12-15-17 Buckhead

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DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018 • VOL. 11— NO. 25


Buckhead Reporter

reporternewspapers.net 5


► Rabbi’s book recalls her silent retreat at a Christian monastery PAGE 21

www.ReporterN ewspapers.net




A path to th e future: Brookhave n’s journey fro m ‘yes’ to Gr eenway City leade rs create a which opened in

► PCIDs emerges with ‘next generation’ master plan PAGE 26

Christian TV airs from local mansion

- JAN. 4, 2018

new scho Norcross in ol, 2016.







5th Anniver

sary | 5

Commemo rative Special Sec tion



Pro-cityho voters win, od 2012.


Brookhav en Police Departme nt opens, 2013 .

The Atlanta Hawks anno a local pract ice facility, unce 2016.


Cherry Blossom Festival debuts, 2015.

Bobby Jones clubhouse plan hits $1M fundraising goal

The Peachtree

Creek Green way’s cons

truction begin






Five years ago this mont city of Brook h, the new haven began down its own a journey path. It’s been a sometimes rocky road, but marked with major stones, and mileas former mayo rs look ahead they see succe , ss on the horiz on.

s in 2018.

During its first five years, the has paved roads new city , improved parks model city for others to a police force, and set up look to,” Mayo and also has John Ernst begun effort r said. “We’r create afford s to e finding ways able housing, be innovative to update zonto ing codes to and showing deal with rapid ways to do the region things bette developmen and to take t r.” the first steps The battle for toward estab lishing the cityhood began long-dream with the form in 2010, ed-about Peach Creek Green ation of a group called tree way trail and izens for North park system Cit“We’re on DeKalb. Then . our way to “Brookhaven the group becoming Yes” was form a their state ed to lobby representa tives, notab ly for-

The first Martin Luth er King Jr. Day celebratio n at Lynwood Park, 2016 .

mer state Rep. Mike Jacobs, over desire to have their a local gover nment to take over some services from DeKalb Coun ty. The coun ty governmen t, they argue did not adequ d, ately repre sent them provide servi or ces comm ensurate with the taxes the community paid. Continued on

page 6

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A group seeking to transform the former Bobby Jones Golf Course clubhouse into a chamber music recital and teaching hall has hit a city-required fundraising target, and a formal agreement is in the works. Alex Simmons, a Buckhead resident leading the initiative, said he has received commitments from neighborhood See BOBBY on page 16 EVELYN ANDREWS

Keith Hines, senior producer of the Jesus Live TV Christian television network, turns on cameras in one of the living rooms used as a film set at Tyler Perry’s former estate in Buckhead, Inset, the sprawling estate built by actor and filmmaker Perry. Story on page 30 ►

STANDOUT STUDENT Lovett senior wins national service award

... Our small paper stared down a potential lawsuit from former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The battle reinforced the importance of journalism to me, both as a student and in a larger world. Eddie Samuels Brookhaven resident and an editor at the Tufts Daily newspaper See COMMENTARY Page 18


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Celebrating by candlelight

Major leadership changes ahead after runoff elections BY EVELYN ANDREWS AND JOHN RUCH New political eras began on Dec. 5 as new leadership was elected to chair Fulton County, lead Atlanta City Council and represent state Senate District 6. But the Atlanta mayoral election was followed by dispute, with Keisha Lance Bottoms appearing to receive more votes by a razor-thin margin of less than 1 percent and Mary Norwood calling for a recount. Buckhead voters overwhelmingly backed Norwood, a longtime neighborSee MAJOR on page 14

