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Norwood Complaints 6
Northwest Trail 6
School Board Retirement 8
Cultural Center Design 8
Veterans Park Plan 9
Buford Hwy Businesses 10
City Hall Groundbreaking 10
Cannabis Moratorium 12 Bond Referendum 12
Dachau Liberator Speaks 13
Trails Master Plan 14
Author Matt Paxton 16
Hanukkah Veronica 18
Above the Waterline 20
Composting Bins 21
Zesto Closes 22
Hampton Social 22
Your Next Home 24
Sandy Springs Mixed-Use 24
Community Torch Gala 25
Any Distance App 26
Phipps Luxury Stores 27
Sports Chamblee High Football 28 HS Football Hall of Fame 29
The Future Of Parks 30-31
Travel Weekend In Savannah 32
State Park Camping 36
Military Museums 38 Leaf Watch 41
About the Cover Buckhead
Renderings of the HUB404 in Buckhead courtesy Rogers Partners Architects. Sandy Springs
Austin Loper and Cori Johnson paddle at Morgan Falls in Sandy Springs (Photo by Joann Vitelli)
Becky Knight and her daughter Gigi enjoy a picnic at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. (Photo by Joann Vitelli) Brookhaven
Finn Giamoni, Barrett Giamoni, Jackson Haldar and Benita the dog play at Brookhaven Park. (Photo by Joann Vitelli)
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OCTOBER 2022 | 3 Contents
As seen in Print Use this QR code to read extended versions of stories found in this issue.
Editorial Collin Kelley Editor, Atlanta Intown Joe Earle Editor at Large Staff Writers Dyana Bagby Bob Pepalis Sammie Purcell Contributors Sally Bethea, Cathy Cobbs, Kathy Dean, Maija Ehlinger, Alex Ewalt, Allison Haber, Donna Williams Lewis, Jacob Nguyen, Charles Seabrook, Joann Vitelli Published By Springs Publishing Keith Pepper Publisher email@example.com Neal Maziar Chief Revenue Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Rico Figliolini Creative Director Steve Levene Publisher Emeritus Advertising For information (404) 917-2200 email@example.com Deborah Davis Account Manager | Sales Operations firstname.lastname@example.org Jeff Kremer Sr. Account Manager email@example.com Suzanne Purcell Sr. Account Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation 58,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to businesses/retail locations.
4 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
OCTOBER 2022 | 5 Offering independent living, assisted living and memory care. Reserve your home today. Call (404)891 9190 to learn more. Unexpected Happiness Schedule a tour to visit our sophisticated community and city homes. www.corsoatlanta.com
I’m State Rep. Betsy Holland, and it’s been my honor to serve Georgia’s 54th House District since my election in 2018. I’m proud to bring my 25+ years of corporate experience along with my proven voting record in the Georgia legislature to work for Georgia’s families. Georgians deserve leadership that supports and protects everyone.
■ Defending women’s access to healthcare and reproductive freedom
■ Supporting high quality, fully funded education for our children
■ Reducing gun violence and improving public safety in our communities
■ Building a strong economy, creating jobs and developing a workforce pipeline for our highest demand industries
Early voting begins October 17
Election Day is November 8
Mayor’s office disputes Norwood’s complaints of Buckhead neglect
BY DYANA BAGBY
Atlanta City Coun cilmember Mary Nor wood’s public accusations last month on a conser vative-leaning political website that city govern ment continually neglects Buckhead did not sit well with Mayor Andre Dick ens’ office, which said her complaints “lacked con text or accuracy.”
The spat spotlights the movement by some in the community to break off from the city to form its own gov ernment.
Norwood wrote in a Sept. 13 opinion piece for the political news website Insid er Advantage: “Buckhead is not getting what we need and deserve.” The CEO of Insider Advantage is Phil Kent, a noted Republican commentator.
Norwood also said many people think the Buckhead cityhood movement is based sole ly on crime.
“But there is a great deal more to it than that,” she said. “It boils down to many years of Buckhead’s neglect by the city of Atlanta’s government.”
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Norwood ticked off in her column a list of issues she said the city has failed to address over the years, including repairing streets damaged by commuter and truck traffic. She said her request months ago for a five-year capital plan for District 8 has been ignored.
Norwood also said Buckhead’s “traffic is suffocating” and her requests for funding to come up with a traffic plan have been turned down. Norwood also complained about some of the city’s proposed zoning regulations she said threatened single-family neighborhoods.
Norwood did not name Dickens or any other government offi cials in her column. But on the same day Nor wood’s column was pub lished, Chief Operat ing Officer Lisa Gordon, a member of Dickens’ cabinet, sent Norwood a 5-page letter disputing her claims.
“I read your article, ‘Atlanta’s Buckhead — not getting services it needs,’ … in which you raise concerns about City services in District 8,” Gordon said in the letter. “As the City’s Chief Operating Officer, I oversee the areas you identified in this article and I am taking the opportunity to shed light on several of the specific items you highlight ed which lacked context or accuracy.”
Gordon said she met with Norwood on Sept. 7 to discuss traffic concerns in Buckhead and agreed to respond to her by Sept. 16.
“I regret that you did not share these oth er concerns at that time before publishing this article,” Gordon said.
Norwood’s request for the administra tion to come up with a District 8 capital plan would be a “formula for inequity, both at Council among members and for residents across the city,” Gordon said, because the city historically develops capital plans for the en tire city and not specific neighborhoods or council districts.
Gordon also highlighted the city’s invest ments in public safety in Buckhead, includ ing opening a mini-precinct in Buckhead Vil lage, and its support of Norwood’s Buckhead Public Safety Task Force. Gordon said crime in Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, is down 10% compared to this time last year.
BeltLine chooses final Northwest Trail segment
BY COLLIN KELLEY
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and PATH Foundation have selected a route for the fi nal segment of the Northwest Trail.
The trail will run alongside Peachtree Park Drive and Bennett Street, known as Corridor 6 in the Northwest Trail Feasibili ty Study, in Buckhead.
“We are pleased to have an alignment selected for the full Northwest Trail and thrilled at the opportunity it presents for connectivity amongst many neighborhoods and business districts,” said ABI President and CEO Clyde Higgs during at a Aug. 30 public meeting. “For the first time in our
history, we have a defined path for the full 22-mile loop. Completing the trail brings us one step closer to building a more equi table and inclusive Atlanta.”
The Northwest Trail continues to be one of the more complicated sections to deliv er due to the lack of an abandoned railroad corridor.
The Northwest Trail will be funded pri marily through the BeltLine Tax Alloca tion District (TAD), philanthropic con tributions including $30 million recently announced by The James M. Cox Foun dation, and Special Service District (SSD) bond proceeds.
reporternewspapers.com6 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
LOVE A CLEAN DOG
OCTOBER 2022 | 7
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6125 ROSWELL ROAD, SUITE 1050 SANDY SPRINGS, GA 30328 (404) 565-0493
Dean announces retirement from Fulton School Board
BY BOB PEPALIS
Fulton County School Board member Gail Dean, who represents part of San dy Springs, announced her retirement on Sept. 23 after 22 years on the board.
Her retirement will be effective Oct. 31, according to an FCS release.
“I want to thank my fel low Board members; we have accomplished so much together, not the least of which includes supporting every graduating student and maintaining financial stability,” Dean said in the release.
“To my Community in District 3, I am so appreciative of your support and celebrate the many successes we achieved together in cluding improving student achievement, ex panding existing schools and constructing new school buildings.”
Dean said she isn’t retiring but is merely changing her focus. She plans to take care of her health, family, and her bees.
The remaining board members will appoint a qualified resident of the dis trict, which includes parts of Sandy Springs and Ful ton County south of Atlan ta city limits. Her term ends Dec. 31, 2024, with a non partisan election planned in the spring of 2024.
Residents can submit ap plications to fill Dean’s va cancy by submitting a ré sumé and letter of interest outlining qualifications by Oct. 3 via email to boardser email@example.com or via hand delivery, Attn: Board Services at 6201 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339.
Applicants must have lived in District 3 for one year and be a Georgia resident. Addi tional requirements and information will be available on the Fulton County Schools web site at fultonschools.org/board.
A mandatory in-person information ses sion for applicants will be held Oct. 7.
City to pay $582,700 to design cultural center
BY BOB PEPALIS
by Mark St. Germain
Sandy Springs approved spending $582,700 for designing a new cultural cen ter building that is expected to house the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust (GCH), a police precinct, and Visit Sandy Springs offices.
In session on Sept. 6 as the Public Fa cilities Authority, members of the San dy Springs City Council directed Houser Walker Architecture to complete the proj ect design for the building, which will re place the Bluestone building at 6110 Blue Stone Road.
The project has met with opposition from some residents and support from oth ers, including members of the GCH who live in Sandy Springs.
After the contract and insurance are worked out, city staff will move right into programming the building, according to Dave Wells, director of Facilities/Capital Construction and Building Operations.
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He said the city council would insure the building integrated with the City Springs Master Plan.
“After the design is all decided and ev erything then there’ll be a guaranteed max imum price of the cost,” Wells said. “But we’ll start knowing the cost as soon as we nail down exactly what needs to be in the building when we get our first conceptual schematic.”
The council approved negotiations with GCH last fall for the state agency to lease space for its office, a new “Anne Frank in the World” exhibit, and other exhibits. In August, the council approved the lease terms. The GCH will pay a monthly lease for at least 20 years to pay for its share of the building design and construction.
Either the city or the GCH can back out of their agreement even after the design is completed.
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8 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com SANDY SPRINGS BECOMING DR. RUTH
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Pedestrian bridge out, fountain in at Veterans Park
BY BOB PEPALIS
Sandy Springs will keep a large fountain in its Veterans Park design, but an idea to install a pedestrian bridge across Roswell Road linking it to City Springs was rejected as City Council members thought it was too costly.
Councilmembers Tibby DeJulio and John Paulson, who are both veterans, led the discussion during a work session on Sept. 6 in which more members wanted to keep the fountain that would mirror a foun tain across Roswell Road in front of the city’s Performing Arts Center.
City staff was instructed to return to Council with optional plans that cut the cost of the fountain or eliminated it in favor of landscaping.
The construction cost for just the fountain was estimated at $1.33 million. Options that would have cut its size in half were estimated to cost $644,724 to $670,233.
Wells said Reeves Young Atkins gave the city a rough estimate for a pedestrian bridge as between $4 million and $7 million. In addition to the cost, the potential need to raise two Georgia Power transmission poles would add to the cost and delay the city’s Johnson Ferry Road at Mount Vernon Highway TSPLOST improvement project by at least a year and a half.
