NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 23
► For sale: Metropolitan Baptist Church PAGE 16 ► After NYC attack, bike path barriers considered PAGE 21
BUILDING BURGERS, BRIDGES | P8
Disabled residents encouraged by sidewalk repairs BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
After months of making repair requests, disabled residents are now encouraged by the work being done to fix sidewalks along Peachtree Road. There are still many damaged areas, but residents say they are hopeful the repairs
Jarvis Brown’s shoulder clips a road work sign that was blocking a sidewalk.
See DISABLED on page 31
STANDOUT STUDENT Brookhaven ballerina balances school, life
I believe thanks to our veterans must begin with a recognition and understanding of the unique liberties you and I are afforded as Americans and then celebrating those freedoms.
‘Living the Vietnam War’ exhibit opens
BY EVELYN ANDREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
FORMER STATE SENATOR U.S ARMY VETERAN, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN TOURS
See COMMENTARY Page 14
Major races head to runoff; council seats filled
See OUT & ABOUT Page 25
After a busy Nov. 7 election day, some major local races are heading to a Dec. 5 runoff, including Atlanta mayor, Fulton County chair, state Senate District 6 and Atlanta City Council president. Meanwhile, Buckhead voters elected local City Council members. In the mayoral race, Buckhead resiSee MAJOR on page 18
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2 | Community
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Renovation of the Bobby Jones Golf Course at Memorial Park in Buckhead has begun. The $23 million renovation is being overseen by a nonprofit foundation and includes changing the 18-hole course to a reversible 9-hole course. The course will remain closed until fall 2018, when the renovation is projected to be completed, a press release said. The formerly city-owned golf course was transferred to the state in a 2016 land swap. A new clubhouse is being built as part of the renovation and it will house the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. The foundation is working in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation, the city of Atlanta and the PATH Foundation to create trails and paths that will circle the new facility and connect to existing trails, the press release said. The city on Nov. 1 put out a request for proposals to build a 12-foot-wide, multi-use concrete trail along Woodward Way, which runs along the park, beginning at Northside Drive and ending at the existing BeltLine Trail near Colonial Homes Drive, according to the RFP document.
APAR TM ENT TO WER P R O P O S ED FO R B U CKHEAD V IL L AG E
A developer has filed a permit with the city to redevelop the site that was formerly the home to the Rio Bravo restaurant at 3172 Roswell Road into a 20-story apartment building. The development, designed by architecture firm The Preston Partnership, would be one block down from the recently renovated Charlie Loudermilk Park at Roswell and West Paces Ferry roads, an area where two other residential high rises are currently under construction. The Hanover, an apartment building, is close to completion on the east side of the triangular park, while The Charles, a condo building, is beginning construction on the west side. The proposed development would house about 6,800 square feet of retail, 291 units and two basement levels of parking.
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A rendering shows the design of the highrise apartment building proposed at 3172 Roswell Road.
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Scott Selig, a developer who was previously involved with the Buckhead Community Improvement District and the Buckhead Coalition, died from lung cancer Oct. 27. Selig, who was 47 years old, served as the vice president of the real estate development company Selig Enterprises. “During his 17-year tenure at Selig, Scott’s hard work, dedication, and leadership have been noted and recognized throughout the business and civic community,” his obituary said.
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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 3
Attending the Nov. 2 ribbon-cutting of the new park in the Peachtree Park neighborhood are, from left, Ellen Bruenderman of Park Pride, Dan Calvert of the city of Atlanta Parks Department, Rebecca Owens of Friends of Peachtree Park, District 7 Councilman Howard Shook, Friends of Peachtree Park President Peter Davis, Peachtree Park resident and park donor Hannah Beaver Sibley, and Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling.
A new park opens in Peachtree Park BY EVELYN ANDREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
A new neighborhood park has opened in Peachtree Park, a neighborhood located between Piedmont Road and Ga. 400 south of Peachtree Road. The new park brings community space to the neighborhood, adding to a trail and a community garden that had been previously installed, Peter Davis, president of the Friends of Peachtree Park group, said. “It’s an urban neighborhood. We’re an island, surrounded by development,” Davis said. “This 1.2 acres is the largest space we have and it’s quite a useful neighborhood amenity.” The new park, which includes .19 acres of land purchased by the city, will serve as an entrance to the trail, which runs from the end of Burke Road to Darlington Commons Court. The opening of the new park was marked with a ribbon-cutting led by District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook. One of the main goals of the trail is to provide a place for recreation, Davis said. Along the trail are 10 “fit stations,” which are simple equipment stations that allow users to preform basic exercises like pullups, sit-ups and push-ups. The park’s new master plan calls for 10 more fit stations for the trail, Davis said. Also in the master plan are proposals to add native plants in the park along the trail, protect trees and remove invasive and non-native species. The friends group is working to secure a grant to fund the landscaping. The master plan also includes concepts for a “story circle” that could serve as a venue for community lectures, scout gatherings or acoustic concerts; a public art component in the form of painted bird houses; and artifacts that highlight the history of the nearby railroad. Signs that provide information on wildlife and plants have been installed along the trail to provide an educational component, Davis said. Some also provide information on the history of the rail lines that run along the neighborhood. The .19-acre parcel, purchased by the
city as part of the Buckhead Collection plan, aims to bring more green space to the area. The city purchased the land for $289,000 in July 2016 so it could be used as a public park. The trail and community garden were already created at the time of the purchase. The friends group was established seven years ago and has spent more than $100,000 on the park and trail, using funds from the estate of resident John Pattillo, Park Pride and NPU-B, Davis said.
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Massell joins skeptics of BCID’s role in park over Ga. 400 BY EVELYN ANDREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
The Buckhead Coalition’s influential president is joining skeptics of the financing and planning for a proposed park capping Ga. 400 and has declined an invitation to sit on its steering committee. Sam Massell says he has questions about how to pay for the park and believes that it is outside the mission of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, the group of self-taxing property owners that proposed the concept. “The park is wonderful and I’m in support of the park. It’s just a question of who is going to pay for it,” said Massell, who is also a former Atlanta mayor. Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID, said he respects Massell’s decision to decline the invitation. “As a courtesy and out of respect for his long service, Mr. Massell was invited to be a member of the steering committee,” Durrett said in an email. “We respect his decision to decline the invitation.” Two members of the CID board have raised similar concerns about the proposal, which has proceeded through planning stages by frequent split votes from the board. The steering committee, created by the Buckhead CID, is meant to guide creation
of a nonprofit to operate and oversee the paid for and supported. proposed park. Massell said he will still help the CID The CID has invited members of the find other people to join the steering combusiness and civic community in Atlanta mittee. He also said he wants to help end to join the committee. The members have the “division” between members on the not been announced CID board. publicly. The CID has Two board memsaid it plans to probers — Robin Sugvide more details at gs, representative of the Nov. 29 board the Lenox Square meeting. and Phipps Plaza Massell said he malls, and District would not join the 7 City Councilmemcommittee because ber Howard Shook he believes the park — have been vocal is beyond the CID’s inopponents of the tended scope. He said park. Suggs has said the CID should refoshe believes the park cus on finding soluis beyond the CID’s SPECIAL tions for the commumission and Shook Sam Massell. nity’s traffic troubles, has said he is frusits original mission. trated by the lack of information about “I feel it’s necessary to continue the funding the park. Massell he would like to original purpose of the CID,” Massell said. help “bring them all on one page.” “Traffic is the real concern.” Massell said he has heard discussion The CID is planning to pass control of of paying for the park by raising the CID’s the park onto the nonprofit the steering millage rate, and bringing residential propcommittee is helping to form. But, Maserties into the CID to expand its tax base. sell said, the CID resources should not go to Durrett said there has not been any disthat steering committee effort. cussion of raising the millage. He also said He said he also believes there are still Georgia law does not currently allow resitoo many unanswered questions about the dential properties to be members of CIDs park, especially concerning how it will be and said it has not been considered.
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Massell said he hopes the millage rate is not raised. Community improvement districts, such as the Buckhead CID, tax business properties in specified areas to raise money for transportation improvements and other infrastructure and amenities. The Buckhead CID’s millage has been set at 3 mills for the past several years. That amounts to nearly $6 million in projected revenue for 2017, according to CID documents. Massell believes that amount is plenty to make traffic and infrastructure improvements, which is all the CID should be doing, he said. “I think it’ll serve its purpose if they spend that much,” he said. He said he has also heard discussion of bringing residential buildings into the Buckhead CID tax base to help pay for the park. Only commercial properties now are members of the CID. That would be a welcome change for Massell, who said the CID “should take in residential areas so it could provide services there.” Massell is also concerned about problems with the agency’s transparency, he said. In recent weeks, CID officials posted a board meeting agenda only a few minutes before the meeting began and did not post minutes from a board retreat until after receiving a request from the Buckhead Reporter.
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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 5
A lifetime of music
Frank Boggs shares how music shaped his life BY JOE EARLE
comfortable.” Boggs took over the festival chorus Frank Boggs has been around church about the time he retired from teaching music all his life. music at The Westminster Schools. He He remembers tagging along to choir taught there for 23 years. A friend, a practice with his mother and father at the minster at a Cobb County church, told First Baptist Church in Dallas, Tex., back Boggs that he’d be miserable without when he was too little to be left at home. a choir to direct. Boggs thought there “I’d go with them and I’d listen to them might be something to that, so he sing and then I’d curl up in the pew and put an ad in a Marietta newspaper go to sleep,” he recalled. “Music was just soliciting singers. The Cobb Festival kind of there my whole life.” Chorus started Boggs has with 18 organized and members. built choirs, Their first taught music performance, and recorded Boggs said, was two dozen of Handel’s albums. He’s “Messiah,” a appeared on piece usually radio and TV, associated and performed with much around the U.S. larger groups. and abroad. JOE EARLE “When people He even coChorus founder and director Frank Boggs talks about heard what we wrote the fight music in the living room of his Buckhead apartment. did that first song played to year, I started cheer the Baylor University Bears, the auditioning more singers.” Now, there are football team at his alma mater. The 111 singers with the festival chorus, he said. song he and his roommate wrote while “Over the years, we’ve built a wonderful they were students at Baylor back in choir,” he said. the 1940s replaced an earlier fight song He’s used to building choirs. When he written by Fred and Tom Waring of big started teaching at Westminster, he said, band fame. Boggs thought that song was the choir was composed of just 18 girls and too hard to sing. Now, “every time they three boys. “It was the most pitiful thing score a touchdown, they play our song,” I’d ever heard,” he recalled. “I came home he said with a smile. and told [my wife] I may have made the “Music is my life,” he said during a biggest mistake of my life.” recent chat in his 21st-story apartment Instead of giving up, he set to work. in Lenbrook, a Buckhead high rise. He started going to football practices “I love to make beautiful music, and to recruit singers. He told the boys they teaching people to love beautiful music.” could meet girls by singing. “I said, ‘I At age 90, he’s still at it. guarantee you, if you join choir, I’m He leads the Georgia Festival Chorus, going to get every good-looking girl at a singing group he has directed since its Westminster to join the choir.’” Once the founding. The chorus performs concerts football players signed up, he said, girl in the spring and fall and is scheduled singers followed and the choir grew. to perform Nov. 19, Nov. 30 and Dec. 12. When he was a student at Baylor, “Through the years — this is our 31st year he organized the music for a series of — we have built a very loyal audience,” student-led tent revivals. They started Bogg said. “They turn out to hear us.” out small, but eventually attracted David Scott, associate director hundreds of people from surrounding of the chorus, said Boggs has been communities. “The Holy Spirit just “tremendously important” to the blessed us,” he said. A thousand people group’s success. “He’s been a great would be spread out on the grass. … advocate for the music,” Scott said. Instead of going for one week like we “His choice of material is very good. planned, it went for three weeks.” He’s fun to work with. …He’s a nice guy These days, Boggs is sorting through to get to know.” his old recordings to make CDs of his That matters. “These things are very music for his grandchildren. He’s pulled personality driven,” Scott said. “If you don’t songs from albums with titles such as “In have integrity, if you don’t have a pleasant God We Trust” and “Yes, God Is Real.” personality, people don’t come back. ” What’s his favorite song? That changes, At the same time, Boggs is a natural he said. He thought a moment and then showman, Scott said. “Frank has a way said a song called “The Majesty and Glory — in a performance he speaks to the of His Name” was one of his favorites for crowd naturally,” he said. “Most folks, the choir. “Every time we sing it,” he said, if you start putting them in front of a “something magical happens.” crowd of 100 or 1,000 or 2,000 people, they get stressed. But Frank is very For more information visit tgafc.org.
