11-23-18 Brookhaven Reporter

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NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 24


Brookhaven 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

Deputy police chief resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Will you be mine?

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Alex Athanasiades, 11, meets Denny, one of the dogs available for adoption at an event held by Alpharetta’s Angels Among Us Pet Rescue Nov. 17 at Town Brookhaven. Alex was joined by his parents, Nick and Zuzsanna, and brother Dimitri at the event. For more information, see angelsrescue.org.

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The musicians of No Solution Page 20

The police department’s deputy chief resigned this month after a lieutenant accused of him sexually harassing her, including grabbing her by her arms and pulling her toward him at last month’s inaugural Police Ball. Juan Grullon voluntarily resigned Nov. 8, according to documents obtained through an open records request. His resignation was effective immediately. Grullon has been with the police department since it was founded in 2013 and served as the department’s second-in-command since 2016. Grullon could not be reached for comment. In lieu of accepting a notice of resignation from Grullon, the city agreed to pay him $24,939.12 through Jan. 31, 2019, for the resignation to be effective immediately. He will also be paid for unused vacation time totaling $19,660.18, according to city documents. By accepting the payments, Grullon See DEPUTY on page 23

Major intersection projects coming in 2019 BY DYANA BAGBY

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




The City Council’s recent approval of its $47.5 million budget for 2019 includes several major transportation projects. The projects include intersection improvements to the Ashford-Dunwoody and Peachtree road intersection, a roundabout at Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road, and traffic signal improvements along the Ashford-Dunwoody and Dresden Drive corridors. See MAJOR on page 22

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The City Council voted 4-1 on Nov. 13 to allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays and until 2 a.m. on Sunday nights despite the city attorney’s opinion doing so violates state law. The council approved amending the alcohol code at the Nov. 13 meeting to legalize Sunday sales for restaurants at 11 a.m. due to the passage of the “brunch bill” referendum by Brookhaven voters. As part of the amendment, the council also approved allowing restaurants and bars to sell until 2 a.m. Sunday nights. City Attorney Chris Balch argued that state law prohibits the sale of alcohol past midnight on Sundays because the code states alcohol sales must stop at “12 midnight.” Because there is no language in the alcohol code that details what to do after 12:01 a.m. into Monday morning, Balch said the city can not legally allow businesses to sell alcohol for consumption on premises, such as restaurants and bars, past midnight. The council agreed to wait until receiving an opinion from the Attorney General rather than cutting off sales at midnight on Sunday. Councilmember Linley Jones cast the “no” vote. Kevin Leff, attorney with Sandy Springs-based Sard & Leff, a law firm specializing in alcohol regulatory and compliance issues in Georgia, said in an interview that the wording “12 midnight” is used in the state code because the state only regulates alcohol sales on Sundays. Anything after midnight is considered Monday and is open to local government control, Leff said. The reason the state regulates Sundays sales is because it used to be illegal across Georgia to sell alcohol on Sundays, he added. Balch said he does not read the state law that way and is still seeking an opinion from the Attorney General as the council requested.


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A popular butterfly mural painted by a DACA recipient on the side of the Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Highway was recently painted over after the restaurant’s owner said she had political concerns after someone spray painted over the mural’s hashtag “#heretostay.” Debbie Benedit, the restaurant’s owner, asked the artist, Yehimi Cambron, a Cross Keys High School art teacher and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, to not replace the “#heretostay” on the mural. Benedit said the phrase was “very contentious issue in a highly divisive political environment” and she wanted her business to remain “neutral” on political issues. Cambron ignored the reFILE/DYANA BAGBY quest and posted a video to soYehimi Cambron, an art teacher at Cross Keys High School, painted the monarch butterfly cial media of her replacing mural last September to celebrate immigrants’ the “#heretostay” that became experiences, including her parents who moved popular following President to the U.S. illegally when she was a child. Trump’s call last year to end DACA. Benedit responded by painting over the mural. The mural was painted last year as part of a public art project organized by Living Walls, the City Speaks and We Love BuHi to bring awareness and to celebrate the immigrant experience by highlighting the stories of those living and working on Buford Highway. The executive directors of We Love BuHi and Living Walls, the City Speaks — Marian Liou of Brookhaven and Monica Campana — issued a joint statement after meeting with Benedit and Cambron. They said they respected Benedit’s decision as the business owner to paint over the wall. They said they also respected Cambron’s position. Their statement also included a promise to use public art and community engagement BK

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 3


to ensure the cultural diversity of Buford Highway is understood and celebrated. The search for a new wall for Cambron to paint a new mural is underway.


