11-10-17 Sandy Springs Reporter

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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 23


Sandy Springs Reporter



► For sale: Metropolitan Baptist Church PAGE 3 ► After NYC attack, bike path barriers considered PAGE 21


City Springs’ big arts plans on track after legal tangle

Strings for Sandy Springs

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A multi-week grand opening and a new theater company are among the big plans for City Springs’ arts programming debut next year. And those plans are finally moving forward with the resolution of a legal tangle that delayed booking shows and raising key funds — including through facility naming opportunities — and pushed back the theater’s opening schedule. The Sandy Springs Foundation, a See CITY on page 17 PHIL MOSIER

Elisabeth Levy, a sixth-grader at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, dons a Santa hat to perform in the school’s strings group at the Elegant Elf Marketplace Nov. 5. The seventh annual fundraiser for the Sandy Springs Society, which included an arts market, music, dance, fashion show and book-signing, was held at Lake Forest Elementary School.

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

Hunter Hill


Page 10


See OUT & ABOUT Page 25

Election brings change, and more to come BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Nov. 7 election brought some significant political changes to Sandy Springs – and promised more to come in the Dec. 5 runoffs. The City Council gained two new members: Steve Soteres in District 2 and Jody Reichel in District 4. Gabriel Sterling, the councilmember Reichel will replace, lost his bid for Fulton County commission chair. Rival candidates Robb Pitts and Keisha Waites will fight on into the runoff. And the local state Senate District 6 made See ELECTION on page 19

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2 | Community

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Community Briefs Sandy Springs Place Offers Compassionate Care That Seniors Deserve. Whether you are looking for assisted living or memory care services, we can help find solutions for you or your loved one. We provide individualized care plans and a licensed nurse available around-the-clock.

M AYO R , CITY CO U NCI L BA C K NEW NO R TH S P R ING S HI G H Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council are expressing “strong support” for a call to rebuild North Springs Charter High School in a resolution approved Nov. 7. Mayor Rusty Paul sent a personal letter to the Fulton County Board of Education as well. The city leaders are backing a call from a community group called Citizens for a New North Springs, which believes the 1963 building at 7447 Roswell Road is too outdated for modern learning, safety and teacher retention. A previously approved architectural survey of the building is underway, which Fulton County Schools says is purely for an already planned addition and renovation, but which CFANNS sees a foot in the door for a possible new building. The city is also interested in a new building as dovetailing with its plans to spark redevelopment of older apartment complexes and shopping centers along northern Roswell Road. “I call this the Frankenstein architecture they’ve pieced together in additions over the years,” Councilmember Ken Dishman said of North Springs. “This [new building] needs to happen.”

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Accepting the Volunteer of the Year award at the October ceremony are, from left, Michael Perry, city Recreation and Parks director; Clarke Otten, Friends of Lost Corner board member; and Wayne Maddox, Georgia Recreation and Park Association District 7 Commissioner.


FR IEND S O F LO ST COR NER WI NS VO L UNTEER I S M AWA R D Friends of Lost Corner was named the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by the Georgia Recreation and Park Association at an October ceremony in Columbus. The nonprofit friends group helps to staff and maintain Lost Corner Preserve, a city park at 7300 Brandon Mill Road. The city nominated the group for the award, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

ATTO R NEY: CHU R CH’S C HI C KEN L AW S UI T I S ‘R ES O LV ED’ A sexual harassment lawsuit against Sandy Springs-based Church’s Chicken has been “resolved,” according to the attorney who was prepared to file it. Tamara Holder represented a former employee of the fast-food chain who reported being harassed by an executive and earlier this year threatened a lawsuit. The company previously said the executive had been “terminated.” Church’s did not respond to questions about any resolution to the case. Holder is a former Fox News contributor who gained national attention for a settlement of her own sexual assault complaint against an executive there. Holder said the enlivant.com Church’s case is important becauase “sexual harassment affects so many women in corporate America,” but did not respond to requests for details about when and how the lawsuit was resolved. Holder also did not say what happened to a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed by the former employee, and the EEOC says it does not comment on such cases. SS

NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

Community | 3


Sandy Springs church is for sale; housing redevelopment possible BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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. It was named “Metropolitan,” Bednar said, to reflect that it welcomed members from the entire metro Atlanta area. He said that one founding member, now 96 years old, remains in the Dr. Nate Bednar, the church’s senior seven-member congregation today. pastor, stands in the sanctuary before the pulpit where he has preached for years. Davis recalled that the land was once a

A sale sign is up at Metropolitan Baptist Church at 4795 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs.


