NOVEMBER 2019 - Sandy Springs Reporter

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NOVEMBER 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 11

Sandy Springs Reporter In a tight spot: Little room for city vehicles in City Springs parking deck

Perimeter Business

Old-school bowling rolls on at Funtime Bowl P5



Meet Troop 398, where girls take charge in what used to be Boy Scouts


Lake Forest Elementary School teacher Guadalupe Barron, left, reviews letters with Saturday school student Jesus Zarate at Los Niños Primero. It is one of the three nonprofits that will be temporarily displaced by a redevelopment.


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


On a Thursday afternoon in a small but lively room, six second-graders from Lake Forest Elementary practiced reading English with volunteers ranging from high school students to retirees. When LaAmistad Executive Director Cat McAfee walked into the room, each child left his or her workstation to formally greet her.

“Hello, it is very nice to see you,” each student said shyly but firmly, shaking McAfee’s hand without breaking eye contact. “Welcome to LaAmistad.” LaAmistad, whose name means “The Friendship,” offers an afterschool learning program for under-resourced Latino students that focuses on math and reading, as well as teaching manners and virtues, McAfee said. See 3 NONPROFITS on page 30

City Springs has been praised by city officials and a local urban planning expert for its walkability, including an underground parking garage to make room for a new park. But city vehicles do not have a central hub and are parking in various locations around town, some the city already owns and some rented. The city parks some vehicles at a gravel lot that was purchased for nearly $686,000 for land-banking purposes and has a parking agreement with a church across the street from City Springs for $12,000 a year. The city is also planning on extending its annual lease through June 2023 at the old City Hall for its police headquarters and parking, averaging $271,000 a year. “We don’t have one group parking area for city vehicles,” city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said. “We use various locations to park city vehicles when they are not in use.” City Springs is home to apartments, several restaurants, shops and other retailers, as well as the city’s Performing Arts Center and City Hall. It has a total of 1,125 parking spaces: 750 are in an underground deck and 258 are surface parking. To Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, City Springs brought the walkability, community gathering space and apartments for young renters and families Paul envisioned. “This would have never happened before. Nobody walked here before,” Paul said durSee CITY on page 31


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After hearing the findings from a traffic study at an Oct. 15 work session, the city has dropped the idea of paying an additional $30 million for the Georgia Department of Transportation to move a proposed toll lane interchange to Crestline Parkway and has opted to endorse GDOT’s plan to build it on Mount Vernon Highway. “There are so many things in this city we could spend $30 million on for the benefit of the residents of this city rather than spending $30 million for the people who want to cut through our city,” said District 5 City Councilmember Tibby DeJulio. Sandy Springs previously pushed back on GDOT’s plan to use Mount Vernon as an access point for its Ga. 400 toll lanes project and asked for Crestline, south of Mount Vernon, to be considered instead. The toll lanes, called “express lanes” or “managed lanes,” are proposed by GDOT in two projects that would add four new toll lanes along I-285 and Ga. 400 in the Perimeter Center area over the next 15 years. GDOT had said it was willing to consider Crestline if Sandy Springs funded the extra expense, a cost originally estimated at $23 million, but after the study’s findings is estimated to be $30 million. “GDOT is pleased with the city’s decision and we look forward to continuing to move forward collaboratively with Sandy Springs,” GDOT Director of Strategic Communications Scott Higley said. Documents obtained by the Reporter in March revealed the Crestline option would also potentially demolish eight townhomes. The Perimeter Center Improvement Districts was previously looking at the Crestline option for the city, but the city conducted the study using AECOM, an infrastructure consulting firm. The study compared the number of average daily trips in each option. The findings showed that in the Crestline option, upon completion in 2048, the trips would be reduced by 3,000 vehicles. “Thirty million dollars for three thousand cars,” District 1 City Councilmember John Paulson said. “If we did this, we would be spending $10,000 per car.” “We are being asked to spend $30 million on taxpayer money for a problem we are trying to solve in 2048,” DeJulio said. “This makes no sense.” “Thirty million seems like a whole lot and it seems like we have been led to a decision here,” District 6 City Councilmember Andy Bauman said. Some residents along Mount Vernon had pushed for the Crestline option as well, fearing the future traffic impacts of a new interchange. But many homeowners who would be affected by the Crestline option had similar concerns, as well as the property-taking issue. The council did not have to vote because ultimately, GDOT will make the final decision at a later date. Mayor Rusty Paul said he is glad the city conducted the study to get a clear answer. “I think this was an exercise that we needed to go through to make sure that we were making the right decisions for the community,” Paul said.


