December 2019 - Buckhead Reporter

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DECEMBER 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 1

Olympic Park bombing investigation: Remembering dark days P8

Buckhead Reporter

Tax breaks targeted by new neighborhood task force


Historic American Legion building renovated

text here



Ryan Gravel

Designer of the Atlanta BeltLine

Richard Jewell

A public challenge: reimagine I-285 P6



‘A Tuna Christmas’ continues theater partnership P26

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Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen talks about the district’s progress and the impacts of tax breaks on revenue and equity at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Northwest Community Alliance at Northside Church of God. BCID NEWS ROUND-UP | More inside ►

‘Revolutionary’ shuttle service is delayed by liability question BY JOHN RUCH

An on-demand shuttle van service that was to debut in central Buckhead in January has been delayed – and possibly endangered – by legal liability questions. The service, involving four free-roaming vans hailed on Uber-style cellphone apps, would be operated by a company called Via

in a contract with the Buckhead Community Improvement District. It is intended to replace the current fixed-route “buc” shuttle bus service. The Via program was approved by the BCID board earlier this year, with one member praising it as a “revolutionary” service that could be imitated metro-wide. But in contract negotiations, the BCID See REVOLUTIONARY on page 28

Commercial tax breaks and discounts are the target of a new “task force” within the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, which says such deals are shifting the tax burden to homeowners and putting a drag on the school system budget. The Taxes/TADs Task Force came from a team-up suggestion from Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who blasted tax breaks on luxury redevelopments at the Oct. 10 BCN meeting. She repeated the theme at a Nov. 20 meeting of the Northwest Community Alliance, where she responded positively when told about the BCN task force. “Good for them,” she said. “They seem to be thoughtful. Maybe something good can come out of it. [Or] at least some better understanding.” See TAX on page 30

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2 | Community ■

Historic American Legion building is renovated to serve generations of vets BY JOHN RUCH

The historic Waldo M. Slaton American Legion Post 140 building in Chastain Park is freshly renovated and will serve more generations of veterans after the post set aside a controversial plan to demolish it and build a larger version. “This renovation should ensure the viability of the building for another 50 years,” said post Commander Ken DeSimone, who also serves as the Sandy Springs police chief, about the roughly 80-yearold, rustic structure at 3905 Powers Ferry Road. The post held an open house on Veterans Day to show off the $100,000 renovation, which repair rotting flooring, outdated wiring and other issues in the 1930s-era building. The work was done by Cobb County’s Gay Construction, a prominent firm with historic renovation experience whose work includes Atlanta’s Ponce City Market. Tom Gay, the company’s chairman, is a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam and a Legionnaire at the post. “For many years this building has served as the headquarters for the activities of the post as well as for community


The Waldo M. Slaton American Legion Post 140 building on Powers Ferry Road.

Right, the preamble to the American Legion’s constitution hangs over the historic fireplace.

service,” said Gay. “We believe it is important to preserve and upgrade the facility, and we performed the work at our cost.” Three years ago, the post proposed de-

molishing the building as outdated, past its lifespan, and too small for growing ranks of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In its place would rise a much larger, $1

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million building. That plan drew some resistance among the post’s membership and, in the outside world, from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Buckhead Heritage Society. The post gained city zoning approval, but DeSimone said the plan is not happening due to funding. “It was all fundraising-dependent. The more money we raised, the more we could do,” he said. “We are still taking donations for kitchen refurbishment and other items that are needed.” Some of that work yet to come includes installing a sidewalk ramp and gutters, he said. Post 140 serves military veterans mostly from the Buckhead, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs areas. Its house-like building has a stone fireplace, a deck and walls of irregular wooden planks painted green outside. The post is known for community connections, including last year’s opening of a T-ball field next to the building and the renting of the facility to such groups as the Buckhead 50 Club. Legion members help run a Boy Scout camp and hold such fundraisers as a run for Buckhead’s Shepherd Center for brain and spinal injury treatment. The origins of the post’s building are not know for certain. A common assumption is the structure was built as a bunkhouse for workers in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal work programs. Post 140 was chartered in 1936, according to DeSimone, but no one knows exactly where, though it is believed it was not in the Powers Ferry Road building. What is known is that the building has served as the Legion post since at least 1954. At that time, it was deeded by Fulton County on the condition it remain in Legion use; otherwise, ownership reverts to the county. Slaton, the post’s namesake, died while serving in the Army during World War I. The post’s building also features a prominent memorial to Staff Sgt. Ryan P. Means, a Brookhaven native who became a Special Forces soldier after his friend was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks; Means died of cancer in 2009 while serving. With decades of social gatherings and community events in its past, and now many more decades to come, the building and its renovation invite personal reflection to those who have made the memories. “I have been a member of Post 140 for a number of years,” said Gay, “and I am proud of the services the post provides to our veterans, our service members and our community.” For more information about the post, see

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Community | 3


Lovett School seeks to raise enrollment cap after forgetting it BY JOHN RUCH

The Lovett School says it has exceeded a nearly two-decade-old student enrollment cap agreement for years after previous administrators forgot about it. Now the school wants to boost the cap by 100 students – from 1,560 to 1,660 – to legalize its current enrollment and have flexibility. “The school is not seeking campus expansion and will remain within its existing footprint,” said Courtney Fowler, a spokesperson for the private K-12 school at 4075 Paces Ferry Road. The enrollment at the beginning of the current school year was 1,614, she said. The discovery came as a direct result of the school’s attempt to deal with on-campus traffic congestion, which is an issue on Buckhead’s neighborhood streets as well. The school was awaiting Neighborhood Planning Unit A review of the request, which would be an update to a special use permit that allows it to operate. The application then would go to the Zoning Review Board for a recommendation, possibly in December, followed by a final vote by the City Council. The school withdrew from NPU-A’s Nov. 5 agenda as neighborhood talks continue. Brink Dickerson, chair of NPU-A, said that neighborhood association response would “weigh significantly” in his group’s vote. When Meredyth Cole took over as Lovett’s head of school last year, she soon began work on finding solutions for the school’s campus traffic. Fowler said that the school hired the engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates to conduct a traffic study and make recommendations, which could include changes to internal roads and sidewalks. Cole asked whether there was an enrollment cap in place that could affect permitting of such improvements, Fowler said, “And nobody had that answer.” It turned out there was a cap, set in 2000 and affirmed in a 2007 special use permit update. “Our current enrollment

cap has been in place for almost 20 years,” Fowler said, but no one in the administration had a memory of it. It appears that city officials never checked, and there have been no new buildings or other projects that would have altered the enrollment cap. For at least the past four years, Fowler said, the school has exceeded the cap. The lowest enrollment in that period is this year’s figure of 1,614. The highest was 1,679 in the 2016-17 school year – 119 over the cap. The school is now seeking to set a new cap of 1,660. “Holding the school to the enrollment cap number of 1,560, originally approved nearly 20 years ago, would certainly impact the school’s employees, current families and prospective new families for next school year,” said Fowler. And even setting it at the current level would be too inflexible and could mean, for example, not enabling all siblings in the same family to enroll, she said. If the new proposed maximum of 1,660 students did enroll, Fowler said, the existing campus could absorb them. “We would not need to add ‘seats’ or staff, and we are not seeking campus expansion,” she said. The big question, of course, is what would prevent the school from forgetting a new enrollment cap just like it did the current one. “As part of our application,” Fowler said, “we are offering to self-report enrollment annually in writing to the [city] office of Planning and Zoning, NPU-A administration and membership, and Paces Civic Association administration and membership.” While awaiting a permit decision and possible roadway changes, Lovett is tackling traffic in other ways. It gained attention earlier this year for launch a limited school bus service that is moving toward expansion next school year. The school also made changes to its student carpool line with the goal of making it more efficient. And for employees, the school in August launched a carpool program via the state Georgia Commutes program.


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4 | Community ■

Community Briefs 28 M OR E G UNS HI T S TR EET S FR O M B U CK HEA D T HEFTS , P O L IC E S AY

Another 28 guns hit the streets after being stolen from cars in the Buckhead area in October, police say. That continues a trend of more than 200 such thefts a year of firearms, ammo or gun accessories from cars. Capt. Anthony Singh, assistant commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Buckhead-area Zone 2 precinct, reported the number at the Nov. 5 meeting of NPU-A. He urged residents to stop leaving unsecured firearms in cars. “We don’t want to put guns in the wrong person’s hand,” said Singh. “The teenagers, the 11-year-olds, the 12-year-olds — they know what to do with a gun now.” Singh said the guns stolen from cars in the previous month included such high-quality brands as Glock, Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson. Many metro Atlanta police departments are warning residents to stop leaving any valuables unsecured in cars, with guns being the most dangerous item thieves often steal. Last year, Sandy Springs police reported 54 gun thefts from cars, and Brookhaven police reported 22 stolen guns through July 31. In 2018, Zone 2 reported 230 stolen guns, ammo or firearm accessories in a combined stat.


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Rap stars Iggy Azalea and Playboi Carti say a burglar stole more than $366,000 in jewelry from their Buckhead rental house Nov. 14 while Azalea was home alone, according to a police report. The suspect in the burglary in the 2900 block of Howell Mill Road was masked and may have been carrying a gun, Carti told police based on a surveillance video officers had yet to view at the time of the Nov. 17 incident report. The Atlanta Police Department could not immediately say whether similar burglaries have been reported in the area. Azalea told police that she was alone in the basement of the house around 10 p.m. when she heard footsteps on the second floor. She said she had left the back door unlocked so that Carti could enter the house and believed the footsteps were his. However, Azalea and Carti told police, it was a burglar who spent less than 10 minutes in the house and stole a bag from the dining room that contained their large collection of jewelry and watches. Azalea and Carti said they had a surveillance video showing the burglar looking at the basement window and entering the house through the back door. Carti told police he believes the burglar had a gun and was wearing a dark mask and gloves. They reported more than 20 pieces of jewelry were stolen. Azalea valued hers at $366,000, while Carti was awaiting a value estimate from his insurance company for his items. The report was filed under the rappers’ given names: Amethyst Kelly and Jordan Carter.


DeKalb-Peachtree Airport has launched a web-based noise complaint system that allows users to identify disruptive aircraft on live flight-tracking radar. The “Symphony PublicVue” system, available on the DeKalb County website, was presented at a Nov. 18 meeting of the PDK Airport Advisory Board by Korey Barnes, the facility’s new environmental and noise analyst. The system shows aircraft flying around PDK in a live radar feed that is on a 10-minute “security delay.” Some information about each flight, such as its number and destination, may be available. The system also allows users to file noise complaints via a form, if they register and create an account. The account keeps a log of all of their complaints. Users can file a complaint without using the flight-tracker and can view the flighttracker without filing a complaint. Symphony PublicVue is created by Florida-based L3Harris. According to media reports, it is used at some other airports around the country, including the major commercial airports in Boston and Seattle-Tacoma. Some residents at the Advisory Board meeting questioned the usefulness of the system, saying local residents had created a complaint-filing app that is easier to use and that the 10-minute delay would make it hard to single out an aircraft in busy times. Barnes said that identifying the aircraft is not really necessary because he can do it later by checking complaint times against the flight data. “This is a test,” said airport Director Mario Evans. “If we find that the community … does not want the tool, we will unplug it.” BH

Community | 5



A third candidate has entered the election for Fulton County sheriff. Charles Rambo, a retired lieutenant in the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, joins a race that includes incumbent Theodore “Ted” Jackson and Patrick Labat, the chief of the City of Atlanta Department of Corrections. Jackson, who has held the position since 2008, was re-elected in 2016, defeating a field of six challengers. Rambo, 51, began his law enforcement career in 1989 sworn as a sheriff’s deputy. Rambo served his entire professional career with the FCSO for over three decades, according to his campaign website. The election will be held on Nov. 3, 2020. The Fulton County jail has been controversial, with overcrowding causing some inmates to sleep on mattresses on the floor, according to the Associated Press.


An Aldi grocery store that opened last year in Buckhead leased more space than it needs and is seeking to add a large retailer beside it. The plan involves carving a new storefront into what is now a blank wall between the Aldi and a PetSmart in the Buckhead Pavilion shopping center at 3221 Peachtree Road. The proposal was reviewed Nov. 6 by the Design Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 9, a zoning area in central Buckhead. Patti Wallis, a permit consultant representing property owner Coro Realty Advisors, said “I have no clue” who the pro-

posed retail tenant is. Coro Realty and Aldi did not respond to comment requests. About 21,000 square feet of Aldi’s non-retail space would be used by the new tenant after subdivision inside. The entire space was formerly a Sports Authority store. The DRC requested that the design include plenty of storefront windows. Coro is seeking a special administrative permit to allow the work, according to its application paperwork.


