10-26-18 Buckhead Reporter

Page 1

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 • VOL. 9 — NO. 22


Dunwoody Reporter



► Voters Guide to ballot questions PAGE 4 ► Local candidates outline differences at Dunwoody forum PAGE 6

Prayers for pets

City cobbles together money for Brook Run Park upgrades BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Apollo the husky prepares to give Cynthia Juhasz a lick with the blessing of Rev. Kathy Brockman, associate pastor at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, during an Oct. 14 “Blessing of the Pets” at Brook Run Park. Sponsored by the UMC, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and Brook Run’s dog park, the event offered blessings to pets and people of all faiths, along with vendors, pet adoptions and other pet assistance.


Steaks and sides with Michel Arnette Page 18


The ‘Marsy’s Law’ ballot question: Pro & Con


Marsy’s Law would enforce a victim’s bill of rights Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem

See COMMENTARY, page 10

OUT & ABOUT Gear up for the holidays Page 16


The mayor and City Council approved a 2018 budget amendment at their Oct. 22 meeting that cobbles together around $7 million to be used for the first phase of Brook Run Park’s master plan, adding sports fields, a band shell and more. The mayor and City Council also approved next year’s $25 million city budget without any discussion as part of the consent agenda. The approximately $7 million approved as part of the 2018 budget amendment is for the first phase of Brook Run Park’s parks master plan. It includes the construction of two multiuse athletic fields, a band shell, renovation of the great lawn area, more parking and restroom facilities. Future phases of the See CITY on page 22

Code officer works to keep city ‘desirable’ BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Code Enforcement Officer James Lemoine snapped pictures of a half-dozen huge dirt piles dumped under Georgia Power Co. electric lines on a recent Friday. A resident had emailed the city the night before to complain. Before he finished, a dump truck filled with more dirt pulled onto the site off Mount Vernon Way. Lemoine intercepted the driver and learned that a homeowner was paying for the dirt to See CODE on page 23

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The new Brook Run Park baseball fields soon will have a paved parking lot off Barclay Drive. The paved parking lot was included in the original construction plans for the baseball fields to be built by Astra Construction. But the $173,000 Astra said it would cost to pave the lot was cut from the budget as the city faced overruns to build the two new fields, according to an Oct. 22 memo by Public Works Director Michael Smith to the City Council. An original estimate to build the fields came in at one time at $4.3 million, then jumped to $6.2 million and finally the council approved spending up to $5.7 million. Both fields were open by June. Public Works hired a company to install a temporary binder coat to the parking area for $22,550. In paving, the binder coat is the underlying asphalt base. The City Council has approved hiring Blount Construction, the city’s contracted paving company, to complete the full paving of the lot and some patching of Barclay Drive for $128,000. The savings to the city is $45,000, Smith stated in his memo.


The mayor and City Council awarded a $175,660 contract to Diversified Construction of Georgia to build a restroom facility at Windwood Hollow Park at its Oct. 22 meeting. The 11-acre park is located at 4865 Lakeside Drive and includes walking trails, tennis courts and a playground. The city budgeted $250,000 in the 2017 capital budget for the project.



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Examples of what an eco-classroom made from a recycled shipping container would look like were included in the Dunwoody Nature Center’s request for city funding.

B.E. Guthrie Construction Co. was awarded a $95,150 contract to build an “ecoclassroom” for the Dunwoody Nature Center during the City Council’s Oct. 22 meeting. The eco-classroom is so-called because it will be made from two reused shipping containers. It is replacing an aging cabin at the park. The eco-classroom will provide a place for meetings and activities for students and others visiting Dunwoody Park, where the Nature Center is located. The city this year awarded the DNC an $82,000 Facilities Improvement Partnership Program grant to pay for the eco-classroom. The Nature Center will reimburse the city the amount over the $82,000. The Nature Center and the city have a public-private partnership. The Nature Center is operated by a nonprofit organization on the city-owned park.


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Dunwoody Police officers will soon be able to train with a firearms simulator. The 180-degree, three-screen simulator puts officers in lifelike situations to test their skills in such areas as communication, de-escalating stressful incidents, and use of force, according to a memo to the City Council by Chief Billy Grogan. The simulator will cost $112,500 and includes equipment, training and an extended warranty. The city is using federal asset forfeiture funds to buy the equipment. The federal mon-


Community | 3

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net ey comes from the Department of Justice that it seizes as part of prosecuting federal crimes. Police officers are taken through various interactive scenarios being displayed on three screens. The police trainer has the ability to change the outcome of the scenario based on the officer’s response to what is happening on the screen, Grogan explained in the memo. Grogan said the police department also anticipates putting students in the Citizen Police Academy through several scenarios during each class “so they can better understand a police officer’s responsibility and the skills required to have successful outcomes.” The simulator will be installed on the second floor of the city’s annex building at 4470 Shallowford Road that is currently being renovated.


The city will hold its annual Veterans Day Tribute on Saturday, Nov. 10, 10-11 a.m. at Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road. The Veterans Day commemoration will honor those who served and currently serve in the United States Armed Forces. The event will take place at the Veterans Memorial at the park.

SANDY SPRINGS VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9, 2018 Join the City in honoring our country’s veterans with three familyfriendly events, all taking place at City Springs – 1 Galambos Way. VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE: 11:30 a.m. on the City Green: Keynote speaker, Retired USMCR Colonel Jim Bacchus, along with musical accompaniment by the 116th Army Band Brass Quintet. UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: Immediately following the Veterans Day Tribute, there will be a ceremonial cake cutting for the United States Marine Corps 243rd birthday inside the Performing Arts Center.




VETERANS DAY CONCERT: 7 p.m. on the City Green: Enjoy music under the stars featuring Yankton, a Nashville favorite with a set list including popular songs as well as patriotic anthems.


All of the events are free and open to the public. Parking is available on-site in the underground parking decks.



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VOTERS GUIDE Nov. 6 ballot questions

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Voters will face a bevy of ballot questions on Nov. 6, including constitutional amendments and statewide and local referendums. In various Reporter Newspapers communities, voters will see at least eight, and up to 12, questions on the ballot. The following is a guide to what they mean in plainer English.


Would direct up to 80 percent of sales tax revenue from sporting goods stores to a conservation-oriented trust fund. The Sandy Springs Conservancy is among the supporters.


Would create a statewide specialty court, with judges appointed by the governor rather than elected, to handle business-oriented disputes.

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Would alter an existing system of reduced taxation of large tracts of timberland that are under conservation agreements and a formula where the state reimburses local governments for some of the lost tax revenue. The amendment would raise some tax assessments under state collection authority, while reducing the required length of conservation agreements and creating a new, smaller class of tax-break-eligible timberland.


Also known as “Marsy’s Law,” this would give certain judicial system rights to people who report that they are crime victims, including the right to receive notice when their offender is released from prison, and invitations to participate in court hearings. Most of those rights already exist under state law, but would now be enshrined in the state Constitution. For pro-and-con commentary from advocates about this amendment, see ReporterNewspapers.net.


Would allow independent public school districts below the county level, but serving a majority of students, to call for a countywide, 1 percent sales tax referendum to fund building construction.

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Would limit property tax assessment to a 2.6 percent annual value increase for homeowners in a city that is in more than one county, pays a public transportation sales tax, and has an independent school district. In practice, this new homestead exemption is intended for Atlanta homeowners. But it was made a statewide referendum because lead sponsor state Rep. Beth Beskin, a Buckhead Republican, was unable to get the largely Democratic Atlanta delegation’s support for a local question.


