerlyknown-as-unhealthy. I have concluded that a hamburger cooked medium well, covered with mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese, served with a side of (gluten-free) chips, guacamole and a beer, and finished with a dark-chocolate brownie a la mode, is the ultimate brain-powering, endorphin-boosting, healthy meal. Plus, after you eat it, you will make all the green lights. Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute treats more men with prostate cancer than anyone else in Georgia. And Northside’s patients have access to the latest research and treatments. These are a few more reasons why people from across the country trust Northside for their cancer care. No team works harder to help make cancer a distant memory. For help ﬁnding a cancer specialist, call 404-531-4444.
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Let’s rock! The band No Solution, comprised of North Atlanta High School students Devon Gates, Max Bittner, Chris Robinson and Atlanta Classical Academy student Micah MacLane, recently won the the Atlanta Blues Challenge, Youth Division, sponsored by the Atlanta Blues Society.
There’s so many! Olivia Berry, a student at Spalding Drive Elementary, is wowed by the mountain of shoes collected by the school’s Shoes for Paws service project, in which donated shoes are cleaned and shipped to those in need.
It’s fast, it’s fun! North Springs Charter High School algebra student Deraun Fry, center, shows off a “classroom response device” that encourages students to participate in math class. The school’s math department won a $10,000 grant from the Sandy Springs Society. Also on hand, from left, Friends of North Springs Foundation grant chair Mary Reid, Sandy Springs’ philanthropy chair Joan Plunkett, Sandy Springs Society President Karen Meinzen McEnerny, Principal Eddie Ruiz, Math Department Chair Jessica Woods and Foundation President Sandra Jewell.
Far out! At left, Susan Oltman of Brookhaven, and April Whitt of Dunwoody, second from right, recently joined NASA for two scientific research flights. Also on board were Nichelle Nichols, known As Lt. Uhura on “Star Trek” and Ivor Dawson of the Traveling Space Museum.
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Standout Student Student Profile: Ansley Guthrie Whitefield Academy, junior Ansley Guthrie is a young philanthropist with a passion for graphic design. Last summer, she traveled to Uganda, caring for imprisoned children. With siblings adopted from China, Ansley has always felt an urge to help children less fortunate than she was growing up. She is amazed at how such a small effort by her family helped her siblings in such a huge way. It also motivated her to help in other ways when given the opportunity. The perfect one presented itself this past summer. Her godparents live in Uganda and work for Sixty Feet, which is mainly a well-digging service for drought-ridden towns and villages. Ansley explained that they hit water at 60 feet under the ground, hence the name. The organization has divisions outside of well digging: clothing, food and a few others, including working in children’s prisons. She explained that her godparents are in charge of all the company’s Ugandan operations, so they knew when they needed help. Ansley was eager to help out and to take a trip to Uganda.
The children’s prisons in Uganda are very different than the juvenile correctional facilities in the United States. In Uganda, Ansley said, children can be imprisoned if they beg or simply cannot find their family in public. Ansley went to work every day in these prisons, giving the children food, water and clothes, and simply being someone they could talk to.
The teenagers and older boys value the conversations, Ansley said. And she admits that her time wasn’t spent in completely selfless action; she loved the conversation and time with the children as much as they did. Overall, she enjoyed her time in Uganda, and plans to go back in the future. In addition to her humanitarian endeavors, she is very enthusiastic about art. Ansley said she loves graphic design and hopes to pursue it in the future. Also, she would like to incorporate graphic design into helping less fortunate children. She hopes to create advertising to raise awareness for organizations such as Sixty Feet. Art and graphic design is very much a part of Ansley’s life at school. She is in
“ Weber students embrace the creative process and connect with who they are artistically, culturally, and spiritually.”
AP Art and a member of the Art Club. AP Art teacher Rebecca Brown says Ansley’s work is “thought provoking and highly original.” “She enjoys working creatively to produce conceptual works of art that are highly skillful,” Brown said. “Ansley is one of the most considerate students I have ever taught. She is compassionate and generous, and lives out our school’s mission statement in all she does, but especially the part – ‘for others ahead of self.’” Ansley also is a member of the Whitefield tennis team. She plays number 3 singles, and the team went to regional competition last year. This coming spring, she will captain the varsity girls’ team.