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The owner of a historic Buckhead mansion designed by a prominent Atlanta architect is planning to restore the house and demolish an addition. The owner also plans to subdivide the lot, but he said he may alter his plans after community pushback. The nearly 90-year-old house, known locally as the Pink Palace because it was adorned with pink stucco, was designed by Philip Trammell Shutze, the designer of the Atlanta History Center’s Swan House and other prominent local buildings. The owner of the mansion, Thierry Francois, plans to subdivide the lot into three lots and demolish part of the home that is not original and was added on decades after the home was built, he said. “My goal is to reduce the size of this land so it would be more cost-effective for a family to live in,” he said. The current subdivision plan would create a new lot in the front of the house and a new lot in the back, but after the community expressed concern a building could be built in front of the Pink Palace, Francois said he may alter his plans. A consultant, Dianne Barfield, applied for a permit on EVELYN ANDREWS behalf of the owner to subdivide The owner of the Pink Palace, located at 541 West Paces the lot Nov. 21, and in October Ferry, has removed its beige paint to make the building pink again and plans to do further renovations. received a permit to demolish a portion of the home, according to city documents. The subdivision request is scheduled to go before the city’s Subdivision Review Committee on Dec. 20. The 1929 mansion, also known as the Rhodes House, is located at 541 West Paces Ferry Road near the Governor’s Mansion. Before it was known that the owner was planning to restore the house and not demolish anything original, the preservation community expressed alarm and concern that yet another Shutze-designed mansion could be lost to demolition, showing the concern they have for these historic properties. Mark McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, said the city needs better preservation protections and incentives. A review process is needed so the community can be made aware of changes owners want to make to historic property, he said. “While the Georgia Trust is not aware of what portion of the building is going to be torn down, we think it’s unfortunate that there is not a review process for demolishing historic properties,” McDonald said. “There should be a review process so neighbors, residents and preservation groups can provide input on the plans,” he said. McDonald also said that it is unfortunate Shutze-designed properties have been demolished in recent years, including the Maddox House, a mansion that was located on Tuxedo Road and demolished in early 2016. James Ottley, the board chair of the Buckhead Heritage Society, said protecting historic homes like the Pink Palace should be a priority. “Protecting significant historic buildings like this one for future generations should be a heightened priority for our area residents,” Ottley said. Francois, who bought the house in May, said the back part of the house that he plans to demolish is a pool house and a garage addition. “You have a lot of space in the back lot that is not being used,” he said. “[The demolition] will give the flexibility to do something in the back lot.” He plans to have another building on the back lot. Although the application calls for subdividing the lot to create a new lot in the front, Francois said he doesn’t plan to build there. He acknowledged that if he sold the property, the new owner could build something in front of the Pink Palace, and said he may change his application based on feedback from the community and preservationists. “What’s important to understand is that there won’t be something built in the front. I want to make sure that I’m not going to impose something that’s going to be an eyesore on West Paces,” he said. Francois is also planning extensive remodeling and renovations in the interior of the house to fix inappropriate or incorrectly installed changes made by former owners, such as kitchen countertops. He also found one of the original bathroom sinks in the basement and plans to reinstall it. “The house needs help inside to bring it back to its former glory,” he said. He also has removed its beige paint to reveal the original stucco and make the Pink Palace pink again. BH

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Community | 3



The Buckhead master plan, branded as “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED,” has been incorporated into the city of Atlanta’s official development plan. The City Council passed an ordinance on Dec. 4 allowing the master plan to be added to the city’s comprehensive development plan, which guides land use. Buckhead REdeFINED was released in August 2017 after three large community meetings. Recommendations included the proposed park over Ga. 400 and Lenox Road streetscape improvements. Those were two of six “big ideas” included in the plan’s recommendations. Others were developing a public art program; creating a multiuse trail; further study of improving the Lenox Road/Ga. 400 interchange and of construction of a new Ga. 400 interchange at East Paces Ferry Road; and diversifying housing options.


Officials broke ground on the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail in Atlanta Memorial Park on Dec. 12. This marks the official beginning of the project that will bring a multiuse path to the northeastern end of the Buckhead park. The project will include construction of a 10-footwide multiuse trail along the north side of Peachtree Creek on Woodward Way east of Northside Drive. A SPECIAL new bridge over the creek A map shows the all the planned or completed trails in Atlanta Memorial Park, including the Northwest connecting to the existing BeltLine Connector Trail, which is shown in purple. Northwest Beltline Corridor at Dellwood Drive and Colonial Homes Circle will also be constructed, according to the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy. The trail is part of a system of trails and sidewalks planned to encircle the park and connect to BeltLine trails. The project is being funded by the city of Atlanta’s TSPLOST and the PATH Foundation.

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The city has committed to allot $5 million of TSPLOST funding for the PATH400 project. Atlanta City Council on Nov. 20 passed an ordinance that will direct $5 million of funding from the first two years of proceeds raised by the TSPLOST, a transportationrelated sales tax that was passed in 2016. The city of Atlanta portion of PATH400 is planned to run between the Lindbergh area up to the city’s border with Sandy Springs, and eventually will connect to a segment in Sandy Springs. The five-year TSPLOST could raise up to $300 million for streets, sidewalks and traffic signal improvements.