Would allow nonprofit facilities that provide services to people with mental disabilities to have tax-exempt status when a for-profit business is among its owners due to financing and construction.

FULTON COUNTY QUESTIONS Voters in Fulton County, including Buckhead and Sandy Springs citizens, will have three countywide questions to decide.


Would repeal a state Constitutional provision that keeps the area along Fulton Industrial Boulevard in south Fulton as the county’s last unincorporated area. The repeal would open the area to annexation by Atlanta, the City of South Fulton or both, as both have previously attempted to do, creating a dispute that is pending in the state Supreme Court.


Would exempt homeowners over 65 years old from paying property taxes on the first $50,000 in assessed home value. That is a $20,000 increase for the Fulton County government portion of the tax bill.


Would cap the portion of property taxes that go to the Fulton County School System annually at 3 percent or the inflation rate, whichever is lesser.


Citizens in all four cities in Reporter Newspapers communities — Atlanta, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs — will vote on local questions that would authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants on Sundays starting at 11 a.m. rather than the current 12:30 p.m. The question would enact the so-called Brunch Bill legislation sponsored by state Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven/Sandy Springs).


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

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Atlanta voters will decide a question that would alter the current homestead exemption of the first $30,000 in assessed value for the APS portion of the tax bill. Homeowners would pay taxes on the first $10,000 in assessed value, but the exemption also is increased to $50,000. The new exemption system would last three years and has support from APS, which says it would reduce tax revenues by roughly $25 million that could be made up elsewhere. The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Buckhead/Sandy Springs).


Brookhaven voters will decide whether to authorize the city issuing a roughly $40 million bond to fund construction of improvements to several public parks. For pro-and-con commentaries from advocates on the issue, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

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Local GOP, Democrat candidates outline differences at Dunwoody forum


U.S. Rep. Karen Handel sat alone at a table set up for candidates at the Oct. 21 forum sponsored by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association because her challenger, Democrat Lucy McBath, declined to participate.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Candidates running for the state legislature staked out their party differences on such issues as education, Medicaid expansion and the state’s voting system during an Oct. 21 forum sponsored by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) and his Democrat challenger Sally Harrell, a former state House representative from Chamblee, appeared together at the forum in the hotly contested race for Senate District 40 that includes Dunwoody and portions of Brookhaven and Sandy Springs. Also participating in the forum were Republican Ken Wright and Democrat Mike Wilensky, both of Dunwoody, who are vying for the open seat left by state Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody). The race for House District 79 includes all of Dunwoody.

SD 40 and healthcare A key difference between Harrell and Millar is their stance on Medicaid expansion — she supports it, he does not. Georgia is one of 18 states that did not approve Medicaid expansion to low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Harrell said Medicaid expansion would provide healthcare to some 500,000 Georgians currently without any coverage. Medicaid expansion would also give rural hospitals the revenue they need to remain open, she said. “We pay federal taxes for Medicaid and we are not getting it back. Our money is going to other states,” she said. “It makes no sense.” Millar said the state would likely offer Medicaid waivers next year to stabilize premiums. He said he supported legislation to create a rural hospital tax credit that went into effect last year. The tax credit allows corporations and individuals to donate to qualifying rural hospitals to help them cover costs. Millar also noted that the Supreme Court recently ruled able-bodied people can be required to work or volunteer to receive Medicaid. “We can’t just have people be given something for nothing,” he said. “There’s a cost in everything.”

SD 40 and the voting process Millar said at the forum there is bipartisan support in the legislature for a voting system with a paper trail that includes a receipt given to voters, so they know their ballot was counted as they wanted. He noted a commission was formed this year to study paper ballots and next year there are plans to select a new voting system and have it in place by 2020. Harrell said she also supported a paper ballot system so voters can be assured they know how their votes are counted. She also said the state needs to address gerrymandering so people can feel as though their votes “make a difference.” “Voting integrity is the root of our democracy,” she said.

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), left, and Democrat Sally Harrell, served in the state House together from 1999 to 2005. Harrell is now opposing Millar in the state Senate District 40 race.

SD 40 and education Millar, chair of the Higher Education Committee and who served on Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission, boasted the legislature fully funded education this year. But he acknowledged the need to update the school funding formula. An updated formula, he said, would mostly help students with disabilities and include a factor for poverty. “How can you say you fully funded education when you don’t know how much it costs to educate a child?” Harrell shot back at Millar, referring to the state using the 1985 funding formula. “An entire generation of children have been shortchanged” due to $9.2 billion in education budget cuts over the past several years at the General Assembly, she said. She said many parents have told her they have pulled their children from public schools due to the budget cuts and were forced to find money to pay for private schools. “Public schools should be a viable option for everyone,” she said.

HANDEL MAKES HER CASE FOR CONGRESSIONAL RE-ELECTION U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, a Republican, appeared alone at the Oct. 21 Dunwoody Homeowners Association candidate forum. Her challenger, Democrat Lucy McBath, declined an invitation to participate, according to DHA President Adrienne Duncan. The 6th Congressional District includes portions of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven. Handel praised President Trump for his expected signature later this month on an opioids package passed with bipartisan support that includes $1 million to combat the opioids crisis in the 6th Congressional District. She said she supported “common sense gun legislation” that includes strengthened background checks and more mental health services. Handel was asked about the Central Americans making their way to the U.S. border in a migrant “caravan.” The caravan, she said, is “why we must fix our broken immigration system.” She addressed the country’s $779 billion deficit and said it includes some $100 billion in unplanned federal disaster relief. She said she supports a balanced budget amendment and a two-year budget cycle. McBath’s homestead exemption in Cobb County has been questioned by Handel. McBath moved to Tennessee where her husband lives in 2016 before moving back in 2017. Handel says her husband is claiming the exemptions in both states.

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Wilensky said he supports updating the Quality Basic Education formula, which determines the amount of state funding going to public schools by establishing a cost per student. The formula hasn’t been updated since 1985. Updating the formula, he said, would ensure more money to Dunwoody schools to alleviate overcrowding and maybe even eliminate trailers that crowd campuses. Wright said he also supports updating the QBE. He said he was the “poster boy” for local control — he helped lead the effort to incorporate Dunwoody — and would propose legislation for an independent school district. An independent school district is a “big hill to climb,” but he said he was told that Dunwoody would never become its own city. Wright said he believed the DeKalb County School District spent too much money on bureaucracy at its administrative offices and more of that money should be spent in Dunwoody.

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Republican Ken Wright, left, and Democrat Mike Wilensky participated in the Oct. 21 Dunwoody Homeowners Association forum. Both are vying for state Rep. Tom Taylor’s seat.

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HD 79 and the DeKalb delegation Wright said as a Republican, he would play a key role in stopping the Democratled DeKalb County delegation at the Gold Dome from passing “punitive” legislation against Dunwoody, specifically House Bill 244. Sponsored by state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), the bill would require newer cities, such as Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Tucker, to continue paying for DeKalb pension liabilities through property taxes. After the cities were incorporated, property taxes that went to pay for county services went instead to their municipalities. “I will fight it tooth and nail,” Wright said, calling the bill “punitive against Dunwoody.” “I will stand up and pull these punitive bills [from the DeKalb delegation],” Wright added. “They want to come after us as homeowners.” Wilensky said the pension bill is “heavily argued” at the DeKalb delegation. “This is very important to figure out,” Wilensky said. “We do not need to pay any money not owed.”