What’s Next: While her college search is well underway, Ansley is sure that she wants to go to college either in New York or Chicago. She says the energy of a big city excites her and draws her in. Also, she is inspired by the constant movement and happening of a large urban area. This article was reported and written by Sam Wimpfheimer, a student at The Galloway School.
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The Indians try to stop the Mustangs
PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
Cross Keys varsity football head coach John Bowen gives his players a pep talk during a game against Mount Vernon Presbyterian School on Sept. 18. His squad lost to Mount Vernon 45-7.
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The Cross Keys High School varsity football team squared off against Mount Vernon Presbyterian School on Sept. 18 at Adams Stadium. Top, the Mount Vernon Mustangs take to the field. Top center, Cross Keys running back Calvin Farley, far right, gets tackled by Mount Vernon’s Marquez Bembry. Center, during halftime, Cross Keys volleyball team members Delia Mendez, left, and Assistant Coach Lauren Harrison hand out flowers. Bottom, the Mustangs’ cheerleaders support their team, who beat the Indians, 45-7. BK
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 25
City Council to release minutes from executive sessions BY JOHN RUCH
tation of the law.” Councilmen Bates Mattison and email@example.com John Park said they agreed with releasing the minutes, but wanted to Brookhaven City Council may have about executive sessions held on Dec. wait a few weeks for better review of violated state Open Meeting laws by 2, 2014 and March 16, 2015, when their contents. They were concerned discussing land annexations in prithe council discussed annexation of the minutes could vate executive sessions, City AttorExecutive Park and contain information ney Christopher Balch warned at the Children’s Healthvalidly kept private council’s Sept. 22 meeting. care of Atlanta propthat could open the As a remedy, the council voted to erty. city to lawsuits. release the minutes from those meetWhile city-in“Going forward, having “At the end of the ings, as well as just about all the exvolved real estate restored the conﬁdence day, I’m fine with ecutive sessions it held since February. transactions can be of the people…we won’t [releasing] it. But I Balch’s review of executive sessions properly kept prijust think it’s overfollowed a scandal earlier this year over vate in executive seshave to do this again.” kill,” Mattison said. the city withholding an email from the sions, Williams acBalch said that he media and the council discussing it in knowledged that agrees with some of an executive session. The email was the conversations in – LINLEY JONES those concerns. In from the city manager and described question did not inCITY COUNCILWOMAN general, Balch said, as “sexual harassment” an incident involve that. She said he believes releasvolving former Mayor J. Max Davis. those discussions ing executive-sesThe state Attorney General’s office inadvertently “got sion minutes is a declared that secrecy to be in violation off track” into topbad idea that could of Open Record and Open Meeting ics that should have have a “chilling” effect on government. acts, and Balch’s predecessor as city atbeen public. However, at the council’s request and torney resigned. “It wasn’t really a real estate transgiven the pressure from the public and “Let’s err on the side of openness,” fer,” said Williams, who was a counthe Attorney General’s office, he prosaid Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams, cilwoman at the time of the meetings. vided the council with several options calling for the wide-ranging release of “I would agree…that annexation was for releasing the minutes in this case. the minutes. not covered [as a valid executive-sesPark’s motion to defer the release of Williams said Balch was concerned sion exemption] under strict interpre-
the minutes failed on a 3-2 vote, with Williams as tie-breaker. Williams and Councilwoman Linley Jones, who moved to release the minutes immediately, said they agree executive sessions have a valid purpose. But the council needs to regain public trust over its past actions, they said. “Going forward, having restored the confidence of the people…we won’t have to do this again,” Jones said. The release was approved 3-1, with Mattison voting against. The release will include all executive-session minutes since Feb. 10, as well as those from the Dec. 2, 2014 meeting. Any references to pending litigation or people whose privacy must be protected will be redacted by Balch prior to the release. Dale Boone, a resident who is challenging Williams in this fall’s mayoral election, suggested during a public comment period after the release vote that the council members read a booklet about state ethics laws. He said the executive-session minutes are “something the people of Brookhaven have a right to see.”