An accident on the I-285/Ga. 400 project site resulted in the death of a construction worker on Oct. 3. This is the second construction-related accident since the state’s project began. The worker, Dustin Maxwell, fell from a portion of a new overpass, according to Sandy Springs Deputy Chief of Police Keith Zgonc. Maxwell was an employee of a contractor on site, not a Georgia Department of Transportation employee, according to Strategic Communications Director Scott Higley. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which governs employee safety issues, is investigating the incident and cannot comment on details, said Eric Lucero, a spokesperson for OSHA’s Southeastern regional office. This follows an injury in August 2018 in which a contracted employee was injured and taken to the hospital. In response to the August 2018 injury, OSHA conducted a rapid response investigation, which is an off-site investigation where the employer is expected to conduct an investigation of the incident and share its findings with OSHA, Lucero said. The employer provided a satisfactory response and the file was closed on Aug. 22, 2018, Lucero said. GDOT’s “Transform 285/400” project is reconstructing the highway interchange for improved traffic flow and safety. Work began in 2017 and the project is scheduled to finish in mid-2020.

Community | 3


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



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-ahalf 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 decadelong “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 Atlanta; 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. 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 entities 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.

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The Sandy Springs Police Department wants to expand its current license-plate reading technology by placing nearly 100 license-plate reader cameras around the city at a cost of just under $40,000 per month. SSPD currently has two LPR cameras operating at undisclosed locations in the city and has access to footage from cameras installed in private neighborhoods by HOAs, but the department wants to increase its coverage by installing 99 cameras in the city for a $39,852.02 monthly fee. “At the beginning of this year, one of our priorities was leveraging technology to reduce crime,” Deputy Chief of Police Keith Zgonc said at an Oct. 15 City Council work session. The council will vote on the proposal at its Nov. 5 meeting, according to city documents. The department did not respond to requests for comment about the timeline for the cameras to be installed. The cameras would be installed in partnership with a Georgia Power program known as SiteView. It allows customers to have a security camera system installed on the utility poles and streetlights for a monthly fee. All cameras are owned, installed and maintained by Georgia Power, while the customer controls and maintains the data. The high-speed, computer-controlled cameras capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date and time. The data includes photographs of a vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers. The data is uploaded to a central server to be accessed by officers. Police would use the cameras to receive leads and collaborate with neighboring cities to share data, solve cases and ultimately, reduce crime, Zgonc said. SSPD said it has planned camera placement and plans to include locations marked as high-crime but it would not provide the planned locations. “We plan on locating the cameras at various entry points to the city, placing them primarily along the primary routes through the city,” Zgonc said in a written statement. Georgia Power’s pilot program started in 2017 in Brookhaven. In July, Dunwoody purchased 16 LPR cameras to be placed primarily in the Perimeter Center area. SSPD proposes to use a mix of two kinds of cameras: 57 cameras for $32,331.08 a month from Genetec, a national surveillance company, which have a higher resolution but are more expensive and 42 for $7,520.94 a month from Flock, based in Atlanta, which are cheaper but have a lower resolution. In a pilot project by SSPD, the department purchased and installed two Flock cameras in June that were put in undisclosed locations, according to SSPD spokesperson Sgt. Sam Worsham. The department also purchased an additional 12 in September, but they have not been installed yet, Worsham said. The current cost is $2,000 per year per camera and the total cost is around $28,000 for a year, Worsham said. The department did not respond to comment requests about how many cameras are currently up and running in the city. According to the department, as of June 21 from when the cameras were installed, SSPD has made a total of 97 charges with the use of LPR technology, including 33 misdemeanors and 65 felonies. Some of the charges included larceny from a vehicle, identity fraud, possession of a stolen vehicle, felony warrants and robbery. It is unclear how many total charges were made city-wide in that amount of time. Some neighborhood associations in Sandy Springs have contracted with Flock to install their own personal security cameras and through the contract, allow the city to access the data and footage, which has helped with many of the LPR-related charges, Zgonc said. At the Oct. 15 meeting, District 3 Councilmember Chris Burnett asked whether more homeowner associations should consider installing private cameras to catch people committing minor traffic violations in their neighborhoods. City Attorney Dan Lee said the tag readers are to be used more for investigate processes and not to witness a criminal case because the cameras are not considered a legally reliable witness. “Just as [with] a camera for running red lights or speeding tickets, you have to have someone to confirm what is shown in the photograph or in the license reader, so it is not a good application for it,” Lee said. “The challenge is, you can see the tag, [but] what you cannot see is who is actually behind the wheel,” Mayor Rusty Paul said. “You cannot charge the car. You have to charge the individual.” District 1 City Councilmember John Paulson asked whether the locations for the systems have been chosen so that neighborhood associations can decide if they will want to invest in their own cameras or rely on the police system. “We have worked on locations, but we do not have everything figured out exactly yet,” Zgonc said at the meeting.