HD 79 and Dunwoody independent school district While an independent school district for Dunwoody is ideal, Wilensky said legislators must make priorities, and finding support in the General Assembly for this is “very, very difficult.” Taylor introduced a resolution for a constitutional amendment for the past several years to allow Dunwoody to separate from DeKalb Schools, but it has stalled.

Election Day is Nov. 6 Election Day arrives Nov. 6, when local voters will help to decide the race for governor, Congressional seats, many local state legislative races, and a bevy of ballot questions. For more about local candidates and their policy positions, see our Voters Guides and continuing coverage at ReporterNewspapers.net. For information about your polling place and elected officials, see the Georgia Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” at mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.



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SANGAM - World Music With No Boundaries November 17, 2018

Boston Brass: Christmas Bells are Swingin’ December 22, 2018

Roswell Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker November 23 – December 2, 2018

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra New Years Celebration December 31, 2018

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New Chamblee Doraville Community Improvement District raises hopes, concerns BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A new Chamblee Doraville Community Improvement District aims to boost local projects, including Chamblee’s downtown master plan and a connection to Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Greenway trail. But there is concern about what it will mean for Buford Highway’s famously diverse businesses, many of whom do not qualify to directly join the group of self-taxing property owners. Dan Reuter, a consultant working to form the CID sometime next year, says that members believe the two cities already have a lot of good plans in place and some strong assets, like the businesses, communities, highways and MARTA. The goal is to provide at least $1 million a year to help leverage more funding for them. “The area has a lot of functional infrastructure,” Reuter said. “It’s just not

stitched together very well.” And Reuter said the CID’s initial members — mostly large-scale real estate and car dealership operators — are aware they’re in “really the most mixedcultural, diverse area in metro Atlanta” and aim to be “grassroots and inclusive… [and] not get anyone worried about the intentions of the CID.” Marian Liou, executive director of the Buford Highway advocacy group We Love BuHi, called the CID an “exciting development,” but spoke cautiously about it as well. “Any transformation in Buford Highway’s outward form — for example, from a dangerous transportation corridor to a tree-lined boulevard — will be hollow unless we are intentional about sustaining its heart and soul and ensuring that its immigrant community can remain, adapt and thrive in place,” Liou said in an email. “What is Buford Highway, after all, without its people?”

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A CID is a fundraising mechanism allowed under Georgia law where commercial property owners can voluntarily agree to pay additional income Dan Reuter, a consultant to the Marian Liou, executive taxes that are new Chamblee Doraville CID. director of We Love BuHi. spent on improvements within a defined district. The imin just Chamblee and Doraville. provements are usually geared toward “We haven’t really sought to go into beautification, transportation and pubBrookhaven yet. That could happen lic safety. CIDs also can conduct plandown the road,” he said. “…It’s just a lot ning studies. more to bite off.” Some well-known and influential The CID’s proposed district roughly CIDs in the area include Buckhead in Atruns in the area between Buford Highlanta, Cumberland in Cobb County, and way and Peachtree Boulevard. To the the Perimeter CIDs, which cover parts northeast, border landmarks include of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy I-285 and the White Windmill Bakery. Springs in Perimeter Center. In 2016, a To the southwest, border landmarks innew CID was established anchored on clude the Plaza Fiesta mall and the new Doraville’s Assembly site. Whole Foods supermarket. The Chamblee Doraville CID has a “In theory … any commercial propercouple of points of origin. A CID was ty within Chamblee or Doraville could among the recommendations of a recent eventually be part of the CID,” Reuter Atlanta Regional Commission Livable said. Centers Initiative study of the Buford The additional property tax for CID Highway corridor in those cities. members is proposed at somewhere in The CID is more directly an outgrowth the range of 3 to 5 mills. Reuter said that, of the Peachtree Gateway Partnership, depending on which millage is chosen, which secretly formed in 2015 among that is projected to raise over $1 million city leaders of Chamblee, Doraville, to $2 million a year. “We wanted to have Brookhaven and Dunwoody. It was ina minimum of $1 million a year,” he said. tended as a joint planning and economic development authority, roughly centered on the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee. At that time, Reuter was on the ARC staff and worked on the PGP C ID FO UNDING M EM B ER S group’s formation. Officials from the PGP member citJimmy Ellis, Ellis Automotive ies still meet regularly, Reuter said, but Larry Callahan, there has been little in the way of formal Pattillo Industrial Real Estate results besides early talk of coordinating Vince Riggio, Trinity Development city multiuse trail plans. The group appears to have been more influential for networking and spin-off conversation, notably including a group of top end Perimeter cities and other CIDs collaborating on studying transit possibilities along I-285. A CID along the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area was another early idea in the PGP. Reuter said a “Peachtree Gateway CID” was the initial idea, but that property owners have settled on starting

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Special Section | 9



A map of the Peachtree Creek Greenway’s proposed route, connecting Doraville and Mercer University to Buckhead via Chamblee and Brookhaven.

The next step is to put together a formal plan to present for approval to the DeKalb County tax commissioner’s office, Reuter said. He expects that to happen in the first quarter of next year.

Greenway connections

Besides some general concepts of supporting existing city efforts, the CID has some specific intended priorities. Working on a plan to connect the Chamblee Rail Trail to Brookhaven’s Peachtree


1. Study “low-cost projects” to improve appearance, mobility and accessibility. 2. Landscaping and access improvements at I-285 interchanges with Peachtree Boulevard and Buford Highway. 3. Develop proposal to connect Chamblee Rail Trail with Peachtree Creek Greenway. 4. Branding and promotion in Buford Highway area. 5. Review transportation system and development needs in specific sub-areas. 6. Support Chamblee’s study of self-driving shuttles and other alternative transportation connections to MARTA.

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Creek Greenway is a big one. The Greenway is a concept for a 12-mile park and trail running along the creek and Buford Highway, eventually connecting Doraville and Mercer University to the Atlanta BeltLine and other trails in Buckhead. Brookhaven expects to break ground by year’s end on a “model mile” of the Greenway. Reuter said the Greenway is a “project that is inspiring a lot of people right now. ... If we were able to have the CID advance connections from Chamblee’s downtown and Doraville’s downtown

to the Peachtree Creek Greenway, you could ride a bike all the way from Chamblee to the BeltLine.” But the Greenway is also among the projects raising concerns about gentrification and displacement on Buford Highway. Liou, who served on the Buford Highway LCI that recommended the CID’s formation, said she has discussed the community’s preservation with organizers. “I’m optimistic after hearing from CID organizers that they fully recognize Buford Highway’s unique character and its small, immigrant-owned businesses as intrinsic and valuable to the CID’s identity and mission,” Liou said. “Undoubtedly the organizers will not avail themselves of Buford Highway’s longheld reputation as an ‘International District’ without fully informing, including and incentivizing the participation and leadership in the CID effort of the immigrants who make this place amazing.” For more information about the CID, see PeachtreeGatewayPartnership.com.