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6 | Community
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Sandy Springs resident leads a new kind of veterans organization
SENIOR RESIDENCES AT MERC Y PARK Senior Residences at Mercy Park is a brand new development located in Chamblee, GA at 5124 Peachtree Road. The community will offer 79 one and two bedroom apartments for seniors 62 and older. 6 apartments are designated for individuals with special needs and 8 apartments are for veterans. The property will be accepting applications beginning Monday, November 27, 2017 at 8:30am. Applications will be accepted and added to the waiting list in the order they are received. Temporary Office Location: Chamblee Senior Residences 3381 Chamblee Drive Chamblee, GA 30341 Income limits apply and applicants must pass credit, criminal and landlord reference checks. For additional information, please contact 678.266.6116 (TTY: 711) or visit our webpage at www.mercyhousing.org/MercyPark.
Above, Jared Ogden, the founder of Phoenix Patriot Foundation, parachutes onto the Dunwoody Country Club fairway in a tuxedo for a 2014 fundraiser.
Right, from left, current PPF CEO and Executive Director John Paulson, founder Jared Ogden and Mary Paulson at a 2014 fundraiser at the Dunwoody Country Club. Below, Kyle Butcher.
BY JOHN RUCH email@example.com
John Paulson remembers what it was like to come home from Vietnam as a young Marine in 1970 and into the world of old-school veterans groups. “I went to a VFW and it was filled with all these old World War II guys smoking, drinking, cussing … I never went back,” says the Sandy Springs resident, best known for serving on the City Council and his service at the Buckhead American Legion post. Today, through a twist of fate and a commitment to service, Paulson is now CEO and executive director of a new kind of veterans organization focused on tailored help for wounded vets of the post-Sept. 11 wars. The Phoenix Patriot Foundation, created in 2010 by a North Springs Charter High graduate who became a Navy SEAL, is a modest but growing nonprofit operating in three areas across the country, including Atlanta, Houston and southern California, and directly aiding about a dozen veterans. PPF has its own rock band and has helped to fund veterans’ albums. It has organized Special Forces style Jet Ski journeys hundreds of miles along ocean coasts. Most importantly, it’s open to doing just about anything a wounded veteran is driven to pursue. “We purposely set up these programs to cover anything that comes,” Paulson said. Kyle Butcher, a Newnan resident, is one of the veterans who has come to PPF. In
Community | 7
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2005, he was a young soldier on track to become an Army Ranger when he was shot three times while serving in Afghanistan, ending his military career. “I didn’t know which way was up. I was 20 years old and had my life goal taken away from me,” he said. Butcher tried visits to the Veterans Affairs services, but it’s “just not set up to do the one-on-one,” he said. Then he found PPF and joined one of the quarterly “Vetlanta” veterans meetings that Paulson organizes. Now Butcher participates in those Jet Ski adventures that PPF modestly calls “Challenges” — “600 miles in four days in eight-foot seas at times … it’s not for everybody.” The importance of PPF, Butcher says is “having their own little organization that specifically tailors what they do … They’re absolutely accommodating. It’s not just, ‘Hey, let’s take a trip.’ It’s like, ‘You want to do woodworking the rest of your life? We’ll find a way to make it happen.’” The personal touch — and Paulson’s involvement — came from the personal reasons PPF was founded by Jared Ogden. Ogden is a Roswell native who attended North Springs with Paulson’s children and ended up starting a house-painting business with his son Jeff. Mary Paulson, John’s wife, was particularly close to Ogden and stayed in touch as he attended the Naval Academy and then became a SEAL. In Afghanistan, a teammate and friend of Ogden was severely wounded, losing both legs, among other injuries. Ogden soon saw the limited services able for veterans with physical and mental wounds who come home with an abrupt end to a vigorous, teamoriented lifestyle. So he founded PPF to help them “re-engage” and “re-integrate.” In the early years, Ogden, who now lives in St. Louis, sometimes visited the Atlanta area. In 2011, Sandy Springs declared a “Jared Ogden Day,” and for a 2014 fundraiser, he memorably parachuted onto the 18th hole of the Dunwoody Country Club, carrying an American flag and clad in a tuxedo. “He thought he was James Bond,” Paulson jokes. Around that time, Ogden asked Paulson to join the PPF board to help tighten up its organization. And about 18 months ago, as Ogden grew busy with a target shooting enterprise, he asked Paulson to take over the organization’s leadership. “It’s been rewarding. It’s been challenging,” Paulson said. For the Atlanta chapter, Paulson is working on a number of programs and offerings with varying success. One program is $2,000 in tuition assistance with the Technical College System of Georgia, but no vets have yet applied. PPF is trying to find better ways to connect veterans with the program. For early next year, Paulson is organizing a local version of a “challenge” — a Chattachoochee River boating trip to run 35 miles from the Buford Dam to Sandy Springs’ Overlook Park. Then there are more causal opportunities to socialize and talk in a way that only another veteran can. That’s for both camaraderie and, like many PPF programs, potential therapy for such mental affects such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which Paulson said he suffered after Vietnam. “I’m a combat veteran,” he said. “Combat veterans talk to each other in ways noncombat veterans don’t get.” “No veteran will say he needs help. It doesn’t work that way,” Paulson said. But if he or she has a skill or activity they are driven to pursue, he has a simple message about what PPF offers: “We’ll figure it out.” For more information, see PhoenixPatriotFoundation.org.
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8 | Food & Drink
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Village Burger’s Matt Gephardt on building burgers, bridges BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org ATIONAL SPORTS P ERN UB INT
Metrotainment Cafes is pleased to announce the new addition to the Hudson Grille team, Hudson FC International Sports Pub! America’s favorite sports bar is going worldwide with a new concept that serves up delicious pub fare along with craft, local and imported beers, while focusing on soccer, rugby, cricket and other international sports. Now open and located in Brookhaven Station!
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Village Burger in Dunwoody is more than just a hamburger restaurant. It’s become a place where the community congregates for bike rides or special events. The recipe for its success has led to the opening of two more Village Burger restaurants — one in Johns Creek and another just last month in Tucker. Matt Gephardt is the face of the group of investors that owns Village Burger. If his last name sounds familiar, it is. He’s the son of Dick Gephardt, the Missouri Democrat who served in Congress for nearly 30 years and ran for president a couple of times. Matt’s parents now live in Florida. There’s no politics at Village Burger, however. Matt Gephardt said the mission of the neighborhood burger joint is to bring people together for a good meal. For more information, visit villageburger.com.
Does your dad like to eat at Village Burger?
He is an investor in Village Burger and always wants to eat at the restaurant when he comes into town. He loves the turkey burger at Village Burger, to the point of obsession!
How did you end up in Dunwoody?
My wife, Tricia, grew up in Dunwoody and after we got married, we wanted to live near family. Her parents lived here, so we decided to move to Dunwoody to be near them before we started our own family. That was in early 2001, so we have been in Dunwoody for almost 17 years and we couldn’t think of a better place to raise a family!
Q: Who owns the restaurant? A: Village Burger is owned by a group of
investors, most of whom live in Dunwoody. From the beginning, it was important to us that Village Burger be “from the people of Dunwoody, for the people of Dunwoody.”
Why did you want to open in Dunwoody?
Village Burger opened in September 2010. It has always been located in Dunwoody Village, in its current location, which was previously a Bruster’s ice cream shop. We wanted to open in Dunwoody because that is where we live and we thought the community needed a neighborhood burger joint, where families could go to get a delicious handmade meal at a reasonable price.
There are now a couple more Village Burgers, in Johns Creek and Tucker. How did those come about?
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We have customers visit Village Burger Dunwoody from across the Atlanta metro area. We often receive requests from these customers to bring a Village Burger to their community. We are always on the lookout for a town like Dunwoody, where a Village Burger would be welcomed and would be able to thrive. When we find such a community, we will look for a potential location, which is how the Village Burgers in Johns Creek and Tucker were started.
What’s your favorite meal at your own restaurant?
That is a tough question! While we are admittedly biased and love all the food on our menu, it is hard not to en-
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Food & Drink | 9
What was the first day of business like at Dunwoody’s Village Burger?
A: We will nev-
er forget it. It was Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. We put out a short message on Facebook announcing our opening and within an hour the line was out the door. We didn’t know what to expect and we got slammed. We are grateful that the community was patient with us as we learned our way.
joy a hot and juicy Village Burger with our favorite fresh toppings and a side of hand-cut seasoned fries dipped in our signature homemade Village Sauce.
Q: How did you come up with the name? A: We came up with the name Village
Burger because we were opening in the Dunwoody Village and we wanted the name to reflect the fact that the restaurant is a part of the community. We think it conveys what makes us special, which is the fact that we are not a chain restaurant with ownership and control from afar; we are owned by people in the community, who are committed to serve the communities we do business in.
How did you come up with the main menu?
