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NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 23

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► Flight attendant recalls Vietnam R&R service PAGE 6

Road rescuers Special police program fixes flats, clears accidents BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

On a rainy, hazy morning, Officer Steve Hammer sped down the shoulder on I-285, sirens on his bright yellow truck blaring, making his way to an accident scene. On arrival, he jumped out of the truck EVELYN ANDREWS

See SPECIAL on page 22

Officer Hammer replaces a flat tire for a driver on I-285.

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Middle School Teacher of the Year Page 18

It shows that we are a cosmopolitan city where players and [the] NFL want to be. It makes us look good.

OUT & ABOUT Locomotive exhibit opens in Buckhead Page 17

54-YEAR-OLD WOMAN

Is the Super Bowl good for Atlanta? See COMMENTARY, page 10 SIGN UP TO RECEIVE DAILY & WEEKLY EMAILS WITH LOCAL NEWS @ REPORTERNEWSPAPERS.NET/SIGNUP

City pitches new center for local groups, Holocaust memorial BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs is considering building a new “cultural center” that would house local groups, and possibly the new Holocaust memorial required by the state, at an undetermined location near City Springs. Groups interested in moving in include Visit Sandy Springs, the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and its local See CITY on page 12


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Community Briefs MOUNT VERNON/JOHNSON FERRY DESIGN CONTRACT APPROVED

The City Council approved at its Nov. 6 meeting an engineering contract for the Mount Vernon Highway/Johnson Ferry Road reconstruction, moving forward the controversial project. Jacobs Engineering, in a $930,000 contract, will do a full design for the compressed version of the project, which requires less right of way and would have less park and multiuse path space. The council has instructed the firm to try to expand the compressed grid where possible. The firm will deliver two designs, one with the controversial cut-through road that would need the taking of a home, and one without. It is unknown by the city when the property could become available and when the connector road could be built. The design is expected in six to eight months, said Marty Martin, the director of public works.

PITTSBURGH SHOOTING VICTIMS HONORED AT SYNAGOGUE SERVICE

“Stronger Than Hate” was the theme of an Oct. 29 memorial service, held at Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs,

ber John Paulson, who authored the resolution, said he wants to make sure the county knows Sandy Springs wants to be considered for the same.

for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue mass murder. Rabbis Dr. Analia Bortz and Mario Karpuj led a packed house of attendees in prayer, a candle-lighting and thoughts on the meaning of a holy community. It was one of at least 10 memorials and vigils that were scheduled in Reporter Newspapers communities as a response to the anti-Semitic massacre of 11 people Oct. 27 during a service at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pa.

CITY CALLS FOR MORE EXTENSIVE LIBRARY RENOVATION

The City Council approved a resolution calling for more extensive exterior renovations to the Sandy Springs Library after seeing other Fulton County libraries receive more funding than was originally allocated. The Sandy Springs Library is currently being renovated as part of a countywide initiative. Most of the renovations are interior, but also include new exterior paint, doors and windows. The call comes after a Roswell library was approved additional funding for more exterior renovations. Councilmem-

COUNCIL APPROVES HAMMOND DRIVE WIDENING PURCHASE

The City Council approved a house purchase on Lorell Terrace for a possible Hammond Drive widening project at its Nov. 6 meeting. The property is located at 623 Lorell Terrace and the council approved the purchase price of $400,000. The city has previously purchased several houses, almost exclusively on Hammond Drive, to land-bank in anticipation of the project, which is in a study phase. This property is not directly on Hammond Drive, sitting a couple hundred feet to the north into the neighborhood. City officials said some other properties it has bought directly on Hammond have lots that extend back that far. “This alarms me for several reasons,” resident Ben Hendry said during public comment. “I hope you’ll be modest with the project. It’s not necessary to go big.” Hendry is concerned the property purchase is a sign the city is planning to go far into the neighborhood for the project. Marty Martin, the director of public works, said the city is in the data gathering phase and is unsure where it will lead.

“It seems to be an appropriate protective buy based on where the project may well take us,” Martin said. City Manager John McDonough said the city is not planning on buying any properties farther north.

CITY SPRINGS SCULPTURE COMPETITION LAUNCHES

Sandy Springs has launched its City Springs sculpture competition and is seeking entries. Nine winning entries in the competition, “ArtSS in the Open,” will be installed outside around City Springs. The city is seeking entries from local, regional and national artists. The theme for the inaugural competition is “Inspired. By nature,” according to a press release. The city plans to purchase one or more sculptures from each annual competition to add to its public art collection. Sculptures purchased will be placed in permanent public locations around the city, the release said. “It is exciting to bring the additional element of visual art to the stage with this rotating exhibition, also adding to a civic art collection throughout our city,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in a press release. For more information, visit artsandysprings.org.

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Arts education programming is starting up at City Springs in a partnership between the city and the City Springs Theatre Company. The programming starting up fulfills a major goal for Mayor Rusty Paul, who pushed for the art and civic complex to offer arts education programming. Current programs listed on the Theatre Company website include discounted matinees available to students for shows that are playing in the Performing Arts Center. “Master classes” are also being offered, including a class observation and discussion with the Israel-based Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Students can also register to learn the choreography behind “Elf, The Musical” and go behind the scenes on the show to learn about the set design, construction, lighting and sound design and stage management, the website said. The programs are offered through a partnership between the city and the City Springs Theatre Company with funding support from the Sandy Springs Arts Foundation, said Natalie Barrow DeLancey, the managing director of the City Springs Theatre Company, in an email. The programs range from free to $25 a person to participate and are all held in City Springs, 1 Galambos Way. Visit cityspringstheatre.com for more information.

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NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Nov. 6 election roundup BY JOHN RUCH, EVELYN ANDREWS AND DYANA BAGBY

State Senate District 32

The Nov. 6 election brought some surprises to Sandy Springs, as some Republican challengers lost to Democratic challengers and the 6th Congressional District race remained too close to call at press time.

State Senate District 56

House District 51

Democrat Josh McLaurin will succeed retiring Republican stalwart Wendell Willard in Sandy Springs’ House District 51 seat, according to unofficial results, after a bitter race where GOP leaders accused him of illegal campaign activities, and he threatened to sue for libel. McLaurin eked out a defeat of Republican Alex Kaufman with 51.49 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results reported by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. The narrow margin could lead to a challenge or other review. The impact on local politics is big. Willard not only served as the local state representative for 17 years, but is also among the city’s founding figures and its longtime city attorney. McLaurin is an attorney who has never held elected office and moved to the area relatively recently. Not only that, but he was the target of various legal attacks by the local Republican establishment, including a residency challenge filed by former City Councilmember Gabriel Sterling, and more recent claims of election-paperwork wrongdoing that went out on campaign mailers. Kaufman said he believes the North Fulton races were heavily affected by “national issues” and strong Democratic candidates being at the top of the ticket. “Obviously there was a blue wave in North Fulton and the entire northern arc of metro Atlanta,” Kaufman said in an email. Kaufman said he expects the legal challenges against McLaurin to continue. “As we’ve said all along, these are serious investigations and politicians should be expected to follow the law,” he said.

State House District 52

Republican incumbent Rep. Deborah Silcox held onto her seat, defeating Democratic challenger Shea Roberts. Silcox was first elected to the seat in 2016, replacing longtime Republican Rep. Joe Wilkinson, who retired.

State House District 80

Democrat Matthew Wilson defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Meagan Hanson for the District 80 state House seat, which represents Brookhaven and a piece of southern Sandy Springs along Ga. 400.

SS

Republican incumbent Rep. Kay Kirkpatrick fended off a challenge from Democrat Christine Triebsch.

Sen. John Albers, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Ellyn Jeager to keep his seat.

State Senate District 40

Republican incumbent Sen. Fran Millar was defeated by Democrat Sally Harrell, who pulled off a major upset in the once Republican stronghold district that includes Dunwoody and portions of Sandy Springs in the panhandle. Millar had held the state Senate seat since 2011 after leaving his House seat that he first won in 1999.

Property tax relief measures

Voters approved the Fulton County homestead exemption that applies to seniors 65 and older and provides a $50,000 exemption from property taxes. It was cosponsored by Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs). Also approved was a school tax homestead exemption for Fulton County. This exemption, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, a Republican who represents part of Sandy Springs, caps increases in property assessments at 3 percent annually for the Fulton County School District portion of the tax bill. Both pieces of legislation were drafted after Fulton County residents saw sharp increases in property assessments last year. They both saw strong support from voters, receiving over 70 percent of the vote for school tax exemption and over 80 percent for the senior exemption, according to unofficial vote counts.

