11-23-18 Buckhead Reporter

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NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 24


Buckhead Reporter



Perimeter Business ► In bid to attract visitors, hotel taxes seek ‘free money’ with few strings PAGE 4 ► Sandy Springs, Brookhaven refresh their tourism tactics PAGE 4-5

Buckhead’s BeltLine connections shape up

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net


Jack Wotton takes his daily walk Nov. 17 on the newest part of Buckhead’s BeltLine trail network, the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail along Bobby Jones Golf Course, which had a ribbon-cutting the day before. The path eventually will connect with the BeltLine’s main Northeast Trail segment near Armour Yards and the Lindbergh Center MARTA Station.

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The musicians of No Solution Page 20

Residents helped provide early design ideas for a piece of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Northeast Trail in Buckhead at a Nov. 8 meeting, pitching connections to key neighborhoods and parks in an area with many obstacles. Meanwhile, some of those connections are already being made, as a network of related multiuse paths See BUCKHEAD’S on page 14

Norwood returns with an eye on subways, elections BY JOHN RUCH

OUT & ABOUT 13 ways to celebrate the holidays Pages 18-19




Mary Norwood is back. Nearly a year after her razor-thin loss to Keisha Lance Bottoms in the bruising mayoral election, the longtime Buckhead neighborhood activist and former at-large City Council member has returned to the public stage — calling for a new subway line and accepting a behind-the-scenes nomination to chair Fulton County’s Board of Registration & Elections. “I felt the best thing I could for the city is See NORWOOD on page 22

2 | Community

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Community Briefs R U NO FF ELEC T IO NS T O B E HEL D DEC . 4

Runoff elections in two state races will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4. For Georgia secretary of state, voters will choose between Democrat John Barrow and Republican Brad Raffensperger. For District 3 of the Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities, voters will choose between Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller. Local early voting will be held Nov. 26-30, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Buckhead Library, 269 Buckhead Avenue.


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The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods will elect new officers at its Jan. 10 meeting and is seeking candidates now. Among the open seats will be chairman, as Tom Tidwell said at the BCN’s Nov. 8 meeting that he is stepping down after five years. “We need new energy. We need new leadership. Plus, I’m just getting tired,” said Tidwell. He added that he is concerned that, without new leaders stepping forward, the BCN might shut down, and “it would be a travesty to see this just kind of wither on the vine.” The BCN is an umbrella organization of Buckhead neighborhood associations intended to serve as a unified voice on various political and quality-of-life issues. The organization is in its 10th year. Anyone interested in a candidacy for a BCN officer position — which also includes vice chairman, treasurer and secretary — can contact Tidwell at tidwell. tom@gmail.com. For more information about BNC, see buckheadcouncil.org.


The Shepherd Center has purchased commercial properties at 28th Street and Peachtree Road for a major expansion geared at housing families of patients at the rehabilitation hospital. The hospital announced Nov. 16 it has a deal to buy the property for $20 million. The property currently includes the restaurants Uncle Julio’s and Ted’s Montana Grill. The hospital says those businesses will remain for now, with construction at least two years away. The hospital said its specific plan is still in the works, but aims to nearly double its current 84-unit residential inventory on the site. The project also would include “clinical and/or administrative” hospital space and possibly retail space for businesses oriented to serving visiting families.


The “Buckhead Cultural Loop Trail,” a proposed multiuse path connecting the Lenox Square and West Village areas, may see its first planning meetings in 2019, according to Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District. The path was proposed in last year’s “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” master plan, where it was described as a “district-wide multiuse trail to connect and celebrate the area history and culture.” It would run a roughly circular route along East and West Paces Ferry roads; Lenox Road; and the East Andrews Drive area. The BCID is one of the groups that funded the master plan.

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The story “Zero Mile Post moves to Atlanta History Center” in the Nov. 9 issue incorrectly reported that the historical marker would be displayed at the center laid on its side, as shown in one publicity photo, rather than vertically.

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NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 3


Planners revisit fixing one of Buckhead’s worst intersections

‘Tis the Season to Be Merry

The “triangle” intersection of Roswell, Piedmont and Habersham roads as seen in a Google Earth map. Blackland Road feeds into the intersection as well.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A decade-old attempt to fix one of Buckhead’s worst intersections — Roswell, Piedmont and Habersham roads — is back on the agenda, though a Nov. 14 planning kickoff meeting had no immediate clear answers. The meeting, organized by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, is the start of a 10-month study to address the traffic-choked triangle where the three roads intersect each other. If solutions are nailed down in the final report, expected in September 2019, there’s no guarantee they’ll be built. That would be up to the city and the state, which controls Roswell and Piedmont roads as state routes. The BCID, a group of self-taxing commercial property owners in the central business district, cannot directly fund any intersection work, since it is outside its area, but is able to pay for the study. Various local organizations and neighborhood associations have floated solutions for the triangle over the years, including such radical redesigns as a roundabout. The new study is particularly picking up from the 2008 “Piedmont Area Transportation Study,” a bigger-picture analysis that also was funded by the BCID and conducted by the same firm, Kimley-Horn and Associates. The 2008 study suggested short-term fixes for the triangle area, some of which were implemented, including an extended left-turn lane on Piedmont at Habersham and a traffic light just north on Roswell Road at Powers Ferry Road. But that study said that a long-term solution “was not agreed upon by all interested parties because of the impacts it had on the adjacent neighborhoods.” Major changes were floated in that 2008 study, including turning Piedmont BH


between Roswell and Habersham into a pedestrian-only park and plaza. Another idea was plugging Old Ivy Road into the intersection — it currently dead-ends about 25 feet away, with a sidewalk in between — and adding a new road behind the adjacent Tuxedo Festival shopping center. For the current study, the BCID and Kimley-Horn say they’re starting with a blank slate. About 30 people attended the Nov. 14 meeting, where they were asked to offer any sort of ideas in the broad categories of streets, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. They were also asked to rank which of those areas should get design priority; automobiles appeared to rank first and bicycles last. Suggestions, given in discussion with consultants and written on notecards, varied widely. Traffic calming devices, better traffic signal timing, vanpooling, smaller transit buses, and installation of more sidewalks were among the ideas. One general theme was concern about diverting traffic into nearby residential neighborhoods. Some people were ready for bigger changes, like building “skybridges” and tunnels. “I wish they would have a huge, enormous roundabout,” said Mercy SandbergWright, the interim president of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association. She said she is concerned that there won’t be attention to the underlying issue of Cobb commuter traffic cutting through the neighborhoods, including Tuxedo Park’s Blackland Road, which intersects with Roswell right across from Piedmont but was not highlighted in the study presentation. “There’s just too much traffic and there is no public transit,” she said. Jim Durrett, the BCID’s executive director, said the consultants will work on some draft recommendations and present them in another community meeting in the spring.