“I think the pedestrian bridge is wasting 4 to $7 million. I think of myself and a lot of other veterans who have bad knees who would not be using that original whole lot,” DeJulio said.
Paulson agreed with DeJulio.
“This original plan was always to make these fountains balanced on both sides of Roswell Road,” Paulson said. “And I think that’s really the statement that we’re trying to make. and I want to make sure we were true to that statement that was literally we’ve been talking about this for eight or nine years.”
SWEET PAVE DIAMOND TREATS FOR GROWN-UPS
A rendering of the fountain at Veterans Park.
OCTOBER 2022 | 9
Chamber looks to connect with Buford Highway biz
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
Lily Pabian spoke to the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce about the specif ic problems facing immigrant-owned busi nesses along Buford Highway on Sept. 15.
Pabian, who is the executive director of We Love Buford Highway, shared results from a survey the nonprofit conducted ear lier this year. Following the start of the CO VID-19 pandemic, the organization want ed to check in with businesses along the corridor and see what sort of support they needed.
“We don’t even know how many busi nesses are still alive,” Pabian said of the de cision to coordinate the survey following the effects of the pandemic. “Let’s recognize that there is a knowledge gap here for a cor ridor made up of immigrant communities that literally have built the sweat and brand equity of Buford Highway.”
According to Pabian and the nonprof it’s partnership with Georgia Power’s Eco nomic Development team, the corridor is home to nearly 1,000 immigrant-owned businesses as of 2021, representing largely Asian, Latino, and Black business owners. Those businesses are responsible for rough ly $1.7 million in annual revenue and em ploy nearly 5,600 immigrants in the area.
Pabian said engagement for the survey began in January. Two people visited 191 businesses across the corridor and 53 peo ple responded to the survey.
The survey’s findings are split into four categories: language, community, support, and challenges. According to the survey, 54% of business owners who responded do not speak English as a primary language, and 55% were Spanish speakers.
Pabian also said that most of the business owners who responded said they do not feel supported by the greater business commu
nity on the Buford Highway corridor, and that most business owners are more likely to ask for help from another business own er of the same ethnicity.
Pabian read a testimonial from a busi ness owner who said that the only time they used to meet up with other business owners on a large scale was during events that We Love Buford Highway was able to throw pre-pandemic.
“Without having some central events, everyone just keeps to themselves,” she said.
The survey also found that most of the businesses surveyed are struggling in the current economic environment, facing is sues with supply chain, high costs of rent and labor, and a lack of customers.
Pabian said that We Love Buford High way plans to continue to survey businesses in the corridor through the end of Hispan ic Heritage Month, which began on Sept 15 and ends on Oct. 15. She also said the nonprofit wants to perform the survey on an annual basis.
“When I hear businesses saying we’re not better off in revenues, well let’s figure out and drill down why,” Pabian said.
City Hall groundbreaking planned for 2023
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
Brookhaven expects to break ground on its new City Hall in September of 2023, ac cording to City Manager Christian Sigman.
During a Sept. 13 meeting, the Brookhaven City Council reviewed a space plan for the upcoming City Hall, which will be at the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station. The city finalized an agreement to build its new City Hall in June.
Kathryn Scott, a representative from the Sizemore Group, presented the draft space plan to the council. Sigman said that the city would be moving forward with the Sizemore Group for the project at a July 26 council meeting.
According to Sigman, the space plan is not a design, but rather a “ballpark on the size of the structure, what kind of functions will be in it, the adjacencies of the functions in that building.”
The Sizemore Group will also be han dling the public input process for the space plan, which will begin in about a month, according to a city spokesperson.
The council also approved a project management service agreement with Com prehensive Services Inc. not to exceed $1,220,400 and a $3 million architectural contract with Sizemore Group for the de sign of the City Hall.
10 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com BROOKHAVEN A Place Where You Belong www.townbrookhaven.net Conveniently located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University. Spend the day or evening on the Town! Stop by for a bite to eat or use curbside and delivery services! (Opening Soon) DINING DINE-IN CINEMA (OPENING FALL 2022) LEARNING AND WORKING WITH Hispanic Businesses in Brookhaven Brookhaven Chamber Events at BrookhavenCommerce.org
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OCTOBER 2022 | 11
City Council puts moratorium on cannabis retail stores
BY CATHY COBBS
The Dunwoody City Council voted Sept. 19 to put a six-month moratorium on permitting or licensing canna bis retail stores within the city limits.
Truck or Treat October 27
Arts and Culture Month
Kickoff/ Hispanic Heritage Celebration
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Stage Door Theatre
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church
1 - 4 p.m.
Dunwoody Art Commission Meeting
Dunwoody City Hall
Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting
Dunwoody City Hall
Master Gardener Talk
The Barn at Brook Run Park
Groovin’ on the Green
“Elton John: The Ultimate Tribute”
Brook Run Park
6 - 9 p.m.
Dunwoody City Council Meeting
Dunwoody City Hall
Planning Commission Meeting
Dunwoody City Hall
Sustainability Committee Meeting via Zoom
Friday Night Hike Dunwoody Nature Center
Spririts for Spruill Spruill Gallery
Dunwoody Community Bike Ride Village Burger
Edge City 2.0 Open House Dunwoody City Hall 5 - 7 p.m.
Halloween Farm Festival Donaldson-Bannister Farm
Dunwoody City Council Meeting Dunwoody City Hall 6 p.m.
Truck or Treat Brook Run Park 5 - 9 p.m.
Friday Night Hike Dunwoody Nature Center
Stage Door Theatre
Food Truck Thursdays
Brook Run Park
Dunwoody Farmers Market Brook Run Park
9 a.m. - noon
According to Dunwoody Community Development Di rector Richard McLeod, who presented the resolution, the state of Georgia has created laws that allow for the produc tion, distribution and sale of medical cannabis products. The city, according to McLeod, has not yet established any regula tions, prompting the need for the moratorium.
“The state has been sniff ing around,” he said. “So far 21 licenses (in Georgia) have been approved but produc tion issues have not been solved.”
According to supporting documents, the city will use the time to “review state requirements, review best practice regula tions, and identify potential impacts and externalities of medical cannabis uses.”
“Should the state find cause for new code requirements, it will propose changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that will have to be reviewed by the Planning Commis sion and the City Council,” the document continued. “That timeline may require a fu ture extension of the moratorium.”
Council Member Stacey Harris asked if the timeline could be reduced if necessary, to which McLeod replied in the affirmative. McLeod added that the city had received only one inquiry about the matter, but no
written requests to establish such a facility within the city.
In other action, the council discussed a new public art mural proposed for the
Dunwoody MARTA parking deck located at on Hammond Drive.
“This is a high-profile area that is a blank canvas right now,” Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s Director of Economic Devel opment, said. “We would fund a third of the project, along with PCID (Perimeter Community Improvement Districts) and MARTA.”
The cost to the city would be about $50,000, with installation planned for next spring. The mural installation is in the planning stages now, with calls for art pro posals to go out in the next few months, Starling said.
The council also discussed a new mis sion and vision statement before adjourn ing to executive session to discuss personnel and litigation matters.
City considering bond referendum in 2023
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
Earlier this year, Dunwoody began hav ing conversations about a possible bond referendum to fund capital projects. While residents won’t see it on the ballot in No vember, the city is pushing forward with plans to prepare one for 2023 as quickly as possible.
After months of public input, council, and committee meetings, Dunwoody ul timately decided not to put a bond refer endum on the ballot. A Capital Prioritiza tion Committee made up of members of the Dunwoody City Council recommend ed holding off, believing the city did not have enough shovel-ready projects.
Two of the projects that were included in the bond discussion this year were park projects at Vermack Road and Roberts Drive. Some council members expressed concern over including those projects, which were still in draft stages at the time.
“How critical is it that we have some thing for people to consider if we’re want ing to fund those?” said Councilmember Rob Price at a June 13 council meeting. “I think that’ll be important for people to de cide, whether or not they like this.”
Since deciding not to move forward with a bond this year, the city has been pre paring for the possibility of one in 2023. At an Aug. 22 council meeting, Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki said that city staff rec ommended that the council explore a few possibilities. One was a $30 million bond to develop the Austin and Vermack sites, as well as some improvements to Brook Run Park.
At a Sept. 6 meeting, the council dis cussed the draft master plans for the two future parks projects at Vermack Road and Roberts Drive, which are expected to be be fore the council for approval by the end of October.
12 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com DUNWOODY dunwoodyga.gov | 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody GA 30338 | 678.382.6700
1 27 28 2 30 4 1-16 13 20 11 10 22 24
6 8 14 15 16 EDGE CITY 2.0 Share your thoughts OPEN HOUSE OCT 20 ELECTRONICS Recycling Sunday October 2 Pre-registration required
Groovin’ on the Green OCTOBER 8
Dunwoody resident, 98, among the first liberators of Dachau, to speak Oct. 18
BY CATHY COBBS
Dunwoody resident Hilbert “Hibby” Mar gol, 98, has seen a lot in his life, but nothing more life-changing than what he witnessed on April 29, 1945 in Germany.
Margol and his twin brother, Howard, 19-year-old American soldiers during World War II, were Howit zers gunners traveling with their battery on the way to Munich, Germa ny. The war was all but over, with Allied forces liberating concentration camps in Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau and Flossenburg and the world reeling from the photographic images of death and depravity wrought by the Nazis.
On that fateful day, the Margols were driv ing their Howitzers along a two-lane country road about eight miles from Munich when they received orders to halt the four-vehicle battery temporarily.
The pair detected a pungent odor that they first attributed to a chemical plant, but Howard, according to Hibby, then said it re minded him of his mother holding a newly slaughtered chicken over a gas stove to burn off any remaining feathers. Their command er gave the Margols permission to investigate the area.
“We walked about 10 to 15 minutes in the woods, and then came up to a long line of railroad box cars that was loaded with dead bodies,” Hibby Margol said. “We had no idea of the significance of what we were witness ing.”
The pair then entered the gates of the con centration camp, known as Dachau, under a sign in German that said, “Work makes you free,” and saw piles of bodies stacked every where throughout the camp.
“We never saw any live people during our brief time there, just dead people,” he said. “We didn’t know at the time, but the prison ers who were still alive were hiding in the bar racks.”
The fact that the brothers were in the same division was a miracle of sorts. Both Hibby and Howard, who died six years ago right be fore his 93rd birthday, had been drafted while college students, but in 1944, Howard was sent to the 104th Infantry Division in the Mohave Desert, and his brother assigned to the 42nd Rainbow Division at Camp Gru ber, OK.