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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Judge rules Fulton County can collect property taxes BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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-


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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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 johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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

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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 dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net 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.


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.


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.

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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.

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10 | Education

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Erin Hazelwood

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

Education News

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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


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 —

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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


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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







dyanabagby@repor ternewspapers.net

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




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


Plan would add light, median on Roswell Road BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A city plan to signalize a dangerous intersection would also begin fulfilling a vision of Roswell Road as a “boulevard” with a partly grassy, tree-lined median. The plan for the Grogans Ferry Road intersection and a 2,000-foot stretch of Roswell Road to the north and south was presented to more than 20 residents at a City Hall open house Oct. 26. Response to the safety-driven plan — which is about two years away from any construction — was largely positive, as the intersection’s dangers are wellknown, especially for left-turning vehicles. A total of 67 accidents were recorded on that stretch of Roswell in 2014 through 2016, officials said, with 27 within the intersection. “My wife was almost one of those statistics” when her car was hit while turning onto Grogans Ferry, said one man who declined to identify himself. Currently, the Grogans Ferry intersection has an unusual configuration: two separate, parallel lanes that fork in Y shapes to meet Roswell as four distinct lanes. For drivers on northbound Roswell Road to access Grogans Ferry, they must use a center turning lane, known in planning slang as a “suicide lane” for easily causing collisions. The city plan is to reconfigure the intersection and add a traffic light. Grogans Ferry would be narrowed and reworked into a more typical three-lane design. Across the street, the driveway for the Addison at Sandy Springs apartments, known as Hampton Drive, would be realigned to use the traffic light as well, a move requiring significant right of way easement or acquisition. The plan also tackles car and pedestrian safety improvements on Roswell Road roughly between City Hall at 7840 Roswell and the Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range at 8040 Roswell. The fixes include adding turn islands and crosswalks at many driveways, and widening the travel lanes from 10.5 to 11 feet, which consultants say meets modern safety standards to avoid sideswipe accidents. But the biggest change is replacing much of the suicide lane with a median or a more restricted lane allowing only left- or U-turns. Some parts of the median would be four feet wide and only concrete, but one section near City Hall would be six feet wide and planted with grass and trees. Running a green median along much of Roswell Road is included in the city’s new

“Next Ten” landuse vision document. City officials and consultants say two other intersection improvement projects, both in even earlier conceptual stages, could include similar Roswell Road medians: Dalrymple Road and TrowJOHN RUCH bridge Road. All Consultant Randall Strunk of Columbia Engineering listens three intersection to residents’ feedback about the Grogans Ferry Road plan. plans are funded through the recent transportation special purpose local option sales tax, or TSPLOST. Roswell Road is a state route, and the Georgia Department of Transportation is on board with the proposed lane, median and light changes, according to city TSPLOST Project Manager Steve Tiedemann. “They’re good with it,” he said of GDOT. The main reason for the traffic light is safety, officials said, but it might improve travel time on that section of Roswell Road as well by making vehicle flow more rational and create dedicated turn lanes. “The devil’s in the details, but so far it looks very good,” said one of many attendees who made favorable comments. One concern among attendees was finding some way to restrict cut-through traffic related to Ison Springs Elementary School on Ison Road, which intersects with Grogans Ferry roughly a half-mile from the Roswell Road end of the street. The intersection project still has a long way to go. The city’s projected construction start date is late 2019 and work is estimated to take a year.


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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

Commentary | 15


Give Thanks!

Letter to the Editor Dunwoody calling … let’s talk traffic One ringy-dingy! Two ringy-dingy! “Hello, Sandy Springs speaking. How may I help you?” “Oh, hi there! This is Dunwoody calling.” “Why how nice to hear from our little neighbor! How are things over there?” “Nice of you to ask. Doing real well, thank you. Except for one thing.” “What’s that, dear?” “Well, since you asked … traffic lights.” “Hmmm …” “It took me 15 whole minutes to get through one.” “No! Really? All this traffic just makes a body frantic, doesn’t it? Where was that?” “Well, since you asked … Roswell Road and just about any street crossing it.” “What? Roswell Road? That’s our main street!” “Yes, it is. And you know what else? It’s just going to get worse with all those apartments being built there.” “Humpf! I do declare.” “Something just has to be done with timing those lights, don’t you agree?” “Just what do you expect me to do about it?” “Well, since you asked … pass this along to your traffic engineers. They’ll figure it out.” “I’ll just do that. Anything else?” “Well …” “Bye-bye now.” Click. Barbara Schneider Dunwoody (with thanks to Lily Tomlin)