The city’s new Department of Transportation is setting the path for its first work, with its first commissioner appointed and a strategic plan released Nov. 13 by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The new “ATLDOT” combines previously separate staff from the departments of Public Works, City Planning and the Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST program. The new commissioner is Josh Rowan, previously head of Renew Atlanta. The new “Strategic Transportation Plan” has many short- and long-term goals for improving all types of travel: walking, driving, biking and using public transit. An early initiative is adopting a “Vision Zero” policy, meaning design principles for eliminating traffic-related deaths. Among the other elements of the plan are building more protected bicycle lanes; adding sidewalks and crosswalks; repaving 200 miles of roads a year and making faster pothole repairs; “reducing the footprint of parking” in the city; and working with MARTA on better bus service, including a “high-frequency bus network.”


EDUCATION/ MEMBERSHIPS/ PROFESSIONAL AWARDS/ APPOINTMENTS Clark Atlanta University, Bachelor of Arts, 1995 South Texas College of Law,1998 Distinguished Leader Award, Fulton County Daily Report Chief Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Community Prosecutor of the Year, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, 2016 Community Service Award, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District, 2017 Chief Deputy Solicitor, Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office (2017-Current) State Bar of Georgia Judicial Nominating Committee, (2018-2020)

Member, Georgia Bar Association Member, Atlanta Bar Association, Probate Section Executive Board, Georgia Association Women Lawyers Foundation (2019-2020) Executive Board, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (2012-2017) Regional Director, National Black Prosecutors Association (2015-2019) Executive Committee, Gate City Bar Community Law Clinic (2012-2019)

“The Probate Court of Fulton County is a true ‘family court.’ From marriage licenses to guardianships for loved ones with mental health needs, Probate Court can help families grow and prosper. For 20 years, I have represented victims of crime, achieved justice for families after devastating crime events and protected public safety as a Community Prosecutor. When my dear mother passed, I was left to handle her business affairs through grief and bureaucracy. When loss and challenges arise, families need an effective, competent and compassionate court to guide them through difficult times. As a proven leader, I have the experience, knowledge and vision to take Probate Court into the future, increase efficiency and make probate services more accessible and convenient. In 2020, I ask for the privilege of your vote to serve as your next Probate Court Judge in Fulton County because family, either by blood or choice, means everything.


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ANDREW YOUNG Former U.S. Ambassor

MICHAEL LASCALA Partner LaScala & Aurora, LLP

KEITH E. GAMMAGE Fulton County Solicitor-General


6 | Community ■

BeltLine creator holds contest for reimagining I-285’s uses BY JOHN RUCH The urban planning guru who dreamed up the Atlanta BeltLine is staging a contest for rethinking the car-centric uses of I-285 and turning the entire Perimeter highway into “A Bigger Better Loop.” Ryan Gravel launched the contest for the concepts Nov. 15 at Generator, his downtown nonprofit that serves as a brainstorming club. He was expected to announce winners and display their ideas Dec. 6. He circulated the contest on social media, using a graphic showing I-285 as a huge ring and the BeltLine as a smaller loop within it. SPECIAL In an interview, GravThe “Bigger Better Loop” design competition entry form el said the contest is just includes a graphic showing I-285 and the Atlanta BeltLine. for playful, casual fun and he’s aiming for farknowledging that one never knows where out concepts, while at the same time acbrainstorming might lead. After all, that’s

don’t have to build anything new. You how the BeltLine came about 20 years could take the middle lanes.” ago, an anniversary that is the occasion Regarding GDOT’s current plan, he for the I-285 contest. This year also hapsaid he understands the benefits of chargpens to be the 50th anniversary of I-285. ing for driving and that cars will persist in “I do like the idea of rethinking I-285. American culture, but that toll lanes raise It could do more than just carry cars,” questions about equity, lifestyle and the said Gravel. “…So I like the idea of 285 befuture of transportation. “I’d rather start coming something that people love. And in a more aspirational I don’t know what it would place and just sort of go take to do that. I definitely design something for evthink that it’s possible and erybody,” he said. “At the I don’t think that it comes, end of the day, toll lanes necessarily, at the expense are still for cars, right? I of cars.” just don’t think that or“The thesis of the Atlandinary cars are the futa BeltLine was that adaptature.” tion of underutilized infra“The magic of the structure could make a new FILE BeltLine is that it is abway of life possible in AtlanRyan Gravel. solutely a transportation ta,” says Gravel’s contest anproject,” he said, “but it starts with [the nouncement. “Inspired by the success of question of] what kind of life we’d like to that proposition, Generator is asking you lead.” to pitch your ideas for transformation of Gravel’s contest calls for clear, concise Atlanta’s larger loop: Interstate 285.” concepts that Generator can publicize “Early advocates for the Atlanta Beltand adapt. Winners will get unspecific Line were proposing a wildly ambitious awards “in a range of categories.” He said idea for a loop of land they didn’t own, that won’t be taken too seriously. to be transformed by money they didn’t His idea is that all submissions will be have, in a political climate that – at the hung on the wall and some judges he’ll time – was hostile to everything they were gather will choose winners in categoproposing,” the announcement says. “Givries that may be whimsical. He reeled off en that, Generator’s hope for this compesuch ideas as, “Best for People,” “Best for tition is that you not burden your idea the Planet,” “Best Utopia” and “Best Dyswith today’s politics, budgets or other topia.” constraints. It could be anything – think The prize part is playful, too. What will big and be creative.” the winners get? Perhaps a driving tour of I-285 gets prominent discussion in the Perimeter? “Honestly, it just occurred Gravel’s acclaimed 2016 book “Where to me today, what will people be expectWe Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastrucing? I might craft something… But it’s goture for a New Generation of American ing to be handmade for sure,” he said, Cities.” Gravel is a Chamblee native who adding with a laugh, “But I do like the idea says his family moved there because of of a personal tour of 285.” the suburban development the Perimeter Gravel apparently was introduced to made possible. “I grew up 285… We drove the idea of rethinking I-285 in 2017, when to Perimeter Mall when there were cows he made a keynote speech to the Sanacross the street,” he said. dy Springs Conservancy, a parks advoThe latest solid plan for the future of cacy group, on the night that part of I-85 I-285 is the Georgia Department of Transburned in a notorious fire. During the portation is embarking on a massive and event, conservancy Executive Director controversial plan to add toll lanes to the Melody Harclerode asked about the futop end of the Perimeter. Brookhaven, ture of I-285 and its possible alternative Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and other area uses. However, in the recent interview, he cities are advocating that transit buses said he doesn’t recall the exchange. use the lanes as well. Gravel said the toll “Y’all are so lucky to have Melody here lanes were not an inspiration for the conbecause I’ve never heard that question…. test and made it clear he’s not a fan. But I love it,” Gravel said at the time. “I “The toll lanes are fine. But to me, we love the idea of rethinking 285.” should be jumping ahead to transit and “It’s a public space,” he continued, sugbeing real about transit,” he said. “I just gesting that some of its many lanes be don’t get that. I don’t get those [toll lanes].” used for something other than cars. “Instead of thinking of it as a barrier beLike officials in the top end Perimetween ITP and OTP [inside and outside ter cities, Gravel suggest bus rapid transit the Perimeter], think of it as a place that on western I-285 in his work on the city people come to somehow.” of Atlanta’s urban planning vision book. Generator is based at 828 Ralph McGill He said such projects as a rail line ringing Boulevard in Atlanta. For more informathe Perimeter could be a transformative tion about Generator, see generatorcity. connection between metro Atlanta comorg. munities. “You could do it,” he says. “You





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Commentary | 7


Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at

Sandy Springs resident joins the ‘Georgia Gang’ The table on the set of the state’s lonand 2007. I was told it was nonpartisan, but gest-running TV issues show, “The Georgia I saw a lot of President Obama’s stuff being Gang,” now has a new occucirculated. I didn’t understand. pant of the middle seat: Sandy That didn’t really seem nonSprings resident Janelle partisan.” CarolKing. Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodyAs anyone who hasSandy watched Nevertheless, she was imSprings line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at the 37-year-old Sunday mornpressed by Obama and his ing talk show on FOX 5 knows, ground game. the panel consists of two com“I looked up to him and votmentators from the political ed for him the first time, even left, two from the right and a though I didn’t agree with evmoderator. erything he stood for,” she said. King, 35, joined the show “It was historical.” in August and, as the show’s But having been born in youngest panelist, offers a Connecticut and raised in youthful perspective. An North Carolina in “a totally SPECIAL Janelle King, the avowed Republican political non-political family,” she realnewest member of activist and President Trump ized she didn’t know what ei“The Georgia Gang.” supporter, she seems reasonther party stood for and decidable and thoughtful, perhaps ed to find out. because of how she became a Republican. “I researched both parties based on the It began at North Carolina A&T State values I was raised with -- school choice, perUniversity, the top-ranked historically black sonal responsibility, small government, procollege in the state. life. That’s when I said, ‘I’m a Republican.’” “When I was a junior,” she said, “I saw a She voted for Mitt Romney the next time. voter registration drive happening in 2006 So new was she to politics that she didn’t re-

alize how few minority voters nationwide agreed with her. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I thought everyone had a right to decide,” she said. She moved to Atlanta jobless in 2007 to pursue her interest in politics and had a job within a month. A friend warned that her political views could make life difficult. Her response was to be more “vocal,” not less. If she as a young black woman identified with conservative values, might other minority voters feel the same way when exposed to Republican policies? “I went on a mission working with the state party as a volunteer educating our community,” she said. Thus began her career as a volunteer event organizer bringing Republican leaders into minority communities in Georgia’s smaller towns. The event she’s proudest of was in 2015 at a community center in East Point for minority small-business owners, where she brought in then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “He was my first bigname person,” she said, “and I got a lot of pushback for inviting him.” She is now a paid staffer of the Georgia Republican Party. She was in the capacity-filled room at the World Congress Center when Trump launched “Black Voices for Trump” on Nov. 8. Trump invited her husband, Kelvin King, to the dais to talk about growing a successful general contracting firm from his bedroom to its own 12,000-square-foot office building in just seven years. On the dais with him, King said she

was proud of her husband and grateful to Trump for helping to make it all possible. She told me her only regret was that “the room wasn’t big enough.” With such conservative credentials, how does she get along with the other two African American commentators on “The Georgia Gang,” Alexis Scott and Tharon Johnson, who are both staunch liberals? “It’s a respect factor,” she said. “I may disagree with Alexis and Tharon’s opinions, but I respect them.” She has particular respect for Scott, a longtime respected journalist who for 17 years served as editor-in-chief and publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, the nation’s first successful black-owned daily newspaper, founded in 1928 by her grandfather, W. A. Scott II. “Alexis endured a lot so that I don’t have to,” she said. “I appreciate that because of what she’s done, I can go my own way.” King has no desire to run for office. Instead, her goal is to recruit and help minority candidates who want to run as Republicans. “Demographics are shifting,” she said. “The Republican Party has to grow in diversity.” “You may not agree with who represents the party at this time, but it doesn’t change the foundational values the party stands on,” she said. “It’s a value system no matter who’s in office.”

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS RE-THINKING ROTH IRAS… ROTH IRAS ARE NOT EXACTLY NEW. WHAT IS THERE TO “RE-THINK?” More to the point: Some people should re-think the use of Roth IRAs. Start by remembering two key differences between Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs. First, money contributed to a Roth has already been taxed. BUT, if you conform to the rules, everything you ever withdraw, including earnings that might be many times what was contributed, is completely tax-free. Second, unlike traditional IRAs, there is NO requirement to withdraw minimum distributions from a Roth IRA after reaching age 70-1/2. YOU SAID “SOME PEOPLE” MIGHT NEED A RE-THINK. WHO SPECIFICALLY? After 48 years of working with clients, we’ve now advised through the full cycle of IRA drawdowns for some of our longer-tenured families. Oftentimes, we encounter meaningful balances left in these IRA accounts when the estate passes to the next generation. Those clients were well enough positioned for retirement that they did not “need” all the funds in their IRA. That is the opportunity. SO, HOW DOES THAT CONNECT TO THE ROTH IRA? Phillip Hamman, CFP®, CFA, chairs our Wealth Planning Committee, a group of our professionals with multiple professional backgrounds, including attorneys and CPAs. He summarized the connection in this way: “Clients approaching or just starting retirement may forecast that IRA accounts will not be fully withdrawn during their lifetime, leaving a balance for heirs. Until seeing the numbers, it is difficult for them to imagine the potential wealth enhancement from a Roth conversion. The strategy of converting all or a portion of a

(Left to Right: Bill Kring, CFP®; Michelle O’Leary; Tamara Wagner; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®) traditional IRA and paying some tax now is counter-intuitive, but the savings accumulated over many years can be substantial.” Each person’s situation is unique, and running the numbers is critical. WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS? Make sure you have experienced and well-trained eyes preparing the analysis. This is an area where it is essential to rely upon an advisor who is 100% committed to the fiduciary business model, which puts the client’s interest first. Do not rely on “analysis” from anyone with a product selling motivation. Our experienced team of financial professionals are ready to sit down at our Atlanta office to visit about the potential.

