NOVEMBER 2019 - Buckhead Reporter

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NOVEMBER 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 11

Buckhead Reporter APS chief, facing ouster, finds support in Buckhead

Perimeter Business

Old-school bowling rolls on at Funtime Bowl P5



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The tour on Peachtree Road, where those joining included at center rear, City Council President Felicia Moore. Story on page 20 ►


Businesses, residents find unity in common foe: traffic BY JOHN RUCH

It’s not unheard of for the head of a business district group to update the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods about a project or two. But something different was in the air at on Oct. 10 meeting where Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Commu-

nity Improvement District, broadly offered the BCN “just an intention to work with you and really nail down solutions and get them activated” on commuter traffic, an issue that has often divided the business and residential advocates. A new era of unity on transportation and transit is dawning between Buckhead’s maSee BUSINESS on page 31

As Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen faces her impending, and still mysterious, ouster by the Board of Education, she is finding support from Buckhead-area residents, parents, teachers and officials. At an Oct. 24 meeting at Bolton Academy about the search for a new superintendent, school board members faced hard questions from parents and teachers who said they already have the one they want. Many in the audience demanded, but did not get, answers about why Carstarphen’s contract will not be renewed in 2020 after five years on the job. And Carstarphen herself made it clear she wants to keep the job, saying after an Oct. 10 appearance before the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods that she was “called here by God” to run APS and that she knows “the work isn’t done.” The school board confirmed in September that it would not renew Carstarphen’s contract, but has not given a detailed explanation.

Stumping for the job

Carstarphen came to the BCN to discuss tax breaks on massive real estate deals and how that reduces APS’s revenues. But conversation quickly turned to her contract, with support for her to remain in the job. One audience member suggested Buckhead could end local tax abatements by becoming its own city, adding, “You could be the superintendent of Buckhead.” Carstarphen, who was hired in 2014 to clean up APS after its test-cheating scandal, See ATLANTA on page 15


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2 | Community ■

Community Briefs

An illustration of what the park over Ga. 400 might look like, as shown in a draft concept study.



Fundraising is officially underway for “HUB404 Atlanta GA,” the propose park capping Ga. 400 in central Buckhead. The nonprofit group organizing the effort is first raising $250,000 to hire staff and start the main capital campaign. Building the park could cost $175 million to $200 million, backers have previously estimated. Originally conceived by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and now promoted by an independent nonprofit, the park concept is a roughly 9.5 green space and plaza built above Ga. 400 between Peachtree and Lenox roads, and incorporating a redesigned Buckhead MARTA Station. The name refers to the center of metro Atlanta’s 404 phone area code. BCID Executive Director Jim Durrett also serves as HUB404’s treasurer. He said the BCID is seeking a $1 million grant from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank to go towards a $4 million in preliminary engineering work on the park design. The rest of the money would have to be raised from other sources. Durrett said HUB404 is also reaching out to communities around the city to make sure the future park’s programming would be diverse and that its current support is broad. “We want this park, because of its connection to MARTA, to be viewed by people in Atlanta to be their park, and not Buckhead’s park,” he said. For more information, see





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A man was wounded in the arm in a Buckhead shooting incident on Oct. 20, according to the Atlanta Police Department. The shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. at 2990 Grandview Avenue. The man was “alert, conscious and breathing” after the shooting, according to police. The shooting may have followed a “dispute” inside a building at the address, according to police. The site of the Oct. 20 shooting is next door to the scene where an Atlanta Fire Rescue Department captain was shot and wounded in an apparent street robbery on Feb. 2.


MARTA and a group of Buckhead leaders have lost their bid to bring a self-driving shuttle experiment to the Lenox Square mall. Instead, the “Olli” shuttle is test-driving a street in the city of Peachtree Corners. An Arizona-based startup company called Local Motors sought bids from metro Atlanta organizations to test the Olli for three months. In July, the Lenox Square bid was arranged by the Buckhead Coalition, MARTA and the mall, though they fell short of a minimum $88,000 financial pledge. The Buckhead Community Improvement District had declined to participate in the bid, questioning the point of paying a startup to demonstrate unproven technology and its effect on the existing “buc” shuttle service. Peachtree Corners won the bid, according to a Local Motors spokesperson. On Oct. 1, the city began public rides on the Olli on Technology Parkway, a street that is designed with infrastructure to test various new types of motor vehicles. Meanwhile, the BCID and Livable Buckhead recently announced they are replacing the “buc” shuttle bus with an Uber-style, on-demand, app-based shuttle van service. Run by a company called Via, the new shuttle uses human drivers. The service is scheduled to start in January.

Community | 3


With Lake Forrest Dam repairs to come, residents sue over lost view BY HANNAH GRECO

After nearly a decade of repairs being ordered by the state for the Lake Forrest Dam, Sandy Springs approved a contract for the repair design at an Oct. 1 meeting. The design could restore the lake, but the process could take as long as two-and-a-half years and involve a 12-month closure of Lake Forrest Drive. Because of the current condition of the now-drained private lake, two Lake Forrest Drive homeowners are suing the city of Sandy Springs, among other dam owners, for negligence in dealing with the lake and the dam. On a recent visit to a homeowner’s back yard on Lake Forrest Drive, the Reporter saw an unmaintained landscape of trees sprouting from the ground. The backyard once had a lake dating to the 1950s, as well as a dock with a rowboat, which now rests on a hill overtaken with shrubbery. “When the owners purchased the property, it was lakefront property,” the identical lawsuits said. “As a result of the city’s decision to drain the lake though, the property is no longer lakefront. Instead, as the water level drops, a mud pit is emerging in place of the lake.” The lake was drained by Sandy Springs in 2016 in response to the state’s decade-long “high-hazard” classification of the Lake Forrest Dam. The dam runs directly beneath the 4600 block of Lake Forrest Drive and rests on the border of Atlanta and Sandy Springs. Anthony and Mitra Smith and Sara and Spencer Lambeth, property owners on Lake Forrest, have sued the five owners over the condition of the dam and lake for the last four years, claiming negligence and improper management. The two identical lawsuits were filed in May in Fulton County Superior Court and claim the other owners have failed to ensure proper maintenance of both the dam and the lake. They also claim property values have diminished significantly due to the lake being partially drained for dam control. “These lawsuits have been filed...after almost four years of waiting for substantive action on the dam without seeing any progress,” Martin Shelton, the plaintiffs’ attorney said. The Safe Dams Program, the state agency that monitors dams, ordered repairs of the Lake Forrest Dam nearly 10 years ago. It is on the state’s list of “high-hazard” dams, meaning that if it failed in a worst-case scenario, the flood would likely kill people downstream. Dam ownership is determined by the Safe Dams Program. The five ownership entities at Lake Forrest, according to the state, are the city of Atlan-

ta; the city of Sandy Springs; the Three Lakes Corporation, a homeowners’ association; and two independent owners, Gilbert Aleman and William Harrison. The plaintiffs are a part of Three Lakes but do not believe the corporation has been representing their best interests, Shelton said. According to Sandy Springs City Attorney Dan Lee, the city plans to file a motion to have the lawsuits dismissed. The city of Atlanta and Todd Rinck, president of Three Lakes, declined to comment. At the Oct. 1 meeting, a design contract for the repairs of the dam was awarded to Schnabel Engineering for $756,800. The new design would create a spillway — a passage for surplus water — under the road and could potentially refill the lake. The design could also close Lake Forrest Drive for 12 months during construction. According to city staff, the design process will take about eight months; an Environmental Protection Division review and permitting will take about four months; a land acquisition process will take about four months; and construction will take about 15 months.


A dock in one of the Lake Forrest Drive homeowner’s backyards that used to have water surrounding it before the lake was drained in 2016 by the city of Sandy Springs.

The project’s design and construction is estimated to cost $4.8 million. That does not include the right of way and temporary construction easements needed from nearby residents, which have yet to be determined, city staff said. The cities of Atlanta and Sandy Springs have agreed to split the cost of the project because the dam rests on the cities’ border and Atlanta has agreed to the proposed design. But it is still unclear what amount the other three en-

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tities that own the dam will contribute to the repair. The plaintiffs would agree on the current plan should it move forward, Shelton said, but would seek monetary damages for the temporary absence of the lake. “They seek restoration of the lake as it was before and are seeking monetary damages for the absences of the lake temporarily or permanently,” Shelton said.

4 | Community ■

Preservation rules could restrain infill housing, but trust is a question

Left, Doug Young, a city historic preservation official, speaks during the Oct. 24 “Future Places Project” meeting at the Cathedral of St. Philip. Right, attendees could sticker-vote on some preservation ideas from other cities.


As the city revamps its historic preservation policy, one idea on the table would preserve the character of residential streets by limiting the size of infill housing, a major concern for Buckhead’s tree and house preservationists. But first, the city needs to overcome skepticism from residents who said an Oct. 24 Buckhead meeting that they don’t trust officials to enforce today’s rules, let alone new and improved ones. “We know that we have developers absolutely destroying our neighborhoods right now,” said Mary Norwood, chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, at the city input meeting at the Cathedral of St. Philip. She noted that traditional landmarking, which preserves specific buildings, has been rejected by Buckhead residents for neighborhoods, but that new methods could reduce the infill impact. Dubbed the “Future Places Project,” the review is looking the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, which is getting fairly historic itself at roughly three decades old. The update