Sunday morning alcohol sales

Sandy Springs voters overwhelming approved a measure that will allow alcohol sales in restaurants on Sundays starting at 11 a.m. rather than the current 12:30 p.m. The question received over 75 percent of votes for support, according to unofficial vote counts. The Brunch Bill legislation was sponsored by state Rep. Meagan Hanson (RBrookhaven/Sandy Springs).

6th Congressional District race

The 6th Congressional District race was too close to call the following morning after the Nov. 6 for Republican incumbent Rep. Karen Handel and her Democratic challenger Lucy McBath. Neither candidate had conceded the race.

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The first local representative elected to the new “ATL” transit agency board is a vanpooling pioneer and former Georgia Tech professor who is suing Uber and Lyft for alleged patent infringement — and hoping a settlement can help make a new public utility to connect everything from toll lanes to MARTA in one cellphone app. “The objective would be to make a public utility based in Atlanta where you could bring all these things together,” said Steve Dickerson, who was elected by officials on Oct. 24 to the ATL’s District 3 seat. “There’s a big advantage to having practically everybody in the same system.” Dickerson won election over some notable competition: Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts, and Sally Riker, an engineer who is also president of the Mount ParanNorthside Citizens Association in Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Rusty Paul, the mayor of Sandy Springs, also was a contender, but withdrew before the vote; he is also one of the officials involved in electing the board member. The ATL, or the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, is a new authority for 10 transit systems in 13 counties. It will have a regional governance board with 16 members serving four-year terms, who must be in place by Dec. 1. As the District 3 board member, Dickerson will represent Dunwoody and large sections of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, as well as part of Cobb County. Three other local districts are expected to hold elections — conducted privately by a group of officials — later this month, with the nominees, if any, currently unknown, according to an ATL spokesperson. They include District 1, which includes northern Sandy Springs; District 2, which includes the Sandy Springs panhandle; and District 5, which includes Brookhaven and part of Buckhead. Dickerson was nominated by state Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs). “I think that he won because I truly do believe he has the most experience,” she said, also citing his perspective and availability. “He’s retired. He’s completely unbiased.” Silcox has long known Dickerson as the father of her childhood friend in Sandy Springs. It was only recently that she learned about his transportation expertise and realized he could be a good ATL board member, she said.


NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

A universal transportation app

Dickerson said he earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the relatively young age of 25. Besides his former Georgia Tech professorship, he worked for NASA and had a stint at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he reviewed university research proposals. Dickerson’s academic expertise is in automation, but his interest is in transportation, and his ideas tend to combine the two fields. His claim to transit fame is that he started the first “community-based” vanpool system in the U.S. in 1975 — the Peachtree City Commuter Bus, which later became part of the state’s still-operating shuttle system. Dickerson said he actually piloted the vanpooling idea in Sandy Springs in 1973, using a van with such attractive amenities as bucket seats and a mobile phone. According to the Association for Commuter Transportation, a Massachusetts-based advocacy group, 1973 is the same year that corporaterun vanpools were pioneered, partly as a response to the era’s oil embargo crisis. Dickerson said the vanpooling experience got him interested in ways to automate the process of commuters finding a ride easily. In 2001, he filed a patent for a technology that would allow people to register for a ride in real time based on their location, with a payment system built in. The patent was held through Georgia Tech, but he recently got the rights to it himself. Dickerson says his invention is the STEVE DICKERSON same basic idea used by today’s “ridesharATL’S DISTRICT 3 SEAT ing” companies. So in July, he sued Uber and Lyft for patent infringement. He doesn’t aim to put those companies out of business, he said. Instead, he hopes to add their resources to his idea for a “comprehensive transportation service that is supported by a cellphone app.” In fact, he’s already started a Sandy Springs-based company, RideApp, envisioned as a kind of universal transportation app. The company has no active product and is promoted as a precursor to a public utility. Dickerson said his idea is that, with a single app, a person could do everything from ordering and driving a rideshare car, to paying toll-lane fees and public transit fares, to reserving parking spaces. As for existing transit services such as MARTA, Dickerson said he’s less focused on their mode of travel than on making it easy and comfortable to boost ridership. “I don’t have any objection to rail, but I think we should work on greatly expanding the patronage of the transit system,” he said, adding that rail in particular needs a look at cost-effectiveness before expansion. Variable rates depending on the distance traveled, instead of today’s flat fee, would be one way to boost MARTA ridership, he said, as would a payment system that is the same across all transit agencies. “And be careful to make the vehicles very comfortable to ride in,” he said. How does Dickerson travel the area himself? He said that when he worked at Georgia Tech, he usually drove to the campus. And these days, he sometimes uses Uber.

I don’t have any objection to rail, but I think we should work on greatly expanding the patronage of the transit system.

Community | 5

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Flight attendant recalls Vietnam War R&R service BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

In 1968, international jet travel was still a glamorous adventure, and Joan Policastro signed on as a Pan American World Airways flight attendant to get her taste of it. She soon got adventure in a risky, historic form — four years of flying “rest and recuperation” flights with U.S. troops in and out of the Vietnam War, sometimes with bombs going off outside the base. “I liked it. I liked them,” said Policastro on a recent afternoon as she sat at her kitchen counter in Sandy Springs, reminiscing over a photo of her serving young soldiers on one of those wartime R&R flights. Today, she’s preparing to retire exactly 50 years into a career that took her around the world, meeting celebrities and partying at embassies. Those early Vietnam flights remain especially memorable. Policastro says that seeing how young the draftees were — and reading the words of fear and longing they sometimes left behind for her in notes — eventually turned her private opinion against the war. “Everybody on the airplane was a baby,” she says. “I was 22. They looked 12.” But with her adventurous spirit, her own safety was never a concern—not in the war, not during the “take me to Cuba!” skyjacking craze of the 1970s, not in the post-Sept. 11 terrorism era. “I never worried about that,” she said. “It’s the luck of the draw.” Bruce Cusmano, Policastro’s neighbor and friend, served in Vietnam and took four such R&R flights, which Pan Am exclusively operated. He remembers the passenger jets made big targets that the North Vietnamese tried to shoot down when they got a chance, and admires Policastro’s willingness to serve aboard them. “She did something I think was really extraordinary as a young woman, flying into a war zone,” he says. Cusmano will never know whether his future neighbor was among the attendants on his flights, but he remembers well how much that civilian service meant to him and his fellows during the war. “The girls were super to us,” he said. “They were just so kind, because they knew we were starving to see American girls.” For Policastro, the life of international adventure began more or less on a whim. A New York native, she graduated from the University of Miami and wanted to attend law school, but money was an issue. Billboards and radio ads from Pan Am lured her into considering the job of a flight attendant, or “stewardess,” as they were called in the era, a term that Policastro still prefers. “It just brings back the older days when [the job] was glamorous and it was

real. … It brings up the Pan Am elegance and sophistication,” she said. Pan Am was a pioneer of international flights and jumbo-jet travel, especially across the Pacific, and one of the world’s most famous companies. In the 1960s, it had high standards for flight attendants, Policastro says — a four-year degree and the ability to speak at least one language besides English were requirements. She signed up, figuring she’d try it for a year. She ended up getting an unusually plum posting in San Francisco. Her first flight: a trip to Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia, with a five-day layover offering sightseeing. She was hooked. The posting also came with the assignment of those wartime R&R flights, tak-

ing troops from Vietnam to such locales as Hawaii, Tokyo and Sydney, and back again. She worked such flights from 1968 to 1972, when she transferred to the New York City hub. Pan Am offered the chartered flights to the U.S. military at cost plus $1, she said. In return, all crew got Department of Defense ID cards giving them an honorary lieutenant’s rank — possibly ensuring better treatment if they were shot down and captured. “Back in those days, when you had any connection with the U.S. military, you felt safe,” she said. The risks were real, as Policastro saw on one midnight landing at Cam Rahn Bay, where she says they could see and

hear “bombs in the distance,” directed at the base. An officer came on board and told the troops, “When you get 50 feet off the airplane, hit the ground.” For the troops on the flights, Pan Am tried to offer meals with a taste of home: steak, potatoes, ice cream, milk. In return, Policastro said, troops sometimes left notes behind for her. On one flight, a young solider handed her a note that said not to read it until he left; it offered thanks. “At the end of the letter, he said, ‘I know I’m not coming home alive,’” she recalled. She shared another note that she has kept all these years, folded in thirds and written on Pan Am stationery. Signed

PHOTOS BY JOHN RUCH

Above, Joan Policastro holds a note of thanks written to her by one of the troops she served on a Vietnam War R&R flight. Left, Policastro works one of the Vietnam War R&R flights in the only photo she has from that period. Opposite page, Policastro poses with rock icon Chuck Berry on a Pan Am flight in the 1980s.