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16 | Community

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City official: ‘We’re not taking houses’ on Mount Vernon BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Amid boiling controversy over a Mount Vernon Highway widening concept, a city official is finally giving residents the clear promise they’ve been demanding: No eminent-domaining of houses for the final project. “We’re taking slivers [of right of way]. We’re not taking houses,” said Steve Tiedemann, the city’s TSPLOST program manager, who is overseeing the Mount Vernon project as one of many items funded by a transportation special local option sales tax. “In fact, we will be avoiding any major impacts,” added Tiedemann, explaining the city intends to work mostly within the existing right of way, though it may need to take smaller pieces of adjacent property. “We’re gonna see what fits in there,” rather than taking the whole surrounding area, he said. Tiedemann said that specifically includes a high brick retaining wall around the Registry Glen subdivision at the Glenridge Drive intersection, whose potential loss was another major concern. “It’s not our intent to take out

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that wall,” he said, adding that the city might take property to widen the right of way closer to the wall. Tiedemann’s statements follow weeks of growing local controversy fueled by other officials — including City Councilmembers Chris Burnett and Gabriel Sterling — saying that house-taking could not be ruled out and that it was too early in the planning process to take local input about the possibility. On Oct. 24, Burnett attended a twohour meeting of local homeowners associations, where he apologized for the city’s “poor job” of communication about the Mount Vernon concept. The general concept is adding multiuse paths and transit lanes to Mount Vernon in some configuration, with a few different early options. The concept has been on paper for months and is a combo of items on the TSPLOST project list approved by voters a year ago. But conceptual drawings showing possible house-takings were not widely known until recent weeks, when surveyors began appearing in local yards and city-hired consultants held a meeting to discuss transit preferences. HOA leaders say their concerns about property impacts were brushed aside as premature by city officials and the consultants, and they fear losing meaningful input, along with their homes. Burnett indicated at that meeting that city councilmembers themselves know little about the current status of the project and its concepts, including the surveying or the content of the consultants’ meetings, and added he had been pressing to get more information from city staff. Tiedemann commented on the project during an informal conversation at an Oct. 26 city meeting about a different project. As city spokesperson Sharon Kraun mentioned that the project is still conceptual and that house-taking or other right of way issue cannot be ruled out yet, Tiedemann said, “That’s my project” and gave the definitive comments. Asked about the possibility of house-taking for the project, he showed no hesitation in saying, “No.” The city will hold its first general public meeting about the Mount Vernon concept on Nov. 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall, 471 Mount Vernon Highway.


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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

Community | 17


City Springs’ big arts plans on track after legal tangle Continued from page 1 nonprofit in charge of the fundraising and community input for arts at the new civic center, is ready to raise an initial $7.5 million under the campaign slogan, “Art Springs Forth,” board members said at a Nov. 1 meeting. It already has a fundraising company, First Community Development, working on the project. That money would help launch a slate of regular arts programming — one of the trustees is director of the new City Springs Theatre Company — following a lengthy grand opening of virtually every type of performance. “It’s not a grand opening. It’s grand openings,” said Jan Collins, the foundation’s programming committee chair, about the city’s early plans at the Nov. 1 meeting. “Two weeks of grand opening.” The funds have other purposes, too – especially arts education programs related to shows. At a Nov. 7 city meeting, Mayor Rusty Paul said that is a key function. “It’s not just about entertaining ourselves,” Paul said of City Springs. “It’s about creating a new generation of artists.”

Legal status and naming ‘opportunities’ But before public fundraising or sponsorship-offering could begin, the city had to untangle the legal status of who can spend money on what at the facility, according to city attorneys. A core issue was the use of federal tax-exempt bonds to fund the $222 million project, which comes with a 10 percent limit on “private” use of the facility, city staff attorney Kathy Williams told the foundation Nov. 1. City Attorney Dan Lee said that issue had been cleared up by a specialty tax attorney on Nov. 7, as was a disagreement with the theater’s private management about what type of contracts to use for booking shows. Under the clarified fundraising arrangement, the foundation can solicit and vet donations, while the city Public Facilities Authority — which consists of the mayor and City Council members under a different legal status — can decide whether to accept such donations and approve naming all or part of City Springs. With that policy, donors cannot directly buy naming rights, but only become considered for “naming opportunities” to recognize their contribution. “We’ve been held up on legal issues,” said Ken Byers, the foundation’s executive board chair, at a Nov. 7 meeting of the Public Facilities Authority. “We’re chomping at the bit” to raise the funds, he said. The legal confusion has delayed booking of shows at City Springs’ 1,100seat performing arts center, officials said, partly because that often involves sponsorships or other financial underSS