“We were not happy about it at all,” Hib by said. “Our mother wrote a letter to Presi dent (Franklin) Roosevelt asking that we be put back together, and within two weeks, she received a letter on White House stationary granting her request. We didn’t know who was going where, but then found out that Howard would come to the 42nd.”
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Hibby will talk about his experiences to the Dunwoody Newcomers’s Club on Oct. 18 at 10:30 a.m. The meeting is open to the public, but reservation must be made by Oct. 7 by emailing Judy Cone at ricemom212@ aol.com.
Hibby Margol with a photo of himself as a U.S Army Infantryman during World War II.
OCTOBER 2022 | 13
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City moves forward with trails master plan
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
The Dunwoody City Council has ap proved a master agreement and profes sional services agreement with the PATH Foundation to get started on a trails mas ter plan.
The city first heard from the PATH Foundation, a group that works to de velop trail networks throughout the met ro area, at an Aug. 8 meeting. The city is moving forward with a master plan de spite residents; concerns about trail plans, as well as before a possible bond referen dum next year.
At the council’s Sept. 6 meeting, it approved a master agreement as well as a professional services agreement. The master is the overall agreement with the PATH Foundation, which would also al low PATH to take the lead on design and construction management of trails under the master plan, according to city docu ments. Those projects and contracts would have to come back before the council for approval.
The professional services agreement is for the development of the trails mas ter plan specifically. The formation of the master plan is expected to take 6-8 months and cost no more than $99,480.
The council approved the agreements by a vote of 6-1. Councilmember John Heneghan voted against the agreements.
At the Aug. 8 meeting, he brought up concerns about the PATH Foundation’s focus on greenway trails, which are trails separated from traffic that operate with in greenspace. He brought up similar con cerns at the Sept. 6 meeting.
“Greenway trails is what the PATH Foundation is very good at doing,” Heneghan said. “Unfortunately for us, greenway is a hard definition to say that we’re going to be able to do here in the city of Dunwoody.”
Other council members expressed ex citement over the agreement. Council member Joe Seconder said he was confi dent in PATH’s ability to adapt to urban environments. According to their web site, PATH has worked on numerous trails throughout the metro Atlanta area, in cluding the Nancy Creek Greenway, seg ments of the Beltline, and the Peachtree Creek Greenway.
Councilmember Tom Lambert said he hoped having a trails master plan would alleviate residents’ concerns about trails in the city. Over the past few months, multi ple residents have voiced concerns about the city’s future trail plans, particularly a multi-use path along Tilly Mill Road.
“If we have a standard and we have a to tal vision, it’s much easier to present that to the public and get real feedback from them,” Lambert said.
Trai construction along Winters Chapel Road in Dunwoody. (Special)
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OCTOBER 2022 | 15
From cleaning out his family’s attic to facing ‘Hoarders,’ Matt Paxton loves decluttering
BY DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS
Matt Paxton was just 23 years old when he began to lose the family men in his life.
His father passed away first. Over the next 18 months, he lost his stepfather and both of his grandfathers.
“It was so overwhelming. It was like a wave, like you’re in the ocean and just trying to catch your breath,” Pax ton said. “I didn’t really know I was in it until two years later and I just started cleaning everybody’s attics and cleaning up the houses. … I was missing all the men in my family, and I was still having to go through this house, and I didn’t know where to start. And I remember thinking, ‘Man, this really sucks.’”
But the more he uncovered of their lives, the more he began to enjoy the process. And, after finding a fami ly shocker in his paternal grandfather’s tackle box, Paxton was hooked.
Downsizing and decluttering became his passion and his life’s work.
A featured cleaner on A&E’s “Hoard ers” and star of the two-time Emmynominated PBS series “Legacy List with Matt Paxton,” Paxton shares his down sizing and decluttering expertise in a new book, “Keep the Memories, Lose
Produced in collaboration with AARP, the book addresses downsizing and decluttering from a psychological perspective and draws from Paxton’s ex periences in working with thousands of people and families over the past two de cades.
“My [maternal] grandfather always said to me, if something sucks, do it as a job because other people will pay you to do it,” Paxton said. “Twenty-two years later, I’m still doing it, and I love it. It’s just fascinating to me.”
His book outlines a manageable, re alistic plan for combatting clutter, said Paxton, a Suwanee resident and father of seven in a blended family with his wife, popular minimalist life-style advocate
Book Festival Information
Matt Paxton is scheduled to appear at this year’s Book Festival of the MJCCA for an author talk on Nov. 17, starting at 11 a.m. The event takes place at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, GA, 30338. For more information: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678.812.4005.
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“Everyone knows about Marie Kon do and sparking joy and all that. For my clients, that doesn't necessarily work. I mean, the reason they have a lot of stuff is because everything sparks joy. With hoarders and seniors, it’s really hard,” he said.
Focusing on why you want to down size can help you start and maintain the journey, Paxton said.
“What I’ve found is that [some peo ple] are avoiding their decluttering to avoid deciding where they’re going to go next,” he said.
He encourages people to ferret out the things that really are precious to them, showcase them and share the
stories of them, which is the basis of his “Legacy List” show.
He’s told countless clients, “Peo ple really do want some of your stuff. They just don’t want what you want them to have.” For example, your kids probably don’t want your heirloom chi na, but they may be very interested in your vintage clothing or something that has a great backstory, he says.
That family shocker Paxton found in the tackle box was a wedding certificate with a backstory he’ll never forget. He found it while helping his dad’s mother clean out her house.
She wanted to marry his grandfather when she was 14 years old, but her moth er made her wait until she turned 16.
They had been married nearly 70 years when his grandfather passed away.
The wedding certificate was not theirs. It was his grandmother’s mother’s wed ding certificate. After doing some quick math Paxton tried to hide it. But his grandmother grabbed it and, in that mo ment, learned that her mother, who made her wait, had married at 14, Paxton said.
“My grandmother,” he said, “was furi ous. She said, ‘I can't believe she took two years away from me.’ And I was think ing, ‘This is so sweet, that a woman that was married for almost 70 years was mad that she lost two of them with him.’ And
I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is what I want in life.’”
Courtesy of the Horst Estate
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A Hanukkah fairy’s tale
BY KATHY DEAN
Hanukkah Veronica was born just the way you’d think a fairy should be — from a sincere wish and an act of love. Years lat er, a simple act of kindness helped her to grow so she could spread her happy mes sage to others.
Once upon a time, more than a doz en years ago, a 5-year-old girl named Lucy wanted an elf, the kind that sits on a shelf. Her mother, Julie Anne Cooper, told her that, instead of an elf, she would find her a special Hanukkah companion.
While Lucy was at school, Julie Anne went into her art room. She knew that Lucy loved fairies, so, “I pulled together a bunch of fabrics and created a soft doll and named her Hanukkah Veronica,” Ju lie Anne said. “Hanukkah Veronica per formed mitzvahs.” Mitzvahs are acts of kindness.
All season long, Hanukkah Veronica would perform good deeds, surprising and
delighting Julie Anne and her husband’s three children. There might be freshly baked cookies for an afterschool treat or a special gift for them to share. The Mitzvah Fairy became a family holiday tradition.
Family tradition inspires a book
Julie Anne Cooper worked with Wendy Brant in the real estate industry. The two live in the Atlanta area, and one holiday sea son, Julie Anne painted a watercolor based on a photograph Wendy took in Europe and presented it to her.
“It was such a kind gesture, a mitzvah,” Wendy said. “Our friendship grew stron ger.”
While discussing art and other inter ests, Julie Anne told Wendy about her fam ily’s holiday Hanukkah Veronica tradition. “I remember growing up as a young Jew ish girl and how much I would have loved to have a character like this in our lives, and how much fun it would have been,” Wen dy said.
Inspired by the story, Wendy told Julie
Ann, “I think every family might love a Ha nukkah Veronica.” Julie Anne agreed, and they decided to partner and bring Hanuk kah Veronica to life. They developed a plush doll and a book to tell her story.
The story of “Hanukkah Veronica, the Mitzvah Fairy” centers around Lucy, who wishes for a holiday companion. When Hanukkah Veronica arrives, not only does Lucy make a friend, she also learns the pow er of kindness.
Wendy said that Italian illustrator Giovanni Lombardi helped bring their vi sion to life in the book. She also credits
Book Festival Information
Wendy Brant and Julie Anne Cooper, co-authors of “Hanukkah Veronica, the Mitzvah Fairy,” are scheduled to appear at noon on Sunday, Nov. 13, as part of the MJCCA Book Festival. They’ll appear at the Camp Isidore Alterman Main Stage at MJCCA Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Their appearance is open to the public without charge. Books will be available for purchase at the event. For more information: atlantajcc.org/ bookfestival or 678-812-4005.
L to R: Wendy Brant and Julie Anne Cooper
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Rabbi Levi Mentz at the Chabad at For syth for his assistance with Hanukkah Ve ronica.
“We launched a successful Kickstart er in 2021 and we have been truly hum bled by the response,” Wendy said. “The message of kindness and love seems to be much needed, especially now. The fact that the stories inspire an appreciation for the many cultures and traditions of the world seems to resonate with many people.”
More friends on the way
Julie Anne and Wendy hope Hanukkah Veronica is the first of the series of char acters that will appear in future books. Christmas Chloe, Diwali Deepa, Kwanzaa Keisha, and Halloween Hannah are cur rently in the works, their website says.
“The characters are from around the world. They are friends and interact, as will be seen in the second book,” Wendy said. She said these stories offer a message of peace, love and kindness, with a focus on mitzvahs as a reminder that lasting joy comes from giving to others.
“The last few years have been a chal lenge and many people have struggled in a variety of ways, physically and mentally. As adults, in our personal lives, and even in our governments, many people seem to approach our issues with anger and fear. We have been focusing not on what we have in common but much more on our differences,” Wendy said.
OCTOBER 2022 | 19
Electric School Buses: Better health, cost-savings, and energy efficiency
oped, and deep-rooted opinions to sur mount. Ham also admits that an ESB is not for every school route, but he says they are “perfect” for high-density areas where the buses travel relatively short distances and are used just a few hours per day. ESBs now have ranges of more than 100 miles—and up to 155 miles—on a single charge.
Operating cost savings per bus per year ($4,000 to $11,000) are a major purchase inducement, in addition to zero tailpipe emissions, leading to cleaner air for school children and a practical solution for the cli mate crisis. Down the road, there will also be opportunities for school districts to take advantage of vehicle-to-grid technology that allows the high-capacity ESB batteries to give back (sell) to the power grid to help offset peak power demands. When commu nities have power emergencies, this tech nology could also serve as a back-up pow er supply.
