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Sandy Springs Reporter


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Chattahoochee River no longer ‘eyesore’ COMMUNITY 14

OCT. 3 — OCT. 16, 2014 • VOL. 8 — NO. 20

No saddle necessary

Sandy Springs’ first fire chief retires BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE


Jenny Forst, left, and her daughter Lara, 7, take a break from their “horse” race during Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church’s “Ark in the Park” Fall Festival on Sept. 28. The festival offered games, balloons, a petting zoo and more. See another photo on page 6.

Retiring Fire Chief Jack McElfish knows your name when he first meets you. At least that’s what Chief Ronny Thomas says. “There were over 600 firefighters in Gwinnett, and on Day One, when he walked in the door, he knew the guys by name,” Thomas said. “I don’t know how he did that.” Thomas, who had 30 years of experience as a firefighter, including 17 years as a battalion chief in the Norcross area, said he followed McElfish to Sandy Springs because Jack McElfish he wanted to work with a kind man. “He’s the reason I work for Sandy Springs,” Thomas said, describing McElfish as a man with a big heart. “It’s rare to have a chief officer who hugs me and tells me he loves me every day I go in.” After 51 years in fire services, McElfish walks away this October from the career he starting building at 8 years old. “I think every kid wanted to be a fireman and I just haven’t grown up yet,” McElfish said. He said he started hanging around the firehouse in his hometown in Maryland at about age 8, and by age 16 he started taking classes in SEE SANDY SPRINGS, PAGE 28

Little libraries pop up in Sandy Springs BY ANN MARIE QUILL

David Carr wants adults to read and to talk about what they’re reading. “Adults need to be readers,” he said. “When they are readers, they have things to talk about, they have other lives to occupy, alternative realities to return to. Over time there will be those books that capture the imagination and heart.” That’s part of the reason the retired University of North Carolina professor of library sciences built a “Little Free Library” at the entrance to his driveway on Lost Forest Drive. Carr said that building dollhouses for his daughters prepared him for constructing the unit, and it was his daughter who convinced him to build a little library,

which he did in May 2013. “She sent me a link [online] on how to start Little Free Libraries,” he said. “I looked at it and thought about it, and realized I could do that. I have a book or two I could share; in fact, there are thousands of books in this house. So I decided it would be a good thing.” Recently, he added a bench for folks to sit on while they’re browsing the 45 or so books in the little library. Little Free Libraries started in 2009 when a Wisconsin man built one in his yard in honor of his mother, a former teacher who loved to read. The idea is that members of the community are welcome to take books and leave books for others, all for free. SEE LITTLE, PAGE 3


David Carr built a “Little Free Library” at his driveway’s entrance on Lost Forest Drive.

10-03-2014 Sandy Springs Reporter