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ChatComm shows just how far 911 technology has come BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE
When someone called for help a decade ago, the first question a 911 operator would ask a caller was, “What is your emergency?” Now, operators who work for ChatComm, the Sandy Springsbased 911 call center, ask, “Where is your emergency?” Cellphones, unlike older “land lines,” are not tied to any particular addresses, so the proliferation of mobile communication devices has changed the way 911 operators gather information in order to dispatch police and firefighters to emergencies. “There are 400,000 people who travel Ga. 400 and I-285, and they are just passing by,” said Stephen Pierce, an operations specialist with the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority, which usually is known by its nickname, ChatComm. “They don’t really know where they are.” Neither, for the most part, do 911 operators. If you think you or a loved one is having a heart attack, grab a land line because the operator will see the address associated with the line, Pierce said. He recommends residents register cellphones with Smart 911.com, a public service that allows users to provide information online that would help first responders locate them and understand ongoing medical issues. ChatComm has changed in other ways, too. It has grown during its six years of operation. The agency, owned by the cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, dispatches police and fire officers in those cities and police officers in Dunwoody and Brookhaven. It was the first public-private partnership to run a 911 call center, Pierce said. Pierce said he predicts that with coming changes in technology, locating cellphone callers won’t present the problem they do now. Future 911 operators will
be able to tell automatically where a caller is located, down to finding the room inside a high-rise building a call came from. Pierce started as a police officer in the 1970s, when 911 didn’t exist at all. People in emergency situations either called the local sheriff’s office, the fire department or the local ambulance service. A 20-minute response time would have been considered fast in some rural areas, he said. Few people knew CPR, and procedures to help people provide first aid over the phone often failed, Pierce said. Now, ChatComm can instantly dispatch a police officer who has first aid training skills and equipment. In Dunwoody and Brookhaven, medical and fire response services have to be transferred from ChatComm to DeKalb County. Former Councilman Danny Ross voted against Dunwoody’s switch to ChatComm four years ago, saying the one-button transfer takes too long. Ross said his solution four years ago would have been for Dunwoody to start its own emergency call center. “The transfer is the problem,” Ross said. “I voted against it because we couldn’t do the entire process. We should have our own 911 system.” He said he tried to convince Brookhaven not to switch to ChatComm, which the city did a year ago. “I made a presentation to Brookhaven before they decided to go to ChatComm,” Ross said. “They have the same problem we do and they’ve just accepted that it will take a few minutes to transfer the call. They don’t have any plans to do what Dunwoody is trying to work on.” Pierce called the Dunwoody-driven push to connect the Computer Aided Dispatch systems used by ChatComm and DeKalb an “above and beyond” measure. Engineers are currently working to fix an issue with the firewall. An-
PHOTOS BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE
Top, Stephen Pierce, operations specialist with ChatComm, says an ability to multitask and handle rude people are skills crucial to taking 911 calls. Above, Vanessa Ollee, a ChatComm 911 dispatcher, handles police calls for Dunwoody.
other live test will be needed before the system can “go live,” Pierce said. When Pierce started with ChatComm six years ago, he sat down as a dispatcher. He said he “got bored” after retiring from law enforcement and took up an opportunity to work at a private 911 call center. “I was blown away with the professionalism,” Pierce said. Brittany Baxter left the restaurant industry to join ChatComm as a dispatcher. Now, she’s the floor supervisor. She
said the job helped prepare her for call taking. “The fast pace, you’ve got to get those pizzas out,” Baxter said. “That’s what helped—having to do everything under pressure.” Pierce said her ability to multitask and to handle rude people gave her the experience needed to take 911 calls. “It takes a special person to be able to smile and do your job, and that’s the same way when you’re taking a 911 call,” Pierce said.
Incumbent Williams drops out of mayoral race CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
as mayor, but her name will not appear on the ballot Nov. 3. Challengers Dale Boone and John Ernst remain in the race, and Williams said she is not yet endorsing either candidate. “Not at this time,” Williams said. “I’m just going to remain neutral. “[There are] two fine candidates,” she said. “Voters have a good choice…I’m anxious for the city to come together in a more united way. I think either John or Dale can probably do that.” “I have met with John and offered my assistance in the transition,” Williams said, adding she had yet to meet with Boone. In a written statement, Ernst wished BK
Dick Williams a “speedy recovery” and praised Williams for “a distinguished career in public service.” “I look forward to continue working with Rebecca and everyone to make Rebecca Chase Brookhaven betWilliams ter,” Ernst wrote. Boone said in an interview that he considers the Williamses to be his “good friends.” “I wish Mayor Williams the best in her future endeavors, and condolenc-
es go out to [Dick with wishes for] his speedy recovery,” Boone said. “Our campaign’s still going to focus on important issues to homeowners and businesses.” DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester endorsed Ernst, who previously chaired the county ethics board, shortly after Williams’ announcement. She also wished the Williamses well. “I am endorsing John Ernst for mayor of Brookhaven because his experience and leadership make him uniquely qualified to keep up the good work in DeKalb’s newest city while providing the highest level of ethics, accountability and value-added for the voters,” Jester said in a written statement.