writing. The theater now may not open until August or September, though other public spaces in City Springs may hold arts events earlier, said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. Another programming wrinkle is that Michael Enoch, the general manager for arts programming at City Springs, has been out for weeks on medical leave, according to officials from the city and his direct employer, the management company Spectra by Comcast Spectacor. Other Spectra officials have stepped in and Enoch participates in teleconference discussions while awaiting his return, they said. Besides the large theater, City Springs’ arts and entertainment venues will include a smaller theater, a park with a sculpture garden, galleries and event spaces. The overall complex — located between Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway at Roswell Road — includes a new City Hall, retail space and housing. Many of those public event spaces could be named in honor of donors, with possibilities ranging from the entire performing arts center to its stage curtain, stairways, even the parking lot. With the new legal clarity, the Public Facilities Authority approved the general idea of donor-naming and a policy for vetting proposals for propriety. However, councilmembers had some reservations. “This facility does not belong to XYZ Corporation,” but to the citizens, and its name should reflect that, Tibby DeJulio said. John Paulson said, “I guess I’m not ready for this to be … the Wendy’s Hamburger Performing Arts Center.” Chris Burnett said he understands concerns that “you don’t want the [performing arts center] to look like a NASCAR [racing car].” Paul emphasized that any naming would happen only with Public Facilities Authority approval. He also said the city is not only interested in giant corporate donations, but likely will have such opportunities as individual bricks so that regular community members can feel connected, “whether you can give a lot or give a little.”

— remains unclear. Foundation executive board chair Ken Byers said it is technically not an in-house theater company, but is intended to perform “Broadwaystyle” shows at City Springs. Natalie Barrow, the trustee who heads the company, declined to comment beyond saying “more soon.” Steve Hauser, a Sandy Springs attorney who is the theater company’s registered agent in state papers, also declined comment. Different parts of City Springs will open in different phases, with the park possibly opening next spring and the performing arts center later in the year. Various arts events may debut in phases, too, Kraun said. As for the grand opening, she said it will be “not just a day, not just a week,” but a rolling slate of indoor and outdoor events. Collins said Spectra officials are discussing a wide range of events, including but not limited to “traditional performing arts”; ballet; symphony and chamber music; pop music; film; lectures; comedy; family activities; private and corporate events. Another important part of ongoing foundation funding is fulfilling the mandate from city leaders that cultural events be appealing and affordable to everyone in Sandy Springs.

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Lear ssning A Lifetime of Le is more Lewis

Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. By Kathy Dean with Perimeter Adults but did share his this spring reveal his name, students taking classes 175 among We are hear it all The men most of whom adults, time: senior (PALS). less is more. rings especiallyforthe Learning & Services start. The phrase continuing education true for older from the year of providing members adultsneed empty nests been PALS is in its 25th are facing and are the whofor of Dunwoody, have care ready of takes to of and his wife, Dot, of their enjoy the second kind lives. and this are 60-plus. Yates Intown and north half to help other people, many comforta metro Atlanta friends.” “People our age want made lifelong ble options for offer them. on page 4 Yates said. “We have “Baby boomers fellowship,” Dot have spent Continued working and much of their building lives said Dawn Anderson their wealth for retiremen t,” , Realtor, Dorsey “As retiremen Alston Realtors. t becomes more of a reality, they plan their transition begin to to downsize. Ease and affordability of life, proximity are certainly the goals of most downsizi ng boomers.” common The trend of continues to grow, 55+ active adult commun ities Anderson said. well qualified “Baby boomers buyers and know are looking for.” exactly what they are Kim Isaacs, aged Avalon in Alpharet 58, said that her townhom e in ta gives her everything they and her husband want. “We had home in Johns lived in our previous Creek for 19 years. left for college, When our last we child and really didn’t decided that we wanted a change need a large house of us,” she said. for just the two



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Grand opening and programs When the fundraising finally launches, it is intended to spark major cultural events. Paul and other officials have previously said they have already discussed possible collaborations with such institutions as Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, whose director, Kenny Blank, is a foundation board member. The exact nature of the City Springs Theatre Company — which incorporated in March, according to state records

That involves not only subsidizing some programs, but also, Collins said, conducting focus groups and surveys on past and future shows. Extensive educational program is also on the foundation’s drawing board, including after-school programs, internships, teacher training and more.