Community | 7

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

without a last name by one “Rick,” it offers his apologies for staring at her, wishes her well and offers hopes their paths might cross again. “I must say you look better than anything I’ve seen in 15 months in the Nam,” he wrote. Those types of notes, and seeing young draftees “scared to death,” led her to change her initial belief about Vietnam that she describes as, “Well, if the government is in this war, it must be OK.” “It was an eye-opening experience to me. … It changed my attitude, and I was totally against the war,” she said, though she never actively protested it. The flights brought lighter moments as well. Policastro recalls her naïve instinct to intervene when two large Marines grabbed one of her passengers out of his seat — they were MPs and he was headed to the brig in Da Nang — and a time she and four other attendants were stranded on a Saigon airbase in a barracks with walls coated in “gooey slime.” Policastro continued to fly with Pan Am until the company’s dissolution in 1991. She then joined Delta, where she planned to retire in mid-November with a final flight to Rome. Along the way, she considered becoming a pilot herself after her former husband, a Marines fighter pilot, taught her to fly, but the career change didn’t work out. But it is her time at Pan Am she looks back on the most fondly, as a special company in a special time. She is active in World Wings International, a philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants. “It was an adventure every single day,” she said. “Working for Pan Am was caviar and Champagne.” Being a Pan Am flight attendant meant invitations to U.S. embassy parties, an easy welcome onto any U.S. mili-

tary base, and plenty of celebrity encounters. One “really cute” passenger she served was the Dalai Lama, who ended up unsatisfied with airplane food: he ordered a medium-rare steak, but got a vegetarian meal on a mistaken assumption about his religious diet. “The Dalai Lama says to me, ‘Joan, I think this order is wrong.’” Another famous passenger was rock ’n’ roll icon Chuck Berry, of whom Policastro was a big fan. She got a snapshot with him that she still has in a silver frame. “He never said a word on the flight. He smiled like a fiend and followed me around like a little puppy dog,” she recalls. She says Pan Am was special as an international company that worked hard to learn local customs in countries it served and hired flight attendants from around the world. “We had just an openness to the world. … We accepted people’s cultures and differences,” she said. Something else special about Pan Am was its relationship with the U.S. government and reputation for taking on relatively risky charters like those R&R flights. Policastro said Pan Am was often called upon to evacuate civilians from war zones. When the Vietnam War ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon, Pan Am jets participated in some of the dramatic rescue flights from the city, including “Operation Babylift,” where hundreds of orphaned South Vietnamese children were flown to the U.S. Policastro was out of Vietnam service by then, but said without a blink that she would have volunteered immediately for those flights. “Nothing,” she says, “was ever too scary for us.”

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AJC editor talks newspaper future, City Hall scandal at Buckhead event

Kevin Riley, the editor of Atlanta Journal-Constitution, speaks at an Oct. 22 Buckhead Rotary event.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke about the changing newspaper industry, President Donald Trump’s media attacks and recent City Hall investigations at an Oct. 22 Buckhead Rotary event. The print business model is changing, Kevin Riley said at the luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy. Advertisers used to bring in 80 percent of newspaper revenue, with subscribers contributing the rest. Now, that must flip, bringing more accountability to the newspaper industry in terms of responding to and satisfying customers on pricing and value, he said. “That is a big challenge,” he said. The future of the AJC, which is headquartered in Dunwoody at the owner Cox Enterprises’ headquarters, was put into question in July when a surprise Cox announcement advertised the sale of WSB-TV. Cox had previously considered moving the AJC to WSB’s Midtown headquarters, but the announcement ended that plan. The AJC’s operation is located at 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, which is part of a 42-acre site planned for the High Street mixed-use redevelopment and may be part of Atlanta’s short-listed bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. Riley said he does not know if the AJC will stay or relocate when the lease ends in 2021. The AJC moved from downtown Atlanta to Dunwoody in 2010. Despite the declining newspaper industry, the AJC’s audience is “bigger than

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it’s ever been,” through a combination of print, social media and website readers, Riley said. “You’ve likely heard something different,” he said. Riley said internal research shows readers trust the AJC more than they trust national media, which has seen a barrage of attacks from Trump, among others. “Our own research tells us that people in this market trust the AJC,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, people get angry with us, but they don’t distrust us.” One event attendee asked, referring to Trump, said, “There’s a man that lives in a white house that talks mainstream media as if you all are hardened criminals. How do you defend yourself?” Riley said he “wouldn’t waste my energy and time arguing” with Trump, and that the AJC tries to focus on how federal decisions affect Georgians. He said Trump’s reaction to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist, was concerning, calling it “particularly disturbing.”

City Hall scandal The AJC has reported several stories in recent months about the City Hall bribery scandal, former Mayor Kasim Reed’s city credit card spending and Open Records Act violations. “We are right now in the throes of the City Hall scandal … which is much deeper and problematic than we realized,” Riley said. In response to a question about why the AJC did not start reporting on the scandals until near the end of Reed’s tenure as mayor, Riley said he accepted the criticism and said he also wished it could have been published sooner. “It became clear that there was a concerted effort to undermine our ability to get public records and the things that we needed to report a story like that,” he said. The AJC and WSB-TV recently reached a legal agreement with the city over Open Records Act violations. The city will work with the media outlets to draft a new policy, the AJC reported. Riley discussed other major investigative projects, including one covering prison doctors who did not properly take care of inmates with cancer. He initially doubted the story, but it led to one of the bigger projects, he said. “I’m not proud of this … but when we were working on this story, I said, ‘Do our readers care that much about women are in prison? They are criminals,’ ” he said. He said the newsroom shouted him down and he “got a good talking-to by the reporters.” The AJC did the story, and it led to an investigative series about malpractice and doctors who commit sexual assault but are able to keep to their jobs with little difficulty, he said.

Attracting younger generations Riley said, in response to an audience question, that attracting younger readers is difficult because many don’t have a practice of reading the newspaper every morning and frequently checking the news. Younger people tend to think they’ll hear about news if it is important, he said. The AJC uses digital tools, like text alerts, and are working with ways to reach more young readers, he said. “It’s a challenge because that is a person who doesn’t have quite the ritual we depend on,” he said. In a response to a question about recruiting new investigative journalists, he said he believes there are plenty of young people interested. He pointed to a story largely reported by interns that showed the Atlanta BeltLine park and trail system was not meeting its affordability goals for housing developed alongside it. “We can offer the thrill of a byline on the front page on a Sunday,” he said.