10 | Commentary

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Commentary / The pros and cons of ‘Marsy’s Law’ The Nov. 6 ballot includes, as Question 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment that “provides rights for victims of crime in the judicial process.” The Reporter Newspapers asked two advocates to explain the pro and con arguments on the question, which is commonly known as “Marsy’s Law.”

Marsy’s Law would enforce a victim’s bill of rights This November, when you head to the polls, you will not only be voting on your legislators; you will also be asked to vote on a number of state and local measures. One section of the ballot will include five statewide constitutional amendments. Of these five, the fourth amendment, is a victims’ rights initiative known as “Marsy’s Law.” Here’s a brief description of this amendment and the reasons why I supported it in the state Senate. The purpose of “Marsy’s Law” is to outline a victim’s bill of rights to ensure that victims are aware of any information pertinent to their offender in a court case. It will give victims the right to know information about the case and the offender and the right to be heard through the criminal process. Victims will have the right to request the court and release dates of their offenders; the right to be notified of any rulings

in the case; and the right to decide whether or not they want to be part of the criminal proceedings. Companion legislation also allows victims to petition prosecuting attorneys in writing to be notified of all proceedings. Under current statute, these rights are present, but not enforced. By putting “Marsy’s Law” into the state Constitution, we are ensuring that victims of a crime have rights and can use their voices to be made certain that their rights are adhered to. Because this amendment deals with the rights of criminals and victims, I want to assure you that this is a measure to protect victims and will not create a layer of legal issues. This law will not undermine defendants’ rights or law enforcements’ authority. The sole intention behind this measure is to ensure that victims feel safe by know-

ing the status of their offender through each step of the legal process. I hope that this gives you insight on why I supported the legislation known State Sen. Elena Parent as “Marsy’s (D-Atlanta) represents Law” and the 42nd District, includhow I believe ing part of Brookhaven. that Amendment Four will allow victims of a crime to meaningfully participate in criminal proceedings, have their voices heard, and ensure that courts are held accountable in enabling victims to feel protected.

Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem November ballots in six states, Georgia among them, include a referendum on whether to add to those state constitutions a victims’ bill of rights commonly known as Marsy’s Law. It’s likely to pass; no right-thinking person would vote against victims’ rights. But in Georgia, where the statutory crime victim’s bill of rights is acknowledged as one of the strongest in the nation, a constitutional amendment is a solution in search of a problem. Marsy’s Law is an initiative begun and heavily funded by California billionaire Henry Nicholas, whose sister, Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, died after being shot in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend. Marsy’s brother told the Los Angeles Times: “After the funeral service, we were driving home and stopped at a market so my mother could just run in and get a loaf of bread. And there in the checkout line was my sister’s murderer, glowering at her.” He said the family was not told the accused killer had made bail; there was no obligation by the state or court to inform the family. Nicholas funded a ballot initiative that led to a 2008 California constitutional amendment. In 2009, he founded Marsy’s Law for All, whose goal is to add victims’ rights to all state constitutions and, eventually, to the U.S. Constitution. Voters in Illinois, Ohio, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota passed constitutional amendments. A Montana court tossed its version out. South Dakota’s leg-

islature and Marsy’s Law advocates renegotiated after the amendment passed with costly, unintended consequences, including hindering the press. In South Dakota and North Dakota, some officers are claiming “victim” status to shield their identity after shootings. Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma are next. A Kentucky judge has already ruled the amendment is so vaguely worded that the vote will not be certified, noting, “The electorate cannot be expected to vote on a constitutional amendment of which they are not adequately informed of the substance.” The Marsy’s Law for All mantra is, inexplicably, “equal rights for crime victims,” as if crime victims are less equal under the Constitution. Victims of crime were shepherded across Georgia and into the state Capitol to share how the justice system let them down. Heart-wrenching campaign ads feature victims, while advocates and lobbyists argue a constitutional amendment is needed to add heft to statutory victim protections. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation warned in 2017 of the unintended consequences of the Senate’s initial legislation. The subsequent bicameral compromise is less harmful. Now, a victim (broadly defined) would “opt in” to be informed of case proceedings. If they are not informed, they have a right to be heard in court. Georgia legislators are justifiably proud of their hard-won, nationally recognized advances in criminal justice re-

forms, accepting since 2011 that it’s time to get “smart on crime.” In a state where one person in 13 is under some form of correctional supervision, separating justice from vengeance is crucial; it’s perhaps why Lady Justice is blindfolded. Georgia’s Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights has been in force Benita Dodd is vice presisince 1995. dent of the Georgia Public Georgia state Policy Foundation, a nonRep. Manprofit, non-partisan redi Ballinger, search institute that proa former vicmotes economic freedom tims’ rights and limited government. advocate, asserted, “Georgia has one of the strongest victims’ rights statutes in the country.” The state also has a Victim Information Program and metro counties participate in the VINELink victim information network. If the system is letting down some victims and alleged victims, the solution would be to repair the system. Instead, Georgia wants voters to sign off on a potential new problem by experimenting with evolving proposals and enshrine victims’ “equal rights” in the state Constitution, where problems become even more difficult to fix. BH

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OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Around Town

Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

The season for haunted lawns returns The dragon is back. It spreads its bright yellow wings in Blair and Alex Garrett’s front yard in Brookhaven. It’s been there since October flew in. Blair wanted to put the inflatable dragon out in her yard in September, but her husband said no. That was just too early, he said, to decorate for Halloween. Don’t tell that to Anthony Cabrera. He spends the whole year planning his Halloween decorations and starts building stuff about Labor Day. “Over the course of the year, I experiment with stuff like, ‘What would make a good-looking wall in an asylum?’ he said. “The more time I have, the crazier it gets.” Once the big day itself arrives, Cabrera, a corporate lawyer, expects hundreds to tramp through his home — so many, in fact, that he’s turned his annual display into a fundraiser to buy toys for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Last year, 900 people stopped by to see his Halloween decorations. The time has come again to dress up our houses for the holidays. Forget autumn leaves. Around here, the real sign of fall is the coming of the jack-o’-lanterns. October is the month when faded bedsheets turn JOE EARLE Blair and Alex Garrett pose with the into ghosts and hang in trees, subdragon in their Brookhaven yard. urban yards sprout gravestones and oversized spider webs, and green isn’t the color of the lawn, but of a witch’s warty skin as she pulls Reese’s Pieces from her cauldron. In Sandy Springs, some of those witches gather at the Hammond Hills home of Sallie Duncan. She started her Halloween tradition shortly after she moved into the neighborhood more than 20 years ago. Now, Duncan attracts packs of trick-or-treaters every year. “It sort of developed and grew over the years,” she said. Does she plan to decorate again this year? “Do you think I have a choice?” she said. “If I didn’t do it, I think I’d get egged.” Duncan says she waits until the last minute to set up her decorations. Through the years, she has pulled together a corps of friends who dress up as witches and help out by working the door and escorting trick-or-treaters through what Duncan described as “less a haunted house than a haunted dining room.” “I think the adults like it as much as the kids,” she said. Cabrera’s not satisfied with a single room of scary stuff. He uses the entire first floor of his Cobb County home and his garage for his homemade Halloween haunts, which he calls The House of Unhappy Pumpkins. Each year’s display has a theme: a haunted hotel, a swamp. This year it’s “Lily’s Sanatorium,” named for his 17-year-old daughter, he said. “My wife says this is pretty crazy,” he said. But it can draw a crowd. Last year, visitors to the Cabrera family home at 1260 Grand View Drive contributed thousands of dollars for Christmas toys for young patients at CHOA, he said. To raise the money during “a dark holiday like Halloween, it makes us feel good,” he said. In Brookhaven, the Garretts just enjoy watching neighborhood kids gather to watch the dragon. The Garretts live at the corner of Mathews Street and Thornwell Drive in a neighborhood with a lot of kids. They’ve decorated their yard with lights and a giant spider web and spider and a few gravestones, but it’s the dragon that pulls the crowds. “It’s kind of cool to have a 15-foot dragon in your yard,” Alex Garrett said. The Garretts started decorating for Halloween shortly after they moved into their neighborhood about five years ago. “It keeps growing and growing,” Blair Garrett said. They don’t have kids themselves (“That’s the biggest question we get: ‘Your kids must love it?’” Alex Garrett said. “Nope. No kids.”), so they say the monsters referred to by the sign next to their front door announcing “the home of the Wicked Witch and her little monsters” refers to their two dogs, Lucy and Charlie. And, yes, the dogs dress up for Halloween. Blair Garrett caught the holiday decorating bug when she was growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her mother loved to decorate for the holidays and her uncle strung colored lights on his fishing boat for holiday parades. “My family was really big into Halloween,” she said. “My mother was a schoolteacher. They’re really big into decorations.” The Garretts work in finance. She analyzes businesses and he’s a financial advisor, so decorating the house gives them a break. “I look at spreadsheets all day, so I enjoy doing something creative,” Blair Garrett said. It’s not just Halloween. October just kicks off the house decorating season. Thanksgiving follows and then there are decoration-friendly holidays lined up into next year and orange and black will give way to red and green. “I go pretty much nuts during Christmas,” Blair Garrett admitted. BH

