10-13-17 Sandy Springs Reporter

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OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 21


Sandy Springs Reporter


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► Major buildings rise in construction boom time PAGE 8 ► Food & Drink: Q&A with Pontoon Brewing’s CEO Sean O’Keefe PAGE 10

Transforming Ga. 400

Billboard deal a bad sign, residents and council say BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A deal to kill a loathed billboard near City Springs in exchange for allowing self-lit LED versions elsewhere is a bad sign, according to residents and officials who voiced opposition at an Oct. 3 City Council meeting. “I’m uncomfortable with the Pandora’s box it opens,” said City Councilmember Andy Bauman, who sought to kill the proposal outright, while the council tabled it for later action. At issue is a two-sided billboard on the See BILLBOARD on page 15

Fulton Chair candidates debate policies OUT & ABOUT Thrills & chills: Your at forum

Crews prepare to move trees cleared along Ga. 400 as the state’s “Transform 285/400” interchange reconstruction project preparation moves forward. See story and photos on page 6 ►

COMMUNITY This girl’s a natural behind the wheel

Prayer with no corresponding action is a useless and vain exercise. ...What will make us safer is ordinary people like you and I, from every political stripe, finding the courage to act.

guide to Halloween

See COMMENTARY page 18



BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

During a recent forum, the three candidates for Fulton County Commission chair cited their experiences as elected officials as the reason they are qualified to lead the county of more than 1 million. Robb Pitts, former Fulton County Commissioner and former Atlanta City Council member; Gabe Sterling, current Sandy Springs council member; and Keisha Waites, who resigned her seat as state representative to run for the Fulton chair seat, are

Rev. Robert C. Wright Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta, on the Las Vegas massacre

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See FULTON on page 16

2 | Community

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Community Briefs

The City of Sandy Springs will host a Public Information Open House to present proposed improvements designed to improve traffic efficiency and safety at Roswell Road and Grogans Ferry Road. The proposed project realigns the intersection and installs a traffic signal. Thursday, October 26, 2017 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Sandy Springs City Hall, Council Chambers 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

For more information please visit sandyspringsga.gov.


Preparing to make a rubbing of the name of Max Seelochan on the Angel of Hope memorial Sept. 30 are grandmother Rajmatie Seelochan and sister Myah Rose Seelochan, 5.


A memorial to infants who died by miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death – one of only six such monuments around the country – was unveiled Sept. 30 at the Arlington Memorial Park cemetery. Created by the TEARS Foundation with support from Dignity Memorial, the threestone “Georgia Angel of Hope” memorial includes an angel holding a baby flanked by butterfly wings bearing the names of local infants. Many local families attended the unveiling to make rubbings of their babies’ names. The foundation offers support to parents and families who have lost a child, and they can request a name addition to the memorial via thetearsfoundation.org/georgia.


Revenue from the new transportation special location option sales tax have been significantly lower than projected so far, but city officials say there’s no cause for alarm. The TSPLOST, which boosted Fulton County sales tax to 7.75 percent, took effect April 1 and was expected to raise more than $100 million for Sandy Springs projects alone. At the Oct. 3 City Council meeting, city Finance Director Karen Ellis reported that the city had expected to have collected $8 million in revenues by then. But the actual amount was $5,631,758, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The lower collections will not affect any TSPLOST planning at this point, Kraun said.


The city is buying its ninth property in the Hammond Drive corridor for a potential road-widening under study. The $400,000 purchase of a house at 6018 Kayron Drive was approved by the City Council Oct. 3. City Manager John McDonough said he believes the house is in good enough condition to be saved and rented at a discount to a city public safety employee as part of an affordable housing pilot program. The city is currently renting another such house, 521 Hammond, to a police officer for $500 a month, and McDonough said a house at 6017 Kayron, which the city bought in September, is under review for that possible use.


Designs for extending the PATH400 multi-use trail from Buckhead into Sandy Springs will be presented at two community meetings on Oct. 25. The project would create a “missing link” between the popular multi-use trail in Buckhead and a northern extension that will be created through Sandy Springs’ Pill Hill medical center as part of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction. Originally proposed as a 5-mile trail, PATH400 currently runs along Ga. 400 between Lenox and Old Ivy roads in Buckhead, and has phased extensions north to Loridans Drive either under construction or already planned. The extension from there to Pill Hill and Peachtree-Dunwoody Road has been in a design phase for about 19 months in a partnership between the city and Livable Buckhead, a nonprofit that oversees PATH400. The trail segment is funded with $5 million through the city’s portion of the transportation special local option sales tax (TSPLOST) approved by voters last year. The city meetings will include maps and an “interactive design charrette,” according to a press release, which adds that the trail extension will be built “primarily” within the state’s Ga. 400 right of way. One meeting will run 10 a.m. to noon and the other 6 to 8 p.m., both at Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road, Sandy Springs. SS

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From High Street to HQ2? Dunwoody site bidding for Amazon


He said he’s always envisioned the High Street property as “a city within a city.” “It’s a unique environment. Why not?” he said of the chances of Amazon coming to Dunwoody. Mass transportation is huge when attracting a major headquarters, he said, as is proximity to a major city, retail, major interstates and plenty of hotels. Dunwoody and High Street meet all those criteria, he said. “It’s across from a major MARTA station. That’s why you build public transportation-to attract companies GID like this,” Cerrone said. A rendering of the stalled High Street mixed-use development in Dunwoody and bordering the Sandy Springs border shows a mix of residential and office towers. Boston-based GID, developers of the property, Cerrone and his are now hoping the state will consider the property as a potential site for the new Amazon headquarters. companies built and own three major hoBY DYANA BAGBY Dunwoody Economic Development Ditels in Perimeter Cendyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net rector Michael Starling said the push to ter. He said he has always seen the pobring Amazon to Georgia is being driven tential for the area to bring in major Developers for the long-stalled High by the state Department of Economic Decorporations, such as State Farm. Street development in Perimeter Center velopment and metro Atlanta Chamber of “We’re excited to hear about the poare making a bid to bring the new AmaCommerce. He said High Street’s location tential” of Amazon, he said. “It’s exciting zon headquarters to Dunwoody. to mass transit makes it a contender. to think of something of this magnitude Dunwoody city spokesperson Bob “There’s really not a perfect site in any coming here.” Mullen said Oct. 9 that Boston-based locale,” Starling said. “But High Street is Plans already approved for just the GID, developers of the long-planned High across from MARTA.” first phase of the High Street site inStreet site, will be giving their plans and Much of the High Street property clude a 30-story residential tower, a background information directly to the has long been vacant, with only render12-story office building, two seven-stostate for the state’s submittal for the new ings posted on a website for a massive ry residential buildings, two eight-stoAmazon headquarters, dubbed Amazon mixed-use development. The project has ry residential buildings, a 12-story resiHQ2. Amazon’s deadline for proposals to been in the making for more than a dedential building and several three-story be submitted is Oct. 19. cade. Last year, GID representatives told townhouses. All residential buildings Dunwoody will not be submitting anmembers of the Dunwoody Homeownwould have ground-floor retail. other site for consideration, Mullen said. ers Association the company planned to Total residential units in Phase One Attempts to reach GID for comment were break ground this year on the developwould include 500 apartments at more not successful. ment. However, nothing has occurred at than 552,000 square feet and 75 condoThe 42-acre High Street property at the site. miniums at more than 237,000 square Hammond Drive and Perimeter Parkway Katie Bishop Williams, executive difeet. Proposed retail space totals 130,000 includes the office buildings at 211 Perimrector of the Dunwoody Convention and square feet and office space totals eter Center Parkway and 219 and 223 PeVisitors Bureau, which has a keen inter250,000 square feet. rimeter Center Parkway, where the Atlanest in marketing Perimeter Center, said Phase one of Amazon’s request for ta Journal-Constitution is currently based. she’s not familiar with how the High proposal calls for enough room for buildThe property is located near Perimeter Street property is laid out or the details ings of more than 500,000 square feet by Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA Station. of its plans for Amazon. 2019 and up to 8 million square feet beAccess to mass transit is a key criteria in “But this is the hottest economic deyond 2027, according to Amazon. Amazon’s request for proposals. Media velopment opportunity in the country Amazon is also seeking about 100 reports have speculated High Street was right now and it’s no secret cities are vyacres for the new headquarters, but states on the list to be considered by the state, ing for Amazon,” she said. Every state is in its request for proposals that while the and the city officially announced Oct. 9 trying to bring Amazon to their home, acreage does not have to be contiguous, it that GID planned to make its case to the she said, and for Dunwoody to be considshould be pedestrian-friendly. state for consideration. ered at all would be a boon. Heyward Wescott, immediate past Amazon on Sept. 7 posted a press re“If Dunwoody had any chance, this president of the Perimeter Chamber in lease to its website stating it was seeking would open up new jobs and economic acDunwoody, said he thinks the High Street to open “Amazon HQ2,” leading states tivity and bring lots of possibilities, not only site would be a great spot for a portion of across the country, including Georgia, for the city but for the region,” she said. the new Amazon headquarters. to work to submit the bids by the Oct. 19 Fred Cerrone, founder and chairper“It definitely has potential for part deadline. Amazon states it would invest son of Hotel Equities and COO of Dunof the project – we could have our own over $5 billion in construction and emwoody-based Hotel Development PartAvalon,” he said, citing the 86-acre deploy up to 50,000 people. ners, has lived in Dunwoody for 35 years. velopment in Alpharetta that includes

500,000 square feet of retail as well as Class A office space, single-family homes and rental apartments. “Perimeter Center is ripe for redevelopment,” Wescott said. “We are getting more hotels and there are developers coming in and kicking the tires.” Wescott also pointed out that DeKalb County has three sites that have been floated as potential Amazon sites – High Street, Doraville’s Assembly and the city of Stonecrest, which has offered to de-annex more than 300 acres to create a new city of Amazon. Amazon is seeking tax abatements for its new headquarters and Wescott said he hopes the DeKalb County School District would be on board to agree to the abatements after opposing tax abatements for the redevelopment of the GM property in Doraville. “Everyone has to be flexible because they will be asking for things in return,” he said. Cerrone also said the state of Georgia has proven itself as a very pro-business state in the past and has the inclination to provide tax incentives for businesses. “The history is there,” he said. City Councilmember Pam Tallmadge, who is seeking re-election for District 1, which includes Perimeter Center, said she wants to hear from Dunwoody residents about what they think of the potential of Amazon building a new headquarters in the city. “It is too soon to comment in regards to a real estate deal as large as this one,” she said. “Other than what I have heard on the news, I don’t have their detailed plans. I would also like to hear from the citizens of Dunwoody; all of Dunwoody would have to embrace this proposal, not just District 1.” Joe Hirsch, who is challenging Tallmadge, said the fact the property near Perimeter Mall is being considered a contender for Amazon HQ2 is “is testament to our city’s fabulous people, geography and quest for innovation in the area.” “Dunwoody is attractive to businesses seeking criteria such as good connectivity, recreation and affordable housing,” he added. “The payoff for the city that lands this Amazon project will be tremendous, from high-paying jobs to further investments in the entire city. While an increase in traffic is definitely a huge concern, I believe a company such as Amazon can certainly provide our city with the acumen needed for smarter growth in the region.” Councilmember Terry Nall, who also represents the Perimeter Center, would only say, “I’m confident we would not change the name of our city.” GID bought the Perimeter Center Parkway property a decade ago for $83 million with plans to build a “verticalurban” community. The economic recession hit, however, and put the project on hold.