|9

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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10 | 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 www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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Community Survey / Is the Super Bowl good for Atlanta? When it comes to the Super Bowl, count many locals as superfans of bringing the game to Atlanta. And more than a few believe the Falcons can still win it. More than two-thirds of the 200 respondents to Reporter Newspapers’ most recent 1Q survey welcomed the Super Bowl LIII to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February, saying that it mattered to them that the game would be played in Atlanta. “It is great for the community,” a 24-year-old Buckhead woman commented. “Hosting the Super Bowl is an honor for our city and helps the local economy greatly!” The survey was conducted by 1Q.com via cellphones to residents in Reporter Newspapers communities. The results are not scientific. Many respondents to the survey argued the game will be good for the local economy. “Nationally televised events, such as the Super Bowl, bring active commerce and people to our great city,” a 32-year-old Brookhaven woman said. “It gives local business time to shine and enlivens the citizens of Atlanta. Although ATL is among other great cities in our country, it’s a melting pot area with lots of history that contributes to the legacy of football.” Others said the game, scheduled for Feb. 3, 2019, will give Atlanta a chance to show itself off to the world. Hosting the Super Bowl “shows Atlanta is a first-class city,” a 54-yearold Sandy Springs man said. “Our city will be on the main stage,” a 30-year-old Atlanta woman commented. “We have an opportunity to elevate exposure of our progress, growth, etc. It will also be a great revenue generator.” Not everyone agreed, of course. Some respondents worried the crowds attracted to the game would worsen traffic, that the economic boost the fans would bring would not be equally shared throughout the community, or that the money the game would attract would go to the wrong things. “It matters because it means a lot of money was spent on something Atlanta didn’t need!” a 54-year-old woman commented. “Whether public or private partnership funds, the city needs investments into the decaying infrastructure more than it needed another stadium. … I don’t care that the Super Bowl game will be in Atlanta. The momentary distraction from the miserable state of the city of Atlanta, my hometown, will be little consolation when the fanfare dies down.” Others just didn’t care about the game. “I don’t watch football,” a 38-year-old Atlanta woman noted. But most did. And now that the NFL regular season is about half over, which team did they expect to see playing in Atlanta for the national title? The Atlanta Falcons, of course. Despite the team’s slow start, about 28 percent of the survey’s respondents backed the hometown Falcons, the largest showing of support for any single team. If the Falcons make it, they would be the first Super Bowl team ever to play for the championship in their home stadium. The second largest group, 23 percent of the respondents, cheered the Los Angeles Rams, who were undefeated when the survey was conducted. About 19 percent backed perennial winners the New England Patriots, while the Falcons rival New Orleans Saints drew about 13 percent and the Kansas City Chiefs attracted 8 percent. About 11 percent predicted it would be some other team. Whoever ends up playing under the bright lights of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, many of the respondents to the survey seem ready and eager for the big game to come to town. “I’m an Uber driver, so I’m happy about it,” a 41-year-old Atlanta man noted. “Should be lots of business.”

Which team do you think will win this season’s Super Bowl?

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BE COUNTED IN OUR NEXT READER SURVEY 1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

Here’s what some other respondents to the survey had to say when asked whether it mattered to them that Super Bowl LIII will be held in Atlanta Atlanta is a fantastic sports city, so it’s only fitting that it hosts the biggest sporting event in the U.S.! – 45-year-old Sandy Springs woman

will bring a lot of excitement and tourism. – 25-year-old Brookhaven woman

to be. It makes us look good. – 54-year-old Sandy Springs woman

This will boost the economy for many! – 59-year-old Brookhaven woman

Nope! I suppose it’s a nice feather in our cap, but it’s unclear about the economic benefit for the city. It’s a large drain on resources and infrastructure — so what do we gain? – 37-year-old Brookhaven woman

It’s exciting to have Atlanta used as a hub for major sports events. – 28-year-old Brookhaven woman

I love it! It brings a sense of pride to the city. – 32-year-old Brookhaven woman

No, because I don’t live in an area where there will be a lot of traffic and I think it

It matters. It shows that we are a cosmopolitan city where players and [the] NFL want

Have something to say?

Send letters to editor@reporternewspapers.net SS


Commentary | 11

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Wrong Way Robin I’m what you could call “directionally challenged.” You might think that this is my glib way of telling you that I am very short (which I am), but you would be wrong. Rather, I am divulging my complete and utter inability to find my way anywhere. Seriously. Anywhere. Given the choice between any two directions — north or south, east or west, forward or backward — I will inevitably pick the wrong one. This is true even if the choice is “up or down.” To further complicate matters, I walk very quickly. So when on foot, I get lost twice as fast. I even got lost in the ladies’ room once. I had to follow a woman out. (In my defense, it was a pretty large bathroom.) Yes, my sense of direction is astoundingly bad, but my husband uses this trait to his advantage. If he’s not sure of which way to turn, he will ask my opinion and then promptly go in the opposite direction. There are people in the world like me; I know that because I am related to them. I sympathize with them, and I learn from them because they have developed creative mnemonic devices for remembering directions. One such aide-mémoire I learned from my father when I was a young girl traveling home with my siblings from a famRobin Conte lives with ily vacation. My brother, sister, and I were fighting over who her husband in an empwould get to sleep on the floorboards while intermittently askty nest in Dunwoody. To ing our parents when we would finally be home again, when contact her or to buy her my father informed us that it would not be long, as he was new column collection, now exiting “east … towards the ocean.” We stopped poking “The Best of the Nest,” each other and peered out the windows in quizzical silence, see robinconte.com. pondering the wisdom of those words. Then my brother replied, “Or you could go west … towards the other ocean.” Odd as it may seem, I’ve been using “east towards the ocean and west towards the other ocean” as navigational cues ever since. I used to figure that one of the bonuses of having children is that once they hit elementary school age, they could read a map for me. As it turned out, two of them can. I think a genetics study could be done here because the offspring who have dark hair like me are also as directionally inept as I am. My daughter and I have bonded over our navigational ineptitude. Put the two of us in a car together and we could circle the perimeter indefinitely. We used to go on road trips together, in the days before Siri, and the biggest challenge we had was breaching the Atlanta city limits. Our trips would typically begin with one of us driving and the other frantically dialing my husband and hollering into the phone, “We have to take 285! Quick! East or West? East or West!” My daughter (who is by now thoroughly embarrassed but who will hate me even more for telling you this) has what I think is a pretty clever orientation cue for our city. She uses the road signs as a guide to help her remember which way to turn onto 400 by pronouncing the abbreviations for north and south as “no” and “so.” We live in the OTP burbs, north of the ATL, so to head north on 400 is “No” Atlanta, whereas going South on 400 is traveling “So” Atlanta. Get it? I use it all the time. Nowadays, of course, I can use the handy navigation system. The problem with that is that I don’t believe it; my uncanny sense of direction always tells me that it’s wrong. As time passed, however, even my dark-haired offspring developed navigational abilities, and they have left me in isolated idiocy. The only thing left for me to console myself with is that I can still find my way around the keyboard.

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12 | Community

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City pitches new center for local groups, Holocaust memorial Continued from page 1 Anne Frank exhibit, according to the city. The center would expand on the city’s goal to bring more arts and culture to the city, which was called for in its City Springs district plan, City Manager John McDonough said at the City Council’s Nov. 6 meeting. The center would also include a gallery space, which has been previously proposed for the City Springs lobby. The exact location has not been determined, but is planned to be “within a block or two” of City Springs, McDonough said. The city would provide the land for the building and would take the lead on identifying and hiring an architect and contractor to design and build it. It would also maintain the exterior of the building and property and provide security. The organizations using space in the building would be required to pay a portion of the design and construction of the building, as well as part of the cost to run the building. The state legislature passed earlier this

year a measure calling for the Holocaust Commission to design and build a Holocaust memorial somewhere in the state. The cultural center could be the right place for that, Mayor Rusty Paul said. Councilmember Andy Bauman serves on the commission board. “We think that Sandy Springs is the ideal location for this,” Paul said. Rep. Deborah Silcox, who represents Sandy Springs and sponsored the House version of the bill, previously said she hoped the memorial could be located in the city, possibly alongside the Anne Frank exhibit. Sandy Springs has a significant Jewish population, and the police department would be adequate to provide extra security needed, Paul said. “We think it will be a very positive thing for the community,” Paul said. The center would also provide a better location for the state’s Anne Frank exhibit, called “Anne Frank in the World,” which is currently in a “woefully inadequate” space in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road, Paul said.

“We have one of the few Anne Frank exhibits outside Amsterdam and it is not in a very good space right now,” he said. The city has supported the exhibit with city funds and wants to see it in a better space, he said. “It’s a relationship our community has tremendous pride in,” he said. Paul also pointed to the late founding Mayor Eva Galambos’ strong support and ties to the Anne Frank exhibit and Holocaust commission as a reason to build the center and encourage the building of the memorial in the city. Visit Sandy Springs in 2016 considered moving its offices and welcome center from its suite in the Parkside Shopping Center into a new, standalone building. Moving the Anne Frank exhibit into the new building was also considered. Sharon Kraun, the city spokesperson, said the city had been discussing a potential cultural center for about two years. Spruill Center for the Arts, which is considering expanding beyond its facilities in Dunwoody, said it was offered space in an arts or community center by a San-

dy Springs official. Kraun said she had no knowledge of space being offered to Spruill. The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and Visit Sandy Springs, also known as Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism, have both signed agreements to work with the city on the center. The Chamber, which is headquartered in The Concourse Corporate Center, is reviewing the agreement, the city said. No specific locations were discussed. The city last year purchased a property at 140 Hilderbrand Drive, partly for a streetscape project and partly to bank land for a possible future redevelopment between City Springs and Heritage Sandy Springs, that is within the range of potential locations. The city has already selected architecture firm Houser Walker, which designed the Alpharetta Arts Center, the city presentation said. The city expects to hold an open house with the designers in 30 to 45 a days. An initial concept and budget is expected to be presented to the City Council at its January retreat.