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Spruill Center says it may have to add classrooms outside city BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Will everything be OK at the Spruill Center for the Arts? Only with a better deal, says its director. The iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural on Ashford-Dunwoody Road next to the Spruill Art Gallery is a key element of the city’s identity. But the nonprofit organization that owns it, Spruill Center for the Arts, says it’s squeezed for space and might have to expand outside Dunwoody without a better deal from the city for classroom space. Spruill Center Executive Director Bob Kinsey raised the of issue of relocating at a recent City Council meeting, but is now saying he meant only a possible classroom expansion could go outside Dunwoody. Kinsey said he has received interest from Sandy Springs and Brookhaven officials about providing space in their cities for the nonprofit to expand its arts classes. He says there is an immediate need for more space at its home on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. One council member is now asking why the nonprofit hasn’t used the property it owns on Ashford-Dunwoody Road where a hotel and restaurant are now located to find extra space. The Spruill Center for the Arts is based at the city-owned North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. Overcrowding at that site — where ceramics, jewelry making, drawing, painting and other arts classes are taught — is forcing its board to find more room. This time, that space could be outside Dunwoody. Last month, Kinsey was appointed to Brookhaven’s Arts Advisory Council, tasked to identify and evaluate potential public, performing, visual and cultural art projects for the city. Kinsey said there are currently no plans to move the education center that has been in the Chamblee-Dunwoody location since the 1980s. The Spruill Center currently pays the city $40,000 a year in rent to use the facility. But being forced to consistently turn people away does not allow the Spruill Center to fulfill its mission of teaching art to those who want to learn, he said. “We want to be the best arts organization we can be,” Kinsey said. Councilmember Terry Nall questioned why the Spruill Center board decided to lease its land on AshfordDunwoody Road to the developer of a Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center/Dunwoody and Fogo de Chao restaurant. “They had space available,” Nall said.

“They opted to use that land for other uses. I’m having a hard time understanding why they suggest they’re out of space.” Kinsey would not reveal how much money the Spruill Center is getting from its ground lease to the developer of the property. He said the rent money helps sustain the gallery, its staff and exhibits. Previous attempts by the Spruill Center to raise about $1 million to build at the site failed, he said. To locate at the Ashford-Dunwoody property now would cost the Spruill Center about $100,000 a year in market-rate rent, he added, and the center does not have that kind of money. Kinsey said he is hoping the Spruill Center can soon obtain a long-term lease at the city-owned facility through the recently established Public Facilities Authority.

The Spruill Center can only lease from the City Council for a year at a time. The facilities authority allows governments to lease to nonprofits for as much as 40 years at a time. The Dunwoody Nature Center recently obtained a 40-year lease through the authority as part of its capital campaign efforts to raise money to build a new building at city-owned Dunwoody Park. If the Spruill Center can get the longterm lease on Chamblee-Dunwoody, and the city can agree to allow the Spruill Center to permanently take over two community meeting rooms at the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Building and find a new home for the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild, then the desired extra classes can be taught in those spaces,

Kinsey said. The Spruill Center needs the assurance it would have those extra classroom spaces in order to outfit the spaces with special equipment needed for ceramics and jewelry making, he added. The community rooms are currently leased by local groups. The Dunwoody Homeowners Association, for example, uses one of the community rooms every month for its board meetings. The city would then have to find a new location for such groups to meet. The Spruill Center is also prepared to sink thousands of dollars of its own money into potentially building out more space at the building in the near future, he said.


Left, Spruill Center for the Arts Executive Director Bob Kinsey. Bottom, Students work on jewelry creations at a Spruill Center for the Arts jewelry making class. Below, North DeKalb Cultural Arts Building.


OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net


| 13

14 | Community

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City questions I-285/Ga. 400 toll lanes plan BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

City Council members are raising serious concerns about the state’s plan for new I-285 and Ga. 400 toll lanes that would tower over local neighborhoods and bring more cars into neighborhoods as commuters find ways to access them. And so far, the state has few answers. Tim Matthews, a project manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation, was peppered with questions by the council at its Oct. 22 meeting in other areas as well, including how to mitigate the loud noise emanating from the new toll lanes. Proposed bus rapid transit running on the Ga. 400 toll lanes was another subject of questions. Where access points will be for the I-285 toll lanes is already a serious point of contention. The city of Sandy Springs has asked GDOT to move a proposed access point from Mount Vernon Highway to Hammond Drive. But that would likely result in more traffic on Dunwoody’s surface streets, according to city officials.


The new “managed lanes” for Ga. 400 run on elevated ramps in this sample concept design from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Matthew said GDOT continues to talk to Sandy Springs, Perimeter Community Improvement Districts and Dunwoody officials about that access point as cities lobby their positions. “Our preference is Mount Vernon,” Matthews said. “Sandy Springs asked

us to look at it. It’s important to remember this [project] has a regional impact and is not just at the local level.” Councilmember Terry Nall said commuters from surrounding cities will be driving through the city to get to the new toll lanes, creating a “burden on lo-

cal communities to improve their surface streets.” He asked if GDOT would be helping cities pay for street repairs. Matthews said that is unknown.