A Game Changer
ABOVE THE WATER LINE
BY SALLY BETHEA
After a far too typical southern summer of hot, dry weeks inter spersed with in tense storms, fall has arrived in all its glory. Humidity lev els have finally dropped. Leaves are turning yel low, brown, red, and orange—as chlorophyll in tree leaves breaks down with cool er temperatures and shorter days, no longer absorbing sunlight for the mag ic of photosynthesis. Cicadas have stopped singing the iconic soundtrack of summer; post-reproduction, their insect life cycles are ending.
On the streets of the city, I see signs of autumn in yellow school buses full of stu dents who are returning to classrooms. More than half of all schoolchildren in the United States—about twenty-six mil lion—rely on nearly 500,000 school buses: the largest mass transit system in the coun try. An article published several years ago in Smithsonian magazine observed, “The yellow school bus has become a power ful representation of education and access
in American history… literally a vehicle of change.”
Eighty years ago, school transportation officials chose a color now called Nation al School Bus Glossy Yellow as the standard for all buses for safety (high visibility), con sistency, and cost-savings. That decision has served the test of time well. The fuel used to power the buses has not had a similar trajec tory. Long considered a reliable workhorse to move heavy vehicles in all sorts of weath er, diesel is now known to cause a variety of health problems, especially in children. The fuel is also more expensive and less efficient than alternatives.
Studies have confirmed that toxic emis sions and particulate matter from diesel ve hicles contribute to air pollution and cause health issues: asthma, respiratory illness, cancer, cognitive impairment, and even premature death from long-term exposure. Alternative-fuel advocates note that chil dren from low-income communities of col or often rely more heavily on buses to get to school and are disproportionately impact ed by higher exposure to diesel emissions. Still, more than 95 percent of school buses nationwide use diesel.
When Sam Ham attended a confer ence for officials working in large urban
school systems in 2015, his perspective on diesel fuel changed dramatically. Then the transportation director for Fulton Coun ty Schools, Ham had long believed diesel was the best power source for school buses. As transportation officials from around the country sang the praises of propane, instead of diesel, Ham says it got his attention. Looking at the total cost of ownership, it became clear to him that the alternative fuel “beat diesel hands down.”
Ham was determined to convert at least half his fleet of 900 buses to propane, a much cleaner burning fuel that produces fewer particulates and less greenhouse gas es per gallon—and did. With easier main tenance and cheaper fuel and repairs than diesel, he says the county saves thousands of dollars per bus per year. About five years ago, Ham decided he wanted to try an elec tric school bus to stay at the forefront of the industry. With state and county funds, he purchased an ESB.
At $350,000 or more per bus, ESBs are currently two to three times the cost of a diesel bus and a charging station adds $30,000—not insignificant sums. Ham ex pects these costs to decrease over time, not ing that flat-screen televisions were once cost-prohibitive for most people. Trans portation experts believe that upfront price parity with diesel buses will be reached by the end of this decade.
As with any new technology, there are logistical issues, partnerships to be devel
Upfront costs have been the primary ob stacle for cash-strapped school districts to transition from diesel to ESBs until last year, when the bipartisan Infrastructure Invest ment and Jobs Act passed Congress. Sam Ham calls the legislation “a game changer;” it provides $5 billion in funding over five years to help school districts replace existing buses with low and zero-emission vehicles.
The first round of applications for the federal program have been submit ted. Funding in the form of rebates will be awarded by a lottery system in October. More than fifty school districts in Georgia have taken advantage of this grant oppor tunity with assistance from nonprofit or ganizations, such as Mothers & Others for Clean Air (MOCA), Electrification Coali tion, and Southern Alliance for Clean Ener gy. Turnkey solutions have been offered by Blue Bird, manufacturer of ESBs in Geor gia, and its dealer Yancey.
In August, nonprofit groups and their public and private partners held a press conference to support the electrification of school bus fleets. Longtime clean air advo cates, including MOCA co-founders Laura Turner Seydel and Stephanie Blank and cochair Gwen Lynn, participated along with EPA Regional Administrator Daniel Black man. The Electrification Coalition’s Anne Blair summarized the compelling reasons to move to ESBs: “Electric bus technology provides a huge opportunity for schools to reduce cost, cut our dependence on oil, and provide a cleaner, healthier ride to school for our kids.”
20 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com SUSTAINABILITY
Sandy Springs, Dunwoody wants to put composting bins in backyards
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BY BOB PEPALIS
Sandy Springs will apply for a $95,000 grant to start a pilot composting program designed to reduce solid waste.
Sustainability Manager Catherine Mer cier-Baggett said Sept. 30 is the application deadline for the grant, which is being ad ministered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s Recovered Materials Unit.
Grant awards will be made in January 2023 and the city would not have to pro vide matching funds.
“There is between 20 and 30% of all household waste that is actually organic materials that can be composted. So you can imagine that means we would be tak ing to the curb a lot less garbage,” she said.
The city’s program would have two dif ferent aspects. Three centralized collection sites would have bins where residents could drop off their organic materials, which a third party would empty.
“For those who want to try to do this at home, we also would have about 1,000 bins that would be available for anyone who wants to try it in their backyard,” Merci er-Baggett said.
The grant application is being made with Dunwoody.
“We had a conversation and realize that they were looking at exactly the same thing that we are but at a smaller scale. So, we’re partnering with them on the application,” she said.
The Master Gardeners of North Fulton and DeKalb County, Keep Beautiful orga nizations in North Fulton and DeKalb, and UGA Extension offices in the two counties will help educate the public on the pro gram, she said.
The total grant request may change af ter conversations with Dunwoody, she said.
“After those two years, we would have to figure out first of all if we want to contin ue with this and also find a mechanism to keep it financially stable,” Mercier-Baggett said. “The quote that we received so far is $21,000 per year for three locations and that includes bringing back the compost to the community.”
“One of the concerns I would have at the drop-off locations is making sure that it’s picked up on a regular basis because it gets rather unsightly if it stacks up there,” Mayor Rusty Paul said.
He said many people do yardwork on the weekend and what they drop off may sit at the collection sites until the end of the week, which could cause problems.
Mercier-Baggett said she’s not certain that yard waste would be accepted because of the volume generated in the region. Food scraps and cardboard typically are accepted.
You’ll find plenty of 55+ focused content there as well as links to our previously published sections and events.
Look for our special section publishing June 5th in your Atlanta JournalConstitution print and ePaper editions.
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Zesto on Piedmont closes after 50 years
BY COLLIN KELLEY
Atlanta lost another landmark restau rant when the Zesto on Piedmont Road in Buckhead closed on Sept. 18 after more than 50 years in business. The restaurant was known for its ice cream, hot dogs, and burgers.
Owners Jimbo and Leigh Ann Livaditis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the property at 2469 Piedmont Road had been sold to an undisclosed buyer, as well as the adjacent Splash laundromat and Fies ta Foods grocery store.
Leigh Ann Livaditis said they had been struggling to keep the restaurant afloat when the buyer made an offer. She said la bor shortages and continued loitering issues had deterred customers.
“I don’t think it was feasible for us to sustain the business there with the challeng es we have faced for a while,” she said
The owners closed the Little Five Points Zesto late last year after a tree fell and dam aged the building.
The Piedmont closure means only two Livaditis family-owned Zesto locations are
still in business: East At lanta and Forest Park. A franchisee operates a third location in Tyrone, GA.
Jimbo’s father, John Livaditis, founded Zesto in 1949. He said selling the Piedmont Road prop erty was an especially dif ficult decision because of the family’s roots in the neighborhood.
The family lived in an apartment near the inter section of Piedmont Road and Lindbergh Drive, the original site of the Zesto on Piedmont that opened in 1971.
“We were probably one of the longest contin uous businesses on Pied mont. I am on Piedmont every freaking day. It’s my street,” Jimbo said. “It pains me. We like to think we fought the hard fight.”
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Coastalinspired restaurant coming to Dunwoody High Street
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
“Rosé all day” is coming to High Street.
An upscale restaurant called The Hamp ton Social is coming to Dunwoody’s $2 bil lion High Street development, according to a press release. The Hampton Social is a coast al-inspired restaurant that will serve signature cocktails and feature a rosé menu.
“Bringing first-to-market concepts like The Hampton Social to Central Perimeter aligns with our vision of creating a unique shopping and dining destination at High Street,” said Molly Morgan, who is leading re tail leasing for High Street, in the press release. “With its gorgeous interiors, fun atmosphere and delicious food, The Hampton Social will deliver an exceptional experience unlike any thing in the city.”
Construction on the High Street proj ect, a 36-acre mixed development near Pe rimeter Mall, began in November of 2021. The Hampton Social will open as part of the project’s first phase, which includes 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, about 600
apartments, 90,000 square feet of office space and an expansive lawn. The minigolf bar Putt shack has also been announced for the devel opment.
Parker Hospitality is the Chicago-based company that operates The Hampton Social. The restaurant is expected to open in 2024, according to the release.
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“I’m so excited for The Hampton Social to join the Atlanta dining scene,” says Brad Park er, CEO and founder of Parker Hospitality, in the release. “Atlanta is an incredible food city and I’ve been eyeing it for almost three years now. With the development of High Street, I knew this location would be the perfect op portunity to bring our style of cuisine to the Georgia community.”
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Yalda to bring Persian cuisine to Sandy Springs, West Midtown
BY BOB PEPALIS
Executive chef and co-owner Ashkan Fami li will open two loca tions of his Persian res taurant, Yalda, this year in Sandy Springs and West Midtown.
The Sandy Springs location at 6500 Aria Boulevard, Suite 500, will look like a villa in Lavasan. A West Mid town location is also ex pected to open later this year, but no address was given.
“I chose the name Yalda because of my childhood memories of Yalda nights with my family being togeth er, sharing food, poet ry and stories,” Fami li said in the release. “My grandfather was a butcher, so cooking and presentation have al ways been in my blood. Our menu is in spired by ‘meze’ because of my many mem ories sharing small plates on Yalda night with my family.”
He said guests will notice several items featuring pomegranate, the symbol of night, which will be used in both the kitch en and the bar at Yalda.
Yalda’s name pays homage to Yalda, the longest night of the year celebrated by Per sians around the world. The menu at Yalda focuses on Persian dishes, with some addi tional favorites from Turkey and Lebanon. Menu items will include Quail meze that is charred on the open grill and served with “Anar” sauce (a house-made sweet and sour pomegranate molasses); Sea Bream from the Mediterranean Sea stuffed with Turk
ish-style spinach, rice finishes and a Lemon Saffron vinaigrette. Freshly crafted cocktails and organic wines also will be on the menu.
Famili has nearly a decade of experience working with the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, specifically at Kyma. He assisted in the opening of Sufi’s in 2011 and has been responsible for developing middle eastern and Persian concepts for chefs and restau rants since 2014. His partner is his long time friend, Farhan Kheraj.