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-

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.

Continued on page 8

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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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H I G H ■


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.

Perimeter Business | 11

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Dive-y is better for some

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.”

LOCAL BOWLING CENTERS Bowlmor 2175 Savoy Drive Chamblee Funtime Bowl 3285 Buford Hwy in Northeast Plaza Brookhaven Stars and Strikes 8767 Roswell Road Sandy Springs The Painted Pin 737 Miami Circle NE Buckhead


12 | Home & Real Estate ■

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house seems to be the easy part. But where to put it all – and make it easy to reach? The Reporter asked Judy Long, founder of Tillman Long Interiors in Buckhead, for some tips on clever, elegant home storage ideas. The following are five solutions she found for her clients. For more about Tillman Long, see

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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

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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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A standard pantry with large shelves can get a boost with handy pullout drawers. “[The clients] wanted a lot of open storage, but we added the pull-out drawers for snacks. They wanted their four children to be able to run in a grab snacks to pack to take with them.”



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City’s master trail plan could connect neighborhoods with paths BY HANNAH GRECO

After the initial 10 year plan, the future projects include trails connecting to: ■ Abernathy Greenway ■ City Springs ■ PATH400 in Buckhead (in the design process) ■ Crooked Creek Trail in Peachtree Corners ■ East Palisades Trail at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area ■ Big Creek Greenway in Roswell ■ Hyde Farm in Cobb County ■ Cumberland Trail Network in Marietta

A massive trail plan has been approved by the City Council that would allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel on 31 miles of paths through the city. But it could mean putting the new trails through neighborhoods and culde-sacs. The council also approved changing the language in the city’s development code to require “connectivity” with trails and sidewalks in new developments, rather than strongly encourage it. “When we talk about connectivity, it’s about creating pathways, like sideGreta DeMayo, a planner with Kaiwalks and bike paths, not roadways for autos,” city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said in a written statement. At an Oct. 15 meeting, the City Council approved the trail plan, which focuses on six major projects of 31.4 miles of paths to be PATH FOUNDATION completed in To connect City Springs with the rest of the trails, the sections to promaster plan has Wright Circle providing a route for trail users to get from Abernathy Greenway to City Springs. vide connectivity throughout the city, including a connection of Abzen Collaborative, which worked on ernathy Greenway to City Springs by the master plan, said finding a connecway of a cul-de-sac on Wright Circle. tion to City Springs, the city’s new art A recommended “model mile,” or and civic complex, proved to be one of pilot project, of trails would connect the most difficult segments of the plan. Marsh Creek and the Sandy Springs To connect the city’s center with Tennis Center. the rest of the trails, the design has a The master plan recommends a $33 trail connection between Abernathy million implementation plan to span Road and Johnson Ferry Road by using 10 years. The implementation plan Wright Circle, a low-volume street bewould complete some segments of hind City Springs. Wright Circle would three of the major projects, including: be turned into a “neighborhood gre■ Trails connecting Marsh Creek enway,” or a street with slower speeds and the tennis center (expectdesignated to give bicycle travel priored to be completed by the end of ity. 2021) The connection would provide a ■ Trails connecting Ison Road, route for trail users to get from AberMorgan Falls Park, Roswell nathy Greenway to City Springs by exRoad and the North River Shoptending an existing walking trail beping Center hind the Synovus Bank at 280 Sandy ■ A bridge over the Chattahoochee Springs Circle to the existing side path River at Morgan Falls on Johnson Ferry Road. The estimated design and construcThe end of Wright Circle turns into tion cost for the implementation plan Hampton Drive, so the connection is $33,360,000 but does not include would be made by adding a trail off right of way acquisition costs, accordthe Hampton Drive cul-de-sac, DeMayo ing to the presentation. confirmed. DeMayo said the connec-