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eventually will part of a new city zoning code. Currently, the city’s Urban Design Commission reviews zoning-related protections for 23 historic districts and 63 structures or other landmarks. Doug Young, the city’s assistant director of Historic Preservation and executive director of the commission, said that process is a “hammer.” The city needs more “tools” to preserve historic neighborhoods, communities and areas, he said. The city aims to produce a report on new historic preservation ideas by May. Meanwhile, officials are reviewing a wide variety of ideas from other cities. Young described some of them as “pretty out there…in terms of radicalness” compared to what Atlanta has now. One idea is requiring city historic preservation staff approval for demolishing any structure more than 50 years old; another is offering grants for preserving historic properties. At the meeting, the roughly 50 residents in attendance could provide input in a variety of ways, from sticker-voting on policy ideas to making a video recording of their comments and memories. Young emphasized that the city has not decided on any specific tactics or policies yet. But infill housing is a big focus, in both theory and practice. The meeting included a distinct station for input about infill housing. And in Poncey-Highland, a new approach to restricting infill is already in place. The new Bonaventure-Somerset Historic District, covering two streets near Ponce City Market, does not protect specific buildings, Young said; instead, it limits the scale, size and massing of new houses to maintain the historic community character. That idea was well-received by some Buckhead community leaders. Sally Silver, an aide to City Councilmember Howard Shook, told the crowd that the concept is “part of the cure.” Before the meeting, Norwood told Young that “the trees are being wiped out, houses are being torn down” for “mega-mansions” in Buckhead, adding, “I got plenty of people here who will come march in the streets” for improved preservation ordinances. However, several residents – including the chairs of two of Buckhead’s Neighborhood Planning Units – expressed a lack of faith in the city’s response to their current efforts to limit redevelopment and preserve neighborhoods. “We have a lot of tools in the toolbox, but they’re not being used,” said NPU-A chair Brink Dickerson, complaining that city development staff often approves controversial projects over his group’s objections. “One thing we’re missing is integrity in the system we have now.” “I’ve been to so many meetings where I put stickers on things,” said NPU-B chair Nancy Bliwise, but when it comes to the recommendation votes her group takes, “so many times, we are ignored.” Bliwise, who is an Emory University professor, complained of sexism from officials as well. “I’ve been referred to as a ‘lady’ or ‘housewife’ enough times, I want to make them say doctor,” she said. Another resident said she got no support from the city or NPU-B for attempting to preserve a Peachtree Road building that is a historic book bindery and once housed the legendary bookstore Oxford, Too. “Unless Buckhead saves Buckhead, it’s not going to be saved,” she said. Kim Shorter, an NPU-B board member, expressed concern about various parts of the zoning code rewrite, such as the Tree Protection Ordinance, being done separately. “So we come up with all these lofty ideas, but meanwhile, historic preservation is sitting off here on an island by itself,” she said. “I would acknowledge that,” Young said, adding that staff will talk about melding all of the ideas into the final zoning code. “But there’s no question the silo-ing of conversations isn’t working as well as it [should].” Another question was whether the city would provide proper staffing to carry out any new historic preservation policies. That point was raised by Karen Heubner, a former Urban Design Commission executive director, who was controversially laid off amid staffing cuts in 2008. She said she now volunteer with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information about the “Future Places Project,” see the Department of City Planning pages on the city website at

Perimeter Business | 5


Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Fall 2019 | Inside: CBD business boom

Old-school bowling rolls on at Funtime Bowl BY DYANA BAGBY

The rumble of balls rolling down the lanes and crashing into pins together with the laughter of friends are the sounds of a night at Funtime Bowl. “This is a classic bowling experience,” said Jaqui Flynn, 33, of Lenox Park, on a recent Thursday night. Flynn was there with a crowd of people who work in the nonprofit world and bowl in the Charities of Atlanta United through Sporting Events, or CAUSE, bowling league. The overhead screens keep scores, but no one is really paying attention. Neon orange, blue, green and yellow shapes painted along the back wall reflect on the oiled bowling lanes. Pitchers of beer are on several tables. The thump of loud pop music encourages some to shake their hips. “It is always hopping here on a Saturday night and you have to wait to get a lane,” Flynn said. “I just really like the laid-back atmosphere. The food’s good and cheap.” Flynn works at the Boys & Girls Club and bowls for the Knucklers. Other teams totaling about 30 people in the league include the Carter Center’s Gutter Fingers and Trees Atlanta’s Shady Dealers. “Funtime is like the classic bowling alley,” said Duncan Ross-Kinzie, who works at the Carter Center. “It’s a little dingy, has cheap beer… You come here and all you do is bowl.” DYANA BAGBY

Continued on page 10

Trees Atlanta employee Dana Russell rolls for a strike at Funtime Bowl for her team the “Shady Dealers” as part of the Charities of Atlanta United through Sporting Events (CAUSE) bowling league for nonprofit organizations.

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Wonder chemical and confusing craze: Inside the CBD sales boom BY EVELYN ANDREWS Cannabidiol – better known as CBD – is the wonder substance of the moment, showing up everywhere from dog treats in Sandy Springs to an oil-selling booth at Perimeter Mall to craft cocktails in Buckhead. Retailers say the hemp extract can help treat pain, anxiety and insomnia. But some medical experts say the booming business causes confusion with marijuana products and that CBD needs more safety research, regulation and enforcement of existing rules. The Georgia Hemp Company, a store specializing in CBD products, opened last year at 290 Hildebrand Drive in Sandy Springs. Its sells CBD oil, as well as infusing it in gummy candy, beauty products and seltzer water, among many others. Joe Salome, the company’s managing partner, said he believes the increase in CBD use is due to people hearing anecdotal stories through the internet about how it can help with their conditions. “There’s a lot more access to knowledge and positive stories about cannabis,”

he said. Ira Katz, owner of the Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta, is concerned about CBD businesses proliferating without regulation. “There are hundreds and hundreds of companies that have come out of the woodwork — in the last six months, even the last year — with all kinds of CBD products,” said Katz. “I’m leery of that,” he said. “These companies are manufacturing products without any regulation or control. I recognized the value of CBD early on, but it should be from a qualified company that does the assays -- the testing -- and one that’s regulated.” Companies have introduced a wide variety of CBD products, including candy, coffee and dog treats, but officials say that food uses are banned under little-enforced federal law. And in a time when some states are legalizing marijuana for recreation or medi Continued on page 8

H ol id a y on t h e Tow n

CANNABIS: A PLANT WITH RELATED STRAINS, INCLUDING THOSE KNOWN AS MARIJUANA AND HEMP Hemp: Hemp is a cousin to marijuana that contains lower levels of THC, the compound that produces a “high.” Hemp sold is required by federal law to contain an “extremely low” amount of THC – no more than 0.3%, according to the FDA. Industrial hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis, but they have been bred for different uses and can be distinguished by their chemical and genetic compositions. Marijuana: Marijuana contains much more THC than hemp and can produce a “high” when used. The plant is currently illegal in Georgia, most other states and federally. CBD (cannabidiol): CBD is a chemical that occurs in cannabis; the kind sold in stores is typically an extract of the hemp plant. CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, but only when it’s above 0.3% in potency.


Joe Salome, the managing partner of The Georgia Hemp Company, explains the store’s products to a customer.

Low-THC oil: Low-THC oil is derived from the marijuana plant and contains no more than 5% THC by weight. LowTHC oil was legalized in Georgia in 2015 in a law that allows only registered users to obtain the oil for use to treat select conditions, like cancer and seizures.


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Wonder chemical and confusing craze: Inside the CBD sales boom Continued from page 6 cal uses, some experts say, the CBD craze is building off confusion about the various chemicals and plants involved.

The cannabis connection

Cannabis is a plant that contains CBD as well as THC, which is the substance that causes a “high.” Cannabis has different strains, including marijuana, known for its high THC content, and hemp, which has a low-thc content. All CBD products are required by federal law to contain no more than 0.3% THC, and so CBD comes from the hemp plant, according to a Harvard Health Publishing article, one of its medical school’s publications. Dr. Vinita Singh, the director of cancer pain at the Emory Pain Center, said she believes there was a spike in interest in CBD following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of one drug containing the chemical. But that doesn’t mean all CBD products have been marked as safe, and much more research is needed into long-term effects of using the chemical, she said. There is no sign that CBD is habit-forming, Singh said. That makes it a

promising option for pain management, she said. But there is still a lot that is not known about CBD, including how safe it is, Singh said. “It has the potential, but we’re still not sure about its effects,” she said. “There is a lot of research going on.” Dr. Cynthia Rudert, a Sandy Springs gastroenterologist, says she thinks many sellers of CBD are “cashing in” on confusion with a different substance with known medical benefits: Low-THC oil. “People are confused and think they’re interchangeable. People don’t know the difference,” said Rudert. “…You’re seeing signs pop up all over, saying, ‘Come in this gas station and buy CBD.’” Rudert said she sees many patients who use CBD oil to manage stomach and digestive issues and is authorized to prescribe low-THC oil once it becomes available. Low-THC oil comes from marijuana, not hemp, and was legalized by the state in 2015 for certain conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cancer and seizures. Georgia residents with a registration card will be able to buy low-THC oil when it becomes available from local producers, though that could be a year or more away. When people are able to obtain the

low-THC oil in Georgia, it remains to be seen whether it will affect CBD sales. Salome at the Georgia Hemp Company doesn’t see low-THC oil as a replacement or better version than CBD because many customers are using it to relieve other problems that can’t legally be treated with the oil, he said. But many customers remain confused about the differences and laws regulating them and marijuana, he said. Salome acknowledged that claims about how CBD can help have not been proven or evaluated by the FDA. People are only relying on anecdotal information at this point, and literature distributed by Salome’s company states that its CBD products are “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition.” Adding CBD to food products is currently unlawful due to FDA regulations, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “The state of Georgia follows the rules established by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, and FDA has been very clear that CBD is not currently permissible for inclusion in food and dietary supplements,” Commissioner Gary W. Black said in an April statement.

Julie McPeake, a state Department of Agriculture spokesperson, confirmed the practice is still illegal, but added the state department only enforces the rule when it is in a product manufactured in the state. If it is a product shipped to Georgia to be sold, the state leaves it to the FDA to regulate. “It is rampant issue at this point. There are a lot of products out there,” McPeake said. “There’s not enough enforcement capabilities.” The FDA warns that it is important to talk with a doctor before using CBD to treat a disease, as it has not been proven to be effective or safe. The agency says it is working to study the effects CBD could cause in the body, because it’s unclear what the effects are when people are using it far more widely than the single medication with CBD that the FDA has approved. The FDA also formed a working group in April to “explore potential pathways for dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed” as interest in products containing CBD continues to grow, according to the agency’s guide. Salome confirmed that he sells food products with CBD added, but said he’s

Perimeter Business | 9

NOVEMBER 2019 ■ “not concerned” about enforcement.

Local retailers

The Georgia Hemp Company, which has a wall decorated with a design of hemp leaves, carries CBD in a wide range of forms other than the traditional oil. There’s brownie mix, bath bombs, coffee, gummy candy, kombucha, seltzer water, lotion and pills. The store also sells vape pens that allow CBD oil to be inhaled, and such supplies for pets as dog biscuits. Most of Salome’s customers use CBD to relieve anxiety, inflammation, pain or insomnia, he said. The company saw a boom in pet products around July 4, when many pet owners were looking for ways to keep their dogs calm during holiday fireworks, Salome said. He also believes the millennial generation is increasingly looking for options other than traditional pharmaceuticals. Celebrities have begun endorsing it, and

The Georgia Hemp Company sells CBD-infused gummy candy, on the left, and chocolate, right.


big box retailers like CVS and Walgreens are introducing it in stores. Mari Geier, the co-owner of Nuts ‘n Berries Healthy Market, a health store in Brookhaven that has sold CBD since 2015, said she thinks it will become increasingly important as more businesses sell CBD to pay attention to the quality of the products and “not get duped in marketing.” Some businesses use words like “full-spectrum” and “broad-spectrum,” but they don’t mean much when it comes to what the product actually is, she said. “You should not be buying CBD oil from a gas station shelf or on the internet from a business you don’t know,” she said. Geier said the store started selling CBD products in 2015 after they begin seeing a small demand, starting with one trusted supplier. The store has since expanded to carry over 30 brands and beauty products and edibles. “We thought we could help people by providing CBD,” she said.