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4 | Perimeter Business

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Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Winter 2018 | Tourism and Taxes

In local tourism promotion, taxes seek ‘free money’ with few strings BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Hotel-motel taxes are a popular way local governments raise money for their general budgets, self-promotion and tourist-related projects such as stadiums, trails and performing arts centers. Every city in Reporter Newspapers communities has a convention and visitors bureau, one of the ways to take advantage of the endless flow of revenue from taxing outsiders rather than local citizens. But, two experts say, the money does not come with any strings requiring proof that the promotional efforts are effective, and the assumption that visitors can be taxed without negative impact on the hotel business may be faulty. “We don’t have any metrics to gauge effectiveness,” such as hotel occupancy rate changes, said Tyler Reinagel, who answers local governments’ questions about the hotel-motel tax in his role as manager of the Office of Research at the

Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The state encourages those governments to draw up some kind of measurements, he added. Auditing is also largely up to local jurisdictions, he said, with the state receiving a general spending report. Dr. Frank Stephenson, chair of the economics department at north Georgia’s Berry College and a fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, says hotel-motel taxes are politically popular for “tax exporting” — billing outsiders instead of locals. But, he says, there is relatively little research about their economic impact. His own research found that hotel-motel taxes began in major resort destinations such as Hawaii, then spread to smaller cities without international tourist attractions where the economics aren’t the same. “Hotel taxes have long been viewed as ‘free money’ in the belief that they could be fully shifted to travelers and had little effect on room rentals,” said Stephenson.

But he recently published a study whose results, it says, “suggest that hotel taxes are not a free lunch from a tax exporting perspective and that they may impose significant burdens on local hotel operators.” The study looked at a different but similar hotel tax in Georgia: a $5-a-night fee that funds transportation improvements. The study found the fee lowered the statewide monthly average hotel rentals by 92,000 rooms — roughly 0.25 percent — and that hotel operators were not able to pass along all of the cost to the bill-paying visitors. Jim Sprouse, executive director of the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, would only comment broadly when asked about the hotel-motel taxes, saying, “Historically, investments in the hospitality industry and hospitality product have yielded a greater number of visitors, increased visitors spending, and more hospitality jobs in Georgia.” He did not

respond when asked for specific examples of how the taxes have done that in Buckhead or Perimeter Center. While promotional efforts can be fuzzy, more cities are opting for a provision in state law that allows them to increase the tax rate and use the money to build certain types of structures. Atlanta notably used hotel-motel tax to help pay for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Reinagel said that 10 cities around the state adopted the higher, project-oriented taxes in decisions approved by the General Assembly last session, and about eight to 12 cities a year are joining the club. Among them recently were Brookhaven and Dunwoody, which are using the money to build multiuse trails. In this quarter’s Perimeter Business, the Reporter looks at how the tourism agencies in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs are rearranging the efforts paid for by local hotel-motel taxes to better brand their cities.

Sandy Springs tourism agency tries to renew its welcome BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Signs on I-285 lure drivers to stop at a Sandy Springs “Welcome Center” run by the city’s tourism agency. But Visit Sandy Springs, as the agency is known, had relatively few visitors itself and recently closed the center with an eye to reopening in a possible new building with better exposure. Meanwhile, the agency continues its work of promoting local businesses and the restaurant scene. “I think that a Welcome Center in the right location can be a great asset in promoting the parks, venues, restaurants and attractions in the city,” said Jennifer Cruce, the agency’s executive director. “Our former location was not highly sought after, so it wasn’t as effective as it could be.” The Welcome Center, which doubled as the Visit Sandy Springs office and opened in 2009, was located in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road, below the state’s Anne Frank Holocaust exhibit. “We are here to answer any questions about not only what you want to do in Sandy Springs, but the whole state,” Cruce said during a tour of the center when it was still open in August. The tourism agency’s office is now locat-

ed in the Northside Tower at 6065 Roswell Road, but there is no Welcome Center there, though it remains advertised on signs along state roadways. The Anne Frank exhibit remains in the shopping center The city has proposed a new building, called a “cultural center,” that would better highlight the Welcome Center and house other local groups. The proposal is in the early stages and a building opening date has not been set. “Our lease was scheduled to end in December, so we decided to go ahead and move and see what happens when and if we have a timeline on that new center,” Cruce said. Visit Sandy Springs, whose formal name is Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism, was one the few metro Atlanta suburban cities with a visitor’s center, according to the state tourism website. Roswell and Alpharetta are among others that operate one. The Welcome Center received around 1,000 visitors per year, and many of them were searching for the Anne Frank exhibit upstairs, Cruce said. Others were locals, including some regulars who came in to get the newspaper, she said. There are not many reliable metrics to measure the success of an agency like Visit Sandy Springs, Cruce said. Other than digital media views, such as videos or the agen-


Visit Sandy Springs’ “Welcome Center” had hundreds of brochures on local and statewide attractions and destinations.

cy’s website, there are few numbers to review. “It’s hard to claim a direct tie between what we do and the number of people who actually book a Sandy Springs hotel room, because it’s the hotels who actually close the deal,” she said. The agency is funded through the hotelmotel tax, and is given $1.6 million out of the around $5 million the city collects each year. Visit Sandy Springs spends about a quarter of its funding on salaries and benefits, according to its budget. The agency’s staff includes Cruce, two advertising salespeople, a marketing manager and an information specialist. The agency supports Sandy Springs promotional events, such as Sparkle Sandy Springs, a holiday-themed display of lit and

decorated miniature houses, Fourth of July fireworks and Spooky Springs, a children’s Halloween event. “The city pays for the events and we help with them because they help promote the city as a destination,” she said. Visit Sandy Springs also organizes an annual lantern parade at Morgan Falls Overlook Park. “It gives the community something to do, and it reminds people we are here and we like to have fun,” Cruce said. Promoting Sandy Springs is geared around marketing it as a destination and a place to stay, not only for business, but on the weekends as well, Cruce said. City Springs, the city’s civic center and theater complex, help with that. “This gives us an opportunity to have something new to promote and its helps develop the city’s identity,” she said. “I think it’s going to transform the city.” The agency promotes some local businesses directly, featuring them in materials such as its visitor’s guide and video series. Those have included High Country Outfitters, which has sponsored the city’s Lantern Parade; the gaming bar Battle and Brew; and local restaurants, she said. For more information, see visitsandysprings.org.

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Perimeter Business | 5


Brookhaven looks to create identity with its own tourism bureau BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net


A ‘Discover Brookhaven’ ad in the June issue of Delta Air Line’s Sky magazine includes images of places not located in the city, such as Stone Mountain Park and the Fernbank Museum. The ad was purchased with city hotel-motel tax revenue by Discover DeKalb.