Community | 15

NOVEMBER 2019 ■ tion would require an easement. The plan was drafted by the PATH Foundation, a nonprofit that has overseen the construction and design of hundreds of miles of trails in the metro area. The study was funded by the city and the Sandy Springs Conservancy, a nonprofit parks advocacy organization. The Conservancy held a Thought Leaders Dinner on Oct. 3 in which Ellen-Dunham Jones, director of the Urban Design program at Georgia Tech, presented the idea of creating connectivity between parts of the city by using trails and eliminating cul-de-sacs. Previously, Dunham-Jones told the Reporter that Sandy Springs could be a “real leader” in the initiative of connectivity. Staff members noticed some confus-

ing and inconsistent language in the development code as it pertains to connectivity, according to city documents. In August, the council was presented with two alternatives to vote on at a later date – requiring bike/pedestrian connections if no vehicular connection will be required, and to prohibit connection to a collector in protected neighborhoods, or neighborhoods that are discouraged for higher density projects in the city’s Next Ten comprehensive land-use plan. On Oct. 15, the council approved an amendment to the city’s development code regarding connectivity that allowed both alternatives. Prior to the amendment, the development code read that “connections to existing roads are strongly encouraged

in all districts.” Now, it reads that “connections to existing roads are required in all districts.” The amendment says every developer of land within the jurisdiction must provide connectivity at no cost to the city, and must be dedicated or otherwise transferred, as required, to the public. Bike and pedestrian connections will now be required if there is no connection for cars, but the code prohibits connection to a road in protected neighborhoods in the city’s Next Ten comprehensive land-use plan. “In the future, these stable neighborhoods will retain their existing land use patterns, in order to maintain existing neighborhood character, quality of life and tree canopy,” the plan reads.

The Next Ten says that Sandy Springs should be made a “connected…city with expanded travel choices by enhancing the connectivity of the street and non-motorized network…by reducing the impact of traffic by managing traffic demand.” In August, city staff was asked to study the issue because of previous concerns expressed by residents for connectivity in Sandy Springs, primarily in neighborhoods, according to Kraun. “Residents are worried that these connections will bring more traffic into their neighborhood,” Kraun said in August.

16 | Commentary

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Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter Atlanta INtown Atlanta Senior Life

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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.

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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@

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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


Fulton Schools want toll lanes moved; GDOT says it can’t BY HANNAH GRECO

ing closer to Dunwoody Springs and Woodland elementary schools. On Aug. 26, the Fulton County Board of Education sent a resolution to GDOT in opposition to any plan that will ‘negatively impact school property.’ Attached to the resolution was a letter from Looney expressing his concern with the express lane plan, and saying the impacts will cause safety concerns for the two schools. GDOT says shifting the project west is not an option because the shifting would have more overall community impact. “Shifting the project to the west would require shifting the entirety of the route to the west (in advance of and well beyond the school property) and would result in signif-

The Fulton County School System is calling for a change in the state’s plans for the Ga. 400 express lanes project, but the Georgia Department of Transportation says the change requested is not viable. “FCS and ultimately, students, their families and the neighboring community will end up being a ‘loser’ any way this progresses,” Fulton County Superintendent Mike Looney said in a letter to GDOT. “Unfortunately, this option is not viable,” said Scott Higley, GDOT’s director of strategic communications, in an email. The district has requested the Ga. 400 lanes be moved further west to avoid com-



the letter. The estimated costs to mitigate could include sound barriers, structural walls and vegetative buffers between the schools and highway, as well as possibly reinforcing exterior building walls and reinforced doors and glass windows, according to district spokesperson Brian Noyes. The district does not have a detailed report on estimated costs, but Looney has said they could reach $10 million. Higley says no specifics have been brought to GDOT’s attention. Looney sent a district-wide letter on Sept. 5 calling on parents to express their concerns with the plan by contacting GDOT directly. Higley says GDOT received fewer than 30 emails from parents.


