Dunwoody Reporter - November 2020

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NOVEMBER 2020 • VOL. 11 — NO. 11

Dunwoody Reporter WORTH KNOWING

A PATH400 worker’s trail to a second chance P19

Perimeter Business

Shop local for the holidays ►

PAGES 7-10

Find Your Wings


Giving thanks in a time of crisis P16


“Find Your Wings” by Christopher Michaels at the Spruill Gallery’s smokehouse is the first in a new series of rotating works that replaces the iconic mural “Everything Will Be OK.” See story, p. 27 ►

Time for Perimeter cities to plan together? P20

The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

Baseball league objects to city’s athletic field proposal BY ERIN SCHILLING A plan to give equal treatment to athletic associations using the city’s public fields has Dunwoody Senior Baseball reeling at the idea of losing its responsibility of managing the new, artificial turf fields at Brook Run Park. The City Council has proposed an “Ath-

letic Association Manual” to create consistent policies for different organizations that want to use city sports fields. The city would take over maintenance costs with the athletic facilities in exchange for rental fees from the organizations that want to use them. The creation of the manual comes after a city audit found discrepancies on how DSB league officials handle money. The new rental fees proposed by the city

would increase fees for families participating in the league, said DSB President Jerry Weiner said, and he doesn’t think the city would be able to manage the fields as well as DSB. “We believe we can take every dollar of revenue and return a higher percentage of that to the city than they can themselves,” Weiner told the Dunwoody Homeowners See BASEBALL on page 30


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City Council awards CARES Act grants to eight nonprofits

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The City Council on Oct. 26 awarded $50,000 grants to eight not-for-profit organizations that serve vulnerable members of the city’s population. Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki said the original budget from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for the grants was set at $300,000. Another $100,000 was designated from the city’s contingency fund to make awards to all eight organizations. The city will have its applications and requirements for small business CARES Act relief assistance at its next meeting on Nov. 9, Mayor Lynn Deutsch said. About two weeks ago the city sent out a call for applications for grants between $10,000 and $50,000, he said. The grantees help those who are homeless, food deprived or have mental health issues, he said. Grant awards were made to: ■

Community Assistance Center: rent reimbursement for Dunwoody residents

Corners Outreach: educational efforts, rent relief and food

Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb: expenses for families for hotel rooms, childcare services and enhanced cleaning

I Care Atlanta: food purchases, vehicle expenses for food donation pickups and deliveries

Jewish Family & Career Services: mental health services and food pantry expansion

Malachi’s Storehouse: food, increased freezer capacity and utility costs

The Summit Counseling Center: client assistance funds

Society of St. Vincent de Paul: rent/utility reimbursement for Dunwoody residents

Community Assistance Center CEO to retire BY JOHN RUCH Tamara Carrera, who has led the Community Assistance Center since 1997, has announced her retirement. Carrera plans to remain on board until a new CEO is in place, according to a press release. CAC is a nonprofit that helps people at risk of homelessness and hunger in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. It is based in Sandy Springs’ North End. It was founded in 1987 by 10 local religious congregations of various faiths “looking to provide and centralize assistance to address growing poverty in the community despite the area’s developing affluSPECIAL ence,” the release said. Tamara Carrera. According to the press release, Carrera was the driving force behind CAC’s growth from a small charity initially housed at a scout hut at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church campus, providing food and clothing to about 280 families a year, to the go-to emergency assistance agency in the community serving more than 6,500 individuals a year from 3,000 households. The organization has seen a massive increase in demand during the pandemic. Carrera joined CAC as a volunteer in 1993, an in 1997 was hired as its fourth director. “Tamara’s outstanding leadership has put CAC on the national map as an exemplary model of a successful nonprofit assistance agency,” said CAC Board President Nancy Berger. “For 23 years, Tamara has championed the needs of our lower-income families and those who fall on hard times. She will be missed at CAC and in the community.” The CAC’s board of directors “has been hard at work for over a year getting ready for this transition,” according to the press release. A formal search was expected to begin in early November. DUN


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Charter Commission suggests changes to city elections, pay BY ERIN SCHILLING AND BOB PEPALIS The Dunwoody Charter Commission in October made several recommendations to change the way city leaders are elected, sworn in and paid. The charter commission is a group of appointed residents who review the laws that empower the city and make recommendations for changes to the Georgia General Assembly. The commission was scheduled to complete its work in a final meeting on Nov. 2. A report created from its review of the charter and including its suggestions for changes will immediately be forwarded to the City Council. The council will submit its desired changes to the Georgia General Assembly.

Election by plurality City Council candidates could be elected with less than a majority of the vote under a recommendation from the commission, which rejected a similar proposal for mayoral candidates. Currently, candidates for mayor and City Council must receive a majority of the votes — 50% plus one — to win the office. If no candidate wins the majority, a runoff

ing “the first regularly scheduled meeting in January” after an election year. The meeting would be called to order by the outgoing mayor and ended by the incoming mayor.

Mayoral emergency powers The commission also passed a recommendation to grant the mayor emergency powers. Under another commission recommendation, the mayor would be able to enact emergency orders if the council declares a state of emergency. Wittenstein said that change came from the city’s inability to enact a curfew during nationwide protests against racial injustice earlier in the year. The council would be able to adopt an ordinance in a called meeting to declare a state of emergency, which would be valid for 30 days unless renewed if the commission’s recommendation is passed. During those 30 days, the mayor could “implement and enforce emergency orders to protect life, safety and property” and could suspend regular city business if it “would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency or disaster.”

election is held. The Commission recommended a legal change that would allow City Council candidates to win with a 45% plurality of the vote. At an Oct. 19 meeting, the commission rejected a similar change for mayoral elections. The commission’s own vote on the mayoral election proposal lacked a majority, with the proposal failing on a 2-2 tie. Commission Chair Robert Wittenstein and Commissioner Amy Swygert voted in favor, and Commissioners Wayne Radloff and Anne Hicks voted in opposition. Marian Avise was not present for the meeting. “I would strongly prefer for it to be consistent between the City Council members and the mayor,” said Swygert. Radloff said he prefers that the mayor be elected by a majority, even though he understood how inefficient a runoff election can be. Commissioner Anne Hicks said in her research she found only one other city that used the plurality method. She said voters could lose confidence in the mayor if the winner wasn’t chosen by a majority.

Salary adjustments The commission recommended adding a provision to adjust the mayor and council’s


the Park

salaries for inflation, an idea taken from the Sandy Springs city charter. In addition to the salary, the charter currently allows for $5,000 in annual expenses for the mayor and $3,000 in expenses for each council member. The commission recommends removing those amounts for expenses and instead allowing the council

What do you see?

to pass an ordinance “for the reimbursement of expenses actually and necessarily incurred by the mayor and members of the city council in carrying out their official duties.” The salaries are recommended to remain the same. The mayor makes $16,000 annually and council members make $12,000.

Swearing-in date Under the current charter, the council meets on the “first working day in January” after an election year to swear in the new mayor and council members. The commission recommended the swearing-in ceremony should take place dur-


Demolition of the former Austin Elementary School on Roberts Drive will create 12 acres of additional park space in Dunwoody. The City of Dunwoody is looking for public input to develop park plans for the site What kind of park would you like to see? Visit dunwoodyga.gov/austinplan or use this link to learn more and to take a survey about ideas and funding options. *The survey will close on Nov. 6, 2020.

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Breaking down Georgia’s health coverage plan after Medicaid waiver is granted BY ANDY MILLER Federal health officials gave formal approval Oct. 15 to Gov. Brian Kemp’s request for a waiver to expand health coverage options for low-income Georgians. States have to seek federal permission for changes in certain healthcare programs, and Gov. Kemp submitted two proposals for federal waivers several months ago. The plan under the newly granted Medicaid waiver is called Pathways, and it would increase eligibility for uninsured single adults with incomes up to 100% of poverty, about $12,000 annually. There are strict eligibility rules, called “qualifying activities,’’ where an individual must fulfill at least one. These include working at least 80 hours a month. Because of those restrictions, Georgia officials have estimated that about 50,000 people will get coverage through Pathways. Critics, including many Democrats, note that this number is just a fraction of the 500,000 who would get coverage through a standard Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicaid expansion has been adopted by 38 states but has consistently been rejected by Georgia’s Republican-led government, whose leaders say it would be too costly. State leaders celebrated the federal approval at a Capitol ceremony Oct. 15. Kemp, citing Georgia’s high uninsured rate, said “the status quo is simply unacceptable.” Too many Georgians, he said, can’t afford healthcare coverage. The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, attended the ceremony, praising Georgia’s “market-driven, innovative approach.” Kemp administration officials say the goal of Pathways is to get a person started with Medicaid coverage, then, as the person’s income increases, to move the person to employer coverage or to an individual policy purchased on the insurance exchange. The second waiver request is for a plan called Access, which would feature “reinsurance’’ and a new portal for individuals enrolling in coverage for individuals. The feds have completed their review of that plan, and state officials expect it to be approved in the coming days. Premiums should fall under reinsurance by an average of 10% for people seeking individual and family policies, Kemp administration officials say. Reinsurance has been adopted in about a dozen states and has broad support, even from those who generally oppose Kemp’s waiver plans. The Medicaid waiver approval comes

as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many Georgians to lose jobs and employer health insurance. Two new national studies have estimated that 6 million to 8 million Americans have slipped into poverty in the past few months during the pandemic. Georgia’s uninsured rate, which at 13% is third-highest in the nation, has undoubtedly increased since COVID-19 has gripped the state. And the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case next month, supported by Georgia’s attorney general among others, asking that the ACA be overturned. If that were to occur, the Access waiver would die along with the health law, but Georgia officials insist that the Medicaid eligibility changes would continue in any case.

Would expansion be better?

The Medicaid waiver plan is set to begin in July 2021. The qualifying activity for that coverage includes meeting the work threshold, or education, job training, volunteering or other eligibility standards. The state would pay for a person’s employer-sponsored insurance or enroll the person in Medicaid. The new enrollee will be required to pay a nominal premium, based on a sliding fee scale. “Georgia Pathways is a ‘hand up’ for hard-working Georgians in our state who are more than deserving,’’ Kemp has said. Kemp administration officials estimate the cost of the two waivers at $218 million, comparing it to their estimate of $547 million for a full Medicaid expansion. But the latter figure doesn’t include the savings in state spending that expansion would provide. Those savings were included in a 2019 fiscal note, requested by Democratic state legislators, that put the cost of Medicaid expansion at $148 million and cover up to 526,000 people in the first year. The estimates for the cost and impact of expansion increase to up to $213 million in fiscal 2022, covering as many as 598,000 people, according to the fiscal note. Any increase in insurance coverage is a good thing, said Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University. But he adds, “It’s hard to figure this [waiver] as fiscally responsible.’’ “The state is overpaying for the results and underappreciating the potential of Medicaid expansion,’’ Custer said. Tracking people’s hours of work, Custer added, would be a documentation burden for both the state and the individual. Federal courts have vacated other states’ waiver plans imposing work requirements, finding that CMS did not

show how such policies could be consistent with Medicaid’s objectives. But Kemp administration officials insist that what’s being contemplated here is not a work requirement, but one of a group of qualifying activities. Laura Harker of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, which supports Medicaid expansion, points out that the Georgia waiver will not receive the 90% federal match that an expansion would provide. The latter, she said, “would bring billions

Those premium reductions from this change may be 5% in metro Atlanta, where there is currently more competition among insurers, but 25% in markets that have a lone carrier offering coverage. The more controversial part of this waiver would launch a new platform for people to sign up for insurance coverage. Healthcare.gov, the current government portal for ACA plans, would be replaced by a system that would allow people to enroll directly with insurers, with

The state is overpaying for the results and underappreciating the potential of Medicaid expansion. BILL CUSTER HEALTH INSURANCE EXPERT

of new dollars into our healthcare system at a critical moment.’’