The restaurant design will pay tribute to the ancient land, starting with the pa tio with large cedar lumber and beam with accents of nostalgic Ferforje (or Egyptian) style ironwork comprising the front gate and railings. The bright and airy interior features floor-to-ceiling windows and mid dle eastern inspired upholstery and hand-
crafted tiles. An open kitchen is comple mented by a spacious full bar and a large balcony, built to accommodate private events.
Yalda in Aria Village will be open for both lunch and dinner. Hours of opera tion will be Tuesday-Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.; Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. and closed on Monday.
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Yalda will have self-parking out front as well as in the center’s parking deck. Dinein reservations will be accepted by phone or via Resy.com after the opening date is an nounced. The menu will be available for delivery via DoorDash and Uber Eats and to-go options. For more information, visit yaldaatl.com and on Instagram @yalda.atl.
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Your Next Home Could Be In… Smyrna
planes and again in the 1950s when Lockheed took over the plant to manufacture air craft. Its nickname is the “Jon quil City” for the thousands of flowering plants that bloom along streets and in gardens.
BY COLLIN KELLEY
Where is it? In Cobb County, less than a half-hour drive up I-75 from Downtown Atlan ta in Cobb County.
What’s the history? The area that is now Smyrna began as a religious encampment for pio neers in the late 1830s. Like most Georgia towns, Smyrna began to grow after the Western & Atlantic railroad came through. Sherman burned most of the settlement on his March to the Sea during the Civil War. Smyrna was incorporated in 1872. The town’s next growth spurts would happen during World War II when the nearby Bell Bomber plant produced B-29
What’s happening there now? Smyrna was ranked 44th on Money’s 2018 survey of “Best Places to Live in America” and has become a popular suburb of Atlanta. Along with endless dining and shopping possibil ities, the downtown area has Village Green (home to the li brary, community center, and city hall) is a frequent gathering spot for events. Market Village – a mixed-use development of townhomes, retail, office, and lots of restaurants (Atkins Park, Shane’s Rib Shack, Village Sushi, Zucca Bar & Pizzeria).
What about outdoor activities? Smyrna has more than 20 parks and greenspaces. You’ll find swimming pools, golf courses, athletic fields, playgrounds, and passive space for pic nics. The city is also building out a series of trails that loop around the city and you can also jump on the famed Silver Comet Trail in Smyrna.
What about homes? There’s a mixture of styles and sizes, but you can get a condo in the $250,000 range and expect to pay in the $300,000s to nearly $1 million for a single-family home. As of press time, there were more than 200 homes for sale in the city as the market –and prices – have slightly cooled down from earlier this year.
Rezoning approved for Roswell Rd mixed-use project
BY BOB PEPALIS
Sandy Springs City Council approved a zoning change for a commercial property that’s one block north of I-285 on Ro swell Road to allow a six-story mixed-use development.
Shelton McNally Real Es tate Partners asked to change the zoning of the property at 5810 Roswell Road at the cor ner of Allen Road from CS-3 to CS-6. The developer plans to build 199 residential units with a mix of studio, one bedroom/one bath and two bedroom/two bath units, ranging from 575 square feet to 1,025 square feet.
David and Melanie Couchman both asked the City Council to not vote on the zoning change unless some affordable hous ing provision was part of the development.
David Couchman said the city had a history of seeking housing affordability op tions, starting with its Next Ten compre hensive development plan, though that op tion was voted down. Task forces and study groups considered the issue and identified the need for workforce housing.
“If you approve this rezoning as request
ed, there will be a precedent set allowing developers to increase density without help ing to solve our affordable housing crisis in Sandy Springs,” Melanie Couchman said.
“They’ll also be diluting your power to cre ate the kind of Sandy Springs we need.”
Mayor Rusty Paul said he has struggled with this request for more rental units be cause the city already has more than 60% of its housing stock as rental, which is even more than Atlanta. He said he’s never ex ercised veto power, but finally decided he would not in this case because this use is probably the best Sandy Springs can hope for on this site.
Silver Comet Trail
24 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com REAL ESTATE Title Sponsor:
Pediatric psychologist to be honored at Torch Gala
L. Blount, who had been conducting research to develop psychological treatment interventions to support young people with IBD.
“We were particularly interested in the difficulties that many young people experienced with taking daily medications and ‘feeling different’ from their peers,” she said. “Once I started working with IBD patients, I was fascinated by the brain-gut connection and how emotional experiences could make coping with IBD more difficult and how symptoms of IBD could affect patients emotionally.”
Dr. Reed said she was inspired by the perseverance and resilience of some patients. “The more research I conducted with patients with IBD, the more questions that arose, and I chose to devote my career to the psychological experience of being diagnosed with a pediatric GI disorder.”
By Kathy Dean
Dr. Bonney Reed, a Pediatric Psychologist with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and GI Care for Kids, has been named as the Premier Pediatric Healthcare Professional of the Year for her work with IBD patients.
She will be honored at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s 32nd Annual Torch Gala in Atlanta on Nov. 5.
“IBD can be an isolating chronic illness, and my patients are frequently reassured that they are not alone when I tell them that my entire job is to work with patients with IBD to help them be as happy and healthy as possible,” Dr. Reed said.
She said she has worked with many patients who are initially hesitant to speak about their diagnosis with family, friends or teachers, which leads to further social isolation and feelings of insecurity. “By working with a validating and nonjudgmental therapist,” Dr. Reed explained, “most patients are able to develop the language and confidence necessary to speak about IBD to the extent necessary and to stop carrying around shame.”
While in college at the University of Georgia (UGA), Dr. Reed worked with her future doctoral mentor, Dr. Ronald
The Torch Gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Foundation’s Georgia Chapter; in 32 years, it has raised more than $9 million. This year, the gala will be held at the at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta and has a goal of raising $555,000 to fund critical research aimed at better diagnosing and ultimately curing IBD, which include Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.
“While I am personally honored to be selected for this recognition, I believe it reflects the growing understanding that comprehensive IBD care includes addressing the emotional and mental
What can you learn about senior living at our upcoming event?
A whole bunch.
It’s casual, easy, and you’re invited.
Lunch & Learn
Thursday, October 6th • 11:30am
Join us for an informative presentation on senior living and the exceptional services offered. Afterwards, take a tour of our beautiful community and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by our culinary team.
To make a reservation, please call 404.381.1743 .
Can’t make this event? Call to schedule a personalized tour.
consequences of the disease,” Dr. Reed said. “When my patients choose to seek mental health support or to participate in psychological research, I am impressed by their bravery to face difficult topics and to learn new ways to approach challenges.”
Dr. Reed suggests that anyone struggling with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis should consider joining one of the GA Chapter support groups, which can be found by clicking on Local Resources at crohnscolitisfoundation.org.
Dr Bonney Reed
OCTOBER 2022 | 25 COMMUNITY
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Sharing your workouts just got safer –and more beautiful – thanks to new app
BY MAIJA EHLINGER
Luke Beard recognized fundamental flaws with activity tracking apps when he took up running during the pandemic. As a designer and self-proclaimed “chronic oversharer” on Twitter, he wanted to post his workouts and progress online. While that is common in the running, biking, and fitness world, Beard had two big problems and questions to ask about it.
“Why is it so map-based? And why is it so impersonal?” he told Hypepotamus.
Most shareable fitness tracking apps, like Fitbit, Strava, and Nike Run Club, create in herent safety problems because they give away specific location information. And, as Beard put it, the traditional apps in the space don’t lend themselves to shareable content.
So he started creating his own workout tracking and sharing templates and putting them out to his more than 15,000 Twitter fol lowers. That turned into an app idea in the lat ter months of 2020.
The app, aptly named Any Distance, turns workout data into shareable story templates. Those templates can be changed to include curated backgrounds and display the stats us ers most want to showcase.
Currently, the app connects with Apple Health to collect necessary workout data.
Launching Any Distance is also about making working out and living an active life style more fun and accessible, added Beard.
The focus on stats can be intimidating to newcomers, said Dan Kuntz, co-founder and CTO. “You see people riding at a crazy speed or having crazy PRs and you don’t really want to compete with that,” he told Hypepotamus.
The team has received two interesting piec es of feedback from users: People were running or working out more because they wanted to spend more time within the app ecosystem and because they felt safer sharing their results because the tracker doesn’t reveal location data.
Those using Any Distance not only share their workouts in a creative way, they can also earn collectibles to track various achievements and specific milestones.
The B2C play of the app expands into the ecommerce world as well. That looks like tshirts, coffee beans, sneakers, unique swag, and other items created by brand and artist collaborations that users can earn,
Building B2C in ATL
The idea started as a side project for Beard during COVID, who at the time was CEO at the photography app startup Exposure. But he got positive feedback from the running con tent he was posting on his personal twitter, which led him to pursue the idea full-time in 2022.
Now the team is growing and has offices in the newly-reopened Switchyards Downtown, the original home base for the consumer-based startup community in town.
Building such a fitness app in Atlanta opens up a lot of opportunities, Beard added.
“From the Freedom Path to the BeltLine, everybody is moving in some capacity and At lanta is pushing to enable that,” he said.
The team recently held its first meet-up on the Eastside BeltLine trail to physically bring the local Any Distance user community to gether to run, walk, or bike.
The city as a whole is a captive audience for such a startup app. With the slogan “Running City USA,” Atlanta boasts the second-largest running club in the country and is host to the largest 10K race in the world.
It also has a growing cycling community, given the growing number of bike paths and increased focus on safer streets.
While Atlanta is often cast as a B2B-fo cused city, Any Distance joins an impressive group of consumer brands and B2C startups building in the city.
Specifically, in the B2C fitness space, glu cose monitoring system Supersapiens raised $13.5 million last year and is run by co-found er of the pro cycling team Team Novo Nordisk Phil Sutherland, and long-time Atlanta staple Wahoo Fitness, a fitness technology compa ny, was acquired by New York-based Rhone Group in 2021 and continues to be a major player in the fitness training space. The city is also home to Activvely, a Tinder-like platform for meeting your next workout buddy.
Atlanta Intown has partnered with Hypepotamus, the go-to source of startup and technology news in the Southeast. hypepotamus.com
Luke Beard and Dan Kuntz of Any Distance.
26 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com BUSINESS
Paid for by Friends of Long Tran www.longtran.com SCAN 2 DONATE I will work to ■ Modernize Education Funding ■ Improve Public Safety/Health ■ Help Small Businesses VOTE FOR LONG TRAN State Representative House District 80 (formerly HD 79) Dunwoody • Doraville • Northern Chamblee NEIGHBOR PARENT BUSINESS OWNER Early Voting starts on OCTOBER 17TH General election NOVEMBER 8TH
Hermés one of 15 new luxury shops coming to Phipps
By Dyana Bagby
Luxury brand Hermés has signed a lease to open a new 7,000 square-foot boutique at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. The boutique is planned to open at the end of the second quar ter of 2024.