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8 | Community ■

Panel recalls FBI, AJC roles in case of Richard Jewell, Olympics bombing hero turned suspect BY JOHN RUCH


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ator John Pruitt, a former WSB-TV news anchor, read a Facebook post from Dana Jewell praising the book and saying, “I made a promise to Richard when he died, I would tell his story.” The Olympics were a watershed moment for Atlanta, stirring local pride, at-

One of the dark moments in Atlanta’s history, the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing, grew darker still when the FBI and major media wrongly fingered heroic security guard Richard Jewell as the bomber. A Nov. 12 panel discussion at the Atlanta History Center about “The Suspect,” a new book telling Jewell’s story, was a historic moment in itself, gathering significant figures from the case onstage and in the audience. Drawing a crowd of hundreds, the event was partly SPECIAL a preemptive strike Richard Jewell, right, joined by attorney L. Lin Wood at a on how Atlanta 2006 event where Jewell was honored by Gov. Sonny Perdue may be portrayed as a rescue hero of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. in Clint Eastwood’s upcoming movie about Jewell, partly a lectracting international media attention, ture on history and Jewell’s life, and partly building venues ranging from modern an emotional reflection on an investigalandmarks to white elephants, and sparktion gone astray while the real bomber esing massive downtown redevelopment caped to continue his crimes. Jewell died and gentrification. The History Center is at age 44 in 2007. the official repository of Games artifacts “The Suspect” co-authors Kent Alexanand is in the midst of remaking its Olymder, who was Atlanta’s chief federal prospics exhibit for a 2020 debut. ecutor at the time, and Kevin Salwen, the The bombing is part of that history, Wall Street Journal’s regional editor durand commemorations of Jewell’s heroic ing the Olympics, were on the panel. So role are increasing. On July 27, 1996, terwas Bert Roughton, a former Atlanta Jourrorist Eric Rudolph planted a pipe bomb nal-Constitution editor involved in the pain Centennial Olympic Park. Jewell, a seper’s decision to reveal Jewell as the FBI’s curity guard who lived on Buford Highsuspect. Roughton said it was the first way, discovered the bomb and led an eftime he had discussed the controversial fort to clear the area before it exploded. story before an audience. One person was killed and many injured, “I know that a lot of people secondbut Jewell’s effort is credited with savguess and say, ‘Oh, we would never do ing many more lives. Rudolph went on to that,’” said Roughton about publishing the bomb an Atlanta lesbian bar and abortion Jewell scoop, based on leaked information clinics in Sandy Springs and Alabama, obtained by the late reporter Kathy Scrugkilling two more people, and became a fugs. “I don’t believe that there’s a red-bloodgitive until his 2003 capture. The Georgia ed American journalist who, in that same World Congress Center recently said that set of circumstances, wouldn’t have gone a plaque honoring Jewell will be placed in ahead and published the story. …That’s the park next year, according to the Atlannot to say that what happened to Richard ta Business Chronicle. Jewell after that wasn’t awful. A new take on the bombing and its af“There was absolutely a rush to judgtermath is about to enter popular culment in the media and law enforceture: Eastwood’s movie “Richard Jewell” is ment…,” said Alexander, while also descheduled for release on Dec. 13. In a rescribing Jewell as a valid suspect. “So, rush cent AJC essay, Roughton voiced anxiety to judgment, yes. But should Richard Jewabout how the film might portray Jewell ell have been a suspect? Yes, also.” and Scruggs. Among those in the audience were Pruitt echoed that sentiment early in Watson Bryant, Jewell’s defense attorthe panel discussion, cautioning that the ney; Dana Jewell, the widow of Richard; film “will be Hollywood’s version of what Bill Rankin, an AJC reporter who co-wrote happening in our town in that horrible a crucial story casting doubt on Jewell’s time.” He said Alexander and Salwen’s guilt; and George Hamilton, who said he book gives the “truly objective” story. was Scruggs’ partner before her death in Alexander noted that he and Salwen 2001 at age 42. served as advisers on Eastwood’s project, During the discussion, panel moderthough they have yet to see it. “I would

Community | 9



From left, panelists Bert Roughton, former senior managing editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and “The Suspect” co-authors Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen, joined by moderator John Pruitt, listen to an introduction by Atlanta History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale at the Nov. 12 panel discussion.

just encourage everybody not to prejudge the movie,” Alexander said. Salwen said the book leaves moral lessons up to the readers to conclude, because “it’s not so, necessarily, black-andwhite.” The FBI’s obsession with Jewell was one of those gray areas, Alexander and Salwen said. Jewell was one of three major suspects, Alexander said, but added that the FBI had some cause to zero in on him with their theory that he planted the bomb to look like a hero. But the FBI also delayed the use of other evidence while focusing on Jewell, Alexander said. One witness described a suspect at the bomb scene who later was

confirmed to be Rudolph. “That will haunt me forever,” Alexander said. At the AJC, Scruggs’ scoop about the investigation turned into the paper’s most notorious and controversial story. Roughton strongly defended its publication, while acknowledging some mixed feelings and certain personal qualms he had with it then and now. He also disagreed with Alexander and Salwen’s assertions that the paper may have rushed the story due to competitive pressure. “Fine, I’m happy to be a piñata,” Roughton joked at one point. But he later said, “We lose track of the fact that we’re writContinued on page 10

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Panel recalls FBI, AJC roles in case of Richard Jewell, Olympics bombing hero turned suspect Continued from page 9 ing about people,” and that his favorite part of “The Suspect” was learning more about Jewell as a person. “He had become a public character in a story that had this extremely bizarre twist and also at the same time [was] the biggest story on Earth,” Roughton said in defense of the Jewell investigation scoop. “… I still believe that we did the right thing. We had an American citizen who was being pursued by the full apparatus of the American government in some way. And this is debatable, but I would argue that we have an obligation to put some daylight on that.” But that doesn’t mean the editing and publication process was easy. Roughton was one of several AJC staffers involved before then Managing Editor John Walter made the decision to publish. “It was a very difficult discussion, I have to say,” Roughton said. “Part of what I want to personally be careful about is not becoming defensive… There are a lot of good questions around what we did at the time, and I think there are good journalistic questions about that, and those are important. And I think in the world we live in, they’re more important now than they may even have been then.” Roughton disputed Alexander and Sal-

wen’s repeated statements that Scruggs’ source was a leaker inside the FBI. Scruggs and co-reporter Ron Martz never revealed their sources, even when threatened with jail time in a subsequent libel lawsuit, and Roughton wouldn’t, either. “I won’t even acknowledge that there’s an FBI source, if there was one,” he said, though adding the source had “very deep firsthand knowledge of the FBI.” Debate over the AJC’s role comes down to whether the paper was too uncritical in reporting a mistaken suspicion. Alexander said the AJC was not aware that the FBI had other suspects as well. It was when all FBI officials stopped talking to the media that the AJC scored another scoop. Rankin, the AJC reporter, found that Jewell did not have time to both plant the bomb and to reach a pay phone used by the bomber to make a warning call. With officials not talking about the investigation, “that was the only reporting we could do,” Roughton said, and it helped to lead to Jewell’s exoneration. Jewell soon filed libel lawsuits against several major media outlets, including the AJC, CNN and NBC News. In a long and fierce case involving prominent Buckhead attorney L. Lin Wood, among others, the AJC finally emerged victorious in 2011 and was the only media outlet not to settle with Jewell or his estate.

LO CAL M EM O R IES O F A TER R O R I S T’S B O M B I NG S P R EE While security guard Richard Jewell was briefly suspected of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, the real perpetrator was right-wing terrorist Eric Rudolph. After the Olympics, Rudolph went on to bomb an LGBTQ nightclub in Atlanta and two medical clinics that performed abortions, one in Alabama and one in Sandy Springs. The Sandy Springs bombing on Jan. 16, 1997, at an office building at 275 Carpenter Drive, was the first use of his tactic of setting off a delayed second bomb in an attempt to kill first responders. He was captured in the North Carolina mountains in 2003 and is serving a life sentence in a federal “supermax” prison. Here are some memories about the Olympics and Sandy Springs bombings. If you have memories you would like to share, email and we may use them in a future story. Centennial Olympic Park bombing MITCH LEFF Then: Public relations rep for Olympics sponsors; Now: President and CEO, Leff & Associates public relations I was working for a local public relations agency, representing several major Olympic sponsors. That day was a busy one and I had fallen asleep on my couch with the TV on when I got

a call from a friend checking to see if I was OK. She thought I was working down at Centennial Olympic Park that night. Initially, Jewell was hailed as a hero for getting people away from the bomb and I was part of the team that was fielding media calls and setting up interviews with him. That lasted for a day or so. When he was named a suspect, we had to stop. Sandy Springs bombing STEVE ROSE Then: Fulton County police officer; Now: Retired Sandy Springs police captain My car was there, but I was not. I left a day earlier on vacation to Lake Tahoe. At the time, I was assigned as security for Fulton Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis. He told my sub to take him to the bomb site. They parked beside another car near a dumpster. They were standing in the parking lotwhen a second bomb went off in or next to the dumpster. The car next to mine took the brunt of it, but the blast was so strong my car assumed it was a collision and activated the fuel shutoff valve, disabling the car from starting. That Crown Vic never worked right again.

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Art & Entertainment | 11


Publisher’s e-book embargo will limit reader access, librarians say, joining national protest BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN A major book publisher has announced it is curtailing public libraries’ access to ebooks, and librarians in DeKalb and Fulton counties are joining those nationally pushing back. The new embargo by Macmillan Publishers took effect Nov. 1. It limits libraries to just one copy of newly released titles in digital formats, followed by an eight-week hold on buying additional copies. Since the Macmillan decision, publishers Blackstone Audio, Hachette Book Group and Simon & Schuster have announced plans to implement similarly restrictive programs. Alison Weissinger, director of the DeKalb County Public Library, said that her system is figuring out the best tactic for resisting the embargo and other increasing restrictions on digital media. “We’re working together to push back against the publishers and let them know that none of us like this and that some in the [nationwide] system are choosing to boycott,” she said. “We need some kind of solution that’s going to be more fair to public libraries, and a fair model to provide what our patrons want.” The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System in a recent newsletter highlighted Macmillan’s e-book move and encouraged patrons to email the publishers “in support of public libraries and against the embargo.” The newsletter said the embargo will result in longer wait times for titles to appear and to be available on holds. Director Gabriel Morley said in a written statement that the system “is hopeful that the embargo of Macmillan titles will be of minimal consequence to our patrons.” Macmillan says the embargo is protecting its revenue streams. In a letter to authors and agents on July 25, the company said: “Historically we have been able to balance the great importance of libraries with the value of your work. The current e-lending system does not do that. We believe our new terms are a step toward reestablishing that balance.” Among Macmillan’s recent e-book releases are Elton John’s biography “Me” and “In Hoffa’s Shadow,” a well-reviewed memoir about a suspect in the disappearance of Teamsters Union head Jimmy Hoffa. Julie Walker, state librarian for the Georgia Public Library Service, said the embargo is a significant restriction. She said it “will harm readers across Georgia, because all libraries, no matter the size of the community they serve, will be limited to one copy. That means one copy to share for the 1 million people living in Atlanta/Fulton County. “Clearly, this policy negatively impacts those in our communities who rely on libraries for access to books and resources they couldn’t afford otherwise. This issue impacts all users of Georgia’s 407 public libraries,” she said. There is little doubt that the popularity of books in digital formats has skyrocketBH

ed. Pew Research says one in five adults in the United States has listened to an audiobook and one in four has read an e-book, continuing a six-year trend of double-digit growth. “Like many industries, libraries have been disrupted by the technological revolution,” said Walker. “Over the past five years, the popularity of e-books has exploded. What once began as a complementary collection to our core print collection has become an essential service for many. ” The Washington, D.C.-based Urban Libraries Council responded to the embargo with a statement saying it “strongly opposes the recent decisions of major e-book and e-audiobook publishers to impose increased restrictions on digital lending models for libraries..” Weissinger asaid that a number of public libraries around the country are actively boycotting Macmillan and other publishers as a result of the embargo, “but we’ve decided we’re not going to go there yet. “We’re watching the situation,” she said. “This is just one more thing in a string of restrictions on how we are able to buy and distribute digital content.”