Arguments over website

The Kemp administration says the 1332 Access waiver will help promote competition among insurance companies, reduce premiums and streamline enrollment for coverage. Officials say 53% of counties in Georgia have just a single insurer selling policies through the health insurance exchange, which was created by the ACA for people who don’t have job-based or government coverage. The Kemp administration said that 129,000 Georgians left the exchange from 2016 through 2019. But Custer noted that those years were a period of economic growth, when many people may have obtained job-based insurance. It was also when Congress scrapped the ACA’s tax penalty on people failing to buy health insurance. The Kemp plan is to market the new program statewide to the uninsured, especially those who qualify for a subsidized exchange plan with no premiums but haven’t signed up for one. Reinsurance, which would go live in January 2022, aims to stabilize health insurance premiums by capping the cost that insurers incur in covering people with high medical costs.

local brokers or agents, or through private-sector broker sites. The current system is “clunky and cumbersome,’’ said Ryan Loke, healthcare adviser to the governor. What’s envisioned is a set-up something like the commercial travel site hotels.com. People seeking insurance would be given options beyond ACA-qualified health plans. Georgians would also get information about short-term health plans and catastrophic health plans, which may not have the entire array of benefits that the ACA plans guarantee. These plans may not cover pre-existing health conditions. Kemp, though, said people with health conditions would be protected: “Junk insurance is not an option.” Critics worry about the state abandoning the current website. “Separating Georgia from healthcare.gov puts people with pre-existing conditions, rural Georgians, and people of color at unnecessary risk of enrolling in substandard health insurance or becoming uninsured altogether,” said Laura Colbert of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future. The switchover from one portal to another would bring ‘‘heavy, heavy IT costs,’’ said Georgia State’s Custer. This story was reported by Georgia Health News and published here in a partnership with Reporter Newspapers. DUN


Community | 5


City spends $152K on legal defense for police complaints, may pay over $50K more BY ERIN SCHILLING AND JOHN RUCH The city has spent nearly $153,000 this year to defend against one lawsuit and three other complaints alleging sexual harassment and other issues in the police department. And it is prepared to spend another $50,000 or more in a contract approved by the City Council Oct. 12. City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said the city may be able to get the legal expenses reimbursed by insurance. Attorney R. Read Gignilliat of the Atlanta firm Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp and Wilson is representing the city. As of Oct. 16, the city this year had already paid the firm $152,832, according to Boettcher. Those payments were made as part of a professional services contract that did not require council approval, she said. Gignilliat has represented the city in various employment matters since its founding in 2008. The new contract for Gignilliat’s services will last one year, according to City Manager Eric Linton. Under the contract, Gignilliat will charge the city $315 per hour, which is discounted from his normal rate of $490 per hour. The city anticipates that those rates could cost $50,000 or more. Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki said the council needs to approve any contract where spending is $50,000 or more. Boettcher said the council’s approval provided an “extra layer of transparency” to the issue. Former Dunwoody Police Officer Roger Halstead filed a law-

suit July 7 that claims that former police Lt. Fidel Espinoza sexually harassed him and demanded sexual materials in exchange for work benefits, then arranged for retaliatory firing and blackballing by other departments. Civilian transport officer Brian Bolden claims Espinoza bullied and sexually harassed him and falsely accused him of theft. Gignilliat will defend against Halstead’s lawsuit and a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed by Bolden, according to the contract. Two other people have filed intent-to-sue notices regarding Espinoza, which Gignilliat will also handle. Former officer Austin Handle claims misconduct and retaliation against him from the department’s command staff. Officer Bryan Castellanos alleged Espinoza also sexually harassed him by sending and demanding sexual photos and videos. Police Chief Billy Grogan issued an investigative report that ruled the substance of Halstead and Bolden’s claims to be untrue or unproven. Gignilliat wrote the city’s response to Handle’s complaint, which denied all his claims. Gignilliat has successfully represented employers before such bodies as the Georgia Supreme Court, according to the firm’s website. According to media reports, his work includes repreSPECIAL senting the city of Thomson, Georgia, in a 2018 wrongful-termiAttorney R. Read Gignilliat. nation lawsuit from a former police captain, and advising the Gwinnett County ethics board in the 2017 case of a county commissioner who called U.S. Rep. John Lewis a “racist pig.”

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City Council grapples with housing density in Dunwoody Village rezoning BY ERIN SCHILLING The City Council wants redevelopment in the Dunwoody Village Overlay to include housing — just not 3,000 residential units. That was the dilemma Mayor Lynn Deutsch and the council discussed during an Oct. 7 special-called work session to hash out a rezoning plan for the Dunwoody Village Overlay, which they want to be a more urban and “energized” area. Deutsch and other council members agreed that people need to live within Dunwoody Village to give it more character and spur shopping and retail development. But the council balked at the possibility of having up to 3,000 residential units within the Village, which city Community Development Director Richard McLeod said is the maximum number the rezoning would allow. “It is the commercial center of Dunwoody,” Deutsch said. “How do we come up with a plan that gets us where we want without the potential of 3,000 units of housing?” The council and staff never agreed on a solution on how to both encourage and regulate housing in the Village. But staff is set to bring back a rezoning plan for a council vote at either the Oct. 26 or Nov. 9 meetings. The city started a zoning rewrite of the 165-acre Dun-

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woody Village Overlay to create a more walkable, bikeable downtown in an area that is considered by many as the heart of the city and covers the intersection of Chamblee-Dunwoody and Mount Vernon roads. The rewrite is considered a long-term plan to have in place for when new developments may come to Dunwoody Village but does not propose specific projects. The Dunwoody Village Overlay now includes three suburban shopping centers with expansive surface parking lots; several auto-repair shops and gas stations; office buildings; banks; and the Dunwoody United Methodist Church. McLeod said the possibility of all developers coming into the area and building the maximum amount of residential units is not realistic, but Deutsch said she didn’t want to find out whether that would actually happen. “We just have to communicate carefully to developers,” Deutsch said. “I understand we need to have some housing in the Village because we don’t get the amenities we want without housing. We need more people that live there.” The Dunwoody Village Overlay rezoning would create four separate districts with different land uses: DV-1 is Village Commercial; DV-2 is Village Office; DV-3 is Village Residential; and DV-4 is Village Center. Building heights would range from three stories closer to single-family neighborhoods to five stories in the central area of Dunwoody Village. Owner-occupied multifamily units would be allowed in all districts, and townhomes would only be allowed in Village Commercial and Village Residential, said Caleb Racicot, a TSW consultant who is working on the rewrite. Any rental units would require a special land use permit approved by council. Density would be regulated by building height. Racicot said the zoning for downtown Alpharetta, which the council looked to as an example, requires a special land-use permit for all multifamily housing because of that city’s concerns about density. Brookhaven allows a “relatively low” number of housing units per acre near the Brookhaven-Ogelthorpe MARTA Station and Dresden Drive and requires a special land use permit to go above that number. Racicot said both those cities had similar concerns about residential density as Dunwoody, so those would be possible solutions. “Legally I think having a special land use permit for all multifamily housing is the cleanest,” said Racicot, who noted that regulating density was a “policy decision” for council members to decide. Councilmember Tom Lambert and Pam Tallmadge suggested there could be a cap on housing units within the different zoning districts of the Village to regulated density. Council members also suggested they want to see other types of housing, such as those geared toward older people or duplexes. DUN


Perimeter Business | 7


Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

November 2020 | Pandemic-Era Holidays

For the pandemic holiday, shop local and shop early BY JOHN RUCH

tions due to the uncertainties of supplies and pandemic precautions. “Home for the holidays” will be the theme for shoppers in ways that have pros and cons for local businesses, Bowman said in an email. “Those who shop in-person will visit fewer stores (something we have been seeing in grocery) and travel shorter distances for shopping (which should help small local retailers),” he said. Market surveys predict a small uptick in holiday spending over last year, Bowman said. Households that kept their income intact through the pandemic may now have more spending power due to fewer expenses for commuting, vacations and work lunches. But the spending may still be on the low end. Bowman cited a recent survey by

decrease from last year. The pandemic is hitting the brakes on some recent gift trends, like buying “experiences” such as spa visits and concert tickets, Bowman said. And it may create others, like people buying more gifts for themselves, “especially work-from-home items for those who are finally realizing this is lasting longer than expected.” Home holiday lighting and decorations should see a boost, too. With those trends in mind, here are some gift suggestions from local retailers.

Shop local and shop early. That’s the message from retailers for those fortunate enough to be seeking holiday gifts in a season gone haywire from the COVID-19 pandemic. Buying locally has the obvious benefit of supporting the economy here at home at a time when stores are struggling. Several local retailers offer their gift suggestions below. Shopping early isn’t just about convenience. The pandemic has disrupted wholesaler supply chains, pushed delivHome cooking ery services to their limit, and forced safeThe Atlanta History Center’s museum ty precautions that could mean long lines shop remains open during the pandemand limited access to stores. ic, with many gift items for sale. For hol“As you may have heard, retail stores iday shopping, the museum recommendare a mess this year,” Buckhead’s Kazoo ed a book about home cooking and local Toys warns on its website. “... It’s important for holiday shoppers to be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping -- you may find nothing but empty store shelves and shipping delays.” Douglas Bowman, a professor of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, says he wouldn’t be surprised to see Left, “Nathalie Dupree’s Favorite Stories and Recipes” is available at the Atlanta History Center. large malls doing Right, the Toniebox lets kids hear recorded stories without going online and is available from Kazoo Toys. timed-entry ticketing for shoppers as the holidays get closer. He noted that the market research firm Morning Conflavor: “Nathalie Dupree’s Favorite Stories Walmart has set an industry standard by sult showed 24% of consumers expect to and Recipes,” by the renowned Southern spreading the typical Black Friday over spend less than $100 on holiday gifts -- a cuisine chef who ran a restaurant in Sothree dates in November. He also points 5-point increase from last year. Another out that many retailers aren’t saying yet 19% plan to spend over $500 -- a 6-point Continued on page 9 what their plans are for December opera-

A booming business of yard displays is a sign of the times

Stacie Francombe, founder and CEO of Sign Greeters.


BY JOHN RUCH As 2020 dawned and “coronavirus” was just a word in international news briefs, Stacie Francombe was working in the wedding industry, helping to market tuxedos. Now the Sandy Springs resident is wrapping up the year as CEO of her own business, renting celebratory yard signs to pandemic-era partiers, which in a few months has expanded to 11 states. Call it a sign of the times. Or more specifically, Sign Greeters. “Like millions of Americans, I was laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, unfortunately, from my corporateworld job,” Francombe said in a phone interview. In search of a Plan B, she relied on an entrepreneurial background to find a timely opportunity. “I really wanted to do something that was really going to help people like myContinued on page 10

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New businesses in Reporter communities BY JOHN RUCH While the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the local economy and put a hold on traditional ribbon-cutting ceremonies, some new businesses are still opening their doors. The following businesses recently joined the community. C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar, Modera Sandy Springs, 6125 Roswell Road, Suite 700, Sandy Springs. Info: candsoysterbar.com. Cubanos ATL, restaurant, 6450 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: cubanosatl.com. Framebridge Buckhead, custom framing, Shops Around Lenox, 3400 Around Lenox Road, Buckhead. Info: framebridge.com. Garnet Gal’s Coffee Shop & Bakery, Lenox Village, 2770 Lenox Road, Suite B-4, Buckhead. Info: garnetgalscoffesshop.com. LAKE Atlanta, clothing, Paces Ferry Plaza, 3519-B Northside Parkway, Buckhead. Info: lakepajamas.com. Weinberg Elder Law, law firm, 10 Glenlake Parkway, Suite 130, Sandy Springs. Info: weinbergelderlaw.com. Yebo Beach Haus, restaurant, relocated to Andrews Square, 56 East Andrews Drive, Buckhead. Info: yebobeachhaus.com. Celebrating the Sept. 23 ribbon-cutting of Peers Empowering Peers, a recovery services organization at 7770 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, are, from left, Jeff Breedlove of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse; Amanda Ippolito and Emanuel Hargrove of PEP; GCSA Project Director Emily Ribblett; and PEP Executive Director Paul Thompson. Info: peersempoweringpeers.org. SPECIAL


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Perimeter Business | 9


For the pandemic holiday, shop local and shop early Continued from page 7 cial Circle, Ga. “Atlantans especially will love all the local history, people and places that weave its way through her stories that tell how Dupree helped put both Southern foodways and the Atlanta food scene on the map,” says Kate Whitman, the History Center’s vice president of author talks and community engagement. The museum shop is within the Atlanta History Center at 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

Kids’ stuff One thing that a pandemic won’t change about holiday shopping: Kids still want toys. Kazoo Toys in Buckhead has plenty of recommendations for all ages groups and is offering one-person-at-atime shopping for pandemic safety. A recommendation for ages 8 and up is a gift that could keep on giving: a pottery wheel from Mindware ($84.99), which comes with everything kids need to make their own art objects from clay. For kids ages 3-5, a popular toy is the Toniebox ($99.99), a speaker that plays recorded stories without connecting to the

internet -- thus avoiding any unwanted surprises about adult content or hackers. Kazoo Toys is in the Powers Ferry Square shopping center at 3718 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: kazootoysatlanta.com.

Shirts and More in Dunwoody is adding face masks to the collection as well. “Masks are getting customized, and we’ve printed quite a few for the quarantine birthday parties or small gatherings,” says owner Tracey Carothers. Prices vary by type of clothing and design. The store is offering a free printed mask with any customized sweatshirt. Big Frog is located at 1400 Dunwoody Village Parkway. Info: bigfrog.com/dunwoody.


Spending time with nature is a great alternative to pandemic lockdowns. Buckhead’s Wild Birds Unlimited offers gifts that can bring wildlife a little closer to home. For novice birdwatchers, the store has a “Flying Start Combo”for $14.97, which includes three types of bird food and a free feeder. Wild Birds Unlimited is at 4279 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: atlanta.wbu.com.