North end task force begins finalizing ideas BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs’ North End Revitalization Task Force began wrapping up its process by narrowing down its list of ideas at its Nov. 1 meeting and assigning members to write portions of the report that will be presented to City Council. The group reviewed public input gathered at the last meeting to inform their decisions and narrow the priorities. The task force also again discussed the need and process to limit displacement, which remained a major sticking point on the group. The task force chose to stick with six points: the “Greenline” trail; new mixeduse and mixed-income developments; Roswell Road pedestrian improvements; connections to Roswell Road communities; new access to the Chattahoochee River; and a community center. The task force had proposed a wide range of 14 ideas at the public meeting. Projects or priorities that were axed included making the north end a tourist destination; attracting “creative-industry” companies; building a natatorium and bridge at Morgan Falls; and creating distinctive “villages,” among others. Those ideas were taken off the table based on public feedback or due to a desire to center the proposals on key elements of revitalization. The task force ended the meeting by discussing what their expertise is and why they were asked by the mayor to serve on the task force following concerns about the make-up and perceived lack of diversity.

Community center

The group to chose to walk back the community center idea, changing it substantially after the latest public meeting from multiple centers to a single one. The idea for one community center where the public could gather was strongly recommended by residents at the first public meeting in July. Since then, the task force expanded the idea to several centers within each “village.” The village idea received heavy pushback at the latest meeting, with residents saying they feared it could segregate the community. There was also confusion about the vague description of the village concept. “Why create more division instead of inclusion?” one person wrote on a board at the meeting. The task force chose to remove references to the village concept and instead focus on creating one community center. The location has not been decided. “The north end is screaming for a community center,” Melanie NobleCouchman said. “It was in the first community meeting we had and we’ve lost it somehow.” Noble-Couchman and David Couchman had previously pitched a north end community center as part of their secret concept they pushed in private conversations with Mayor Rusty Paul and other city staff.

Displacement concerns

The conversation about how to handle potential displacement continued from the last task force meeting, with affordable housing advocates continuing

to argue provisions to protect residents and assist those displaced need to be in the plan. The affordability piece of the task force’s report is expected to provide guidance for the entire city. “You have a lot of naturally affordable housing right now, if some of this will require razing some of those buildings, how are you going to tackle that affordability issue?” said Meaghan Shannon-Vikovic, who works at an affordable housing firm. Task force members who are involved in real estate investments and developments, including Patrick Jones and Jeff Garrison, argued the market will drive the prices and that providing help for every displaced resident shouldn’t be considered. “We can all agree to disagree,” Garrison said. The task force has been instructed by Paul to propose redevelopment concepts that could be accomplished without gentrification. The group frequently likens its Greenline concept to the BeltLine, which it frequently praises for the redevelopment it has spurred in Atlanta. But the trail has also caused significant gentrification and has fallen behind on its affordable housing goals. The Greenline concept received mostly support at the public meeting, receiving 56 stickers indicating support and 10 indicating concern. Two people wrote they had concerns about crime, and another said the idea seemed not to address needs but “rich people’s wants.” The route or beginning of the trail has not been determined.

Next steps

Each of the six ideas has been assigned to some of the task force members for them to flesh out for the report that is expected to be presented to the City Council at its January retreat. Not all the members are spearheading the writing of any of the ideas, and the assignments are focused on people’s expertise, said Otis White, a consultant leading the process. Garrison and Richard Munger, a residential developer, will lead the writing of the development ideas and suggest recommended starting points. ShannonVikovic will provide affordable housing knowledge. Gabe Sterling, a former City Council member with an interest in transportation, will lead the writing on the Roswell Road pedestrian improvements, Greenline trail and community access ideas. Rhonda Smith, the president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, and Charles Crosby, a construction project manager, will write on Chattahoochee River access and the community center. The first draft of the reports will be reviewed at the task force’s next meeting on Nov. 14, which will be held in City Hall at 6 p.m. Other members will provide feedback on the plans, but in some cases, particularly on the development idea, White noted they may not be able to agree. He proposed an idea to create some kind of alternative report that could also be presented to City Council so all viewpoints are represented. To read a full report on the newest public input, visit sandyspringsga.gov.

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NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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14 | Community

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Old agreement puts new twist on Holy Spirit expansion BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A 15-year-old, apparently long-forgotten agreement to cap enrollment has thrown a curveball to the major expansion plan by Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Preparatory School. Holy Spirit representatives say they’re unsure whether the old agreement has legal teeth, but hope to cut a new deal with neighbors concerned about traffic, tree loss and the demolition of a 150-year-old house. “I am hopeful we are able to bring something forward that actually solves problems and that some people, who currently say they are opposed to our plan, might actually see merit in it once all of the facts are known,” said Kyle Pietrantonio, Holy Spirit Prep’s head of school, in an email. Holy Spirit’s plan would build out its Buckhead campus at Northside Drive and Mount Paran Road — consisting of the church and Upper School — onto an adjacent, 13-acre wooded property in Sandy Springs. The biggest element of the plan is building a new home for the Lower School, currently located elsewhere in Sandy Springs. At a packed community meeting held Oct. 30 at the Upper School library, several residents said the plan violates a 2003 neighborhood agreement that allowed the Buckhead campus to be built. Mount Paran resident Larry Lord said he worked on the agreement and that it capped enrollment on the Buckhead site “or any adjacent property. That’s a real critical piece in this whole situation.” That claim appeared to take Holy Spirit officials by surprise, as they said they ei-

JOHN RUCH

Resident Larry Lord, standing at right, questions officials while Holy Spirit attorney Carl Westmoreland, standing at left, looks on during the Oct. 30 community meeting.

ther never heard of the agreement or did not remember that part of it. Carl Westmoreland, Holy Spirit’s zoning attorney, later said the claim was “a little bit out of the blue” and that he first saw the agreement when the Reporter, which obtained a copy from the city of Atlanta, sent it to him. The agreement is a list of conditions that the city of Atlanta attached to its approval of a special use permit that allowed the Upper School, then called the Donnellan School, to be built. It has several detailed provisions relating to the school’s size, location of buildings, parking and general operations. It also limits the school to grades 6 through 12 with a total enrollment of 320 students, in particularly strong language. “There shall be no further expansion of the student population on this or any other contiguous site,” the condition reads in part. “The Donnellan School specifically agrees to cap the total student population at 320 students and to prohibit any future expansion of the student body, ever, on this site, or any contiguous property.” The new Lower School would bring 400 or more ad-

ditional students to the site for an expected enrollment “under 750,” according to Holy Spirit. The conditions also say that the school will not seek any changes to the provisions without the prior written approval of the president of the “Northside/Chastain/Mt. Paran Neighborhood Preservation Association.” Westmoreland said it’s unclear whether those conditions have any real effect on Holy Spirit’s plans, which involve expanding into another city. “I’m not exactly sure how to interpret that,” he said, because in general, a city can’t enforce its zoning ordinances in a different jurisdiction. Another issue is whether the agreement also existed as a separate, signed deal between the church and the neighbors, as some residents claimed, which they could file suit over today. Westmoreland said he has seen no evidence of that separate agreement existing. But Westmoreland said his advice to Holy Spirit is not to focus on the past con-

ditions, and instead meet with neighbors and “work out a new agreement going forward.” Pietrantonio, the head of school, echoed Westmoreland’s approach, saying in an email it’s a “long process” and that the results of traffic studies have yet to come in. “Of course, there are questions about the effect of those conditions within the special use permit on the other parcel, which is church property and now part of the city of Sandy Springs,” Pietrantonio said in an email. But he added that Holy Spirit “began this project one step at a time and I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

The plan

Holy Spirit says its expansion is a 20year master plan, not something that would happen all at once. It is collecting public comments about the plan at campusplan@holyspiritprep.org and maintaining a question-and-answer page on its website at holyspiritprep.org. Holy Spirit Prep was founded in 1996

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Community | 15

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net at what is still its Lower School campus on Sandy Springs’ Long Island Drive. Holy Spirit wants to sell its Long Island campus and build a new Lower School complex on the site adjacent to the Buckhead campus. Several facilities to serve the church, including a rectory, are also planned. No changes are proposed to the existing Buckhead campus. The following is the proposed new construction by type of use, according to Holy Spirit officials and plans filed with the city:

SHARED USE

■ A parking deck, three stories tall with 250 spaces ■ A roughly 15-space surface parking area with a roundabout, as well as a new driveway opening onto Mount Paran Road

LOWER SCHOOL USE ■ A private school classroom building, two stories and 50,000 square feet ■ A school recreation center, two stories and 50,000 square feet ■

A sports field

CHURCH USE ■ Two church school classroom buildings, each two stories tall and 20,000 square feet; these would be used for “youth ministry” or other programs to be determined ■ A new rectory, two stories tall and 12,000 square feet in size; would serve as a home for retired priests The construction phasing remains unclear and dependent on fundraising. However, officials said that the parking garage is the most pressing need for the church and they would like to see it built in one or two years. The Lower School relocation is also high on the list, dependent on a successful sale of the Long Island campus.