r e B e

R I S E™

icantly more impacts to the community,” Higley said. Looney also says in the letter he is not only concerned with GDOT’s plans impacting the elementary schools, but also the cost of the effects from the widening project having to be recouped by the district. The steps the district must take to ensure a safe environment at these schools would be expensive and FCS may have no choice but to put capital requests before Fulton County voters in the future SPLOST referendum should GDOT choose not to reimburse the district, Looney says. “The entire school district and all Fulton County taxpayers could be impacted if the high cost of mitigation ... becomes the district’s sole responsibility,” Looney said in





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Transportation and housing issues go hand-in-hand, experts say BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN The population of the Atlanta region is expected to rise by at least 2.5 million people by the year 2040, bringing the total number of residents to more than 8 million, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. Transportation and housing needs will have to find ways to accommodate that increase, but how? That was one of the questions raised during an Oct. 2 transportation panel discussion at Perimeter Summit in Brookhaven, organized by the Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts’ commuting program and the Urban Land Institute. Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead and moderator of the event, said that when it comes to quality of life, the concepts of supply and demand in the context of transportation need to be balanced as well. “The supply side is the stick-to-the-bricks of transportation,” she said. “It’s the whole network of ways to get around – roads, trains, buses, bikes, feet and yes, even those pesky scooters. “When we try to fix transportation, we tend to default to looking at the supply side. We don’t hear about the demand side,” she said. “So where has that gotten us? Roads are clogged, trains are sort of full, sometimes, and buses are largely empty. The system is out of whack.” Starling said 92% of the workforce in Buckhead comes in from somewhere else. “Residents leave, workers come in. We have to look at housing as one of our potential transportation strategies.” Her organization and the Buckhead Community Improvement District recently issued a study linking a gap in affordable housing to the neighborhood’s ever-increasing commuter traffic. Stan Wall of HR&A Advisors said housing is tied to transportation because people often can’t afford to live where they work. Cousins Properties, which owns such office buildings as Buckhead’s Terminus and Sandy Springs’ Northpark towers, offers amenities at its locations “so that the worker doesn’t have to go back out after reaching work,” said Rhonda Tompkins, a director at the company. She cited the onsite availability of “ATMs, fitness clubs, dentists, light cosmetic procedures, nail salons, shoe shiners, dry cleaners, nearby trails, cafes and common areas with WiFi.” Some of Cousins’ buildings – including Northpark — are near rail lines, which she called “an awesome asset.” “The reality is we need to find somewhere for these two-and-a-half to three million people to live and to work,” said Gerald McDowell, executive director of the Aerotropolis Alliance. “We are running out of room in north metro and downtown. We have a solution, and that is south metro. That’s the missing piece. I believe we can create relief for north metro and downtown, and transit and transportation is the vehicle that will help us do that.” The Aerotropolis Alliance is an amalgamation of the Airport West and Airport South Community Improvement Districts. The area around Atlanta’s airport has roughly 90,000 acres available for development, according to McDowell. “You will always be able to justify additional investments for infrastructure in north metro and downtown, and no one would argue that we need that at 285 and 400,” he said, but “if we can figure out how to build infrastructure in south metro, we can create a more competitive region that would impact and improve communities and attract families.” Starling noted that property developers such as Tompkins and Lynn Lewis of Hines also appear to be travel advisors to their clients. “Right now construction on 285/400 is a bit of a challenge so we constantly educate our customers (on transit alternatives) to make things better. My motto is look before you leave,” Tompkins said. “It’s incumbent upon us to be the conduit of information,” said Lewis. Several panelists pointed out that fees from parking garages have been decreasing, signaling fewer cars in general use, a trend Tompkins did not seem to welcome. “It’s a major part of our income,” she said. McDowell suggested offering amenities at parking garages too. “It goes back to mixed-use developments – live, work, play – and incorporating our lifestyles with alternative transportation,” he said. “People are taking other modes of transportation, and not contributing to carbon,” said Lewis, who uses Uber to get to the airport. “The more convenient we make alternative transportation, the better.”