The floors of several rooms at a Brookhaven apartment building collapsed into a crawlspace Nov. 14, forcing 23 families to evacuate their homes. No injuries were reported. A support beam of one of the buildings at the Reserve at Brookhaven apartments on Briarwood Road gave away Wednesday morning, resulting in the floors of several rooms to collapse into the building’s crawlspace, according to city officials. The 23 families, totaling 80 people, were forced to leave due to safety concerns. City officials are now inspecting the entire apartment complex, which includes four buildings. Power and gas were turned off by utility companies to the building and DeKalb Fire Res-

cue put up tape around entire building. The city has posted “Do Not Enter” signs around the building. The city cannot allow anyone to inhabit the building until a structural engineer certifies that it is safe, a spokesperson said. The apartment buildings were built in 1971, according to DeKalb property tax records. CITY OF BROOKHAVEN

Large cracks are visible in the floor of a Brookhaven apartment where floors of several rooms on the ground floor caved into the building’s crawl space.

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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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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.


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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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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

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

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


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

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

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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.




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12 | Community


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Election shakeup won’t hurt city’s clout, mayor says

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The loss of two of the city’s Republican legislators in this year’s midterm election is not likely to hurt Brookhaven’s voice or clout at the General As-

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Democrat Sally Harrell was elected Nov. 6 to state Senate District 40, which includes a portion of Brookhaven. She defeated Republican Fran Millar.

sembly next year, according to Mayor John Ernst. The city was one of many in the north Atlanta suburbs that saw Republican incumbents lose to Democrats in what some pundits say was part of a backlash against the national GOP as well as part of the changing face of suburban voters. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said the defeat Nov. 6 of state Sen. Fran Millar and state Rep. Meagan Hanson, two Republican incumbents who represent his city, is unlikely to hurt the city’s voice or clout at the Gold Dome. Sally Harrell, a former state House representative, defeated Millar. Hanson was beat by political newcomer Matthew Wilson. “We have a new governor, a new lieutenant governor ... everyone is new,” Ernst said. “Anytime you have new people, you have to figure things out.” Millar and Hanson played key roles as part of the GOP majority in passing legislation last year for the city to raise its hotel-motel tax. The new revenue stream is being used to fund construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, set to break ground Dec. 12. Ernst noted the city is keeping its long-time Democratic legislators who are also instrumental in making sure Brookhaven’s voice is heard: state Rep. Scott Holcomb, who won reelection; state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver; and state Sen. Elena Parent. “While we have representatives who are new, we still have relationships from the past,” Ernst said. “I don’t think the change will affect us. This is all about relationships ... and we have BK

NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Community | 13


worked well with every legislator who has represented us.” Joseph Knippenberg, professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven said Democrats flipping seats in the north Atlanta suburbs is part of a national story where Republicans took “a bath among voters who would have been their bread and butter as recently as 2012.” Local legislators like Millar and Hanson are usually able to run successfully on local issues and not have to worry about the national Republican Party and turmoil in Washington, D.C., he noted. “The adage used to be all politics is local,” he said. “This year it wasn’t.” “Trump was on the ballot even if he wasn’t,” Knippenberg said. “And as long as the Republican brand is defined by Trump, that’s going to be an issue.” Changing demographics, suburban women upset with the direction of the national Republican party, an effective Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign, and a powerful candidate in Stacey Abrams at the top of the ticket all played a role in flipping many Republican seats blue, Knippenberg said.