Traffic management

Traffic management is a major discussion point. Holy Spirit officials claim the new driveway would have more than enough capacity for the relocated Lower School’s carpool traffic of about 110 vehicles a day. But larger questions about traffic flow could not

be answered as the traffic study is still underway, with results expected in early November, in advance of the next community meeting. Pietrantonio told the crowd at the meeting that “traffic is top of mind for all of us … We want to try to come up with a plan that actually helps traffic on Mount Paran.” He said Holy Spirit would be willing to bring in police officers to direct traffic or other new measures if needed. In the current concept, residents questioned placing the new driveway on Mount Paran Road and the lack of sidewalks or crosswalks, among other factors. He tried to reassure the crowd by saying a traffic study had been underway for months. But neighbors only recently found out about the plan. Several attendees said with the expansion possibly headed to the Sandy Springs Planning Commission as soon as January, they want more time to mull over the major neighborhood change. The ability of Buckhead residents to influence a Sandy Springs project was also a concern.

Natural and historic resources

Tree loss was strongly opposed by a couple of residents. Holy Spirit said in a fact sheet that it would save and replant as many trees as possible, and keep a 60-foot-wide buffer of woodland between the street and the new buildings. A plan to purchase parts of backyards along Jett Road appears related to maintaining buffer land. One resident asked why the Lower School was not added to the Upper School in the form of additions to existing buildings instead of developing the woodland. Pietrantonio said that height limits in Atlanta’s zoning code prevented that. Another loss would be a historic house at 844 Mount Paran. According to Fulton County property records, it dates to 1869, which would make it one of the oldest buildings left in Sandy Springs. Dillon suggested the house is about to fall down by itself, or at least has an interior in disrepair. The scale of construction was another concern for some residents. The Holy Spirit site is a former quarry, and residents say that previous construction has required blasting of rock for long periods.

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16 | Art & Entertainment

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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS HOLIDAY ARTISTS MARKET

Tuesday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Dec. 23. Mondays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays noon to 5 p.m. The Spruill Center for the Arts hosts its 25th annual Holiday Artists Market, featuring more than 100 local artists with a wide variety of artisan gifts and home decor. Special events scheduled throughout the six-week shopping event include Cookies & Cocoa on Saturday, Dec.1 from noon to 2 p.m., a Handmade Gift Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a Last Minute Shoppers Sale on Sunday, Dec. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. Free. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts. org/holidayartistsmarket.

THANKSGIVING TURKEY CRAFT

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2-3 p.m. Kids ages 5 to 12 can make Thanksgiving turkeys from toilet paper rolls and use them to decorate the Thanksgiving dinner table. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.

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Sunday, Nov. 18, 3-6 p.m. The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association celebrates the beginning of the holiday season with a Dance Party and Potluck. Dance to Cajun waltz, two-step, jitterbug and Zydeco tunes played by a DJ. Bring a potluck dish or dessert or non-alcoholic beverage to share. $10; $5 students. Garden Hills Community Center, 337 Pinetree Drive N.E., Buckhead. Info: aczadance.org.

TURBO TURKEY WORKOUT

Thursday, Nov. 22, 8:30-10 a.m. Get ready for your Thanksgiving feast with a turbo-charged circuit class workout on Thanksgiving morning. It’s “guaranteed” to help combat your holiday splurging. Free. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or 678-812-4025.

PERFORMANCES “OTHER DESERT CITIES”

Thursday, Nov. 15 to Saturday, Nov. 17, 8-10 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18, 2-4:30 p.m. Oglethorpe University in conjunction with the university’s Rehearsal Room C (RRC) club presents Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities.” The play is produced and performed by students and directed by Kevin Dew, a student and Brookhaven resident. Set on a Christmas Eve, the play revolves around the story of a daughter coming home for Christmas after having written a memoir that reveals secrets about her family’s past. Free. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: jmiller2@oglethorpe.edu.

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Friday, Nov, 16, 7:30-8:30 p.m. North Atlanta Voices, a community chorus in Sandy Springs, presents its inaugural concert, “Songs of Harvest,” led by the choir’s Artistic Director Lucas Tarrant. Music includes “The Seal Lullaby,” by Eric Whitacre; “Jabberwocky,” by Sam Pottle; “Neighbor’s Chorus,” by Jacques Offenbach; “The White Moon,” by Eugene Butler; and “Sure on this Shining Night,” by Samuel Barber. $10. Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road, Sandy Springs. Info: northatlantavoices.org.


Art & Entertainment | 17

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

LOCOMOTION: RAILROADS AND THE MAKING OF ATLANTA Saturday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s opening day for the “Locomotion” exhibition at The Atlanta History Center, which features the restored steam locomotive “Texas.” The engine was built in 1856 for the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which had established its terminus in 1837 at the site that became Atlanta. The Texas is one of only two surviving Western & Atlantic locomotives and is famous for its part in the story of the Great Locomotive Chase. It was restored to what it would have looked like in 1886, the year of its last major upgrade. Located in the Rollins Gallery, the exhibit interprets the major role railroads played in transforming Atlanta into the transportation hub and commercial center it is today. See “Meet the Past” performances featuring stories from Pullman porter James Stewart, Southern Railway chairman W. Graham Claytor Jr., and pioneering woman switch tender and brakeman Gertie Stewart. Included in cost of general admission; free to members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Admission info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

COMMUNITY EVENTS GIVE FOOD FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Ongoing Help provide families with food for the holidays. Give to the Community Assistance Center online for GA Gives Day through Nov. 27. CAC provides food to about 500 families a month and receives about 1,200 visits a month to its food pantry. $25 provides Thanksgiving dinner for a couple. $50 provides Thanksgiving dinner for a family. $100 provides a family with food for a month. The organization also welcomes grocery store gift cards that can be dropped off at the CAC. Publix and Kroger store cards are preferred, in denominations of $10, $20 and $30. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: ourcac.org.

BOOK FESTIVAL OF THE MJCCA

Ongoing through Sunday, Nov. 18 The 27th edition of this Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta event continues with headlining authors including Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”; Kenny Leon, Tony Awardwinning artistic director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company; Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham; and Michael Coles, co-founder of the Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee. MJCCA-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Schedule and ticket info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678812-4005.

FREE DOCUMENT-SHREDDING

Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Keep North Fulton Beautiful will hold a document-shredding event at the Morgan Falls Athletic Fields. 10-box limit per vehicle. Free; $5 suggested donation. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Keep North Fulton Beautiful. 450 Morgan Falls Place, Sandy Springs. Info: keepnorthfultonbeautiful.org.

IMMIGRANT STORIES

Saturday, Nov. 17, 3:30-5 p.m. Current and former DeKalb County high school students who contributed to the book “Green Card Youth Voices” will speak at the Brookhaven Library. Free. 1242 North Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: 404-848-7141.

SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT

calendar@ReporterNewspapers.net


18 | Education

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Dan Lloyd, Sutton Middle School “Knowing I am helping to build knowledgeable, well-read, empathetic, and tolerant citizens is not my job. It is my mission,” says teacher Dan Lloyd, who represents Sutton Middle School as this year’s Atlanta Public Schools Middle School Teacher of the Year. “Being named APS Middle School Teacher of the Year is the crowning achievement of my long career in public education,” Lloyd said. “I am honored and humbled my commitment to building children is recognized. There are so many deserving teachers across the district.” Lloyd has been teaching at the public middle school in Buckhead for 11 years after spending most of his 25-year career at a high school in Clayton County and a few years in New York City. “Whether teaching in Georgia or New York, I have learned one important thing about children — they need love and parameters,” Lloyd said. “Students want to know their voice matters and that they are valued as humans.” Principal Gail Johnson said she believes Lloyd was chosen because “he represents all that is outstanding in our public school

teachers.” “Dan’s work represents dedication to the craft of great instruction, relentlessness in assuring all of his students are successful, care in understanding that relationships with adolescents are key in connecting them to learning, and pride in

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Q: What are you most proud of in your career?

A: Though every day I am proud of my ef-

forts to build articulate, literate, tolerant children who will one day become successful adults, there are a few moments that stand out. I have had a student win the National Do the Write Thing Writing Challenge, not once, but twice! Last year a student of mine won first in state in the Young Georgia Authors Competition. In 2017, ev-

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Education | 19

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education Briefs DU N WO ODY EXP RESSES CO NC ER N A BOUT DEK A LB G R A D UATI O N DATES

Some Dunwoody residents have expressed concern about the late dates for DeKalb high school graduation. Due to scheduling conflicts at the Georgia World Congress Center, DeKalb graduation has been pushed back to around a week after school ends in May 2019 for most schools in Brookhaven and Dunwoody. Graduation for some other DeKalb schools has been pushed into June, according to a district press release. “There was some slippage on DeKalb’s part,” resident Jeff Rosen said at the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association’s Nov. 4 meeting. Rosen some parents are unhappy and planning to speak to the Board of Education. Dunwoody High’s graduation is set for May 29, nearly a week after school ends on May 23 and following Memorial Day weekend. Cross Key High in Brookhaven will have its graduation May 24, and Chamblee Charter High’s, which serves Brookhaven, is set for May 31. The district has a five-year contract with the conference center that began with the 2017 graduation. Moving the graduations to the downtown venue was spurred after groups challenged the district’s use of churches for the ceremonies. The district also previously used government buildings and arenas, according to Board Member Stan Jester.

DEK A L B A PPR OVES C R OS S K EY S CO NSTR UC TI ON C ON TRA C T

The DeKalb Board of Education approved a construction management contract for the new Cross Keys High School at its Nov. 6 meeting. The $90,000 contract was awarded to Evergreen Construction. A full budget for the construction will be presented to the board in the summer of 2019, according to the agenda document. The new high school is planned to be built at the former Briarcliff High School site on North Druid Hills Road despite opposition from some groups and residents who say the new location would be inaccessible for many on Buford Highway due to the traffic. The contract was on the board’s consent agenda and not discussed at the meeting.

TWO R I D GEV IEW MIDDLE STU DEN T S AWA R D ED $ 10K S C H OL A R S H I P S

Two students from Ridgeview Middle School in Sandy Springs have been awarded $10,000 scholarships intended to ensure they graduate high school and attend college. Nyla Joy Price and Ashley Raymun-

do Emilio were awarded the scholarships, which require signing contracts to maintain a certain grade point average and remain crime, drug and behavior-issue free, as well as meet with a volunteer mentor until they graduate from high school, the school district announced Oct. 30. When the students graduate from high school, they will receive a total of $10,000 in scholarships — $2,500 each year for up to four years — to be used at an eligible college, the press release said. The scholarships are funded by the REACH, Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen, program that launched in 2012. The statewide program is a needsbased scholarship designed to promote academic success and expand access to higher education, especially for students who are the first in their families to attend college, the release said.

GA LLO WAY THEATER P R O G R AM W INS STATEWID E AWAR D

The Galloway School’s theater program won a statewide award from the Georgia High School Association Nov. 3, the school announced. The students won the state One Act Play

Galloway theater students hold their trophy after winning the state One Act Play Competition Nov. 3.

Competition with their performance of “Twelfth Night,” the school said.

FU LTO N SCHO O LS EX PA ND CR ISIS TEXT LINE TO R IVERWO O D

The Fulton County School District has expanded its crisis text line program to Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs. The program, “Text 4 Help,” allows students to anonymously provide tips about safety concerns or get mental health help from a licensed clinician 24 hours a day,

SPECIAL

seven days a week, a press release said. “Many texting programs are designed for students to report safety concerns, but this initiative links them with a licensed mental health expert who can help them work through all types of issues — academics, relationships, substance abuse and more,” Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis said in the press release. The district hopes to eventually expand the program to all 19 high schools in the district, as well as introduce the initiative to students in middle school, the release said.

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20 | Education

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Fulton Schools superintendent announces resignation BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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Fulton County School System Superintendent Jeff Rose is resigning, citing personal reasons, the school district announced Oct. 25. Rose led prominent capital projects in Sandy compassionate care to keep you and your family happy and healthy at Springs that were at times controversial, including the new Riverwood and North Springs high schools. all stages of life. We accept most insurance plans and offer same-day Rose’s final day with the school district will be Dec. 20, the beginning of winter break, the appointments for sick visits. press release said. “I am extremely proud of what has been accomplished over the past two years. It has been Our Services Include: an honor to serve FCS,” Rose said in the release. • Physical exams & wellness care for men, women & children Dr. Cindy Loe, who was FCS’s superintendent in 20082011, will serve in the interim role, the district announced • Care for chronic illness, including diabetes, hormone and thyroid disorders Nov. 6. • Immunizations The Fulton County Board of Education accepted Rose’s decision to resign and not seek a contract extension at an • Acute illness treatment for colds, fevers, flu & more Oct. 25 special called meeting, the release said. “The Board thanks Dr. Rose for his service to Fulton County, and for providing this time to develop a transition plan,” said Board President Linda Bryant in the release. “We look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition.” Loe will not be a candidate for the permanent superintendent, FCS said in a press release, and will work with the SPECIAL Board of Education in the search. Her start date has yet to Charles Fulton County Mithun Diana Shetal be decided. Superintendent Jeff Rose. Taylor, M.D. Daniel, D.O. Denman, M.D. Patel, M.D. “I am honored to work with the Fulton County School Family Medicine Family Medicine Endocrinology Family Medicine Board once again to support the continued high performance of the district and to address existing challenge areas,” said Loe in the press release. “I look forward to connecting with district leaders, parents and school staff as we work togethCall 770-395-1130 for an appointment! er to lead our students in reaching their full potential.” 960 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE, Suite 300, Atlanta, Georgia 30342 Loe’s tenure oversaw closing an over $100 million budget gap, which required major budPNFM.com get cuts at local schools in 2010. Rose joined Fulton County Schools as superintendent in June 2016, accepting a three-year contract with a $295,000 annual salary. He was in the third year of the contract, which was extended in June to October 2019, the release said. He had previously served as superintendent in Beaverton, Oregon, according to the release. The city of Sandy Springs had a fraught relationship with the school district at times with frustration over building a new North Springs High and other issues. “I believe the school board will work hard to find quality replacement to keep the momentum going in support of our school system,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in a written statement. Rose has overseen the reconstruction of Riverwood International Charter School, which had its budget increased by $5 milPre-K – Grade 12 Open House lion in September, prompting concern and calls for stronger audits from school board Sunday, December 2, 1-3 p.m. members. Rose’s tenure also saw the fight to build a Register at gallowayschool.org new North Springs Charter High School instead of only a renovation. Rebuilding eventually became the official recommendation from Rose in a major victory for community advocates. It’s unclear if Rose’s resignation could have any effect on the plan. In another controversial move, the school district in July yanked the enrollment for out-of-district North Springs students before later backing off the plan after finding the school had special permission to enroll some students. Irene Schweiger, the executive director of the Sandy Springs Education Force, said At Galloway, students (age 3-grade 12) are inspired to be the group appreciated Rose’s “enthusiasm fearless learners, to embrace challenges, and to discover and support” for the organization, which more about themselves and the world around them. aids math and science, literacy, after school and mentoring programs in the city’s public schools. and endocrinology services, our experienced physicians offer attentive,

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Classifieds | 21

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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22 | Public Safety