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Old-school bowling rolls on at Funtime Bowl Continued from page 5

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

Funtime Bowl opened in 1958 in the Northeast Plaza on Buford Highway and thrived during the bowling industry’s golden age of the 1960s and ’70s, when millions of Americans joined leagues, professional bowlers made more money than NFL players and pro tournaments were regularly broadcast on network TV. There were approximately 12,000 bowling centers operating across the country in the mid-1960s, according to White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The Kansas City architecture and development firm’s research includes the bowling industry. The sport’s popularity waned beginning in the 1980s as people quit joining leagues and bowling centers began shutting down. Today, there are approximately 3,700 bowling centers in the U.S., according to White Hutchinson.

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Luke Brundidge, 60, has worked at Funtime Bowl for 25 years. He started as a counter employee and is now the manager. Competitive leagues kept the center packed when he started working in 1994. “Originally, bowling was about teambuilding and camaraderie,” he said. “But then leagues started to go by the wayside.” In the early to mid-2000s, a revival of the sport was underway. Arcade games, big-screen TVs, music, strobe lights, updated chairs and tables were added to Funtime Bowl to attract new customers. “Cosmic bowling” with black lights and glow-in-the-dark balls and painted walls now happens every weekend. “You have to have it to survive,” Brundidge said. Children’s birthday parties were packaged. And the menu expanded to include craft beer and $5 well drinks. Affordability is key to Funtime Bowl’s success. Prices range from $2.75 to $4.50 per game; shoe rental ranges from $2.75 to $3.25. A plate of chicken fingers costs $6.50. For $6.75, you can get a hamburger and fries or tater tots. Owner Ellen Brown if Dunwoody said business is good and she caters to leagues to create a niche for Funtime Bowl where bowling remains the focus. One league has bowled there every Wednesday for 20 years. Her major concern is what the city of Brookhaven wants for Northeast Plaza. The city is constructing the Peachtree Creek Greenway behind the shopping center. The multiuse path that plans to eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine is intended by city officials to bring redevelopment to Buford Highway. City officials secretly bid on the second Amazon headquarters in 2017, paying an architectural design firm more than $45,000 to create dramatic drawings as part of a bid named “Project Passport.” The illustrations showed a major campus at Northeast Plaza and a smaller campus at Corporate Square. “I believe Brookhaven is trying to up-

scale the area,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what they’re going to do with that center.”

Before it was Funtime Bowl

When Brundidge started working at Funtime Bowl, the center was named Jim Maxey’s Tornado Lanes for an owner who purchased the center in 1990. Before then, it was named Northeast Plaza Lanes. The bowling center’s original name in 1958 was O’Neil’s Bowlerama. Maxey was a well-known competitive bowler who earned a spot in the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 1984. The USBC is the national governing body of bowling. Brundidge said Maxey only competed regionally “because he had a business to run.” Other bowlers urged him to go national and join the Professional Bowlers Association because of his skill, but Brundidge said Maxey was dedicated to running Tornado Lanes and his other bowling businesses in Chamblee, Decatur, Fayetteville and Forest Park. “He was Mr. Bowling in the Southeast,” Brundridge said. After Maxey died, his wife sold off the businesses, Brundridge said. Ellen Brown purchased the bowling center in 2005 with her now ex-husband. The bowling center’s official name registered with the Secretary of State remains Jim Maxey’s Tornado Lanes. Joanne Taylor, 76, has worked at Funtime Bowl’s concession stand for more 20 years and cooks up pizza and pours beer three times a week. She started working there after she lost her job at the JCPenney’s department store in Northeast Plaza when it closed. “I’ve just always enjoyed working with the public,” she said Another longtime employee is Cesar Quezada, 33, who has literally worked behind the scenes for 12 years oiling and tinkering with the massive machinery behind the back wall. When a ball gets stuck, a pinspotter malfunctions or a sweep bar takes someone’s spare, Brundridge speaks into a microphone at the front counter and announces the problem to Quezada over the loudspeaker. It is almost deafening in the narrow passageway where Quezada works as balls loudly crack into pins and against the back wall of the lanes. “I’m used to it, but it’s loud,” he said. Born in Nicaragua, Quezada moved to the U.S. when he was 19. Quezada said he’d only been exposed to bowling through the TV show “The Simpsons” before he started working at Funtime Bowl. He lives on Buford Highway and was walking through Northeast Plaza in 2007 when he saw the “Bowling” sign over the doorway. Curious, he walked down the stairs and asked about a job. He was told to come in the next morning to start. He continues to walk to work.

A market for luxury lanes

The bowling industry shifted its focus

NOVEMBER 2019 ■ even further than “cosmic bowling” to become “family entertainment centers” or “boutique” bowling venues in recent years. The newer centers cater to young professionals and upper-class families with disposable income. This class of bowlers expects clean carpets, a menu with something other than fried food and their beer served in a glass. And they want options other than bowling. Stars and Strikes opened its first family entertainment center in Cumming in 2005. Its Sandy Springs location is packed with arcade rooms, laser tag, bumper cars and escape rooms. There is also a private VIP bowling room with eight lanes. At Stars and Strikes, an adult party costs $26.99 per person for two hours on the lanes. The Painted Pin in Buckhead opened in 2014 and describes itself as an “upscale boutique bar, bowling and entertainment venue” where visitors can play giant Jenga if bowling is not their game. It costs $25 per hour per lane to bowl at the Painted Pin on weekdays and $35 per hour on weekends. Shoe rental is $4.50. The menu includes wood-fired pizzas for $14 and such signature drinks as the Buckhead Betty. At Bowlmor in Chamblee on the Dunwoody border, a plate of lamb lollipops can be delivered to a lane when hunger strikes. Online reservations at Bowlmor for a party of five adults and four children begin at about $152, not including food and drinks or credit for the arcade games.

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The trendier, high-end bowling centers are not for everyone, however. “That’s not what we want,” said Dana Russell, 26, sipping her cup of beer. “I like it here because it’s cheap and it’s fun.” “That’s not what bowling is,” Brian Marafino, 26, said. “Bowling is beer, french fries and friends. Here, it is a nice, simple, enjoyable atmosphere … the Painted Pin is extra. It’s pricey.” Mike Vinciquerra, 48, said he grew up bowling as a child of the 1970s. Funtime Bowl’s “old-school style” and cheap prices keeps him coming back. And for Mary Johnson, 45, who comes from Cobb County to bowl once a week, Funtime Bowl “has a lot character.” “Even the paintings are quaint,” she said of the center’s mural-style art. “It’s not like those more modern ones.”

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12 | Home & Real Estate ■


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When you already have closet space, you can make it look better, too. “Instead of a boring 6-foot-wide wide closet with sliding doors, we made this one look like an English wardrobe closet.”


Home & Real Estate | 13


Awkward spaces can become useful with a different door. “We have also used doors that slide up for easier access to the contents -normally this client puts her hair dryer, hair spray and other items in the area out of sight.”




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This tower didn’t just break up a long vanity, Long says. “…The mirror section at the top has a touch latch to open -- great hiding place! We also added medicine-style storage on each side as well.”


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14 | Community ■

Carstarphen blasts tax breaks, gets Buckhead Council backing BY JOHN RUCH

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen renewed her blistering criticisms of tax breaks on luxury developments — while acknowledging such stances may have cost her the job — at an Oct. 10 meeting where the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods agreed to join her advocacy. Carstarphen’s Buckhead appearance came a month after the Atlanta Board of Education controversially and still somewhat mysteriously said it had decided not to extend her contract. On the subject of tax breaks, Carstarphen fundamentally repeated the theme of her appearance at a BCN meeting almost exactly one year earlier, where she blasted the concept of tax incentives for redevelopment of downtown’s Gulch area, saying the loss of revenue could devastate APS. This time, she came armed with more data and more examples, in part due to tax breaks becoming more controversial and scrutinized since then. Among her local examples was a tax incentive for a luxury apartment project at 99 West Paces Ferry Road, where a trade-off was “affordable” units for which a single person making nearly $120,000 a year would be eligible. “You need to get organized and informed,” Carstarphen said about the city’s main taxbreak-granting entities, Invest Atlanta and the Development Authority of Fulton County. “We should probably start a little task force or something.” BCN Chair Mary Norwood immediately said she would put out a call for volunteers for such a task force to the group’s member neighborhood associations. Norwood later said her response was spontaneous and time would tell how such a group would function. Carstarphen, after the meeting, expressed happiness with the idea of working with a BCN subgroup. “I’m so with that. Absolutely,” she said. Carstarphen is one of many critics of tax abatements and incentives that she says are draining APS of more than $1.5 billion in revenue over decades, forcing homeowners to shoulder most of the burden. She especially targets “tax allocation districts,” where large projects are funded by bonds, on the gamble that future development will pay off the debt. The theory of such deals is that they will underwrite development that is otherwise not financially feasible and will ultimately generate even more property taxes. But in practice, critics say, they are going to some of the city’s hottest real estate or, in some cases, not paying off as expected. Smith, the APS spokesperson, later emphasized that Carstarphen “wasn’t referencing the city or current city administration or challenging Mayor Bottoms’ administration on property tax breaks.” In the meeting, Carstarphen never mentioned Bottoms by name, but did refer broadly to “the city” failing to properly manage the existing five TADs and seeking to expand or multiply them for the Gulch. Joining Carstarphen at the meeting were several other well-known tax break critics: Julian Bene of Red Light the Gulch; Invest Atlanta board member Bill Bozarth; and Tom Tidwell, a former BCN chair who now serves on Fulton’s Development Authority board, appointed by Fulton Commissioner Lee Morris as a close reviewer of the agency’s deals. Carstarphen herself briefly served on the Fulton Development Authority board, also as a Morris appointee, and said it “dramatically improved” transparency and accessibility partly due to her advocacy.


Mary Norwood, left, chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, poses with APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen after the Oct. 10 BCN meeting.

Carstarphen said APS must “bring the pressure down” on its revenue losses from tax breaks, which she said increased 40% in the last fiscal year. She laid out four basic reform tactics: increasing commercial property tax assessments; killing unnecessary abatements on projects that would happen without them; end or otherwise rein in TADs that are underperforming; and sending any savings to taxpayers rather than spending the money elsewhere. How tax abatement amounts on specific buildings are calculated remains an unexplained “black box,” Carstarphen said. Such projects should be required to demonstrate they would not be built without the abatement and to demonstrate that they provide a “public good” in exchange. She agreed with resident Amber Connor’s criticism that one of those public goods, allegedly affordable housing, often turns out to be priced differently or eliminated with a loophole. Carstaphen likened tax abatements to a grocery store offering basic food for free instead of cutting a deal on an unusual item that shoppers need to be enticed into buying, like “jalapeño cashews dipped in chocolate.” “We seem to give away the bread,” she said. Having two tax-break-granting entities is “too much,” she said in another reform idea. Bozarth said General Assembly legislation to give a city development authority precedent over a county one has been unsuccessful in the past, but will be refiled next year. “What we know is,” Carstarphen said, “there’s more than enough money to do all the things we want to do if everybody’s paying their fair share.”