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18 | Community

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Pet stores would be prohibited from selling dogs and cats from breeding facilities, and only allowed to host pet adoptions from rescue organizations, under a new city law in the works. No pet stores in the city currently sell such animals anyway, officials said at a Nov. 7 City Council meeting. But the planned ordinance “to promote adoption of rescue animals” drew council support as a symbolic and preventative measure. “The rationale is, take away the profits, you get rid of those puppy mills” where animals are raised in “terrible conditions,” said Councilmember Gabriel Sterling. The ordinance was presented in a non-voting work session, where councilGABRIEL STERLING members agreed COUNCILMEMBER for city staff to move ahead with a final version. Assistant City Clerk Kelly Bognar and City Attorney Dan Lee presented the ordinance as promoting humane treatment of animals, protecting customers and potentially saving local government money that might be spent dealing with abandoned animals. The proposed ordinance’s preamble cites such organizations as the Humane Society of America, the Georgia SPCA, Fix Georgia Pets and the American Kennel Club. The concern, officials say, is that most cats and dogs sold in pet stores are from

so-called mills. As the ordinance’s preamble explains, “puppy and kitten mills are mass-breeding facilities that produce puppies and kittens with an emphasis on profit over welfare of the animal. These mills generally house these animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization.” The ordinance would ban pet stores from any type of commercial trading of dogs and cats and permit them only to host rescue animals from governmentor nonprofitoperated shelters. Even then, stores would be required to post a sign showing what organization each animal came from. And cats and dogs under 8 weeks old could not be adopted. A pet store could be fined up to $500 per violation. The ordinance would not bar individual customers from purchasing dogs or cats directly from a breeder “where consumers can see directly the conditions in which the dogs or cats are bred, or can confer directly with the breeder concerning those conditions.” “I think this is a good idea,” Mayor Rusty Paul said of the proposed ordinance. “I strongly support this ordinance,” said Councilmember Ken Dishman, adding that “this particular issue hits close to home” because his daughter supports the concept and they recently adopted a dog.

The rationale is, take away the profits, you get rid of those puppy mills.

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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

Election brings change, and more to come Continued from page 1 a notable flip from Republican red to Democratic blue, as two Democrats were the top vote-getters heading into the runoff. However, Election Night brought some stability, too. Mayor Rusty Paul and Councilmembers Andy Bauman, Chris Burnett, Tibby DeJulio and John Paulson are all returning to office without a single vote after their elections were canceled due to the lack of challengers. As the sole candidate to replace Ken Dishman, who is stepping down from the District 2 seat, Soteres won office without a vote as well.

City Council District 4

Reichel defeated Le’Dor Milteer for the District 4 council seat, drawing 920 votes, or about 65 percent of the total, to Milteer’s 505 Jody Reichel. votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the citizens of the Fourth District for electing me to the Sandy Springs City Council,” Reichel said. “I am honored that you have put your trust in me, and I promise to work diligently to serve the best interest of our community.” Reichel is a real estate investor and landlord who ran an entirely self-funded campaign. She will be the council’s lone woman member. Reichel may take office sooner than the beginning of the new council term in January. Sterling remains in office while making his Fulton County chair campaign, but previously said he might resign after Election Day. That would allow the incumbent City Council to appoint his elected successor to fill out the final weeks of his term and ensure elected continuity.

Fulton County chair

In the Fulton chair race’s unofficial results, Pitts led with 38.27 percent of the vote, followed by Waites at 33.93 percent. Sterling finished out of the running with 27.8 percent. Pitts and Waites are Robb Pitts. Democrats, while Sterling is a Republican. Pitts, a Buckhead resident who formerly served as Atlanta City Council president and a Fulton commissioner, was optimistic SS

Community | 19


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.” He also said he wished the opponents in the race resorted to less “name-calling” and said he is focused on resolving the county’s tax digest dispute with the state, which has plunged school districts into crisis mode. Waites, a former state representative from Atlanta, did not respond to a request for comment. Sterling conceded in a Facebook statement. “Well, it appears tonight Keisha Waites. 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.” Sterling declined immediate on his plans, but said in the online statement he would continue to fight for his campaign promise of capping property tax increases. He has previously said he may expand his home beer-brewing business, Elbow Bend Brewing.

State Senate District 6

The District 6 Senate seat, which includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, was long held by Republicans, but was left vacant when Hunter Hill resigned to run for governor. On Nov. 7, Democrats Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard were the top vote-getters, at 24.43 and 22.51 percent, respectively, in unofficial results for the special election from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Howard ran unsuccessfully against Hill last year, but close enough to raise talk of a flip from Republican red to Democratic blue — political symbols of party control of a district. Jordan campaigned using the slogan “Flip the 6th,” an homage to the identical slogan Democrat Jon Ossoff used in a high-profile competition won by Republican Karen Handel earlier this year in the 6th Congressional District. The partisan switch means Republicans will lack a supermajority in the state Senate, preventing the GOP from singlehandedly overriding the governor’s vetoes or putting constitutional amendments before voters — an issue Howard ran on. 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.