We started with the basic concept that everything would be fresh, never frozen and made from scratch. The first menu was fairly simple — certified Angus burgers, Hebrew National hot dogs and handcut french fries. We also offered beer and wine. Over time and based on customer feedback, we added a turkey burger, veggie burger, salads, onion rings, pickle chips, chili and a few other fresh items. Our goal is to have high quality products at a value-based price.
Q: Did you grow up going to a restau-
rant like Village Burger?
There wasn’t one in particular, but many towns all across the U.S. have a neighborhood “burger joint” where the people gather after family events and are likely to run into a friend or neighbor. In some ways we think we’re recreating the early days of Dairy Queen or McDonald’s.
Do you have regulars who get the same dishes every time they come? Or do you most of your customers like to try new stuff each visit?
Matt Gephardt, right, with his business partner and co-owner of Village Burger, Ricardo Gonzalo.
We have a mix of both. Our staff works hard to get to know our regulars and their preferences. Some people even sit in the same seat each visit. Many people come in a few times per week — one time they will have a burger and fries, the next time something a little healthier like a salad.
Quick Bites SALAD CHAIN O PENS I N SANDY SPR ING S
A Salata salad restaurant has opened in Sandy Springs’ Glenridge Point shopping center. The Houston-based chain calls itself a “next-generation salad bar,” featuring made-to-order salads or salad wraps. Salata is located at 860 Johnson Ferry Road, near the Pill Hill medical center area. For more information, see salata. com or call 470-233-7493.
BATTLE & B R EW U ND ER NEW O WNER SHIP, W ILL R EO P EN
After briefly closing, Battle & Brew, a popular Sandy Springs bar and restaurant known for hosting video game tournaments and trivia, announced on social media it has been purchased by a new owner and will reopen. Located at 5920 Roswell Road, Battle & Brew closed on Nov. 5, but announced on Nov. 7 it will reopen under new ownership.
a purchase of $25 or more
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Sandy Springs 5975 Roswell Rd • Suite A-103 (404) 236-2114 • NothingBundtCakes.com
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What famous people eat at your restaurant? Any movie stars since the movies have come to Dunwoody in recent years?
We’ve had a number of professional and ex-professional athletes visit our stores. We’re not sure of any movie stars stopping in, but we’ve had some initial inquiries from producers about filming at the restaurant. Maybe that will happen one day!
What’s the best part of owning a restaurant? The hardest part about owning a restaurant?
The best part of owning Village Burger is seeing a full house on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Seeing the community together enjoying each other’s company and a good meal is a lot of fun. We also really enjoy our annual Employee Appreciation Party every November. We bring all of our employees and their families for a big party. It’s a night when the owners get to serve the employees that do such a great job serving our customers. The hardest part of owning a restaurant is the pace of the business. Village Burger is “on stage” every day and we have to perform well to keep our customers happy and coming back.
Expires 11/30/17. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. $5 off $25 before tax. Valid only at the bakery listed. Valid only on baked goods; not valid on retail items. No cash value. Coupon may not be reproduced, transferred or sold. Internet distribution strictly prohibited. Must be claimed in bakery during normal business hours. Not valid with any other offer.
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10 | Education
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Chamblee Charter High School, freshman Editor’s note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some of the outstanding students at our local schools. If you would expanding her overall skill and knowllike to recommend “Standout edge of the concepts of dance. Every day Student” to be included in our series, please except for Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with Erin attended classes that taught differinformation about the student and why you ent styles of dance, such as jazz or modthink he or she should be featured. ern, and that revolved around perforErin Hazelwood discovered her pasmance and technique. sion for ballet five years ago and has been She also took classes in exercises in the world of dance ever since, eventusuch as Pilates to help strengthen her ally leading her to be invited to particistamina for long performances. pate in the Nashville Ballet’s sumThe program worked closely mer program. with Erin and the other stuThe Brookhaven resident’s dents on individual correclove for ballet began when tions and she asked choreograher mom if phy. she could try Erin said out dancing that there after a movis no doubt ie based on that those ballet caught five weeks her interwere chalest. Now, as lenging, but a freshmen that is an at Chamblee aspect of Charter High the experiSchool, Erin ence that is an A stushe enjoyed. dent in the She also is magnet proproud of gram and a how she self-motivathas become ed dancer SPECIAL a stronwho dreams Top, Erin Hazelwood, a freshman at Chamblee ger dancof furthering Charter High School, participated in the er who has her career in Nashville Ballet summer program. improved in ballet. Bottom, Erin Hazelwood performs a ballet more fields Ballet dance with a dancing partner. than just is both deballet. The program was no easy feat but manding and satisfying, Erin said, she had fun every day doing what she which is one reason she is drawn to it. loves — dancing. She wishes to attend “I like ballet because there is always the summer intensive program again at something new to learn and work on, I School of Nashville Ballet this upcoming like a challenge.” she says. summer, so that she may continue workShe has to balance her school work ing towards her dream of being a profesand social life while making room for her sional dancer. dancing passion, which often brings 12 Bethany Elias, director at the North hours of practice a week. A normal week Georgia School of Ballet, said she was imfor Erin consists of practice four days a pressed by the range of ability Erin shows week for three hours at the North Georas a dancer after only beginning ballet a gia School of Ballet while still going to few years ago. “Erin is one of the most speschool Monday through Friday. In whatcial students I have taught,” Elias said. “Her ever free time she has, Erin does stretchhard work, discipline, and attention to dees at home, goes to the gym to work out tail have made her a very smart, dynamic, or watches videos of professional dancand talented dancer.” ers. One she particularly enjoys watching is Svetlana Zakharova, who she says she What’s Next? looks up to as a professional ballerina. Erin plans to study dance in college and At the Nashville Ballet’s summer prohave a career as a professional dancer. gram, Erin danced for about 40 hours a week alongside more than 300 students This article was written and reported by from 33 states as well as international Kathleen Pahl, a senior at Mount Vernon students from Canada and New Zealand. Presbyterian School. For five weeks, Erin spent her summer
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Education | 11
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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Oglethorpe’s Director of Financial Aid Chris Summers [center] and students Daira Galindo and Jose Franco-Zuniga, left, with Consul General F. Javier Díaz de León [holding check].
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The Mexican government’s scholarship program chose Oglethorpe University, a private university located in Brookhaven, to receive $18,000 to distribute to Mexican students. IME Scholarships is a program of the Government of Mexico that seeks to expand educational opportunities for Mexicans abroad and is aimed at students with low economic resources who attend basic, university and technological education. Mexican students have several challenges hindering them from completing a college degree, including being low-income and “the implementation of laws or anti-immigrant positions in some states,” the scholarship program’s website said. Daira Galindo, a freshman, and Jose Franco-Zuniga, a senior, were two of the students chosen to benefit from the financial aid. The students also met with Atlanta Consul General F. Javier Díaz de León. Oglethorpe was selected by a local committee and will match the funds. Several other universities in the U.S. were chosen to receive the funds, including one other in Georgia, Georgia Southern University.
R I V ERWOOD P I LOTS PA RTN ER SHIP WI TH GEORGI A F I LM A C A DEM Y Riverwood International Charter School, a Fulton public high school in Sandy Springs, has become one of the first schools to partner with the Georgia Film Academy to teach high school students film industry skills. Continued on page 12
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN
Share in inthe the Spirit Serving grades 7–12, Marist School provides an education where achievement
inspire exploration and uncover hidden talents. Through it all, students gain a JANUARY 6 - 19,
2017 • VOL. 11 —
Sandy Sprin Reporter gs FACEBOO
► Survey: Traffic tops residents’ priori for legislators ty list
► Celebrate Martin Luthe r King Jr. Day events PAGE 8 RESTAURANT REVIEWS
Former hoo ps star donates nets for the of the gam love e
Sunday, December 3, 1– 1–44 p.m. p.m. December 4,
extensive college-preparatory curriculum while an array of extracurricular activities
TS EN NORING STUD
Nominator (name, relationship to nominee and contact information) Nominee (Name, age, grade, school, parent or guardian names, contact information) Characteristics and service: Please provide a paragraph describing why this nominee deserves recognition. Include service projects, goals, interests and areas of interest to help illustrate your point.
exists within a spirit of humility and generosity. Students are challenged by an
Maureen Shifflett, PNP Amanda Batlle PNP Sara Dorsey, PNP Jennifer Martin, PNP Michael Levine, MD, Emeritus Ruth Brown, MD, Emeritus Jonathan Winner, MD, Emeritus 6095 Barfield Road, Sandy Springs, Ga 30328
O GL ET H O R P E REC EI VES SC H OL A R SHIP FU ND S F R OM MEXI C A N GOVERN M ENT
Each January, we feature students from public schools, private schools and colleges in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs who have given back to their community in a significant way. Over the last seven years, we’ve featured students who have created their own nonprofits, have given up summer vacation to work domestically and abroad to help the less fortunate and one even helped build a library by collecting books. The 10th annual 20 Under 20 will appear in our Jan. 5, 2018 issue and we are now seeking nominations of students ages 19 and younger who have committed themselves to service to the community. Nominations are welcome from teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, siblings, fellow students or community leaders. Here’s the information we need:
Sally Marcus, MD Jeff Hopkins, MD Natalie Metzig, MD Allison Hill, MD Amy Hardin, MD Tiji Philip, MD Adele Goodloe, MD
About 20 years ago, Doug McKend noticed the basketball hoops at Allen rick Park in Sandy Road Springs had no nets. “You can’t play he said matter-o basketball without a net,” f-factly. “Have a high school game, a college you ever seen game without game or a NBA a net?” So the business man, now renowned owner of McKendrick’s the Dunwoody, Steak House purchased in some nets stalled them and inat the local park for the who enjoy playing there. kids And he hasn’t stopped. At ger installs 73, he no lonthe nets. “That takes three and a ladder,” people he said. But he does like to buy up all the basketball nets at the Target on Roswell them in the Road, keep trunk of his car and drop ple off at the a coupark for the young people ing there to install playthemselves months when every few they become torn, ragged and See FORMER on page 13
unique strength of character and skill and a joy of serving others that prepares them to be compassionate, confident leaders.
Come visit to experience Marist’s spirit yourself. Learn more at marist.com marist.com
20 UNDER 20 STUDE NT
START ON PAGE 14
The deadline for nominations is Nov. 30. Please email your nominations to Joe Earle at JoeEarle@reporternewspapers.net.