Art & Entertainment | 21


‘Little Things’ make for a big show at the Swan Coach House Accepting New Patients! Primary Care of Brookhaven is a full-service primary care practice providing the highest quality care possible to families of the Brookhaven and the Atlanta Metro Area. Our board-certified physicians, Dr. Jennifer Burkmar and Dr. Jeffrey Reznik provide care for the whole patient, and offer a full range of family medicine services, including: • Primary Care for Patients of All Ages Including Newborns • Immunizations for Children and Adults • Acute Illness Care & Chronic Disease Management • School & Sport Physicals • Women’s Health Services • Preventative Health Consultations We take pride in serving each patient with personalized attention and care, accept most insurance plans, and offer same day appointments for sick visits.

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BY JUDITH SCHONBAK 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 Continued on page 22

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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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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.


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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 ■

City buys water for City Springs after stormwater recycling system fails BY: HANNAH GRECO

After the lawsuit-triggering failure of a 300,000-gallon stormwater recycling system, Sandy Springs is paying for the water that flows out of decorative fountains and irrigates greenery at City Springs. The city won’t say how much it has paid or for exactly how long, but bills show City Hall’s water usage and charges have skyrocketed over the last 10 months, totaling about $115,000 for 11.5 million gallons. The system was intended to use recycled water for the fountains and the irrigation at the art and civic complex, which opened in 2018, to cut spending and water usage. The failure has the city plugging into the public water system, which is operated by the city of Atlanta. All but one fountain may soon be shut off or put in limited use for the season, said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “It is just like a faucet at your house,” Kraun said of City Springs’ current use of city water. “You turn the knob and city water is pumped through.” The recycling system is based on a cistern, an underground tank built beneath the City Green, the park outside City Springs. It is meant to capture and hold stormwater, which is then to be divided

into two chambers with “dirty” water used for irrigation and “clean” water used for the fountains. The system has three parts that the city said were not working correctly: a floor that should waterproof the system; a wall that should separate the “clean” and “dirty” water; and pumps that should bring water out of the cistern and feed into the fountains and irrigation. The city says those features were not built correctly from the start, but officials will not say exactly when they realized the problems and had to start using city water. Part of the reason city officials say they declined to provide full answers is the active litigation in which Holder, the construction company that built City Springs, filed a lawsuit against the city and the city filed a countersuit claiming issues with the cistern. According to Kraun, a pump repair has been completed, and the pumps are working for both the irrigation and fountains. But the system still requires city water and officials cannot fill the cistern to capacity because of the remaining issues, Kraun said. The city said the cost of buying water cannot be estimated until the repairs on the cistern are complete and that there is not a timeline for the repairs. The city did not answer questions about

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the hours during which the fountains operate and why they have not been shut off during the cistern repairs. The Reporter has seen the fountains running as late as 11 p.m. Kraun said the fountains will soon be shut down or run only during the day for the season, with the exception of a cascading fountain facing Roswell Road. The other fountains include a curved fountain just outside the City Green; a round fountain between the City Hall and Byers Theatre areas; and a round fountain in front of restaurants and stores on Blue Stone Road. The city did not say when it started buying water from Atlanta. City water bills for the year to date indicate a large spike in June for City Springs water at $27,137.69, or 2,718,232 gallons. That is nearly double May’s bill of $14,386.40 or 1,441,396 gallons. Since December 2018, the city has spent $114,804 on 11,504,240 gallons of water for City Springs. But it is not clear from bill records how much of that water was used on the fountains or for irrigation. Sandy Springs is also currently in a legal battle with the city of Atlanta about the local water system, which Atlanta operates. The crux of the dispute is Sandy Springs claiming Atlanta overcharges for water. — John Ruch contributed


The following information is the total charges and usage reported on Atlanta Department of Watershed Management bills for Sandy Springs City Hall, which is at City Springs. The bills were obtained from the city in response to a request for billing records related to the buying of water for use at City Springs. December 2018 $1,911.50 192,236 gallons