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Education | 15


Atlanta Public Schools chief, facing ouster, finds Buckhead support Continued from page 1 did not endorse that idea, but made it clear she wants to keep the job. She encouraged the crowd, gathered at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, to contact school board members about the contract. She emphasized that her sometimes controversial moves, including challenging Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ administration on property tax breaks, came out of board-approved strategies. “I’m very encouraged by the public support for continuing the work of APS,” Carstarphen told the crowd when asked about her job contract. “I do admit that we ruffled some feathers, or I ruffled some feathers, by carrying – and just so everyone knows — the directive of the board. I did not go off rogue….This was supposed to be a team deal. And I understand that it became very personalized, in part, to me.” Known for a bold and charismatic personality, Carstarphen has attracted friends and foes with such moves as outsourcing some school administrations to charter operators. But Carstarphen remains popular among the public, according to a recent poll and petition effort she mentioned, and drew frequent applause from the BCN board members and audience. In an interview after the meeting, she elaborated on her fight for her job. “I am genuinely touched and humbled by people understanding, at least the public and parents understanding, and black [and] white, men and women, in school [and] out of school… what we were trying to do,” she said. “And I also understand we did a lot of controversial work. We touched a lot of communities. We moved a lot of people around. We changed a lot of programming…. But it does seem clear that there’s a lot of public support for us seeing the whole thing through, if allowed.” She spoke forcefully about a sense of personal mission. “I was called here by God,” she said. “The needs of Atlanta also

matched my heart and the things I believed in recent years to fix things that weren’t in, and areas I’ve been able to make a differworking, “and I would also say that we ence in, and I know the work isn’t done.” have seen a change In people’s perspective Carstarphen said she respects the of APS.” Another mother said, “It’s a great school board’s auachievement that we thority, but added, “I are functional bejust know my truth cause five years ago about what Atlanta we were totally dysPublic Schools is…. functional. I think I made it clear that we have leadership I did not think this and a dynamic with was the right direcprinciples that peotion at this time and ple trust.” that anything that A father who atwe were doing could tended said, “With be resolved…to keep the lack of transmoving the quality parency around the work forward.” decision to not reShe said that, as a new the contract, I native of Selma, Ala., have grave concerns she understands that it’s a clear sigDeep South politics nal from the board and “racial tensions” that it’s going to that can drive decibacktrack into a less sions. She called her transparent environjob situation part of ment. That is what an “adult agenda” kicked off one of that she contrasted the largest academMERIA CARSTARPHEN with the “child agenic scandals that any ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS da” of APS. public school system SUPERINTENDENT “The political nain the country has ture of the city, the ever seen, and that to adult agendas, are real,” she said. “And I me is a red flag, and is not acceptable.” push hard, and I mean hard, to stay on the He was referring to the infamous 2009 agenda and the mission that is child-cencase in which teachers and principals in tered, given the role that we play in this the APS were found to have cheated on city… [because] after the cheating scandal, standardized tests, resulting in the convicafter what everyone’s been through, I think tion of 11 educators for racketeering. that it is imperative that the child agenda, Another man agreed. “Transparency is the education agenda, be the North Star.” something everyone likes to see. When decisions are being made, I think that, as a Parent and teacher support whole, everyone should be included,” he At the Oct. 24 Bolton Academy meetsaid. “The board did not give a direct aning, parents and teachers expressed conswer as to why they were not going to recern that board members have been less new. I think the board should have said than forthcoming on the reasons for its deto this constituency, ‘These are the reacision. sons listed for not wanting to renew Dr. Nathalie Malkoff, a mother and Bolton Castarphen’s contract,’ even if it was somePTA member, said there has been progress

I was called here by God. The needs of Atlanta also matched my heart and the things I believed in, and areas I’ve been able to make a difference in, and I know the work isn’t done.

thing that started a couple of years ago.” Others in the audience spoke positively of Castarphen’s tenure at APS. John Ramseur, who has children at two area schools, said, “Over the last five years it feels like we’ve had an advocate that’s pushing for the interests of the school system, so we are not just sitting back and letting decisions be made without having an equal voice in the process.” “I love how there’s more control at the local school level -- deciding how budgets are spent; hiring and firing of teachers,” a man in the audience said. “I like how there’s been progress against key performance measures like graduation rates and college applications,” a man in the audience said. But there was criticism doled out as well, with transportation issues at the forefront. “It’s inconsistent across the district,” said one of the mothers in attendance. “My children live five miles from school and they travel an hour, so there seems to be a gap in planning the route.” She added that bus drivers could use some instruction in student management. “Some of the behavior I’ve witnessed on the bus is not only unsafe but is abhorrent.” Board of Education chair Jason Esteves spoke at the beginning of the session but would not comment on the contract decision, saying board members “have been explicitly gagged and the facilitator will tell you (this meeting) is all about your perspective and feedback. It’s a very important part of the process because the information we receive will eventually be used to develop a profile look for the next superintendent.” Esteves reminded parents they can make further comments by going to the APS website at “There’s a tool on the site called ‘Let’s Talk’ to provide feedback,” he said, “and we will be releasing a survey pretty soon that you can share with your friends.”

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Commentary / Is paying college athletes fair or foul? The rules appear to be changing when it comes to who benefits financially from college sports. The National College Athletic Association’s board of governors has decided to allow college athletes the chance to be paid for the commercial use of their images, names and likenesses. The board adopted the change Oct. 29 after California lawmakers adopted new law called the “Fair Play To Play Act.” Under that law, California would have become the first state to allow college athletes to be paid for use of their images or identities in commercial ventures such as video games or if they sign endorsement deals. Players would not be paid by their colleges for playing in games. Before the NCAA governors’ vote, Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) planned to introduce a version of the “Fair Pay to Play” legislation in the next Georgia General Assembly. The Reporter asked Mitchell why he thought of the NCAA policy change was needed and also asked long-time Marist Football Coach Alan Chadwick for his thoughts on the subject.

An idea whose time has come When the National Collegiate Athletic Association was originally formed in 1906, with the stated goal of creating and governing eligibility Rep. Billy Mitchell (D- rules in intercolStone Mountain) repre- legiate sports, its sents District 88 in the founders could Georgia Legislature. not have contemplated that the day would come where college athletic teams would be such a revenue generator that it would sustain multi-million dollar buildings, facilities, commercial dealings, media contracts, athletic administrations, coaches, conferences and even the NCAA itself. The NCAA currently prohibits athletes, who make the entire enterprise possible, from receiving payment for competing, working with an agent or permitting the use of their name or likeness for commercial products or services, although virtually everyone around the athlete are able to

profit, and profit handsomely. Illustrative of the incongruent treatment of scholarship athletes, is the fact that there are no similar restrictions for academic scholarship students. Nothing in the rules prevents them from writing books, giving paid speeches, etc. Similarly with scholarship band students. No rules prevent them from performing in a band to work weekends, sell their music, being paid for their appearances, etc. Why the disparate treatment of scholarship athletes? Georgia and other states are replete with examples of scholarship athletes being suspended and/or having their eligibility challenged for such infractions as selling a game jersey or autographing memorabilia. Some will say that is an easily understood temptation when you place some students from impoverished backgrounds into situations where their own game jerseys and posters are available for sale in the bookstore, but they themselves cannot afford to purchase them. Some are placed in a situation where they cannot travel home and back to school on long breaks or to go to a movie with friends.

Will wonders ever cease?! I had planned to file a bill this upcoming legislative session that is modeled after California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which was recently signed into law that would allow college athletes to be compensated in certain situations. Just a few weeks ago, the NCAA was threatening legal action and bemoaned that this was a threat to amateurism in collegiate athletics. But as a result of the most recent NCAA Board of Governors meeting held in Atlanta and their unanimous vote to allow athletes to be compensated for the use of their image and likeness, it renders mine and other state’s legislative efforts unneeded! I do agree with the NCAA’s leadership that a patchwork of states law addressing this issue from various different perspectives could have created more problems. This clearly was an idea whose time has come, and am grateful to them for recognizing my legislation as part of the reason for them addressing this issue so quickly and I am therefore glad to withdraw my efforts in support of the NCAA’s efforts to do what my legislation proposed.

Amateur sports are worth saving The recent approval of the NCAA board of governors to consider allowing college athletes to be compensated for the use of their names, imAlan Chadwick is the ages and likenesshead football coach es for marketing at Marist School purposes will no doubt have ongoing ramifications on several interesting issues. First and foremost, is this a step toward a “pay for play” policy that the NCAA, the nonprofit organization that regulates college athletics, has tried to avoid for so many years? If it does indeed become the first step in that direction, then college athletics for male and female athletes could see sweeping changes in its entire landscape and structural balance. The NCAA governors were reacting to the recent passage in California of a new law allowing college athletes to receive payment for use of their images, names and

likenesses. Lawmakers in other states, including Georgia, were planning on considering similar legislation. Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL player Tim Tebow was recently quoted as saying the California law could change the way people view college sports. “If I could support my team, support my college, support my university, that’s what it’s all about,” he said, according to various news reports. “But now we’re changing it from ‘us’ -- from being an alumni where I care, which makes college sports special -- to then, okay, it’s not about ‘us,’ it’s not about ‘we.’ It’s just about ‘me.’” But schools are not going to sit by and let others raid their states of the best athletes without some sort of response. “I know we live in a selfish culture, where it’s all about us, but we’re just adding and piling it on to that, where it changes what’s special about college football,” he said. “We turn into the NFL, where who has the most money, that’s where you go.” This type of ruling could also affect the recruiting landscape of high school athletes, although it is uncertain at this time how much and how large an effect it may

generate. Still, it there’s no doubt that some schools could view pay for endorsements as creating an unfair advantage when it comes to signing five-star athletes. Whether the potential changes are for the better or worse, only time will tell. Remuneration of college athletes is a very heated topic that is not going to be enacted easily and without much controversy. Colleges and universities make millions of dollars from the work of unpaid athletes and many people think it is only fair to compensate them for their efforts on behalf of their school. But others feel that doing so lessens the amateur status of college athletes and simply makes them paid performers like those on the professional level. Personally, I feel that this will open up a whole great magnitude of issues and problems for intercollegiate athletics. Once you let the cat out of the bag, how do you get it back in? College athletics, although not perfect by any means, has been a huge part of the fabric of American life for 150 years. The amateur status of college athletes, in my opinion, is worth saving.