An An Independent Independent Catholic Catholic School School of of the the Marist Marist Fathers Fathers and and Brothers Brothers
12 | Education
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 11
New Year. New Look. Same Exceptional Epstein Experience. The Epstein School offers integrated, dual-language learning that cultivates lifelong skills, inspires Jewish curiosity, critical thinking and creativity. We are: • Centered around our students • Driven by our values • Developing our students’ passion • Building on our past • Focused on our future • Powered by our community
The school plans to roll out a film program this spring, the school said. J.C. Futrell, Riverwood’s audio visual technology and film teacher, was one of 30 Fulton County teachers to participate in a Georgia Film Academy pilot program for high school teachers this past summer, according to a press release. Over 10 days, the program taught teachers the high school curriculum created by GFA and techniques to make films. Industry professionals helped GFA SPECIAL J.C. Futrell attends a Georgia Film create the standardized film curricuAcademy program to train teachers lum for high school students. GFA will on new high school curriculum. provide professional-grade equipment to Riverwood so Futrell can teach students the curriculum, the press release said. The executive director of GFA, Jeff Stepakoff, has announced at forums and other public events that the program was planning to roll out a high school curriculum. He said in a press release that it is an obvious choice to train high school students because they have grown up with video technology. “Interest in film is rampant throughout the state. We are addressing that at the college level, but starting to get our heads around the high school level. We have two million high school students in our SPECIAL state. They’re making movies; they’re Riverwood making them on their iPhones. Why photography are we not bringing them into the fold?” student Isis Mayfield poses Stepakoff said in a press release. in front of her photograph displayed on a MARTA train car.
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R I V ERWO O D S TUDENT S ’ A R T DI S P L AY ED O N M A R TA Fifteen Riverwood students had their art displayed on a MARTA train as part of the citywide Atlanta Celebrates Photography exhibit. The program invited students from Riverwood and Tri-Cities High School in East Point to submit photographs that told “stories of their communities and reflect upon the assumptions and misconceptions of them.” ACP organized workshops taught by local photographers for the students. The program was kicked off at an event at the High Museum of Art where students presented their images and discussed how they represented their communities. The art was then displayed on MARTA Red Line train cars for a week. Riverwood photography teacher Lana Ensmann said the experience was “incredible” for all students involved. “Not many artists get this kind of exposure — ever!” Ensmann said in a press release. Students Emily Greenslade, Wesley Mills, Isis Mayfield, Shereen Ragheb, Michael Kraft, Native Erwin, Josephine Johnson, Jason King, Brenna Munson, Maeve Munson, Reina Abernathy, Mary Mac Birkel, Elizabeth Hernandez, Dori Balser and Sage Patterson participated. The students’ photographs were also used to help launch a new Instagram account called Everyday Atlanta, which is an extension of the popular Instagram feed Everyday Africa. The original Africa account was developed to “combat stereotypes of African communities,” and the Atlanta account has the same goal, according to the release.
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 13
Judge rules Fulton County can collect property taxes BY EVELYN ANDREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
A judge ruled Nov. 3 that Fulton County can begin collecting property taxes, which Fulton had been unable to do after the state Department of Revenue rejected the county tax digest. When state officials rejected the tax digest, they said it was “questionable” whether the Fulton County Board of Assessors had the legal authority to freeze the property assessments at 2016 values, which the Board of Commissioners voted to do after residents expressed concern and anger over assessment increases. The state’s rejection of the tax digest meant the county could not send out bills based on the appraisals submitted. DeKalb County Judge Alan Harvey ruled to give the county a Temporary Collection Order, which will allow it to send out tax bills as it works with the state to correct the tax digest, according to a press release from the Fulton County School District. The court hearing was held in DeKalb County to ensure neutrality. “Fulton County is pleased with Judge Harvey’s ruling today,” a press release from the Fulton County government said. “The outsized increases in the original assessments were so large that a
disproportionate number of homeowners would have seen dramatic increases in property taxes and placed many in a precarious financial position.” Tax bills will be sent Nov. 15. They will be based on the assessments that were sent out after the values were frozen at 2016 levels, said Renee Starzyk, the director of communications for Board of Commission Vice Chairman Bob Ellis. Atlanta residents have 45 days to pay the bill, and residents in the rest of Fulton County have 60 days. “Our immediate focus now turns to the issuance and collection of tax bills,” the statement from Fulton County said. The state cited several problems with the tax digest in addition to questioning the commissioners’ legal authority to freeze assessments. State officials noted that commercial properties were still taxed at 2017 levels, while residential properties were not. That decision meant commercial property owners were taxed higher than residential owners and carried “a disproportionate share of the tax burden,” the state wrote in the letter to Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand. The state also wrote in the letter that it believes not all residents’ appeals were counted because the first
round of appeals were considered “null and void” after the second assessment notices were mailed. “It is highly likely that many taxpayers did not timely exercise their appeal rights and not all appeals were properly accounted for,” the letter said. The assessed value of residential properties also was not high enough, the state said. Fulton County still must work with the state to create an acceptable tax digest. The Temporary Collection Order allows the county to collect taxes in the meantime. It is unclear what changes the county will have to make to the digest and what the changes could mean for the taxes residents end up paying. Fulton County, Atlanta Public Schools and the Fulton County School District jointly challenged the rejection in court in the hope of receiving the order. Both school districts receive more than 60 percent of their funding from property taxes. Atlanta Public Schools and the Fulton County School District both celebrated the judge’s ruling. The school districts had announced they are implementing plans to cut costs for the remainder of the year to deal with the late tax collection. They will still imple-
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ment some measures, but furloughing all employees or defaulting on a loan is no longer being considered by APS, according to press releases. The delay in receiving tax revenue will still force APS to furlough some nonteaching employees, according to a press release. APS will also delay the one-time $500 payment to non-teaching employees and halt new hiring, the release said. “All of us at Atlanta Public Schools are pleased by today’s court ruling which begins the process of collecting the property tax revenues that are so critical to the safe and successful operation of our school system,” said Meria Carstarphen, the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent. “At the same time, the initial delay in tax collections will still have a significant impact on our ability to operate as normal for the remainder of this calendar year.” The Fulton County School District has halted new hires and new spending for the rest of the year, according to a release. School field trips paid for with district money are on hold while it creates a process to limit the cost, the release said. “This ruling allows us to breathe a little easier, but there is still a long road ahead,” Fulton County School District Superintendent Jeff Rose said in a release.
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14 | Commentary
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Commentary: The many ways to honor veterans Editor’s Note: The following is the address that keynote speaker Hunter Hill was scheduled to deliver during the city of Sandy Springs’ eighth annual Veterans Day Tribute at the Concourse Center on Nov. 10. Many of you know Veterans Day was first “Armistice Day,” the day which effectively ended hostilities between the Allies and Germany during World War I. It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month; 11 o’clock in the morning, on Nov. 11, 1918. The name change to Veterans Day took place in 1954 with President Eisenhower so that our nation could honor veterans from all conflicts on the same day. KATE AWTREY Dr. Doug Huber, chaplain of American Legion Post 140, left, and Ninety-nine years later, Nov. CWO5 Edwin Harman III, USMC, salute during Sandy Springs’ 2016 Veterans Day celebration. 11, 2017, Americans across the country commemorate this day to say “thank you” to all who that made this country great. Engage in the public square. Our have served, and to also learn how best There has to be a unity of purpose on founders believed an informed electorwe can honor past and present sacrifices. the part of the American people and our ate was key to the survival of our repubWe live in a trying time for our nagovernment, just like there is in each lic. Then, equipped with that knowltion — one that presents new and danArmy unit — regardless of race, poliedge, we must seek out individuals or gerous challenges for our leaders, both tics or culture. Because America is not organizations that represent our values at home and abroad. And these challand or treasure. America is an idea, an and beliefs and get involved. Whethlenges are especially real for our idea that liberty and juser in your local church, community or law enforcement here at home as tice should be available personal network, engage by making well as our current military overto all people and that all the change you want to see in your loseas. They both are called to opercitizens should be encal, state and national governments. ate in incredibly uncertain envitrusted to govern themAlso, vote. Exercising our right ronments where they don’t know selves. Anyone should be to vote is the basic necessity of any which day may be their last. free to worship as they healthy republic. Too many Americans Current events should also rechoose, they should have throw up their hands and resign to the mind us that veterans are incredthe political freedom to outcome of each election. I fear that a ible assets to our communities, elect their own leaders, people unwilling to exercise their most state and nation. and also have the choice basic freedoms as Americans may not I served three combat tours in SPECIAL in how they pursue their enjoy those rights in the future. Hunter Hill. the Army, and our motto is, “This own happiness. These Finally, if you are a business owner, We’ll Defend.” This represents are things veterans behire a veteran. Veterans have incredible two notions. First, America is special lieve are worth the sacrifice — things value to offer any business or organizaand worth defending; and second, that worth fighting to protect. tion, and investing in our nation’s finour service men and women have the Often on days like Veterans Day, est is an outstanding way to show our willingness to fight. It is my belief that we may see our simple thanks to those gratitude for their service and sacrifice. whatever challenges our nation, state who have served as insufficient. How Our blessings as a nation are many. and communities face can be overcome do we do more? I believe we can do the One of the greatest is our selfless men if we learn from the values our excepfollowing: and women who, past or present, serve tional armed forces instill in America’s Read our founding documents and our nation in uniform. I hope that we young men and women. familiarize ourselves with what each all continue to say “thank you” and In Iraq and Afghanistan, it didn’t veteran has sacrificed to protect. When mean it. But I also hope that we can matter what political party the man to our servicemen and women enlist, they learn from their values and use their my left and my right supported. When swear an oath to our Constitution — to incredible example to better ourselves you’re in the foxhole, you want somesupport and defend it against all enehere at home. one you can trust to carry out the mismies foreign and domestic and to bear May God bless each of you, our vetsion — you’re a unit trained to accomtrue faith and allegiance to the same. erans, and our country. plish a goal. You all know what you’re The America they represent on the batfighting for and what you’re fighting to tlefield are the ideas enshrined in the Hunter Hill served three tours of comdefend. Regardless of the differences in Constitution and our other founding bat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S each unit, platoon or company, we had documents. I believe thanks to our vetArmy as an Airborne Ranger, two of which to work together as a team. I believe we erans must begin with a recognition and were with the 101st Airborne Division. He have lost that unifying theme across understanding of the unique liberties served in the state Senate for Buckhead and our society. We’re all Americans. We all you and I are afforded as Americans and Sandy Springs’ District 6 from 2013 to 2017 stand for the same foundational values then celebrating those freedoms. and is a Republican candidate for governor.
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Public Safety | 15
SOLD! 6175 Riverwood Drive - Sandy Springs For Sale 130 Crestwicke Trace Sandy Springs -
Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead between Oct. 15 and Oct. 28, was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.
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AG G R AVAT E D A S S AU LT 700 block of Morosgo Drive — Oct. 15
3200 block of Roswell Road — Oct. 27
3300 block of Peachtree Road — Oct. 16
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3300 block of Peachtree Road — Oct. 16
300 block of Pharr Road — Oct. 16
1100 block of Chattahoochee Avenue
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1300 block of Hoffman Lane — Oct. 16
3500 block of Northside Parkway —
3200 block of Peachtree Road —
block of Cheshire Bridge Road — Oct. 20
I-75/I-85 — Oct. 25
B U R G L A RY
3400 block of Lakeside Drive — Oct. 24
Perimeter North Family Medicine
block of Liberty Parkway — Oct. 15
700 block of Fountainhead Lane — Oct. 27
block of Stovall Boulevard — Oct. 17
100 block of West Paces Ferry Road — Oct. 28
block of Peachtree Way — Oct. 18 2100 block of Rando Lane — Oct.