◄Home decor

Custom shirts and masks T-shirts and sweatshirts with customized designs have become popular gift items for sharing a child’s artwork or celebrating family unity. Big Frog Custom T-

Home redecoration and renovation have seen a boom as the pandemic has many people staring at their rooms all day. Kudzu and Company, a furnishings shop in Sandy Springs, has items that can serve as individual gifts or be assembled into decor for a room. One set suggested by the store is a Thymes simmered-cider candle ($48), a box of Darling inscribed matches ($4), a silver picture frame ($41) and greenery in a decorative container ($167). Kudzu and Company is located at 6450 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. Info: kudzuandcompany.com.

10 | Perimeter Business

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A booming business of yard displays is a sign of the times Continued from page 7


A publicity photo of a Sign Greeters birthday display.

self who had recently been laid off, along with helping people who were stuck at home,” she said. She hit upon the pandemic trend of yard signs, a popular way for people to express themselves in the era of social distancing. Such signs have popped up everywhere, from thank-yous to healthcare workers outside hospitals, to congratulations for Class of 2020 seniors celebrating via car parades, to the “Everything Will Be OK” artist fundraiser based on an iconic Dunwoody mural. The sign business was a fit for Francombe’s background in marketing and events. A former CNN producer and writer, she had started her own production company, then moved into the wedding industry, where she started a national TV show and website for brides. In recent years, she also ran the Maccabi Games sporting event at Dunwoody’s Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Francombe had a connection in the sign distribution business, and partnered with Ivonne Simon, a corporate recruiter in Coral Springs, Florida and a friend of 28 years. And so was born Sign Greeters, which rents and arranges customized yard-sign displays for holidays, birthdays and other celebrations.



PREMIER EXHIBITION SERIES SUPPORTERS The Antinori Foundation Sarah and Jim Kennedy Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot


CONTRIBUTING EXHIBITION SERIES SUPPORTERS Lucinda W. Bunnen Marcia and John Donnell W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole Peggy Foreman Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones Joel Knox and Joan Marmo Margot and Danny McCaul The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust

Francombe and Simon started the business this spring in their respective neighborhoods, working at first by word of mouth. Francombe says the business quickly proved it could meet her original goals: the signs pleased customers and offered work to some people she knew who were laid off or furloughed, like wedding planners and airline flight attendants. But the pair had bigger plans for the business: licensing it to other entrepreneurs nationwide, who get the signs and marketing helping. The Sign Greeters website, with its licensing offer, launched on June 11. As of late October, Francombe said, the company had 44 licensees across the country, including in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. And more were in the process of joining. Sign Greeters lets customers choose from an inventory of signs representing letters of the alphabet and various graphics, which the company staff will set up and arrange to make messages and displays. With longer notice, customers can order graphics from commercial brands -- recent examples include college football team logos and Disney’s “Frozen” movies. Sign packages start at $110, with $75 for each extra night of display. The company has set up signs for birthdays, marriage proposals, and every holiday since June. One customer even ordered a Labor Day sign. Francombe said the socially distanced signs are overlapping with other trends, like the growth in home renovations.

“There’s definitely a boom. Everybody’s yard is decorated right now,” she said. “It’s just like how people are redoing their homes right now… Because we’re stuck at home. We want to make it nice.” The vast majority of customers ask for the signs to be set up facing the street, not their own home. Francombe said she thinks a factor is that people want to take a social-media-worthy souvenir photo of the sign in front of their home. The placement also has the effect of make the sign “speak” to neighbors and passers-by, inviting them to join in the celebration from afar and enjoy the colorful display. “It just puts a big smile on everybody’s face when they see the signs,” said Francombe. And, aside from a stray, grumpy homeowners association, the signs have yet to run afoul of any local signage rules, she said. While it remains to be seen whether the yard-sign trend will outlive the pandemic that inspired it, Francombe is confident that she’s found the way to be her own boss. She figures that yard signs will become a celebratory standard, like greeting cards used to be. “I think I’m done with corporate America,” she said. “...I know this business is going to stand the test of time because the truth of the matter is, nothing is ever really going to go back to normal when it comes to events and celebrations.” For more information about Sign Greeters, see signgreeters.com.


Public Safety | 11


Two dogs join Police as first K-9 unit

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The unnamed dogs in the Dunwoody Police Department’s new K-9 unit.


BY ERIN SCHILLING The newest members of the Dunwoody Police Department walk on four legs. DPD last month welcomed two dogs onto the force as its first K-9 program with support from the Dunwoody Police Foundation, according to a press release. “The addition of two K-9s to the Dunwoody Police Department will be an asset to our operations and enhance our capabilities,” Police Chief Billy Grogan said in a press release. The two dogs and their handlers will undergo training over the next several months for drug searches, article searches, tracking and obedience and is set to be finished by next year. The dogs will be used for drug and missing persons or suspect searches. DPD asked the community to help name the dogs, one of which is a Belgian Malinois and the other a Dutch shepherd. City staff and police foundation members came up with a list of 10 names, with Ranger and Hank chosen as the winners. The Rotary Club of Dunwoody and other residents and businesses donated to the foundation to make the K-9 unit possible, according to the press release. “Through this donation we seek to support continued excellence in public safety as a defining characteristic of Dunwoody,” Rotary Club President Ardy Bastien said in the press release.

Dunwoody and Sandy Springs among cities getting an additional area code BY JOHN RUCH Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are among the metro Atlanta cities that will get an additional area code to be used by new phone numbers amid increasing population and growth. The new 943 area code will join the existing 404, 470, 678 and 770 area codes, according to the Georgia Public Service Commission. Existing phone numbers will not change. The new area code only will apply to numbers on new accounts. According to the PSC, it’s the first new area code in metro Atlanta since 470 was introduced 10 years ago. Available numbers using the existing area codes are expected to run out by the second quarter of 2023, the PSC said it was informed by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, which establishes area codes. The PSC approved the new “overly” area code at an Oct. 6 meeting. Other cities where new 943 area code will apply include: Alpharetta, Duluth, East Point, Forest Park, Gainesville, Griffin, Lawrenceville, Mableton, Marietta, Peachtree City, Roswell, Smyrna and Tucker. The new area code will take about nine months to implement and is expected to fill needs for a decade, according to the PSC. According to the PSC, Georgia’s first area code was 404, which was set in 1947 and covered the entire state. In 1995, 770 was established for metro counties outside the Atlanta city limits. In 1998, 678 was added as an overlay on that area, as was 470 in 2010. DUN

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Art & Entertainment | 13


Local arts groups get creative to ring in the season during the pandemic BY COLLIN KELLEY

ceeds benefit the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. Reservation are required at GeorgiaTrust.org or by calling (404) 885-7812.

There’s no getting around it: the holidays are going to be different this year due to the pandemic. Many beloved annual events have been cancelled or will go virtual, while others are taking a “wait and see” approach. But don’t despair. There are still events happening to help ring in the season and we’ve rounded up some recommendations for November and beyond to get you in the holiday spirit.

◄Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

This year’s light show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, presented Nov. 14 through Jan. 16, will provide a far more intimate experience than in years past with limited guest capacity each night of the run. Masks and social distancing will be required so guests can have a worryfree experience. Tickets are selling quickly, so visit atlantabg.org to secure your reservation.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra The ASO will be streaming a live tribute to Ravel including Le tombeau de Couperin, Shéhérazade, and Mother Goose Suite on Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. Visit AtlantaSymphony.org for tickets.

Atlantic Station The annual Light the Station event is set for Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. with the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, fireworks, music and more. The event will be live streamed on 11 Alive. Skate the Station will be open Nov. 16 for socially distanced ice skating. More details at atlanticstation.com.

ry of embracing womanhood, Blackness and the myriad changes of life itself. Visit actors-express.com for more information.

◄Out Front Theatre Company

Radio Play.” Capacity will be limited to allow for distance between cars. General admission tickets start at $50 per car. Also coming up as part of the Alliance Theatre Anywhere streaming platform on Nov. 27 is “A Very Terry Christmas,” as writer and star Terry Burrell visits iconic Atlanta holiday destinations while sharing stories and jazz-inspired versions of favorite holiday songs. Visit alliancetheatre.org for tickets and streaming information.

▲▲Alliance Theatre The pandemic is giving the Alliance Theatre an opportunity to breathe new life into its holiday war horse. From Dec. 4-23, the Summerhill Lot at Georgia State University’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium will transform into a drive-in theater, with a stage for live actors and big screens providing a live concert-style experience for “A Christmas Carol: The Live DUN

Actor’s Express The theater’s Virtual Downstage platform will be streaming a filmed production of Charlayne Woodard’s “Neat” directed by Eric J. Little and starring Charity Purvis Jordan as the one woman show’s title character, Aunt Neat. What begins as a nostalgic personal remembrance blossoms into a magical and compelling sto-

The city’s LGBTQIA+ theatre company will stream two productions during the holiday season. “Bright Colors & Bold Patterns,” written Drew Droege, follows a drunken, drug-fueled party in Palm Springs on the eve of a wedding. It will stream Nov. 20-22. “The Santa Closet” by Jeffrey Solomon contemplates Santa coming out of the closet and diving headlong into the culture wars Dec. 1113. For more information, visit OutFrontTheatre.org.

Indie Craft Experience The annual holiday shopping tradition is going virtual this year with digital sales platform. The digital marketplace will be available via ice-atlanta.com and each craft vendor will be listed with a brief description of what they offer, product images, links to their social media, links to their website and online shop, and information about their live event. Upcoming “Shop in Place” events are set for Nov. 14 and Dec. 5 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Santa at Rhodes Hall The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation will host the annual Santa at Rhodes Hall each weekend from Nov. 29 to Dec. 19. There will be enhanced safety and sanitation protocols due to the pandemic, but kids will still get to spend some quality personal time with Santa. Pro-

▲The Roof at Ponce City Market

Head to the top of Ponce City Market to “Skate the Sky” on 3,500-square-foot ice skating rink, enjoy food and beverages in socially distanced private igloos, and have some Instagrammable moments with the holiday decorations beginning Nov. 27. Visit poncecityroof.com for details and reservations.

Children’s Christmas Parade The 40th annual parade hosted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been cancelled, but there will be a special documentary and a salute to healthcare workers in a program called “A Look Back At 40 Years of the Children’s Christmas Parade,” which will air on WSB-TV on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.

High Museum of Art The High has reopened to patrons, with social distancing in mind, and will close out the year with a big touring exhibition of the work of renowned photographer Dawoud Bey. The show, “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” will open Dec. 12 and continue through March 14. Bey is known for his powerful images from underrepresented communities and exploring African American history. For tickets and information, visit high.org.

14 | Community

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City Council approves $4.96M for Georgetown Gateway project


An illustration of sidewalks and streetscape improvements at Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Chateau Drive as they would look when the Georgetown Gateway Project is completed.

BY ERIN SCHILLING The City Council approved $4.96 million in federal funding for pedestrian and traffic changes on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road between Cotillion Drive and Peeler Road. Nicknamed the Georgetown Gateway project, part of its purpose is to enhance that section of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road as the entrance point of the city. The project is set to cost $6.11 million in total, according to a construction contract with SD&C that the council approved in July. It includes landscaping, expanding and adding walking paths and making minor traffic adjustments. According to the SD&C contract, the city has $3.28 million allocated and $566,000 from DeKalb County, which is more than needed for the cost of the construction bid. Once the Georgia Department of Transportation also approves the federal funds for the project, utility relocation will start, which is expected to take two years. Construction is set to take another two years, so improvements should be completed by 2024. The project has been on the council’s radar for more than five years. City Public Works Director Michael Smith said staff is coordinating with GDOT because of its upcoming projects in that area, namely possible toll lanes at the top end of I-285 and an I-285 westbound ramp extension. The Chamblee-Dunwoody bridge over I-285 will be rebuilt as part of the GDOT project, Smith said, which will be a little higher than the existing bridge and need some repaving. “It won’t impact our schedule, but we may leave off a few things at the very end of our project for them to do when they repave the road,” Smith said. “We’ll continue to have that coordination throughout.” Councilmember John Heneghan expressed some concern about the potential of the DeKalb County School District building a new elementary school at 4680 ChambleeDunwoody Road, which is currently vacant but owned by the district. Smith said staff is only planning to widen the sidewalk and add street trees at that property and would expect the district to put those amenities back if construction on a school building affects them. “Until a plan comes forward from the school system that we could work with, we would expect the school system to put back whatever we put there,” Smith said.