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12 | Community ■

Activist explains carbon fee and dividend proposal intended to impact climate change BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN

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A bill to combat the effects of climate change introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year was the subject of a Rotary Club of Sandy Springs presentation on Nov. 18. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (H.R. 763) proposes a fee on fossil fuels at sources, such as wells and ports, with the money being distributed to each citizens as a dividend to spend however they like. The idea is to tax carbon emissions at their source to promote innovation of clean energy technology and reduce greenhouse gasses. The bill is largely based on a motion of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which describes itself as a grassroots advocacy organization focused on national climate change policies, and was represented at the Rotary luncheon by guest speaker Donna Melcher. “Climate change is considered a threat-multiplier,” said Melcher. “Things that were already problems are becoming worse due to climate change - whether it’s farmers who can’t sustain their farms because of drought, or people who are disadvantaged and are running from severe weather events, or disease that’s spreading because temperatures are hotter. Those who are least able to adapt to a changing climate are the ones that are most impacted.” Many of the effects of global warming will be felt in the Southeastern United States “because of our coastal areas,” she said, adding that between $38.2 billion and $68.7 billion worth of coastal property will be under the sea by the year 2050. “It’s something we need to pay attention to,” Melcher said. “There is 97% agreement among scientists that greenhouse gasses are mostly caused by humans. It’s serious.” Rotary International has been increasingly active of late regarding climate change, Melcher noted, with programs in place on family planning, young girls’ education and regenerative agriculture, among others. “The carbon fee and dividend plan has gotten a lot of people excited and is getting bipartisan support because it’s good for the environment, the economy and for people, and it’s healthy for the planet. It’s revenue neutral too which means it doesn’t grow the government,” she said. That bipartisan support is not readily apparent, however, with U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida being the sole nonDemocrat listed in Congressional records as a co-sponsor of H.R. 763. Melcher said that members of Con-

gress from Georgia who support it include Rep. Lucy McBath of the local 6th District and Rep. Sanford Bishop of the 2nd District of the Columbus and Macon areas. The proposed carbon fee for the first year would be $15 per metric ton of carbon-dioxide-equivalent. The fee increases by $10 per ton each year ($15 if emission targets are not met) and the fee ceases when emissions reach 10 percent of 2016 levels. According to the official description of the bill, the money collected from the carbon fee would be allocated in equal shares monthly to citizens to spend as they see fit. Program costs are paid from the fees collected, and the Department of the Treasury does not keep any of the funds other than administration costs. Melcher suggested dividend recipients could use the money “to defray energy costs, or they can use it to reduce their carbon footprint, or buy a new energy-efficient car. Whatever they want; it’s their choice.” The concept of the plan is to give a stable signal to the market that the cost of carbon is going to include all its other factors, including the cost of pollution, thus spurring innovation in the clean energy field. Under the policy, goods imported into the United States would be assessed a border carbon adjustment, and exported goods would receive a refund. Military and agricultural use of carbon is exempted from the plan. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby estimates 114,000 lives are lost annually in this country due to air pollution, and that 295,000 lives would be saved through 2030 with improved air quality. An attendee at the Rotary event questioned Melcher about the detrimental effects the bill could have on the fossil fuel industry. She responded that Exxon, British Petroleum and Shell Oil have all expressed support for the initiative. Another member was skeptical about the model and didn’t see how the government could be trusted to implement it correctly. “The reason it’s going through the Treasury [Department] is so we can use existing channels for distributing checks properly,” Melcher replied. “British Columbia [in Canada] has had this type of program for about 10 years, quite successfully. It’s had a dramatic impact on emissions.” The North Atlanta Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby meets every third Thursday of the month at 6:45 p.m. at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road in Buckhead.


Community | 13


99-year-old GDOT ‘legend’ and WWII veteran tours I-285/Ga. 400 interchange project


Wendell Lawing, center, surveys GDOT’s “Transform 285/400” interchange project during a tour guided by project manager Marlo Clowers, right, and joined by his son, Mike Lawing, left.

“I can say he truly enjoyed his tenure with the DOT,” Mike Lawing said of his father’s career. “He was always very pleasant and upbeat about what he was doing.” During their tour together, Clowers and Lawing realized many commonalities, including that both graduated from Georgia Tech with civil engineering degrees. Clowers said although there have been changes over the years, Lawing’s ideas are still being used today, including his design of Georgia’s first curved steel girder, a structure used for building bridges. “We are still using…the curved steel,” Clowers said. “I had something to do with that,” Lawing said with a grin. Now, Lawing resides at Dunwoody Place, a senior living community in Brookhaven, and remains passionate about engineering. “It is all just wonderful,” Lawing said. “I learned so much today.”

Wendell Lawing, left, and Marlo Clowers pose for a photo during a tour of Georgia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 285/400” interchange project.


To many metro-Atlanta residents, the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project is considered a nuisance. But to Wendell Lawing, a 99-year-old former state bridge engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation and a World War II veteran, it is a sight to see. “I have been around a century and I have seen a lot of changes,” Lawing said during a Nov. 7 tour of the “Transform 285/400” project guided by project manager Marlo Clowers. Lawing is considered a legend by the state transportation department, paving the way for the designs of the I-285/I-85 interchange known today as Spaghetti Junction, among other accomplishments during his career. But before he began his more than 30-year tenure with GDOT, Lawing was an aircraft radio operator and, after being gunned down, a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. In 1943, before Lawing’s crew’s departure overseas, his girlfriend Mary caught a train from Chattanooga, Tenn., to where he was stationed in Sioux Falls, S.D., to ask to marry him. “She got in touch with Dad and said, ‘I am here and think we should get married before you get shipped overseas,’” said Mike Lawing, Wendell Lawing’s son. Lawing could not get a pass to leave his base, so he took what he called an “opportune point” and hopped the fence to get married, all without getting caught. “That was quite a feat,” Lawing said. The couple was married for 75 years, up until Mary’s death in October 2018. “Can anybody believe it,” Lawing said. “We had been together in high school.” In 1945, the plane carrying Lawing and his crewmates, a B-17 “Flying Fortress,” was shot down in Berlin and he was captured by the Germans. “The awful thing about it was we had two crew members killed in that engagement,” Lawing said. He was a prisoner of war for a little over a year. After being freed, Lawing returned to Atlanta and enrolled at Georgia Tech, graduated with a civil engineering degree, and began working for GDOT. Lawing was a career GDOT employee, meaning he stayed with the department up until retirement, working his way up from being a bridge designer to become the state bridge engineer. BH

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14 | Community ■

A Slice of Good Cheer

After PDK crash, residents question safety and who pays for damage BY JOHN RUCH

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An explosion jolted John Patterson awake in his DeKalb County townhome on Oct. 30. As he and his dog Max fled the damaged building, he assumed a gas line had burst because so little was left of the real cause: a private airplane that crashed into his home shortly after takeoff from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. “I said, ‘Where’s the plane?’” Patterson recalled asking firefighters and other first responders. “They said, ‘We’re looking.’” The violent crash at 2421 Peachwood Circle near I-85 killed the pilot and a passenger. Debris smashed a huge hole in the roof of Patterson’s spare bedroom and fell through the floor into the kitchen below. Patterson and his neighbor, whose unit was badly damaged as well, were left temporarily homeless. That day, they joined the unlucky few who, despite only tiny risks, have had homes or cars hit by planes falling out of the sky as they leave or approach PDK. The accident has revived safety fears for some residents in the increasingly dense neighborhoods of Chamblee and Brookhaven around the county-run public airport on Clairmont Road. When a plane does hit a home, those on the ground face another form of risk and chance: Who pays for the cleanup and compensation? There is no federal requirement for private aircraft owners or operators to have liability insurance, and only 11 states – not including Georgia – mandate some form of financial guarantees in case of accidents. Total lack of insurance is rare, but insufficient insurance is a significant issue in crashes that often cause major injuries and property damage. Patterson was surprised to learn about the lack of a federal insurance mandate. “I thought, ‘I’ve been hit from behind in my car and I got compensated,’” he said. “You can get into a missile full of fuel [without insurance]?” Nearly a month after the accident, Patterson said his attorney was in talks with the pilot’s insurance company and had a hitch. The insurance company, he said, raised a question of whether the pilot was covered for the type of flying he may have been doing, primarily using instruments rather than by sight. Following the fatal crash in October, residents and officials dueled with accident statistics at a Nov. 18 meeting of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Advisory Board, debating just how safe it is to live near a facility that sees about 150,000 takeoffs and landings a year. PDK has a long history of accidents, including an infamous 1973 case where a jet crashed into a Buford Highway apartment building in what is now Brookhaven, killing seven people on the plane and severely injuring a resident with burning fuel. The plane crashed due to a bird strike, in turn blamed on a county-run

landfill next to the airport, and triggered a legal battle over airport legal liability that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to media reports. In the past 20 years, three residential properties have been hit by planes from PDK in DeKalb, Brookhaven/Chamblee and Lilburn. A total of 17 people have been killed in accidents in that time period, all pilots or passengers. Other planes from PDK have wrecked in residential or commercial areas or on highways. But that does not equate with significant or unusual risk to surrounding neighbors, said Edward Coleman, a professor and chair of the Robertson Safety Institute at the Arizona campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “Statistically speaking, there isn’t much of a risk,” said Coleman about the odds of private planes hitting homes near airports. Crashes are few and, when fatal, typically kill people in the plane, not on the ground, he said. “Most accidents happen on or near the airport,” he said. PDK is one of roughly 3,000 general aviation airports around the country, meaning it serves civilian pilots rather than commercial or military aircraft. PDK’s services include personal, instructional, corporate, medical and charter flights. Commercial airports and airlines are under heavy federal regulation in terms of operations and training, while general aviation airports have fewer rules and are open to private pilots with widely varying levels of experience. According to National Transportation Safety Board statistics, general aviation aircraft are responsible for the vast majority – regularly over 95% -- of all U.S. accidents and fatalities. But the absolute numbers of fatalities are relatively small and trending downward nationally. According to the NTSB’s most recent compilations, there were 217 general aviation accident fatalities in the U.S. in 2018, and 207 so far this year. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association estimates there are more than 500,000 general aviation pilots licensed in the U.S. and about 220,000 aircraft. At the PDK Advisory Board meeting, the statistics presented by residents and officials were incomplete and open to interpretation. Resident Todd Delaune, a frequent critic of PDK noise, compiled Federal Aviation Administration reports that he said show PDK’s fatalities and “incidents” are nationally high. But incidents aren’t accidents, board members said, and Coleman later said that PDK’s fatality numbers don’t sound unusual. Airport Director Mario Evans presented incomplete fatality statistics, emphasizing that the number is low compared to the roughly 3.9 million takeoffs and landings at PDK since 1999. In a separate set of stats, Evans discussed a type of incident called “runway incursions” that are risky and sometimes damage aircraft or property, but which fall short of fullBH

Community | 15

DECEMBER 2019 ■ blown accidents. The term refers to an unauthorized plane, person or vehicle on a runway. Incursions can range from minor incidents to near-misses with catastrophe. Evans acknowledged that, while the national rate of runway incursions is falling, PDK’s is not. He said 2018 was a “bad year here,” with 28 runway incursions, and 7 as of mid-2019. But, he said, those incidents are dangers at the airport, not in the surrounding neighborhoods. The underlying issue is ever increasing development around PDK, which started as a semi-rural military airport. Coleman said that mirrors national trends, where airports built in once-remote areas to mitigate safety and noise concerns are now attracting development on their boundaries. That increases the actual risk of crashes, Coleman said, as well as the phenomenon of residents moving nearby and starting to perceive safety and noise issues. On the other hand, Coleman said, general aviation aircraft are becoming safer in design and maintenance. In the 1950s, the era when PDK switched to civilian use, crashes “were way more routine,” Coleman said. “I don’t think [nearby development] is as a big a risk as it might have been” in that era. Low-risk is not no-risk, and some planes crash somewhere. People who suffer injuries or property damage may be stuck with bills. Commercial airlines in the U.S. have had mandatory insurance coverage rules

since the 1980s, but general aviation still does not. Many other countries mandate coverage, including Canada, Australia and the European Union’s member states. According to a 2015 U.S. Government Accountability Office report about a possible federal mandate, even the handful of states that require insurance coverage largely lack review or enforcement processes, so compliance is unknown. However, according to the report, total lack of insurance is rare. Under-insurance that fails to fully cover medical bills and damage is a more common problem, it said. Alan Armstrong, an aviation attorney based in DeKalb, is representing Patterson in seeking compensation for the Oct. 30 accident. Armstrong said he has turned down cases involving uninsured pilots, but agreed that under-insurance is an issue. He said that some beginner pilots can get only $100,000 in liability coverage, and that standard $1 million policies don’t always pay out the way that sounds. “From a liability standpoint, liability’s not an issue. An airplane crashed in a guy’s house,” Armstrong said of this

type of case. “It’s a fairly simple case once you figure out insurance.” One reason for the lack of a federal mandate is that many airports require liability insurance for aircraft based there. PDK, for example, requires a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage, according to DeKalb County spokesperson Leslie Agee. But that does not apply to aircraft visiting the airport – the pilot in the Oct. 30 crash was from North Carolina, according to county officials – and there may be devils in the details of the policies. Armstrong said the lack of a federal insurance mandate is largely because there has been no “national dilemma” – a major incident where under-insurance caused a problem.