18 400 block of Lindbergh Place — Oct. 19 3000 block of Stone Gate Drive — Oct. 19 400 block of Northside Circle— Oct. 19 2100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 20
Between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21, 42 lar-
cenies from vehicles were reported in Zone 2 and 40 cases of larceny and shoplifting were reported. Between Oct. 22 and Oct. 28, 52 larcenies from vehicles were reported in Zone 2 and 30 cases of larceny and shoplifting were reported.
Welcoming new patients! Perimeter North Family Medicine is proud to serve the families throughout the Atlanta area. Dr. Mithun Daniel provides comprehensive, patient-centered care to patients of all ages, and offers a full range of medical services, including chronic disease management, preventative care, acute illness care, mental health services and specialized care for men and women’s health. We accept most insurance plans and offer a convenient location for the families of the Greater Atlanta area.
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AU TO T H E F T
100 block of East Andrews Drive —
There were 14 auto thefts reported in
Zone 2 between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21.
• Acute illness treatment for colds, fevers, flu and
500 block of Bishop Street — Oct. 23
There were 13 auto thefts reported in
• General and chronic care for geriatric patients
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700 block of Darlington Circle — Oct. 22
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16 | Community
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A Baptist church is shutting its doors after more than 40 years in Sandy Springs, and is on the market for $1.485 million for possible redevelopment into single-family houses. “The plan is to, after 48 years of ministry, to dissolve the church,” said Dr. Nate Bednar, the senior pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church at 4795 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. “It’s been a very difficult decision for me and the remaining members here at the church.” But with only seven congregants remaining — and that’s counting Bednar and his wife — there was little choice for the small, suburban church. Bednar recently left his position as a Sandy Springs Police chaplain to focus on the church sale. Located in southern Sandy Springs close to the Brookhaven and Buckhead borders around Windsor Parkway, the church opened around 1973 with about 100 members. While attendance has dwindled, the church’s significance remains for such one-time congregants as former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis. “That was the church I grew up in,” said Davis. “That’s the church where I was baptized.” Davis’s mother, Mary, attended for over 40 years before her death in 2014, and her funeral was held there. Davis recalled attending meals after Sunday services led by founding pastor “Brother Bob” Spencer. Bednar — who has been with the church 26 years as assistant and senior pastor — said he wants those good community memories to survive the church. The possible redevelopment has been vetted by neighbors, he said, and proceeds of the sale will go to other Christian organizations. When a church closes, Bednar said, “Sometimes the pastor flees the state and leaves a mess … My desire is to leave a good testimony here in Sandy Springs.” He said he expects the church, located in a residential neighborhood, will be sold to a housing developer, though bringing in another church is a possibility. “All of our neighbors are on board with tearing down our church facilities and putting one to three homes” in its place, he said. The High Point Civic Association, a community group representing the area in Sandy Springs zoning cases, is not taking a position until it sees a specific, written redevelopment plan, said president Bill Gannon. The 2-acre church property went on the market the week of Oct. 31 and several potential buyers have reached out already, Bednar said. Most are developers, while one was a church, but it needed a much larger building, he said. The money will go to such organizations as Christian missions, Bednar said. “So in a sense, the Metropolitan will cease here in Sandy Springs, but will continue in the lives and ministries of approximately 17 to 20 missions and agencies,” he said. Bednar is facing his own transition. While he’s a natural evangelist — he made sure a reporter left with a Baptist pamphlet — he has no new preaching position lined up and, at least for now, will be returning to the “secular business world,” where he once worked as a project management consultant.
Struggles and history
In a time of dwindling church attendance and rising real estate values, Metropolitan Baptist is not the only local church facing closure. Apostles Church on Glenridge Drive closed earlier this year after a contentious senior housing redevelopment plan faltered; a Catholic church later bought the property and moved in. Elsewhere in the High Point neighborhood, the struggling former Church of the Atonement is attempting a rebirth as Highpoint Episcopal Community Church. Bednar said his small, independent, nofrills church also was hit by other trends: the modern expectation for lots of music and “entertainment” in church, and the Southern Baptist boom in gigantic megachurches that drew off congregants. “For smaller churches like ours, this is becoming a common theme,” he said. Metropolitan Baptist was founded in a different time — 1969, with 40 members who started meeting in a private home. It came to Sandy Springs in the early 1970s with about 100 members, buying a formerly residential property at a discounted price. Dr. Nate Bednar, the church’s senior It was named “Metropolitan,” Bednar said, to pastor, stands in the sanctuary before the pulpit where he has preached for years. reflect that it welcomed members from the BH
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 17
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PHOTOS BY JOHN RUCH
entire metro Atlanta area. He said that one founding member, now 96 years old, remains in the seven-member congregation today. Davis recalled that the land was once a hunting ground and the original Sunday School was a former hunting lodge dating to the 1910s or 1920s, built of stone and still sporting “antlers on the wall.” It became too expensive to repair, Davis said, and it was demolished in the 1980s and replaced with an addition to the church. However, the lodge’s stone fireplace and chimney remain standing behind the church. Davis also recalled that the church property was originally larger, with a piece sold off for redevelopment around that 1980s period. Now Metropolitan Baptist faces the end of that history. The church held an annual anniversary celebration in June that served as a de facto farewell ceremony, Bednar said. But its doors will remain open to all for every Wednesday and Sunday service, Christmas and other special events that remain until the ink dries on a sales contract. For more information about the church, see metropolitanbaptistchurch.org.
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Continued from page 1 party at Buckhead event venue staple 103 West Paces Ferry, announced around 11 p.m. she would head home and wait until morning to see the election results, citing the delay in vote counts coming in. “I appreciate the fact that they’re taking their time to make sure all the returns are accurate and that everything is in. However, that means it is going to be a very long night for all of us,” she announced at the party. She closed by saying she expects to be in the runoff PHOTOS BY EVELYN ANDREWS and thanked her Mary Norwood held her election night party supporters. at 103 West Paces Ferry on Nov. 7. In a statement dent Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance posted on Facebook the morning afBottoms will face off, after topping the ter the election, Norwood said she is in results in a crowded field. Norwood lost “striking distance” of becoming mayor. the 2009 mayoral runoff to current in“We are in striking distance of our cumbent Kasim Reed, and Bottoms was common goal: to bring Atlanta into a endorsed by Reed this year. future where we celebrate our diversiNorwood, who represents Post 2 atty as a community, where we feel safe large on the Atlanta City Council, reon our streets, and where honest govceived 20,144, or 21 percent of votes. ernment reigns. I want to be the mayBottoms, who represents District 11, or people trust with our city’s future,” received 25,347 votes, or 26 percent of Norwood said. votes, according to Fulton and DeKalb Bottoms also posted on Facebook the County election data. morning of Nov. 8 to thank her supportCandidates Cathy Woolard, Peter ers. Aman and Vincent Fort received the “Thank you Atlanta! I am honored next highest vote totals. to be one step closer to serving you as Norwood, who held her election
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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 19
J.P. Matzigkeit, center, watched the election results with supporters at his home in Buckhead, including Ken Allen, right, and Steven Zygaj, left.
the 60th mayor of our great city!” Bottoms said.
Atlanta City Council
In the District 7 race, which represents most of Buckhead east of Roswell Road, Howard Shook retained the council seat that he has held since 2001. Shook received 69 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent, Rebecca King. Shook said that he was honored to again be elected to represent District 7. “It’s a reminder that there is no greater honor than being elected by your friends and neighbors to represent them,” he said in an interview the morning after the election. He said he is interested to see what changes the new mayor’s administration makes and looks forward to working with the many new councilmembers and council president. He lamented losing Yolanda Adrean as the District 8 councilmember, but said he is confident the newly elected councilmember, J.P. Matzigkeit, will continue to improve the district. “I’m sorry to [Adrean] go, for sure. She did a lot of wonderful things for the district,” he said. “But certainly I’m
looking forward to getting to know [Matzigkeit] better. He will bring a lot of sound decision making,” Shook said. Matzigkeit, a Buckhead businessman who founded the Chastain Park Conservancy, was elected with 54 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent Anna Tillman. He will represent District 8, which includes most of Buckhead west of Roswell Road. Matzigkeit, who held his election night party at his home near Chastain Park, said he was optimistic about the race as votes trickled in. He said he has always felt called to do public service and was hopeful that he would continue to do that as a city councilmember. “I have a public service bone in my body,” he said. Matzigkeit has worked with Adrean during his time at the Chastain Park Conservancy and said he “admires” what she has done for the district. He said he will focus on three issues as a councilmember: fighting corruption, traffic and security. In the District 6 race, Jennifer Ide soundly defeated her opponent Kirk Rich. Ide received 68 percent of the vote. The seat was vacated by Alex Wan
in his run for City Council president. No candidate for the post of City Council president received more than 50 percent of the vote, so that race will go to a Dec. 5 runoff between Wan and Felicia Moore, an Atlanta City Councilmember. Wan received 38 percent of the vote and Moore received 35 percent. C.T. Martin, also a city councilmember, trailed at 26 percent. Post 1 at-large incumbent Michael Julian Bond was nearly defeated by Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education member Courtney English. Bond received only 365 more votes than English. Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education member Matt Westmoreland defeated his two opponents, Cory Ruth and Bret Williams, in the Post 2 at-large race, receiving 64 percent of the vote. Post 3 at-large Councilmember Andre Dickens ran unopposed.
Board of Education
Nancy Meister, the APS Board of Education member that represents Buckhead, also ran unopposed.
State Senate District 6
State Senate District 6 will flip from red to blue next month, as two Democrats were the top vote-getters and are headed into a Dec. 5 runoff. The longtime Republican seat, which includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, was left vacant when Hunter Hill resigned to run for governor. Democrats Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard were the top vote-getters, at 24.43 percent and 22.51 percent, respectively, in unofficial results for the special election from the Georgia Secretary of
State’s office. Candidates finishing out of the running were another Democrat, Taos Wynn, and five Republicans: Leah Aldridge, Matt Bentley, Kathy Eichenblatt, Charlie Fiveash and Leo Smith.