Draft concept for ChambleeDunwoody widening aims to avoid historic property BY ERIN SCHILLING Concept plans for changes to Chamblee-Dunwoody Road at the intersection of Mount Vernon Road aim to improve pedestrian and cyclist access without infringing on surrounding properties. As part of the Dunwoody Village Master Plan, the city plans to rework the streetscape of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road between Roberts Drive and Womack Road. The current concepts do not include any specific suggestions for possible property-taking. More detailed concept plans will be available for public input in November, according to a staff memo to the City Council. Some residents worry that changes to the street may take green space away from the Cheek-Spruill House, a nationally recognized historic property located on the corner of Mount Vernon Road at 5455 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road that is host to many city festivals and considered a city landmark. City Public Works Director Michael Smith said in an Oct. 7 meeting the plans are to “avoid as much as possible” using any of the farmhouse’s land. The city has $200,000 in federal funds to create the concept plan for the project, which comes with a requirement to try to preserve historic resources, Smith said. The Dunwoody Village Master Plan concept suggests widening Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to 100 feet, but staff is recommending only widening to 85 feet to stay close to the street’s existing footprint. Right now, the street is between 65 and 70 feet wide at the farmhouse, according to Richard McLeod, the city community development director. The area of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road that intersects with Mount Vernon Road



Community | 15


is a “pinch point,” Smith said, because of how the road narrows. The farmhouse, a

The road would have right-turn lanes at intersections only. The center of the road

Jimmy John’s restaurant, a BP gas station and an under-construction urgent care

would have a landscaped median or a center turn lane where needed.

center surround the intersection.

“I definitely appreciate separating bicycles and pedestrians in a high-traffic

The public will have two or three different concept plans to review and provide

area,” Councilmember Joe Seconder said.

input. Smith said one of them may include a roundabout, but that design would be

The original concept plan had a 12-foot-wide sidewalk with 9-foot and 6-foot

difficult to do because it would require the city to purchase some surrounding prop-

landscaped buffers on either side, and no separate bike lane. Smith said the separa-


tion of the cyclists and pedestrians would alleviate overcrowding on the sidewalks

“We may have to make some adjustments and compromises in the design to

if businesses have outdoor dining or other amenities outside their doors.

avoid the properties on both sides,” Smith said.

Smith used the example of Commerce Street in Decatur as an example of how

Staff recommends creating separate spaces for cyclists and walkers in the

Chamblee-Dunwoody Road could look. That street has a sidewalk that abuts store-

streetscape concept draft.

fronts, plus a bike lane protected by trees and a thin, landscaped strip.

In the current draft of the Chamblee-Dunwoody Road plan, there would be a

The streetscape changes are part of the city’s plan to make the Dunwoody Village

12-foot-wide sidewalk and a 5-foot-wide bike lane with a 2-foot-wide landscaped

Overlay district a more vibrant and pedestrian-friendly area. The city is also work-

buffer in between. There would also be a 5-foot-wide landscaped buffer between the

ing on a zoning rewrite for the 165-acre area that covers the intersection of Cham-

bike lane and the road. Smith said there’s flexibility in where to put the street trees

blee-Dunwoody and Mount Vernon roads.

depending on community and council input.

The rewrite is considered a long-term plan to have in place for when new devel-

City staff is recommending that bike lanes and sidewalks are separated on Cham-

opments may come to Dunwoody Village but does not propose specific projects.

blee-Dunwoody Road between Roberts Drive and Womack Road, as shown at the

The Dunwoody Village Overlay now includes three suburban shopping centers with

top. The original concept draft for that corridor does not separate bikes and pedes-

expansive surface parking lots; several auto-repair shops and gas stations; office

trians, as shown at the bottom. (Special)

buildings; banks; and the Dunwoody United Methodist Church.

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16 | Commentary

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Feeling thankful in a challenging holiday season Thanksgiving 2020 will be like no other in recent memory. How to celebrate is a question that weigh heavily in the midst of a pandemic that continues to take lives and livelihoods. The Reporter asked some local leaders how they will gather and what they feel thankful for.


President and CEO, Buckhead Christian Ministry This year, Thanksgiving is going to be different. Our family will visit relatives in Virginia, but we are still working out the details of how to serve the dinner, whether or how older and more at-risk relatives will attend, and what social distancing will look like with smaller children who have not been around each other at all during the pandemic. We are a faithful family, so no matter what we will be giving thanks to God for all our blessings in the face of all the uncertainty. At BCM, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church will once again sponsor Thanksgiving for 50 BCM families. This is a bright spot our community should celebrate during these trying times. I think we all need a moment to just pause and give thanks, even for the smallest measures of providence in our lives. A spirit of gratefulness will go a long way in getting us through this thing, together.


Rector, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church

In a year of discomfort and confusion, I find gratitude is the best way to engage the world. While I am an extrovert by nature and a traveler at heart, I have found that this season of life has invited me into being grateful for the presence of God is the smallest of ways -- spaces where I can be in such a hurry that I cannot or will not pause to take in the won-

der. I can grouse about washing dishes or say a silent prayer of gratitude for the food prepared and eaten, for the fellowship in eating, and the task of cleaning up. I can hurriedly open the computer for the next Zoom meeting or take a moment to give thanks that I can see and engage with people who are equally frustrated with distance learning and conversations. I can lament the thousands of ways we are separate or delight in the phone calls and the old but trusted system of mailing notes and letters. The cultivation of gratitude is not meant to ignore the deep wounds of hurt and loss during COVID. Mourning and grieving are important aspects of our lives and our faiths. And this season has featured countless losses, of jobs and connections and even lives. In some ways, grief is a different type of gratitude -- a yearning for something for which we were deeply grateful. We don’t tend to miss the things we dislike. Being grateful is not a simple cheerful view of the world. To truly be thankful is to recognize the gifts that we have, and some that we have lost are profound gifts. The work is not to take inventory of how great things are. The practice is to be thankful in such a way that we can open our hearts to give and receive on a deeper level.

ADRIENNE DUNCAN President, Dunwoody Homeowners Association

All of our family is out-of-state, so in our home, Thanksgiving is a time for the five of us to wind down and spend some quiet and peaceful time with each other without tight schedules and overlapping activities. 2020 is a challenge for us just like everyone else. Regular jobs with their medical insurance were lost, so we turned to consulting to make ends meet. At the same time, our youngest child faced a major medical diagnosis whose treat-

ment would not be covered by insurance or the Affordable Care Act. Through it all, we were able to make all of our bills and pay for some intensive medical care for our son. At times like this, we are very grateful to keep our family’s head above water and ensure our children have what they need.

REV. ALLEN JACKSON Senior Pastor, Dunwoody Baptist Church

I am aware of all of the memes that rightfully declare with much wit and wisdom that 2020 is a year like no other. It is true that a global pandemic has brought sickness to many, unwanted transition to some, and anxiety to all. As a pastor, I feel the pain with each email, phone call, text or personal conversation. I hurt as well for the anger and incivility that permeate our public dialogue in an election year. I will likely gather with my family here in Dunwoody for Thanksgiving, though we will be careful and keep it low-key. And I am thankful. I am thankful for my bride of 37 years, my children and my grandson. I am thankful to have come through a heart scare, thankful for the doctors at Emory Saint Joseph’s (and every person at every other medical facility). I am thankful for a community like Dunwoody, and thankful for my faith family at Dunwoody Baptist. I am grateful for the ability to livestream worship services into the homes of our folks as well as homes in many other states and even countries. I am grateful to live in freedom, ever mindful of those who paid for it through military and public service. I am grateful that I am able to worship a God who is over all and who paid for spiritual freedom by sending His son Jesus to give peace in the midst of pandemic -- and everything else. DUN


Commentary | 17


The exhausted state of the pandemic’s front-line healthcare workers Being a hospital medicine physician ter yearly. It’s true that we are better at and leader, I am accustomed to chaos and treating COVID-19, and are much more orworking through daily challenges in a hosganized to navigate another surge during pital environment. As stressful as it is, I this pandemic. But the difference now is thrive on solving and troubleshooting isit does not feel exhilarating or exciting. Insues. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought stead, it’s a challenge and a strenuous upa whole new level of challenges and stress, hill battle. and it initially was exhilarating. Members of the healthcare teams, inAt the beginning, including physicians, nurses, formation was constantly respiratory therapists and changing as we were learnothers are exhausted. The ing and adapting to this new duties of caring for non-COdisease process. It brought VID patients has returned the worst of fears to most of back to baseline, which alus. But, at the same time, it ready is busy and chaotic. felt thrilling as I was part of But these duties are further a historic pandemic by leadchallenged with an entirely ing and caring for patients. changed hospital environThe excitement was fueled ment, and having to conby the constant change of sider all aspects of care in information. During those relation to COVID. It has first few weeks, it was trucompletely misshapen the ly mind-blowing seeing how human and patient expefast the daily number of COrience in medicine. There VID cases were increasing. is nostalgia thinking back Dr. Dhaval Desai is a As a clinician directly caring eight months ago to the practicing hospitalist and for patients, I felt constant“pre-COVID” days when carmedical director of hospital ly stimulated from the latest ing for a hospitalized pamedicine at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. He is on clinical guideline or developtient was much more open Twitter as @DrDesaiMDx. ment on how to best care for and welcoming. Now, it’s a a COVID-19 patient. closed, isolated, and a more During that first phase, I did not feel demanding environment. that there was an “off button” to escape the On top of the internal challenges, the pandemic. Once home, I would be glued politics and divide in the country cause to my phone or computer, addressing the more unrest. We are constantly seeing conlatest challenge, communicating with coltroversy on masking, and how some are beleagues, and handling acute situations ing dismissive towards small behaviors to that arose. On top of that, I had a newprotect themselves and each other. Fundaborn and4-year-old at home. My wife and mentally, masking is the only major stratI constantly questioned if we were doing egy we have to mitigate the spread of COthe best to protect our children, and each VID-19. And ultimately, the healthcare other. I felt tired, but reassured myself that system is going to be plagued with COVwe were part of history in the making. BeID-19 if cases keep rising, which is so mading a frontline physician and leader during dening and frustrating, as we have a degree a pandemic felt like a once-in-a-career opof control on this. portunity. In a way, it felt like a privilege. It’s clear to me now that the first six Weeks into the pandemic, across the months of the pandemic were adrenalinecountry, there were celebrations and confueled. And while the support for healthstant inspiration for healthcare workers. care workers is largely still present, the There were meals delivered to the hospiadrenaline that was first felt has waned. tal, letters and posters sent showing supThe same feelings of fatigue and frustraport. We were deemed heroes, and it was tion experienced by most during the panflattering and inspiring. The communidemic are shared by healthcare workty and country were constantly cheering ers. Outside of the medical environment, for healthcare workers on the front lines. healthcare workers face the same chalThis support was palpable, and lifted us lenges on the social and psycho-social front through the darker days of the pandemic in their home lives, including virtual learnthrough two major surges. It continued to ing for children, social isolation, and stayfuel our adrenaline to fight this disease. ing well during a pandemic. They are no Months passed in the pandemic, and afdifferent. And, while I continue to strive to ter getting through a second surge, it felt give each patient the best care I can while like the worst was over. While there was partnering with a multidisciplinary team constant advocacy to protect ourselves and other physicians, I also recognize that and each other, life was trying to get back it’s more challenging than ever. to normal (a new normal). The chaos was With the projected increase in cases of starting to subside, and maybe we had just COVID-19 during the upcoming months, adapted to functioning in a pandemic. For there has to fundamentally be a message a few weeks, it felt as if it were the end of to protect ourselves and each other by the commotion caused by COVID-19. But, masking, socially distancing and following the harsh reality was that it was the end of community guidelines. We still have time the beginning. to make the reality far better than the grim As we enter the fall season, we are proprojections. And, if we do that, we are not jected to have a grim few months with COonly helping ourselves, but also will relieve VID-19 cases surging on top of the already a huge impending burden on the healthhigh number of patients we see in the wincare system and its workers.


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Police chief should resign due to lawsuit, complaints

Vote ‘yes’ on DeKalb Board of Ethics ballot question

Editor’s note: The following letter was submitted to the Dunwoody City Council and Mayor Lynn Deutsch as public comment at their Oct. 12 meeting.