“Hermès is synonymous with artisanal craftmanship and rich heritage,” said Vicki Ha nor, senior vice president of luxury leasing for Simon. Simon is the real estate investment trust that owns Phipps Plaza and also Buckhead’s other upscale mall, Lenox Square.
“The addition of Hermès at Phipps Plaza is another exciting step in the luxury evolution our consumers expect in Atlanta,” Hanor said.
The Hermés location will be near one of the mall’s entrances and adjacent to the One Phipps Plaza expansion, including a 13-story office tower. The adjacent luxury Nobu Hotel recently started accepting bookings for late November.
Hanor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Hermès is one of 15 luxury retailers to be added to Phipps Plaza’s ground floor by mid-2024. She declined to name the other 14 luxury retailers.
Hermés has a store in the Buckhead Village District, and Tomorrow’s News Today report ed in June this store was closing to move to Phipps Plaza.
Luxury brands AMIRI, Alexander McQueen, Dior and Givenchy are expected to open stores at Phipps Plaza by next year.
U.K. fintech companies visit Sandy Springs
BY BOB PEPALIS
Payments and business technology com pany Deluxe brought 10 British fintech companies to its Innovation Center in Sandy Springs to promote transatlantic collabora tion and innovation and strengthen ties be tween metro Atlanta and the United King dom.
The 10 Fintech startups that earned their selections through a competitive recruitment process were BR-DGE, Centelli, Datactics, EarthID, Eedenbull, Float, Identitech, Li beris, Willo, and Yoello, according to a De luxe news release.
The event was held in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), a United Kingdom government or ganization.
“This mission showcases 10 innovative
financial technology companies that offer a strong representation of the level of expertise and world-leading innovation that the U.K. has to offer,” said Kari Grant, Director of the Financial and Professional Services Sector for North America at DIT.
They were given feedback and advice from Deluxe and learned about the Atlanta fintech ecosystem from local economic de velopment organizations, industry bodies, and academia.
“Participating in this event allows us to shape the way we work within the broader payments and data ecosystem,” said Scott Sanchez, Vice President and Chief Innova tion Officer for Deluxe. “The future of Fin tech is all about collaboration, and this event was a way to explore exciting new companies as we continue to push forward.”
OCTOBER 2022 | 27 (404) 236-2114 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 5975 Roswell Rd, Suite A-103 Sandy Springs (678) 366-1445 Milton, GA 30004 5230 Windward Parkway, Suite 102 Alpharetta 10/31/2022 NothingBundtCakes.com Contact Kevin Center: email@example.com 404.748.9065 An Exciting Atlanta-Area Business Opportunity With 30 years of experience as a printing and shipping franchise, PostNet offers entrepeneurs, from all walks of life, the opportunity to run an essential business with multiple revenue streams. This advertisement does not constitute an offer; an offer may only be made by an FDD (registered under state law, if applicable). Such filing does not constitute approval by any state. Minnesota franchise registration #F-10220. © 2022 PostNet International Franchise Corporation. All Rights Reserved. PostNet International Franchise Corporation, 143 UnionBlvd., Suite 600, Lakewood, Colorado 80228. Design Services Mailboxes & More! Packing & Shipping Full-Service Printing Want to Learn More? Angie Ponsell REALTOR® 404.226.2002 404.531.5700 Shannon Parkerson REALTOR® 404.345.3739 PonsellLuxury.com Buying or Selling a Homedoesn’t have to be Scary. Integrity Heart Expertise• • LUXURY GROUP
Talented players, enthusiastic fans fuel Chamblee High Bulldogs’ comeback
BY ALEX EWALT
The Chamblee High School football pro gram has come a long way since the spring of 2019.
These days, the Bulldogs have playmak ers on the field and enthusiastic fans in the stands of their home venue, North DeKalb Stadium. They have a star senior quarter back, an exciting offensive attack and, at press time, a 3-1 record heading into region play. In short, Chamblee has a rising pro file in one of the most talent-rich counties in America.
Led by quarterback Fabian Walker Jr., the Bulldogs are in the mix for their first playoff berth since 2009. Before Region 4-AAAAA began on Sept. 29, Chamblee had scorched Towers 58-0, Dunwoody 37-21 and River wood 55-23 to get off to a strong start.
But when current head coach Bob Swank arrived as the Chamblee defensive coordina tor in 2019 after a four-year tenure as the head coach at Duluth, the program was in the midst of perhaps the roughest stretch in its history, which dates back to 1950.
“When I got here, we were at the very bottom,” Swank said. “We were one of the two or three worst teams in DeKalb Coun ty.”
Swank was part of a new coaching staff in 2019 under head coach Scott Schwarzer, who had been Swank’s offensive coordinator at Duluth. In the five seasons prior, Cham blee had managed just six wins — including going winless in 2018.
“Our first spring (in 2019), we had 24 players, and we could barely field a team for that first spring game,” Swank said.
The new staff immediately set about changing the culture and beefing up partic ipation. After a one-win showing that fall, the rebuild started to pay off with an im proved 5-1 mark in a non-region schedule
during the Covid-shortened 2020 season. Then when Schwarzer left Chamblee to take the head job at Northview in Fulton, Swank was promoted to head coach for the 2021 season and was determined to contin ue the Bulldogs’ upward trajectory. Cham blee went 9-1 in Swank’s first season, anoth er non-region campaign that was scheduled in order to help the program regain its foot ing against manageable competition (the team was ineligible for the playoffs last year due to its non-region status).
For Swank to recruit potential players from a student body that was accustomed to watching a losing program, he figured a fun, loose atmosphere and a high-octane offense couldn’t hurt.
“We do talk about just having fun and going out and playing,” Swank said. “We don’t put a lot of pressure on our players.”
Swank, a defensive coach, has a talent ed young offensive coordinator in Michael Freeman leading the team’s wide-open at tack. Walker powers the offense with both his arm (13 touchdown passes through four games) and legs (three rushing touch downs). The game plan is for Walker to sling the ball around, including to talent ed wideouts like Tristian Sizemore and Jor dan Thornton, among others. But the sig nal-caller says he is developing his ground game with encouragement from Swank.
“I’ve been a defensive coach my whole life. Just the stress that a running Fabian puts on a defense, it’s big. If (the defense has) to drop back and defend the passing game, that’s one thing. But if I have a kid who can run for 50 yards at any time, that’s a big problem for a defense.”
Walker, 6’2” and 190 pounds, has come a long way since he was forced into playing time as a freshman in a one-win season, sur rounded by other underclassmen because of lack of depth. Making the playoffs is a goal,
Fabian Walker, Jr. (Photos Courtesy Chamblee High School)
28 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
he said, but echoing an oft-used line from his head coach, he says that he and the team “want to be playing in December.”
“Everybody in our county, they think last year was just a fluke because we played
a non-region schedule,” Walker said.
For Walker, it doesn’t hurt that his fa ther and the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach, Fabian Walker Sr., is a Georgia high school quarterbacking legend who went on to Florida State and won a Divison II National Championship at Valdosta State. A recordsetting QB from Americus High School in the 1990s, the elder Walker marvels at the well-oiled machine that the Chamblee of fense has become.
“This is a pretty wide-open system that Fabian is running,” Walker Sr. said. “I con sider it a blessing to be in this type of of fense, to throw the ball around and use your legs. It’s a balanced offense, but we’re definitely capable of throwing the ball and putting up a lot of yards passing.”
The younger Walker is garnering inter est from multiple Division I programs and said he will make his commitment after the season.
Swank also cites se nior linemen such as Jack Hawkins, Daniel Chavez, Miller Meeks and Zach Smith, who are big con tributors on both sides of the ball, as well as Quay Wright, an Elbert County transfer who is among the county leaders in tackles for loss. And Swank also credits a reinvigorated student fan base that supports as loud ly as anyone in the county.
“The student body en gagement is incredible,” Swank said. “Our Cham blee student section has gotten so excited about football and bought into what we’re doing that Friday nights are awesome with our crowd. When we play at home, they are a factor in the games, they’re so enthusiastic.”
High School Football Hall of Fame to induct first class
FROM SCORE ATLANTA
The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame’s 36-member inaugural class is set and will be inducted in a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Board members of the Hall of Fame be gan submitting nominees in early spring and then held committee votes and appeals be fore the final ballot was narrowed down to 100 names in mid-June.
The board also decided that the nine Georgia high school players that are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most re cent being Sandy Creek’s Calvin Johnson, will also be included in the inaugural class (Johnson, Champ Bailey, Mel Blount, Rich ard Dent, Ray Guy, Jim Parker, Shannon Sharpe, Fran Tarkenton, Rayfield Wright).
Once the ballot was set, each board mem ber was required to vote for a minimum of two players from each of the eight eras rep resented (from pre-1950s to 2000s) and se lect a total of 36 players from the star-pow ered 100-person ballot.
The ballots were voted on and submitted by July 1, but a four-way tie for the final spot in the class forced the board to hold a sepa rate run-off to complete the process. John son County graduate (1979 senior season) and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walk
er was the only unanimous inductee that re ceived votes from all 35 board members, while Stan Rome (Valdosta, 1973), Heis man Trophy winner Charlie Ward (Cen tral-Thomasville, 1987), Garrison Hearst (Lincoln County, 1989) and Jeff Francoeur (Parkview, 2001) all tied for the second-most votes with 30.
Hines Ward (Forest Park, 1993), Eric Berry (Creekside, 2006), William Andrews (Thomasville, 1974), Buck Belue (Valdosta, 1977) and Takeo Spikes (Washington Coun ty, 1994) were also among the top 10 vote getters, and in the process, Belue became the first-ever board member to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Go to ScoreATL.com to buy tickets for the induction ceremony.
Join us this winter at soccer camp! There are camps for all ages and levels of play starting in December. All players are welcome Both Rec and Competitive camps are available.
OCTOBER 2022 | 29
The Future of Parks
Cities move forward with ‘cap park,’ trails, and new greenspaces
BY DYANA BAGBY, SAMMIE PURCELL, AND BOB PEPALIS
For the October issue, we’re taking a clos er look at the future of parks and greenspac es in our coverage area. From placemaking parks like Buckhead’s HUB404 project to creating a dynamic set of trails and paths in Sandy Springs to new parks in Dunwoody and improvements in Brookhaven, the building of leisure spaces is a top priority.