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20 | Community

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Sandy Springs Democrat launches 6th Congressional District campaign BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs Democrat Kevin Abel is the latest candidate to announce a challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District next year. Abel is the founder of Abel Solutions, an Alpharetta-based IT consulting firm, and serves on the board of such organizations as Sandy Springs’ Davis Academy and New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement and assistance nonprofit. According to his campaign’s Facebook page, Abel is a native of South Africa. He says he lived the American Dream, but is running because he fears for its future. “While my family and I have benefited from the American Dream, this beacon of hope and opportunity has been eroded,” Abel wrote. “Our national political arena has devolved into a perpetual shouting match; anger and acrimony dominate our national dialogue. Republicans and Democrats alike have an abysmal view of our United States Congress.” He said he wants to work in Congress on bipartisan solutions to “our

Jon Ossoff’s relatively close competition with Handel for the 6th District seat in a nationally spotlighted special election earlier this year. “Living in Georgia as a Democrat, I never considered getting into politics because it’s not very friendly to Democrats,” he said. But the special election showed the “door opened to a centrist Democrat … to get elected.” Abel said he grew up in Alpharetta, living there for 20 years before his move to Sandy Springs. He said many of his friends then and now are centrist Republicans. They include Sandy Springs City Council member elect Jody Reichel, who is his neighbor in the Mount Vernon Woods subdivision, and whom he says he supportsed. “I always thought that we had more in common that what sepaSPECIAL rates us,” especially on domestic polKevin Abel. icies, Abel said of the area’s centrist Democrats and Republicans. country’s biggest domestic challenges, Abel does not count Handel including healthcare policy, immigraamong those centrists. tion, social security, climate change, “Her stance on Planned Parenthood campaign finance, and the ever-exdoesn’t exactly make her a centrist in panding debt.” my mind,” he said. In 2012, Handel reIn a phone interview, Abel said his signed as a vice president at the Susan campaign was inspired by Democrat G. Komen breast cancer charity after

enormous controversy over its defunding of a Planned Parenthood cancer screening program. Critics say Handel played a key role and was motivated by her anti-abortion stance, while Handel has said she was following the organization’s general plan to focus on more proven cancer prevention programs. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about Karen Handel,” Abel said, but then immediately added, “I believe Karen Handel represents the right wing of the Republican Party … that is not going to stand up to Donald Trump and say no to the crazy things emanating from the White House.” “Karen Handel is part of that … That is not centrist, in my opinion,” he said. One of Abel’s passions is his work with New American Pathways, a Tucker-based nonprofit that resettles refugees, largely in Clarkston. An immigrant himself, he said his experience is nothing like that of, for example, people fleeing Syria’s civil war. But he said he understands “coming from the outside where we looked in and said, ‘Oh, my God, look at how lucky they are.’ … We really are a great country.” Trump’s election was an “absolute disaster for refugee resettlement from Day One,” Abel said. The “travel ban and Muslim ban” was not a specific motivator for him to enter the race, but is “something that’s very disturbing to me,” he said. Abel described today’s political divisions at making him fear for the immediate future of democracy itself. He said of his campaign, “If not now, when? If not who, me?” Bobby Kaple might argue that “who” could be him. Kaple, a Democratic former TV news anchor from Milton, recently announced a run for the 6th District seat. Abel said Kaple is a “credible candidate” with similar politics, but hasn’t lived here as long and lacks the business experience. “I believe strongly I’m the one who can beat [Handel],” Abel said. Ossoff recently moved to Brookhaven, within the 6th District, while not ruling out another campaign. Meanwhile, Handel is is not yet looking ahead to campaigning, according to her political spokesperson, Charlie Harper. “Karen’s total focus right now is on her constituents and the issues that are important to them, such as securing tax cuts for working families,” Harper said. The Congressional district includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, as well as areas of Cobb, DeKalb and north Fulton counties. SS

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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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.







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.



Ongoing Fridays, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 to 9 a.m.

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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.


Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m.

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NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

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.


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.


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 lukea@marist.com, or 770-936-2228. Continued on page 24


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

Comprehensive Women’s Health


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

Lynley S. Durrett, M.D. Obiamaka Mora, M.D. State of the art Pelvic & Bladder Surgeries Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy daVinci Robotic Surgery Bio Identical Hormone Therapy

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.