Commentary | 17


In and out of the Facebook conga line I have a November birthday. You may not know this, but Facebook does, and if you follow me on FB, you’re bound to be given that information because my name will pop up in your inbox next to a birthday cake and a cheery reminder to let me know you’re thinking of me. People often note that one thing Facebook gets right is birthdays, and it’s true that this particular social network provides ample reminders to its users of the birthdates of fellow users. But, as Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben once said, with great power comes great responsibility. Once you are equipped with the powerful knowledge of the birthdates of your 983 Facebook friends and friends of friends, you are faced with the responsibility of wishing all of them a happy one. And let’s face it: this takes time. Even if Facebook’s helpful algorithm created a special video of you and your birthday buddy floating on a hot air balloon over a field of flowers bursting into bloom, you still have to type a personal message and post it on the timeline, and then inevitably, you’ll start reading all the other birthday messages that your friend’s friends have left. Before you know it, your coffee’s cold and you’ve got to get back to work. And this sets the stage for my current situation. Several months ago, a friend sent me a chain letter Robin Conte lives with her cleverly disguised as a Facebook post for the literary-minded. husband in an empty nest She nominated me to post the name and cover of a favorite in Dunwoody. To contact book every day for seven days, and each day ask a friend to her or to buy her column join the challenge. It was honestly kind of her to think of me, collection, “The Best of the because I do like to read, but then paralysis of choices took Nest,” see over and I never followed through, and then I was so disappointed with myself for having broken the book-challenge chain that I was compelled to slink quietly away from Facebook, and THEN I became too embarrassed to show my cyber-self there again. But in my hiatus the birthdays amassed, compounding daily like a 30-year mortgage at 8.75%, and even though I often toyed with the idea that the occasional birthday greeting might help reduce the debt, I finally admitted that there was no hope of amortization. I had missed five months of birthday greetings and 146 notifications, and it would take me a solid 267 hours of posting to break even. So, I filed for birthday bankruptcy with Facebook. And then I began to enjoy my retreat. It was like slipping away from a Sandals resort to a quieter beach and hearing the faint strains of the conga line across the bay and being kind of glad that you’re not part of it. I ditched the conga line and spent more time with Instagram. Instagram is a no-strings attached relationship. There are no birthday reminders. There are no videos created for you that someone somewhere hopes you’ll enjoy. There is no post of you and a random neighbor spinning in a canoe together, reminding you of your FB friend anniversary. Nope. All Insta asks of you is that you scroll and like. And I scrolled and liked in the Intsa way for a couple of months, but then I began to miss my friends in the Facebook conga line, so I cha-cha-cha-ed my way back in. Now I move through my days scrolling and liking and dancing and kicking, and every so often I stop and wish a friend a happy birthday.

20 W i To GA & 19, nn p Pr 20 20 er C e 1 18 ol ss 7 um A ni ssn st !

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18 | Commentary ■

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@

Pioneering members of an all-girl scout troop aim to be Eagles

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OK, let’s get this out of the way right at the start: Yes, these girl scouts have sold cookies. Not those familiar Girl Scout cookies in their brightly colored boxes. No, these scouts raised money for their new troop by selling chocolate chip cookies and brownies they’d baked. After all, they’re not Girl Scouts. They’re scouts who happen to be girls. JOE EARLE They’re members of Members of BSA Troop 398 gather around the troop flag. They are, back row, left to right: Vivian Works, Greer Crow, Emi Troop 398, a new gathering of girls organized at Reina and Lela Ganske; front row, left to right: Emily Holman, Della Bohlen; standing at right, Laurel Anne Alexander. Northside United Methodist Church under the scouting program created by the 109-year-old Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts announced in 2017 that it would allow girls to join its iconic scouting program for youngsters aged 11 to 17. It changed the program’s name to Scouts BSA and this year, the once boys-only Boy Scouts started allowing the creation of all-girl BSA troops. In February, when the new program opened for business, Troop 398 filed for a charter. Now it counts 10 girls as members. “I think it’s awesome,” said Troop 398’s scoutmaster, Brian Bohlen, who’s also an assistant scoutmaster with Troop 298, Northside UMC’s boy scout troop. “My daughter came along and did everything my son ever did when he was Cub Scout. … She was pretty bummed when he graduated to Boy Scouts and she couldn’t do things with the boys.” But it’s 2019. Who needs boys? Now Della, Bohlen’s 13-year-old daughter, can do anything in scouting that her brother does. That includes collecting merit badges, camping and working toward the rank of Eagle Scout, the BSA’s top award, an honor only a small percentage of scouts achieve. Several of the girls in Troop 398 say the chance to be Eagles played a significant part in the allure of the BSA program. They want to be part of the first flight of girl Eagles. “It’d be cool to be one of the first girls who are Eagles,” said Greer Crow, who’s 12. “It would be cool to be one of the girls the younger girls look up to.” “It’s a big accomplishment in scouting,” said Troop 398’s senior patrol leader, Laurel Anne “L.A.” Alexander. “Especially for girls.” L.A. turns 14 this month. She said she tried Girl Scouts when she was younger, but it didn’t take. She was attracted to Troop 398 by the chance to do more camping and outdoor activities, she said as she and several other girls grilled hot dogs and roasted marshmallows over an open fire built in a pit in the dark woods behind the church. Bohlen said the troop had been on campouts eight or 10 times since it formed. “My family has always been outdoors,” L.A. said. “My dad hikes the Appalachian Trail and my brother is in scouts in a different troop. I really like camping and hiking… and cooking.” The new troop caught the attention of some dads, too. Rod Ganske said he worked all the way through the Scout program when he was boy. As an adult, he let scouting drop because he had daughters, but no sons. Then his daughter Lela, who’s 12 now, joined Troop 398. “Last year, when girls could join, I dived back in,” he said, pointing to the knot badge on his new, adult-sized scout shirt that showed he’d earned his own Eagle badge when he was young. Troop 398 joined an expansive scouting program at Northside UMC. The church’s Scout Hut, which features a large stack-stone fireplace and canoes hanging from its ceiling, also hosts meetings of a 68-member boys BSA troop, a Cub Scout pack with 157 boys and six girls, and a couple of Girl Scout groups. The boys in Troop 298 haven’t complained about sharing space with the new girls’ troop or the presence of girls in scouting, Troop 298 Scoutmaster Lee Mann said. The two troops keep their activities separate for the most part, he said, but they have held some joint merit badge classes. “At least for now, things are great,” he said. Several parents said the girls did face some boyish taunts during a regional scout gathering, but they didn’t let it bother them. They gave as good as they got. Scoutmaster Bohlen says one thing he’s noticed about Troop 398’s girls is that they’re eager to make their marks in scouting. “They’re super into ranks,” he said. “The girls have something to prove. Because they’re pioneers.”

Community | 19


Director of Blue Heron Nature Preserve to retire BY JOHN RUCH

Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s executive director is retiring after three years in the job and many more in other service roles at the North Buckhead green space. Kevin McCauley said he will “remain involved” as the board of directors seeks to hire a new director by the time he leaves at year’s end. It has been a privilege for me to be part of Blue Heron the past 15 years and playing a small part in our success,” McCauley said in a written statement. “I feel we have created a unique place for nature and for people in our community and look forward to continuing to support our work under new leadership.” Blue Heron is a 30-acre green space at 4055 Roswell Road in North Buckhead that shares facilities with the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Amphibian Foundation. The nature preserve was founded in 2000. In 2016, McCauley replaced founding executive director Nancy Jones after her retirement. He previously served as Blue Heron’s projects and operations director, as well as in other board and volunteer roles.



Kevin McCauley.



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Earlier this year, Blue Heron hit a $750,000 fundraising goal that will allow it to complete its internal Blueway Trail system by year’s end. A second phase of the Blueway project, which will link to Chastain Park and the PATH400 multiuse trail, is still in the planning stage. McCauley’s retirement was noted in the newsletter of the North Buckhead Civic Association, which was involved in Blue Heron’s creation. “NBCA stands in awe of the great work Nancy Jones and Kevin McCauley have done,” the newsletter said. “We are excited about the future of this great asset to our neighborhood.” For more information about Blue Heron, see





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20 | Community ■

Wheelchair tour gives officials a firsthand view of Peachtree Road issues


Above, City Councilmember Matt Westmoreland rides a motorized wheelchair while Councilmember Antonio Brown follows on foot during the Oct. 18 Peachtree Road tour. Top right, from left, tour organizer Ellis Dean walks alongside Jim Elgar, who is an aide to City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, and Councilmember Westmoreland. Right, Kim Harrison, right, shows tour members how a minorlooking gap in the sidewalk is a trap for her chair’s wheels.


City and state officials have heard a lot of complaints from wheelchair users about the sidewalks on Buckhead’s Peachtree Road. On Oct. 18, a group of those officials – including Atlanta City Council members and state traffic engineers – got to experience it for themselves in a mile-long wheelchair tour several called “eye-opening.” City Councilmember Howard Shook of Buckhead’s District 7, was among those joining in the event, which was organized by pedestrian and wheelchair advocates. After navigating the sometimes ragged sidewalks in a motorized chair, he likened talking about wheelchair safety without firsthand experience to trying to “learn to swim by watching a YouTube video.” “There’s no substitute for doing this,” said Shook. “Everyone who does this is going to have a whole new perspective.” City Council President Felicia Moore got her chair stuck in mud and scraped her foot on a brick planter. “My foot will remember,” she told the group in a posttour gathering, adding that she quickly learned how much concentration it takes to stay safe on the narrow, busy street. “…I took my mind one minute off of what I was doing, and next thing I know, I was in a ditch.” Another chair-rider was Josh Rowan, general manager of the city’s Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST programs, which are

building such infrastructure as sidewalks. “I really felt exposed and vulnerable,” he told the group, adding that there will be “more to come from this.” About two-dozen officials rode with residents in the tour, which ran from Collier Road near Piedmont Hospital to a coworking space on Terrace Drive. That section of Peachtree includes the Shepherd Center rehabilitation hospital, where many patients and visitors use wheelchairs. The center has previously called for sidewalk repairs and improvements The tour was organized by a group of residents, some of whom have become familiar figures at City Hall for their pedestrian and wheelchair safety advocacy: Jules Murphy, Cheryl Bivins, Jennifer Brooks and Ellis Dean. Murphy said one inspiration was a recent string of accidents involving motorized scooters and concerns about how they conflict with wheelchair users on sidewalks. But simply raising awareness was a goal. “We’ve given a voice to an otherwise voiceless cohort,” said Brooks. The tour let officials spot specific issues, such as dead, bag-covered pedestrian signals at Peachtree Hills Avenue. Kim Harrison, a resident and disability rights advocate, showed officials how a minorlooking gap in the sidewalk swallowed the front wheels of her chair, trapping her in a dangerous position. “I am literally at the mercy of someone walking down the street [for help,” she said.