HUB404 Atlanta, the planned 9-acre multipurpose “cap park” over Ga. 400 and MARTA’s Buckhead station at the northern gateway to the city of Atlanta, could create a regional destination that rivals parks in other major cities, according to organizers.
First announced in 2015, the park is the vision of the Buckhead Community Im provement District working with the non profit partner HUB404 Conservancy. The park would span from the Atlanta Finan cial Center, across Peachtree Street, over the Buckhead MARTA station, and then con tinue onto the Buckhead Loop, at the in tersection of Ga. 400 and Lenox Road. The Buckhead CID is also planning an elevat ed pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Buckhead Loop.
“HUB404 is a visionary, transformation
al project that will literally and figurative ly build bridges in this community and add to the connectivity that isn’t there,” said An thony Rodriguez, who started working fulltime in August as the first executive direc tor of the HUB404 Conservancy board. He was co-founder of Gwinnett County’s Auro ra Theatre.
“It’s groundbreaking in the fact that it’s not just going to connect to PATH400 but it’s also going to, by extension, connect to the Atlanta Beltline,” he said.
Connectivity to the Buckhead MARTA station will also attract people from all over the metro region to view large public art dis plays and gather for public events, Rodriguez said.
“It’s going to be an iconic place, in my
opinion, on the scale of something like Mil lennium Park in Chicago where everyone will want to go and see this park,” he said.
Buckhead CID is now working to se cure $8 million for engineering and design of the park and seeking federal funding for the project. Total cost for the park is estimat ed at $270 million.
Rodriguez, who oversees private fundrais ing, said he is busy meeting with commu nity leaders and corporate CEOs to lay the groundwork for a future capital campaign. He is also working on creating an educa tional component of HUB404 for people to understand the project better, includ ing holding neighborhood and communi ty meetings, possibly by the end of the year.
In Murphey Candler Park, the construc tion of a trail on the dam should be complet ed by the end of this year. By the time of this publication, the north boardwalk is expected to be open for public use.
The city is working on construction of a splash pad and pool at Lynwood Park, which is expected to be completed before the 2023 swim season. Parking and a synthetic turf field will be open earlier in the spring of next year.
Earlier this year, the city took control of Brookhaven Park, approving a settlement with DeKalb County that transferred the eastern section of the park to the city and ending a years-long land dispute. The city can now make headway on Brookhaven Park improvements from the city’s $40 mil lion park bond, which was passed in 2018.
According to city spokesperson Burke Brennan, construction plans have been sub mitted for permitting, and the project will go out to bid once those permits are ap proved. Construction is expected to start in early 2023.
Planned improvements include a larger parking lot and a new building at the dog park, which will include restrooms, a pavil ion, and a deck; a new playground and play ground area with restrooms and a small pa vilion; and a larger pavilion.
Above and below: Renderings of HUB404 (Courtesy Rogers Partners Architects)
Sisters-in-law Katie Giamoni and Lisa Haldar watch their kids – Jackson Haldar, Barrett Giamoni, Harrison Giamoni, Brooks Giamoni, Harriso Giamoni – play in Brookhaven Park. (Photo by Joann Vitelli)
30 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
Brennan said that the city also plans to clean up the parks’ existing garden club area. The city will consider if the budget allows for a new pavilion for that area, and also consid er a new stage area.
Resident Mike Elliot said that he was happy to see the city move forward with im provements in Brookhaven Park after years of back and forth with the county.
“Having been involved with the Brookhaven Park Conservancy for the past 15 years, the City of Brookhaven’s ownership of the entire park was welcomed and imme diately noticed – most notably by their re moval of the ugly decrepit chain link fence
that fronted on Peachtree Road,” Elliot said. “Removal of this eyesore has been an objec tive of the BP Conservancy since its incep tion, and Brookhaven Park now looks much more attractive and inviting.”
Brookhaven is also tackling invasive plant removal with a new partnership with the nonprofits EcoAddendum and ReFor est ATL at Murphey Candler Park, Fern wood Park, North Druid Hills Greenspace, and Osborne Park. The partnership plans to use environmentally safe ways to remove un wanted species and train volunteers to assist with the effort.
A trail section from Morgan Falls Over look Park along the Chattahoochee River to Roswell Road and an extension of PATH 400 along Ga. 400 are in the works as part of the Sandy Springs Trails Master Plan.
Some of the trails will tie into existing and planned public works project, according to Recreation and Parks Director Mike Per ry. A side path along Mount Vernon High way will install sidewalks from the Sandy Springs Library Branch to the MARTA sta tion, he said.
Sandy Springs City Council approved a $7.8 million bid from GHC Corp. for the construction of Trail Segment 2A on Sept. 20, which will build a trail from Morgan Falls Overlook along Georgia Power and Fulton County easements, across Orkin Lake, and along Cimarron Parkway to Ro swell Road.
City Council also accepted a $3 million grant from the Georgia Department of Nat ural Resources to help fund the construc tion. Sustainability Manager Catherine Mer cier-Baggett said that the city applied for a Conserve Georgia Grant in October 2021. The Georgia DNR awarded the grant to the city, and it will cover 38.5% of the trail’s construction costs.
If everything works out, construction could begin this month and be completed iN October 2023, Perry said.
Most of the trail will be a 12-foot-wide hard surface. Walkers, runners, bicyclists, and people wanting to access the river or Ro swell Road will make use of this trail.
“The more trailhead parking opportuni ties we provide the more people that it will bring in. There’ll be adequate parking at Overlook, there’ll be parking down in the river park, down there by the dog park, we’ll have some parking there,” Perry said. “With more segments will come more trailheads and more access.”
How much more of the trail is built – and when – comes down to funding availability. The City Council wants to be responsive to the public, he said.
“I’m hoping we build the first segment and it’s a resounding success and it becomes a priority,” Perry said.
PATH 400 will extend the trail from Atlanta north into Sandy Springs, using TPSLOT funds approved by voters in 2016 and federal funds awarded through the At lanta Regional Commission (ARC).
“We have another section here that’s cur rently in final design and right of way acqui sition for that project and it will extend the existing 12-foot path from Lourdes Drive right there in Atlanta, just north of the Glen Ridge Connector,” Sandy Springs spokesper son Dan Coffer said.
This section of the trial will be approx imately 2.3 miles long. He said one day it would be nice to have it connect to some of the city’s other paths.
One access point to PATH 400 in Sandy Springs is Windsor Meadows Park at Wind sor Parkway. Another is Ridgeview Park off South Trimble Road.
The city hopes to open bids in May 2023 for construction and is looking for any grant opportunities to help fund its trail, Coffer said.
As the Dunwoody City Council explores the possibility of a capital projects bond ref erendum in 2023, a part of that bond could be to develop new greenspaces on Vermack Road, the former Austin Elementary School site on Roberts Drive, and improvements to the existing Brook Run Park.
At a Sept. 6 meeting, the council dis cussed the draft master plans for the two fu ture parks projects, which are expected to be before the council for approval by the end of October.
The draft plan for Vermack Road in cludes an open play area, a playground, pick leball courts, restrooms, pavilions, and a ga zebo. The Roberts Drive draft plan included a multi-purpose field, tennis courts, pick leball courts, one full basketball court, two half basketball courts, an older and young er children’s playground, and a splash pad.
City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said that consultants are developing some al ternative site plans based on feedback from the Sept. 6 meeting.
Another possibility that staff recom mended at the Aug. 22 meeting was that council look at a $30 million bond to de velop a citywide trail system. This would re quire a full citywide trail plan to be adopted by next year.
At the Sept. 6 meeting, the council also approved an agreement with the PATH Foundation to move forward with creating a trails master plan. The formation of the master plan is expected to take six to eight months.
Throughout the first round of town hall meetings about a bond this summer, some Dunwoody residents expressed concern over the city’s communication efforts about the bond and the proposed timeline of the bond itself. Also at the Sept. 6 meeting, the coun cil approved the creation of a Citizens Ad visory Capital Improvements Committee, which is tasked with reviewing the city’s cap ital improvement needs and making recom mendations to the council, according to city documents.
The committee met for the first time on Sept. 14 and is expected to meet five more times before the end of the year. The com mittee’s last meeting is Dec. 7, but Vinicki said it is possible they finish before that date.
A rendering of the boardwalk over Orkin Lake in Sandy Springs.
Tisha McFArland and daughter Reece enjoy Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. (Photo by Joann Vitelli)
Part of the Sandy Springs Trail will run alongside existing utlity easements.
A site plan for Roberts Drive park in Dunwoody.
OCTOBER 2022 | 31
GET OUT OF TOWN
A Weekend in Savannah
Historic city and accessible beach offer something for everyone
By Jacob Nguyen
Savannah has become one of my yearly vacation destinations, especially for a long weekend getaway. Only four hours from Atlanta, the city has an amazing mix of history and seaside charm that will appeal to different interests.
For this trip, I stayed in the city at Hotel Indigo on Bay Street (ihg.com). It’s steps away from all the shops and restaurants along Factor’s Walk, River Street, and City Market.
A River Street restaurant recommendation is The Cotton Exchange Tavern (facebook.com/ thecottonexchange), which has the best crabcakes I’ve ever tasted. The generoussized cake is served with tangy remoulade and hushpuppies. Pair it with a basket of fries and you’ve got a meal.
If you’re craving something sweet after the seafood, the smell of pralines drifting
out of River Street Sweets (riverstreetsweets. com) will draw you inside to try a sample. The double Oreos dipped in dark chocolate are also recommended, or maybe get an ice cream cone with one of the many available flavors (definitely try the mint chocolate chip).
The western end of River Street has recently been reclaimed and its historic buildings turned into apartments, restaurants, and shops. The unmissable centerpiece of this restoration is the JW
Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside hotel.
The former power plant has been transformed into an elegant hotel, and even if you can’t afford to stay there (rooms start at $500 per night) the massive lobby with a giant chrome dinosaur sculpture and historic artifacts is worth a visit. Or maybe head to the rooftop bar for amazing views of the towering smokestacks left on top of
A view of River Street in Savannah at dusk. (Photos by Jacob Nguyen)
Head for the Hills � Coastal � Weekend Trips
32 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
continued on page 34
OCTOBER 2022 | 33
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the building and the Talmadge Bridge.
Although I’ve taken several tours of the city’s historic sites, I’d never taken the nighttime Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour (trolleytours.com/savannah), which departs from River Street. A tour guide talks about the city’s cemeteries, squares, and homes as you pass, but the best part is a tour of the Andrew Low mansion (birthplace of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, a haunted piano, and creepy bedroom full of dolls) and a stop at the Perkins & Sons Ship Chandlery on River Street. The former store for sailors is said to be the most haunted place in Savannah and it’s both a history lesson and full of haunted house-style jump scares.