After Transform 285/400 The Georgia Department of Trans-

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Community | 15

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

portation is currently more than a Matthews explained GDOT is curyear into its “Transform 285/400” projrently proposing running buses on toll ect, which is essentially reorganizing lanes that are proposed to be added to and rebuilding the I-285/Ga. 400 interthe I-285/Ga. 400 interchange over the change to make traffic flow faster and next decade. Gov. Nathan Deal recentsafer. That project, set to finish in 2020, ly approved $100 million in bond fundOur Network is a comprehensive team of clinicians offering a full spectrum of sports has drawn public attention for largeing for the bus rapid transit “infrastrucmedicine services to prevent and treat injuries, improve performance and keep athletes and active people of all ages and skill levels at the top of their game. scale tree removal for additional highture.” way lanes and for the reconstruction of Mayor Denis Shortal asked who services: the Mount Vernon overpass bridge. would pay for BRT transfer stations. But Transform 285/400 is only the Matthews explained GDOT is restrict• Comprehensive Concussion Program • Orthopedic Sports Medicine beginning. The managed lanes are a ed to spending money on bridges and • Non-Operative Sports Medicine separate project that would add even roads. Building and maintaining trans• Ortho Biologics more lanes — four on each highway fer stations from BRT to MARTA would • Performance — in construction that could take a be the responsibility of local jurisdic• Injury Prevention decade. The concept of the project is tions, he said. • Sports Nutrition to allow toll-paying drivers to speed “We better start passing the hat,” through the interchange in dedicated, Shortal said. 3 convenient offices entirely separate lanes. Shortal is part of a group of local ofin the atlanta community: The Ga. 400 managed lanes are tenficials who are discussing I-285 tranbuckhead tatively slated to come first, with a consit possibilities and co-funding a study. 3280 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 160 Atlanta, GA 30305 struction start in 2021 and opening in The group includes mayors or oth2024. They would run between I-285 er officials from Brookhaven, Sandy midtown — or possibly a bit farther south at the Springs, Chamblee, Doraville, Smyr1110 West Peachtree Street NW, Suite 950 Atlanta, GA 30309 Medical Center area — and Alpharetna, Tucker and PCID and Cumberland ta’s McFarland Parkway. Community Improvement Districts. sandy springs 960 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 915 On I-285, the lanes would run beThe group contracted recently with Atlanta, GA 30342 tween I-75 in Cobb County and I-85’s Kimley-Horn Associates to conduct a Spaghetti Junction, with other segtransit study for their cities and the imCall 1-855-NH-SPORT (855-647-7678) to schedule an ments to the east and west extending pact of the I-285 toll lanes and analyze appointment with one of our experts. near I-20. Construction could start in BRT. Visit us online for information on our 7 other locations: 2023 and opening could come in 2028. SportsMedicine.Northside.com On stretches where there is not room to add surface lanes — including Ga. 400 between I-285 and Spalding Drive — the lanes would be built on elevated ramps that would be at least 30 to 40 feet tall and go even higher over interchanges. The elevated lanes on I-285 would tower over a Georgetown townhome community where Chamblee-Dunwoody Road meets I-285, Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said. She said she gets calls every week from Georgetown residents wondering what is happening Hurry, receive up to a and where the elevated toll lanes will * mail-in rebate go. on select Bosch Benchmark® Matthews said GDOT is still defining series kitchen packages. its designs as it works to minimize imValid from 10/1/2018 - 12/31/2018 pacts on residents and businesses. Environmental studies are underway for I-285, Matthews said, which will also dictate how GDOT will address noise mitigation. 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16 | Out & About

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KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY NOVEMBER 1, 2018 Direct from our sister cities in Israel’s Western Galilee, experience Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, one of the leading dance companies in the world. Let your ticket be your passport to this internationally acclaimed performance!




Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Produced by the work of more than 400 volunteers and with more than 240 artisans and crafters from around the Southeast, this event supports Marist School programs. Visit Holiday Tradition’s Cooked Goose Café for homemade corn chowder. Event admission: $5. No strollers. Marist School, 3790 AshfordDunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. Free shuttle service at Perimeter Summit, 2002 Summit Boulevard, Brookhaven. Info: marist.com/holidaytraditions.


Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (“Evening of Elegance,” Thursday, Nov. 8, 6:30-10 p.m.) This eighth annual event presented by the Sandy Springs Society features more than 90 vendors’ handcrafted artistic and gourmet creations and author book



signings. Proceeds support the society’s grant program for community nonprofits. $5. An “Evening of Elegance” on Nov. 8 includes dinner, auctions and music. $115. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Registration and other info: sandyspringssociety.org/the-elegant-elf.


Saturday, Nov. 10, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This 27th annual Dunwoody United Methodist Church indoor event features more than 100 juried artisans. All proceeds benefit Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Shop for holiday gifts, buy Casseroles-to-Go and find garage saletype treasures. Silent auction bidding is already underway online at DUMCfest18. givesmart.com. Pancake Breakfast from 7:30-10 a.m., children’s activities, photos with Santa, BBQ and Chick-fil-A lunch. Free; fee for select children’s activities. Parking on site and at 100 Ashford Center North with a shuttle running from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: facebook.com/DUMCholidayfestival.


Sunday, Nov. 11, 4-5 p.m. The Virginia-Highland Chamber Music Society, featuring soprano Brianna Gilliam, pianist Randy Elkins, and Karen Zgonc on flute, performs at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. $5; free for OUMA members. 4484 Peachtree Road NE, Brookhaven. Info: connect.oglethorpe.edu/event/2794427.

NOV 11 • DEC 9 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.


Sunday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb partners with local congregations and others to provide emergency shelter and self-sufficiency solutions for homeless families with children. All proceeds from the fundraising concert, co-hosted by St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church and Peachtree Road Lutheran Church, benefit Family Promise. $20 donation suggested. St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 1978 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770609-5407 or FamilyPromiseNFD.org.

Art & Entertainment | 17

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


$5 for members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Reservations suggested: 404-814-4150 or online at AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Lectures.



Sunday, Nov. 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom hosts a Mah Jongg tournament with co-sponsor ORT Atlanta. Limited seating. $36 includes catered lunch and prizes. 5303 Winters Chapel Road, Dunwoody. Register: tinyurl.com/atlmajmad.


Saturday, Nov. 3, 7-10 p.m. A second annual evening of fundraising for Prevent Blindness Georgia includes a silent auction, music, cocktails and dinner. Last year’s event helped PBG screen 11,150 children for sight-stealing eye conditions and provide 22 vision clinics to adults in need. InterContinental Hotel Buckhead, 3315 Peachtree Road N.E., Buckhead. Ticket info: georgia.preventblindness.org/night-sightgala.




Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11, 3 p.m. Paddle quietly along the Chattahoochee River and take in the vibrant colors of the trees on these final opportunities to paddle with the Chattahoochee Nature Center until next spring. Ages 6+. $35; $30 CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Advance registration required: 770-992-2055 x237 or scheduling@chattnaturecenter.org. Register online: tinyurl.com/jvvooed.

Saturday, Nov. 10, 7-10:30 p.m. Good Mews, a no-kill, cage-free cat shelter, hosts its annual fall gala and auction at the Hyatt Regency at Villa Christina. This year’s theme, “30s For Our 30th,” commemorates the shelter’s 30th year of operation. 1930s era attire is encouraged. Live jazz, dinner and a presentation by Sterling “TrapKing” Davis of TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions. 4000 Summit Boulevard, Brookhaven. Ticket info: goodmews.org.


Saturday, Nov. 3, 7:30 a.m. This Peachtree Road Race qualifying event benefits programs at St. Martin’s Episcopal School including rebuilding efforts for the Early Childhood Building which was severely damaged by arson in July 2017. Post-race celebration with music, food, and an award ceremony. $20 and up. 3110-A Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Register: Search for “Warrior 5K” on RaceRoster.com.