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within weeks. “We legally settled all debts from our business and treated our creditors, employees, suppliers, and customers fairly and professionally,” Milteer said in an email, adding that she learned a lot running a small business. “On the Sandy Springs City Council, I look forward to supporting our small and local business community, and ensuring they get the support and policies they need to thrive and help create jobs and tax revenue here in Sandy Springs.” DeKalb County court records show Milteer, under her maiden name Phoenix, was the subject of two 2003 claims for unpaid rent in Stone Mountain, one of which was listed as an open case. Milteer said she did not recall either case, but that she had never been evicted and assumes she was simply late on rent a couple of times. The case listed as “open” was apparently an error and the plaintiff’s attorney is filing to dismiss it, she said.

Musical career Milteer is currently known for producing and hosting a cable TV talk show about public affairs, but had not previously discussed her roughly seven-year career as rapper Phoenix the Fire Starter, a reference to her maiden name and energetic personality. Milteer said in an email “like many other public officials, including President Don-

with a new Cornerstone Bank checking and money market account.

ald J. Trump,” she had a previous entertainment industry career. She said she stopped performing about 10 years ago to focus on business, college and raising her family. Many Phoenix the Fire Starter songs, performance videos and publicity photos remain available online. One song, “Let My Arm Go,” encourages women to stand up to men who grope or assault them. The publicity photos include some provocative shots, such as Milteer laying on a floor in handcuffs and holding a large cup with the word “pimp” written on it in gemstones. “It was the music industry. … It was all about promoting,” she said of the photos. She said some photos may have been staged for specific cross-promotions. As one example, she said, “maybe if a rapper was called Pimp and he wanted me to a hold a ‘Pimp’ cup,” adding that there was indeed a rapper of that name. One biography, posted on an artist booking site, said she performed on a “full Atlanta strip club tour.” Strip clubs have been controversial in Sandy Springs, as the city has been embroiled in zoning-related lawsuits with local clubs for over 10 years. Milteer said the biography was incorrect. “I will be a supporter of the arts on the Sandy Springs City Council as well and support other young people who are pursuing work in the arts,” Milteer said.

Council candidate says she learned from court cases, rap career BY JOHN RUCH In March of this year, the Milteers filed a new lawsuit claimjohnruch@reporternewspapers.net ing the Mehrotas withheld City Council candidate a security deposit and othLe’Dor Milteer has been iner fees in “revenge” for the volved in several landlordprevious suit. Le’Dor Milttenant legal cases, as both eer said the couple is havplaintiff and defendant, and ing trouble moving the case had a musical career as a rapforward because the landper under the stage name Phoelords live overseas and use SPECIAL nix the Fire Starter. “shell companies.” A publicity photo of Le’Dor Milteer, who is compet- Milteer as Phoenix the Fire “Given my own personal Starter from shots taken ing against Jody Reichel for experience and the fact this by Allwyn Forrestor. the District 4 council seat, situation is far too common said her life experiences in in our country,” she said in an email, “I will the courts and the music world will help her be a fighter for those in Sandy Springs who represent the city’s businesses, artists and are being improperly treated, and work to residents facing unsafe conditions or unfair ensure that all families in our city have safe treatment. and suitable living conditions.” Among the legal cases are a pending lawIn her campaign, Milteer has cited the suit Milteer and her husband, Vonche, filed failure several years ago of her two local against their former landlords at a Sandy hair salons as among her reasons for getSprings house, and a 2010 checking account ting interested in city government and how garnishment for about $64,500 in debt from its programs work, saying she was unaware the failure of Milteer’s Sandy Springs Hair of some assistance she might have gained. Studio salon. Fulton County court records show that in The pending lawsuit stems from the 2010, the landlord of one salon got a courtMilteers’ claims of severe maintenance isordered garnishment of funds from Vonche sues with the house they rented at 230 Milteer’s checking account. Wembley Circle. In 2016, they sued the landLe’Dor Milteer initially said in an interlords, identified in court documents as Shan view that she did not recall the garnishment and Niti Mehrota of Alpharetta, and settled order, but later confirmed the case and said it involved unpaid rent, noting it was paid out of court.

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The Most Interesting Tooth Fairy



Craig Miller, far left, a producer and chairman of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission, moderates a panel on the Georgia film industry at an Oct. 10 Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce event. Joining him on the panel were, from left, Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, Susanna Spiccia, founder and executive director of re:imagine ATL, and LaRonda Sutton, a consultant who helps cities attract projects.

Panel: Film industry can grow while reducing neighborhood impacts BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Georgia film industry needs to spread out from metro Atlanta to sustain the business and reduce impacts on local neighborhoods, said panelists at an Oct. 10 Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce event. As filming, which can can cause road closures or use loud special effects, begins to bother residents of some neighborhoods, moviemaking should become less concentrated in metro Atlanta, said LaRonda Sutton, a consultant who helps cities attract projects, at the event held at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North hotel. “Some of the neighborhoods in Atlanta are beginning to feel fatigue. The excitement starts to wear off,” Sutton said. Chastain Park neighborhood residents in Buckhead recently experienced that as filming for the NBC show “Good Girls” closed two neighborhood streets, Rickenbacker Way and Midvale Drive, for five days. Jeffrey Stepakoff, the executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, said filming in other areas of the state is needed to help spread the economic benefits. “We’ve got to spread the economic activity across the state,” Stepakoff said. “We are the Georgia Film Academy, not the Atlanta Film Academy,” he said. Sutton and Stepakoff, were joined by Susanna Spiccia, founder and executive director of re:imagine ATL, a nonprofit that teaches students skills needed in the film industry, and Craig Miller, a producer and chairman of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission, who moderated the panel. To make Georgia’s film industry sustainable, Stepakoff said, industry leaders need to train writers and bring post-production and distribution professionals to the state. Schools should encourage talented Georgia writers to stay in the state, he said, rather than send them off to New York and California. “That is precisely what we need to stop doing,” he said. “We need to keep

our talent here.” To help train middle and high school students in skills needed in the film industry, Spiccia launched re:imagine ATL, which goes into local schools to train students and teachers. They work in schools across the metro area, including North Atlanta High School in Buckhead. The organization helps students get internships and provides connections to help them get jobs in the industry, she said. “We want to get into as many schools as possible because we are a direct line to the industry,” she said. The film industry in the U.S. was found in 2015 to be predominately comprised of white men, Spiccia said. Bringing Atlanta students into the industry will make the industry more diverse, which is one of the goals of the nonprofit, she said. “We’re going to see a more inclusive industry,” she said. As the film industry continues to grow in Georgia and metro Atlanta, Sandy Springs could make some improvements to attract more projects, Sutton said. “You have to make sure the permitting process is streamlined and you are promoting what is beautiful about Sandy Springs,” she said. Sutton established the city of Atlanta’s office that streamlined the permitting process for filming and created a point of contact for residents with questions about projects filming in their neighborhoods. Companies are currently filming 51 movies and TV shows in the state, excluding reality TV shows, Miller said at the event. Tax incentives passed in Georgia in 2008 are the driving force behind the industry’s growth in the state, but having an international airport and a wide variety of environments also contributes, panelists said. To help attract and support the industry, DeKalb County officially launched the DeKalb Entertainment Commission on Oct. 11. In addition to the TV and film industries, the office will provide government support to the music and video game industries in the county.

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Trees come down for I-285/Ga. 400 interchange work BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs’ landmark “King” and “Queen” skyscrapers rise in the background as crews work on Ga. 400 right of way near Mount Vernon Highway.


Trees have been coming down by the truckload along Ga. 400 and I-285 in recent weeks as the state’s “Transform 285/400” interchange reconstruction project preparation moves ahead. Tree-clearing along Ga. 400 — which eventually will require some new sound barriers for local neighborhoods — has been underway for months. But activity in recent weeks has ramped up as the project nears its first milestone: replacing the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over Ga. 400 in Sandy Springs. Right of way clearing on I-285 got started, including at the busy Roswell Road interchange. The work has involved some lane and ramp closures, which are done at night to minimize traffic effects. All of the clearing is just prep work to relocate utilities and make way for new lanes and ramps. Aiming for completion in mid-2020, the project will rebuild the interchange to improve vehicle capacity and flow. It will also add “collector-distributor lanes”— physically separated exit and entrance lanes — to 400 north to Sandy Springs’ Spalding Drive and to 285 between Roswell Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody and Brookhaven. The 400/Abernathy Road interchange in Sandy Springs will be rebuilt as a “diverging diamond,” in which traffic flow changes in time with traffic lights to move cars faster, and 33 bridges will be built or rehabbed. Here are some scenes from the recent work in late September and early October.

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An earthmover handles plowed-up trees at the I-285 westbound on-ramp from Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

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A bulldozed right of way runs alongside the I-285 westbound on-ramp from Roswell Road.

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ON THE RISE Major buildings take shape in construction boom time It’s a construction boom time in metro Atlanta, and cranes are rising across Reporter Newspapers communities. From Perimeter Center to Phipps Boulevard, and from Pill Hill to Executive Park, here are some of the biggest local buildings underway. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Center for Advanced Pediatrics ▲

1400 Tullie Road, Brookhaven Project: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta outpatient care tower, 8 stories. Expected completion: 2018

◄ Northside Hospital addition

1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Sandy Springs Project: 8-story addition to the main Northside Hospital in the Pill Hill medical center, going up along with a 10-story parking garage. Expected completion: 2018

Marcus Heart and Vascular Center Peachtree and Collier roads, Buckhead Project: Piedmont Hospital’s hub for new center funded by $75 million Marcus Foundation gift. Expected completion: Late 2020

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Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters Abernathy Road at Mercedes-Benz Drive, Sandy Springs Project: The luxury automaker’s North American headquarters, relocated from New Jersey. Expected completion: Early 2018

▼ Park Center

Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway, Dunwoody Project: The next two State Farm office towers, one 22 stories and one 19 stories, rising across the street from a tower that opened this year. Expected completion: 2019-2020

1000 Park Avenue ►

1000 Park Avenue at Phipps Boulevard, Buckhead Project: 27-story, 270-unit apartment building. Expected completion: August 2018

10 | Food & Drink

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Q&A with Pontoon Brewing’s CEO Sean O’Keefe BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Pontoon Brewing, promising to bring the “pontoon lifestyle” with plenty of beer to Sandy Springs, plans to open in early November. CEO Sean O’Keefe said he along with COO Marcus Powers and Brewmaster Cole Brown are busy finishing up the final touches on their brewery at 8601 Dunwoody Place. The friends all went to the University of Florida together where they learned to appreciate beer -- so much so, they started making their own. Check out more about the brewery at pontoonbrewing.com.


How did you all meet and then decide making beer would be a great career choice?


Marcus and myself [and two friends who are now silent partners] all went to college together. When [the now silent partners] both got jobs in Atlanta,

From Left, Pontoon crew members CEO Sean O’Keefe, Brewmaster Cole Brown, Tyler Cole and COO Marcus Powers. The crew plans to open a brewery in Sandy Springs in early November.



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Food & Drink | 11

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net they started brewing as a hobby. I had worked at a brewery during the summers in North Carolina and subsequently, Marcus and I started homebrewing. Once the four of us reunited in Atlanta, we started brewing together and came up with Pontoon! All of us are involved and have helped make Pontoon what it is today.