When you’ve had enough history, head to the beach on Tybee Island. The 30-minute drive takes you over the inland marshes to the throwback beach town. Paid parking is plentiful and recently added changing booths along Strand Avenue make getting in and out of your wet swimsuit easy if you’re traveling back to the city.
The Tybee Beach Pavilion and Pier is a great place to grab a snack, cold drink, and use the bathroom. At the end of the pier, you can try your hand at fishing (or watch others cast their lines) and see incredible views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean. The pier is also a beautiful place to visit at night.
For a more substantial meal, get a hearty southern breakfast at Sunrise (sunrisesavannah.com) on Butler Avenue and if you need souvenirs, Tybrisa Street is full of shops selling t-shirts, magnets, and other beach essentials.
If you’re hungry after the beach, be sure to stop at The Crab Shack (thecrabshack. com) on your way back to Savannah. Overlooking the water, the big outdoor dining area is shaded with trees and the seafood is unmatched. Get a big sampler platter (shrimp, snow crab, mussels, and crawfish) or if seafood isn’t your thing, they have delicious barbecue as well. Be sure to stop at the lagoon to feed the baby alligators while you wait for a table,
Before I left, I also wanted to see inside
one of Savannah’s most beautiful buildings, the 19thcentury neo-gothic Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist (savannahcathedral. org). Located on Lafayette Square, its twin spires are visible on the city skyline, and you can hear its bells ringing out over the historic district.
I attended a surprisingly full Saturday evening mass and had the chance to look around the cathedral.
Find out more about visiting Georgia’s first city at visitsavannah.com.
The Tybee Pier
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The lobby of the
Plant Riverside Hotel.
34 OCTOBER 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
Photo by Squareframe Media
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Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites have sleepover options
By Allison Haber
When people think of spending the night in a state park, the first thing that comes to mind is an a-frame tent and hotdogs on the fire. While there are still many great spots to pitch your tent, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites also has unique accommodations available.
From renovated cabins overlooking a lake, atop a mountain, or with a coastal breeze, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites is home to everyone’s next unforgettable vacation. And with travel prices on the rise, state park cabins have no additional cleaning fees, and you are guaranteed a location in a recreation hub.
Marshside Cabins – Fort McAllister State Park
These beautifully decorated, well-appointed two-bedroom cabins will create the perfect low-country getaway. Sitting on stilts overlooking the palm trees, palmettos, and salt marsh below, guests will enjoy sipping their morning coffee on their private screened-in porch and enjoying the coastal breeze and this peaceful retreat.
Mountain Cabins –Smithgall Woods State Park
Treat yourself to an elegant mountain retreat at Smithgall Woods State Park near Helen. The park features six private cabins, some with hot tubs and others sitting right
above babbling Dukes Creek. Enjoy hiking and fly-fishing right outside your cabin door.
Yurt Villages –Six State Parks
Take camping to a whole new level with “glamping” yurts. These canvas and wood tentcabins have beds inside, a picnic table and grill outside, a relaxing porch, incredible views and hot showers are a short walk away. You’ll find yurt villages at Cloudland Canyon, Red Top Mountain, High Falls, Tugaloo, Sweetwater Creek, and lakeside yurts at Fort Yargo state parks. Boaters will especially enjoy those at Tugaloo on Lake Hartwell. These unique camping experiences are popular amongst guests, so make sure to book ahead to secure the spot of your choice.
Historic Farmhouses –General Coffee State Park
One of southern Georgia’s “best-kept secrets,” General Coffee State Park is known for agricultural history shown at Heritage Farm, with log cabins, a corn crib, tobacco barn, cane mill and other exhibits. Guests to the park can truly immerse themselves in the experience by renting the elegant, 19th-century three-bedroom Burnham House. The Burnham House
can accommodate up to 8 people and has a fully equipped kitchen, central heating and air conditioning, satellite, TV, and board games. The house is a step back in time with today’s modern conveniences.
Fisherman’s Cabin –Mistletoe State Park
Located on the shores of the 71,000acre Clarks Hill Lake, which is not only Georgia’s largest reservoir, but also touted as one of the best bass fishing spots in the nation, Mistletoe State Park is a fisherman’s haven! Along with the five log cabins available to rent inside the park, there is also a special Fisherman’s Cabin. This dogfriendly cabin sits directly on the banks of the lake, features one bedroom with a full-
size bed and a queen size sleeper sofa, and a private dock optimal for those early risers hoping to reel in the big one.
The Barrell Cabins –Unicoi State Park
For a truly unique experience, sleep in cabins made from retired wine barrels at Unicoi State Park in Helen. Remarkable in nearly every way, the one or two-bedroom barrel cabins come with full kitchens, living areas, and porches overlooking the grounds. Cabins offer guests comfort and quirkiness with their unusual design. Options range from a 1-bedroom, 1-bath with a sleeper sofa to our 2-bedroom, 1-bath with King or Queen accommodations. The cabins are located near Unicoi Lake with easy access to all the great recreation activities.
Stone Cabins –FD Roosevelt State Park
The gorgeously renovated cottages at F.D. Roosevelt State Park does a great job of blending the rustic historic charm of these 1930’s homes, with modern furnishings. Located throughout this 9,000-acre park, these cabins offer both stunning mountaintop and lakefront views. Both the historic log and stone cabins feature fully equipped kitchens and full baths, and many offer screened porches for relaxation after a day of adventure. Insiders Tip: Book cabin #1 for the ultimate view from above!
Reynolds Mansion –Sapelo Island
For those with more lavish taste, the Reynolds Mansion is a stunning, historic estate located on the small barrier island, Sapelo Island. Guests can marvel at features such as marble sculptures, an ornately decorated Circus Room, murals by Athos Menaboni, a bowling lane, billiards, library, and more, all while enjoying the privacy of this secluded island.
Len Foote Hike Inn –Amicalola State Park
As the name suggests, you have to hike in to reach this escape in the woods. The easy to moderate five-mile hike leads you to the Hike Inn’s secluded location in the mountains of North Georgia. Its four main buildings offer twenty private guest rooms, hot showers, fresh linens, and home-cooked meals.
Reynolds Mansion at Sapelo Island
Camping in a Yurt.
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Travels with Charlie Georgia’s military museums honor those who serve
Veteran Georgia journalist Charles Seabrook has covered native wildlife and environmental issues for decades.
For “Travels with Charlie,” he visits and photographs communities throughout the state.
Georgia is home to some 20 large and small museums dedicated to military history and to the honor of men and women who serve. No matter their size, all of the museums are important — sobering and powerful reminders of the perils of war and its toll in human lives and suffering, from the American Revolution to the global war on terrorism.
The larger museums are replete with weapon displays; old tanks, fighter jets and other war machines; scores of historic artifacts from U.S. wars; and life-size dioramas of soldiers and airmen in combat. Sculptures and other art also help pay tribute to America’s military men and women.
Here’s a brief look at four top military museums in Georgia — and some of the best in the country. If you go, allow at least a half day to see all that each has to offer.
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Fort Benning
1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, Ga. 31903
Free admission; $5 suggested donation.
Opened in 2009, it’s now one of the nation’s top-rated military museums. Its 190,000 square feet of space has thousands of artifacts, monuments, interactive exhibits and video presentations on display — collectively one of the world’s greatest military collections.
On the museum’s spacious grounds is the World War II Company Street, a group of seven original 1940s-era buildings used on Fort Benning to train soldiers for the war. Also on the museum grounds is a stark reminder of the human cost of war, a 3/4 scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington that bears 58,318 names of U.S. military personnel killed in the conflict.
1 National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Ga.
2 World War II Company Street, National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Ga.
3 National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Ga.
4 3/4 scale replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Ga.
5 P-51 Mustang, Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins AFB, Ga.
6 Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins AFB, Ga.
B-52 bomber, Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins AFB, Ga.
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Museum of Aviation at Warner Robins Air Force Base
1942 Heritage Blvd., Robins AFB, Ga. 31098 museumofaviation.org
Free admission / free parking.
Founded in 1980, it’s now the second largest aerospace museum of the U.S. Air Force. Housed in its four huge exhibit buildings and on its grounds is an amazing collection of more than 85 historic bombers, cargo planes, fighter jets, helicopters, missiles, drones and special aircraft.
One of the planes is a massive B-1 bomber, which was designed to replace the aging B-52 bomber — one of which also sits on the museum’s grounds. Numerous other exhibits display historic Air Force artifacts. Dioramas also portray airmen, pilots and other personnel performing various tasks on aircraft, such as loading missiles.
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
175 Bourne Ave., Pooler, Ga. 31322 mightyeighth.org
Tickets range $7-$12 each. Tours start at $10 for adults, $5 for children.
Much of the museum is dedicated to the history of the Eighth Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Corps, which carried out key bombing missions in the European Theater during World War II. Among its many World War II exhibits is a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.
National Prisoner of War Museum
Andersonville National Historic Site (NHS) 496 Cemetery Rd., Andersonville, Ga. 31711 nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/natl_pow_ museum.htm Free admission.
Opened in 1998, it’s the nation’s only museum dedicated to telling the stories of prisoners of war throughout American history. The museum is a good place to start a tour of the Andersonville NHS, the site of the infamous Confederate Army’s Camp Sumter that imprisoned thousands of captured Union soldiers. Nearly 13,000 men died here as prisoners of war because of the horrible conditions.
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Georgia Parks provide autumn travel tips with ‘Leaf Watch’
Autumn is in the air and to help visitors plan their trips, Georgia State Parks has launched Leaf Watch 2022. Leaf Watch helps visitors research trails and fall events, book cabins and read safe hiking tips. It will also track fall color as it moves across the state. Travel tips and seasonal information is available at GaStateParks.org/ LeafWatch.
Park rangers are often asked when leaf colors will change. While only Mother Nature knows for sure, vibrant hues typically arrive towards the end of October and early November. Some locations like George L. Smith and Providence Canyon state parks in southern Georgia sport beautiful colors into late November.
Georgia State Parks is encouraging photographers to share their favorite shots on Instagram. Tag #GaLeafWatch and @ GaStateParks for a chance to have photos featured on Leaf Watch.
State parks can often become especially
busy during fall weekends, so rangers are encouraging guests to try visiting on weekdays or explore lesser-known destinations like Victoria Bryant or Don Carter state parks.
Officials are advising visitors to make reservations for cabins, campsites and yurts as soon as possible. Guests should consider booking for the fall of 2023, since it is common for cabins to be booked more than a year in advance. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or at GaStateParks.org.
Text and photos by Charles Seabrook
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