Williams’ decision not to run again guarantees another leadership turnover for the young city of Brookhaven, which will have its third mayor in three years, and only the second one to be elected. Williams was appointed mayor by the City Council earlier this year after J. Max Davis resigned to run for the state House of Representatives. Williams emphasized she will continue to focus on serving as mayor. “There’s a lot to do in the next three months,” she said. “I’ve got a lot to do as mayor. I’m not resigning…I’m going to finish strong.” Williams also will remain active in the city after she leaves office next year, she said, working on “pet projects.” | www.ReporterNewspapers.net OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 27
Brookhaven Police Blotter AS S AULT
Brookhaven police blotter dated Sept. 11-24
block of Wimberly Road—On Sept. 11, battery was reported.
The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen Portal Event Search website and is presumed to be accurate.
block of Glen Way—On Sept. 11, simple battery was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On Sept. 12, simple battery was reported.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 11, robbery in the street with a gun was reported; On Sept. 13, robbery of a business with a gun was reported. block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 12, a strong-arm robbery in the street was reported.
BUR G LARY
block of Ashburn Lane—On Sept. 12, burglary was reported.
A UTO T H EFT
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 13, robbery in the street with a gun was reported twice.
block of Briarwood Road—On Sept. 17, robbery in the street with a gun was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 18, a strong-arm robbery in the street was reported.
block of Mill Creek Road—On Sept. 11, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way—On Sept. 12, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way—On Sept. 13, theft by taking auto was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 13, battery was reported. block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 13, simple assault was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 14, 16, 17 and 20, reports of battery were made.
block of Dresden Drive—On Sept. 16, two arrests were made for simple battery.
block of Briarwood Drive—On Sept. 22, battery was reported and an arrest was made for batter of a family member.
block of Dunwoody Place—On Sept. 17, fraudulent activity was reported. block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 17, fraud by swindle was reported.
block of Executive Park Drive— On Sept. 23, two arrests were made for forgery in the fourth degree.
block of Briarcliff Road—On Sept. 25, an arrest was made for forgery in the third degree.
TH EFT/LAR CEN Y 700
block of Brookhaven Avenue—On Sept. 11, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
Sandy Springs Reporter
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block of North Thompson Road—On Sept. 15, theft was reported.
block of Lincoln Court Avenue— On Sept. 16, theft was reported.
block of Lake Hearn Drive—On Sept. 16, theft was reported.
block of Ashwoody Trail—On Sept. 18, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 18, theft of parts from a vehicle was reported.
block of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road—On Sept. 19, theft was reported.
block of Bellaire Drive—On Sept. 17, fraudulent activity was reported.
block of Glen Way—On Sept. 14, theft of parts from a vehicle was reported.
FR AUD 3300
block of Clairmont Road—On Sept. 11, forgery of check was reported.
block of Inman Drive—On Sept. 15, burglary was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way—On Sept. 14, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 20, theft was reported.
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block of Gables Drive—On Sept. 12 and 13, entering auto was reported; On Sept. 12, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 12, theft was reported.
block of Clairmont Road—On Sept. 12, theft of a bicycle was reported.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 13, shoplifting was reported.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 20, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 20, theft was reported.
block of North Cliff Valley Way—On Sept. 21, entering auto was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 11, a wanted person was located and arrested; On Sept. 15, 18, 19, 20, 24 and 25, arrests were made for failure to appear; On Sept. 24, an arrest was made for theft by receiving stolen property.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 20, an arrest was made for loitering for the purposes of engaging in drug related activity.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 11, a wanted person was located and arrested; On Sept. 14, an arrest was made for no driver’s license; On Sept. 18, an arrest was made for public intoxication and consumption; On Sept. 23, an arrest was made for possession of mariCONTINUED ON PAGE 30
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Brookhaven Police Blotter juana; On Sept. 25, an arrest was made for DUI. 3000
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 24, a wanted person was located and arrested.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 21, an arrest was made for DUI.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 11, two arrests were made for possession of cocaine; On Sept. 13, an arrest was made for public intoxication and consumption.
pear in court.
block of Corporate Boulevard— On Sept. 11, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.
block of Hearst Drive—On Sept. 12, arrests were made for open container, no driver’s license and possession of marijuana.