Above, John Patterson stands next to the hole an airplane made in his spare bedroom in an Oct. 30 crash. (John Ruch) Top left, the debris of a plane that crashed in the front yard of a house on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in 2008, killing the pilot, in a photo from a National Transportation Safety Board report. (Special)

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16 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

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 Atlanta INtown Atlanta Senior Life

C O N TAC T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Hannah Greco Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer Quinn Bookalam Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Cory Anne Charles Office Manager Deborah Davis Contributors Robin Conte, Kevin C. Madigan, Phil Mosier, Carol Niemi, Clare S. Richie, Judith Schonbak, Jaclyn Turner

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are mailed monthly to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and delivered to more than 200 business/retail locations. For delivery requests, please email

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Commentary: Police cameras are always watching More than 10,000 cameras are watching Atlanta for 24 hours a day and on every day of the year, according to the Atlanta Police Foundation. The foundation says the cameras, through a video surveillance program called Operation Shield, allow police “to prevent crimes before they happen and quickly solve them when they do.” Meanwhile, surveillance cameras have become a target of protests in such places as Hong Kong. We asked Dave Wilkinson, president and CEO of the foundation, a half-dozen questions about Operation Shield and camera surveillance. Here are his answers. Q: How and where does Operation Shield gather information for police?

Q: What benefits have local police seen from use of the cameras? Do you have any statistics for arrests made through use of cameras or before and after crime reports from areas that use the cameras?

Operation Shield consists of a network of cameras and license plate readers placed across the city that feed footage into the Atlanta Police DepartThe cameras provide APD ment’s (APD) Video Integrawith a “smart policing” tool tion Center. The program that can be used during or acts as both a preventative after a crime’s occurrence. and investigative measure The program has been infor crime. APD signage and strumental in solving some a signature blue light athigh-profile cases including tached to each camera serve the tragic homicide that ocas a crime deterrent to let curred in 2018 at the Barcepotential criminals know lona Wine Bar and the firethey are being watched. bombing of an APD officer’s Dave Wilkinson, home earlier this year. Areas Should a crime occur, the president and CEO of the where cameras are installed cameras provide real time Atlanta Police Foundation have experienced a 20%information to APD for increased situational aware50% reduction in crime. ness, as well as access to past Q: Who gets information from the camfootage for investigations. eras and how is it used? Q. How many cameras are now in operaThe camera footage belongs to the owntion and monitored by Operation Shield ers of the cameras themselves. Some of in the city of Atlanta? In metro Atlanta the cameras are owned by the city of At(if you know)? lanta, while others are privately funded There are nearly 11,000 Operation Shield by businesses and philanthropic organicameras placed throughout the city of Atzations. APD has access to the cameras lanta. Additional cameras are networked for real-time information, should a crime in from the city of Sandy Springs. We occur in the cameras’ views, and limithope to eventually expand the program ed access for a period of two weeks afterto other jurisdictions in the metro area. wards for the purpose of investigations.

Following this, footage needs to be requested from the camera owner. Q: Does Operation Shield use facial recognition software? Can the software used to operate cameras for Operation Shield be converted to use facial recognition software in the future? Operation Shield does not currently use facial recognition software. The Atlanta Police Foundation’s Technology Innovation Center researches and pilots multiple smart policing tools each year, but we are not currently working with a platform that incorporates that type of software. Q: In some places, such as China, cameras reportedly have been used to invade people’s privacy or to identify people who in some way are at odds with the government. What keeps that from happening here? All Operation Shield cameras – even privately funded cameras – exist in public spaces such as streets, sidewalks, public parking lots, parks, etc. They only record where the general public has free and unfettered access. The program is designed to be a “force multiplier,” increasing police presence and public space surveillance.

Letter to the Editor

If college athletes get paid, reward teams, not just superstars

Thank you for publishing the commentary “Amateur sports are worth saving” by Alan Chadwick in the September issue of theReporter. I appreciate your paper sharing a local football head coach’s perspective on a national topic.

I agree that the “pay for play” policy by the NCAA could open up many issues and problems for many college athletes. I most agree with the quote included in the commentary from Tim Tebow, that the game will become only about each individual player, instead of the team as a whole.


A better idea, I think, is to pay a reward to the whole team, not just the individual superstar. William Jablon Seventh grade Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School




reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily

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

Commentary | 17


Family ‘tree-dition’ brings the thrill of the last-minute Christmas tree If it’s Thanksgiving weekend and you’re reading this by the glow of your Christmas tree lights, then you won’t understand. My family is not one to eat the turkey and trim the tree in the same weekend. We like to push the envelope around here. We have our own tradition, which is that is that we wait until the Christmas aisles in the drugstore are packed up to make way for boxes of Valentine’s candy before we finally pick out the tree. The thing is, we’ve always chosen it together. We’d drive home with the tree strapped to the car, on, perhaps, a brisk December evening, and I’d turn on seasonal music, they’d move furniture, I’d pour drinks, they’d tarp the floor, I’d make food, they’d bring in the tree, my husband would pull out the ShopVac, and everyone would scatter. It was a sweet and manageable tradition when the kids were all younger, but it’s getting to be increasingly more difficult. It’s not that we venture to a tree farm in the Carolinas and chop it down ourselves. We just try to find an hour that we all agree on, and that is challenging enough. Each year, the kids are further away from home and arrive later in the month of December, and each year around the 17th, I launch a frantic campaign of texts and WhatsApps designed for us to choose a three-hour time slot during which we can convene for the annual (ahem) tree-dition. Robin Conte lives with her Last year, the appointed day was Dec. 23. We knew that the husband in an empty nest tree-nabbing window was quickly closing and we were cutin Dunwoody. To contact ting it dangerously close and that pickins would most likely be her or to buy her column slim, but we were fortified by the memory of the Tanenbaum collection, “The Best of the of 2004, a 12-foot-tall beauty which we bought at Home Depot Nest,” see on Christmas Eve for 10 bucks. But last year, you may recall, was an especially wet one near Christmas, not the ideal conditions for peddling holiday greenery, and when we finally set out at 7 p.m. to our favorite tree lot (three-quarters of a mile from our house), we were stunned to find that the lot was completely closed. There was nary a pine needle in sight. We drove to the next one down the street, and it, too, was closed. Then, mild panic set in. We called Costco. No trees. Walmart. No trees. Home Depot. Yes, there were a few left. We drove in the rain to the tarped lot, where another forlorn family was picking in the rubble. On one side of the tent was a pile of trees, flopped on their sides, sacked out like a group of diehards on the final night of a three-day music festival. We picked through the pile, searching for a suitable tree. They were all soaked and puny, supposedly a bargain at $30. We each scouted around the debris as I got the sinking feeling that I would have to create a facsimile that season using a bicycle pump and some green felt. My son eyed a possibility in the midst of the pack and picked it up with one hand, giving it a little shake while needles tinkled to the ground like they did for Charlie Brown’s tree. The tree-lot guy agreed to 10 bucks for it (basically $2.50 a foot), and we took it home and mounted it on a stool. It held approximately 1/154 the amount of ornaments we had, which meant that we decorated it in 15 minutes, and -- even better -- a few weeks later, it came down in an hour. Now I know the appeal of a tabletop tree. And now, I really do feel old.

20 W i To GA & 19, nn p Pr 20 20 er C e 1 18 ol ss 7 um A ni ssn st !

Robin’s Nest

Read Robin Conte’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’ “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Reporter Newspapers columnist Robin Conte’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and first-place for Humorous column in 2018 from the Georgia Press Association.

Order the book at Follow Robin’s book-related appearances at BH

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An activist and grandmother writes her memoir

Sherry Frank wears a small gold necklace. The unobtrusive chain displays a single word: bubbe. It means grandmother, or, more specifically, a Jewish grandmother. “I wear it every day,” Frank said, smiling when the word draws notice. “Bubbe fits me.” Others may see the 77-year-old Sandy Springs grandmother as an energetic activist who has lived a very public JOE EARLE life. But her jewelry proudly proclaims Sherry Frank she’s also the kind of woman who likes to bake cookies for her grandkids. Still, she’s no homebody. She served 26 years as executive director of the Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee. She was president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish women for two years in the 1970s, and now is again president of the group. She helped create the Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition and worked to build bridges between religious and ethnic groups. Frank has worked to promote human rights, civil rights and women’s rights. She describes herself as “a pretty passionate feminist.” She’s been involved in Atlanta politics for decades. She helped start a successful synagogue, Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, and served as its president. She recently published a memoir called “A Passion To Serve: Memoirs of a Jewish Activist,” which was included in the 2019 book festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center Atlanta. Frank came to politics early. She remembers that back when she was growing up in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta, her family had one of the first TVs on their block. It made a big impression when members of her third-grade class came over one night to watch election returns. Atlanta was different then, she remembers. She grew up in world that was segregated racially and culturally. “The only African American I knew was the housekeeper,” she said. At the same time, “it was Jewish world. My social life was Jewish,” she said recently during a chat at The Temple in Atlanta, where she had appeared as part of a panel discussion about the history of Atlanta’s Jewish community. “I was very much in a Jewish world.” But she doesn’t remember being conscious of overt anti-Semitism as a child. Atlanta seemed a welcoming place for her as she attended public schools, including Grady High. The world seems much more threatening now, she said, as anti-Semitism grows more visible. “You can’t but be fearful in this day, when you see so much hate out there,” she said. She grew interested in social service and political activism in part because of the times and in part because of her upbringing. She gave money for trees in Israel. She was a teenager when The Temple in Atlanta was bombed by white supremacists. She remembers, a decade later, the devastating news of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She hasn’t given up on politics. Throughout her career, she’s sought ways to bring racial and ethnic groups together and she wants to keep doing so. “I’ve said 1,000 times that if this country is not safe for Jews, it’s not safe for blacks,” she said. “And if it’s not safe for blacks, it’s not safe for Jews.” She’s worked with Christians and with Muslims to allow people to get to know others they might otherwise vilify. As she’s done that, she’s wanted people to understand her Jewishness. She said Jewish leaders once worked behind the scenes. Not her. “I want people to know a Jew is in the room,” she said. “I want them to know Jews are a part of our coalition. I think that’s part of my desire to heal the world.” She’s proud of the work she’s done. That shows up in her conversation and in her memoir. She’s takes pride in trying to make the world a better place by bringing together different types of people to address common issues and improve understanding among various groups that might otherwise be opposed. “It’s given my life great purpose,” she said. “I remember after 9/11, thinking what I do really matters. … It was such a threat to the Muslim world. I thought building bridges of understanding was a great cause and I was part of the chorus.”


Community | 19


Veterans Day observed with music, ceremony The Atlanta History Center observed Veterans Day Nov. 11 with music, ceremony and a high-profile speaker. The keynote address was given by Rear Admiral Wendi B. Carpenter, U.S. Navy (Ret.), the first woman Navy aviator to be promoted to flag rank. The 116th Army Band performed.