Wilson and Harrell ran heavily on healthcare and support for Medicaid expansion in Georgia. Knippenberg said government ideas like this that could require taxpayers to “open their pocketbooks wider” don’t typically play well in the affluent, college-educated suburbs. But because Democrats are in the minority at the Gold Dome, he said, and such legislation is not likely to pass, it might be easier for some moderate suburban voters to cast a “symbolic or protest vote” against Republicans. “It’s easier to cast a vote opposing Trump and all he stands for and vote for expensive stuff when you know it isn’t going to happen,” he said. But the changing demographics of the suburbs are also playing a role in local elections, according to some experts. “The suburbs have become more competitive in part because they are more diverse. We should not be surprised Democrats are winning races,” said Andra Gillespie, Emory University political science professor. “I don’t see anything changing that pattern.”

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14 | Community

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Brookhaven Park master plan nears completion after six years

‘Tis the Season to Be Merry


David Young with Lose Design, at front, discusses the proposed amenities to Brookhaven Park at a Nov. 14 master plan community meeting. A final draft of the master plan is expected to go before the City Council in December.

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BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A master plan six years in the making for Brookhaven’s namesake park is close to completion after the city agreed to purchase the remaining 7 acres from DeKalb County for slightly more than $2 million. A final community meeting is set for next week before the plan goes to the City Council for a vote next month. The council voted unanimously Nov. 13 to approve spending $2.2 million to buy about 7.2 acres of the front portion of Brookhaven Park from DeKalb County. The money for the purchase will come from a $40 million parks bond approved by voters on Nov. 7. The purchase of the front portion of Brookhaven Park will be finalized in January when the bonds are issued, according to city officials, and would bring to close a six-year process of negotiations between the city and county to acquire this section. The city purchased the back 12 acres last year for $100 an acre. The purchase of the front portion of the park does not include about 3 acres where the DeKalb Services Center and its parking lot are located. The DeKalb Services Center has been located on Osborne Road since 1978 and provides programming for adults with special needs. The city has argued the land the DeKalb Services Center occupies is park space that should be transferred for $100 an acre and $5,000 for the building. The legislation to create the

city of Brookhaven included language that set those amounts. The county argued the property is commercial land and said the city should purchase it for market value. In 2013, that market value was estimated at $4 million. Councilmember Bates Mattison said at the Nov. 13 meeting he had “angst” about using taxpayer money for a park that residents had already paid for under county control. But the property is such a vital piece for the city and its namesake park, Mattison said, that the final deal is a “great win.” “Sometimes it does take biting the bullet and moving on,” he said. Mayor John Ernst said the purchase of the front portion of Brookhaven Park was another “historic” moment for the city after past councils and city officials worked for many years to acquire the land. Councilmember Joe Gebbia also praised the long-awaited purchase, noting Brookhaven Park is a “statement park” and the purchase would allow the city to ensure the park is a complement to the future development of the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA Station.

Proposed master plans for two parks in one About 20 members of the Brookhaven Park Conservancy and the Brookhaven Dog Park group gathered Nov. 14 at City Hall to review the proposed Brookhaven Park master plan before it goes before the City Council for a vote in December. A final community meeting was set for the last week of No-


NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018


Community | 15

Brookhaven Parks & Recreation Director Brian Borden discusses some of the proposed amenities for Brookhaven Park with members at a recent community meeting.

vember, but the date was not known at press time. Brookhaven Park Conservancy members who cared for the park when it was under DeKalb control have long argued to the City Council to prohibit dogs running loose within the approximate 20-acre park in accordance with the city’s leash law. But the park has been well-known throughout metro Atlanta as an offleash dog park, leading city officials to ignore the leash law except in response to specific complaints. When city officials said the opening of the new Skyland Park this summer with its two small fenced-in dog parks would result in officially prohibiting off-leash use at Brookhaven Park, local residents formed the Brookhaven Dog Park alliance. The group successfully lobbied the council to vote in August to fence off about 5 acres of the back portion of the park for off-leash dog use. The compromise resulted in essentially two parks. Members from the different organizations then held separate meetings over the past several months to come up with proposed amenities for their different areas. Those ideas have resulted in the final proposed plan set to go to the council for a vote. Proposed amenities in the dog park area that is west of the playground area at the center of the park include: a spray pad, dog wash and agility equipment, like poles and tunnels; drinking fountains with pet bowls; rebuilding of the existing pavilion and adding grills BK