DeKalb voters are once again voting on revisions to an Ethics Act passed in 2015 by 92% of voters. This time, leaders of several DeKalb citizens’ groups are encouraging you to vote yes. Here are the reasons why: ■ The Board of Ethics remains independent; no one under the purview of the Board of Ethics is making appointments to the board. Unlike the 2019 bill, this bill does not provide for the CEO to make a Board of Ethics appointment and does not call for the board to submit its policies and procedures to review by the CEO and confirmation by the Board of Commissioners. ■ DeKalb employees continue to have direct access to the ethics office to express concerns about ethics violations. Unlike the 2019 bill, this bill does not require employees to funnel complaints about their immediate supervisor through the Human Resources Department and exhaust Merit System remedies before turning to the Board of Ethics. ■ The position of Ethics Officer is retained, and the Ethics Officer is still vested with the authority to investigate and file

Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan has served our community honorably and with distinction, since our founding as a city 12 years ago. Over these years, I have come to know Chief Grogan as an honest, hardworking law enforcement officer of impeccable character. Chief Grogan’s leadership at the Dunwoody Police Department has helped our city to hire and retain a police force that has grown to be as diverse as it is professional. I am proud of our dedicated Dunwoody police officers and I recognize the role that Chief Billy Grogan has played in protecting and serving our community over these past dozen years. But nothing lasts forever. In light of the recent circumstances surrounding the role that our DPD leadership has played regarding complaints and terminations of DPD officers, resulting in a lawsuit and several related complaints, I am asking Chief Grogan to step aside and allow a new generation of leadership at

the Dunwoody Police Department to take over. To be clear, I am asking that Chief Grogan resign and concede to a peaceful transition of power within Dunwoody Police Department leadership ranks. The chief of police protects and serves our Dunwoody community at the pleasure of its citizens, through this elected council and our city manager. I urge this council to ask Chief Grogan to submit his resignation and to accept his resignation. It is only after long, hard, thoughtful consideration and contemplation that I make this request. The litigation that our city will now be forced to engage in, as a result of the actions of DPD leadership, will likely cost the taxpaying residents and citizens of our community dearly, in both money and reputation. To be blunt, it is a sad day in Dunwoody, when the chief of police has to “lawyer up.” Therefore, I respectfully request that this council tender the resignation of Police Chief Billy Grogan forthwith. Robert F. Wolford Dunwoody

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ethics complaints, as well as provide training and advice to county employees. ■ The board’s authority to investigate and report to the public has not been weakened. The 2019 bill included a provision that required the Board of Ethics to abandon the investigation of elected officials or county employees if they resigned, retired or completed their term of office. The 2019 bill included a provision that prevented the board from rendering any decision on a complaint against a candidate within 45 days of an election. The major change is how board members are going to be appointed. Four appointing authorities — state House and Senate legislative delegations, the county tax commissioner and clerk of the Superior Court — are responsible for making appointments to the board. Other changes include: 1) the addition of an Ethics Administrator to receive complaints; 2) a requirement for county officials or employees with a conflict of interest on an official county action to recuse themselves; 3) a ban on members of the DeKalb Purchasing and Contracting Department accepting gifts from anyone who might conduct business before the department; and 4) the appointment of two alternate board members to serve if needed. Since board appointments must be made by Jan. 1, our groups are calling for the appointing authorities to make a public call for applications in early November and to use a uniform, coordinated application/interview process that is transparent, readily understood by all, and accountable to the public. The Board of Ethics helps to preserve and protect the public’s trust in government. If this is a purpose you support and you have the qualifications to serve on the board, we encourage you to apply. It will take all of us working together to ensure that county officials (elected or appointed), employees and vendors understand that, in DeKalb County, we take ethics in public service seriously. Mary Hinkel DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council Marjorie Hall Ron McCauley DeKalb Strong Ed Williams Concerned Citizens for Effective Government Joe Arrington Ryan Brown PRISM Joel Edwards Restore DeKalb



Commentary | 19



Sorry, word processor, you’re just not my type


Did you ever wonder how Shakespeare did it all without the help of a word processor? I can’t even write an email without drafting it and redrafting it 12 times. Then again, maybe Shakespeare had more time to write because he didn’t need to waste so much of it rebooting his laptop. But consider all the things he did without: the cut and paste, the thesaurus, the spellcheck, the handy tab of CliffsNotes at the ready. That’s a lot of brilliance flowing freely without the aid of helpful tools, plus he had to come up with plots and jokes and make the words rhyme, and do most of it in iambic pentameter. It’s astonishing to think about. He also did it all without the backspace key, but maybe striking through an unwanted phrase with an inked quill takes less time; I don’t know. What I do know is that I, for one, spend an inordinate amount of time at the backspace key. I’ve spent more time with the backspace key than I have with my husband. The problem is, I really can’t type. I could have added five years to my life if I had typed the thing correctly the first time. There’s always a scene in a suspense action film where someone has to break into the control center room and hack into a random computer. The hacking part does not impress me — computer hackers are a dime a dozRobin Conte lives with her en. What always blows my mind, what flattens my sushusband in an empty nest pension of disbelief, is when said sleuth starts clacking in Dunwoody. To contact all over the keyboard with no problem. Who can adapt her or to buy her column so effortlessly to an unknown keyboard? I mean, I’ve had collection, “The Best of the a new laptop for three months now, and I still can’t type Nest,” see robinconte.com. the words “thank you.” Auto-correct will eventually put me out of my misery. I can’t type my own name, either. It always comes out “Roibn.” I have the same problem with “y9ou” and “belive.” My mother loved to brag on me during my high school years but was sufficiently humbled when she met my typing teacher. For most people, typing was an easy course, but if I could have taken it pass-fail, I would have. Maybe it’s a matter of hand-eye coordination (even though you’re not supposed to be looking at the keyboard anyway) but I do think coordination must have a role to play. I wasn’t good at dodgeball either. Then I graduated and moved away to a campus of higher learning, with nothing but a footlocker of clothes, my lousy typing skills, and my brand-spanking-new electric typewriter. It’s still in the house, crammed beneath the bed in the basement. It was a top-of-the-line Corona, the color of sleek tan, and (I know I’m dating myself here), it was the gift de rigueur for college-bound students back in the day. Half of you out there are snickering and half of you are nodding your heads. The thing that made it revolutionary was the Correct-O cartridge, which was a groundbreaking advancement for me over the bottle of Wite-Out. Somehow, I slogged through four years clanking away with that and its redemptive cartridge, embroiled in a love-hate relationship with its ultra-sensitive electric keys, but the thing about it is, it never asked me a question I couldn’t answer. It never blanked out on me and started updating, unprompted, with the promise of it taking only 57 minutes…56, 55, 54… It never bossed me around. It never changed my security questions, pretending all the while that it had not. It never hid my files or shut down without saving my documents. It never asked me to spend $250 on an updated office program, threatening to take all my work hostage if I didn’t. It never suddenly and completely without warning converted to dark theme/white type mode, requiring me to spend 30 minutes in anguished attempt to undo it until I finally spent another 45 minutes at the mercy of tech support. I could go on, but I’ll stop myself there. I am indeed grateful for the advances of modern technology. Besides, methinks I doth protest too much.

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20 | Commentary

Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

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In Buckhead, a hard worker follows the path from jail to a second chance

These days, the most popular person on Buckhead’s PATH400 greenway seems to be Walter Dixon, the new community programs coordinator for the Buckhead Community Improvement District. a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodyPeople along the Carol pathNiemi sayis he knows Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire the name of every dog-owner and dog heworthknowingnow@gmail.com. others. Contact her at meets. “We first met Walter in March, when my dog Lou was a puppy and we had just begun walking the PATH400,” says resident Jackie Greene. “Walter always stopped to say hello, and Lou got used to seeing him every day. She can spot him from far away and starts tugging on the leash to get to him.” “My dog Scarlett knows Walter too,” said Stephanie Midkiff, “and loves to see him.” But dogs aren’t the only ones who like Walter. “I look forward to seeing him and catching up each day,” said Greene. Walter’s new boss, Matt Gore, the Buckhead CID’s projects and programs manager, says he hears such comments frequently. “Walter is a really kind-hearted human being,” said Gore. “He always represents the CID well.” What most of Walter’s fans don’t know is that a year ago, he was homeless and just released from stints at the Clayton and Fulton county jails after pleading guilty to simple battery and criminal damage to property, which violated a prior probation for assault and battery. He got the job through a program called Georgia Works. “I heard about Georgia Works in jail,” said Dixon in a recent interview. “The day I got out, I went straight there.” “There” is the Gateway Center in SPECIAL Walter Dixon pauses in his PATH400 work to say hello to Lou, who, along Downtown Atlanta, where Georgia with owner Jackie Greene, has gotten to know him in recent months. Works occupies the second floor. But even though he thought Dixon was “clean and sober,” he flunked the required 12-panel substance test that picks and entered the program. receive therapy for everything from anup even the tiniest amount of a banned At Georgia Works, homeless men ger management to addiction to become substance. A person who tests positive who are substance-free and willing to job-ready. for even one fails. face their addictions, criminal past and Since few employers hire people copThat was a cold Thursday in Novemother factors that led to their homelessing with addiction or convicted felons, ber. He could try again the following ness get a second chance -- a chance at a Georgia Works contracts with organiMonday. job, their ticket out of homelessness. zations that will. One of its most impor“I spent the next four nights out in The program provides them with a tant partners, the Buckhead CID, hires the cold,” said Walter. “I never want to bed, food, help dealing with their issues its clients to pick up litter along major drink again.” and a case manager to guide them. For corridors within the CID, including the On that Monday, he passed the test the first 30 days, they take classes and PATH400.

The men usually work in pairs, often with minimal supervision. Dixon started working for the Buckhead CID under the Georgia Works program in early 2020 and soon stood out. “Walter’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met,” said Al Sims, Dixon’s case manager. “We needed a leader to take ownership of that site. We had already rotated several people out trying to find the right person.” Dixon was that person. He immediately went beyond just litter pick-up to noticing things like a handrail needing to be painted, doing the painting, and advising and guiding other Georgia Works clients assigned to the CID. “It was evident to everybody he’s a special man,” said Buckhead CID Executive Director Jim Durrett. “His attitude and personality convinced us to keep using Georgia Works and ultimately offer him a full-time job.” Dixon credits his faith, Georgia Works and Al, his case manager, for his success. “Al kept telling me to let my ego die,” said Dixon. “I prayed and prayed and finally had to admit I had a problem causing my life to be unmanageable.” Everyday for 30 days, he went to group therapy, took classes and met with Al. He also joined Narcotics Anonymous to deal with his alcoholism. “I had to change my thought patterns, do something positive instead of something negative, do what’s right even when nobody’s watching,” he said. Dixon readily owns his mistakes. “I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and learned to live a new and better life,” he said. “That’s when good things started happening.” Despite his celebrity, he keeps his ego in check and even seems a bit surprised at his success. “People living in huge homes say I inspire them, and I don’t have nothing but what I have in that little dormitory.” And about Jim Durrett, the man who hired him? “A great guy. He gave me a second chance.” Georgia Works is supported entirely by corporate and private donations. To donate money, clothing or toiletries, go to georgiaworks.net.



Community | 21


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Around Town

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

It’s been 15 years since Sandy Springs Mayor-to-be Eva Galambos launched a new age of “let’s get small” political thinking in the sprawling Atlanta suburbs. Things have changed a bit since then, of course. Inspired by Sandy Springs’ incorporation in 2005, more “new cities” roared to life as their voters became convinced that governments that were smaller and closer-to-the-ground had to be better than the ones running counties that were as populous as major cities. Now “new cities” carpet north Fulton and DeKalb and western Gwinnett counties wall-to-wall in a crazy-quilt pattern of interlocking towns. Last month, a few planners from new cities gathered at a wood-paneled Dunwoody steakhouse to talk about whether they should give more attention to what’s going on in the communities around them. Bob Dallas, chair of the Dunwoody Planning Commission, called the meeting. Conversations about regional issues often have been hard to launch in the metro Atlanta suburbs. This informal meeting was no different. Of the dozen city officials Dallas invited to meet for dinner, only three -- Dallas and Mark Willis and Alan Kaplan, planning commissioners from Peachtree Corners – showed up that night. But a couple of hours of wideranging discussion convinced them they should meet again. They figure the others will join them eventually. As Dallas sees it, they’ll have to. There have been efforts at cooperation among the cities in the past – the 911 service, for instance – but Dallas argues that planners and elected officials in these cheek-by-jowl communities regularly confront various trou-


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Planning for a bigger, booming suburbia


From left, Peachtree Corners Planning Commissioner Mark Willis, Dunwoody Planning Commission Chair Bob Dallas and Peachtree Corners Planning Commission Chair Alan Kaplan met at a Dunwoody steakhouse in the first of a series of proposed discussions of regional issues.

bles that cross city lines. Think traffic and transit. Then again, there are projects the leaders of these cities want to pursue that work best when they link together. Think trails or development at the corners where cities meet. “You ain’t an island,” Dallas said. Instead, he argues, one city’s planners should know how the city-next-door plans to deal with an issue or a project. So should planners in the city-next-door-to-that. And the next one down the line. As they have grown, several of the new cities have developed their own personalities of sorts. Peachtree Corners bills itself as High Tech Town with fiber optics and a city test track for driverless vehicles. Sandy Springs is building itself a shiny new downtown at what was once a country crossroads. Chamblee has grown up into what some declare to be a hip place to live. Changes among the towns are readily apparent. “Dunwoody hasn’t changed all that much,” Dallas told the other planning commissioners at their meeting, “but with Chamblee, you can’t recognize what it was 20 or 25 years ago.” Big projects now underway -- the nest of serpentine lanes that will carry cars through the multi-level intersection of I-285 and Ga. 400, or the construction of connected strolling/hiking/biking trails that eventually should allow cyclists to roll through city after city without stopping — are knitting the communities together even more. And, of course, there’s a pandemic to deal with. Dallas argues that the communities’ planning leadership needs to at least stay in touch about how things are going. He’s proposing city planners gather regularly to chew over regional issues at restaurants and other gathering spots throughout the area. “Periodically, we will continue to reach out to each other,” he said. “This is an open-ended discussion.” And city officials don’t always agree on how the area should change as it continues to grow. What Brookhaven and Chamblee officials want south of I-285 may not match what Dunwoody folks want north of the Perimeter and vice versa. The same is true of other places where cities are separated only by a few lanes of pavement. The Perimeter area is expected to continue to grow in coming years, but one community’s development opportunity may sit alongside an adjacent town’s settled subdivisions, a mix that can give heartburn to residents and elected officials alike. After all, many Dunwoody voters decided to create their city as a way to slow or stop the construction of new apartments in their community. But more people are moving to the metro area each year -- apparently, whether you build places for them or not, they still will come -- and developers often want to include multi-family living in new projects. “During the Great Recession,” Dallas said, “you heard people saying, ‘Suburbia is dead.’ Suburbia isn’t dead. It’s going to be here. …. How do we manage that growth?” Now that the map of Suburbia has been redrawn, is it time to start thinking a bit bigger again? DUN