What was the first beer you made? Did it taste great?

A: The first beer made was Southern

Skipper White IPA! It came out wonderful! [It took a] couple brews to get it dialed in, but from the start, we knew we had something great. No Pants Pilsner came right after.


How come the name is Pontoon Brewing? And why is the otter your mascot?


Pontoon really sells the Pontoon lifestyle — a slow-moving party platform that doesn’t need to be flashy or move quickly to have fun. We came up with Pontoon because no one buys a Pontoon boat to show off or go fast, they do it to have a great time, have a nice cold beer and enjoy where they are at that point in time. Same reason the otter is our mascot. You never see otters working. They even play with their food!

Q: Why locate in Sandy Springs? A: We looked at over 40 buildings

in areas as far as Carrollton, Acworth, Smyrna, the West End BeltLine, all the way to Sandy Springs. We finally found the location we are in today because of the great proximity to the Chattahoochee [River], the amount of traffic and businesses in Sandy Springs and the welcoming city. We thought Sandy Springs was a great location.


What is the secret to making a good beer that no one seems to know?

A: The secret to making good

beer is proper cleaning and taking good notes! Oftentimes, the reason a beer comes out bad is due to infection from oxygen exposure or bacteria that can spoil a great brew. Proper cleaning of all equipment is key. Also, keeping good notes to know what you did right and what you didn’t do right! Educating yourself on new hops, fun yeast strains and new techniques are all good ways to


make good beer.


How do you come up with the names of your beers — for example, No Pants Pilsner?


We actually have a pretty fun text group for coming up with names! Sometimes after having a few Pontoon brews! It’s a good mix of all of us that come up with the names.


How do you decide on flavors that go into your beers? Is it trial and error or is there a formula you all follow?


A lot of the beers we try to make are food inspired. For example, we made a Pecan Pie nut brown ale that is savory and perfect during the holidays! We also made a sour beer with cranberries, tangerines and fall spices. We take a traditional style of beer, really nail down the recipe and try fun varieties! Sometimes it doesn’t turn out like we like, but we brew as many times as it takes before we sell them.


Making beer seems like a dream job for people who love beer. Is that true? Any challenges to brewing?

Do you each have a favorite beer? Which ones and why?


We are very diversified when it comes to favorite beer styles. Cole likes his German styles, a good mild and IPAs. As our brewmaster, BJCP [beer judge certification program] judge and level 2 Cicerone [beer certification program], he can appreciate all styles, though! Marcus likes saisons, Kolschs and IPAs. You can always find at least two of those in his fridge. My favorites are stouts, browns, Scotch ales and saisons. It could be 100 degrees outside and I could be sipping a rich, chocolatey stout.


What does the future hold for Pontoon?


We are planning to open in the first two weeks of November! We will have a big grand opening with bands, a live otter [from North Georgia’s Zoo to You] and great beer! Pontoon will likely open a second location that focuses on production to get into future states like Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and other southern states. We are so excited to open the brewery! It’s been a lot of work but we’ve had tremendous support from a lot of companies and individuals. We can’t wait for our fans to help experience the Pontoon lifestyle as well!


We think it’s the dream job! We started Pontoon because we love beer and love the industry. The industry is very unique and is very collaborative. For anyone considering opening their own brewery, I would say build a good team, brew for a few years and make it happen! There are some big challenges. Capital is needed. It’s hard to start a brewery without money. There is also a lot of red tape and things that pop up. All of these things make it tough for little guys to come in but it does happen and it makes it all the more exciting.

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What can people expect when they come to the Pontoon brewery?


A big taproom with ample seating, and outdoor area, good selections of beer in all shapes and sizes, games, TVs and a great atmosphere. Beer is made on site so tours will be available, as well as take-home beers. Pontoon will be hosting many events like corporate events, weddings, fundraisers and weekly events. We will also be doing tours that will take people with beer in hand to the Chattahoochee to drop in, get picked up and brought back to the brewery. Food trucks, seasonal parties and beer releases! All sorts of fun stuff!


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Beer business an ‘untapped’ development boon, experts say BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Craft beer isn’t just fun to drink, but also a billion-dollar industry with “untapped” potential to spark economic booms in local cities, according to experts at an annual north Fulton development conference. Indeed, “Untapped” was the official theme of this year’s “North Fulton Opportunity Outlook” event, held Sept. 15 at Sandy Springs’ Wyndham Atlanta Galleria hotel. Presented by the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Quality Growth, the conference brings city officials and developers together to network on trends and redevelopment sites. “There’s a lot more breweries coming,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a Denver-based craft brewing trade group. One of them in Pontoon Brewing, set to open next month in northern Sandy Springs. Its CEO, Sean O’Keefe, was among the “Untapped” panelists. Pontoon will be Sandy Springs’ first brewery – as opposed to a brewpub that also serves food – and city leaders see it as potentially sparking their longtime urban planning goal: redevelopment of northern Roswell Road’s older shopping centers and apartment complexes. And that’s not the only craft brewing

business headed to one of Sandy Springs’ redevelopment wish-list areas. Another is Porter Pizza Brewery, slated to open this winter at Powers Ferry Road and Northside Drive, just across the street from the Wyndham. Owner Allen Porter says he hopes to create a brewpub chain that can open a Dunwoody location as well. At the conference, economic development officials from other north Fulton cities said they have their eyes on the craft business. A Roswell representative said that city aims to have breweries operating within its borders by year’s end. In Milton, an official explained, the city offers a new “limited tap” license that allows up to four beer taps at a business that does not regularly serve food. One of the first to take advantage: a company that wants to stage bicycle rides that end with a drink. Gatza put some numbers on the craft — meaning made locally by small businesses — beer business’s exploding market share. In 1980, he said, there were 89 breweries in the U.S. owned by 42 companies, of which five were craft. Today, there are more than 5,600 breweries, and craft has grown to 13 percent of the market share. Each year, about 900 craft breweries open and about 100 close, he said. The emergence of craft beers in the late 1980s helped to revitalize his hometown of Denver, Gatza said. The opening of Wyn-

koop Brewery was “the ignition point for the whole downtown area to emerge,” he said. He added that today, downtown Denver’s real estate is so expensive that some of the breweries that made it successful, such as River North Brewery, have been priced out of their own neighborhoods. Georgia is benefiting from the craft beer trend as well, Gazta said. The state had 53 breweries in 2014; today, it has 65, of which 38 are craft breweries. Another 85 are in the planning stages, a number that Gatza said could triple in next five years. He praised the so-called “Beer Jobs Bill” — the last legislative session’s Senate Bill 85 — which allowed breweries and distilleries to sell a certain amount of alcoholic drinks directly to consumers rather than through a distributor. The Brewers Association is pushing for a higher cap on the amount of alcohol sold, among other legislative changes. The bill was shepherded through the legislature by former state Sen. Hunter Hill of District 6, which includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Pontoon is among the breweries that opened or changed their business model in response to the Beer Jobs Bill. “The word ‘red tape’ is thrown out a lot,” said O’Keefe, describing the complexities of licensing and permitting for an alcohol-producing business. But, he added, reaching out early to the city of Sandy

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Pontoon Brewing CEO Sean O’Keefe, far left, speaks during the Sept. 15 “Untapped” event. Joining him on the panel are, from left, Michael Sard, an attorney specializing in alcohol licensing; Matt Curling, owner of Roswell’s Variant Brewing; and Michael Lundmark, CEO of Alpharetta’s Jekyll Brewing.

Springs for advice was key, and legislation like the Beer Jobs Bill helps the industry. One of those city officials is among those looking to benefit from the craft beer trend. Gabriel Sterling, a Sandy Springs city councilmember and candidate for Fulton County Chair, has been working on his own beer for several years under the name Elbow Bend Brewing. While the business is on hold while Sterling campaigns, he attended the “Untapped” event as a public official and spoke afterward about the plans he has brewing. Sterling said he had originally planned to contract out his beer-brewing, but with the Beer Jobs Bill allowing for direct sales, he “might open a physical location,” he said. “I’d love to do it in Sandy Springs.”

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A SunTrust bank is coming next year to a former Wendy’s at Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads, leaving the new City Springs civic center flanked by banks. SunTrust’s plan is to move an existing branch currently operating about two-thirds of a mile south at 5898 Roswell Road at Cliftwood Drive. “We plan to sell the old location once the move has been made,” said SunTrust spokesperson Hugh Suhr. The Wendy’s restaurant operated at 6240 Roswell Road for about 30 years before closing sometime last month. Last fall, SunTrust’s proposed use of the property as a drivethrough-centered bank drew criticism from city staff and the city Planning Commission. A city staff finding called the plan a “detriment [to] the public good via perpetuating a pedestrian-hostile environment.” There were also concerns with how a bank branch meshes with City Springs, the $222 million new civic center rising on the other side of Johnson Ferry. “Bank business models should not impede higher city goals,”said Ronda Smith of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods at the time. The situation was resolved earlier this year when SunTrust agreed to remove the drive-through structure from its plan. The city Board of Appeals approved the plan’s other zoning variances in February. Chase operates a similar branch bank on the opposite side of City Springs, at Roswell and Mount Vernon Highway. And Fidelity operates yet another branch at Johnson Ferry and Sandy Springs Circle on the City Springs triangle, the only business remaining on that site that is not part of the civic center project. Suhr said that SunTrust aims to have the branch moved and open in the new spot by next summer. “We will notify clients and provide details well in advance of the actual move, which should be seamless from their perspective,” he said.

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14 | Community

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Radio host Melissa Carter tunes in to digital age BY DYANA BAGBY