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Above, from left, Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association members Bryan Tate, Max Torrance, Vince Corica and Cary King wave flags.


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Above, the audience at the ceremony during an acknowledgment of veterans. Below, bagpiper Wayne Coleman performs during the observance.

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Walking into the Future Cathy Clark Tyler named new president of PEDS BY CLARE S. RICHIE

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Cathy Clark Tyler just took the helm as the second President/CEO of PEDS, the Atlanta-based advocacy organization dedicated to making streets, sidewalks and communities safe and accessible to all pedestrians. Tyler brings to her new role, more than 25 years of senior level executive service in nonprofit, government and higher education arenas. “The Board of PEDS is thrilled to have Cathy join the team. Cathy brings a wealth of nonprofit leadership that will help us expand our mission, those we serve, and our members,” said PEDS Board Chairman Andrew Hixson. Founded in 1996 by Sally Flocks, PEDS has made significant strides through grassroots advocacy and in collaboration with government, civic and business stakeholders. “Walking is a basic human right and people should be safe when they are doing it,” Tyler said. While committed to all pedestrians, Tyler is eager to expand membership and develop new partnerships in underserved communities to address disparities, like insufficient street crossings, which put residents at risk. “I don’t want children being killed crossing a busy road to catch a school bus,” Tyler said, referring to a 14-year old boy who died after being hit by a car on 2495 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in early September. “We did a bus audit over there [Hollowell Parkway], recently. It’s a half of a mile before a crosswalk. If you’re late for school you are going to cross to get to that bus,” Tyler said. That’s why the new PEDS leader wants to help residents who live near multi-lane roadways like Hollowell Parkway, Tara Boulevard and Marting Luther King Jr. Drive voice their concerns. “It can’t all come from us – it needs to be a human voice telling these stories to make it urgent for lawmakers for government to pay closer attention,” Tyler said. Tyler also remains committed to working closely with partners at GDOT and with local governments, including the newly created City of Atlanta Department of Transportation. “I believe that people want to do the right thing, but sometimes they need urging to pay attention,” Tyler said. After a month on the job, Tyler is pleased with the transition. “I am humbled by the amount of support the board of directors, staff and particularly the founder of PEDS have all shown,” Tyler said. During her 23 years at PEDS, Flocks shared that some of her proudest accom-

plishments include: increasing the number of drivers who stop for people in crosswalks; providing workshops to help transportation professionals design for pedestrian safety; and helping innovative crossing treatments become mainstream in Georgia. “I’m thrilled to have created an organization much bigger than myself, gratified to have achieved far more than I ever imagined, and optimistic that Cathy Tyler

Cathy Clark Tyler

will lead PEDS to a whole new level,” said Flocks. Tyler understands that more pedestrian advocacy is still needed, such as fixing Atlanta’s broken sidewalks to increase walkability, connectivity and access to public transit. The city allocates less than $500,000 to routine sidewalk maintenance, which doesn’t come close to meeting the cost of annual disintegration, estimated at $20 million by Public Works. Wheelchair users recently sued the City of Atlanta for failing to maintain sidewalks that are equally accessible to people with disabilities. The lawsuit seeks to force Atlanta to modify its practices, install curb ramps and fix broken sidewalks – remedies that will ultimately benefit all pedestrians. “Litigation is costly. It delays the work and somebody else could get hurt while going through the court process,” Tyler said. The new PEDS leader sees collaboration as a more expeditious solution and is ready to walk the talk. “Steve Jobs said, ‘We’re here to put a dent in the universe.’ Sally has put a dent in the universe of pedestrian safety. I’m very happy to take that on now… to work collaboratively with other partners who are concerned about safety and walkability, particularly in underserved communities”, Tyler said. “It’s the oldest mode of transportation. Everybody can’t afford a car. Everybody doesn’t want a car. They still need to be able to live and thrive in the city.” Learn more at BH

Public Safety | 21


Zone 2 police commander retires, is replaced BY JOHN RUCH

The commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 police precinct retired effective Nov. 14 in an unannounced move and has been replaced. Maj. Barry Shaw had commanded the Atlanta Police Department precinct, headquartered on Maple Drive, since January 2017. Zone 2’s new commander is Maj. Andrew Senzer, according to APD. Senzer most recently led Zone 3 in Southeast Atlanta. Shaw was known for shaking up the precinct’s crime-prevention strategy by pulling officers off traffic duty and focusing them on patrolling so-called hot spots. Mary Norwood, chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, mentioned the command change at the group’s Nov. 14 meeting and said she was surprised to hear why Shaw wouldn’t attend. “We love him,” Norwood said of Shaw.


Maj. Andrew Senzer, the new Zone 2 commander.

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Maj. Barry Shaw, former commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 police district.

22 | Public Safety ■

Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead Oct. 1 through Nov. 7, was provided by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its open data records.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 100 block of Rumsen Road — Oct. 3 700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

— Oct. 3 1300 block of Northside Drive — Oct. 5 3100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 5 1200 block of West Paces Ferry Road —

Oct.10 800 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

— Oct. 11 2500 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 12 3300 block of Peachtree Road — Oct. 18 3100 block of East Shadowlawn Avenue

— Oct. 18 2900 block of Grandview Avenue —

Oct. 20 3800 block of Roswell Road — Oct. 26 3200 block of Northside Parkway —

Oct. 27

200 block of Armour Drive — Nov. 4 3300 block of Peachtree Road — Nov. 4

3500 block of Peachtree Road — Nov. 2 3200 block of Lenox Road — Nov.2 3300 block of Peachtree Road — Nov. 3 3300 block of Peachtree Road — Nov.3

4600 block of Wieuca Road — Oct. 1

1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — Oct. 1

2100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 29

1100 block of Lavista Road — Oct. 2

3200 block of Cains Hill Place — Oct. 2

2100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 30

500 block of Main Street — OCt. 3

1000 block of Lindbergh Drive — Oct. 3

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

1100 block of Lavista Road — Oct. 5

700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

2300 block of Parkland Drive — Oct. 8 4900 block of Peachtree Park Drive —

Oct. 30 2100 block of Piedmont Road — Nov. 6

— Oct. 6 1200 block of Collier Drive — Oct. 9


Oct. 12

2600 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 11

3100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 2

2500 block of Bohler Road — Oct. 12

2400 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 11

3300 block of Peachtree Road — Oct. 6

2400 block of Camellia Lane — Oct. 15

3200 block of Roswell Road — Oct. 14

300 block of Pharr Road — Oct. 7

500 block of Bismark Road — Oct. 16

200 block of South Colonial Homes Cir-

3500 block of Peachtree Road — Oct. 8

1300 block of Northside Drive — Oct. 16

cle — Oct. 15

2200 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

2500 block of Lenox Road — Oct. 16

Oct. 11


1200 block of Collier Road — Oct. 16

2100 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 11

500 block of Lindbergh Place — Oct. 28

2500 block of Lenox Road — Oct. 16

2100 block of Monroe Drive — Oct.12

400 block of Northside Circle — Oct. 29

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

400 block of Bishop Street — Oct. 13

3000 block of Peachtree Road — Oct.

1100 block of Collier Road — Oct. 29

Oct. 16

2500 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 16

2600 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 17

700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard

Oct. 31

800 block of Miami Circle — Oct. 21

— Oct. 17

4700 block of Peachtree Park Drive —

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

2300 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

Nov. 2 100 block of Peachtree Valley Road —


Oct. 24

Oct. 18

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

2500 block of Piedmont Road — Oct. 28

Oct. 24

400 block of Bishop Street — Nov. 4

900 block of West Paces Ferry Road —

1700 block of Howell Mill Road — Oct.

Nov. 2








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2200 block of Lavista Square — Oct. 29

900 block of East Paces Ferry Road —

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| 23


Communities of Faith The Contemporary Worship Arts Ministry of Misty Creek Community Church

A Night of Christmas Worship at Misty Creek

December 23 | 7:00 pm Admission is free

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Children’s Christmas Pageant Chili Cook-Off after Worship

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24 | Art & Entertainment



! N U F





Ed Howard, Joe Sears & Jaston Williams

Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. With ice skating, food trucks, live music, “Bouncy” snowman, Coca-Cola polar bear, and a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at dusk. Free; $10 to skate. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info:



Topher Payne



Sunday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. With gifts and jewelry from local artisans, Mediterranean food and pastries, premium liquor auction, used books sale, and children’s activities. Admission $5 at door. Congregation Or VeShalom, 1681 North Druid Hills Road, Brookhaven. Info: 404-633-1737.


international crafts and artist creations for purchase. Tickets: $20, $15 members, $10 children. Atlanta History Center; 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info:


Through Dec. 23 Works of art and handcrafted gifts by local artists. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Featuring a winetasting event Tuesday, Dec. 10, and special Handmade Gift Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 14. Free. The Spruill Gallery. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: holidayartistsmarket.



Sunday, December 8, 4-7 p.m. Grammy-nominated band The Revelers play roots music during the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association (ACZA) Holiday Party, with Cajun and Creole food for sale. Tickets: $20, $5 students, $14 active military. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info:


Through Sunday, Dec. 8 The Stage Door Players return with a holiday comedy prequel to last season’s A Nice Family Christmas. Tickets: $34 Adult, $24 Student, $16 Youth. Stage Door Players, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info:



Sunday, Dec. 8, 4 p.m. Sandy Springs hosts its inaugural Sparkle Sandy Springs Holiday Parade, which will serve as a prelude to the Sparkle Sandy Springs Celebration and the tree-lighting. Event begins with a snow machine and hot chocolate at 4 p.m.; parade begins at 5:30 p.m. near the Heritage water tower and continues on Mount Vernon Highway to City Springs. Sparkle Sandy Springs features a holiday village 6-foot-tall wooden houses painted in holiday themes and adorned with lights, which remains on display all season. Free. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:


Friday, Dec. 13, 20 5:30-9 p.m. Santa Claus welcomes visitors to each of the three historic houses to experience Southern holiday traditions during the eras of the Civil War (Smith Family Farm), 1930s (Swan House) and pioneer days (Wood Family Cabin). Plus Holiday Market filled with local and

Through Sunday, Dec. 8 The Roswell Dance Theatre performs the holiday dance classic. The cast includes world-class artists who have danced nationally and internationally and aspiring young professionals from the performing company of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance. Tickets: $25-$38. Byers Theatre, 1 Galambos Way. Sandy Springs. Info:


Dec. 13 through Dec. 22 The City Springs Theatre Company performs a show-business holiday musical, based on the classic film and featuring Irving Berlin songs. Tickets: $30-$65. Byers Theatre, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:

Art & Entertainment | 25



Sunday, Dec. 8, 4 p.m. The Atlanta Concert Band and Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church will spread holiday cheer with sing-alongs, a bell-ringing, and hot cocoa. Free. Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, 471 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info:


Tuesday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. A concert to ring in the New Year. Optional pre-show dinner at 6 p.m. for VIP ticket-holders and an optional dessert package for after the performance. Tickets: $60-$150. Byers Theatre, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info:


Jan. 6 through March 2 Perimeter Adult Learning Services offers eight-week session of classes in such topics as faith traditions around the world, history of American flags, first aid, Atlanta history, economics and more. Fee $50 for eight weeks; lunch can be brought or purchased for $8. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: or 770-698-0801.


Tuesday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. The storyteller and cookbook author joins At-

lanta local Cynthia Stevens Graubart in discussing her decades of cooking. Tickets: nonmembers $10, members $5. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info:


Sunday, Dec. 15, 4-6 p.m. Learn how to make all the Hanukkah dinner. Fee: members $20, non-members $25. MJCCA at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info:

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Wednesdays, Dec. 11 and 18, 6 p.m. Holiday-themed crafting with supplies provided. Sandy Springs Branch Library, 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.