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.


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.


Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Presentation begins at 7 p.m.


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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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.


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.


Monday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.



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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.



NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

| 27


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28 | Community

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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


Reporter Classifieds

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110





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

Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490.

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30 | Community

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North Fulton transportation plan seeks public comment



BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


The North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan is nearing completion, and planners are accepting public comment on its draft recommendations through Nov. 29. The CTP is an attempt to take a regional approach at setting priorities on a wide range of transportation improvements, both short-term and long-term, in north Fulton’s six cities: Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park and Roswell. The current version is an update from a previous effort in 2010. The CTP looks ahead 25 years, a timeframe that has it mostly, but not exclusively, sticking to road and multiuse path projects. Mass transit possibilities are mostly left to a separate but related study — also wrapping soon — called the Fulton County Transit Master Plan. The CTP is not rehashing improvements that are already funded, such as those on the project list of the recently approved transportation special local option sales tax. Instead, it’s about planning for a future TSPLOST or other funding. It also establishes guiding principles, such

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as “connectivity” of trail systems. The CTP is a $1.25 million study, of which Sandy Springs is paying $67,000. The Sandy Springs City Council got a presentation of the draft recommendations at its Nov. 7 meeting and is expected to vote on whether to adopt the plan at its Dec. 5 meeting. The recommendations appear to have no significant changes since a community input meeting held in Sandy Springs in August. Among the CTP proposals for Sandy Springs in the nearer term are widening Hammond Drive and adding bicycle and pedestrian amenities. Another is further extending the PATH400 multiuse trail from its current Buckhead segment. Current plans would take that trail into Sandy Springs and, as part of the state’s reconstruction of the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange, bring it through the Medical Center to Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. The CTP proposes extending PATH400 further along Peachtree-Dunwoody to Abernathy Road. As a longer-term idea, the CTP proposes such multiuse trails along all of Ga. 400 and I-285 within the city. Other concepts include: Turning Roswell Road into a “boulevard” with a median and bike lanes, as proposed in the city’s recent Next Ten planning effort; building a “limited access” road over Ga. 400 between Glenlake Parkway and the North Springs MARTA Station; and adding bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Peachtree-Dunwoody Road corridor and streets in the Powers Ferry Landing area. To view the draft recommendations and comment on them, see northfultonctp.com.

M AY O R V I S IT S D.C . T O TA L K T R A NS P O R TATI O N WO ES Mayor Rusty Paul reported to the City Council Nov. 7 that he had visited Washington, D.C., in late October to complain to various officials about red tape cities face in permitting of federally funded transportation projects. He said he met with members of Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation officials, and had a lengthy stop at the White House to talk with intergovernmental affairs staff. The White House staff members were receptive, he said, because they said that after a current tax reform proposal, the Trump administration’s next effort will be an infrastructure program package. – John Ruch SS

NOVEMBER 10 - 23, 2017

Public Safety | 31


Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information, which represents some of the reports filed between Oct. 21-Nov. 3.

noticed her apartment door had been tampered with and found a window open. She did not notice anything out of place and thought nothing more of it until the bank contacted her Oct. 31 to say her checks had been used.

B U R G L A RY 600 block of Mount Paran

Road — On Oct. 24, the resident said two unlocked cars, inside an open garage, were entered during the late-night hours. The missing items include two garage door openers, a Louis Vuitton checkbook, purse, wallet, debit and ID cards, and a golf bag. One of the credit cards was used on Godby Place in Atlanta.

Captain STEVE ROSE, SSPD srose@sandyspringsga.gov

5500 block of Glenridge Drive — On Oct.

24, the victim said between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. someone entered the apartment without force, and removed an mp3 player. 100 block of Marsh Glen Point — On

100 block of Allen Road — On Nov. 3, a woman reported that someone has been coming into her apartment when she is gone and stealing items. She said stamps, photos, and water have been stolen. She said they left pubic hair in her refrigerator.

THEFT 7 Concourse Parkway — On Oct. 21, a

Cedar Run — On Oct. 29, a 21-year-old

a grocery store manager reported that just after 2 p.m., two men came into the store and stole 15 laundry pod cases and fled. The two suspects dropped most of them as the staff member noticed the theft and yelled at them. The two departed in a white SUV.