chance to run her own show allows her to focus in-depth on women’s issues that she was often told not to talk about on Melissa Carter’s familiar voice has corporate radio. disappeared from the terrestrial radio “With this show, I’m my own producer airwaves, but you can now listen to her ... it’s all me,” she said. “And I can dig deepcommentary, and signature chortle, with er into what my guests want to talk about. a quick tap of your smartphone or via a “My goal is to really bring about conlink on your laptop. versations with women ... that can’t be Carter, who has been a mainstay in explored through regular media,” she Atlanta radio — including a decadesaid. “Diversity of people is important to long stint on The Bert Show on Q100 — me. All women’s voices are respected.” recently left B98.5’s morning show after So far guests have included women more than three years. who have changed careers later in life and She quickly landed another gig on a a poet who suffers from depression. Cartliberal talk app called Progressive Voices, er doesn’t stray from politics, however, founded by Sandy Springs resident Reed and gives her own thoughts on such varHaggard and his partner Jon Sinton. The ied topics as the mass shooting in Las Vetwo also founded 12 years ago the pioneergas and NFL football quarterback Cam ing talk network Air America, reNewton’s remarks to a woman nowned in part for giving curjournalist that it was “funny rent MSNBC host Rachel to hear a female talk about Maddow her big start. [football] routes.” Note: “I was an Air AmeriAs a University of Tenca fan,” Carter said. “To nessee alum and footnow be included in a ball fan, Carter said group of women that inshe will never root for cludes Rachel Maddow Newton, the star quar... is such a huge honor.” terback from Auburn, Carter’s one hourbut she thought his show, named “She PerSPECIAL apology was sincere. Veteran broadcast radio host and sisted,” started Oct. 2 Carter, a single personality Melissa Carter is now and is broadcast onhosting her own show on the liberal mom of a 3-year-old line weekdays from 8 talk app Progressive Voices. her fans know as a.m. to 9 a.m. and on Mr. Carter, said she rerun on weekends from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. is able to work from home by conductThe show’s name is derived from a sloing interviews via Skype. She purchased gan that became popular this year after a new laptop, an expensive microphone U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConand set up her own kind of soundproof nell said, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” in his studio in an office so she can broadcast comments to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the world via the internet. as she objected to the confirmation of Sen. “I have my own editing equipment Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. and built my own soundproof enclosure Haggard said the beauty of the internet -- and I make sure I turn the air condiand podcasts such as Carter’s show is that tioner off,” she said of producing and people can listen to them at any time. hosting her own show. “I never knew the “It’s available on a 24-hour live stream. AC could make so much noise.” You can click on the show to listen at She also puts her cat in another room your leisure,” he said. and makes sure someone is watching Mr. Reed said liberal media is currently in Carter to ensure no surprise interrupits heyday following the Donald Trump tions. “I’m really amazed how little you triumph of winning the White House. need to sound so professional,” she said. “Business is booming,” he said. “The Carter remains under a non-compete analogy I use for progressive liberal meclause until Valentine’s Day, she said, dia is that Trump is to us what Clinton and she doesn’t know if she will return to was to Fox News during the scandal days, mainstream broadcast radio. She said she like Monica Lewinsky. There is a tsunami intends to keep going with “She Persisted” of information and listeners.” because of the freedom Haggard and ProProgressive Voices recently hit a million gressive Voices give her to talk about what unique users a month and the addition of she believes other women want to hear. a show like Carter’s is testament to its abil“This is on my own terms. This is not ity to reach out to many different audienctemporary,” she said. es seeking information and conversations they can’t find elsewhere, Haggard said. Carter said Haggard wanted her voice TUNE IN TO on his platform after reading her col“SHE PERSISTED” umns in the Georgia Voice, an LGBT AND OTHER SHOWS AT newspaper. Carter was Atlanta’s first PROGRESSIVEVOICES.COM openly gay radio host. For Carter, the dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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The billboard on the Johnson Ferry Road/Mount Vernon Highway triangle on Aug. 25, the day the city began demolishing buildings around it.

Billboard deal a bad sign, residents and council say Continued from page 1


triangle of land at the intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry and Roswell roads. The city recently purchased the land, partly for a park to serve the new City Springs civic center across Roswell, and partly for a redesigned intersection. In August, the city demolished commercial buildings on the site. Now, the billboard is the only structure still standing. That’s because an attempt to take it by eminent domain is foundering on disputes about the sign’s value, according to City Attorney Dan Lee. He gave the council some examples that implied the range of values, saying the city could offer to pay for a sign’s physical value at around $25,000, while a billboard company might argue its advertising revenue is worth $800,000. The city already paid about $4.8 million and used eminent domain threats to buy the triangle land. Lee said that he and Mayor Rusty Paul, when they served years ago as state senators, unsuccessfully proposed a law that would make the physical value the rule in such cases. He said that “the chances of us reaching agreement [on the billboard’s value] are pretty small.” And the alternative — letting a court decide — is an “age-old battle that I’ve fought … you pay to fight it and it’s hard,” he said. A state law allows a deal where a billboard can be relocated somewhere within 250 feet in lieu of an eminent domain reimbursement, Lee and staff attorney Joe Leonard said, but that does not apply in a city without an existing billboard relocation ordinance. Sandy Springs is one of those cities, partly because it doesn’t want the giant signs anywhere, officials said. To resolve the triangle situation, the city attorneys are proposing a new ordinance that offers two options when a billboard is targeted by eminent domain or the “threat thereof.” Like state law, it would allow for relocation within 250 feet, with up to three alternative sites reviewed by the city’s Community Development director. It also proposes a tradeoff scheme to allow the targeted billboard and up to three others within the city to be “upgraded” into LED versions. (The or-

dinance refers to “sign faces,” so a doublesided billboard would count as two.) LED billboards are widely disliked in the city. Many residents complained last year when an LED billboard went up at Abernathy Road and Mount Vernon Highway as one of the last results of an old Fulton County zoning lawsuit that predated the incorporation of Sandy Springs. The proposed ordinance’s LED trade-off plan would be the first time the city allowed such signs. The only person to speak in favor of the plan was Scott Peters, an attorney for billboard owner Outfront Media and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia. He called it a “win-win for both the community and the industry.” Karen Meinzen McEnery, a former city councilmember, disagreed. “LEDs are what that is really about,” she said. “Let them die their own death … It’s the nose of the camel under the tent.” She said Sandy Springs citizens would sign off on a big check to kill such signs, so “don’t worry about paying for a condemned billboard.” When Paul asked whether any councilmember would make a motion on the proposal, there was an unusually long, silent pause before John Paulson finally moved for approval. Then there was another notable pause, giving opponents brief hope the idea would die for lack of a second, before Gabriel Sterling gave it the nod. Councilmembers voiced concerns that the proposed ordinance was too hastily arranged, lacked transparency and could have unintended consequences. Lee said the Planning Commission, which earlier approved the ordinance, expressed valid concerns that a City Council vote on eminent domain would be the only public review of any such billboard relocation. “This is kind of a weird way to put LEDs into our code … and that’s a little troubling to me,” said Paulson. Bauman said he was concerned with city officials “horse-trading locations” and, while calling for more community discussion of the plan, also was prepared to vote it down. The council voted 4-1, with Bauman in opposition, to table the idea for now.



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Fulton Chair candidates debate policies at forum Continued from page 1 vying for the post vacated by John Eaves in his quest to be Atlanta’s next mayor. At an Oct. 4 forum hosted by Reporter Newspapers and the Riverside Homeowners Association at Kairos Church in Sandy Springs, the candidates laid out their experiences while also outlining their differences in making their pitch to voters. The special election in the nonpartisan race is Nov. 7. The person who wins the chair seat will then have to turn around and run again for office next year. There were subtle barbs tossed by each of the candidates, but there was also agreement on such issues as the need for a regional transportation plan and the importance of working with leaders of each of the

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15 cities that now make up Fulton County. The hour-long forum offered each candidate a chance to make opening and closing statements. Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor John Ruch asked the candidates three questions and questions submitted from the audience also were asked.

Opening statements

Pitts noted his educational background as well as his work for the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress. He also said because the Fulton chair race is a nonpartisan election, people have the opportunity to select the best qualified candidate despite party affiliation. Starling noted that although the race

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Fulton Chair candidates, from left, Robb Pitts, Gabe Sterling and Keisha Waites each said they had the experience to lead the county of more than 1 million people.

is nonpartisan, he is a Republican, while Pitts and Waites are Democrats. He also said now is a time for fresh leadership. “Fulton County is at a crossroads,” Sterling said. He noted that since South Fulton became a city last year, municipalities govern nearly all of the county. He said the county’s budget is $991 million and if elected chair he would work to lower that amount. Waites said as a state representative for the past five years representing portions of Atlanta, College Park, East Point, Forest Park and Hapeville, she has the relationships at the General Assembly to advance an agenda benefitting homeowners and small business owners. She said the fact Fulton County is 100 percent municipalized indicates to her there were “echoes and screams of disappointment” from residents over its government. “I’m here to make sure the little guy has a say and a voice,” she said.

Fulton’s diversity and ways to unite people

The first question dealt with the diversity of Fulton County. Each candidate was asked to give an example of how in the past they worked to unite people from differing backgrounds to come together for a common goal. “Sandy Springs is viewed by many as

an enclave of rich people,” Sterling said. In reality, though, Sandy Springs is very diverse racially, in sexual orientation and socioeconomic status, he said. He said he has worked with Mayor Rusty Paul and other council members to have more housing options available in the city through zoning policies. He also noted the city’s “Next Ten” program that included two years of meetings and outreach to residents from the African American and Hispanic communities as well as to young people. Waites said there is no better place to learn about bringing people together than in the General Assembly. She said during her time there she readily worked with people from both sides of the aisle on legislation. She noted the second House member to sign on to her “Fallen Hero Bill” was a Republican. The bill provides college tuition assistance to children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. “I’ve worked with African American, white, rich, poor, Republicans, Democrats, gay, straight,” she said. “I can be a consensus builder.” Pitts said he understands how to work with diverse groups and boasted of his reputation as both an independent thinker and an aisle-crosser. He said an old joke was that the Fulton commission had “three blacks, three whites and Robb Pitts,” or, in another version, “three Dem-

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OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net ocrats, three Republicans and Robb Pitts.” “I deal on the issues, not personalities,” Pitts said. “Leadership is important, image is important and experience matters.” Pitts said his experience as Atlanta City Council president and president over the council’s 15 members puts him in a strong position to lead the Fulton Commission, which has six members in addition to the chair. “I will lead with respect and dignity and be a chair you can be proud of,” he said. Sterling shot back at Pitts’ comment, though. Sterling said during Pitts’ time on the Fulton Commission, it was wellknown for being divisive and dysfunctional. Sterling said he noticed Pitts also did not answer with an example of how he was able to bring people together. “We have a lot of challenges ahead and we need someone who can say what they mean and mean what they say and not be all things for all people,” Sterling said. Waites then responded with a dig at Sterling, saying his Republican stance of fiscal conservatism apparently clashed with his support of Sandy Springs’ City Springs, a new city center project being led by the city. “If what you talk about is being fiscally conservative, I think to support a new City Hall for $221 million … I think that speaks a lot of fiscal conservatism,” she said. “If we want to have a conversation about fiscal conservatism …it’s important to lead by example.”

Property tax sticker shock

Another question dealt with the shock many Fulton homeowners felt when they received their property tax bills this year. The backlash forced the Fulton Commission in June to rescind the appraisals for residential properties while asking the state Legislature for new laws to prevent the pain of 2018. Waites said a number of Fulton government services, such as libraries, can be streamlined and pushed to local control. While the state Constitution requires services such as courts, public safety and public health be provided by counties, Waites said Fulton County needs to get out of the business of providing services that the cities now can offer. Pitts agreed the appraisals caused a lot of consternation. He acknowledged his property taxes went up 25 percent, but said he and his wife did not intend to appeal the increase. He said more professionalism was needed in the tax appraiser’s office. Sterling said the cause for the extreme rate hikes was because the appraisers were years behind in making assessments and tried to make up for all of those years in one year. “Frankly, there was no mechanism in place for them to do it any other way,” he said. Fixing the appraisal process includes making sure appraisers are professionals while also conducting “stress test” assess-

ments before they go public, he said. Pitts followed up by saying the other two candidates did not understand the appraisal process and that he was working with state Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) to come up with a solution.

All agree regional transportation plan necessary

There was easy consensus among the candidates over the need for a regional transportation plan to ensure the success of Fulton County and the state. Pitts said if elected chair he would work to ensure the money received from the approval of last year’s transportation special local option sales tax (TSPLOST) would go to the projects approved by voters in each municipality. Sterling praised the bipartisan effort that resulted in the TSPLOST approval and its split between Atlanta and Fulton County. He said Amazon’s announcement it is seeking a second headquarters could very well tip Gwinnett and Cobb counties over into agreeing to financially support public transit throughout the region. The main problem the region faces, he said, is the lack of an east-west connector. Public-private partnerships could be a way to fund regional transit as well, he added. Waites said state dollars are needed to fund public transit and she also agreed that public-private partnerships are nec-

essary. She also praised the $1 billion transportation bill approved by the Legislature in 2015, although none of that funding went to transit and instead went to a backlog of repaving and repairs.