Art & Entertainment | 23


BY ERIC DAVIDSON Record Store Day began in 2007 as a grassroots idea from a few record store owners to highlight the realization that they and a lot of their friends still bought vinyl albums. Like, a lot. By last year, vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since 1986. Record Store Day -- with its limited-edition rarity reissues and expanded versions -- skipped along parallel to the “Vinyl is Back!” trend of the last 10 years, as Urban Outfitters and even Walmart started stocking new $25 Taylor Swift albums and $35 Led Zeppelin reissues. Record Store Day – a day in April and on Black Friday – has helped keep interest in records going, and many indie stores will exclaim that it’s their biggest shopping day of the year. The argument of whether it has translated into those RSD newbies coming back to shop on other days is debatable. But around the country, many small, Mom-and-Pop record shops have opened in the last few years. Even Jack White’s Third Man Records label opened a record pressing plant in Detroit a few years ago with three machines in use. And like the few other record plants left in the world, they are a year behind on orders. Will this last? The many great record shops of our area sure hope so. We checked in with Mark Gunter, manager of one of the longest-running and most respected regional shops, Buckhead’s Fantasyland Records, to get his thoughts on Record Store Day, and to see how it’s doing in the face of the anti-Mom-and-Pop shop reality of COVID. For details about Record Store Day’s Black Friday edition on Nov. 27, see recordstoreday.com. And for more about Fantasyland, see fantasylandrecords. com.


How long have you been involved with Record Store Day? We’ve been taking part in Record Store Day since 2010. It’s a lot of work, but people love it. It’s a cool, fun event, and a great promotion for indie record stores. They come up with some great limited edition releases each year. ... Most people enjoy it and have a great time -- even the standing in line! People enjoy meeting and making new friends with fellow vinyl lovers. As for our store, the April RSD is always our biggest sales day of the year, and the Black Friday event is always a good day.

This year, the usual twoday RSD schedule was thrown into chaos, right? Yeah, this year’s April RSD was postponed due to COVID. They decided to stagger the releases on three separate Saturdays, at the end of August, September and October, to keep the crowds down a bit. We weren’t sure how it was going to work out, or even if anyone was going to show up for it. But we were blown away by the turnout for part one in August. Part two was equally successful, as was last Saturday’s [Oct. 24]! It’s worked out well. Everyone masked up and social-distanced. We do it all instore. No online sales. First come, first served. No holds. One per person, per title. The usual RSD rules.

Are there any regional releases coming for Black Friday RSD that you’re really excited about? Ed Roland of Collective Soul put together a new band during the early days of COVID shutdown called The Living Room. They wrote and recorded songs in their living room that have a ’70s New Wave kind of sound inspired by bands like Roxy Music, the Cars and ELO. So that should be really cool!

Give us a quick history of Fantasyland Records. Fantasyland Records was opened in 1976 by Andy Folio, who still owns the shop. The original location was [on Peachtree Road] in the old strip that contained Garden Hills Cinema, and where Fellini’s Pizza is still located. We moved to our current location at 360 Pharr Road in Buckhead in 2010. I began working part-time at the store in 1979, became manager in 1983. We sell new and used vinyl, plus used CDs and cassettes in every genre that exists. Also, cool posters and other music-related memorabilia. These days, vinyl is around 90% of our sales. Teenagers and 20-somethings have rediscovered cassettes, like they have vinyl records.

Speaking of the pandemic, how is Fantasyland holding up? Our store was closed from midMarch to mid-May. We did a little curbside business while we were closed. Since we reopened, business has been better than ever, actually. We’ve been open for in-store shopping, the same as usual. And we thank each and every one of our wonderful customers/ friends for that! I think the future continues to look very bright for indie record stores!

So you would say that the ’Vinyl is Back!’ trend may not be a trend? Yeah, vinyl is definitely back. Sales

are increasing each year. Although for indie record stores, it never really went away, there are just a lot more new young people who’ve entered the vinyl world in the last 10 years or so. Plus, the pressing of new vinyl has exploded.


The cover of The Living Room’s special album for Record Store Day’s Black Friday edition.

24 | Art & Entertainment

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Looking up! Seeing the beauty of the night sky Say the idea of looking at the mountains, craters and shadows of the Moon gets your interest. Perhaps a distant and colorful nebula inspires awe and wonder. Or maybe the prospect of checking out Saturn and its rings hanging like a jewel in space gives you goosebumps. You just might be a future amateur astronomer. Several observatories in Georgia, most of them associated with academic institutions, offer observation and research opportunities for students and others seeking astronomical knowledge and almost all throw open the doors to the public during non-pandemic times. A healthy number of amateurs are increasingly taking up astronomy as a hobby, sometimes spending thousands of dollars on gear. The go-astronomy.com and Middle Georgia Astronomical Society websites together list nearly a dozen sky-scanning clubs in the state Experts caution that budding cosmologists will need a healthy dollop of patience and advance planning as well. But the rewards for being deliberate are spectacular. “The most common reaction is, ‘Wow!’” said David Dundee, a genial astronomer who presides over the 20-inch telescope and observatory at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, along with its associated planetarium. The ob-

servatory has opened with social distancing and safety measures during the pandemic, unlike most others. Their 120-seat planetarium also is open on a limited basis for sky shows. “The most important thing is the ability of a person to come here and put their eye to the telescope and say ‘I can see the rings of Saturn or ‘I am looking up at the Orion nebula,’ “ Dundee said. “To me that’s so much better than being at home and punching buttons and up come pictures.” He said the most popular viewing targets are the Moon, Mars and Saturn, as well as Orion and other nebulae, which are giant gas and dust clouds far away in space. The Andromeda galaxy, star clusters and lunar and solar eclipses also find favor. “You can call them the greatest hits of space,” he said with a grin. Tellus volunteer, amateur astronomer and retired chemist Bob Gossman said his interest in the heavens flickered to life while viewing astronaut Ed White’s groundbreaking Gemini 4 spacewalk in 1965. “I excitedly woke my parents and they told me to go back to bed,” he recalled and told of a similar, much more recent epiphany. During a public program one night he coaxed a frazzled mother riding herd on her kids into taking a look through the


Astronomer David Dundee looks after the observatory and planetarium at the Tellus Observatory.

eyepiece. Saturn and its rings held center stage. When she looked herself, she was so surprised by what she saw that she yelled an obscenity, Dundee recalled. Then she was embarrassed because she had blurted the words in front of her kids. “I asked her to describe what she was seeing,” he said, “and her voice began cracking. She was tearing up.” The modest masonry, brick and steel-

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girder observatory at Tellus has a 20-inch telescope that looks a bit like a planetary probe. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dundee said, the domed building about 10,000 visitors a year. This year is different, he said, because the observatory was shut down for weeks. He says “this is a big date night location.” Recently a group of teenagers celebrating a birthday showed up. During public nights, smaller telescopes set up near the observatory and volunteers with laser pointers spotlight highlights of the heavens. The Tellus telescope is a 20-inch reflector utilizing mirrors. Refracting telescopes, by contrast, use lenses. Each has advantages and disadvantages, said Gossman. A refracting telescope is typically cheaper and a bit brighter, while a reflecting device can gather more light with a more compact design. Dundee said novices might think magnification is most crucial, “but the name of the game in astronomy is aperture. The bigger the telescope, the more light it can gather up and the fainter the objects you can see.” Those who are newly interested in the Moon, planets and stars can start out in a more uncomplicated way. “Astronomy is like most hobbies,” said Dr. Greg Feiden, assistant astronomy professor at the University of North Georgia and the director of its observatory, which recently was rebuilt and which uses 24inch and 28-inch telescopes. “You can spend as much or as little as you want on equipment. It can be completely free as you walk out and take a look at the night sky.” An inexpensive star chart can make sense of the constellations. For somewhat more, a pair of sturdy binoculars costing less than $100 can bring the brighter celestial objects into view, astronomers said. For those doing their own viewing, patience pays off, Gossman stressed. He advises taking time to let your eyes adjust and utilizing peripheral vision to spot additional objects like planetary Moons. He advises people with home gear to



adjust their “finderscopes,” an aiming device, and align them with the main telescopes during the day. After dark, he noted, getting one’s celestial bearings can take a while even with advance planning and fancier computer-controlled systems. Increasing light pollution and Georgia’s typical summertime heat and humidity pose issues. Dundee said such pollution has increased greatly in recent years as metro Atlanta has surged northward. Georgia State University’s Dr. Sebastien Lepine, who chairs the physics and astronomy department, said the school’s observatory at Hard Labor Creek likewise grapples with the issue. He suggests getting at least 30 to 50 miles away from downtown Atlanta for better views, or perhaps climbing Stone Mountain. Likewise, he said, spotting the bands of the Milky Way are a well-outside-the-city experience. C








Places where you can observe the night sky The Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville is open for public viewings with safety and social distancing requirements in place. Their planetarium is also open on a limited basis. Their planetarium is also open on a limited basis. Here are some other places in north Georgia where you often can find public events that allow you to study the night sky. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many now are closed to the public, but say they plan to reopen. Check their webpages for more up-to-date information. The University of Georgia observatory in Athens is closed and no date has been set for a reopening. The University of North Georgia astronomical observatory in Dahlonega is listed as closed due to its transition into a new facility as well as COVID-19 concerns and aims for to re-open in early 2021. Georgia State University’s Hard Labor Creek observatory east of Atlanta has eliminated open houses until further notice due to COVID-19. The same applies to the observatory on their Dunwoody campus. Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College in Decatur is closed until further notice. The Ralph Buice Jr. Observatory at Fernbank Science Center in DeKalb County is closed and aims to reopening for viewing opportunities around the first of the year. — Mark Woolsey




12:48 PM

Art & Entertainment | 25

26 | Art & Entertainment

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Mapping Atlanta’s Murals

Atlanta Street Art Map celebrates documentation of 1,000th mural BY COLLIN KELLEY The convergence of retirement, a trip to New York City, and Instagram led Art Ruddick down an art-filled rabbit hole and the creation of a website to track Atlanta’s many murals. Ruddick’s Atlanta Street Art Map (streetartmap.org) has become a go-to site for finding Intown’s colorful wall art, as well as acting as an archive since so many of the murals disappear over time – either covered by graffiti or replaced with something new. Ruddick retired at the end of 2016 after a 32-year career with Coca-Cola. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife took a trip to New York to visit his niece. Before a street art walking tour of the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, Ruddick’s niece suggested he download Instagram to his cell phone. “I was fascinated with the street art in Bushwick and started looking for more of it when I got back to Atlanta,” Ruddick said. “I thought my Instagram account would be perfect for street art content.” Beyond the visible and well-known murals in the city, Ruddick had no idea where to start looking for more. “I looked online and there was only a handful of websites that mentioned mu-

Ashley Dopson’s concept art for her new mural, “Fish Are Jumpin’ and the Cotton is High,” for the wall outside the Krog Street Tunnel in Cabbagetown.

rals and when they did there was only a dozen or so,” he recalled. “And some of those had already been painted over.” As Ruddick set out on a quest to find more murals, he also figured out how to start his own website. By the time Atlanta Street Art Map went live in 2017, he had already photographed and documented 200 murals. The site not only divides the city into easily walkable districts, but also provides

a map, photo, and links (if available) to the artist’s website or social media. He’s constantly updating the site and has become Instagram friends with more than 160 artists who alert him about new murals going up in the city. Ruddick enjoys walking and driving to discover and document new street art. He also regularly checks on murals to see if they have been painted over or altered to keep the site as timely as possible. “Archiving the murals is important, because no one else is doing that,” Ruddick said. Late last year, Ruddick realized he was nearing 1,000 murals on the website and decided that an event should be held to celebrate the milestone. His idea was to mark the 1,000th mural he had documented with the creation of a new mural. Ruddick came up with the idea for an ATL1000 festival, which would include walking tours, artist talks, and more. Then the pandemic hit. Undaunted, Ruddick contacted John Dirga with the Cabbagetown Initiative about possibly having the commemorative mural painted on the wall leading to the entrance of the iconic Krog Street Tunnel. The Cabbagetown Initiative has curated the walls leading to the tunnel since 2003.