Brookhaven wants to have more direct control over how its hotel-motel tax revenue is spent when marketing and branding the city and started its own Convention and Visitors Bureau this year, so it would not be dependent on an outside agency to frame its image. The City Council also hiked its tax rate this year as part of an emerging trend among cities to spend taxes paid by visitors to build its own infrastructure. Brookhaven has heavily relied for several years on Discover DeKalb, the tourism agency for all of DeKalb County, to try to market the city. But with the new funds coming in from this year’s hotel-motel tax increase, the City Council decided it was time to focus on the city’s own individual restaurants, parks, festivals and other amenities to attract visitors and businesses. The city still collaborates with and pays Discover DeKalb $575,000 in city hotel-motel tax revenue to advertise in major publications or on billboards, for example. This year, Discover DeKalb spent $135,000 to run a “Discover Brookhaven” full-page ad for nine months in Delta Air Line’s Sky magazine. The maga-

zine is seen by an estimated 300,000 fliers a month, according to city officials. The June ad includes text at the bottom noting that Brookhaven is home to Oglethorpe University, the Atlanta Hawks (the team’s practice facility is located at Executive Park), the Weather Company (whose headquarters is in Perimeter Summit) and the annual Cherry Blossom Festival held each spring at Blackburn Park. The ad also incorporates several images of city landmarks like Oglethorpe University and Dresden Drive. But it also includes several images that have nothing to do with Brookhaven, including the Fernbank Museum, Stone Mountain Park and the Michael C. Carlos Museum. “They [Discover DeKalb] are promoting Brookhaven through their CVB and they’ve been doing it for about three years,” said Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman, who has been Continued on page 7

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6 | Perimeter Business

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Ribbon-cuttings in Reporter communities


Zinburger, a gourmet burger and wine restaurant, opened a Dunwoody location at 4555 Ashford-Dunwoody Road in September. Cutting the ribbon were, from left, City Manager Eric Linton with a group of police officers; Mayor Denis Shortal; Zinburger’s Carlos Oliva, David Maini and David Jackson; Dan Farrar from the city; and Mary Michael and Stephanie Freeman from the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. Info: zinburger.com.


Pure Dental Health opened in October at 2390 Mount Vernon Road in Dunwoody. Celebrating were, front from left, Stephanie Freeman of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; Pure Dental Health’s Kelsi Almanzar; Mayor Denis Shortal; and Pure Dental Health employees in the back. Info: puredentalhealth.com.


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Perimeter Business | 7

Brookhaven looks to create identity with its own tourism bureau Continued from page 5 serving as the Brookhaven CVB de facto executive director this year. The Sky magazine ad was part of a “group buy” through Discover DeKalb and the city had no input on the design or layout, he said. The city is expecting to gain more local control of how its hotel-motel tax revenue is spent now that the BCVB board has hired its first executive director after a fivemonth search. Renee Areng is moving to Brookhaven from Mississippi where she served as executive director of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast for four years. She starts her new job next month. Among Areng’s first tasks will be to produce a 2019 budget for the $1 million of hotel-motel tax money set aside for the BCVB, Chapman said. “Our CVB is still in its infancy stage ... and 2019 will be a transition year,” Chapman said.

Discover DeKalb marketing of Brookhaven

In 2017, the city collected about $3 million in hotel-motel taxes. Of that amount, $1.16 million went to Discover DeKalb for regional and national promotions. The city spent $225,000 on marketing and promotions. The city also transferred nearly $1.6 million of the tax money to its general fund, according to budget documents. As part of its destination marketing, Discover DeKalb spent $200,000 promoting the Cherry Blossom Festival in 2017, including $70,000 on out-of-state billboards. They included seven billboards in Birmingham, Ala.; four in Charlotte, N.C.; nine in Columbia, S.C.; one in Chattanooga, Tenn.; and six in Nashville, Tenn. Discover DeKalb also rented billboards in Rome, Ga., and Calhoun, Ga. Another $45,000 was paid by Discover DeKalb to 10 “digital influencers,” people with a large social media following and online presence, to promote the 2017 Cherry Blossom Fest on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Discover DeKalb measured success of the billboards and digital influencers through “impressions,” or views. There were nearly 123 million impressions of tweets promoting the fest with the hashtag “#CherryFest17” during a “Twitter party” held about two weeks before the 2017 fest. Twitter parties are essentially an online chat using a specific hashtag that are meant to bring awareness to other digital influencers and people with like-minded interests. The county’s stats showed that there were only 306 clicks from Twitter to links about the festival. The billboards received more than 20 million impressions, according to Discover DeKalb. Billboard impressions are measured using criteria such as traffic counts made available from various gov-

ernment transportation departments. The billboard and digital influencers were part of new marketing tactics employed by Discover DeKalb, but the attendance at the 2017 weekend-long fest was about 15,000, approximately the same as 2016’s attendance. In 2018, Discover DeKalb spent only about $95,000 on regional and national marketing and branding for the Cherry Blossom Festival. That included about $11,000 for social media influencers. Discover DeKalb, a sponsor of the fest, also sponsored a digital billboard campaign at no cost to the city. The city spent about $290,000 on the Cherry Blossom Festival and budgeted $125,000 for music acts. Attendance over the two-day weekend fest, which included a rainy Sunday, was about 25,000, according to city officials. Last year, city leaders convinced state legislators that hotel-motel tax money could be used to fund construction of the Greenway because, they say, it will become a regional and tourist attraction, much like the Atlanta BeltLine. A law was passed to raise the city’s hotel-motel tax this year from 5 percent to 8 percent, bringing in about $1.3 million more a year in hotel-motel tax money. Of the 8 percent, or 8 cents of every dollar, state law allows 3 cents to be transferred into the city’s general fund for unrestricted purposes. Of the remaining 5 cents, 3.5 cents must be spent on promotion of events or marketing of activities to bring tourists to the city, with the final 1.5 cents required to build infrastructure that will promote tourism, in this case the Greenway. The city used the new revenue stream from the tax increase to issue $12.6 million in revenue bonds to fund construction of the Greenway. The bond will be paid off over 24 years with annual payments of $675,000 in hotel-motel tax money. Brookhaven’s portion of the planned 12-mile Greenway stretching from Mercer University to PATH400 and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine includes about three miles between Buckhead and Chamblee. The City Council in October awarded a $7.99 million contract to Lewallen Construction Co. to build the first mile between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road. A groundbreaking is set for Dec. 12. Brookhaven is believed to be the first city in the state to use hotel-motel taxes to fund construction of a multiuse trail for tourism purposes. Hotel-motel tax dollars are typically spent to build facilities. The city of Atlanta, for example, used its hotel-motel tax revenue to back $200 million in bonds to fund construction of the approximate $1.6 billion Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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10 | Commentary

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

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer Julie Murcia Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Melissa Kidd, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Phil Mosier

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Commentary / Our changing political landscape The Nov. 6 election brought great changes to the political landscape in Reporter Newspapers’ communities. Veteran lawmakers retired or were defeated and Democrats ousted Republicans in districts that long had been represented by members of the GOP. The Reporter asked several local leaders what they made of the election and how they thought the changes would affect our cities and neighborhoods. Here’s what they had to say.

Andy Bauman

Sandy Springs City Council member First, I want to say that the huge turnout in this past election was a great thing. The more that voters are engaged, the more our elected officials need to be responsive. Further, given the extremely close races, in some cases decided by less than 1 or 2 percentage points, I am hopeful that the winners from both parties will recognize the need to work together on the important issues they will be considering in the upcoming legislative sessions. In Sandy Springs, we will miss former Rep. Wendell Willard (who retired) and the seniority and respect he enjoyed in the state House. However, I am very pleased with our new and returning representatives, with us now having representation from both the Republican and Democratic parties in the state House and Senate (and with all of our incumbents winning re-election and having greater seniority). I believe this is actually very reflective of who we are as a community, and the very clear message to our returning and newly elected representatives should be that the era of one-party rule is over and there is no entitlement to these seats for one particular party or the other. I believe this will make for better and more accountable representation. Similarly, Sandy Springs now will have both a Republican (Rep. Barry Loudermilk) and Democrat (Lucy McBath) representing us in Congress. We will benefit from having Representative-elect McBath in the majority party, but I believe she also understands the 6th District is very divided, and I hope and expect she will make an effort to work with her Republican colleagues in Congress in advance of what will likely be another very competitive race, if she seeks reelection in 2020.