Other ways to deal with traffic beyond mass transit

The candidates were asked what other ways traffic could be alleviated. Pitts said technology and the rise of autonomous [self-driving] vehicles will be a game changer, adding that Fulton can become the autonomous vehicle capital of the world. Sterling agreed that autonomous cars are the future and noted Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Sandy Springs, is a leader in the autonomous car trend. Waites said the $1 billion transportation plan approved by the Legislature to fix roads and bridges meets that goal. She also said traffic light signalization can help.



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18 | Commentary

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Commentary: After Las Vegas, ministers speak on ‘the unspeakable’ It struck many of us as all too familiar. A gunman had climbed high in a hotel and opened fire on a concert crowd below. All that seemed different about the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1 was the location and the numbers of the dead and wounded. Police found the body of the killer, Stephen Paddock, in a hotel room stocked with a small armory of guns and ammunition. They even found calculations he’d made to better target people in the crowd below once the killing began, according to news reports. By the time he was done, 58 people were dead, nearly 500 wounded. Many officials locally and around the country responded with statements of thoughts and prayers for the victims, while national media was filled with debates about whether thoughts and prayers are enough. In the days after the shooting, we asked several local ministers what they would say — what they could say — to console members of their congregations after yet another mass shooting. Here’s some of what they said.

In the face of unspeakable gun violence in Las Vegas on Sunday night, many of us are left wondering how we respond. As our hearts break, we are called first to lament, to remember, and to pray. We hope that many of you will find the church to be a space of healing in the face of such an act of evil. – Covenant Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Richard Hill and Associate Pastor Rev. Katie Owen Aumann emailed a note to their congregation.

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In the aftermath of the horror of Las Vegas, I ask you to remember and pray for the souls of those who have died, including Mr. Paddock. I encourage you to seek the comfort we find in Christ Jesus. Holy Scripture reminds us that we are to “… rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” It is an important part of what makes us human. Even though Las Vegas is more than 1,500 miles from Georgia, we are nevertheless connected with the men and women struck down and the loved ones they left behind by our ability to empathize and have compassion. So, we pray. We reach to God in familiar words to remember the dead and send our positive psychic and spiritual energy to those still in shock and who will grieve for years to come. But let us remember also, Jesus was a man of prayer and of action. Prayer must be prelude to action. Prayer with no corresponding action is a useless and vain exercise. Most importantly, prayer without action is not the faith Jesus practiced! My sincere prayer is that the lives of those killed in Las Vegas will not be in vain. I still believe that America is a great country! I still believe we can accomplish great things together. I believe we can affirm the Second Amendment, protect the rights of hunters and sportsman, and enact common sense gun laws that put into practice intelligent safety measures. This is not a partisan sentiment. Morgues and cemeteries are not divided by political affiliation. This is about coming to the realization that moments of silence and prayer will not, of themselves, make us safer. What will make us safer is ordinary people like you and I, from every political stripe, finding the courage to act. Jesus often asked men and women he encountered, “What do you want?” I want an America where we are less afraid and more neighborly. An America where it is more difficult to get a semi-automatic weapon or high capacity magazines than it is to get a bottle of Sudafed. I want an America where special interests like the National Rifle Association don’t control our elected officials with campaign donations that render them spineless. I want an America where law enforcement officers are better equipped to keep us safe than criminals are equipped to do us harm. These are not Democratic dreams or Republican dreams. This is an American dream. – Rev. Robert C. Wright, Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta, in a public statement.

“Violence has once again horrified us as a nation and drawn us together in sorrow. All of us — people of faith as well as those with no particular religious affiliation — are stunned by the tragic, senseless, and incomprehensible loss of life in Las Vegas. “At the same time we are awed by the courage and selflessness of the first responders, touched by the kindness of generous neighbors, and moved by the actions of strangers who have reached out to care for those who have been hurt, separated from their companions and frightened. I invite all of us to pray for those whose lives were taken and those whose lives have been altered by such violence. “May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, comfort the people of Las Vegas and strengthen our nation with trust in one another and hope for our common future.” – Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta in a public statement.

With many tears and fears for the present and the future, we lament in hope and humble ourselves to pray. As we pray, we remember the promise that you hear our prayers and heal our land. Father, our hearts ache from the frequent earthquakes and natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, and senseless acts of violence. And honestly, as much as we desire to be a faithful people who trust in you, in the back of our minds lingers the question, “Where is God in all of this?” In the effort to find a suitable answer, we search the depths of our hearts, minds and souls, seemingly to no avail. And suddenly, out of the abyss of darkness, springs the hope of Elijah. Elijah who, even as a prophet of God, wrestled with these same questions. You responded to him as you respond to us now: “I am not the author of disaster. I am not the author of confusion. But I am with you, so close you can sense my presence and hear me whisper, “I love you.” Father, you are an only-good God. You love us and promise to never leave us nor reject us. You hear our prayers. And so we ask: comfort our hearts, renew our minds and refresh our souls; give us hope. And father, because we do not understand the why in all of these things, we need you to help us. Help us do our part to heal our land. We repent of any error in our ways and ask you to forgive us and reconcile us. Reconcile us, not only to you, but also to one another and teach us to love as you love, forgive as you forgive, be present as you are present and be good to each other as you are good to us. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Pastor William C. Givens, Buckhead Baptist Church, in a statement issued to Reporter Newspapers.


Community | 19

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

This girl’s a natural behind the wheel BY JOE EARLE joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

She just got it. The first time Malena Shipley climbed into a Soapbox Derby car, it was obvious to the adults around her that she instinctively knew what to do to make that car go fast. She was just 7, but she somehow seemed to know how to handle the car. That’s what Nancy Mooney saw. She was there that first day. Mooney’s the race director of the North Georgia Soapbox Derby, which holds its races in Dunwoody. Back five years ago, she was showing kids soapbox cars during Lemonade Days, Dunwoody’s annual hometown celebration, when Malena first got into a Soapbox car and piloted it down a hill. Mooney’s been around Soapbox cars much of her life. Her dad raced them when he was a boy and she raced them when she was a girl. When she saw Malena get in the car, Mooney watched the young girl naturally get into a racing position. “She definitely had a natural ability at 7 years old,” Mooney said. “She had a natural instinct to put her bottom back and lean her nose forward.” Mooney recruited Malena as a driver and found her a car. A short time later, Malena won her first race.

Since then, Malena’s never stopped. The Brookhaven seventh-grader has been the North Georgia champion in each of the three different divisions of Soapbox racers, was a top rally point earner in the nation in the “stock” division last year, and has been to the national competitions in Akron, Ohio, five times to race against other top drivers, said her dad, John Shipley. Now, at age 12, Malena’s a world champion. In July, Malena took first place in the local masters division of the All-American Soapbox Derby. Her black-and-yellowstriped car will be displayed in a derby museum alongside all the other winners’ cars from eight decades of competition. How good is she? “On a scale of 1 to 10? She’s a 12,” Mooney said. Malena’s dad, an art director, serves as his daughter’s pit crew. They travel together to competitions scattered from Florida to Virginia. Malena figures she races about once a month. Some of her best friends are now drivers in other cities or other states. In a race, Malena has to work the track to find places her gravity-powered cars can gain speed. She’s not really sure how she knows where to go, she just goes. “We look for places to go downhill,” she said with a

Above, Malena Shipley poses with her trophy and her winning Soapbox Derby car. (SPECIAL) Inset, Malena Shipley, right, and her dad, John Shipley, discuss her racing success. (JOE EARLE)

shy grin. “It’s like skiing. I don’t ski. I just know stuff about skiing.” Through five years of racing, Malena’s learned her way around a Soapbox track. She’s taken tips from other drivers and watched closely as winners made their runs. “I’ve learned by trial and error and by watching people,” she said. In a race, she said, things slow down. She tries to work out an imaginary line that offers the quickest run downhill and stick to that line. “When we’re going downhill, things are like in slow motion — and going fast, too,” she said. Drivers of the masters-level Soapbox cars aren’t seated, but more or less lie down and peek through a narrow slot to see where they’re going. “Can you see your competitors?” her dad asked. “I don’t look at competitors because you


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tend to steer to where you look,” she said. That would slow her down, of course. So, leave worrying about other drivers to the ones behind her. The point, after all, is to go as fast as possible. Malena likes that. “I like the way it feels to go downhill,” Malena said. “I guess I just like going fast.” “She’s a little edgy,” her dad said. “She’s likes things with a little challenge.” What comes next? Malena already has a new car, painted black and yellow like her old one, and she’s started competing again regionally. She can race Soapbox cars through age 20. But she doesn’t think she will. She’s turning her competitive nature to a different sort of sport. She wants to play basketball, to drive for baskets instead of finish lines. She plans to play in the WNBA someday.

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20 | Community

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National park trail could revive Crooked Creek plan BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city’s long-stalled plan for a new park called Crooked Creek is reviving in partnership with the National Park Service. The new concept: Crooked Creek Park would become a gateway to a now inaccessible wilderness area of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The city would still foot the bill — estimated at over $335,000 — and do most of the planning work. In exchange, it would get a direct link to the national park. The 5 acres of wooded land reserved for Crooked Creek Park sits at the intersection of Spalding and River Exchange drives on the very tip of the city’s eastern panhandle, on the Peachtree Corners border. Its namesake creek runs through the site. The city bought the land more than four years ago, intending to build what City Councilmember John Paulson calls “an interesting little pocket park” with a trail and benches. It took two years for the park to get an official name, and plans to build its amenities have not materialized, last appearing as a $200,000 wish-list item in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget process. About a thousand feet up the Crooked Creek sits the Holcomb Bridge section of the National Recreation Area. The national park runs along nearly 50 miles of the riv-

er on such scattered, separate parcels. The Holcomb Bridge site is more than 40 acres of woodland lacking a public entrance. It runs along the river between Crooked Creek to the west and Holcomb Bridge Road to the east. The new concept, presented by city Parks and Recreation Director Michael Perry at the Oct. 3 City Council meeting, involves building a trail from the city park, along the creek, and winding through the national park. Perry said it would be a “walking trail, not a multi-purpose trail.” The National Park Service “presented an agreement with us to partner on this site,” Perry told Mayor Rusty Paul and the council. Bill Cox, superintendent of the National Recreation Area, sat in the council meeting’s audience to show support. He did not offer formal comments. The plan would require gaining trail right of way, by easement or purchase, from the Retreat at River Park, an apartment complex between the two parks. Perry estimated design costs at $35,000 and construction at $300,000. City Councilmember Chris Burnett noted that right of way acquisition could require still more money. Perry said the department currently only has about $267,000 available for the project, so further budget discussions would follow if and when a formal agree-

An illustration showing a trail connecting the new Crooked Creek Park, at bottom, along the creek to the Holcomb Bridge section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, at top, and winding through its woodland.

ment is signed between the National Park Service and the city. Besides allowing connection to its parkland, the National Park Service would provide technical advice on environmental reviews and how to build the trail to its standards. Perry gave his presentation during a non-voting “work session” of the council, which informally directed him to proceed


with negotiating a formal legal agreement with the National Park Service. Paulson, the main advocate for Crooked Creek Park, said he recently toured the Holcomb Bridge woodland, “and truth is, no one can get to it now … That property up there is undisturbed.” He said he liked the concept of a “small Sandy Springs park that gives public access to the wildlife area” of the national park.