The Cabbagetown Initiative agreed to put up the mural with ATL1000 as a sponsor. A call went out over social media for artists to submit resumes and qualifications. More than 30 responded, and six were invited to submit mural proposals. By coincidence the 1,000th mural Ruddick documented for his site and the mural chosen for the Cabbagetown wall were created by the same local artist, Ashely Dopson, who goes by Ashely D. for her artwork. Dopson created a colorful Black Lives Matter mural for the KIPP Strive Academy in southwest Atlanta, which became Ruddick’s 1,000th mural for the Street Art Map site. For the Cabbagetown project, Dopson pays tribute to Miss Bertha, a three-decade resident of the former mill neighborhood. In the mural, called “Fish are Jumpin’ and the Cotton is High,” Miss Bertha floats happily in in a colorful koi pond. Dopson was still painting the mural at press time. Another ATL1000 partnership Ruddick is excited about is wish Power Haus Creative and its founder, Ash Nash. The “Goddess Glow” project will se multiple murals created by Black women for Black women and girls to see authentic reflections of themselves in street art.

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Bill Kring, MaryJane LeCroy, and Phillip Hamman, discuss three keys for sound wealth planning advice in this “strange” new world. (Left to right: Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)

fiduciary advisor who is part of a well-credentialled team that includes CPAs, attorneys, and other similarly designated professionals to collaborate on your advice. WITH THE RIGHT ADVISOR, ARE PEOPLE LIKELY TO HEAR NEW AND DIFFERENT ADVICE THAN WHAT WAS SAID BEFORE WE ENTERED THIS STRANGE WORLD? Probably not as different as one might imagine. Good disciplined financial decision-making is a long-term exercise and should not be unduly reactive. That said, we are finding that our advice has to be somewhat adaptable to these newer challenges. Our team is ready right now to meet, either inperson, or virtually, to discuss the challenges you see in your current world.

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Community | 27


From lemons to butterflies: Spruill Gallery unveils new mural BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Lemons transitioning into monarch butterflies adorn the smokehouse at the Spruill Center for the Arts Gallery as the first mural in what is planned as an annually rotating exhibit. Christopher


“Find Your Wings” was unveiled Oct. 10 at the gallery

Scan the QR code to learn more!

at 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. It replaces the famous “Everything Will Be OK” mural, which will find a permanent home at Brook Run Park.


Christopher Michaels paints a lemon on his artwork “Find Your Wings.”

“Find Your Wings” is a personal piece for Michaels and his wife

“Find Your Wings” was the winner of

Amanda. It refers to her recovery from

a competitive art installation contest that

devastating injuries suffered when a

the arts center dubbed “AMPLIFY.” A new

driver hit her in a crosswalk as she left

winner will be unveiled every October.

one of the local Lemonade Days festivals

Prints of the mural are available for pur-

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terfly Festival in August. Lemonade Days itself is a reference to tragedy, hope and “making lemonade out of lemons.” The festival began in 1998 as a fundraiser for a tornado that demolished a large section of Dunwoody. “Amanda’s incredible determination and efforts to heal are the inspiration for my mural design,” said Christopher Michaels in a press release. “… The lemons transitioning into butterflies in this mural are symbolic of her pushing herself


to walk again and are also a message of

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hope and encouragement to anyone who is making a journey from hard times to better times. It is dedicated to her and to the people of Dunwoody who came together and helped our family in a time of need.” The black-and-white “Everything Will Be OK” mural that formerly appeared on the smokehouse became the unofficial slogan for the recently incorporated city of Dunwoody when artist Jason Scott Kofke created it in 2009. A re-created version had remained there from 2011 until this year. Plans for new, rotating artworks came a few months after Kofke got into a copyright dispute with the center about using his design as yard signs for

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City cuts 2021 budget by 4% due to pandemic BY ERIN SCHILLING

The city is expected to end 2020 with six months of reserve funds and end 2021


with four months of reserve funds, according to a city memo. The city is starting

The city is reducing its 2021 budget by about 4% due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts. The city proposes keeping the property tax rate the same for now, but says that might have to change if revenue troubles continue. The current property tax millage rate is 1.74 for homestead properties and 2.74 for other properties.

the year with about $4.5 million less than in 2020, a drop of about 21.4%, according to city documents. While there is a 2021 reduction, the budget includes a 2% cost-of-living pay raise for city employees, effective April 1. That pay hike came about after the final health insurance budget dropped premiums by 2 points to a 7% increase.

“While having this low a tax rate has been a mat-

The council also moved $50,000 out of the City-

ter of pride for many years, the city must revisit this

wide Traffic Signal Communication in Public Works

decision, especially in light of reductions in businesses

in the capital funds budget to fund the Master Plan of

licenses, commercial property values and hotel/motel

the old Austin Elementary School site.

taxes,” a city memo reads.

Mayor Lynn Deutsch said in a press release the

The City Council on Oct. 26 approved the $24.5 mil-

budget is balanced because of the city’s reserve funds.

lion budget, which spans the calendar year.

“That is what they are there for — to help when

The city says the pandemic has reduced the revenue from the commercial tax base. The city relies on commercial taxes to keep property taxes at lower rates. In August, the city also cut the 2020 budget by 4%, or $1 million, to cope with losses in revenue. Due to that belt-tightening, the 2021 cut means a net reduction of about 0.12% from this year’s spending. “Revenue looks more like 2011 than what we would have expected in 2021,” City Manager Eric Linton said in a press release. “Reductions occurred in almost every

disaster hits,” Deutsch said in the release. “However, this budget is the warning sign that our revenue base is fragile. Moving forward, the City Council and I will continue monitoring the situation and studying options.” Deutsch and city staff submitted the proposal to the city Budget Committee for review at the end of August. The committee kept the budget mostly the same but made a few minor changes, including eliminating two printed quarterly “Dunwoody Digest” publications in favor of online-only versions.

department. However, reductions were done through an internal line-by-line review process and not by across-the-board cuts.”

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Baseball league objects to city’s athletic field proposal Continued from page 1 Association during its Oct. 4 meeting.

The proposed agreement

The athletic association manual does not target DSB, city officials said at a Sept. 29 City Council meeting, but instead is a way to formalize agreements with city athletic partners. “Every other athletic association that we’re partners with has gotten back to the city and had no issue with the document,” Councilmember Tom Lambert said during the Sept. 29 meeting. The manual has not yet been approved by the council, which planned to have a separate meeting with DSB to work out more details. The manual outlines different rental prices for four categories. City programs would have no rental fees; recreation leagues and schools would pay $15 an

We have the best athletic facilities in the Southeast region right now [referring to the artificial turf baseball fields at Brook Run Park]. They are in high demand. They’re not free, and they come with a cost to repair. TOM LAMBERT CITY COUNCILMEMBER hour; nonprofits and churches would pay $100 an hour; and businesses would pay $850 for a half-day and would not have an hourly rate. Right now, DSB does not pay anything to use the fields and also lets the Dunwoody cluster schools use the fields for free, Weiner said. The role of the city is to facilitate the agreements and permits for people and organizations to use the fields as well as manage utilities and clean the restrooms, according to the manual. The role of the athletic associations using the fields would be to provide the city with its schedule of games and practices, make sure everyone follows the facility rules and maintain the fields based on the existing Field Usage Agreement. City approval would be required for all

The artificial turf baseball fields that Dunwoody Senior Baseball uses, as they appeared shortly after opening in 2018.

tournaments and would collect rental fees from those tournaments, according to the manual. Organizations using the fields are not allowed to charge gate fees for city residents or during tournaments. City officials said those rules aim to make athletic fields more available for residents who want to use them and will make sure the city has the revenue to maintain and replace the fields as needed. “We have the best athletic facilities in the Southeast region right now,” said Lambert, referring to the artificial turf baseball fields at Brook Run Park that DSB uses. “They are in high demand. They’re not free, and they come with a cost to repair.” The manual was requested by Mayor Lynn Deutsch and created by staff with Lambert and Councilmember Stacey Harris, according to a staff memo. Weiner said DSB takes full responsibility for those fields and would help the city pay to replace the artificial turf when it’s needed. The ball fields opened in 2018 and cost about $7 million in city funds. The fields were built in an area between Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School after the city swapped the Dunwoody Park fields with the DeKalb County School District to build a new Austin Elementary School. City officials see the manual as a longterm solution to protecting public fields. “If we want to continue the quality of the fields, we owe it to future councils to make sure we have money in the bank,” Deutsch said.

DSB’s proposal

DSB has been managing the city fields for 46 years, Weiner said. “We manage those fields not because we want to make more money, but because we feel a responsibility to manage those

fields,” Weiner told the council. “This isn’t anything new to us.” Weiner told the DHA he would like to see the city charge rental fees per player instead of per hour. He would also like DSB to keep paying utilities on the baseball fields and would give the city 75% of net tournament revenue for turf repair and other capital improvements. Weiner said DSB would build in time for public use of the fields and want to continue to manage the league’s schedule and tournaments as they already do. “They want uniformity,” Weiner told the DHA. “In one sense I get that. But in the other sense, I would say that not all of us are the same. We can’t play baseball on rectangle fields.” DHA President Adrienne Duncan said the city’s “one size fits all” approach is a “pattern.” DHA members expressed support for DSB continuing to manage the fields as they have been. “I think that baseball fields should be treated separately because they are programming partners and caretakers wrapped together,” DHA member and former council member Terry Nall said.

An ongoing debate

The use of the baseball fields has been an ongoing debate in the city because some say there wasn’t enough public use on the tax-funded fields. DSB says that tournaments that bring in outside players provide the city with valuable sports tourism that helps city restaurants and other businesses. City officials said they appreciate the tournaments but want to make sure the residents also get to use the facilities. The manual proposal comes after the city conducted an audit of DSB’s finances earlier this year, which found problems


with its record keeping. The audit revealed some DSB board members can purchase items, deposit money, record revenue and issue checks – including to themselves — without internal oversight. Bill Mulcahy, who conducted the audit, told the council in February that he asked DSB for bank account information but never received it. A written policy on how revenues are determined was not made available. DSB rents out the fields to different leagues to hold tournaments on the fields, but they pay only after play is finished. A list of unpaid tournament fees was also not available, Mulcahy said. When the artificial turf fields at Brook Run Park opened in 2018, DSB and the city agreed that the organization would help pay for the upkeep of the fields. The 2018 facilities agreement included a revenue-sharing provision in which DSB would pay the city 10% of its net annual revenues generated by tournament rental fees if the amount is less than $100,000, and 15% if the net annual revenues were more than $100,000. The money is to go into a fund that would cover future maintenance costs, including replacing the turf fields in 10 years or so. DSB is not following that formula as it was written in the agreement, Mulcahy said, and last year the league paid the city nothing. He said DSB’s financial books are “not understandable.” DSB officials argued the audit was based on faulty calculations and presents a misleading picture of how the league operates. Harris said during the Sept. 29 meeting that the audit was “an embarrassment” to the city and showed a need for the proposed manual.



| 31


41 AWARDS FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown have won 41 awards in the Georgia Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition over the past three years. In 2019, the Reporter’s honors included eight first place awards in its category. The annual competition is judged by newspaper professionals from around the country and represent the highest journalism standards. Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

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Spring 2019 |

Where brick-and-mortar

The PCIDs 20 years of shaping marks Perimeter Center COMMUNITY retail still works

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After 20 years of a population increasingly boom, jammed highways scraper-sprouting and skymega-developments, it may sound quaint that people about Perimeter worried Mall traffic way 1999. back in But the Perimeter Community provement Districts, Imof business propertythe self-taxing groups out of those concerns,owners that formed are among the sons the local boom has happened reawhy the traffic and isn’t even worse. to Perimeter If you go Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond the ramps on Ga. Drive 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond change at I-285 inter– and you’ll see smaller touches they’re responsible for, scaping and rush-hour like landtraffic cops. “They had a reputation for, one, cleaning things up, providing number those cosmetic amenities we’ve some of all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as resident and now a longtime Dunwoody serves as their director. “At the executive time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group was willing to pay for those amenities.” Back in 1999, the day cover Perimeter three cities that toCenter – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs not yet exist. – did As the its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead to it has refocused sion on transportation, its misleaving previous proposals such as park-building ies. Transportation to the citthese days means erything from evhelping to build trail networks multiuse to shaping the toll lanes and future of transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of the PCIDs currently basics the provides or coordinates, like sidewalks and crosswalks, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing and the rimeter Connects commuter advice Pevice. serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector is Center’s future, with

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Layla Smith, left, and Corrine Ovellette, eighth-graders at Peachtree Charter School, ride the swings during Middle the 20th edition of the Lemonade Days festival, which ran April 24-28 at Brook Run Park. The festival this year raised money for the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and the Donaldson-Bannist er Farm.