Kate Kratovil

Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon Brookhaven resident The midterm elections signified a shift in the north Atlanta suburbs and a doubling down of female-led campaign volunteerism that has no signs of stopping. Locally, voters chose candidates who will bring a “blue” bal-

ance to the Republican-controlled legislature. Notably, Jen Jordan, who broke the Senate supermajority last December, defended her seat and will continue to serve parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Other major wins and flipped House seats were in Brookhaven and Dunwoody, where voters chose Barack Obama-endorsed candidates Matthew Wilson and Sally Harrell. By electing Jordan, Wilson, and Harrell, suburban voters demonstrated their readiness to be led by progressive voices. With high voter turnout and an engaged electorate, these elected officials have mandates to fight for quality public education, gun-sense reform, and greater access to healthcare. Although statewide races weren’t as successful, suburban Democrats and campaign volunteers who enthusiastically championed Democrats have much to celebrate.

Terry Nall

Dunwoody City Council member I have faith the newly elected representatives will remember they represent people more than a political party. Following the Nov. 6 election, the residents of Dunwoody and our city’s needs and issues are the same as prior to the election. Throughout our city’s 10year history, the elected officials of the city of Dunwoody worked together to build a healthy two-way relationship with state and federal representatives, regardless of anyone’s personal voting preferences. I expect this collaboration to continue for the coming years. Quality of life issues affect us all. It’s only by working together that we solve the issues we face as a city and as a region. Healthy and vibrant cities depend on strong relationships with state and federal officials. Dunwoody is no different and we will work hard to build strong relationships with the new representatives.

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represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. BH

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Commentary | 11


Around Town

Newly Opened And Welcoming New Patients Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

Flying to remember D-Day


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World War II fascinated Moreno Aguiari when he was a boy. Growing up in Italy, he saw the results of the war all around him and learned the importance of what had happened there. His grandparents had seen the war firsthand. “My grandmother always told me that if it wasn’t for the Americans, we wouldn’t be free,” he said recently. “So, I have an appreciation for what the Americans did.” As a teenager, he developed his interest in airplanes. He wanted to learn to fly and attended a high school that specialized in aviation, he said. As an adult, he moved to the U.S. and worked as a commercial pilot. “A lot of Europeans came here,” he said. “This is the country of aviation.” He became a U.S. citizen in 2009. As Aguiari grew older, he never lost his fascination with flying fighting machines from World War II and other wars. About six years ago, he started a website called Warbirds News, which published online articles about vintage warplanes and the people who fly them. He has described Warbirds News as “a group of passionate warbird enthusiasts who love the history and technology that aviation museums and flying collections preserve for the public.” Recently, the owner of the print magazine Warbird Digest purchased Warbird News. Aguiari works as the company’s marketing and business development director. At age 42, he’s involved in another project that honors machines and men who fought in World War II. From a one-room office he keeps at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Aguiari is coordinating U.S. efforts to fly a group of Douglas DC-3s, also known by their military designation as C47s, to Europe next summer for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. “We are taking them back after 75 years,” JOE EARLE Aguiari said one recent afternoon as Moreno Aguiari shows drawings of the he sat in his PDK office, which is dec“Placid Lassie” on display in his office at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. orated with photos and drawings of warplanes and pilots and other aviation memorabilia. In June, the American planes will join planes from around the world carrying paratroopers into France in a ceremonial reenactment of the invasion of Normandy, when allied troops started moving across western Europe to attack Germany in World War II. The flyover project is called “Daks Over Normandy” because the C-47 was known as the “Dakota” and nicknamed the “Dak.” Aguiari’s involvement with the project came through the foundation that owns and operates the “Placid Lassie,” a restored C-47 that took part in the original D-Day invasion and will join the reenactment next summer. The people behind the foundation that owns the “Lassie” found the plane in a field near Covington in 2010 and restored it. They call the plane “a real war hero.” The “Lassie” now takes part in air shows around the country. Aguiari said part of his passion for World War II and older warplanes stems from how relatively simple they are, compared to more recent planes. In those days, before extensive development of electronics and computers, he said, the men who flew the planes really flew them. “World War I and World War II aviation was still a very man-driven type of flying…,” he said. “Flying those airplanes, you had to be a ‘good stick.’ There is a saying: ‘flying by the seat of your pants.’ From 1903 to 1948, we went from zero to jets.” He’s also drawn to World War II planes and fliers because they are still around. “There is a lot of it out there. You can still touch it,” he said. “World War I, it’s all in museums, but World War II, you can still talk to the pilots. You can still talk to the veterans. … You can reach out and meet the people. It’s the human aspect. I never think of the war aspect.” So, to honor those people and the airplanes they flew, he started about a year ago to help coordinate and raise the money needed to finance the D-Day Squadron’s participation in the anniversary flight. He thinks it’s important to remember what happened then. He saw the results. “You cannot build a future if you don’t know your history,” he said.




DECEMBER 14, 2018 - JANUARY 12, 2019 At the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University

4484 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319


12 | Community


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‘The ATL’ transit authority board members are elected BY JOHN RUCH

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


The new Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, or “The ATL,” has a full board ready to start work next month following the election of 10 members. The ATL is a new authority coordinating service and expansion of 10 transit systems in 13 metro Atlanta counties. It will have a regional governance board with 16 members, of whom 10 are privately elected by a group of other officials. The newly named board members were announced by The ATL on Nov. 16. The elected members represent “districts” that cross county boundaries, and often city limits as well. Reporter Newspapers communities are covered by District 1, 2, 3 and 5. The newly elected local district members include:

District 1 (Sandy Springs):

Andy Macke, vice president of external affairs at Comcast Cable.

District 2 (Sandy Springs): Marsha Anderson Bomar, executive director of the Gateway85 Community Improvement District in Gwinnett County.

District 3 (Buckhead, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs): Steve Dickerson, a vanpooling pioneer and former Georgia Tech professor. He is also suing Uber and Lyft for alleged patent infringement and hopes to create a universal transportation app as a new public utility.

NOV 11 • DEC 9 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

District 5 (Buckhead, Brookhaven): Tom Weyandt, a former transportation policy and planning official in various roles at the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was elected to represent District 8 (representing parts of Cobb, Douglas and Fulton counties) and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond will represent District 7 (parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties). Other district members include: District 4, Todd Ver Steeg, Vice President and part owner of Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service; District 6, Chuck Warbington, Lawrenceville’s city manager; District 9, Howard Mosby, a vice president at Grady Health System; and District 10, Felicia Franklin Warner, a Clayton County commissioner. The ATL board’s other six members were appointed by state officials. They include: Board Chair Charlie Sutlive; Earl Ehrhart; Russell McMurry, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, serving in an ex-officio, non-voting role; Charlotte J. Nash, who is the Gwinnett County Commission chair; Teddy Russell; and Mark Toro.


NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 13


Voting, healthcare legislation coming next year, local officials predict BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Three local state legislators are predicting that voting security, healthcare, medical marijuana and school safety will be among major issues the General Assembly will tackle in the upcoming session. State Sen. Jen Jordan and state Reps. Kay Kirkpatrick and Deborah Silcox joined the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs at its Nov. 12 luncheon to preview the next session and debrief the group on potential changes following the major Election Day shake-ups. While all three won re-election, several new legislators will fill vacant seats or those of ousted incumbents. “There is a lot of turnover this year. I predict it’s going to be somewhat chaotic,” said Kirkpatrick, who won her Sandy Springs seat in a special election in 2017. “The learning curve down there is very steep, as I found out last year, so it is possible we won’t get a whole lot done.” The most significant legislative issues for Fulton County are likely to be transit, property tax system reform and voting, said Jordan, who represents part of Sandy Springs and Buckhead. Jordan said she believes the voting system will be the first major legislative issue tackled because she expects a court to order it. There have been legal findings that have been “pretty significant and a little scary,” said Jordan, a Democrat who was re-elected to the seat she first won last year. Several vendors presented different systems over the summer, but Silcox said she hopes Georgia will stick with electronic machines with the addition of a paper receipt that archives votes. The paper backup would be signed by the voters and locked away, Silcox said.


Kirkpatrick said she expects Medicaid changes and medical marijuana to return. “A lot of healthcare legislation last year got killed by politics,” Kirkpatrick said. Silcox, a Republican representing Sandy Springs, said she is heading up a committee studying mental health in Fulton County. There are no standards or organization for providers, and the committee would study ways to gain accountability and set up a way to measure treatment. A standard screening tool could be BH

developed to divert people to mental health providers instead of being taken to jail, Silcox said.

Affordable housing

One of the meeting attendees asked the officials if anything is expected to be done on affordable housing. The legislators didn’t point to specific legislation, but said it is a top priority. “This is very much a part, routinely, of the Atlanta delegation meetings,” Silcox said. “It is very much at the top and center of discussions and I so hope that we can make progress on this issue.” The problem is also important to solve because it is a big driver of traffic congestion due to people commuting to where they work from where they can afford to live, Jordan said. “That really isn’t a sustainable situation,” she said. Cities and governments partnering with businesses and groups to support housing can be one solution, Jordan said. “That’s when we’re really going to see us moving forward,” she said. “Everybody that is a stakeholder has to be part of the solution.”


Rep. Deborah Silcox, Sen. Jen Jordan and Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick listen to a question from the audience at a Nov. 12 Rotary Club of Sandy Springs meeting.

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14 | Community

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Buckhead’s BeltLine connections shape up Continued from page 1 is constructed. The latest addition is the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail along the northeastern edge of Bobby Jones Golf Course, which had a ribbon-cutting Nov. 16. With that segment in place, people can bike or walk on paths almost all the way around Atlanta Memorial Park. The Northeast Trail would run from Monroe Drive, where the Eastside Trail ends, to the Lindbergh Center MARTA Station. The path for the section between Monroe Drive and I-85 is expected to follow an existing railroad corridor. But north of I-85, there isn’t a clear corridor to follow and it comes with a number of challenges, so Atlanta BeltLine Inc. wants feedback on where the trail should go. Residents at the meeting, held in Rock Springs Presbyterian Church near I-85, pitched several ideas. They included running the trail through the Armour Yards development; following a small stream that runs from Peachtree Hills Park to the Lindbergh station; and elevating part of the trail near Peachtree Creek. About 100 people attended the meeting. Building the trail is still a few years away. Atlanta BeltLine Inc. expects to finish the trail design and have construction documents by 2022, the presentation said. The Northeast Trail is part of the larger BeltLine plan, which proposes 33 miles of multiuse trails, a 22-mile streetcar route and 2,000 acres of parks. The Northeast Trail would be the second BeltLine trail to be built in Buckhead. The Northside Trail, which opened in 2010, runs through Tanyard Creek Park between Ardmore Park and Atlanta Memorial Park and the Bobby Jones Golf Course. The new Northwest Connector Trail segment links to the Northside Trail. It will eventually make its way to the Northeast Trail, too. For now, the path ends on Bobby Jones Golf Course at Peachtree Creek before Woodward Way, forcing walkers who want to continue to cross Northside Drive twice to continue around the park. That situation will last for some time until the state replac-


Above, Carlos Perez, a member of the design team, discusses the BeltLine trail with residents at the Nov. 8 meeting. Right top, a sign warns of the abrupt end of the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail near Northside Drive. A bridge replacement project eventually will continue the trail safely under the roadway. (Phil Mosier) Bottom right, The Beltline’s existing Northside Trail along Atlanta Memorial Park. (Phil Mosier)

es the Northside Drive bridge, possibly in 2020. Atlanta BeltLine Inc. is still in negotiations with Georgia Power to facilitate some work for the section from Westminster Drive to Mayson Street while it replaces power infrastructure parallel to the segment, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. engineer Shaun Green said. It would pass through an existing tunnel under I-85 and enter Buckhead. Green said he doesn’t know where those negotiations stand or what the trail will look like when Georgia Power leaves the area. Other complicating factors include being sure not to preclude future transit along the trail, needing to connect to other area trails and working around active rail lines, Peachtree Creek and a conservation easement, Green said. The piece of the trail in Buckhead is expected to eventually connect to PATH400, South Fork Conservancy trails and Brookhaven’s Peachtree Creek Greenway.

“There is a ton of stuff in the way, and we’re coming last to the party,” Green said. “There’s a lot of wiggling we’re going to have to do to get through here.” The design team for the trail includes an environmental consultant; a historian; engineers from Heath and Lineback; and Carlos Perez, who has helped design previous BeltLine segments and parts of PATH400. Atlanta BeltLine Inc. has for years presented a map that shows a basic route for the entire loop, but for the Lindbergh area, that has never been the ultimate plan like other, more clear pieces, Green said. “[The map] implies a precision that isn’t there,” Green said. “Don’t think about the map as a given, even though it has been published that way for quite some time. It never was a given. It just didn’t make sense to not have all the lines on the map,” he said. Before breaking off into the open house section of the meeting, Green reiterated several times that any trail options cannot pre-

vent future transit or connecting to MARTA’s existing Red and Gold lines. The trail and transit may split off in some sections and not be parallel to each other as they are on other parts of the BeltLine, Green said. He said how the BeltLine will work with MARTA on installing transit along the trails is still being worked out and likely won’t be decided until the transit agency’s next board meeting in the spring. In questions before breaking out into the open house, one person expressed doubt the BeltLine was even necessary in Buckhead. “Do you think the people in northern Atlanta want the BeltLine entering their neighborhoods?” he asked. “Is extending the BeltLine into north Atlanta relevant to achieving the goals of the BeltLine?” Several people, including Green, responded emphatically yes, saying the BeltLine is needed to provide connectivity. Several people pushed for the trail design to connect to Peachtree Hills Park and

Holiday on the Town Thursday, December 6th, 6-8:30pm

Christmas Tree Lighting • Reindeer Visits with Santa • Sleigh Rides Musical Performances Merchant Specials & So Much More!