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OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Sandy Springs author releases crime drama set in desert


BY JACLYN TURNER Steven Cooper did not sleep well two nights before the release of his first novel in 10 years. “I’m excited-slash-anxious,” said the novelist, a Sandy Springs resident. “It’s like delivering a baby and asking the world if you like my baby.” This baby’s name is “Desert Remains.” It’s the first in a series of crime dramas following Detective Alex Mills and psychic Gus Parker, who team up together in an unconventional partnership to catch a killer. The psychic character, Gus, is meant to turn psychic fiction on its head. “It’s well integrated in the reality of the crime drama without it being fantasy,” said Cooper, who hopes to reach a broad audience with his book. The book is set in the deserts around Phoenix, where Cooper once worked as a TV reporter. “It’s a love letter to the desert as a backdrop to crime,” Cooper said. “As beautiful as the desert is to look at, the book allows the desert to become a character of its own. The killer is using the desert as a tableau for his crimes, to manipulate people. “It has unexpected elements to a crime novel with unpredictable characters, an unusual setting, not a big city setting,” Cooper said. Prior to setting up residency in Sandy Springs to try a corporate life working communications at Newell Brands, Cooper was a TV reporter in Phoenix and Orlando. He has received multiple Emmy awards and nominations and an Edward R. Murrow Award. He also taught at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. In Phoenix, Cooper often covered crime as a young reporter. “I sat in trials, observed the crazy [things] people do to each other. It’s not uncomfortable [for me] to write about crime. It’s a way to work out the ugliness I had to watch going to crime scenes and seeing body bags,” Cooper said. His home also backed up to a mountain preserve, which he often hiked and which served as an inspiration. “Ever since I left Phoenix, I knew I wanted to write this story,” Cooper said. When he found the momentum to pick up his writing career, he pitched the idea to his family and friends, receiving positive feedback, and started writing. Last year, Newell Brands chose to relocate its headquarters to New Jersey. Cooper received a two-book deal from publisher Seventh Street Books three weeks after finding out about the move. He didn’t want to uproot himself again, so he set to writing. The release date for his novel, Oct. 10, coincidentally marks the first anniversary of his departure from the company. Cooper frequently writes and edits at the Starbucks and Einstein’s Bagel Bros. coffee houses at Peachtree-Dunwoody and Hammond roads. “It’s a chance to get out of the house, be around a different vibe, and be around a lot of coffee. Coffee is key for writers.” During the editing process, Cooper visited Phoenix to explore the mountains, trails, and the neighborhoods. He consulted with the Phoenix police department to discuss how they deal with crime. But now, Cooper is feeling quite settled in to his metro Atlanta lifestyle, and imagines he might one day want to write a book with Atlanta as a backdrop. “Atlanta has great neighborhoods and pockets of intrigue in it.” Yet Cooper noticed a trend about how he writes, saying the process is to immerse and then get distance. His previous books, of a more campy mystery genre, are also inSPECIAL fluenced by places he’s been or lived, and he Steven Cooper. did not write them until he lived in Florida. “I’d probably write my Atlanta novel flying off to a vacation somewhere. I’ll start it when I’m away,” Cooper aid. “I’d like to go to Peru.” “Desert Remains” is available on Amazon.com and at local bookstores. Cooper will be hosting book signings at Barnes & Noble, 2952 Cobb Parkway, on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m., and at Tall Tales Bookstore, 2105 LaVista Road, on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m.

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Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News parking: Sandy Springs Christian Church and the Weber School (shuttle buses available). Info: visitsandysprings.org.


Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.




Dressing up is for horses, too, at this Halloween event featuring pony rides, barn tours, a horse show competition and Atlanta Mounted Police demonstrations. Children are encouraged to come in their Halloween costumes and parade with costumed horses. All proceeds benefit Chastain Park’s therapeutic riding and community outreach programs. Free, with food and drink for sale and a silent auction. 4371 Powers Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: chastainhorsepark.org.





Friday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Members preview: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Kick off the night with a Mad Hatter Tea Party, enjoy Music in the Museum with a DJ, and stroll through the Atlanta History Center’s foggy gardens and haunted historic houses. Scare factor ratings on all events ranging from 1 (all ages) to 5 (“very scary!) will help you decide which paths to take. Children are encouraged to come in costume. Food and drink available for purchase. $20 general public; $15 members; $10 children. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


Saturday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Join costumed characters for a “not-so-frightful” evening at Abernathy Greenway Park. Events include a trick or treat candy station, face painting station and a photo op station. Food available for purchase. Free. 70 Abernathy Road N.E., Sandy Springs. Handicapped parking on site. Other


Friday, Oct. 20 to Sunday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Galloway Theater Company presents the Tony Award-winning play, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” at the Chaddick Center for the Arts at The Galloway School. Features 35 Upper Learning actors playing 100 characters from marauding pirates to unlikely heroes. Suitable for ages 5 and up. $10 online or at the door. 215 W. Wieuca Road N.W., Buckhead. Tickets: gallowayschool.org.

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Out & About | 23

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Thursday, Oct. 19 to Saturday, Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m.

Riverwood International Charter School presents this Tony Award-winning tragicomedy set in Hazlehurst, Miss., in the home of the Magrath sisters, who are dealing with their own problems while awaiting news of their gravely ill grandfather. $5 students; $10 adults. Riverwood auditorium, 5900 Raider Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: RiverwoodICS.org.

“HARMONIC PROGRESSION: THE JOURNEY” Sunday, Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m.

The Atlanta Concert Band performs music by Wagner, Strauss, Alexander and Grainger in a concert at North Springs High School. Free. 7447 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: atlantaconcertband.org.


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Covenant Presbyterian Church’s adult choir presents “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure in the historic sanctuary at the church. Free. 2641 Peachtree Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: covpresatlanta.org.

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Throughout October, Sundays to Fridays 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta invites the community to its Cycle Studio throughout October. Participate in at least eight indoor cycle classes, track your progress on the leaderboard, and earn points toward the chance to win a Precor indoor bike. Free. MJCCA Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Register: atlantajcc.org/biketoberfest. Info: deanne. jacobson@atlantajcc.org or 678-812-4025.

PICKLEBALL CLINIC Thursday, Oct. 19, 6 p.m.

Check out pickleball, which combines elements of badminton, tennis, ping pong and racquet ball, in a beginners’ clinic at Hammond Park. For adults ages 18 and up. Free. Hammond Park tennis courts, 6005 Glenridge Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: tramos@sandyspringsga.gov. Register: registration@sandyspringsga.gov.

BEGINNERS ZYDECO DANCE CLASSES Thursdays, Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Learn Zydeco dance in two classes sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. No partner or previous dance experience needed. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Food and drink available for purchase. Arrive early to dine with instructor Don Baggett. $10 per class. Darwin’s Burgers and Blues, 234 Hildebrand Drive, Sandy Springs. Walk-ins welcome, or register: essex34d@aol.com. Info: aczadance.org.


COMMUNITY INPUT MEETING The City of Sandy Springs is hosting two public meetings to provide the community with information about the proposed Path 400 Multiuse Trail Extension. The first of these two meetings will be on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. A second town hall meeting will be held that same day from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Both meetings will cover the same content. Location:

Highpoint Episcopal Community Church 4945 High Point Road

Saturday, Oct. 21, 8 a.m. race time; 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 check in.

Hosted by Riverwood International Charter School’s Community Service Club, all proceeds from this 5K go toward building two houses for Nicaraguan families and supplying food and hygiene kits to the same community. The race begins and ends at Riverwood. $35; $40 on race day. 5900 Heards Drive, Sandy Springs. Register: runsignup.com/ Race/GA/Atlanta/RiverwoodRunsforaReason5k. Sponsor info: Laura Taylor at taylorls@fultonschools.org. Continued on page 24


For more information please visit sandyspringsga.gov

24 | Out & About

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Continued from page 23


Medical Associates

SANDY SPRINGS READS Throughout October

Celebrate community through this annual event whose theme this year is farmers markets. Volunteer to read “Fresh Picked Poetry, A Day at the Farmers’ Market” to a classroom of second graders and lead related creative activities and discussion at Sandy Springs elementary schools. Through Oct. 28. Info: Myers-kathy@comcast.net.

Welcome Dr. Michael Crowe! Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates is proud to welcome Dr. Michael Crowe, a boardcertified gynecologist with over three decades of experience practicing in the Atlanta area. Dr.

Sandy Springs second graders share poems from “Fresh Picked Poetry” and some of their own poems at the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive. Saturday, Oct. 21, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Crowe offers comprehensive gynecologic care to women of all ages, serving with the same excellent, compassionate care you are accustomed to from Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates. Dr. Crowe is welcoming new patients, accepts most insurance plans, and offers a convenient location

Children ages 7 to 14 can create their own dishes and learn about locally grown foods at the Sandy Springs Library, 395 Mount Vernon Hwy. N.E. Thursday, Oct. 26, 4:30 p.m. Registration required: leah.germon@fultoncountyga.gov or 404-303-6130.

Michael Crowe, MD Gynecology

near the Northside Hospital Atlanta campus.


Through Saturday, Oct. 28. Workshop: Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to noon.

Call 404-497-1020 for an appointment! 875 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30342 PeachtreeDunwoodyMed.com

Pick up a rock in the lower parking lot at the Dunwoody Nature Center through Oct. 28 and decorate it for a new event co-sponsored by the nature center and the city of Dunwoody. Decorate at home or in a free Oct. 21 workshop at Spruill Center for the Arts. All paints and materials must be nontoxic and water-based. Rocks will be placed at the nature center during the Dunwoody Rocks! Party on Saturday, April 28. [See next Out & About event.] Nature Center: 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Spruill Center: 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.


Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dunwoody Nature Center at the Dunwoody Rocks! Party. People who have decorated rocks for the event [see above Out & About event] can place their rocks around the center and participate in activities including a DJ, picnic lunch and chalk artist Taylor Wilkins. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Free. Info: dunwoodynature.org.


Sunday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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More than 20 teams will cook through the night vying for grand champion status in this 5th annual festival coordinated by the benevolent society Hebrew Order of David. Festival guests are asked to bring Kosher nonperishable food items in exchange for free tasting tickets for this event, which benefits six charities. $1 per taste. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: theatlantakosherbbq.com.

Out & About | 25

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net



DAY OF THE DEAD (DIA DE LOS MUERTOS) FESTIVAL Sunday, Oct. 29, noon to 5 p.m.

Experience traditional dancing, crafts and authentic Mexican food and entertainment at a Day of the Dead Festival presented by the Atlanta History Center in partnership with the Consul General of Mexico and the Institute of Mexican Culture. This free admission day at Atlanta History Center includes access to exhibitions and historic house experiences. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


This 13th annual festival features a chili cookoff, arts and crafts, children’s Halloween costume contest, music and other family activities. Suggested donation: $20 family. Free with High Point Civic Association membership. Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: highpointcivic.org.




Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

Functional and sculptural ceramic works created by more than 25 teachers and students will be for sale at the Chastain Arts Center 4th Annual Pottery On The Porch Pottery Sale. Raku firing demonstration and bluegrass music from Hicks with Picks. 135 W. Wieuca Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: ocaatlanta.com/chastain.