and tables; a shade pavilion in the lower field; and more benches and picnic tables. The “front area” of the park’s proposed amenities include: a new 10,000-square-foot playground area with equipment for different ages; a pavilion with restroom; shaded seating area next to the playground; an expanded community garden area with garden shed and restroom and outdoor work station; and renovation of the existing pavilion. Proposed general park improvements include: replacing broken pavement with a 10-foot-wide concrete path; adding a segment of 10-foot-wide concrete path from the playground area to southern limits of the park for vehicle loading during festivals; adding a concrete slab to be used as a temporary stage; and improving parking areas to include security cameras and better lighting. A gateway entrance into the park from Peachtree Road is still being figured out, according to Lose Design officials. Because Peachtree Road is a state road, the plans must be made in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Transportation. The popular open field area where people play ultimate Frisbee, soccer and kickball remains largely untouched in the proposed plans other than the 40-by-20-foot concrete slab with electrical hook-up located south of the playground area to be used as a temporary stage during festivals.

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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

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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

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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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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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Major intersection projects coming in 2019 Continued from page 1

Ashford-Dunwoody/ Peachtree Road intersection

The city has budgeted $1.3 million to begin the Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Peachtree Road intersection improvement project approved as a top priority in the Ashford-Dunwoody corridor study approved in 2017. The intersection is adjacent to the

Peachtree Golf Club and a major point of entrance for people coming into the city from Chamblee. The project includes extending the right-turn lane on southbound AshfordDunwoody Road to Oglethorpe Drive (the entrance to Sanctuary at Oglethorpe apartments); converting the right-turn lane from southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road into a barrier-separated, free-flow turn lane, controlled by a rightturn arrow signal with a pedestrian activated push button; and installing a rightturn lane on south Peachtree Road.

Other changes include: increasing the turn radius in the northeast corner of the intersection for trucks to better maneuver; installing a raised concrete island; and building a shelter and waiting area at the Peachtree Road bus stop. “This is one of the biggest problems we have with just traffic,” Public Works Director Hari Karikaran said of the intersection. “This is an important intersection and to make the bottleneck go away will mean we can attract more people and more business to the city. “Fixing this will help a lot of people …

it should have been done long ago.” Right of way and easement acquisitions are still taking place, but Karikaran said once the project gets started it should be completed in six months.

Traffic cameras on Ashford-Dunwoody and Dresden corridors

Bids are expected to go out in January and work set to begin in early 2019 to install technology for “Advanced Traffic Management Systems” along Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Dresden Drive, two of the city’s busiest roads. The city received a $1.6 million federal grant for the project and is footing a matching $403,394 of the approximately $2 million price tag. Using ATMS software set up in the Traffic Center at Dunwoody City Hall, which Brookhaven will share, traffic engineers are able to watch traffic flow and manually change traffic signals in real time with a few strokes of a keyboard to divert traffic away from wrecks or weather-related debris, for example. The year-long project will include running fibers underground to the traffic control centers, Karikaran said.

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NOV. 23 - DEC. 13, 2018

Public Safety | 23


Deputy police chief resigns after sexual harassment allegations Continued from page 1