Located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University

To learn more, visit facebook.com/TownBrookhaven or www.townbrookhaven.net BH

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 15


A new bridge that is part of the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail.

its Centers of Hope recreation center while staying out of the interior neighborhood roads. A few residents proposed the trail follow a small tributary that runs from Peachtree Creek north to the Lindbergh MARTA Station, a key connection point. Several argued the trail should connect to the Armour Yards development, which includes a brewery, whiskey distillery and the Atlanta Track Club, among other businesses. One person who said he owned a business in the development said the BeltLine would likely receive no pushback if it proposed running the trail through the de-


velopment. “It may be easier to deal with commercial property owners than the railroad,” one person said. Another resident proposed elevating part of the trail as it leaves Armour Yards to avoid complications with running through the protected conservation area north of the development. A member of the design said it could be considered, but building bridges can easily be a “budget-buster.” The meeting presentation is available at beltline.org. – John Ruch contributed

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16 | Faith

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HER E ’ S WH AT S OME OTH ER RESP ON DENTS SAID WHEN A S K ED, “ WH AT I S YOUR SP ECIAL WAY TO CELEBRATE TH E H OL I DAYS?” The holidays are about being with family. – 64-year-old Atlanta man Church, football, food. – 70-year-old Atlanta woman I go out of my way to see as many family members and friends as I can since work and travel makes it difficult to see them during the year. – 27-year-old Atlanta man Shopping on Black Friday, experiencing the lights at a garden or shopping center, going to and/or binging holiday movies at home. – 47-year-old Atlanta woman Decorate a tree with ornaments purchased on each trip we take, light the fireplace, and partake in classic holiday food and drink from brunch to dinner, with leftovers for days. – 36-year-old Atlanta woman The whole family goes to church together. Then we all go back to my parents’ house, all 40-plus, and have appetizers, dinner and gifts. We all just relax and eat and drink and drink and it is just so much fun. My favorite tradition with my husband and kids is going to the Center for Puppetry Arts and seeing Rudolph every year. – 39-year-old Atlanta woman

Community Survey: The many ways to celebrate the holidays When it comes to the holidays, 200 local residents say, they’re all about family. But traditions vary widely on how to spend that special holiday family time. Reporter Newspapers surveyed 200 residents, conducted by 1Q.com via cellphone, about their holiday traditions. The results are not scientific. More than half the respondents said they expected to be home with their loved ones this year during the best parts of the holidays. “The key is being with family,” a 44-year-old Atlanta man commented when responding to the cellphone survey of 200 adults who live in communities served by Reporter Newspapers and INtown Atlanta. The second largest percentage of respondents, 36 percent, said their favorite part of the holidays would take place at the homes of friends or family members. Five percent looked forward to dinners at restaurants and 3 percent said the best part of the holidays would come at church or another religious institution. Respondents may have agreed on who they wanted to be with during the holi-

days, but they differed on the best way to spend that family time. One 52-year-old looked forward to his family’s annual “famous ‘Turkey Bowl’ football game prior to Thanksgiving lunch. Others planned to watch football on TV. Still others wanted to go shopping on Black Friday or head to the mountains or to the beach for a holiday escape. “Our family takes an annual beach vacation over Thanksgiving as a way to escape the unpredictable Atlanta weather,” a 31-year-old Sandy Springs woman said. “This year we’re going to Mexico!” But most of the respondents seemed ready to turn to homebodies. Asked for their special ways to celebrate the holidays, respondents said they looked forward to taking part in family sleepovers, going bowling, heading to church, looking at holiday lights, playing board games, doing community service and to joining a Thanksgiving-style “Friendsgiving” dinner with friends rather than family. A 33-year-old Atlanta man wanted “conversation by the fire.” A 36-year-old Buckhead man summed up his holiday

Communities of Faith 2018 December 9

Children’s Christmas Pageant 10:15am December 23

Lessons & Carols 11:00am December 24

Candlelight Christmas Eve 5:00pm


Christmas Eve: Sunday, December 24 3:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist and Christmas Pageant* 5:30 p.m. Christmas Concert & Festival Eucharist* 10:00 p.m. Christmas Concert & Festival Eucharist *Nursery is available for these services and programs.

Christmas Day: Monday, December 25, 10:30 a.m. 3110 Ashford Dunwoody Rd • Atlanta, 30319 • 404-261-4292 • www.stmartins.org

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NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Where are you during your favorite part of the holidays!


Faith | 17



At my home with loved ones


% Out on the town at a restaurant, club, etc.


At the home of a friend or family member

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A religious institution like a church or synagogue

3% other, including community events such as tree-lightings. plans simply: “Eating turkey and ham, watching football and taking daytime naps.” Food seemed to hold a special place on our list of holiday treats. One 24-year-old Atlanta man said he looked forward to simply “eating like there’s no tomorrow.” And our holiday menu is nothing if not varied. Survey respondents eagerly awaited more than just the traditional standbys — turkey, green bean casserole, pecan pie — as their family traditions turn on hot chocolate, Christmas tree cookies, grilled cheese sandwiches, lasagna, spaghetti on Christmas Eve, hot pot and even a mix of Mexican and Korean foods. “We make paella for Thanksgiving,” a 44-year-old Buckhead woman said, referring to a Spanish rice dish. More than one respondent looked forward to a special holiday trip to a Waffle House. “We go to midnight Mass, open presents and then hit Waffle House in our PJs,” a 47-year-old woman said. “We are on our 15th year!” Movies seemed important, too, as some have made certain films into their own family holiday rituals. One family views “Home Alone 2” every year. Another settles in to watch “The Lord of the Rings.” A 50-year-old Sandy Springs man said his family has an annual showing of “Pulp Fiction.” A 37-year-old Brookhaven woman said Christmas Day brought chaos as her family gathered to celebrate each year “and we love it! All the kids (cousins) wear matching pajamas!” Many, however, looked forward to more traditional holiday celebrations. “We deck the halls inside and outside our home with Christmas decorations. We also go to one of our local churches to watch the ‘living nativity’ with animals,” a 37-year-old Atlanta man said. “I love to

sit by the fire and drink mulled wine and cider while listening to old holiday classic music.”

1Q.com/reporter or text REPORTER to 86312

Discover Galloway

Pre-K – Grade 12 Open House Sunday, December 2, 1-3 p.m.

Register at gallowayschool.org

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS At Galloway, students (age 3-grade 12) are inspired to be fearless learners, to embrace challenges, and to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

18 | Art & Entertainment

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Thursday, Nov. 29, 6-8 p.m. Musical performances, reindeer, holiday crafts, games, visits with Santa, Christmas tree and Hanukkah Menorah lightings, refreshments, food trucks. Free. Toys for Tots reps will collect donations of new, unwrapped toys. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.

Saturday, Dec. 1, 5:30-8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m. This 6th Annual Atlanta Nativity Celebration by the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints features unique nativity sets from around the world and a live nativity. New this year is Art from the Heart, featuring the religious-themed works of local artists. Christmas music performances, sing-alongs, Christmas crafts for children, holiday cookies and warm cider. Free. 6449 Glenridge Drive N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: atlantastake.org.


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Leadership Identity Values Experiences

Monday to Wednesday, Dec. 3-5, 5:15-5:45 p.m. Join the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta for three days of Hanukkah celebration. Each night will feature songs and activities, followed by a performance and the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah. Arrive at 4:45 p.m. for a free Family Yoga and Mindfulness experience. Jelly donuts and hot chocolate will be served. Free. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or 678-812-4161.