Fulton County chair seat Robb Pitts and Keisha Waites are headed into a Dec. 5 runoff for the Fulton County chair seat, with Gabriel Sterling eliminated from the race. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Pitts led with 38.14 percent of the vote, followed by Waites at 33.88 percent, according to unofficial returns reported by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Sterling claimed just under 28 percent. Pitts and Waites are Democrats, while Sterling is a Republican. Pitts, a Buckhead resident who formerly served as Atlanta City Council president and a Fulton commissioner, was optimistic of his chances as early results came in. “I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Pitts said at his election night party at the Buckhead cocktail bar Whisky Mistress. “I hope we prevail tonight, but if not we will prevail Dec. 5.” Waites, a former state representative from Atlanta, could not be reached immediately for comment. Sterling, a Sandy Springs City Council member and political consultant, issued a concession statement on social media. “Well, it appears tonight is not our night,” he wrote in part. “I am proud of the race we ran and am thankful for all of the great support we had.” The candidates are running in a special election to fill the unexpired term of John Eaves, who resigned to make an unsuccessful run for mayor of Atlanta.
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20 | Community
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Colorful crosswalk art proposed near PATH400 BY EVELYN ANDREWS
surround PATH400 like a bridge,” Mitchell wrote. Chelsey Austin’s design calls for each inColorful murals of flowers, fish and othdividual crosswalk to be widely different in er designs could replace standard crossits look. Austin’s design was the most popuwalks along Adina Drive in proposals by lar at the event, and participants who voted Livable Buckhead. The idea for the on-street for her said they were drawn to the differart is to draw interest, provide wayfinding ences among her designs. and increase use of the multiuse trail. In her proposal, the intersection at SidThe crosswalks would have to be apney Marcus Boulevard features one crossproved by the city before they are installed. walk with a tree design, one that says “We want to generate community ex“Buckhead” and one that looks like a brick citement and get people engaged,” Denise path. The Morosgo Drive intersection feaStarling, the executive director of Livable tures one crosswalk showing a skyscrapBuckhead said about the crosswalk art. er, another covered by a green map, with “It’s about providing a pedestrian option the third depicting balloons in a sky. In that’s really engaging.” her Lindbergh Drive intersection designs, PATH400 is a multiuse trail that runs one crosswalk depicts an ocean design along Ga. 400 and, when complete, will with mermaids and turtles, another is be 5.2 miles long. Livable Buckhead is made to look like a broken path and woodspearheading the construction of the en bridge, and the third says “Buckhead.” trail. Livable Buckhead held an event “I like the way it’s so diverse and it acin the Lindbergh neighborhood Nov. 4 tually says Buckhead. You want to idenwhere visitors could vote on their favortify the area you’re in,” said Debra Ivey, a ite proposed crosswalk design. Buckhead resident who voted at the event. Starling said officials have not done an Ivey said the addition of the crossanalysis on how much the designs would walks would help people find their cost, and are right now only looking to see way to PATH400. “They would definitewhether the public agrees with the idea. ly help. I live in the area[but] it’s still so Three local artists submitted designs confusing,” she said. for the three crosswalks where Adina Maria Earl, another resident who votDrive intersects with Lindbergh Drive, ed for Austin’s design, said she liked that Morosgo Drive and Sidney Marcus Bouleit “stands out and it is very colorful.” She vard. The artists were contacted through also said she thinks the crosswalks would the Chalk Art Guild, a local association of “create buzz” and encourage more people artists, Starling said. to use PATH400. Cathryn Bozone If Livable Buckhead moves forsubmitted designs ward with the art, with patterns of aniit will be printed mals, food and plants with thermoplasthat are blue, green tic, not painted on and purple. Bozone the street, the same wrote that the conmethod the city used cept is to remind comto install rainbow muters of the “value crosswalks to honor of little things.” the LGBT communi“The imagery rety at 10th Street and minds us to value Piedmont Avenue in the little slices of life Midtown earlier this like nature, animals year, Starling said. The and food that are ofthermoplastic is more ten overlooked in the durable and can last up city,” Bozone said. to 10 years. Meg Mitchell Starling said she has submitted designs not approached the city for the three crosswith the designs yet. walks that are all “Similar projects alsimilar to one anothready exist, so there er with green backshould be no reason for grounds, flower patpushback,” Starling said terns and text that in an email. says “PATH400.” Starling said the de“My concept was signs will conform to safedesigned to be a carty standards. Voting on the pet of flora and faudesigns, which are postEVELYN ANDREWS na unfolding before ed online, will be open unCathryn Bozone submitted the user, connecttil Dec. 11. Visit path400gredesigns with patterns of ing the enchanting animals, food and plants that enway.org/crosswalks for are blue, green and purple. green spaces that more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 21
After NYC attack, local cities consider bike path barricades, security
A stretch of the PATH400 multi-use trail in Buckhead.
BY JOHN RUCH, EVELYN ANDREWS AND DYANA BAGBY An Oct. 31 New York City terror attack using a truck to run over people on a bicycle path is raising security concerns in metro Atlanta, where multi-use paths like the BeltLine and PATH400 are becoming modern landmarks — and possible highprofile targets. Local cities say they are considering adding barriers or other security upgrades to their paths. New York is already doing that — though the new barriers are raising their own safety concerns among bike riders and pedestrians. The Atlanta Police Department is among those already upgrading security in response to similar attacks around the world, and adding more car-blocking bollards to the BeltLine is one possibility, said spokesperson Carlos Campos. Some cities still planning their paths — such as Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Greenway — say they will factor such threats into their designs and operation planning. “Terrorist attacks by vehicle are unfortunately not new,” said Campos, adding, “While tragic, these incidents provide us with an opportunity to examine ways that we can improve our security planning.” Officials also say a crucial part of security is members of the public immediately calling 911 if they see something suspicious. That gives police a chance to prevent attacks from being carried out in the first place. “We do our best to learn from and prepare against [terror attacks], but it is also important that residents be aware of their surroundings,” said Sandy Springs Police Deputy Chief Keith Zgonc. “If something appears out of place, notify authorities — ‘See something, say something.’” Driving a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians is a terror tactic used in many incidents around the country and the world for at least 15 years, according to media reports. The method has been promoted by the Islamic State terror group and drew particular notice with an attack last year in Nice, France, where a terrorist ran down and killed 86 people. In the New York attack, a man drove a rented pickup truck for a mile on the Hudson River Park Bikeway, killing eight people and injuring many others. According to the New York Times, the city has now installed concrete barriers at 57 intersections on the bikeway to stop vehicles, which is already raising controversy about making it more dangerous for normal bike and pedestrian use. In metro Atlanta, there’s no sign of cities going to such extremes at this point, but the New York attack is factoring into ongoing security reviews. “We have already been looking at options to bolster security around public events and venues in the city of Atlanta, including the use of large vehicles to block access to pedestrian routes,” Campos said. “The tragic event in New York is another painful reminder that our work in this area is far from done.” On the BeltLine, APD and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. have already collaborated on such security measures as vehicle barriers and a dedicated police beat called the BeltLine Path Force.
“We will be collaborating to look at the potential to further secure the paths,” said Campos. “We currently have bollards in places along the trail to prevent vehicular traffic; increasing them is a possibility we can look at. Our officers certainly have a heightened security following the NYC attacks and we also encourage BeltLine users to call 911 immediately if they see any suspicious activity.” Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone said earlier this year that his force was looking at ways to prevent vehicle attacks. One upgrade was tougher barricades at the annual Sandy Springs Festival, which is partly held on a closed-off street. Those methods will get another review in the wake of the New York attack, Zgonc said. Such attacks are also a concern for cities planning new trails or similar public gathering spaces. Brookhaven is currently in the planning stage of its Greenway, a BeltLine-style park and trail to run along Peachtree Creek and Buford Highway. “As with any city transportation or Parks [Department] project, public safety planning is an integral part of the process,” said Brookhaven city spokesperson Burke Brennan. “… As engineering moves forward, and the trail design takes shape, the appropriate personnel will review plans and meet with first responders, so as to ensure the trail’s safety.” Sandy Springs is currently building a new civic center called City Springs, which will include a new City Hall, a theater intended to draw high-profile events, and a large street-side public park. Much like the BeltLine, City Springs will be protected by vehicle-blocking bollards and a dedicated police precinct, said city spokersperson Sharon Kraun. “Since the attack in Nice, France, we have looked at enhanced requirements for securing special events such as festivals and road races,” said Zgonc. “OngoSPECIAL Sandy Springs Police ing, we talk with other law enforcement agencies, inDeputy Chief Keith Zgonc. cluding the GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] and FBI, and we work closely with city departments in the planning of public spaces.”
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22 | Out & About
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News their freshly cut Frasier fir trees. Ball players and parents will help customers select the trees they ordered, fresh-cut the trunks and load trees onto vehicles. Delivery available for a small fee. Riverwood International Charter School, 5900 Raider Drive, Sandy Springs. Ordering details: bit.ly/RiverwoodChristmasTrees. Info: email RaiderBaseballLegacy@gmail.com.
GET INTO THE HOLIDAYS HOLIDAY ARTISTS MARKET
Opening night Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6 to 9 p.m. Market dates: Wednesday, Nov. 15 to Saturday, Dec. 23. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Thanksgiving Day.
The Spruill Gallery hosts its 24th annual Holiday Artists Market of locally crafted gifts and decor. Special events scheduled throughout the six-week shopping event including Cookies & Cocoa on Dec. 2, Handmade Gift Bazaar on Dec. 16, and a Last Minute Shoppers sale on Dec. 23. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-3944019 or spruillarts.org/gallery.
HERITAGE SANDY SPRINGS OUTDOORS CLUB
RIVERWOOD RAIDER BASEBALL CHRISTMAS TREE SALE
Ongoing Fridays, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 to 9 a.m.
Ongoing, with tree pickup/delivery Friday, Nov. 24 to Wednesday, Nov. 29.
While still allowing a limited number of walk-up sales, the Raiders’ annual Christmas tree sale has gone online and the team encourages buyers to use the site to pre-order
The Heritage Sandy Springs Outdoors Club hosts weekly hikes through Sandy Springs parks every Friday and Saturday and on some holiday dates. Free. Open to all ages and skill levels. Advance registration recommended, and all participants must sign an online liability waiver. Locations and other info: heritagesandysprings.org.
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Out & About | 23
Capitol City Opera launches its 2017-2018 season with a concert featuring more than a dozen of metro Atlanta’s promising young voices. The performances will include scenes from popular operas as well as lesser known operas at the in-the-round sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. $20. 1911 Cliff Valley Way N.E., Atlanta. Info: ccityopera.org.
GET INTO THE COMMUNITY BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS Sunday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m.
All are invited to bring their pets to Covenant Presbyterian Church for an annual special worship service and blessing of animals in the church parking lot. Every animal must be on a leash or confined inside a cage or crate. Event sponsor Red Bandanna Pet will provide treats for the animals. 2461 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: covpresatlanta.org.