Sunday, Nov. 4, 3-4 p.m. Join Bike-Walk Dunwoody on the first Sunday of each month for a community bicycle ride. The event starts at 2:45 p.m. at Village Burger on Dunwoody Village Parkway with a short pre-ride safety talk. Riders depart at 3 p.m. for a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody. All ages and abilities welcome. Helmets required. Free. Hang out after the ride for $1 custards, $1 off beers, and post-ride socializing at Village Burger, 1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.


Saturday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to noon. Chattahoochee Nature Center Horticulturist Julie Hollingsworth-Hogg helps you discover native plants you can grow in your yard for beautiful autumn plant displays. Ages 16+. $25; $20 CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Advance registration required: 770-992-2055 x237 or scheduling@chattnaturecenter.org. Register online: ecommerce.chattnaturecenter.org.


Wednesday, Nov. 7, 9:30 a.m. Diana Toma, an artist and instructor who uses a free-flowing approach in her acrylic and watercolor paintings, is featured speaker for the association’s November meeting. The monthly meeting begins with refreshments and social time followed by the program at 9:45 a.m. Free. Open to all interested artists. Spruill Arts Center, Room 4, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyfineart.org.


Thursday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m. Bestselling author Winston Groom appears at the Atlanta History Center to discuss his book “The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won WWII.” Groom is the author of 18 previous books, including “Forrest Gump,” “The Generals,” and “The Aviators.” $10,

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18 | Food & Drink

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Steaks and sides with restaurateur Michel Arnette BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Restaurateur Michel Arnette made a name for himself with his restaurants in Brookhaven — Haven, Valenzo and Vero — all located on bustling Dresden Drive and part of the Word of Mouth Restaurants group. He chose Brookhaven again to open his newest restaurant, Arnette’s Chop Shop, last year in the renovated Bagcraft Papercon building on Apple Valley Road in a complex named Apple Valley Brookhaven. Chef Stephen Herman, Arnette’s business partner, moved from Haven to Arnette’s Chop Shop, but is also the culinary executive director for all Word of Mouth restaurants. Arnette already has a fifth restaurant in the works, on Peachtree Road at the edge of Chamblee and Brookhaven. The concept is named The Royal, he said, and is a “blend of upscale diner meets roadhouse grill.” The site is an old gas station and the interior and exterior design “will be influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s

creative style,” he said. A longtime Brookhaven resident, he now lives in Sandy Springs.

Q: Why did you decide

Q: What do you like about Brookhaven? A: I’ve always loved its diversity of neigh-

A: I felt we had done

borhoods. You have Historic Brookhaven that borders with Lynwood Park and reaches to Brittany. Then, there is gentrified Brookhaven, which comprises Ashford Park, Brookhaven Fields, Brookhaven Heights and Drew Valley, which blends into Buford Highway.

Q: What prompted you

to open your restaurants on Dresden Drive?

A: My family lived in Ashford Park and I would drive Dresden Drive every day headed to Buckhead for work. Something kept telling me that this is where it begins. I had dreams of a warm and cozy little neighborhood restaurant where I could feed the soul of the community. I met the developer, Dan Woodley, and the rest is just a wonderful journey where we are still making our history.

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to open Arnette’s Chop Shop on Apple Valley?

our work to bring attention to Dresden Drive. [Apple Valley Brookhaven] thrives as a wonderful mixed-use vibrant community center in the heart of our neighborhood. It was time to branch out. ApANGIE WEBB CREATIVE A variety of steaks highlight the menu at Arnette’s Chop Shop in ple Valley feels like that edgy enclave in Brookhaven, from dry aged strip steaks to Wagyu flat iron steaks. Brookhaven ripe for new development. It has that Inman Park and West Midtown vibe. How do you like your steak cooked? What sides and wine do you prefer with a steak dinner? What do you like and appreciate about Chef Herman? I am a fan of wet aging and love a prime



A: Stephen has been with me since the be-

ginning. He is first a wonderful friend and a great partner. I trust him implicitly and he is skilled and gifted with creative culinary talents that I do not possess. I learned early in my career to surround myself with humble and trustworthy people and provide an environment for them to thrive.


Do you think the restaurant scene is picking up outside the Atlanta intown area?


The restaurant scene certainly has grown outside of the Perimeter. I believe it is due to urban sprawl and the planned home communities that have developed in the last 20 years. People also don’t want to deal with the traffic after a commute to and from work.


What do you think of Brookhaven’s place in the metro Atlanta food scene?

A: My thought is Brookhaven

1Q.com/reporter or text REPORTER to 86312

has been a suburb of Atlanta. You could say the same of Buckhead some 25 to 30 years ago. It takes time and the efforts of many people for a neighborhood, and now a city, to become a dining destination. I like the word “destination” in dining destination. It’s derived from the word destiny. Most restaurateurs want a location that already has a built-in market; it is just safer. It is something special when you believe you have the ability to create the destination. I sure hope we are doing our part!


rib eye steak served up just past medium rare. Add just about any kind of potato and anything green and I’m happy. As for beverage, I am a fan of a good pinot noir, burgundy or Brunello di Montalcino.

Q: Are you personally a good cook? A: Let’s get real here, I am educated in the

business of fine cuisine, but you do not want me cooking! I leave that to the talents of my chefs and my wife, who is an excellent cook.

Art & Entertainment | 19

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Book Festival of the MJCCA set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 18 The 27th annual Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) is set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 18 with some of the nation’s bestselling authors. This year’s event features more than 45 authors, including Oscarwinning actor Tom Hanks (Oct. 30), former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Nov. 3), and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Nov. 4). Most events will be held at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Some other authors scheduled to appear during the festival proper include Anna Quindlen, Stuart Eizenstat, director Kenny Leon, Jon Meacham, Liane Moriarty and NPR’s Peter Sagal. “Included in our exciting lineup are some of Atlanta’s best local authors presenting their work,” said Book Festival Co-Chair Susie Hyman in a press release. “Additionally, I am thrilled that we will bring back our ‘In Con-

versation’ interviews between authors and local journalists; as well as various events with book clubs from throughout the city.” Individual tickets and series passes are available. Some events are free. For the complete lineup and tickets, call 678-812-4005 or see atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.

WEEK 2018

20 | Education

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Aditya Barot, a sophomore at Dunwoody High School, used his passion for computer science to teach himself how to build a phone app, using most of his summer to build a game and publish it. Aditya has been invested in coding and app design from a very early age. He and his friends would often discuss their interest in the field and their plans to one day develop apps of their own, he said. He finished his first app earlier this year. Called Pixel.Jump, the app is a game where you must maneuver triangles at an accelerating speed. Although science, technology, engineering and math programs, often called STEM, are rapidly growing at both public and private schools, Dunwoody High does not yet offer many classes that teach the skills Aditya wanted to learn, so he set out on his own. “I would sign up for classes such as intro to digital technology or computer science, which I am taking this year, but I found that I didn’t learn much about programming other than the absolute basics,” Aditya said. Aditya, however, did not allow that to stop him. He began teaching himself to code and design as a freshman, often using sources such as YouTube tutorials and educational websites like Code Academy when he got stuck or needed help. Those tools paired with his extensive background in robotics helped him successfully learn the skill by himself. Developing Pixel.Jump took Aditya almost all summer. He started in late May, with sleepless nights and long days. “When I really got into it, I would spend hours working each day,” he said. Although the actual designing and building of Pixel.Jump wasn’t completely smooth sailing, the real challenge was getting it published. His major setback was not being able to publish the app as a minor, but his parents helped him work a way around the strict guidelines and he was able to publish it on the iPhone app store. “I’m glad I worked hard on it because, in the end, it paid off,” he said.