6000 block of Park Avenue — On

Oct. 30, someone shattered a glass back door and entered the home, where they took a laptop, phone charger, and several checks. In addition, several other burglaries were reported on this road. Neighbors said they saw a red car park nearby at the wood line, at about the time of the burglaries. Two men got out and walked around the area, but were not seen committing the burglary. 5200 block of Mount Vernon High-

way — On Oct. 30, a resident called police and told them her black Audi was stolen from her garage just after 7 p.m. She said she looked out of the window and saw her car driving off, followed by a small silver Mazda. The car was unlocked and the garage door open. The Audi has a push start system. 5900 block of Roswell Road — On Oct. 31,

responding to an alarm, cops found that a phone store had been burglarized by someone who entered an empty storefront at 5980 Roswell, then made a hole through the drywall and into the store’s bathroom. Taken were a number of JBL and Onyx speakers from the back room. 5500 block of Roswell Road — On Nov.

1, the resident said someone came into her home and took checks from her safe. She recalled that back on Oct. 12, she

9700 block of Huntcliff Trace — On

Nov. 3, a landscape employee said he and his crew left several tools near the roadway. A car drove up and a man got out and took a chainsaw and trimmer, then drove off. He was in a brown Toyota Camry with tinted windows.

Somehow, someone managed to figure out how to get into the car, then READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT start the car and drive away.


Oct. 24, two cars, inside a garage, were entered and a checkbook was stolen. The resident said the garage door was open only from 11:30 p.m. until just after midnight. woman said sometime overnight, someone came into the unlocked apartment and stole an Xbox game system.


5900 block of Hilderbrand Drive — On Nov. 1, the resident said someone took her weed eater, chainsaw, and leaf blower from her carport.

us LS460 car was stolen from the front parking area of a gas station. The victim said he was gone from the car for only a short time. The car was turned off, but the keys were inside and it was unlocked.

laptop and projector were stolen from a boardroom inside a hotel.

SANDY SPRINGS PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE A resolution to adopt the City Center Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) 5-year update; and A resolution to adopt the Roswell Road Corridor LCI 5-year update. Public Hearing:

Mayor and City Council December 19, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

2090 Dunwoody Club Drive — On Oct. 21,

8000 block of Roswell Road — A wom-

an said her wife took $900 from the apartment after an argument. 500 block of Northridge Crossing Drive

— On Oct. 21, a package was delivered to the wrong address. Someone signed for it. The package contained a Sony camera. 800 block of Perennial Drive — On Oct.

23, someone stole the victim’s trashcan. 8725 Roswell Road — On Oct. 25, a

62-year-old man said he accidentally left his iPhone7 in the bathroom of a coffee shop. During the drive home, he realized it and returned, but the phone was gone. He opened the tracking and found it to be in the area of the grocery store in the same shopping center as the coffee shop. The phone was not located. 2000 block of Spalding Drive — On

Oct. 24, a 65-year old man reported that while in France, he was the victim of a pickpocket. He said he tried to report the theft to a French police officer who just laughed and said, “It happens all the time.” The man lost his license, $80 in euros and a credit card. 5866 Roswell Road— On Oct. 28, a

40-year-old man reported his 2010 Lex-

City Sandy Springs 2018-22 Consolidated Plan 2018 Action Plan Community Needs Assessment Public Hearing Tuesday, December 5, 2017 The City of Sandy Springs has begun preparations for participation in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). The program is a source of grant funds for the City to make improvements to neighborhoods, provide programs and other activities that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons, eliminate slum and blight conditions or meet an urgent community need for which local funds are not available. Since 2008, the City of Sandy Springs has participated in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program to fund the Roswell Multi-Year Sidewalk Project in target areas to improve access to public transit, parks, and health services for residents. Federal regulations require that to participate in CDBG, Sandy Springs must develop a 5-year strategic plan, called the Consolidated Plan and 1-year plan, called the Action Plan, documenting community needs that may be funded with CDBG and goals to be achieved over the 5-year period and 1-year period. To meet the requirements of the Consolidated Submissions for Community Planning and Development Programs as published at 24 CFR Part 91, the City of Sandy Springs will hold the following meetings: • Public Hearing at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. • Open House, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. • Needs Assessment Meeting, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and are held at the Sandy Springs City Hall located at 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, GA, 30350. The City of Sandy Springs will provide this opportunity for citizens to speak on the needs in their community that may be considered for CDBG funding consistent with the City’s Citizen Participation Plan adopted on June 20, 2006, and to comply with federal regulations as published at 24 CFR Part 91.105(e)(1). Citizens in need of translation services or materials in alternative formats should call 770-730-5600 seven calendar days prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. Additional CDBG Program information can be found on the City’s CDBG webpage at http://www. sandyspringsga.gov/city-services/urban-development/planning-and-zoning/planning-andzoning-resources/community-development-block-grant-program

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