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Mount Paran and Powers Ferry Joe Card, the owner of this carriage house at the a plan to build a roundabout. roads intersection is calling for the city to stop

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City Springs theater group prepares for another season of packed houses



The Sandy Springs Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIPs 30327, 30328, 30342 and 30350 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

As the City Springs Theatre Company prepares the final shows of its inaugural season, it’s also prepping for what it expects to be another season of packed shows as it tries to keep up with the enthusiasm and demand from the community. The theater company survived major

leadership changes at City Springs and has succeeded in implementing one of the complex’s key initiatives – educational programming. “I’ve been involved in nonprofit theatre for 33 years now. I have never, ever in my career seen anything like the level of support and desire for musical theater,” Brandt See CITY on page 12

country store. “We’d like Sandy Springs to make a priority of residential neighborhoods and not Aar- out our podcasts Check make it a bypass for commuters,” said at ReporterNewspapers.net on Gill, a homeowner at the intersection. The start of the project is quickly approaching, with utility relocation expectconstruction ed to begin in the fall andThe DunwoodybyReporter is spring 2020. The city is currently working mail delivered to roundthe for way on securing right of homes

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about. carrier routes in The $2.5 million project is expect-ZIP 30338 ed to cost $1.2 million for construction, For information: $800,000 for right of way and $300,000 delivery@reporternewspapers.net for design. The city did not respond to a request for comment, but has said the reby safety roundabout would improve ducing side-impact crashes and installing pedestrian improvements. It’s also expected to reduce congestion, according to the city.

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Main photo, the diverging SPECIAL at Ashford-Dunwoody diamond interchange Road and I-285 as it looked shortly after opening in 2012. Inset, the Hammond FILE Drive Ga. 400 shortly after interchange with it opened in 2011.

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business leaders April 25.

Adding to the symbolism, the event – hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the policy and lobby group the Council for Quality Growth – was not only held in Dunwoody, but in very same Crowne Plaza Ravinia hotel ballroom where the city’s own annual “state See DEKALB on page 10

Dunwoody’s old Austin Elementary School, which was expected to close once a new, 900-seat version debuts P16 open temporarily next year, may remain as DeKalb Schools searches for ways to alleviate overcrowding. Doing so would mean extending a lease agreement between the city and the school district, but officials are being tight-lipped about their discussions. COMMENTARY The city currently owns the old school at 5345 Roberts Drive, originally built in 1975, as part of a 2016 land swap deal with DeKalb Schools. The agreement included the city trading the former Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields for the school property and DeKalb Schools paying the city $3.6 million. DeKalb Schools P18 is building the new school on Roberts Drive on the site of the former baseball fields and adjacent to the NEST ROBIN’S Dunwoody Nature Center, less than a halfmile from the current AES. The city has not finalized what it wants to do with the old school property once it is vacated, but talks have generally focused on creating a park space. The new Austin Elementary School is being built using 2011 special local option salesP19 tax funding. As part of the 2016 agreement, the city agreed to lease the old school to DeKalb


our podcasts Check See OLD on pageout 22

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Holy Spirit pla spurs talk of n agreement, lawsuits

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MAY Sandy


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RUCH johnruch@repo rternewspapers. net

After 20 years increasingly of scraper-sprou jammed a population highways boom, it may ting and skysound mega-develop about Perimeterquaint that ments, 1999. Mall trafficpeople worried But the way back provement Perimeter in Community of business Districts, property the self-taxing Imout of those concerns, owners that groups sons the why the local boom are among formed the traffic has to Perimeter isn’t even happened reaand get there worse. Center If you today, via one PCIDs of the you may go pushed ramps big projects well – like woody on Ga. 400 the Hammond the or the Drive change Road diverging Ashford-Dun touches at I-285 – diamond and you’ll interscaping they’re responsible see smaller and rush-hour for, like “They had a traffic landone, cleaning reputation cops. those for, number cosmeticthings up, providing used amenities to,” some we’ve the CIDs said Ann all becomeof Hanlon, resident form as a longtimewho watched director. and now serves Dunwoody as their lutionary,“At the time, that was executive that to pay for those a private group pretty revoamenities.” Back was willing day coverin 1999, the Perimeter three cities en, Dunwoody that toCenter not yet and Sandy – Brookhavexist. its next As the Springs – did sion on 20 years, it PCIDs looks has proposalstransportatio refocusedahead to n, leaving its missuch as ies. Transportatio park-building previous erything from n these days to the cittrail networks helping to build means evtoll lanes to multiuse and transitshaping That’s the future in PCIDs addition to on Ga. 400 and I-285.of currently some like sidewalks provides of the basics shuttles, the or coordinates, and crosswalks, rimeter traffic signal Connects timing commuter vice. commuter and the An increasingly advice Peserpart of Perimeter residential Center’s sector is CONTINU future, with ED

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4920 Roswell uckheadThree GREAT while 404-255-63Road you celebra Emory locations 68 ! Area 1815 Briarcliff te! 404-474-94 Road Chamblee 44 5071 Peachtree/Brookhav Industrial en 770-451-11 Blvd. 12


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shows future of Executive Park it owns plan for the 60 acres and Musculoskeletal Emory University’s master colored in blue, including a new hospital and industrial. office medical and office buildings to rezone the property from retail to Center. Emory is seeking

300-plus properties could be affected ect by I-285 toll lanes proj AND JOHN RUCH BY DYANA BAGBY toll lanes on the The state’s plan to build impact a minimum of top end of I-285 could the corridor, rang300 properties all along easements to full ing from construction to city of Brookhavland takings, according en officials. City CouncilmemMayor John Ernst and about 50 people ber Linley Jones informed community meeting at attending an April 18

number they learned City Hall that was the with a Georgia Deafter a private meeting on project manpartment of Transportati did not know how ager. They also said they would be afmany Brookhaven properties fected. affected on the The 300-plus properties located between Hentop end of I-285 are area in the east derson Road in the Tucker See 300 on page 23




Take steps to pro tec urban wildlife t

P18 revealed its $1 Emory University has Park, a “livebillion plan for Executive ROBIN’S that district” NEST work-play health innovation a hotel, multifamily includes a hospital, and office space. The housing and medical build, but to years 15 60-acre plan will take center could start work on an orthopedic this year, Emory says. Park, a neighborResidents of Lavista Park, are seekhood adjacent to Executive P19 Brookhaven, posing to be annexed into year, in part because sibly as soon as this a say in the developthey want to have

Mother’s Words of Wisdom

ment. a say because this Check out our “It’s critical we have at ReporterNew podcasts d,” said Mispapers.net comes into our neighborhoo shortly before Emchael Lappin, speaking 22 See EMORY on page The Buck

head is mail delive Reporter red on selected carrieto homes in ZIPs 30305 r routes , 30327 and 30342

For inform delivery@re porternewsp ation: apers.net

Left, John Beach, presid which repute ent dly killed the of the Buckhead Herita holds what is said to be neighborhood’s names ge Society, holds the “Buckh the same firearm ake deer in an undate in 1838. Right, Jamesead Gun,” d photo. (John Whitle Ruch/Specia y l)

After 45 ye launches a ars, a nonprofit citizen inpureview of NPU t system






The Neigh borhood Plann tem that ing Unit sysreviews plann ing, zonin other big g and issues ment is gettin for Atlanta city govern g a review downtown of its own. nonprofit A called the Civic Innov Center ation has begun a quiet, for but

potentially influential, series of meetin and survey s that aims to have reform gs ommendatio recns for the 45-year-old on the table system by March 2020. “There are things about tem] that [the NPU are amazi ng, and things syswe need to that have a lot more conve about,” said rsation CCI Execu tive Direct or Rohit See AFTER on page 14


PRSRT STD ECRWSS US Postage PAID Monroe, GA Permit #15

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Published monthly by Springs Publishing LLC DUN

MAY 2019 Vol. 25 No. 5 ■ www.At lantaINt

NO. 5


Take steps to protect urban wildlife Mother’s Words of Wisdom

• VOL. 13 —

Buckhead Reporter

After 20 years of a population boom, increasingly jammed highways and skyscraper-sprouting mega-developments, it may sound quaint that people worried about Perimeter Mall traffic way back in 1999. But the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, the self-taxing groups of business property owners that formed out of those concerns, are among the reasons the local boom has happened and why the traffic isn’t even worse. If you go to Perimeter Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects the PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond Drive ramps on Ga. 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond interchange at I-285 – and you’ll touches they’re responsible see smaller for, like landscaping and rush-hour traffic cops. “They had a reputation for, number one, cleaning things up, providing some of those cosmetic amenities we’ve all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as a longtime Dunwoody resident and now serves as their executive director. “At the time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group to pay for those amenities.” was willing Back in 1999, the three cities that today cover Perimeter Center – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs – did not yet exist. As the PCIDs looks ahead to its next 20 years, it has refocused its mission on transportation, leaving proposals such as park-building previous to the cities. Transportation these days means everything from helping to build multiuse trail networks to shaping the future of toll lanes and transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of PCIDs currently provides the basics the or like sidewalks and crosswalks,coordinates, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing and the Perimeter Connects commuter advice service.

to remake Emory unveils $1B plan innovation district’ Executive Park as ‘health

The Brookhaven Reporter to is mail delivered homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net


Take steps to protect urban wildlife


1815 Briarcliff Road 404-474-9444

fishing regulations approved after heron’s death


of Residents near Mount Paran and Powers Ferry roads have rallied against a roundabout expected to be built early next year. They argue the roundabout will mostly help commuters while negatively affecting their properties, including requiring demolition of a P19 once used as a nearly century-old building




Dunwoody Brookhaven

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NO. 5


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MAY 2019 • VOL. 11 —

SPECIAL diamond looked shortly Road and interchange I-285 as after opening it Inset, the in 2012. Hammond Ga. 400 Drive interchange FILE shortly after with it opened in 2011.





| Where brick-and-mo

After 20 increasingly years of a population jammed boom, scraper-sprouting highways and skyit may sound mega-developments quaint that about Perimeter people worried, Mall traffic 1999. way back in But the provement Perimeter Community Districts, Imof business the self-taxing groups out of those property owners that formed concerns, sons the local boom are among the why the has happened reatraffic and to Perimeter isn’t even worse. If you Center today, get there you may go via well PCIDs pushed one of the big projects – like the ramps on Hammond the Ga. 400 Drive woody or the Ashford-DunRoad diverging change diamond at I-285 – and you’ll intertouches they’re responsible see smaller scaping and rush-hour for, like “They had traffic cops. landone, cleaning a reputation for, those cosmeticthings up, providing number some of amenities used to,” we’ve all said Ann become the CIDs Hanlon, who watched form as a longtime resident and now Dunwoody serves as director. their “At lutionary, the time, that was executive that a private pretty to pay for group was revothose amenities.” willing Back in 1999, the three day cover cities that Perimeter en, Dunwoody toCenter – Brookhavnot yet exist. and Sandy Springs As the – did its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead it has sion on transportation, refocused its to misproposals leaving such as park-building previous ies. Transportation to the citerything these from helping days means trail networks evto build multiuse to shaping toll lanes the and transit That’s in on Ga. 400 future of addition and I-285. PCIDs currently to some of the like sidewalks provides or basics the and crosswalks,coordinates, shuttles, traffic signal commuter rimeter timing and Connects the Pecommuter vice. advice serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector Center’s is future, with CONTINUED

Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunwoody

ersMill sidewalks HomeownTilly criticize spark right-of-way dispute ut roundabo threatening 1927 Take steps to protect buildingurban wildlife

Main photo, the diverging SPECIAL at Ashford-Dunwoody diamond interchange Road and I-285 looked shortly as it after opening in 2012. Inset, the Hammond FILE Ga. 400 shortly Drive interchange with after it opened in 2011.


Spring 2019


Sandy Springs


Perimeter Busines

Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention






PRSRT STD ECRWSS US Postag e PAID Monroe, GA Permit #15

MAY 2019

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The PCID of shapings marks 20 year s Perimeter Center


MAY 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 5

Sandy Springs

Brookhaven Buckhead

Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention




MAY 2019

Section Two




johnruch@repo rternewspapers .net

The woode with age. The n stock is beige and battere metal plate decorated above the trigger d with a pair is of birds. The long, heavy barrel is and octago nal. It’s an old sure. It might muzzleloading firearm even be the , deer that gave one that killed for Buckhead the 1838. its curious name in John Beach, Heritage Society president of the Buckh ead , is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by trackin g John Beach, see the tales surrou Around Town, nding another little-known page 20. piece of area history – an quietly surviv 1842 ed destruction log cabin that to a Buckh ead back yard. by being moved Beach gave In the meant the Report ime, er an exclus ive close-


Dunwoody Reporter

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