May 2019 $14,386.40 1,441,396 gallons

January 2019 $1,538 154,836 gallons

June 2019 $27,137.69 2,718,232 gallons

February 2019 $3,084.29 309,672 gallons

July 2019 $21,647.24 2,168,452 gallons

March 2019 $6,968.69 698,632 gallons

August 2019 $12,840.11 1,286,560 gallons

April 2019 $11,689.73 1,171,368 gallons

September 2019 $13,602.05 1,362,856 gallons

Classifieds | 29




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30 | Community ■

Continued from page 1 The nonprofit has been serving Latino families since 2001, starting at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Buckhead. It has many metro Atlanta locations, but one of the most prominent is the one in Sandy Springs, McAfee said. But the shopping center in which LaAmistad calls home at 120 Northwood Drive will be demolished come May in preparation for a new self-storage facility that is slated to open in 2022. The construction will displace two other nonprofits, the Community Assistance Center and Los Niños Primero, as well as about a dozen retailers, including a hair salon, a laundromat, a Mexican grocery store, the Salvadoran restaurant La fonda Guadalupana and a Spanish-speaking tax services office. The three-story facility was approved in September by the City Council. The site plans include space for the three nonprofits, as well as some space for neighborhood-serving retail, such as a grocery store and a laundromat. The plan will also bring a new park that will replace the current playground at the site. The unassuming complex currently rests on 2.7 acres and is 1.5 miles south from City Springs, the city’s new art and civic complex. It is known as the Missionary Solidarity Village, named after the Solidarity School, which has since closed. It is a two-story building dating back to

1971 that has a Germantown-inspired exterior lined with individual spaces leased by retailers and an indoor cobalt blue tiled stairwell tucked behind a glass door that leads you to the nonprofits. Across the street are numerous apartment complexes that are mainly rented out by Latino families, who can easily walk over for basic, everyday needs, or resources provided by the nonprofits. The nonprofits work closely with the lower-income community in Sandy Springs to help families with resources they may not be able to find otherwise. While the nonprofits have been promised space in the new building, they are not sure what they will do during the displacement. But they all have one goal in common: not slowing down their efforts during the transitional phase. The Community Assistance Center was formed in 1987 when it began operating out of the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church. The nonprofit has had the same focus for over 20 years: to help people at risk of homelessness. CAC opened a branch office in the Northwood building in 2018. It assists families with financial and healthcare resources and offers many programs involving the nearby schools. The office has a waiting room for families to settle, as well as individual rooms to discuss their needs in private. The office also provides a shuttle to and from the CAC thrift store and food pantry in the north

end of the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office has helped about 345 families this year, Executive Director Tamara Carrera said. Carrera said she is eyeing some temporary spaces for the office to relocate to, and that CAC is opening its first Dunwoody location in November. Although the move may be inconvenient, Carrera said she is thankful for the developers of the property for listening to the community’s concerns about making sure the area can still serve the nearby lower-income and Latino community it currently does. “I wish all of the developers were as easy as this group,” Carrera said. “If everyone listened like they did, the community would be better.” Carrera said she is most excited about the larger and updated space the new building will provide and the opportunities it will bring for CAC. CAC will be able to have a food pantry at its new location, something it could not have before because of poor electrical wiring, Carrera said. Just across the complex, LaAmistad runs afterschool programs for Latino students Monday through Thursday. The program is for first through fifth graders and serves about 35 children from Lake Forest Elementary, which the Sandy Springs location serves exclusively,. They are bused in after school lets out. At the current location, LaAmistad uses

window units for air conditioning because the building has no central system, and the nonprofit had to complete a paint job and knock out walls to make the space work. “We had to brighten things up in here,” McAfee said. “It was very dark.” Despite its challenges, LaAmistad has had a presence in the shopping center for four years. Patrick Ronson, a long-term volunteer and currently working with the fifth graders, said he was intimidated by the idea of volunteering at first. “But once you meet the kids, you get sucked in,” Ronson said. “I keep coming back because they keep me coming back.” Ronson said being with the children four times a week has brought him close to them and given him a chance to get to know them individually. “For instance, I know when this one [as he points to a student] writes in his journal each day, there will be a sci-fi aspect, because he loves science,” Ronson said. McAfee said the nonprofit is looking into options on where to locate during the displacement but has not yet chosen a temporary home. But when the new building is complete, the organization will be able to have complete creative control, which is something no other locations have had, McAfee said. “We are most excited about the ability to design it for our use,” McAfee said. “That would be a first for us.”