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Saturday, Dec. 14, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. With outdoor art installations, tree decorating, hot cider and cocoa, and a guided walk of the decorated trees. $25 to decorate a tree as a group. Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info:


Wednesday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. With inflatables and push toys, crafts, community service projects, open swim in the indoor pool, basketball competitions, familyfriendly movies, music, and more. Free; food available for purchase. MJCCA at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: H IG H


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


Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. The Buckhead Heritage Society will celebrate the holidays with a gala at one of the earliest homes built on Peachtree Battle Avenue. The event will feature a cocktail buffet, music and valet parking. Tickets: members $120, non-members $150. Info:


DEC 8 • JAN 12 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 rotating exhibitions. Generous support for Second Sundays is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

26 | Art & Entertainment ■

‘A Tuna Christmas’ marks the holidays, and a theater partnership BY JUDITH SCHONBAK The Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s production of “A Tuna Christmas” this month is a way to celebrate the holiday season – and a successful new partnership with Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center. “A Tuna Christmas” is the second production GET, the resident professional company at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, has brought to Oglethorpe under a “binding partnership” forged in 2018. The first, in June, was a remount of GET’s 20182019 season hit “Driving Miss Daisy.” Connections between the theater company and the university, however, were already ongoing. GET produced “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Conant in 2017. A number of Oglethorpe alumni work or have worked with GET and others have acted in season productions. And the university also hosts two of GET’s summer theater camp sessions. The Conant partnership grew out of a conversation between Anita Allen-Farley, GET’s co-founder and producing artistic director, and Sharon Moskowitz, the center’s managing director. “Sharon and I had a conversation that GET was going to have to find satellite space to perform if we wanted to increase the number of our productions each year,” said Allen-Farley. Another benefit, she said, would be to expand the theater company’s audience.

oped the terms of the partnership. It is ongoing and will expand as opportunities arise, including opportunities for university students for onstage and technical experience. The Conant is heavily scheduled during the school year, so GET has claimed a timeframe for a production during the summer and during winter break each year. GET pays an amount unSPECIAL der a licensed agreement for Enoch King, left, and Jill Hames star in the Georgia each use of the theater, and Ensemble Theatre’s production of “A Tuna Christmas.” Oglethorpe takes a “very small portion” of ticket sales, Moskowitz said her role as managing said Moskowitz. director of CPAC is “to bring in partnerThe Conant production of “Driving ships and collaborations in the performing Miss Daisy” was a success for the partarts with our mission in mind to enhance nership. Large crowds of new audiences the cultural landscape of the university packed the intimate 513-seat theater to see and the community.” After seeing GET’s the iconic show. production of “A Comedy of Tenors” last “A Tuna Christmas” is one of the six proseason in Roswell, she brought the partductions in GET’s 27th season and will be nership ideas to Oglethorpe President Larperformed only at the Oglethorpe location, ry Schall. running Dec. 13-29. A roundtable of 10 officials from In the comedy, two actors take on the Oglethorpe and GET assembled in earpersonae of 22 different citizens of the litly 2018 to design the partnership, includtle town of Tuna, Texas, with quick-change ing Schall, Moskowitz and Theatre Departartistry of personalities, voices, ages, atment head Matt Huff on the university titudes and attire. It’s a study in speed, side. adaptability and comedic talent. The fastBy March 2018, the group had develest head-to-toe costume change must be

completed in 8 seconds. The plot centers on a hot competition in the annual Christmas lights competition, won 14 years in a row by town snob Vera Carp, leader of the Smut Snatchers of the New Order. On the loose is a “Christmas Phantom” vandalizing the yard display and creating contest chaos. “A Tuna Christmas” is the second in a series about the town of Tuna written by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams. The GET production is directed by wellknown Atlanta playwright Topher Payne. “This play is hilarious,” said Allen-Farley. “I like to laugh, and we chose it for the holidays so people could enjoy laughing for a couple of hours. It’s a respite from the same old bad news that is out there every day. And the characters are wonderful. You will recognize a lot of them. You may not like some of them, and there are some that will melt your heart.”


Friday, Saturday and Sunday December 13 – 29, 2019 Conant Performing Arts Center Oglethorpe University 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven Ticket sales through Georgia Ensemble Theatre only Ticket sales: www.get. org or call 770-641-1260

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28 | Community ■

‘Revolutionary’ shuttle service is delayed by liability question A Via-operated on-demand shuttle van in Arlington, Texas, as shown in a promotional video.

Continued from page 1 ran into the question of who would be on the hook for accidents or other liability problems. Via is a technology company that would not own any of the vehicles and would not directly employ

Long story short, we were unable to get them to agree to indemnify the CID appropriately for this type of service. JIM DURRETT BCID EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR the drivers. That could leave the BCID liable as the operator, and Via was unwilling to cover it. “Long story short, we were unable to get them to agree to indemnify the CID appropriately for this type of service,” said BCID Executive Director Jim Durrett at the board’s Nov. 27 meeting. BCID board chair Thad Ellis of Cousins Properties said the service is “pioneering,” but added that is “all the more reason it’s non-negotiable” to have indemnification. The core question on liability from the BCID, he said, was, “Why are we the guinea pigs?” Via operates in various cities around the nation and world. Lynn Rainey, the BCID board’s attorney, said the company claimed it has never provided indemnification to governmental part-

ners elsewhere. He said it is hard to believe the liability issue never came up before, but that if governments did run the service without indemnification, “shame on them.” The BCID won’t accept anything short of full indemnification, said Durrett. The BCID threatened to withdraw from the agreement, and negotiations with Via are now continuing, he said. “It appears that we do have an opportunity to negotiate a fair and satisfactory contract to be determined… But it’s going to take us a while to get there,” he said. To allow negotiation time, the board agreed to extend the existing contract with “buc” shuttle operator Buckhead Coach through March. “So April 1, [the CID] would be in a position to rock and roll?” asked board treasurer Herbert Ames of EDENS. Durrett knocked on the wooden tabletop in response.

Ga. 400/East Paces interchange idea dies A controversial concept for adding a Ga. 400 interchange at East Paces Ferry Road is dead, BCID staff member Tony Peters reported, while possible improvements to the Lenox Road interchange are still on the drawing board. The East Paces interchange concept was proposed nearly three years ago in a master plan study commissioned by the BCID, Livable Buckhead, the Buckhead Business Association, the Buckhead Coalition and the Rotary Club of Buckhead. The very idea drew criticisms and lawsuit threats from neighborhood groups in Pine Hills and Peachtree Park. The BCID has been

studying it since then. Peters said the concept is now “abandoned” in part due to “obnoxious” cost estimates around $200 million. Durrett said the interchange also would have caused “enormous disruption” to the Lenox MARTA Station and that the Georgia Department of Transportation expressed safety concerns about possible traffic conflicts with the nearby Sidney Marcus Boulevard ramp. The concept “just didn’t work” he said. Improvements to the existing Lenox Road interchange were also recommended in the master plan and are still being studied. Peters said 12 to 13 ideas are in discussion with such agencies as GDOT and the Georgia Regional Transportation Agency for winnowing down to three or four concepts for further work. The concepts cover “everything from vehicular changes to pedestrian crossings to aesthetic improvements,” Peters said.

Tax audit finds $120K shortfall

An audit of the BCID’s tax collections found that they are largely on target, but that 25 properties that should be paying are not, to the tune of around $120,000 a year. “Not a huge number, but it it’s still a number,” Peters told board members, adding, “Two of you [property owners] are in this room, so we’ll talk later.” The BICD is a self-taxing group of commercial properties. The BCID spends the money on improvements related to transportation, public safety and beautification in the neighborhood’s central business district. Its 2018 revenue was around $6 million. The BCID will now check the num-


bers with Fulton County assessors. Peters said that unpaid taxes could be billed retroactively up to three years back. The BCID spent $11,000 on the audit. One impetus for the review was concerns as to whether the commercial part of mixed-use projects were paying their share of the BCID tax. Peters said the audit used the new Hanover Buckhead Village at Roswell Road and Irby Avenue as an example and found it was paying appropriately, with its various residential, commercial and garage uses split into separate tax parcels. Others may not be so tidy, however. Peter said the BCID also will track expiring tax abatements on local developments to make sure they begin paying a full share at the right time. There are at least 10 properties within the BCID area that are receiving such tax breaks, he said.

Homeless assistance program praised

The BCID is happy with the payoff from a homelessness assistance program to which it contributed $50,000 a year ago. HomeFirst Atlanta, a joint effort of the city and the United Way’s Regional Commission on Homelessness, is raising tens of millions of dollars for a variety of tactics to provide housing and otherwise reduce chronic homelessness. The BCID contributed from the business-minded perspective of lowering the population of people who are homeless and sleeping on the streets of Buckhead’s central business district. BCID staff member Matt Gore said a Hyatt hotel on Peachtree Road recently asked for help with a person who was regularly sleeping on a bench outside. HomeFirst workers contacted the man, who “declined short-term housing,” but was interested in long-term housing. HomeFirst is working to identify such housing for him, Gore said. Ellis said the program is good for both “the right human reasons” and the business community’s concerns. “It’s a very personal, hands-on effort to try to put those people into a stable housing situation,” said Durrett.


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30 | Community ■

Tax breaks targeted by new neighborhood task force

Continued from page 1

The concept of the task force, revealed at a Nov. 14 BCN meeting, is to produce a list of recommended reforms to state and local governments, which were represented at the meeting by several elected officials. Task force chair Mindy Kaplan gave a “very preliminary” review of the strategy and draft recommendations for reforming part of the property assessment system. The overarching concern is that commercial property owners aren’t paying enough and shifting a large tax burden to residential owners. Kaplan said the task force will look at three subjects in turn and make a list of recommendations about each: underassessment of commercial properties; tax abatements, which critics say are often granted to spur developments that would happen anyway; and tax allocation districts, where developers get to fund a project with bonds and keep their property taxes for their own infrastructure for a certain period. The task force is starting with the issue of commercial property assessments. The overall goal, Kaplan said, is policies that would lower the tax millage and reduce homeowner tax burden while maintaining or enhancing government services. The task force looked at a Fulton County audit and an analysis of commercial assessments conducted by Julian Bene, a former Invest Atlanta board member and tax break watchdog who was in attendance. Kaplan said those analyses found about a 60% underassessment of commercial properties in the county, based on a comparison between the assessed values and sales prices of properties that went on the market. More accurate assessments, Kaplan estimated, could boost tax revenue by $200 million to $400 million a year, allowing for a 15% to 20% reduction in residential property taxes or for more money for government services.

Kaplan presented four draft recom“There’s no better way of putting a taramounts to about $385 in taxes on a mendations, partly taken from Fulton get on your back than going against Big $300,000 house. County officials, partly from task force Business,” said state Rep. Betsy Holland (D“It’s just unsustainable,” said Carstarmembers. The recommendations, which Atlanta), a Buckhead resident, adding that phen. drew applause from the crowd at the meetcommercial owners must be challenged on She called out some specific controvering, included: tax abatements and underassessments. sial examples of tax abatements on luxury ■ Increase funding to tax assessor’s ofFulton County Commissioner Lee Mordevelopments, including the 99 West Paces fice to push back against commercial ownris said a problem is that “we’re outgunned” Ferry Road project in Buckhead. That luxers’ tax appeals. by large commercial property owners who ury apartment and retail project received ■ For commercial property apcan hire experts to appeal assessments and a $3.5 million tax abatement from the Depeals, require audited financial statements. get them reduced. Morris, a Buckhead resvelopment Authority of Fulton County in a ■ Retain documents supporting ident, said he is likely to be forced to move deal where the developer promised to offer commercial appeals for at least four years. to Cobb County, where residential taxes are “affordable” units that could go to a single ■ Conduct annual independent aulower, when he retires. person making nearly $120,000 a year. dits of commercial property sales for the previous year and make those records public. BCN Chair Mary Norwood later described the task force’s initial report as “shattering.” Some state and county elected officials attended the BCN meeting to discuss possible legislative solutions to various tax issues, including abatements granted by development authorities and increased homeowner exemptions. All agreed that commercial underassessment is a problem in Atlanta and Fulton. JOHN RUCH “At the end of the day, we want people stay- State Sen. Jen Jordan, center, discusses property tax reform at the Nov. 14 Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting where the new Taxes/TADs Task Force debuted its work. Looking on, from left, are BCN Chair Mary ing in their homes,” said Norwood, Atlanta City Councilmember Matt Westmoreland and Fulton County Commissioner Lee Morris. state Sen. Jen Jordan (DAtlanta), who chairs the Senate’s Fulton County delegation. “We’ve Critics say such projects don’t pass the got to fix this problem.” “but-for” test, meaning they likely would Carstarphen Jordan said that underassessment is an be built without tax breaks as an incentive. raises equity issue area where officials “haven’t seen the forest Among those question such deals is DevelCarstarphen continued her call for for the trees” while addressing other propopment Authority member Tom Tidwell, a scrutiny of tax breaks for luxury developerty tax issues. Buckhead resident who attended the NCA ments at the Northwest Community Allimeeting. ance meeting, saying they can contribute “I want Buckhead to get the boutique to equity gaps in the district and city. hotel that somebody wants to have hapRunning APS requires major tax revepen,” said Carstarphen, who briefly served nue. At the NCA meeting, held at the Northon the Development Authority as well last side Church of God, Carstarphen blasted year. “…But when we look at where the tax abatements and other deals that she need is, would these things meet a ‘but-for’ says allow high-end commercial properties test?” to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars a She said APS, like many other disyear to APS. tricts, is facing a “wickedly large” student In her presentation, Carstarphen – achievement gap involving racial and soassisted by APS Chief Financial Officer SOLD 6210 Riverwood Drive! cioeconomic disparities. APS needs reveLisa Bracken – combined some numbernue to address those challenges, she said, SOLD 6420 Bridgewood Valley Drive! crunching on tax breaks with critiques of and so do neighborhoods that need redehow they can widen equity gaps in the disvelopment incentives and wrap-around trict and the entire city. services. She said that members of families Carstarphen and Bracken estimate that in her district’s majority African American tax abatements and tax allocation districts UNDER CONTRACT: and majority low-income schools ask, “‘If – major projects like Atlantic Station that we have to give away the [tax] money, can 755 Glenairy essentially get to spend their propertyyou invest in our neighborhood?’” 5322 Seaton tax money on themselves to theoretically Boosting graduation rates helps the enspeed development – are costing APS $92.2 tire economy, Carstarphen said. million in “uncollectable” revenue this fis“We grow the pie in my world by havcal year alone. And that number has been ing a kid graduate with a diploma,” she climbing annually. said. “When you graduate [a student] with AngIe PonSELL ATLANTA TO THE WORLD The property tax burden partly shifts a high-school diploma, it actually adds to to residential property owners. Carstarthe economic base of your city. When they phen said APS estimates this fiscal year’s drop out, it doesn’t,” she said. uncollectable revenue from such breaks