Shook spoke with Rowan afterward, and said future bond issuances should include money for maintenance. “This underscores the need to repair and maintain what we already have in addition to expanding our sidewalks…,” Shook said in an interview. Officials said they were struck by smaller details of the experience as well, such as how the bump-covered yellow pads on sidewalk wheelchair ramps can be more hinderance than help. Several were astonished to hear that motorized chairs can cost more than $20,000 and remarked on the level of concentration needed to move safely among the many obstacles and hazards. Other riders in the City Council contingent included District 3 Councilmember Antonio Brown, District 2 Councilmember Amir Farokhi, at-large Councilmember Matt Westmoreland, and Jim Elgar from the office of Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, who represents Buckhead’s District 8. “Today was dangerous in a lot of ways,” Brown said to the group afterward. He called for a similar tour in his district, which advocates say they are ready to arrange. “We need to have that experience on the Westside,” he said. Westmoreland, who tried both motorized and arm-powered wheelchairs, said in an interview that is was “a really eyeopening experience.” He told the group he was struck by “the level to which our sidewalks are not safe.”

“It’s one thing to drive by or walk it, but being in a chair, it’s just…,” said Elgar, trailing off. He piloted a motorized chair. State Rep. Betsy Holland (D-Buckhead) rode a motorized chair. “This has forever altered the way I think about accessibility,” she said, describing her surprise at how low to the ground she was in the chair and how close Peachtree Road traffic is to the sidewalk. She said she was glad to go “literally a mile in their shoes.” Several Georgia Department of Transportation engineers joined the group, including Kathy Zahul, who heads GDOT’s metro Atlanta engineering division and often works with pedestrian advocates on Peachtree Road concerns. Tara Jackson, a GDOT engineer on Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, said the tour was useful for “seeing through their eyes.” Several residents joined in as well. Among them was James Curtis, who has pointed out such issues as power poles installed within sidewalks and who is a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging the city’s backlog of sidewalk repairs violated an accessibility agreement with the federal government. A year ago, after that lawsuit was filed, the city announced a new infrastructure repair campaign. Cathy Tyler, president and CEO of the pedestrian advocacy group PEDS, said the tour highlighted many issues with the road. “There’s some work that needs to be done,” she said.

Art & Entertainment | 21


‘Little Things’ make for a big show at the Swan Coach House

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When the opening night crowd surges through the Swan Coach House Gallery red door on Nov. 14, they will be greeted by an array of more than 240 artworks filling the walls. The much-anticipated “Little Things” show is up. The “Little Things” exhibition celebrates its 20th year this holiday season. Two decades ago, the gallery’s first curator, Marianne Lambert, initiated the small works concept with a modest show of sketches from artists’ sketchbooks. It quickly expanded to include a broad array of mediums and styles to become an annual tradition which, today, draws large crowds ranging from new and veteran collectors to art lovers and gift-seekers. “It’s our biggest night of the year,” said gallery general manager Michelle Laxalt. Lambert, who retired in December 2018 and is now curator-in residence, came out of retirement to curate the 2019 show. Long active in the Atlanta art scene, she consulted her lengthy scroll of Georgia artists and invited some 120 to bring three to five pieces apiece to deck the walls. The works are a mix of paintings, drawings, mixed media, 3-D wall pieces and photography. Images may be no larger than 8 inches on any side, and, if framed, no more than a 2- to 4-inch frame. There are mini-sculptures as well. “’Little Things’ is a way not only to showcase a great variety of art by emerging, mid-career and established local artists, but also to give many artists a space to display their work and to present works affordable for the general public,” said Lambert. As pieces are sold, they are replaced by another 200-plus works waiting for their turn on the walls of the 864-square-foot gallery. Shows of small works is now a concept that is popular in many galleries during the winter holiday season. The Swan Coach House – which includes an art gallery, restaurant and gift shop -- is located at 3103 Slaton Drive, at the back of the 33-acre Atlanta History Center grounds in Buckhead. It is the original carriage house for the Edward Inman estate known for its historical Swan House mansion built in 1928, which is considered a masterpiece of renowned Atlanta architect Phillip Trammel Shutze. Edward Inman died in 1931, and his wife Emily, with family members, lived in the house until 1965. A year later, the Atlanta Historical Society acquired the house and grounds and has since maintained the home as a historic house museum and expanded the campus to include the Atlanta History Museum, Smith Family Farm House, Wood Family Cabin, Atlanta Cyclorama, Veterans Park, gardens, trails and woodlands. Enter the Forward Arts Foundation. Founded in September 1965 as a non-profit organization by 12 dedicated arts patrons and community-minded women, the group selected the carriage house as its home. The Forward Arts Foundation renovated the Swan Coach House, creating the restaurant, then considered a tearoom, and the gift shop, and opened to the public in 1967. The gallery opened in 1985 and serves as an outreach program for the Foundation. All proceeds from the Swan Coach House entities, along with several major annual fund-raising events by the Foundation -- Flea Market, Fashion Show and Swan Ball -- go to support the visual arts in Atlanta. In 1999, the organization established the annual Emerging Artist Award, now called the Edge Award, to recognize an outstanding up-and-coming artist in the greater Atlanta area. The mission of the Swan Coach House Gallery is to engage the Atlanta community through art exhibitions and educational programs, said Michelle Laxalt. “We support and promote Georgia artists and curators. “We focus on education, not the commercial aspects of a gallery, and that gives us a lot


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22 | Art & Entertainment ■


‘Little Things’ make for a big show at the Swan Coach House

November 14 – December 23, 2019

Visitors attend the 2018 “Little Things” show and sale.


Continued from page 21

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of freedom to bring in a wide variety of shows in all mediums from paintings, photography and sculpture to textiles, ceramics, folk art, installations and more,” she said. “We can present exhibitions that are more conceptual and experimental and that are often more challenging. What makes us special is that we continue to evolve.” Laxalt is one of a four-member team of curators and gallery staff and each is an artist in her own right. Karen Tauches, former manager, is part-time creative director and curator; Carson Keith is part-time curator and assistant gallery manager; and Maria Bruckman is gallery and exhibition assistant. In addition to curating, the team develops programming for the year. In a September meeting, the curators pitch their passions for the next year’s shows and vote for what will be a good mix of exhibitions. “There are way more artists than we can include, and so much talent out there,” said Tauches. “Deciding is a big challenge.” The schedule is set for 2020, and it includes shows curated by members of the Swan Coach House Gallery curators as well as invited emerging and career curators in Georgia and artists from around metro Atlanta and the state. Adjoining the gallery, just a few steps through a doorway is the Swan Coach House Gift Shop, currently decked out in holiday array. It is chock full of decorations and ornaments along with gifts for everyone from babies, youngsters and teens to brides and grooms and everyone else. Shoppers can find jewelry, home décor, pottery, kitchenware and place settings, and there is a special section of clothing and shelves of handbags. And, of course, swans. Swans in all sizes SPECIAL Works by Leisa Rich on display at and material; more than you are likely to see the 2018 “Little Things” show. in any one place. Swans show up in the Swan Coach House Restaurant, too, in paintings and as a decorative touch atop a classic dessert favorite. The restaurant foyer is just a few steps down from the gift shop to the foyer or you can enter from outside through the red door. “We are on our third generation of family members and of bridal and baby showers,” said Jonathon Betti, general manager of the restaurant. “For many, lunch here is a tradition.” The clientele has expanded in more recent years as tour groups from around metro Atlanta as well as from out of town visit the Atlanta History Center and want to experience the Swan Coach House Restaurant. The menu is expansive and updated with seasonal items. The homemade soups and casseroles are popular, noted Betti, but the favorite, by far, even for return diners, is the classic chicken salad (secret recipe) with a frozen fruit salad and Coach House cheese straws. And that signature dessert? Chocolate mousse served in a meringue cup swathed in whipped cream with a whipped cream swan gracing the top. A word of advice: If you hope to have lunch or especially a banquet or special event S WA N C O A C H HO US E in one of the private rooms, make your reservations well ahead of time. 3130 Slaton Drive, Buckhead Holidays, especially the Christmas season are very busy, said Betti.

Art & Entertainment | 23


An artists’ haven celebrates 65 years of teaching and sharing art BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN The aptly named Art McNaughton, president of the Atlanta Artists Center, just got elected to another term as the nonprofit organization celebrates its 65th anniversary. The Reporter paid a visit to him at the AAC’s home at 2979 Grandview Avenue in Buckhead to find out about the nonprofit’s past and future. For more information, see atlantaartistscenter. org. Q. What was the genesis of the Atlanta Artists Center? A. The organization has been around since 1954 and started out as a watercolor group -just a small group of people who were living here in Buckhead trying to find different places to paint. They were renting small rooms anywhere they could, frustrated at not having a place to call home, so they formed an organization, pooled their money and eventually bought this building -- a 1920s house -- in the early ’70s. Buckhead was still pretty reasonable then. The membership started to grow. It wasn’t just watercolors anymore; they started to involve other artists, and in 1990 added studio space in the back so they could have meetings and bring in models to draw and sketch. The front part turned into the primary gallery space where they could show artwork.

you pay five dollars for the model; you don’t have to register or anything - just bring your materials and draw. You pay a small fee, $30, to submit three pieces of your work. It gets juried by someone with credentials in our industry, and we have ongoing exhibits every six weeks so you get to display your artwork in Buckhead. There are very few places you can do that. We focus on life drawing primarily, so we have live models. Another benefit is if you sell any pieces here, we take only a 30% commission, which is significant. With most galleries it’s a 50-50 split. I’m the exhibit chair and we look at everything that gets submitted, and sometimes I’m amazed at what doesn’t get chosen -- really high-quality stuff. We have another show in which we’ve already juried in all the submissions. That will go up mid-November.

Q. So is the AAC the oldest arts organization in Georgia? A. It’s a safe bet we are the oldest in the Southeast. It’s a well-kept secret. In June we had a 65th anniversary celebration. It was relatively successful, but there were people here from right down the street, our own neighbors, who had no idea what this was or who we were. Q. You are an artist yourself, right? A. Yes, I still paint, but my duties as president have cut into that a little bit. I’m hoping to change that. Q. What is the hardest part about running the show? A. It’s an all-volunteer organization, so trying to get such a diverse membership engaged... Some of them are elderly, set in their ways, then we have younger people who want to push the envelope and do things differently, so making sure everyone is marching in the same path -- that’s tough. Q. How does being a member of the AAC work, and what are some of the benefits? A. We have workshops that go on constantly. We have sketch groups five days a week:


Atlanta Artists Center president Art McNaughton.

Q. What else should people know about the AAC? A. We are open to anyone. We have a gallery that shows great artwork any time of the year. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so we do some charitable work: we are looking at bringing disabled veterans here for some drawing sessions. We also have a program that covers memberships for individuals who have the desire to attend classes but are unable to pay.

Q. What’s next? A. We are having a holiday fundraiser here on Dec. 7. Some benefactors have already donated to us, which is awesome. In January, at the W Hotel in Buckhead, we’re sending an artist over to do some demonstrations, and we will have an exhibit there. On Wednesdays there is an evening group for sketch class that comes here. I want to do more in the evenings to engage young professionals and students who can’t come in the middle of the day, so I’m going to add a Thursday night and probably a Saturday.