Friday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 16 Stage Door Players presents Phil Olson’s “A Nice Family Christmas.” A young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired has been assigned a last-chance story about a typical family Christmas – his family’s Christmas. His recently widowed mother, crazy uncle, eccentric grandmother, and battling siblings provide no shortage of material. $15-$33. North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 ChambleeDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Show schedule: stagedoorplayers.net.


Friday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus delivers its 38th annual holiday concert at the Cathedral of St. Philip. This year’s “Holly, Jolly and Gay!” show features new arrangements and new artistic leadership. $40 through Dec. 6; $45 at the door. Free ice cream social after the Saturday matinee. 2744 Peachtree Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: voicesofnote.org.


Sunday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m. The Atlanta Concert Band presents its annual holiday concert, “Holiday Cards.” The family concert will include sing-alongs, a narrator for “A Christmas Tale (Beware the Krampus),” the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church choir and handbells. Free; donations accepted. Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, 471 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: atlantaconcertband.org.



Saturday, Dec. 1, 8-11 p.m.; Beginners’ dance lesson 7-8 p.m. The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association sponsors Gerard Delafose & the Zydeco Gators of Louisiana in the group’s first performance in Atlanta. Cajun/Creole food for sale. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. No partner required. All ages welcome. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org.


Sunday, Dec. 9, 2-6 p.m. Family Fun Day includes reindeer, story time, performances, winter crafts, games, campfire and cocoa at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Find Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes on the Enchanted Woodland Trail. Bring a picnic or pick up food from one of the food trucks. Included with general admission; free to CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Ticket info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The North Side Library Association holds its first annual Holiday Gift Fair at the Buckhead Library. Shop for unique items made by local artisans. Free. Funds raised benefit the Buckhead Library, 269 Buckhead Ave. N.E., Buckhead. Info: afpls.org/buckhead-branch.


Saturday, Dec. 1, noon-2 p.m. Decorate your own cookie and have some cocoa while you shop the selection of handcrafted gifts and home decor at the Spruill Center for the Arts’ 25th annual Holiday Artists Market, a six-week shopping event that runs through Dec. 23. Free. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org/holidayartistsmarket.


Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Congregation Or VeShalom hosts its 43rd annual Sisterhood Hanukkah Bazaar featuring authentic Sephardic/Mediterranean foods and handmade pastries served by the OVS Sisterhood for dine in or carry out. Shop for local art, Judaica, jewelry, crafts, unusual gifts, used books, and more. Also at the event will be a newly revamped KidsZone and a premium liquor auction. $3. 1681 North Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: orveshalom.org.


Sunday, Dec. 2, 3-5 p.m. Learn to make a variety of Hanukkah treats including latke waffles, sweet potato latkes,

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 19



cookies and more. $25 members; $35 nonmembers. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or 678-812-3993.


Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Swedish Women’s Educational Association, showcases the culture and holiday traditions of Sweden in this annual market featuring home-baked goods, candy, traditional and modern handicraft, gift items, used books written in Swedish and new and old Swedish products. Swedish Christmas foods and drinks and hot dogs will be for sale and children’s activities will be hosted by the Swedish School of Atlanta. The Lucia procession, a famous Swedish tradition, will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. $2 adults; free for ages 17 and under. Also, free for any visitor wearing a Scandinavian National Costume. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: atlanta.swea.org/julmarknaden.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mike Castronis discusses his book, “A Football Story in a Football Story,” a fictional story of possibilities set in the late 1960s, when a football-crazy town begins to understand what might happen to their team if African-Americans were able to play. Free. Community Room at Heritage Sandy Springs, 6110

Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.


Take a class or teach a class at the Community Assistance Center. Free adult education classes focus on enhancing life skills and improving job skills. Classes include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), computers for beginners and personal financial management. All classes are taught by volunteers. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: ourcac.org.



SPARKLE SANDY SPRINGS OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION DECEMBER 1, 2018 6PM AT CITY SPRINGS Enjoy a wonderland of festively decorated six-feettall wooden houses, painted by local artists and organizations. This year’s event will feature the City’s first annual Christmas tree and Menorah lightings. School of Rock Atlanta will provide festive entertainment. We’ll have complimentary hot chocolate and concessions for sale. This free event will kick-off December 1st at 6 p.m. and the display will remain open to the public through December 31st.


20 | Education

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The musicians of No Solution Sutton Middle School The music started at their sixth-grade talent show. That was when Max Bittner, Devon Gates, Chris Robinson and Micah MacLane came together to form their blues and rock band No Solution at Sutton Middle School. “We did the talent show, and after that we were like, ‘Let’s keep doing this,’ ” Devon said. Fast forward six years, and these four high school seniors — Max attends The Weber School, the others attend North Atlanta High School — have made a name for themselves performing all across Atlanta and the entire Southeast. They have competed in and won numerous competitions, most recently the Atlanta Blues Society’s Atlanta Blues Challenge. The band will represent Atlanta at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this January. Each band member has brought their unique backgrounds and skill sets to the table. Max’s farther, David Bittner, manages the band, and Max plays the guitar, an instrument he picked up at 6 years old. Chris, who grew up playing on a drum set at his church, remembers first meeting Max at Sutton Middle School. “I had moved here and I wanted to play drums, so I walked into the band room at Sutton Middle School, which had a jazz

band,” he said “I hear this kid playing crazy riffs on the guitar, and I’m like, ‘Who is this? I need to be his friend.’” Devon Gates balances the band’s performances and practices with her numerous extracurricular activities, once competing in a Quiz Bowl state championship before

Standout Student performing later that day. Devon has been singing for as long as she can remember, but she added bass guitar when the group suddenly needed a bass player for the talent show. The other band members are certain that she will end up as a lawyer and they will one day be sleeping on her couch. “This is a really unique thing we have gotten to do,” Devon said. “These guys are great and we are like a big family.” Micah MacLane began taking piano lessons when he was five years old, and now plays the keyboard for No Solution. The members attribute their success to putting in hours and hours of practice, both as a group and individually. They also gave thanks to David Bittner for managing the band for all these years. “None of this

Above, from left, Micah MacLane, Devon Gates, Chris Robinson and Max Bittner perform on stage.


Inset, from left, Max Bittner, a student at The Weber School, along with North Atlanta High students Devon Gates, Chris Robinson and Micah MacLane, formed the band No Solution in middle school.

would happen without David,” Chris said.

What’s next?

All four band members are looking to study music in college, and hope to play together when they can. “The luxury of today’s world is even if we are in different places, we can still do things together,” Chris said. This article was written and reported by Max Goldstein, a student at Atlanta Jewish Academy.

C O R R EC T IO N The story “Dunwoody expresses concern about DeKalb graduation dates” in the Nov. 9 issue incorrectly stated the graduation date for Cross Keys High. The correct date is May 30.