ELECTRONICS RECYCLING DRIVE
Monday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 19, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In honor of America Recycles Day [Nov. 15], Marist School will host a weeklong electronics recycling drive in partnership with eWaste ePlanet to collect used, old, broken and unwanted electronics. Since 2012, Marist has diverted more than 66,264 pounds of old electronics from landfills with its e-waste drives. All computer hard drives will be shredded off-site to protect private information. Free, except for a $10 fee to recycle televisions. 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. List of accepted electronics: ewasteeplanet.com. Info: Amelia Luke at email@example.com, or 770-936-2228. Continued on page 24
CREATE YOUR HAPPY PLACE
A little help. A big difference. The assisted living services at The Piedmont at Buckhead Senior Living Community are about the whole family and the whole YOU. Of course, we can help you with your daily needs. But did you know you will also have options for fitness, socializing, healthy fine dining, and more? And services are tailored to you, so you’ll get just the right amount of help you need, when you request it. But the best part? No matter if you need a little help or a lot, the difference you’ll feel will be amazing. Please call The Piedmont at Buckhead to schedule your complimentary lunch and tour.
Join us for Starting the Conversation Saturday, November 18th • 11am-2pm Learn practical tips to start talking with your loved one about their senior living needs. Please RSVP to 404.381.1743.
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24 | Out & About
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 23
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Saturdays, Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. to noon, weather permitting.
Find fresh local produce, pasture-raised meat, farm fresh eggs and dairy products, prepared foods and artists at the Farmers Market as it winds down for the season. Century Springs East, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsfarmersmarket.com or 404-851-9111, ext. 5.
BOOK FESTIVAL OF THE MJCCA Ongoing through Monday, Nov. 20
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This 26-year Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta event features more than 45 local, national and international authors with something to offer thousands of book lovers who attend from across the Southeast. Individual tickets can be purchased; some events are free. Most events are held at MJCCA. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival; 678-812-4005 or send an email to bookfestival@ atlantajcc.org.
KIDS AND FAMILIES DISCOVER NATURE LECTURE SERIES: OWLS Sunday, Nov. 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Learn about the four common types of owls found locally. Bring a headlamp or flashlight for an optional, short night hike to Falling Branch Creek, to look and listen for owls. Ages 6 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. $5 individual; $10 family. Registration preferred; walk-ins welcome. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Info: 770-2062035 or registration.sandyspringsga.gov.
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FIRST ANNUAL HARVEST DAY Thursday, Nov. 16, 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
The Buckhead Library hosts an evening of family fun with a showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” along with crafts and other activities. Free. 269 Buckhead Ave. N.E., Buckhead. Info: 404-814-3500.
AMERICAN GIRL CLUB: HOLIDAY BAKING WITH GRACE Saturday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. to noon.
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Heritage Sandy Springs continues its monthly American Girl Club programming with the story of Grace, a modern girl whose mind for business and talent in the kitchen bring her friends and family together. RSVPs requested and recommended. Best suited for ages 5-12, and girls can bring a favorite doll. $8 members; $10 nonmembers. No walk-ins this month. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Free parking is available on Sandy Springs Place in designated lots. Info: heritagesandysprings.org or 404-851-9111, ext. 2.
HELP SOMEONE CAC HOLIDAY PROGRAMS Ongoing
Donors are asked to view children’s wish lists and spend $50 per child through the Community Assistance Center, which serves people in need in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. Holiday food donations of gift cards from Kroger or Publix are also needed. Cards can be taken to CAC or donations may be made online. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Wish list info: ourcac.org/adoptafamily. Food donation info: ourcac.org or 770-552-4889.
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Out & About | 25
featuring oral histories, photographs, documents and artifacts. General admission: $21.50 adults; $18 seniors and students 13-plus; $9 youth ages 4 to 12. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.
FALL PREVENTION WORKSHOP Monday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.
Perimeter North Villages, a volunteer and membership organization dedicated to helping older adults continue living in their own homes safely and comfortably, will host a fall prevention workshop conducted by Beverly Stegman of Foundation Therapy Center. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. RSVP: 470-231-0015.
REMEMBERING WORLD WAR I
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Presentation begins at 7 p.m.
“MORE THAN SELF: LIVING THE VIETNAM WAR”
Ongoing through Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5:30 p.m. Sundays. Ticket sales until 4:30 p.m. daily.
Dr. Virginia Dilkes will talk about her father’s first-hand experiences in World War I, based on his memoir, “Remembering World War I: An Engineer’s Diary of the War.” She will also discuss the geopolitical legacies of the war and the participation of troops from Georgia. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.
Stories of some of the nearly 3.5 million men and women who served in Southeast Asia between 1964 and 1975 are illustrated in an Atlanta History Center exhibition
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26 | Out & About
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DASH IN & LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS
Continued from page 25
AUTHOR TALK: “ALI” Wednesday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.
Bestselling author Jonathan Eig discusses his book “Ali,” about the boxing champion and activist Muhammad Ali, at the Atlanta History Center. Eig had access to Ali’s three surviving wives and his managers. He also had access to thousands of pages of new FBI and Justice Department files and dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. $10 general public; $5 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.
HISPANIOLA FILM SERIES: “STORMING PAPA DOC” Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.
The film “Storming Papa Doc: The Siege of Haiti’s Casernes Dessalines by Captain Alix Pasquet on July 28, 1958” will be shown at Oglethorpe University. Mario L. Delatour’s animated documentary follows three ex-Haitian army officers bent on the removal of the newly elected Haitian president. Free. Dolive Theater, second floor of the Philip Weltner Library in Lowry Hall, 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: connect.oglethorpe.edu.
Through Dec. 31, stop by either of ElectroBike Georgia’s two locations and save $500 when you purchase an ElectroBike Dash plus an ElectroBike Light. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Brookhaven Police Department’s “Shop with a Badge” holiday event.
GEORGIA PERENNIAL PLANT ASSOCIATION TALK: “THE BEAUTY IS IN THE DOING”
Monday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
660 Irwin Street, NE 2484 Briarcliff Road Atlanta, GA 30312 Brookhaven, GA 30329 www.BeltlineBikeRentals.com www.ElectroBikeGA.com � www.Facebook.com/ElectroBikeGA �
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Roy Diblik, author of “The Know Maintenance Garden,” will discuss the developing partnership between the gardener, plants and nature as part of an ongoing series of Georgia Perennial Plant Association talks. Event opens with light refreshments and a chance to mingle with fellow garden enthusiasts. Speaker begins at 7:30 p.m. Free. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: 240-505-0598.
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Court rejects Northside Hospital’s stand on shielding financial records BY GEORGIA HEALTH NEWS In a case closely watched by the state’s hospital industry, the Georgia Supreme Court has reversed lower court rulings that barred access to Northside Hospital’s financial records. The unanimous decision, announced Nov. 2, remands the case back to the trial court. Justice Nels Peterson wrote that the trial court applied the wrong legal standard in ruling against access to the records by plaintiff E. Kendrick Smith, an attorney. At the heart of the long-running dispute was whether the nonprofit Northside Hospital, located in Sandy Springs, was subject to the state’s open records law. The case has involved Northside’s rejection of requests for information about financial documents and other matters. Northside had argued it is not bound by the open records law. The hospital said that because it’s a private nonprofit corporation, not a public entity, this particular law does not apply to it. Attorney Peter Canfield had argued for the plaintiff that Northside — a hospital system based in Atlanta — is subject to the Georgia Open Records Act because it was created by a public hospital authority, which is a government entity, and that the system operates solely on the authority’s behalf. The ruling may have a ripple effect on the Georgia hospital industry, because Northside’s corporate structure resembles many others in the state. Many hospital authorities, for business purposes, have spun off their hospitals into separate nonprofit corporations over the past three decades. Under such an arrangement, the hospital authority leases the assets of the hospital to the corporation. These restructured hospitals include large urban facilities such as Grady in Atlanta, along with medical centers in Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Rome and Albany, as well as in the Atlanta suburbs. “At the very least …, Northside’s operation of the Leased Facilities is done on behalf of the Authority,’’ wrote Peterson in the court decision. “How closely the transactions at issue are tied to operating the Leased Facilities will determine whether documents are ‘public records.’ ” Canfield told Georgia Health News that he believes the plaintiffs will prevail at the lower court level. “We believe Northside is going to find it impossible to prove that these records aren’t connected with their operation of North-
Northside Hospital’s main campus in Sandy Springs.
side Hospital for the authority.’’ He added that the Supreme Court ruling would have an effect on the public availability of records of other hospitals structured similarly to Northside. The Georgia First Amendment Foundation praised the Supreme Court ruling. “The justices said that Northside is bound by principles of open government and transparency,” said Richard T. Griffiths, a board member of the foundation. “The big win for open government is that you can’t allow government agencies to spin off private entities so they can avoid public records scrutiny.” Griffiths added that “the lower court [now] has to look at these records as though Northside is a public entity and whether there’s an exception’’ to public access under the open records law. A Northside spokesperson, Lee Echols, said that “we are grateful that the Georgia Supreme Court has decisively rejected the appellant’s claim that virtually every Northside Hospital document is a public record, just as the trial court and Court of Appeals previously have stated. “From the beginning, the single goal of Mr. Smith has been to gain access, on behalf of a Northside Hospital competitor, to confidential business information that is clearly protected from disclosure,’’ Echols said. “Northside Hospital looks forward to prevailing as we move forward in the legal process.” Northside’s restructuring occurred in the early 1990s. It’s now an extremely successful hospital system, with more than $2 billion in revenues, and is set to add Gwinnett Medical Center, a large suburban system, to its fold. Northside has said for years that its flagship Atlanta hospital delivers more babies than any other community hospital in the nation. Attorney Canfield told the justices in
oral argument in April that “all the assets and liabilities acquired by Northside Inc. during the term of the lease revert to the hospital authority’’ when the lease ends. “Everything that Northside does [it] is doing for the authority,’’ Canfield said. “All of Northside’s assets come from the authority.’’ An attorney for Northside, Randy Evans, told the court in oral argument that the system is a regional player, owning other hospitals in areas that are not governed by the hospital authority in Fulton County. “There is no longstanding rule that every [restructured] hospital is necessarily subject to the Open Records Act,’’ Evans said. He said the Georgia Legislature has rejected attempts to change the law to widen access to records involving restructured hospitals. The fight over Northside’s records and hospital privacy began in 2013, when attorney Smith requested information about Northside’s expenditures in the acquisitions of physicians’ practices. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that year reported about patients who faced higher bills after the acquisition of two of these practices. The hospital turned down the request. The plaintiff, a partner of the firm Jones Day, filed suit, and the case was first heard in Fulton County Superior Court. The judge ruled in favor of Northside, saying that the hospital authority had nothing to do with the operations and acquisitions of the hospital. Smith appealed. The court of appeals, in a split decision, upheld the lower court ruling, and the case then went to the state’s highest court. The state’s attorney general, Chris Carr, had urged the Georgia Supreme Court to reverse the lower court opinion. The Georgia Open Records Act, known as a “sunshine law,” was created to let the
people of the state know what government agencies are doing. Ordinary citizens, lawyers and reporters routinely use the act to find out how agencies make decisions and spend money. Media outlets, which make frequent use of open records requests to investigate and report stories, traditionally favor broad access. The Georgia Press Association, the First Amendment Foundation, the Savannah Morning News and the AJC are among organizations that filed amicus briefs supporting the Smith appeal. Last year, Savannah’s Memorial Health rejected a request from the Savannah Morning News for documents on the relationship between the thenCEO of the health system and a potential buyer, Novant Health. In reply to the request, Memorial Health’s attorney cited Northside v. Smith and the earlier ruling that had favored Northside. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations, sided with Northside in the Smith case. Previous to Thursday’s ruling, Northside had said it was protecting its business interests by denying the requests. “If the decision is overturned, it’s certainly possible that other Georgia hospitals could be required to release sensitive business information when they’re not a public body,” it argued. The decision on Northside is the state Supreme Court’s second big ruling recently involving Georgia hospitals. Last month the court upheld Georgia’s “certificate of need” law in an opinion that said a surgical center could not expand without state approval. This story was reported by Georgia Health News, a nonprofit, independent news organization devoted to covering healthcare in the state.