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24 | Art & Entertainment ■

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Monday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. A ceremony at the Veterans Memorial, presented by the Dunwoody VFW Committee. Free. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info:


Monday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m. The Atlanta History Center’s Veterans Day Program includes a keynote address from Rear Admiral Wendi B. Carpenter, U.S. Navy (Ret.), the first woman Navy aviator to be promoted to flag rank; a performance of the national anthem; and a presentation of the colors. Free. Atlanta History Center’s Veterans Park, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info:


Monday, Nov. 11, 11:30 a.m. With keynote speaker U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Boulee, a former captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps who founded DeKalb County’s Veterans Treatment Court. Free. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:


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children under 18. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info:


Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fine art and crafts from over 185 vendors, a children’s area, acoustic music and food vendors. Free. Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive, Buckhead. Info: chastainparkartsfestival. com.


Saturday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 10 The Dunwoody Preservation Trust’s annual celebration of local history. Nov. 9 events at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm, 4831 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody, include: “History Alive” presentation on frontier life, 9:30-11 a.m. (admission $5); Villagefest with historic demonstrations, crafts and games, music, artisan booths and children’s activities, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (free); and “Sunset Serenade” picnic and concert with local bands, 6-8 p.m. (free; table available for $50). The Nov. 10 event is a free twilight tour of the 1859 Stephen Martin Cemetery at 244 Periemter Center Parkway, Dunwoody, 4-5 p.m. Info:


Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Over 240 vendors of handcrafted gifts, art, jewelry and artisan foods, with food and raffles. Tickets: $5 and include reusable tote bag. Marist School, 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info:

Friday, Nov. 8-Sunday, Nov. 24 Performed by Act3 Productions, the musical examines how parents-to-be experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, as well as the desperate lows and the comic highs. Tickets: $16-$33. Act3 Playhouse, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: act3productions. com.



Saturday, Nov. 9-Sunday Nov. 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Sandy Springs Society market feature 90 local and regional artisans in gifts, art and food. Proceeds promote the arts, heritage, education, the environment and social services in Sandy Springs. Tickets $5. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:


Thursday, Nov. 14 through Monday, Dec. 23, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Works of art and handcrafted gifts by local artists. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: holidayartistsmarket.


Sunday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Annual event by the Swedish Women’s Educational Association showcases the culture and holiday traditions of Sweden with crafts, gifts, food and more, plus children’s activities and performances. Admission $2; free for

Thursday, Nov. 21- Saturday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 24, 2 p.m. Oglethorpe University Theatre and RRC present Larry Kramer’s searing drama about public and private indifference to the AIDS plague and one man’s lonely fight to awaken the world to the crisis. Recommended for ages 14 and older. Free. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: oglethorpeuniversity.thundertix. com.


Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7:30-8:30 p.m. The launch of a new student symphony, with music by Karl Jenkins, Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Free. Oglethorpe University, Lupton Auditorium, 4484 Peachtree Rd, Brookhaven. Info:

Art & Entertainment | 25



Thursday, Nov. 21, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Peformance by Oglethorpe University’s jazz ensemble. Free. Oglethorpe University, Lupton Auditorium, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: events.


Through November 18, 2019 This year’s Book Festival repertoire of more than 45 authors, including headlining authors such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, Nikki R. Haley, Jodi Kantor and Adam Rippon. Prices vary. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA), 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc. org/bookfestival.


Wednesday, Nov. 6, 6:30-7:30 Author, lawyer and Sandy Springs resident R. Craig Henderson shares his second book in the “Solemn Vows” Series, a fast-paced thriller set in rural Georgia, as part of the “Titles @ Twilight” author series. Free. Heritage Sandy Springs administrative building, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info:


Tuesday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m. The authors discuss the story of Richard Jewell, a heroic security guard who was falsely suspected of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info:


Monday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m. Jean-Pierre, a former Obama White House

staffer and now the chief public affairs officer for, discusses her memoir with CNN Newsroom Anchor Natalie Allen. Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info:


Nov. 19 through Jan. 14, 2020, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Works by Jamaican-born Cosmo Whyte, who currently splits his time between Montego Bay, Jamaica and Atlanta, where he is a professor at Morehouse College. Tickets: $8 Adults, $5 Students/Seniors. Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, 75 Bennett Street, Buckhead. Info:


Through Sunday, Dec. 15 Selected works from the permanent collection of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art that align with current course offerings will be exhibited, ranging from 14th century Japanese sculpture to contemporary abstract works. Tickets: $5 adults, free for children under 12. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info:


The genealogy columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has unraveled the truth of how Wieuca Road got its name, separating myth from fact, in this presentation to the Buckhead Heritage Society. Tickets: Members $10, non-members $15. Cathedral of St. Philip, Gould Room, 2744 Peachtree Street, Buckhead. Info:


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26 | Education ■


A former student was inducted into the Riverwood International Charter High School 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 18. The ceremony was held on the school’s campus at 5900 Raider Drive in Sandy Springs. Alexis de Groot, 24, is one of the youngest people to ever be inducted in the Riverwood Hall of Fame, according to a press release. Groot was the captain and a four-year starter for the Riverwood varsity soccer team and helped them qualify for the State Playoffs 2010SPECIAL 2013, according to Riverwood Athletic AssociaAlexis de Groot at the tion President Mike McQuary. Riverwood Lady Raiders’ soccer Her accolades included Rookie of the Year, state play offs in 2013. Player of the Year and the Raider Award, McQuary says. Her senior year, Groot was named one of the state’s top eight players. She went on the play soccer at Elon University, where she was the team captain and on the All-Academic Colonial Athletic Association conference team.


Where authentic Christian mission and academic excellence aren’t mutually exclusive


Chris Brodnan.jpg From left, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Amy Jacobs presents Chris Brodnan with the 2019 Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development Leadership Award.

A Buckhead resident was recognized for her work serving Atlanta’s disadvantaged children by the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network at the second annual Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development Awards ceremony on Oct. 19. Chris Brodnan was presented with the 2019 Leadership Award. This award is given to one Georgia afterschool and youth program professional who has contributed significantly to their community, according to a press release. Brodnan is the regional program director of Horizons Atlanta, an affiliate of Horizons National, a nonprofit that provides tuition-free summer learning programs for underprivileged children. Before this role, she was the Site Director for Horizons Atlanta at Holy Innocent’s Episcopal School, according to Horizons Atlanta’s website. Brodnan’s implemented a continuous improvement strategy which resulted in a 67% improvement in literacy and a 64% improvement in reading for Horizon students, the release said. “My wish is to use my skills and knowledge to support communities most in need in ways that are most impactful and sustainable,” Brodnan said in the re-

lease. “We are honored to recognize fantastic leaders across the state,” said Katie Landes, director of GSAN. “Chris Brodnan exemplifies the kind of leadership needed in the youth development field to lead Georgia’s youth to brighter futures.” The GA ASYD initiative was created in 2012 as a partnership with by GSAN and Gwinnett United in Drug Education, Inc. to create a unified vision for afterschool and youth service programs in Georgia. To learn more about the GA ASYD initiative and awards, visit



U.S. Rep. John Lewis attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Brookhaven elementary school named for him on Oct. 4. The ceremony was held at the new school, John Robert Lewis Elementary school, 2630 Skyland Drive, Brookhaven. The 900-seat public school opened at the beginning of the school year, on Aug. 5. “I feel blessed, more than lucky, blessed. These children are beautiful and smart,” Lewis said. “They will help save America.”

Education | 27


Three Riverwood teachers honored for garden BY HANNAH GRECO

Three teachers led Sandy Springs’ Riverwood International Charter School to bringing an award-winning outdoor garden and classroom coming to fruition. The garden won the District 3 Fulton County Citizens Commission on the Environment award on Oct. 16. The teachers involved included Patti Lawrimore, chair of the science department; Elissa Oliver, a chef and culinary arts teacher; and Isaac Seals, a science teacher and coach. “The garden project is the consummate opportunity to bring a diverse group of students together to learn important...lessons with real-world applications, while also benefiting the school and greater Sandy Springs community,” said Lawrimore. “We are grateful to receive recognition for this project.” The garden features raised beds, herbs and annuals, vegetable plants and fruit trees and serves as an outdoor educational space for all Riverwood students. The award was given by the FCCE, a citizen advisory group appointed by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners that aims to increase awareness of environmental issues. Awards are given to those who have excelled at improving the environment within Fulton County. Due to the construction of new buildings at Riverwood, a previous outdoor garden closed in 2015. Seals and his students wrote and submitted a proposal and budget for a new garden. With support from the Riverwood Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the school’s efforts, and grants from both the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program and the Whole Kids Foundation by Whole Foods, the new, advanced garden space broke ground in May 2018. Lawrimore, Oliver and Seals worked together in conjunction with the Riverwood Foundation to seek additional funding to sustain and expand the garden, and in 2019, the garden got further grant funding from Fiskars Project Orange Thumb and Scott’s Gro More Good Grassroots.


current garden and were involved in the actual groundbreaking and building.


solving the problem by developing a solar power irrigation system and a water collection system off of the dugouts. Oliver: Keeping up with all the products that come out of the garden and keeping up with it outside of school hours. Culinary gives all compost for the garden and so there is close to zero waste. Seals: The demolition [of the original garden] created a hardship because it was done without any warning after my environmental science classes had planted their fall garden. This demolition also destroyed the irrigation system, which was not replaced in the new garden. Q: What is your favorite memory involving the garden? Lawrimore: I loved the construction phase, the kids using tools to build and layout the garden. They were so collaborative and their problem-solving skills were amazing. Oliver: The day we got our first grant and got to break ground! Seals: When my...students wrote the proposal for and designed the layout of the

Q: What is next for the garden? Lawrimore: [We] are hoping to expand into a walking trail and native plant areas and seating areas for small group instruction [and] discussing, and developing the retention pond and making the outdoor learning accessible for the entire campus. Oliver: New fall [and] winter crops and we just received another grant to expand. Seals: I expect that each class will be creative in learning about the process and how it all relates to the environment around us. Q: What do you hope the students learn from the garden? What do you think gardening teaches students? Lawrimore: I hope they get an understanding of the interconnectedness of our world: the soil, food, pollinators. Even understanding that diversity is so important for resilience and stability in an ecosystem then translating that into the human realm. Oliver: I think it teaches them time management, discipline, and where their food comes from. I hope they learn that planning, planting, growing and harvesting your food is a cool thing to do. It is econom-


From left, Chef Elyssa Oliver, Coach Isaac Seals and Science Department Chair Patti Lawrimore with the District 3 Fulton County Citizens Commission on the Environment award for Riverwood International Charter School’s garden.

ical and makes an impact on our Earth. Seals: The curriculum and garden teach sustainability, ownership and pride in their work, physical activity, healthy eating and changes in their lifestyle. They actually get to plant a bulb and a seed and see that grow into a plant.