ployee’s buttocks and alleged it was sexual harassment. He apologized for the inwaived any claims against the city, accordcident, but the result was a breakdown in ing to city documents. city transparency policies including the City officials said the police department city’s attorney at the time trying to keep the has received sexual harassment training evsexual harassment complaint secret. Daery year since its founding in 2013 and all vis denied he meant to harm the woman. city employees started receiving sexual haThe woman who Davis sprayed with aerorassment training this year. They added sol filed an EEOC complaint, but it was disthey do not believe this incident is part of missed. Davis called the complaint “spurian overall problem within the department ous” and “baseless.” or at City Hall. Following the report “We don’t think this is a about Grullon, city officials systemic issue, this is just a said the sexual harassment one-person issue,” City Mantraining in place is proving ager Christian Sigman said successful. in an interview. “We take ev“[W]e believe that the ery complaint very seriousfact that an employee who ly. And it shows that all the felt threatened was able to training ... doesn’t isolate file a complaint, and have you.” that complaint addressed Sigman said the lieutenand resolved rapidly, illusant who filed the complaint trates the training program Juan Grullon. has returned to work. is working,” city spokesperMayor John Ernst said son Burke Brennan said in a Grullon’s resignation days after the comwritten statement. plaint was filed and a preliminary investigation was completed showed the adminThe complaint istration worked quickly and effectively to The Oct. 29 complaint alleged that Grulhandle the sensitive situation. He also said lon engaged in inappropriate conduct at the the latest incident is not part of any systemBrookhaven Police Foundation’s Police Ball ic issue within city government. on Oct. 13 at the DoubleTree Hotel on Cham“This is not a city issue,” he said in an inblee-Dunwoody Road. In the complaint, the terview. “This is part of a larger societal islieutenant said she was too uncomfortable sue.” to return to work and had been taking perThe lieutenant alleged in the Oct. 29 ofsonal time since Oct. 13. ficial complaint that Grullon called her his The Brookhaven Police Foundation is a “work wife” when introducing him to his nonprofit organization that raises money wife at the first Brookhaven Police Foundafor scholarships for officers and provides tion Police Ball. She alleged he later grabbed emergency funding in such instances as her and pulled her toward him. She also almedical emergencies. The ball included a leged Grullon had made sexually suggestive medal ceremony to recognize officers for comments to her for many years, but she outstanding service, where Grullon helped remained silent because she feared retaliadistribute the awards. tion because of his high rank. In the complaint, the lieutenant said None of the allegations were proven Grullon introduced her to his wife at the Poand an investigation into the complaint lice Ball as his “work wife.” The lieutenant was closed without a finding when Grullon said Grullon offered to make her a drink in agreed to resign. No criminal charges have his hotel room and bring it back to the ball been filed. Grullon did not comment on to give it to her. When she left the ball with the allegations, but he did say the lieutenother officers, she claimed, Grullon called ant “was out to get him,” according to the her to say he had her drink. documents obtained in the open records reThe lieutenant said that she agreed to quest. return and get the drink, and when she got Grullon’s case is not the first allegation out of the car, Grullon grabbed her by her of sexual harassment within the police dearms and pulled him close to her and said, partment. In 2014, Chief Gary Yandura “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming fired a sergeant after a subordinate accused alone?” He said he would not have brought him of sending her sexually explicit text his wife to the Police Ball if he knew she was messages and sexually harassing her. Yangoing to be alone, the complaint says. Gruldura stated he violated departmental polilon then said, “I have waited five years for cies including standards of conduct and the this,” the lieutenant claimed. sexual harassment/discrimination policy. The city hired an outside labor and emThe woman then filed an official comployment attorney on Oct. 30 to investiplaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opgate the complaint. The city manager also portunity Commission (EEOC) also alleging immediately put Grullon on paid adminsexual harassment on the job at the police istrative leave. The investigation included department. The city settled the case for interviews with the lieutenant, with other $10,000 which was paid for by the city’s inofficers and with Grullon. Grullon told ofsurance. As part of the settlement, the womficials in human resources on Oct. 31, afan waived all claims against the city. ter learning he was under investigation but In 2015, former mayor J. Max Davis got not why, that he knew who was making the swept up in sexual harassment allegations complaint and that “she’s been out to get when the former city manager accused him him,” according to city documents. of spraying an aerosol can at a female emBK


Magical Light Display December 1–31

Elf The Musical December 7 – 16

The Sounds of Christmastime December 15

Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour December 19

Boston Brass & The Brass All Stars Big Band: Christmas Bells Are Swingin’: December 22

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra New Year’s Eve Celebration December 31

New Year’s Eve Final Countdown with the Joe Gransden Big Band December 31


24 |

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