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Community | 31


In a tight spot: Little room for city vehicles in City Springs parking deck Continued from page 1 ing a July tour of City Springs. Ellen-Dunham Jones, director of the Urban Design program at Georgia Tech, praised the city for its design of City Springs at an Oct. 3 Thought Leader’s Dinner hosted by the Sandy Springs Conservancy and said it was an innovative way to bring the city to the suburbs through a mixed-use complex. Kraun said the alternative spaces for city vehicle parking are used to provide as much space for City Springs visitors as possible. “We consciously use these alternative spaces, apart from the deck at City Springs, to maximize the parking...for guests visiting City Springs,” Kraun said. The city uses Morgan Falls Overlook Office Park, about four miles from City Springs, for overnight parking at 7840 Roswell Road, the building that used to house City Hall prior to the opening of City Springs. “The decision to use Morgan Falls as a landing area was made prior to the opening of [City Springs] so that we could maximize the spaces within the parking deck for guests at City Springs,” Kraun said. Kraun said a majority of the 302 city vehicles use the office parking spaces for overnight parking. Of the 302 vehicles, 185 belong to the police, city spokesperson Dan Coffer said. The police department headquarters and the Municipal Court remain at Morgan Falls. The city has a lease with the office park that covers the police headquarters, court and parking spaces mainly used for the police fleet. “Many of the police units are not driven daily, such as the training vehicles, the command post and the SWAT vehicles,” Coffer said. The current lease will end on June 30, 2020. According to city documents, the city will extend the contract until June 30, 2023 and will spend $265,994.40 in year one, $271,314.24 in year two and $276,740.52 in year three. Creating a new public safety headquarters is in the city’s long-range plan, but the city did not respond to inquiries about any updates on finding a location or other plans in the works. The Parks and Recreation department uses Hammond Park, about two miles from City Springs at 6005 Glenridge Drive, to park some of its vehicles, Kraun said. Around City Springs, city vehicles primarily park in the South Lot at the corner of Hilderbrand Drive and Mount Vernon Highway, which was part of the construction of City Springs. But city vehicles also use a gravel lot that was a parcel acquired by the city for the cost of $685,934.10. The property was purchased in 2017 as Antiques & Clocks of Sandy Springs for land-banking purposes but has since been used as an office for the Performing Arts Center and, now, after being demolished, a parking lot for city vehicles. In September, the Reporter saw around a half dozen vehicles, including police, parked in the lot.

“When we have multiple large events taking place on the same day, we ask staff to use alternate spaces, including the gravel lot on Hilderbrand,” Kraun said. “This has successfully supported the additional parking needs.” In May 2017, the city was eyeing a lot at a public works facility at 7447 Trowbridge Road about three miles from City Springs to store the city’s dozens of vehicles needed for road work, inspections and similar functions. “We’d like to build an adjacent lot,” former City Manager John McDonough said at a May 16, 2017 city budget meeting at City Hall. “We simply don’t have space at City Springs to park 85 or 90 vehicles there.” But at an Oct. 15 meeting, the council approved a $547,000 contract to turn the facility into an emergency operations center for the field service crews and to extend the building by 3,000 feet. The renovated building will include separate female and male bunkrooms with restrooms and showers, a conference room and a breakroom, according to city documents. Kraun said the city currently uses the current space on Trowbridge for limited city vehicle parking and no changes are planned for the upcoming renovations. “The facility itself is not used as a routine parking area, although city vehicles are able to park there,” Kraun said. Coffer said the city does not have any long-term plans for unified city vehicle parking because the existing layout works well.

City Springs parking

The city has made changes to its parking fees for visitors of City Springs since its 2018 opening. In February 2019, the city approved a change providing free parking in the surface spaces, which includes 17 immediately outside the businesses in City Springs, as well as the South Lot. This also includes various parking spaces on Blue Stone, Galambos Way, Mount Vernon and Sandy Springs Circle. Originally, surface parking cost $1 for each half hour and was capped at two hours to encourage turnover and to keep the spaces open for patrons of the businesses. The fees for the surface spaces were expected to bring in about $90,000 annually, McDonough said in February. Although the parking is free, it remains capped at two hours with strict enforcement and fines of $25 for the first three offenses. Cars are towed at the fourth offense. The underground deck is encouraged to be used for long-term parking. The first two hours are free in the underground deck, as well, with fees charged beyond that. In May, parking, which is combined with the PAC on the city’s financial records, earned $47,175, but cost $61,852.

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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