2419 Lake Arrowhead Drive | Waleska, GA 30183 | 770.720.2700 www.lakearrowheadga.com



LEARN SOMETHING “TOMORROW’S BUCKHEAD: A WALKING TOUR” Tuesday, Oct. 17, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Join Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, for a guided tour of Buckhead. A PEDS’ Walktober event [walktoberatl.org], the tour will highlight the locations of transformation projects including the Park over Ga400 and wraps up at the newly renovated Charlie Loudermilk Park. Free. Register for one of 25 spaces. Meet outside of the main lobby entrance at 3340 Peachtree Road N.E., 100 Tower Place, Buckhead. RSVP: buckheadcid.com.


Learn what you can do with those boxes of random family photos in a presentation at the Atlanta History Center by Sue VerHoef, the center’s director of Oral History and Genealogy. $15 nonmembers; $10 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.



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Call 770.698.2000 or visit ConcourseClub.com ConcourseClub.com 8 Concourse Parkway | Sandy Springs, GA 30328 *Restrictions may apply. resident, 18 years of age or older or with EASY ACCESS ExitMust 4Cbeoffa local GA400 a parent guardian. First time guests only. Must bring valid photo ID. Cannot be

*Restrictions beoffer. local resident, age 18 and over with valid photo ID. FirstWellbridge time guests only. One pass per person. Cannot be combined with another offer. combinedmay withapply. any Must other Offer expires August 31,a2017. ©2017 Offer expires October 31, 2017. ©2017 Wellbridge

26 | Out & About

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Saturday, November 11 Kindergarten–Grade 5, 1 pm Sunday, November 12 Grades 6–8, 1 pm • Grades 9–12, 4 pm The Lovett School practices a nondiscriminatory admission policy. Financial aid is available.

www.lovett.org Developing young men and women of honor, faith, and wisdom with the character and intellect to thrive in college and in life.

OPEN HOUSE Sunday, December 3, 1– 1–44 p.m. p.m. December 4,

Share in inthe the Spirit

Smile, Sandy Springs! Photo contest promotes city’s natural appeal A group that works to preserve green space and recreation areas in Sandy Springs has launched a digital photo contest to raise appreciation for those areas and to encourage their exploration. The two themes are nature — photos that capture the vibrancy of Sandy Springs parks, greenspace or trails — and family fun, photos that show how people can thrive using those parks, greenspace and trails. The Sandy Springs Conservancy will use selected images on its website and promotional materials and at the 2018 Thought Leaders Dinner hosted by the

Conservancy in the spring. Photos may be submitted by any Georgia resident through Dec. 16. There is no entry fee and multiple entries are permitted. Four prizes will be awarded: one to an adult [18 or older] and one to a youth in both the nature and family fun categories. The adult winners will receive $500 and one ticket to the Thought Leader Dinner to accept the prize. The youth winners will be awarded $100. The Reporter Newspapers is a sponsor of the contest. For contest rules, visit sandyspringsconservancy.org.

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Education | 27

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

All-School Open House Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Daniel Stern

The Weber School, junior Daniel Stern has always had a passion for tennis and he used that passion to create a tennis camp for children with mental disabilities. Daniel began playing the game at age 6, following in the footsteps of his older sisters. He played competitiveSPECIAL ly until eighth grade, Daniel Stern, right, a junior at The Weber School, created when a knee injury a tennis camp for children with mental disabilities. forced him to take a break. After recoverhours to updating every racket donated. ing, Daniel began playing again recreationDaniel plans to continue the tennis ally, and eventually played singles for the camp with Friendship Circle next summer, Weber School’s tennis team. and wants to expand the program to reach Along with tennis, Daniel also has a other kids. strong passion for helping others. He beSarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ gan volunteering at Friendship Circle, a Episcopal School, reported and wrote this arnonprofit organization that provides comticle. panionship to people with special needs, after hearing a representative speak at his school during his freshman year. Daniel started out being paired with someone with special needs at an event, such as a karate class. “I really became interested in this program,” he said, and he enjoyed seeing the difference he was making in someone else’s life. Daniel quickly made the decision to become more involved in Friendship Circle, signing up for its “Buddies” program. He was paired with a man named Mike and visits him once a week. After playing tennis with Mike one day, Daniel became inspired to share his love for tennis with other people involved in Friendship Circle through a summer camp. It was a long process to turn the camp from an idea to a reality. “The most difficult part was starting off,” he said. First, Daniel went to the Sandy Springs Tennis Center to start the process of acquiring a court. “I asked them if they would be willing to donate courts for a special needs tennis camp, but I really didn’t know what I was doing yet,” he said. Luckily, the tennis center was very willing to help. “They gave us shady courts with a picnic area,” Daniel said. Next, Daniel approached Friendship Circle, told them his plan for a four-day tennis camp, and rounded up 15 campers through them. He then found 17 volunteers, mostly from the Weber School, to help him with the camp. Each camper was paired with a volunteer. The students also donated $1,200 raised on a crowd-source fundraising website for camp food and supplies. Daniel also held a racket drive at school, and later dedicated

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Preschool Tuesday, November 7 Grades K-6 Thursday, November 2 Grades 7-12 Friday, November 3 Details at holyspiritprep.org/visit.

An independent Catholic school for students age 6 months-12th grade. www.holyspiritprep.org/visit

28 | Education

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Dunwoody Elementary School is hosting a bicycle race Oct. 21 to raise money for the school’s “Tiger Fund,” which helps fund school programs and events. Registration costs $20 per person and will be open until the day of the event. Registrations is open online at dunwoodypto.membershiptoolkit.com. The event is limited to 300 participants and will be held rain or shine. All participants are required to have a helmet, according the event website. There are two routes: a 2-mile open course on the street and a route for younger riders that stays within the school’s parking lot. Check in and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the first race begins at 8:30 a.m.

St. Jude the Apostle WES TM IN SCatholic TER’ S TV N EWS PSchool ROGRA M WINS AWAR D

The Westminster School, a private school in Buckhead, won an award for its student TV news station, WCAT. The students won a 2017 National Student Production Award, presented by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), the organization that hosts the Emmy Awards, according to a school press release.


October October 17, 17, 9:30-10:30 9:30-10:30 AM AM and and 7-8 7-8 PM PM


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Left, William Turton, a Westminster sophomore, and faculty advisor Daniel Searl filming for the school’s TV news program, WCAT, which recently won an award.

Bennett Porson, a senior, William Turton, a sophomore, and the WCAT staff won in the live sports event category for their coverage of the varsity football team’s secondround state playoff game against Savannah High School on Nov. 18, 2016, the release said. “It’s an honor for WCAT to receive the National Student Production Award for Live Sports,” said Daniel Searl, WCAT’s faculty advisor, said in a statement. “The award recognizes the hard work and professionalism of our students who plan, organize, and execute full-fledged broadcasts with six cameras, three on-air announcers, a pre-game show, replay, custom scoreboard, graphics and more.”


Pianos for Peace, a local nonprofit that hosts a piano festival each fall, has donated pianos to several Atlanta schools, including schools in Buckhead, according to Atlanta Public Schools. The nonprofit hosted the festival, which brought around 50 pianos to public parks and streets, in September. After the festival concluded, the pianos were donated to local schools, nursing homes and community centers, according to the organization’s website. Two of the pianos were donated to Garden Hills Elementary and Warren T. Jackson Elementary School on Mount Paran Road. Nine other pianos were donated to other Atlanta schools.

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110





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

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

Computer/IT: Sales Engineers, Atlanta, GA. Apply: www.onetrust.com

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

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

Hiring for Office Assistant at SpaceWorks in Dunwoody. Email resume and cover letter to jobs@spaceworks.aero. See www. spaceworks.aero/careers for more details.


Handyman Services – Moving and Delivery too! Local owner – call 803-6080792 Cornell Davis.

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

2860 Spalding Dr (Rivergate side street parking). Antiques / Interior’s Dealer Clearance – Christmas Bric-a-brac, repair supplies, hardware, frames & prints, tools, furniture, etc. Fri./Sat./Sun., October 20, 21 & 22 - 10 AM – 4 PM.


Need Help? RETIRED TEACHER AVAILABLE – School pick-up, Monitor homework, Tutor. Nancy 321-231-8824.

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

Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490.


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CEMETERY PLOTS Arlington Memorial Park – Sandy Springs - Beautiful, Pine crest section, Plots 11B, spaces 3 & 4. Arlington staff will be happy to show plots. Call 973-714-2499.

Classifieds | 29

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Home Services Directory

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30 | Community

Former news anchor to run for 6th Congressional seat

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Kroger closure seen as surprise, opportunity

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Former Atlanta TV news anchor Bobby Kaple will run as a Democrat to challenge U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District next year, he announced Oct. 9. Kaple, a Milton resident, left his journalism job at CBS46 last month, saying he would run for office. In a phone interview, he said his work in local reporting — in Iowa, Florida and Los Angeles as well as Atlanta — gave him experience in earning trust of members of both parties and in seeing real-world effects of national politics. “It gives us a front-row seat to the actual consequences of the dysfunction in Washington,” Kaple said of local news journalists. In a press release announcing his campaign, Kaple said his priority is healthcare reform that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions, partly because his twin children were born prematurely and needed extra care. “I’m running for Congress because my kids, my mom, my family, and countless friends and neighbors, through no-fault of their own, have pre-existing conditions,” Kaple said in the press release. “In Congress, I’ll fight passionately to make sure every American has access to affordable healthcare. I will not sit by and let Washington politicians take us back to the days of denying coverage to those who are sick and placing lifetime caps on people’s care. That’s wrong and people here know better.” Handel won the 6th Congressional District seat earlier this year in a special election that drew national attention for strong competition from Democrat Jon Ossoff in the Republican-dominated area. The 6th District includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs SPECIAL SPECIAL U.S. Rep. Karen Handel. as well as east Cobb and north FulBobby Kaple. ton counties. “My total focus right now is on the constituents of the 6th District and the issues that are important to them, such as passing tax reform,” said Handel in a written statement. Ossoff, who last week declined to say whether he will run again, did not respond to requests for comment. Handel was elected to serve out the unexpired term of Tom Price, who briefly served as U.S. secretary of health and human services before resigning last month amid scandal over his use of charter and military planes for work travel. The office goes onto the ballot again in November 2018. Kaple said he was “troubled” by the reports of Price’s expensive flights. “It’s a perfect example of what people are so sick of when it comes to career politicians,” Kaple said. Kaple is positioning himself as an independent-minded candidate — neither his campaign announcement nor his website’s main page mention he’s a Democrat — with a compelling personal story about the crucial issue of healthcare reform. Asked about whether he consulted national party leaders, Kaple said, “I have not talked to the Democratic National Committee. I don’t take any cues from them.” “I voted for Jon Ossoff,” Kaple said, but added that 2018 will be a different race, and “I’m a different candidate.” He noted the special election’s timing helped it to gain national attention and predicted the 2018 midterms, when the office is next on the ballot, will be quieter and more locally focused. “This isn’t about all the outside interests that turned [the special election] into a circus,” Kaple said. Kaple noted that, unlike Ossoff at the time of the special election, he lives in the district. And in places like Milton, he says, people tell him they “don’t feel they’re being represented by Karen Handel.” Ossoff is also a journalist, working as CEO and managing director at Insight TWI: The World Investigates, which produces documentaries about corruption and crime. Asked about the coincidence of another journalist challenging Handel in a time when the media is often a target of national political criticism, Kaple underlined differences between his work and Ossoff’s. Kaple emphasized that his work has been in local journalism — including coverage of the 6th District special election — while Ossoff’s documentaries often have international subjects. Kaple is now a full-time candidate and said he will remain so during the race, while the family’s income comes from his wife Rebecca, a reporter at FOX Sports South. Kaple elaborated on the story of his twins’ premature birth at Buckhead’s Piedmont Hospital and how the situation fuels his concern about healthcare reform. He recalled calling the hospital daily on his way to work to “ask if the kids had stopped breathing,” learning that they occasionally did. The twins survived and finally came home after more than two weeks in the hospital. Kaple said the medical bill would have bankrupted someone who lacked his salary and quality of insurance.