Druid Hills Road at Briarcliff Road—On Sept. 12, a wanted person was located and arrested.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 15, an arrest was made for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
block of North Terminal Drive— On Sept. 22, an arrest was made at the Atlanta airport for failure to appear in court.
block of Briarwood Road—On Sept. 24, an arrest was made for failure to appear.
block of Clairmont Road—On Sept. 16, an arrest was made for failure to appear in court.
3800 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Sept. 13, an arrest was made for reckless driving.
block of Corporate Boulevard— On Sept. 16, a wanted person was located and arrested.
block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 19, an arrest was made for DUI.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 14, a wanted person was located and arrested.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 13, an arrest was made for making false representation to cirty officials.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 14, two arrests were made for pimping.
block of Kadleston Way—On Sept 14, an arrest was made for disorder-
block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 15, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.
block of Drew Valley Road—On Sept. 22, an arrest was made for no driver’s license.
3500 block of Buford High-
block of Broad Street—On Sept. 11, an arrest was made for failure to ap-
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 12, an arrest was made for public intoxication and consumption.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 15, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.
block of Northeast Expressway— On Sept. 21, an arrest was made for public indecency.
2000 block of Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 12, an arrest was made for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license; On Sept. 19, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.
way—On Sept. 11, an arrest was made for driving on a suspended license; On Sept. 18, an arrest was made for DUI; On Sept. 23, an arrest was made for driving without a license; On Sept. 25, an arrest was made for manufacturing/selling/distributing/dispensing illegal drugs.
block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 14, an arrest was made for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
block of North Druid Hills Road—On Sept. 19, an arrest was made for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 19, an arrest was made for disorderly conduct.
OTHER block of North Cliff Valley Way—On Sept. 11, damage to private property was reported. block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Sept. 12, a hit and run was reported. block of Peachtree Road—On Sept. 12, a hit and run was reported. block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 19, a hit and run was reported.
block of Briarwood Road—On Sept. 20, a hit and run was reported.
block of Buford Highway—On Sept. 21, damage to private property was reported.
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• Window Cleaning • Gutter Cleaning • Pressure Washing • Family Owned • Licensed and Insured • FREE ESTIMATES
Skilled Handymen at Your Service
ELF Home Improvement & Repair • Kitchens • Decks • Bathroom • Fences • Windows • Doors • Electrical • Plumbing • Various Repairs
Call for an Estimate! Ed Fulcher • 678-630-4543 Mark McCoy • 404-542-2495
moving & delivery too! No job too small References Available 470-545-8408 Cell/803-608-0792 Cornell Davis, Owner
% 20 OFF
Cleaning & Repair of All Rugs
With coupon. One per family.
APPLIANCE REPAIR 100% GUARANTEED ALL MAJOR BRANDS CALL TODAY! www.ApexApplianceAtlanta.com
The Handyman Can • Plumbing • Electrical • Sheetrock • Floors • Tile • Framing • Kitchens • Painting • Roofwork • Concrete • Stained Glass • Antique Door Restoration as well as many other issues...
John Salvesen • 404-453-3438 firstname.lastname@example.org
Your home. Our help.
Get help around the house by calling one of our Home Services and Services Available advertisers. Tell them you saw their ad in Reporter Newspapers! BK
OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | 31
10th 12pm - 6PM Brookhaven Park ( Brookhaven, Ga 30319 Corner of Peachtree & Osborne
Chili tasting starts at 12pm while supplies last FREE FAMILY FRIENDLY FESTIVAL IN HEART OF BROOKHAVEN LIVE MUSIC WITH BATTLEFIELD COLLECTIVE, DRUCKER & BEHIND THE SUN (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS TRIB) ICE COLD BEER AND LIBATIONS TO COOL YOU OFF PORTION OF PROCEEDS BENEFITS RELEASH ATLANTA $2500 IN CASH PRIZES FOR AMATEURS
4158 Peachtree Rd. NEW LOCATION
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OCT. 2 – OCT. 15, 2015 | www.ReporterNewspapers.net