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Special police program fixes flats, clears accidents Continued from page 1 to stop traffic and help the damaged cars move to safety. Hammer is one of two Sandy Springs Police officers who spend their days in yellow, heavy-duty pickup trucks clearing accidents and helping drivers with flat tires, jumping batteries and refilling gas for Sandy Springs’ Traffic Response Vehicles program. The program started in 2015, and has since worked on thousands of calls and driven hundreds of thousands of miles helping drivers and clearing accidents. It is similar to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s “HERO,” or Highway Emergency Response Operator, rescue truck program. The GDOT version only operates on state routes, including interstates and major local roads like Roswell Road. The Sandy Springs version is intended to complement the HERO program and can patrol on local city roads. Officer Steve Hammer, who drives one of the trucks, prefers to stay on interstates because assistance has “more of an impact,” he said. “Just one accident can impact traffic for miles,” he said. Unlike the HERO trucks, the Sandy Springs drivers are sworn police officers capable of writing tickets and making arrests. The state program is partly funded through a State Farm sponsorship, but the Sandy Springs operation is entirely cityfunded. The two trucks are operated by Hammer and Officer Kevin Smith, who is parttime. One Citizens on Patrol volunteer rides along in the passenger seat. The Traffic Response Vehicles show up for emergency calls, but the officers also stop to help people in need if they spot them along the roadside. A recent ride-along with Hammer started with assistance for a motorist the officer

PHOTOS BY EVELYN ANDREWS

Officer Hammer talks with officers after helping divert traffic around an overturned car.

saw attempting to change a flat tire in the rain on a cold morning on I-285. Hammer replaced the tire in a few minutes. The driver said he was surprised to get such unsolicited help from a police officer. Later, Hammer walked into lanes on the interstate to completely stop traffic for a few moments as cars involved in an accident crossed over from the left shoulder

into a safer spot on the right. Before the morning was over, Hammer would assist with another accident, tag abandoned cars and help re-route traffic around an overturned car. Each vehicle is equipped with tow chains, traffic cones, water, crime scene tape, gas cans, basic repair tools, cables and a portable version of the “Jaws of Life,” a hy-

Left, Officer Hammer explains the equipment on the city’s “Traffic Response Vehicles.” Below, Hammer walks into lanes on I-285 to stop traffic so damaged vehicles can move across the interstate to a safer spot.

draulic device that can cut through cars to free trapped people. Both trucks have an electronic message sign to warn drivers of problems. Between October 2017 and October 2018, the two officers distributed 317 gallons of gas, assisted with 639 accidents, replaced 339 flat tires and jumped the batteries of 129 cars, according to police data. They also arrested 33 people and issued 794 citations. The trucks were repurposed from other police uses to avoid a large investment due to doubt the program would be successful, Hammer said. “They didn’t know what they were getting into when they started this program,” he said. “A lot of people had their reservations about it, whether or not it could work.” Now, the city is planning to replace his aging truck. “It’s been a great truck, but I’m looking forward to the new one,” Hammer said. A guard on the front of the truck is strong enough to push a vehicle, which Hammer has once done with a burning van. The truck is four-wheel drive and capable of towing a semi-truck, he said. “It goes about two miles an hour, but it gets it out of the way,” he said. Hammer joined the program when it started in 2015 after spending a few years in retirement following a 30-year career with the DeKalb County Police Department. He attended trade school for mechanics and is able to fix some minor problems, but said they usually involve just duct taping something down or cooling down an engine. “This job is perfect for me,” he said. For Hammer, a lot of the success depends on what officers are in the truck. “You have to want to do something like this to really make it work,” he said. “I enjoy helping people and staying busy.”

SS


Community | 23

NOVEMBER 9 - 22, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Residents object to Dalrymple development, road extension BY EVELYN ANDREWS

wants to preserve it, he said. Other residents, including the owners of a house that would back up to a new stormwater retention pond, feared the new development could exacerbate existing runoff problems. Self said they would be required by the city to prevent any additional runoff water from leaving the property and would create a plan to maintain the retention pond. Others feared that traffic would get worse along Dalrymple and in the neighborhood as a result of the development. A member of the city’s zoning staff said houses are typically expected to generate 10 car trips per day. Self said the property has to be developed and “can’t stay the same,” but will consider different plans based on the feedback. Gabe Sterling, a former City Council member, said Self may need to consider a smaller plan. “To get the support of the community, you’re probably going to have to pull it back some,” Sterling said. The owner still needs to hold a second community meeting and have the plan reviewed by the Planning Commission before heading to City Council for approval. To view proposal details and for a link to submit comments, visit sandyspringsga.gov.

evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Residents pushed back against a plan to develop 18 new houses along Dalrymple Road at an Oct. 29 meeting, saying the proposed extension of Thornhill Lane could be disruptive and the new houses could have water runoff and traffic consequences. “We don’t have any choice but to fight that with everything we know how to,” one Thornhill Lane resident said of the proposed extension. The owner of a large estate is seeking a rezoning to build single-family houses on 18 lots along Dalrymple Road in an area that is currently heavily wooded. The estate was left by James W. Self to his family to sell and use to fund a trust for his grandchildren, Jim Self, his son, said in a presentation at the meeting. The family is committed to doing “whatever is best for the overall neighborhood,” Self said. Some residents said they were appreciative of the “thought and effort” that went into creating the plan and are willing to work with Self to come up with solutions that will work for both sides. The preliminary community meeting on the rezoning began with frustration about inability to see and hear the presentation as over 100 residents were packed into Lost Corner Preserve, with some having to listen through open windows or sit on the floor. The proposal seeks to rezone the properties, which include 0, 309, 314 and 354 Dalrymple Road, from RE-1 to RD-18, lowering the minimum lot size from one acre to 18,000 square feet, less than half an acre, according to proposal documents. All lots fronting Dalrymple would be at least one acre, however, to be similar to other lots on the road, according to the rezoning document. The houses would have at least a 50-foot setback, the site plan said. Three houses are currently located on the lots, owned by Self, his brother Pete Self and his father’s former house. Those will likely be torn down, Pete Self said. The development could extend Thornhill Lane, which currently dead-ends at the start of the wooded area, and create a cul-de-sac on the south side of Dalrymple, an idea that got heavy criticism from residents at the meeting. “To come in here and throw eight homes at the end of that street is unacceptable,” one resident said. “I have not met one person who thinks building a new road and putting homes around it will improve quality of life,” another said. The road would need to be extended from Thornhill rather than start at Dalrymple because there would be sight lines issues, Self said. One resident proposed creating a new road that begins farther east on Dalrymple and snakes through the property as a potential solution, which Self said would be investigated and considered. A common driveway, or two, for the six houses on the north side of Dalrymple are proposed to avoid multiple curb cuts along Dalrymple, Self said. A common open green area less than one acre is also proposed around a small cemetery, where John Dalrymple is buried, Peter Self said. The Self family owns the cemetery and

SPECIAL

The site plan shows the proposed configuration of 18 new houses on Dalrymple Road.

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF TEXT AMENDMENT Petition Number:

TA18-0004

Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs

Request:

An Ordinance to Amend sections of Art. 3. Urban Neighborhoods, Art. 4. Corridors & Nodes and Art. 5. Perimeter Center, and Sec. 6.1.1.I. Outdoor Amenity Space of the Sandy Springs Development Code to update the requirements for outdoor amenity space.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission November 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council December 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Location:

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF CHARACTER AREA MAP AMENDMENT

SANDY SPRINGS NOTICE OF REZONING Petition Number:

RZ18-0011

Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs on behalf of Stephen Johnston

Property Location:

80 Johnson Ferry Rd.

Request:

Rezoning from RT-3 (Residential Townhouse) to CS-3 (City Springs)

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission November 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Petition Number:

CA18-0001

Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs on behalf of Stephen Johnston

Property Location:

80 Johnson Ferry Rd.

Request:

Character Area Map Amendment from Urban Neighborhood to City Springs

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission November 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Mayor and City Council December 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Location:

SS

Sandy Springs City Hall 1 Galambos Way Sandy Springs, GA 30328 770-730-5600

Sandy Springs City Hall Studio Theatre, Room B:105 1 Galambos Way Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328 Phone; 770-730-5600

Mayor and City Council December 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Location:

Sandy Springs City Hall 1 Galambos Way Sandy Springs, GA 30328 770-730-5600


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11-9-18 Sandy Springs Reporter  
11-9-18 Sandy Springs Reporter