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APS superintendent has no decision on ‘what’s next’ for job


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her “moniker of ‘defeated candidate’” and explaining how she runs the group with similarities to a city council. However, she showed no immediate interest in a political future when asked in an interview. “We have an administration [and] I’m busy doing what I’m doing,” she said.


Facing a controversial ouster from Atlanta Public Schools, Superintendent Carstarphen spoke at a Nov. 20 Northwest Community Alliance meeting with the trademark force and charisma that has many residents speculating – or wishing – that if she can’t stay, she might seek the top job at the DeKalb County School District or run for an elected office. Carstarphen did not address her job or future in her presentation, which focused on how tax breaks for luxury developments harm APS’s revenues. In an interview, she said she hasn’t thought about life beyond APS, but also did not rule out a career in politics when asked. “I am fully focused on making sure I run APS well, right? … It’s a handful,” Carstarphen said when asked whether she is interested in running for office, describing several ways the district has kept her busy. “…But my focus right now is still APS. I haven’t thought about anything for next steps and I’ll do that when I get a little break over the holidays and start thinking about what’s next.” Carstarphen also reviewed her progress in boosting that graduation rate and other metrics since she took the job in 2014 in the wake of an infamous test-cheating scandal. The Atlanta Board of Education decided earlier this year not to extend her contract,

school board will have a challenge in finding candidates for the superintendent position when they see Carstarphen’s contract situation. Norwood referred to her political experience in her presentation, saying that having the BCN chair position is better than


which runs through June 2020, in a move that sparked controversy. Carstarphen has made it clear that she wants to remain in the job, saying in a previous interview that she was “called here by God” to run APS and that she knows “the work isn’t done.” At the NCA presentation, Carstarphen did not discuss her contract and spoke about the school board only to briefly praise member Nancy Meister, a Buckhead resident who was in the audience. Asked about her contract in an interview, Carstarphen referred questions to the school board and its superintendent search webpage. Also speaking at the NCA meeting was Mary Norwood, the chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, who is aligned with Carstarphen on the tax break issue. Norwood, who called herself “a big Meria fan,” has experience in politics and city leadership as a former City Council member and two-time mayoral candidate. Asked about the idea of Carstarphen running for office, Norwood said, “If she wants to run for anything else – anyone who has the interest and the skills and the priorities, go for it.” As for the possibility of the school board changing its mind about Carstarphen’s ouster, Norwood noted the “strong group of people” who urged the board to extend the contract, such as U.S. Rep. John Lewis and former mayors Sam Massell, Shirley Franklin and Andrew Young. Norwood said her “concern for the city” is that the












An art fan maps street murals in and beyondAtlanta





The Orchar d at Brookh sisted living aven, an asfacility that caring for specializes those with in dementia, opened on recently Buford Highw ay, a large, low “pre-le yelasing” banne r still hangin over its front g entrance. Just yards from that front entran a dirt path ce is that runs along Buford way, created Highover many reporternewsp years by people walking along the busy thorou spite a lack ghfare deof sidewa lks. That is supposed dirt path to become a 10-foot Perim and a 5-foot landscape eter Businsidewa ess Springlk strip, a condit 2019 | the city put PCIDs mark ion Where brick-and-mortar retail still works on theThe ofdeveloper s 20 years property when was rezone shaping Perim the d two years eter Cente r ago to See SIDEWA LK on page 23 MAY 2019

Section Two

Sandy Springs Dunwoody






Perimeter Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention



P. 36


Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunwoody

SPECIAL diamond looked shortly Road and interchange I-285 as after opening it Inset, the in 2012. Hammond Ga. 400 Drive interchange FILE shortly after with it opened in 2011.


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After 20 increasingly years of a population jammed boom, scraper-sprouting highways and skyit may sound mega-developments, quaint that about Perimeter people worried Mall traffic 1999. way back in But the provement Perimeter Community Districts, Imof business the self-taxing groups out of those property owners that formed concerns, sons the local boom are among the why the has happened reatraffic and to Perimeter isn’t even worse. If you Center today, get there you may go via well PCIDs pushed one of the big projects – like the ramps on Hammond the Ga. 400 Drive woody or the Ashford-DunRoad diverging change diamond at I-285 – and you’ll intertouches they’re responsible see smaller scaping and rush-hour for, like “They had traffic cops. landone, cleaning a reputation for, those cosmeticthings up, providing number some of amenities used to,” we’ve all said Ann become the CIDs Hanlon, who watched form as a longtime resident and now Dunwoody serves as director. their “At lutionary, the time, that was executive that a private pretty to pay for group was revothose amenities.” willing Back in day cover 1999, the three cities that Perimeter en, Dunwoody toCenter – Brookhavnot yet exist. and Sandy Springs As the – did its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead it has sion on transportation, refocused its to misproposals leaving such as park-building previous ies. Transportation erything these days to the citfrom trail networks helping to buildmeans evmultiuse to shaping toll lanes the future and transit That’s in of on Ga. 400 addition and I-285. PCIDs currently to some of the like sidewalks provides or basics the and crosswalks,coordinates, shuttles, traffic signal commuter rimeter timing and Connects the Pecommuter vice. advice serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector Center’s is future, with CONTINUED

Is this the gun that killed Buckhead’s namesake deer?


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It took — and cial media, a harmonic everything convergence an unmet an engineer’s A tribute changed “It was of soan eye-opening for Rudick. to the former recalls. ping more need to launch retirement and IMAGE in Buckhead, “This Limelight COURTESY experience,” maps covering ro Atlanta. than 500 street a website mappainted disco behind ART RUDICK On the was amazing he by Dr. stuff.” same trip, murals 14 neighborhoods outlying Binder’s duced Dax and in metFittingly, Rudick’s him to cities as Art Supplies The Loss a guy named Instagram, niece introand Sandy and such home Dunwoody, to locate Prevention. to Springs. all of Art was walking six self-guided hood full his Old Fourth and he returned The site Brookhaven the one “I’ve alwaysthe art. tour. Ward of curiosity. also and includes walking photos “It’s partially had Rudick tours of provides He wantedneighborof Atlanta’s says, “but an interest ing that because street art on his in art,” myself. Rudick, bios of 16 muralists. I’ve never street murals to take cartoon,” I grew new Instagram I once an engineer the attraction. up watchbeen an Art end of Rudick did woodworking were the by, making to post 2016 after artist who retired account, says, explaining murals? custom ca-Cola, but where a He says How could as a hobat the Necessity furniture.” The design finds most 32-year career his favorite he find ro, who ing local tion when became the of a new with Cofor Rudick, artists them? uses a artists on of his content mother hobby are Yoyo Rudick technique 61, about contour contact by followmap of Instagram. he and Ferdrawing, three yearstook shape page known the city’s realized that of invenhis He also of a collective times reach on his site, as blind and five with no street art a decent City. While wife visited ago when and artists has a who are him that didn’t exist. Club, which known there, the family in New website, previous experience a guided Twice somepart way. York So, Atlanta he does “a as the Lotus tour amazing to check a year, he says, in doing couple an online took it upon class Bushwickof street lot of interestingEaters work.” took on he drives art in the a himself of Donna He sure that every mural, and the guide to Atlanta’s neighborhood to create around workingand Howells, also admires as the artists her seventies new work site is current. part of making of Brooklyn a Cabbagetownthe work The result who put them street murals while making He’ll often SIGN UP only recently. who began is the Atlanta up. artist in at, Rudick spot TO RECEIVE the creating Street Art the artist says his favorite rounds. murals Rudick DAILY & which Map keeps his mural is has interactive in suburban Tom and known as Jerkface, WEEKLY eyes open one by Jerry cartoon EMAILS cities, based pears on ral is the too. Ferro’s for murals WITH LOCAL characters. on the Brookhaven’s first stop School, work The on the NEWS @ and the Cross Keys apLittle Five musuch locations REPORTERNEWS website High Points notes artwork as the PAPERS.NET/SI parking in garage CONTINUED GNUP of

Proposal for Wieuca roundabout is back






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building The Georgia Department of Transportation is considering flyover toll lanes atop the Northridge Road overpass.


The Sandy Springs Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIPs 30327, 30328, 30342 and 30350 For information:

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Affordable housing advocates who co-chaired the city’s North End Revitalization Task Force launched an initiative opposing the task force’s final report with a community meeting on Feb. 28. At that meeting, several north end residents said they feared the recommendations would lead to displacement of See TWO on page 14

scenes. For information: books for a long “I know it’s been on the delivery@reporterne time, but we need to mitigate it as much as we can,” said Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), who says she’s trying to arrange a large-scale meeting of state engineers, local officials and possibly the general public. “This is very upsetting.” The toll lanes, called “express lanes” or “managed lanes,” are proposed by the Geor-


The Neighborhood Planning Unit system that reviews planning, zoning and other big issues for Atlanta city government is getting a review of its own. A downtown nonprofit called the Center for Civic Innovation has begun a quiet, but

potentially influential, series of meetings and surveys that aims to have reform recommendations for the 45-year-old system on the table by March 2020. “There are things about [the NPU system] that are amazing, and things that we need to have a lot more conversation about,” said CCI Executive Director Rohit See AFTER on page 14


The wooden stock is beige and battered with age. The metal plate above the trigger is decorated with a pair of birds. The barrel is long, heavy and octagonal. It’s an old muzzleloading firearm, for sure. It might even be the one that killed the deer that gave Buckhead its curious name in 1838. John Beach, president of the Buckhead Heritage Society, is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by tracking John Beach, see the tales surrounding Around Town, page 20. another little-known piece of area history – an 1842 log cabin that quietly survived destruction by being moved to a Buckhead back yard. In the meantime, Beach gave the Reporter an exclusive closeSee IS on page 22

See OFFICIALS on page 22


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Two groups with opposing views on redevelopment concepts for the north end of Sandy Springs have organized to voice their opinions as city officials determine which concepts should move


As neighborhood impacts of toll lanes planned along Ga. 400 and I-285 become are clearer, city and state elected officials The Buckhead Reporter seeking ways to influence the process with is mail delivered to homes varying tactics. Some officials say they’ll on selected carrier routes fight the project, while others aim for smallin ZIPs 30305, 30327 er tweaks. Some call for community-wide meetings, while some work behind theand 30342

Two groups launch to support, oppose north end concepts

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United Methodists struggle with church’s LGBTQ decision P18

Left, John Beach, president of the Buckhead which reputedly killed the neighborhood’s Heritage Society, holds the “Buckhead Gun,” namesake deer in 1838. Right, holds what is said to be the same firearm in an undated photo. (John James Whitley Ruch/Special)

After 45 years, a nonprofit launches a review of NPU citizen input system


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