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22 | Community

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Norwood returns with an eye on subways, elections Continued from page 1 allow the new mayor to take charge of the city and I would not be a distraction,” Norwood said in a recent interview. In recent weeks, Norwood re-emerged in the role that put her on the political radar, as a community activist, helping Tuxedo Park fight a controversial townhome project that, she says, is part of a development wave that threatens Atlanta’s “sacrosanct” neighborhoods. In November, she appeared at a small community meeting about an intersection project with a big idea — a subway between Cobb County and Lindbergh Center, and other commuter-traffic solutions that she said “may be my raison d’être in 2019. You never can tell.” The next day, Norwood was the subject of a bungled attempt by Fulton County’s state legislative delegation to nominate her as the elections board chair. Norwood said the nomination — which still could return to the delegation’s agenda next session — came “out of the blue,” but that she would be “delighted to serve if selected.” “I think it’s critically important we restore the public confidence in the voting process in the largest county in Georgia,” she said. But, she added, her interest in the elections board chair position was not about investigating her own 2017 mayoral election loss, where she pointed to complaints of voting irregularities and called for a recount.

“If we could have contested that election, we would have, but I could not get enough information from the election director, the election department…,” Norwood said. “What do you even do after the fact? I don’t know.” Norwood talks about all of her recent agenda items with the framing that was a popular, and also controversial, theme of her mayoral campaign: that Buckhead is an economic anchor of Atlanta but gets relatively fewer improvements, and that she provides an independent voice, since she has no political party affiliation. In her last notable public appearance, back in January, Norwood repeated those themes in especially strong terms, warning the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods to make sure the neighborhood gets its fair share of improvements. The Bottoms administration later blasted those remarks as divisive. In raising the themes now, Norwood spoke cautiously and with a softer approach, sometimes stopping mid-sentence to choose words carefully and emphasizing she didn’t want to “dredge up” the past, and calling previous problems “water under the dam.” In her most local effort, battling the townhome proposal on Tuxedo Park’s Blackland Road, Norwood talked in terms of a local-and-citywide political synergy. “If you don’t defend your borders, you will lose your neighborhood, period,” she said of the local fight. But she also quick-

ly supplied examples of her fights, as a city money? Yes. But we have money.” councilmember, against similar projects in With the new regional transit authority locations around the city. known as The ATL gearing up, the possibil“I have run citywide since 2001,” said ity of such a line, once politically unthinkNorwood, who held the atable, could be on the table, large council seat twice and she said. lost another squeaker of a Norwood said Buckhead mayoral election to Kasim has been largely overlooked Reed in 2009. “I have never in recent transportation imbeen just a Buckhead repreprovement programs. Those sentative.” include MARTA’s new salesAs for other political or tax-funded expansion — a activism roles that might criticism also made by the catch her interest, Norwood North Buckhead Civic Assowould only say, “I haven’t ciation — as well as the Remade any long-term decinew Atlanta infrastructure sions.” bond and projects funded by Mary Norwood a new transportation special Commuter traffic local option sales tax. While “I think in 2019, I will see — maybe I Atlanta BeltLine transit rose on the MARwill spend 2019 trying to solve traffic,” said TA priority list after a recent controversy, Norwood. That especially means commutNorwood said that “85 percent of neighborer traffic and ties into her concerns about hoods do not touch the BeltLine,” including Buckhead being left out of recent city road some in Buckhead. and transit improvement programs. She said there needs to be “adjustment” Speaking to the Reporter about transit at in all of those programs because Buckhead the recent intersection improvement meet“needs and deserves some real and thoughting, held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, ful improvements.” Norwood quickly gathered a sizable group of residents around a church pew to hear a mini speech about the impacts of Cobb commuter traffic and the need for a new MARTA rail line. “We need a subway coming from the northwest into Lindbergh,” Norwood said. “Build it. Build it quick… Will it cost a lot of

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Norwood briefly served on the Fulton elections board in 2013 before making a second run for City Council. Her possible return as the board chair revives some of the hottest mayoral campaign arguments against her and Bottoms — that Norwood is essentially a closet Republican, and that Bottoms won the seat in a suspect election, with Norwood supporters still often referring to “dead people voting” and other alleged but unproven fraud. The board chair position is currently held by Mary Carole Cooney, who is serving despite her term having expired. The process of filling the position involves an appointment by the county’s state legislative delegation, which is then approved by the county Board of Commissioners. Norwood’s nomination came in a delegation meeting hurriedly called by state Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) during a special session of the General Assembly called by Gov. Nathan Deal mainly to vote on south Georgia hurricane relief funding. While Fulton’s state senators voted to appoint Norwood, the state representatives did not amid process concerns from Democratic members, whose party will control the delegation next session. Norwood said she did not seek the position or expect to be nominated. According to Albers, Norwood’s nomination in the Senate delegation meeting was made by state Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth). Norwood said her previous stint on the board was exploited by opponents as evidence that she is not actually independent. To win the appointment in 2012, she had to solicit support from the Republican-controlled delegation, and also from the allDemocratic county commission. “I was accused of being a Republican. I was never a Republican. I was never a member of a party,” Norwood said, calling it a “ploy” used “to depress the vote” in both of her mayoral races. She quickly added, “That’s water under the dam.” BH

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 23


First Amazon HQ2 pitch included five local sites BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Five separate sites in the Reporter Newspapers communities of Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs were part of metro Atlanta’s initial pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters, according to state documents. Two of the local sites — Dunwoody’s High Street and Brookhaven’s Northeast Plaza — were previously known, leaked during the secretive bidding process. The other sites remained secret. All were included on a list sent to Amazon for review, but all were rejected as not meeting the company’s bidding requirements, according to the state Department of Economic Development. The state eventually submitted a formal bid that included other sites in Atlanta and Cobb and Gwinnett counties. The local site list included: ■ 211 Perimeter Center Parkway, Dunwoody. Also known as High Street, a longstalled major redevelopment proposal that, city officials previously said, was submitted for the Amazon bid by Boston-based owner GID. ■ 3307 Buford Highway, Brookhaven. The Northeast Plaza shopping center. As the Reporter first revealed, the city of Brookhaven proposed this site, adding to Buford Highway’s gentrification controversies, but the shopping center’s owner said it did not want to be part of the bid.


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■ Abernathy Road at Barfield Road, Sandy Springs. The exact site is unclear, though a large unbuilt parcel sits along Ga. 400 there, near the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA and UPS. ■ A “Buckhead location” somewhere in ZIP code 30326, the area of Buckhead Heights and Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls. ■ A Buckhead site on Ga. 400 “at the Buckhead Loop adjacent to Buckhead Peachtree MARTA Station [sic].” On Nov. 13, Amazon announced it will split the new headquarters between New York City and Arlington, Va. That opened up Georgia’s previously secret bidding documents, including the site list, to public review. The bidding process began with property owners or local governments submitting possible sites for the Amazon mini-city to state officials. The list was compiled as a spreadsheet giving general information about each site’s location; general size; proximity to transit, highways and Atlanta’s airport; readiness for development; and fiber, cell and utility infrastructure. In many cases, the site was submitted without a specific street address. The self-submitted list released by the state included 62 sites. One site that made the cut for inclusion in the formal bid would have had significant impact on Dunwoody: Doraville’s massive mixed-use Assembly site, which sits close to the city along I-285. Atlanta sites in the official bidding included locations in Midtown, the Atlantic Station area, the Gulch, Old Fourth Ward and the Quarry Yards project near the Bankhead MARTA Station. Other locations included a site near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Lockheed Martin complex in Cobb County; and the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett County.

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24 |

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