Standout Student

What’s next?

Aditya hopes to attend Georgia Institute of Technology after graduating high school. He also plans to have his own app development or design company. “It’d be really cool to have a company of my own, where I’m in charge,” he said. This article was written and reported by Halimah Budeir, a junior at Fulton Science Academy and a Dunwoody resident. Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.

Classifieds | 21

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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22 | Community

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City cobbles together money for Brook Run Park upgrades Continued from page 1 master plan could include the addition of a splash pad and arboretum, but there’s been no discussion by council on how to fund those projects. City consultants this summer estimated the first phase budget at $7.5 million and presented that number to the council. The council directed the consultants to continue searching for ways to shave off as much money as possible. Final approval by the council of the first phase of the Brook Run Park project list is expected to be done by December. If that happens, construction could start in early 2019. No timeline for when construction would wrap up has been discussed. The 2019 budget originally had $3 million for Brook Run Park, but that was eliminated after the park funding was approved in the 2018 budget amendment. The largest single source of the funding approved in the budget amendment is $2.88 million from a $4 million parks bond settlement the city received from DeKalb County. Dunwoody sued DeKalb County for $7 million in 2010,

claiming the county promised $11.5 million toward improvements in Brook Run Park as part of a $96 million bond package approved in 2005. The county only spent $4 million, according to city officials. The city dropped its lawsuit and settled with DeKalb for $4 million in 2015. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to use some of the money to build what is now Pernoshal Park on North Shallowford Road. Slightly more than $2 million to pay for Brook Run Park phase one master plan projects is patched together from general fund savings, including: ■ $1 million from real property tax ■ $300,000 from franchise fees [collected from utilities for use of right of way] ■ $140,000 from building structures and equipment ■ $290,500 from reduced expenses from regular salaries ■ $21,000 from reduced expenses of overtime salaries ■ $101,000 from reduced group insurance ■ $4,500 from reduced

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Medicare expenses ■ $63,000 from reduced retirement expenses “We watched our pennies and nickels for years for this [Brook Run Park project] for all of the citizens of Dunwoody,” Councilmember John Heneghan said. Another $1.45 million is coming from the homestead option sales tax. That includes $1 million in HOST reserves and $450,000 in unbudgeted HOST revenue collected in January, February and March. HOST set aside 80 percent for property tax relief for homeowners and 20 percent for capital projects. When SPLOST was approved by DeKalb voters last year, HOST was eliminated as of March 31 and replaced with the equalized homestead option sales tax. The EHOST froze city and county property tax values for the next six years while the SPLOST is in place, with 100 percent of EHOST revenue going toward property tax relief. The city is slated to receive about $6.5 million in SPLOST money next year and about $42 million over the six years of the SPLOST. But that money can only be used for public safety and transportation projects, with a small amount allowed to be used to maintain existing capital projects. The money cannot be used to build new capital projects, such as parks. State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) authored the SPLOST legislation with help from DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. Millar said he did not want

any of the SPLOST revenue to be used for capital projects specifically so that DeKalb County could not build a government complex on Memorial Drive.

2019 budget The approved 2019 budget includes $3.1 million for city paving; $1.85 million for improvements to Roberts Drive including sidewalks as part of the construction of the new Austin Elementary School; and $643,905 of SPLOST money to replace police vehicles. Other projected funding amounts include: General fund, $25 million; E911, $1.225 million; hotel-motel tax, $4.05 million; SPLOST fund, $6.53 million; debt service fund, $585,202; capital projects fund, $6.7 million; stormwater fund, $2.15 million. In the $25 million general fund, the budget is broken down by departments, including: $9.5 million for Police; $5.53 million for Finance and Administration; $2.62 million for Public Works; $2.8 million for Parks and Recreation; and $1.95 million for Community Development. The budget eliminates the Facilities Improvement Partnership Program and rolls that money into the Parks and Recreation Department. For many years, the council budgeted about $250,000 for FIPP and invited nonprofit groups, such as the Dunwoody Nature Center, the Spruill Center for the Arts and the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, to apply for grants to make upgrades or repairs to their buildings.

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Community | 23

OCT. 26 - NOV. 8, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Code officer works to keep city ‘desirable’ Continued from page 1 level out a lot without a required permit. Lemoine turned the truck away and said his boss, Land Development Officer and Arborist Amanda Corr, would likely shut the project down. Just a typical Friday morning in Dunwoody as a code enforcement officer, he said with a laugh. Lemoine has been working as a code enforcement office for the city just over year. He previously worked in Norcross and Lawrenceville. The type of complaints code enforcement officers handle varies with each city and with different demographics, he said. “Here it is signs galore,” he said. On that morning, he was responding to complaints about movie production signs in the right of way and a sign posted to a utility pole in Dunwoody Village. During an annual report presentation to the City Council earlier this month, Lemoine said code enforcement removed approximately 1,500 signs from city right of way in the last year. “I pulled some political signs from the right of the way the day before yesterday and there are more again,” he said while driving along Ashford-Dunwoody Road. “Different candidates though,” he said. “It’s a daily ongoing battle during political season.” The job is much more than signs. Regular stops at the construction of Dunwoody Village townhomes ensure the developer is following proper erosion controls. A recent violation led to water contaminated with silt and construction debris seeping into a public creek behind the development. A new company recently purchased the project, he said, and they are much better at following the strict erosion control guidelines — including a wellmade detention pond that keeps stormwater on site and not in public streams. Residents can make code enforcement complaints via the city’s website, or by calling the department and leaving a message. Emails are often sent to him and the community development director, he said. And many complaints are received from City Council members forwarding messages they receive from residents. “I like not sitting at a desk every day. I like to get out in the field,” he said. “This job is not monotonous. It’s challenging but rewarding.” Last year, 44 citations were issued in Dunwoody totaling nearly $22,000 in fines. BH

With a contractor, they would be given an immediate citation because they know better. Sometimes the only way to make them comply is to make it cost money. JAMES LEMOINE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

Lemoine emphasized that his job is not about targeting people or businesses. “We don’t want to be Big Brother, but we also want to keep Dunwoody a desirable place to live and visit,” he said. As for the piles of dirt, Lemoine said the city prefers to work with homeowners without citing them for violations. They are not as aware of the rules as


Top, at the Dunwoody Village townhome development, Code Enforcement Officer James Lemoine makes sure proper erosion control is in place. Above, code enforcement officer James Lemoine tells a truck driver he is not allowed to dump dirt on the site without a permit.

contractors, he said. “With a contractor, they would be given an immediate citation because they know better,” he said. “Sometimes the only way to make them comply is to make it cost money.” While he may be well aware of what code violations are, he is not immune to making his own mistakes, he said. He had a code enforcement officer

come to his home in Gwinnett County to tell him his trash cans were in the wrong place. The code prohibited trash cans from being visible from the street. He moved the cans behind a pile of cut wood. “You’ve got to follow the rules just like everyone else,” he said.

24 |

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