The Kroger in the Northridge Shopping Center at 8331 Roswell Road.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A local Kroger’s closure announcement is being greeted with surprise by its landlord and anticipation from city officials seeking higher-end redevelopment on northern Roswell Road. Kroger has operated a supermarket at 8331 Roswell Road in the Northridge Shopping Center for more than 35 years, according to company spokesperson Felix Turner. But it will shutter the store effective Oct. 25. “The store has experienced declining sales and negative profit over an extended period of time and its closure is necessary to make Kroger more competitive in the market,” Turner said in an email. That suddenly leaves the 10.7-acre shopping center, between busy Northridge Road and Northridge Parkway, without its anchor tenant. To such officials as City Councilmember Ken Dishman, there’s a silver lining. The city has made a priority in its new land-use plan and zoning code of redeveloping Roswell Road’s older shopping centers and apartments into higher-end, mixed-use versions. “While we are disappointed for our good corporate citizens at Kroger,” Dishman said in an email, “we hope the closure will open the door to a large scale redevelopment of the entire shopping center property into a highly desirable use for our community.” “The property is zoned SX-3, Shopfront Mixed Use, and it could be an ideal location for an amazing mixed use project with town homes and higher end restaurants and retailers,” Dishman added, referring to the city’s new zoning code. The area of Northridge Road between Roswell Road and Ga. 400 has long been eyed by MARTA for a possible new station on its planned Red Line train extension, and the city has planned for redevelopment related to that. But residents in the area already have seen one promised shopping center redevelopment stall after an anchor tenant left. Big Lots left the North Springs shopping center at 7300 Roswell Road last year, but pollution cleanup at a former dry cleaning business is limiting the options and slowing reuse, Dishman and others have said. Meanwhile, Dominic Sabatini, the shopping center’s California-based owner, said he just wants another anchor store, pronto. “It’s kind of a shock, because Kroger doesn’t give you any hint of what their plans are,” said Sabatini, adding that Kroger previously told him that “sales have been going up every year for the last five years,” but the company felt it wasn’t making enough profit. He noted that Kroger had not renovated the store in about 15 years and said the rest of the complex is fully rented. As to what type of replacement tenant he’s considering, Sabatini said, “A grocer, preferably.” He noted the area’s apartments and highway access make it a good location for a supermarket. But Kroger’s move has him wondering about the grocery business. “If Kroger’s not doing good, I don’t know how the others are doing,” since it’s among the lower-priced chains, he said, noting that a Publix operates nearby. The German grocer Lidl earlier this year backed out of a plan to open in the North River Shopping Center, about a mile up the road from the Kroger, due to community pressure about traffic and its discount pricing. Sabatini said he has talked to city economic development department officials for advice and will meet with them shortly. Asked about any other planned store closures in metro Atlanta, Turner would only say that “at this time we have no further information” about such plans. Kroger operates two other Sandy Springs locations: One in the City Walk shopping center off Hammond Drive near Roswell Road, and another in the Fountain Oaks shopping center at 4920 Roswell Road, that street’s southern stretch. The City Walk location recently cut back its former 24-hour operations, and the Fountain Oaks location has a long-stalled expansion and renovation plan. SS

Public Safety | 31

OCTOBER 13 - 26, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information which represent some of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police between Sept. 22 and Oct 5.

R O B B E RY 6637 Roswell Road —A bank employ-

ee said a man came to the teller window on Sept. 22 and produced the traditional bank-robbery note that read, “Give me large bills only, no bait money, you have 30 seconds.” She did as she was told and the suspect left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. 8700 block of Roswell Road — On Sept.

24, a 29-year-old man reported he was in a Roswell bar and took a taxi into Sandy Springs. He wanted to stop at McDonalds but the driver did not, so the fare ended his ride somewhere near Dunwoody Place and Roswell Road. [Keep in mind this took place after 3:30 a.m.] The man said two men approached, showed a silver gun and demanded his money. He said he had none, so they took his phone. See why your mom said, “Nothing good happens after midnight?” Generally, it does not. 7700 block of Colquitt Road — On

Sept. 25, the 35-year-old victim said he was on the way to visit a friend at the apartment complex when two men in the breezeway area approached him. The two threatened him, and then stole his gold watch, diamond stud earrings, gold diamond ring and bracelet. No gun was seen nor implied. 2800 block of Spring Creek Lane — On

Oct. 5, a 29-year-old man said he and another occupant of an apartment were asleep just after midnight when two men kicked in the door and assaulted them. Neither victim required medical treatment.

B U R G L A RY 6900 block of Roswell Road — On

Sept. 23, the resident said she took her husband to work at about 10:30 a.m. When she returned, she noticed her rent money was missing, but she assumed her husband took it. Later, they noticed that shoes and a video game had been taken. There was no forced entry. 200 block of Green Hill Road — On

Sept. 24, the resident said someone came into the home through a forced (broken) window in the basement. It appears the burglar got inside, but took nothing. 6690 Roswell Road — On Sept. 26, of-

ficers met a man who said that he heard glass breaking at or near an Italian restaurant at about 4:30 a.m. He found an upstairs door ajar and glass on the floor. The items taken were not listed. The offiSS

cers were able to lift several fingerprints. Roswell Road — On Sept. 27, a 34-yearold male reported that someone forced entry to his apartment while he was out of town. Missing are two queensize mattresses, a MacBook Pro, Comcast cable box, and queensized sheets.

4000 block of Riverview Road — On

Oct. 2, a resident reported that a neighbor returned mail he found on an adjacent road. He believes mail was stolen from his box on or about Sept. 27.


220 Mt. Vernon Highway — On Oct. 2, a

construction employee at the City Springs site reported a Greenlee 855 pipe bender stolen sometime between Sept. 16 and 18.

Captain STEVE ROSE, SSPD srose@sandyspringsga.gov

6000 block of Sandy Springs Circle —

On Oct. 2, a bike shop’s alarm activated around 4 a.m. Officers found a broken window in what appeared to be an unsuccessful attempted burglary. 100 block of West Belle Isle Road —

On Oct. 5, someone kicked in the laundry room door and then attempted to pry the laundry coin machine. It isn’t known if the crook got any coin.


1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy 30328 1— On Oct.

2, a 30-year-old man reported his keys were stolen from his unlocked gym locker and later used to enter his car. His credit cards and $40 cash were taken from his wallet. Two cards were tried at a big-box store in Marietta, but both were declined. Chevaux Court— On Oct. 2, a resident

said several packages have been stolen from her mailbox over the past months, including a bracelet valued at more than $1,000. She said FEDEX delivered a package around 1:45 p.m. and when she returned home at 3 p.m., it was gone. On Oct. 2, a 36-year-old man reported his 2006 Lincoln Aviator stolen from the parking area of a university campus. 6000 block of Sandy Springs Circle —

Road — On Sept. 25, sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., someone accessed, by force, numerous mailboxes inside the apartment community mailbox center. 5900 block of Roswell Road — On

3100 River Exchange Drive — On Oct.

Sept. 25, an office manager for a dental practice said a former employee accessed her personal credit card and between June and August, ran up over $4,000 in charges. The same suspect is believed to have illegally used the dentist’s DEA number to write a barbiturate prescription for her husband. 5000 block of The Valley — On Sept.

26, a 37-year-old man said he rents his car out on a website called “Turo.” The victim agreed to rent the car for $2,000 for one month. After the suspect left with the car, the victim was told the credit card was stolen. The car is a 2015 BMW 328i. 500 block of Monterey Parkway — on

5580 Roswell Road — On Oct. 4, a

46-year-old man reported that his wallet apparently fell next to his car in the parking lot of his gym. He did not notice until after he left the gym. Someone found the wallet and turned it into the front desk, minus $1,000 cash and a blank check. His credit cards and ID were still in the wallet. 6350 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road — On

Oct. 5, a vendor at a discount big-box retailer, working a kiosk, observed a man take frozen crab cakes, enter the lunch room, heat the crab cakes, and then eat them, all without paying. He was later arrested for shoplifting the crab cakes.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES Between Sept. 22 and Sept. 27, eight

thefts from vehicles were reported. Five thefts from vehicles were reported between Oct. 2 and Oct. 4.

6600 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road —

On Oct. 3, a 33-year-old woman reported she observed a man reach through a partially opened window of her car and steal her Neiman Marcus purse and its contents. He fled in a gray Infinity with a red driveout tag.

5300 block of Peachtree-Dunwoody

money orders were cashed to the amount of just over $1,500.

ARRESTS 2090 Dunwoody Club Drive— On

Sept. 22, the employees of a bank called regarding a forgery in progress. Cops arrived minutes later and detained a man who had a check he wanted cashed for $2,370. The bank checked with the check’s issuer, who said the check was mailed to a company for $370, but never made it. The suspect was jailed on third degree forgery charges.

Abernathy / Wright Roads — On Sept. 4, an employee for an apartment com22, a traffic-unit officer conducted a speedplex reported a previous employee stole ing stop on a motorist going about 52 mph four Western Union money orders that in a 35 mph zone. The driver was identihad been submitted by apartment tenfied as being wanted on a fraud warrant ants. Apparently, the suspect convinced from Tyrone, Ga. He was arrested. two of the tenants to obtain blank money orders and give them to her. The READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT time span goes back to June of this year. The





Davis Development & Morrow Construction Company, Inc.


6075 Roswell Rd

Present Zoning:



To appeal the determination that apartments are charged commercial building permit fees.

her friend, “Big Ruff,” stole her car.

Public Hearing:

200 block of Dunwoody Creek Circle

Board of Appeals November 09, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

Sept. 26, a 32-year-old man reported his 2007 Honda Civic was stolen sometime between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. A 38-year-old woman reported that

— On Sept. 27, a 2010 Toyota Tundra truck was stolen from a residence sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

32 |

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A WEEK OF GOOD EATS From November 4-10, explore the city’s diverse culinary scene and enjoy exclusive, multi-course menus during Sandy Springs Restaurant Week 2017.

Don’t forget to savor, snap, tag and share your favorite eats on Facebook and Instagram: #SSRestaurantWeek


(2 courses): $10, $15, or $20


(3 courses): $25, $35, or $45 Plus Unique Offerings from local specialty food retailers – learn more online!

For participating restaurants and menus: visitsandysprings.org/restaurantweek Check out participating restaurants and menus at visitsandysprings.org/restaurantweek. ELEGANT ELF MARKETPLACE Work up an appetite for Restaurant Week and check off your holiday shopping list at the Elegant Elf Marketplace presented by the Sandy Springs Society on November 4-5, 2017.

Visit sandyspringssociety.org/the-elegant-elf/ for more information.


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