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS At Galloway, students are inspired to be fearless learners, to embrace challenges, and to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

Q: How did you get involved with the garden? Lawrimore: When I started at Riverwood five years ago, there was a small garden. When construction demolished the site, we decided to scale the project up from four to 16 beds, 14 fruit trees, a pollinator garden and an [Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant] raised garden annex. Oliver: We had the idea to collaborate...and create a farm-to-table experience. Seals: Lori Leech, Riverwood’s first environmental science teacher, came up with the idea for the garden about 15 years ago. Lori and I worked together on the initial garden and I have been involved with it since that time. Q: What has been the biggest hardship and success with the garden? Lawrimore: We do not have a convenient water supply, but the kids are working on

Join us for Discover Galloway Open House Dec. 8, 1-3 p.m. AGE 3-GRADE 12 GALLOWAYSCHOOL.ORG

28 | Community ■

Court issues 30-day ban on mansion’s events as citations stack up BY JOHN RUCH

“The organizers of this event did not follow the proper procedures for securing use of the parking lot at Warren T. Jackson Elementary School, and therefore do not have permission to do so,” Smith said in a written statement. “As A 30-day ban on commercial events at a Garmon Road mansuch, any vehicles parking unlawfully in the lot will be towed by sion was ordered Oct. 25 by a Fulton County judge, as city citaAtlanta Public Schools Police, which is in line with district poltions continued to stack up. icy.” The operator of the 4499 Garmon Road mansion, who had The Perfect Moments employee said it was “not true” that the been wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for trial on varorganizers lacked permission to use the school lot. ious citations, showed up in Municipal Court Oct. 25. AccordFormerly owned by star musician Kenny Rogers, the Garmon ing to court records, Olutosin O. “Tosin” Oduwole now faces a Road mansion drew the city’s attention last year for a string of rescheduled trial, and even more citations, including an allegamassive parties, which ended late in the year with a $1,000 zontion of fire code violation. ing violation fine imposed upon a woman who claimed to be the The 30-day restraining order on events was sought in Fulton property’s new owner. However, Oduwole began advertising the County Superior Court by the city of Atlanta. mansion for event rentals again this year and parties resumed “I think it’s great for the neighborhood,” said City Councilthis summer, leading to a new series of citations. member J.P. Matzigkeit about the restraining order, “and all According to court records, Oduwole faces a variety of citawe’re asking for is for everyone to obey the law and do busitions alleging disorderly conduction, violations of zoning code ness in a commercial-zoned area and live in a residential area and the noise ordinance, and interfering with or damaging city in peace.” water system devices, in addition to the new citations issued The city sought the restraining order specifically to preOct. 25. He failed to appear in court on Oct. 21, resulting in a vent a bridal show that was scheduled for Oct. 27, according bench warrant for his arrest that is no longer active. to Matzigkeit. Perfect Moments Event Planning was one of the Oduwole previously told the Reporter that at least some of show’s organizers. An employee who declined to give her name the charges were unfounded. He later demanded that the Resaid the company was unaware of the mansion’s issues. porter cease writing anything about him. “This was a shock to us as well,” the employee said, adding J.P. MATZIGKEIT A security guard for one of the events did show up for trial on CITY COUNCILMEMBER that the company is postponing the event and working to find Oct. 21 and received a $1,000 fine for a noise ordinance violation a new location. “We were under the impression we were able to and probation on the condition he cooperates with prosecutors, hold a private event.” according to court records and Matzigkeit. The bridal show’s ticketing webpage advertised off-site parking at Warren T. On Oct. 23, the Atlanta Police Department said, officers issued another noise vioJackson Elementary School on Mt. Paran Road, with shuttle buses taking guests to lation to a different security guard at the mansion after hearing loud music. the mansion. Atlanta Public Schools spokesperson Ian Smith said the event organizers did not have permission to use the lot.

I think it’s great for the neighborhood and all we’re asking for is for everyone to obey the law and do business in a commercial-zoned area and live in a residential area in peace.

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*APY: Annual Percentage Yield effect as of October 15, 2019. Rates subject to change. $10,000.00 minimum balance per account to open and to obtain APY. Early withdrawal penalties will be imposed, which could reduce earnings on the account. Interest compounded quarterly. For additional information, please visit our website, one of our branches or call 404-601-1250.





Classifieds | 29




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Rare and Spacious 2 br/2ba 2300 sq. ft. Condo for lease in the heart of Buckhead. Secured access with 2 car inside parking. 24/7 resident manager. All utilities paid. Contact: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Marshall Picow, Realtor. Office 404-252-4908, Cell 404-805-4255

CEMETERY PLOTS Arlington Memorial Park - Serenity section (SOLD OUT). Two or Four plots together - $3,000 or $4,000. Call 404-816-2099.

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SERVICES AVAILABLE Best Rate Painting – WE BEAT ALL ESTIMATES!! Rooms as low as $125.00. Exterior as low as $1,250.00. 25 years experience. Free estimates no money down. 10% off with this AD. 404-434-8941 visit: Maid of Honor - For Housekeeping you can Trust. Licensed and insured. Call Becky Holcomb, Owner at 678-641-8052 or email Masonry: Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or Repaired. Masonry, Grading, Foundations repair, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe 770-616-0576.

SERVICES AVAILABLE Property Home Tending – Regular inspections of your For Sale or unoccupied home. Call Charles 404-229-0490. Handyman - Wood rot repairs, roof leaks, deck refinishing/repairs. Interior and Exterior painting. Excellent references. 404-895-0260.

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30 | Community ■

A ‘Spectacular’ Day at Chastain Horse Park festival Chastain Horse Park celebrated its “Fall Family Spectacular” festival on Oct. 26, drawing a crowd to see horse shows and join family activities. Proceeds benefited the nonprofit’s therapeutic riding program. For more information, see Photos by Phil Mosier


A - Anna Marie Samp and her Arabian/Welsh pony Gift are ready for the horse costume parade. B -Clara Germany, 7, enjoys her first pony ride with help from volunteers Shannon Whiting, left, and Ansley Kim. C - Visitors meet horses from the Atlanta Police Department Mounted Patrol, with Magnum, in foreground, ridden by Officer A. Perez, and Oreo, ridden by Officer R. Dobler.


D - The Falconwood Vaulters demonstrate horseback acrobatics in the main arena. E - Sisters Josie and Clara McMeekin, ages 10 and 6, say hello to a horse in the stable. They visited the festival with parents Scott and Dana.




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Community | 31


Businesses, residents find unity in common foe: traffic Continued from page 1 jor business and neighborhood groups. In part, that’s due to the BCN’s revitalized role as an advocacy organization. Another factor, is business leaders’ willingness to look at a bigger, regional picture. And there are cultural shifts on both sides, as longtime residents of a once car-centric community seek sidewalks and mass transit, and a massive burst of apartments and condos transforms the business district into a neighborhood. “A lot of things the Buckhead Council is talking about now are things we’ve never had alignment on before,” said Denise Starling, who has worked on commuter and environmental issues for 20 years as executive director of Livable Buckhead. “People are like, ‘What? Buckhead wants transit now?’” Mary Norwood, the former city councilmember and mayoral candidate who made her political comeback this year as BCN’s chair, says it’s a “very unifying” time. Having Livable Buckhead and the BCID “collaborating with the Buckhead Council of Neighborhood means we no longer have a divide” on Buckhead’s various areas, she said. And with more groups joining the BCN, an umbrella group of neighborhood associations, she says there is collaboration “all the way from the DeKalb County line to the Chattahoochee River.” “I think we can make progress together, which is the whole point,” Norwood said. At the BCID, Durrett leads a group of major commercial property owners who tax themselves to make local improvements. He says today’s mood isn’t necessarily about fixing a relationship, but “just that some things that we work on brought some focus to the residential community.” A key example was a BCID study over the past year of possible improvements to the tangled intersection of Roswell, Piedmont, Habersham and Blackland roads. “That project was sort of catalytic in bringing the different communities together to really understand the pain that is being felt,” said Durrett. Focused on the rough border between the business district and the northwest Buckhead neighborhoods, that plan drew quick resistance from residents who said it didn’t address the larger sore spot of cut-through commuter traffic, and might make it worse. The BCID agreed to add broader, regional transit ideas in its study. Now the BCID is putting the project “on a shelf,” Durrett said, and moving on to work with residents who are developing neighborhood-wide traffic plans. Tony Peters, a BCID program manager, drew applause from the BCN at the Oct. 10 meeting when he announced “pause” on the project and pledged to work with residents to “come up with something as a group.” As that project suggests, there is still some friction among business and neighborhood groups; Norwood refers to the shelved BCID intersection plan, which in-

volves building a new ring road behind the Tuxedo Festival shopping center as “the solution, quote-unquote.” But there is collaboration as well, with leaders of the various groups regularly joining together in policy meetings, such as Durrett and Norwood’s recent participation in a meeting with the heads of MARTA and the Atlanta-Regional Transit Link Authority to discuss possible express bus service in the neighborhood. Norwood emphasized that the business-residential ties now are practical. “Livable Buckhead and the BCID have both shared information with us and we have shared information with them,” she said. Livable Buckhead had its own tension with the BCN on a recent study about addressing the problem of housing affordability in Buckhead through the lens of reducing traffic. The idea was to make it possible for more of Buckhead’s workforce to live in the neighborhood rather than driving in. On the eve of the study’s release, the BCN presented its own, different count of the neighborhood’s housing inventory. Livable Buckhead ended up delaying the study to reconcile the numbers. Norwood said BCN’s housing subcommittee was “absolutely on the ground” and had better numbers. “We didn’t want to have any reason to discredit their work,” Starling said about the pause to reconcile the BCN numbers. But now that the study is out, the BCN and Livable Buckhead are in agreement about the overall concept and its leaders are meeting on ways to move it forward, particularly on making existing housing more affordable. “They were the ones who really pushed on [the theme], ‘You can’t just build new,’” Starling said about the BCN. Livable Buckhead is focused on alternative commuting options, and Starling oversees construction of the PATH400 multiuse trail, whose routes have sometimes caused neighborhood friction. She said she sees big changes in the desire for transit and pedestrian paths as demographics, attitudes and lifestyles shift. Residents are calling for sidewalks in the rural-style neighborhoods that people once moved to specifically because they were hard to access. And the business district is quickly becoming a mixed-use residential neighborhood itself. “That’s why parks are becoming so much more important,” and multiuse trails as well, Starling said. “People didn’t want that, and now they do.” The BCN recently generated a transportation policy “resolution” that it is circulating to various officials. It includes more affordable housing, tolling on local streets and adding MARTA express buses between Cobb County and Lindbergh Center. Starling says she “skeptical” of such parts as the tolling, but was surprised to find herself agreeing with most of the resolution. “Ninety percent of it – I don’t agree with all of it – but [most of it] is in alignment” with Livable Buckhead’s program, she said.

Honor Our Veterans Monday, November 11th 10:00am Join us in honoring those who have served our country. Victoria L. Collier, CELA, will speak about the power of generational legacy followed by a special pinning ceremony. Refreshments will be served. To RSVP, please call 404.381.1743.

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| 32


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