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Classifieds | 29
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Administrative Assistant – Performs full administrative and general support duties to assist the manager and Board of Directors. Proficiency in MS Word, MS Excel and MS Outlook. Excellent people skills required. CINC experience a plus. Excellent starting compensation with benefits. Sandy Springs area. Email resume to: P.O. Box 4822, Alpharetta, GA 30023.
Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576.
Female Care-giver with 18 year’s experience seeks to barter services for living quarters in the Buckhead/Brookhaven/ Dunwoody area. Services: Care-giver, Chauffeur, Personal Assistant and Light House-keeping. Sweet indoor cat coming with. Call 470-351-7237
“LegalEats, A Lawyer’s Lite Cookbook” – a fun legal themed cookbook available
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South Fork Conservancy raises over $2M for trail connections BY EVELYN ANDREWS firstname.lastname@example.org
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The South Fork Conservancy says it has surpassed its $2 million goal in its first capital campaign to connect multiuse trails in DeKalb County, Buckhead and Brookhaven. The funds will be used to build several projects in the Buckhead area that will connect already completed trails. The conservancy is a nonprofit that creates trails along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, which runs between Buckhead and Emory University. The conservancy plans to link the trails with PATH400, which has already been completed near Peachtree Creek. It also plans to connect to the Atlanta BeltLine and Brookhaven’s planned Peachtree Creek Greenway. Officials plan to break ground on the first mile of the Greenway early next year. Construction on the section of the BeltLine that will eventually connect to the conservancy’s trails has not begun. The campaign will fund six projects in the Buckhead area that will provide connections between already completed trails, including a new bridge, crosswalk and two new trailheads. Some of the projects, including the Confluence Trail Bridge and Creek Walk Connector, already are under construction. “We hit the ground running and didn’t wait for the capital campaign for some of them,” said Kimberly Estep, executive director of the conservancy. “We wanted to get them ready for public use as soon as we could.” The conservancy’s long-term plan is to create trails along all 33 miles of the South Fork. The first phase of the plan is to create a trail system that connects Buckhead to the Emory campus. The conservancy already has opened three trails in Buckhead including The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop, which are all near I-85 and Ga. 400. The campaign has raised $2,041,000 so far and funds still are being received, according to a press release. The largest donations included a $500,000 gift from the Kendeda Fund, a local foundation, and a $250,000 grant from Park Pride, according to the release. “Foundations, businesses, and our local community have all enthusiastically joined us and we are deeply grateful for their generosity,” Joni Winston, the campaign’s co-chair, said in the release. “Their support shows a powerful connection to our mission of creating an urban oasis along Peachtree Creek.” The conservancy expected to wrap up the capital campaign early next year, but received enough donations to finish it earlier, Estep said. Funds raised in the capital campaign
are planned to be used for six projects. The largest project, expected to use $950,000 of the funds, is the Confluence Bridge, which is being built over Peachtree Creek and would serve as a hub allowing people to connect to PATH400, the BeltLine and Buckhead sidewalks from the South Fork trails, Estep said. The bridge is being built over the creek near the southern end of Adina Drive and I-85. Construction on the bridge has already begun and is projected to be completed by the end of 2018, Estep said. TSPLOST revenues also were used for the bridge, she said. “It really is a transformative project for the city of Atlanta. The bridge is in an area where there are not a lot of green space or parks. By creating this bridge we are allowing people to access miles of green space,” Estep said. The second project is the Confluence Bridge Trailhead, which would be the entrance to the intersection of three trails: the Confluence Trail; the PATH400/Atlanta BeltLine Connector Trail; and the Meadow Loop Trail. Work will include adding interpretative and wayfinding signage. The projected cost of the trailhead is $125,000, according to the conservancy’s website. A new trailhead for the Cheshire Farm Trail would also be created at Cheshire Bridge Road. Work will include adding public seating and bike racks, and is estimated to cost $100,000, Estep said. The conservancy already has begun work on the Creek Walk Connector, which is a paved path between the Confluence Trail and the Meadow Loop trail. It will connect those to trails to the Confluence Bridge. The conservancy has budgeted $650,000 for this trail, according to the conservancy’s website. The conservancy needs to renovate the Meadow Loop Trail because it sustained damage when serving as a construction staging area for the Creek Walk Connector. The renovation is projected to cost $90,000. The conservancy would also create a new crosswalk on Lindbergh Drive where the Meadow Loop Trail and the Cheshire Farm Trail meet. The conservancy has budgeted $85,000 for the crosswalk, the website said. The trails built by the conservancy are often not concrete, like other trails, including the Atlanta BeltLine. “They are soft, natural trails that give people the ability to connect with nature. That sets us apart from other trails in the area,” Estep said. The trails will also allow residents of the many apartments and condo buildings being built in the area to have easy access to green space, Estep said. For more information, visit southforkconservancy.org.
NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017
Community | 31
Disabled residents encouraged by sidewalk repairs Continued from page 1 will continue. Patients of the Shepherd Center, a brain and spinal cord injury hospital on Peachtree Road, have expressed frustration in the past months that repairs were not being made to sidewalks they felt were dangerous. While there are several damaged sidewalks that still need repair, they are encouraged by the attention this is being given by the city. Some repairs are being made, the residents told members of the media during a meeting Oct. 30 to look at sidewalk damage. “The repairs are good and I’m glad it is getting attention,” Jarvis Brown, a Shepherd Center patient, said at the meeting. The residents are celebrating repairs the city has completed to sidewalks and ramps at the corner of Peachtree Road and Lindbergh Drive, which is in an area where they say most of the problems they see are located. However, Brown said it still takes too long for the city to address the issues. It shouldn’t take months of requesting the same issue on ATL311, the city’s hotline for city services, for these issues to be addressed, he said. Wheelchair users have the right to be able to safely use city sidewalks, he said. “It takes them a while and it takes longer than it should,” he said. “We have a right to be in society like everybody else.” Jamie Shepherd, the Shepherd Center’s director of community services and risk management, said he is encouraged by the repairs and is hopeful they will
continue. “Shepherd Center is encouraged that the need for sidewalk repair is being addressed, and we are hopeful that the resolution of this issue will come soon and yield a more accessible environment for all citizens,” Shepherd said. One patient of the Shepherd Center, who asked her name not be used, celebrated the work and thanked construction workers who were making repairs during the Oct. 30 stroll down Peachtree Road. “The work being done at Lindbergh BH
[Drive] and Peachtree [Road] is fabulous! We have been enthusiastically thanking the road crews and police officers every single time we go by,” she said. “Let us please keep the momentum of this kind of progress going for a more accessible and safe Atlanta for every pedestrian of every variation of mobility.” Most of the sidewalks the residents cite as dangerous are along a commute to the hospital from bus stops and their nearby apartments. Some sidewalks are crushed, ramp entrances are too steep and signs block sidewalks. Some ramps are so steep the residents said their wheelchairs have tipped over into the road. Three residents who are patients of the brain and spinal cord injury hospital planned to meet Carlos Collins, a Department of Public Works project manager, at the Shepherd Center to show him these problems along Peachtree Road. The residents had invited members of the media, including the Buckhead Reporter, and
Christina Cruz-Benton, a city of Atlanta spokesperson, said he had to decline the meeting because city employees are not authorized to speak with the media. “City employees are not authorized to speak to the news media without proper clearance from their department head and from the Mayor’s Office of Communications. Therefore, Mr. Collins had to respectfully decline the meeting,” Cruz-Benton said. Despite Collins absence, the residents decided to continue and to show the members of the media the damaged sidewalks, which include some sidewalks crushed so significantly the wheels on the patients’ wheelchairs would get stuck. “It was disappointing that [Collins] couldn’t come. We really would have liked him to see the damage. I think it says so much about they don’t realize how significant an issue it is,” said Sally Flocks, the executive director of PEDS, a pedestrian
A road work sign was placed on a sidewalk, which is not allowed under guidelines of the Americas with Disabilities Act. The large sign makes it hard for wheelchair users to use the sidewalk, and Brown clipped the sign with his shoulder when he passed by it. James Curtis, a wheelchair user who attended the meeting, said he has been “frustrated by the finger pointing” between officials of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the city of Atlanta on which jurisdiction has the responsibility to repair sidewalks. The city has previously said it is GDOT’s responsibility to repair and maintain sidewalks on state routes, including Peachtree Road. However, GDOT maintains that it is not its responsibility, and the city is now working to complete the repairs. “Sidewalk repair, even on state routes, is and has always been a city responsibility,” Natalie Dale, a GDOT
PHOTOS BY EVELYN ANDREWS
James Curtis, a Buckhead resident and Shepherd Center patient, waits at an intersection across from a sign that is blocking the sidewalk on Oct. 30. Sally Flocks, the executive director of PEDS, watches as Jarvis Brown’s powered wheelchair barely makes it over a crushed sidewalk on Peachtree Road.
when Collins realized this, he called his supervisor. Collins discussed the media’s presence with the supervisor who indicated on speakerphone that the meeting could continue, but Collins suddenly left without indicating he was leaving. Residents at the meeting tried to contact him, but he did not return their calls.
advocacy group. Some sidewalk ramps at intersections are not flush with the ground and have an edge that is hard for wheelchair users to make it over. A pedestrian light button at one intersection was set a few back from the road in grass, inaccessible for wheelchairbound pedestrians.
spokesperson, said. Laura Dobson, a Peachtree Hills resident, came to the meeting to assist wheelchair users. She said she developed a completely different perspective on sidewalk damage after seeing how it affects disabled pedestrians. “My eyes are completely opened,” Dobson said.
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Published on Nov 10, 2017