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The planned Phipps Plaza expansion is ushering in the “next generation” of malls by bringing in a hotel, Robin Suggs, who manages its sister mall Lenox Square, said at a Buckhead Business Association breakfast Dec. 7. Simon Property Group, which owns both malls, announced last month its plans to expand Phipps Plaza, located at 3500 Peachtree Road, with a Nobu hotel and restaurant, expansive fitness center and office tower. The expansion will be built where the current Belk store is located. “When opportunity arises such as this, where you can redevelop an anchor store, hotels have proven a very good investment,” Suggs said. Hotels work well with malls because they bring visitors who are likely to spend more time at the mall, she said. “You’re bringing in the visitor and affording them the opportunity to spend as much time as they want in the shopping environment,” Suggs said. The Belk store will be demolished mid2018 and the expansion will be opened in phases throughout 2020, she said. One of the city’s fire stations is located near the Belk store and will be relocated closer to the center of the mall, Suggs said. The overall trend of increased residential properties and hotels in the Buckhead area also has helped draw traffic to the malls, Suggs said. Rates to rent space in both malls are among the top 10 percent in the country, she said. Malls across the country are bringing in more entertainment venues, including restaurant and video arcade Dave & Buster’s, concert venues and movie theaters to compliment the retail section, Suggs said. Phipps plans to join this trend by adding a raised stage in a planned outdoor common area that will be built during the expansion, Suggs said.

“The trend in the shopping center business is to develop an experiential opportunity — a reason for you to come to the mall and spend time with us,” she said. “It’s the wave of what’s to come.” The stage is planned to be used to host concerts during the lunch hour or after business hours and for business events, she said. Despite the decrease in malls’ popularity and the fact that several have closed across the country in recent years, Suggs said both Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza are performing well. She said she still believes people prefer to buy things at physical locations. “The majority of people want to see it, want to feel it, want to try it on and be around other people,” she said. Even retailers that first existed only online are beginning to move into malls, including Amazon, which has opened a kiosk in Lenox Square, Suggs said. In response to a question about how this expansion may cause an increase in traffic, especially around the Wieuca Road and Phipps Boulevard intersection, Suggs said several initiatives are in the works. In addition to other traffic calming measures, a roundabout has been proposed for the Wieuca/Phipps intersection. It has met with some pushback from the community and may not ultimately be the chosen project. “I’m not sure we’ll finally land on the roundabout, but there are initiatives in place because everybody recognizes there is tremendous gridlock in that particular area,” Suggs said. Suggs works closely on these projects through her positions with the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Livable Buckhead. The malls have just as much to lose as residents if traffic worsens because increased gridlock could decrease visitors to the malls, Suggs said. “If we are in gridlock, we’re all feeling the pain,” she said. BH

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Brookhaven 5th Anniversary | 5



A path to the future Brookhaven’s journey from ‘yes’ to Greenway City leaders create a new school, which opened in Norcross in 2016.





Commemorative Special Section YES




Pro-cityhood voters win, 2012.

Brookhaven Police Department opens, 2013.

abc The Atlanta Hawks announce a local practice facility, 2016.

Cherry Blossom Festival debuts, 2015.

The Peachtree Creek Greenway’s construction begins in 2018.

The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Lynwood Park, 2016.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Five years ago this month, the new city of Brookhaven began a journey down its own path. It’s been a sometimes rocky road, but marked with major milestones, and as former mayors look ahead, they see success on the horizon.

During its first five years, the new city has paved roads, improved parks and set up a police force, and also has begun efforts to create affordable housing, to update zoning codes to deal with rapid development and to take the first steps toward establishing the long-dreamed-about Peachtree Creek Greenway trail and park system. “We’re on our way to becoming a

model city for others to look to,” Mayor John Ernst said. “We’re finding ways to be innovative and showing the region ways to do things better.” The battle for cityhood began in 2010, with the formation of a group called Citizens for North DeKalb. Then the group “Brookhaven Yes” was formed to lobby their state representatives, notably for-

mer state Rep. Mike Jacobs, over their desire to have a local government to take over some services from DeKalb County. The county government, they argued, did not adequately represent them or provide services commensurate with the taxes the community paid. Continued on page 6

6 | Brookhaven 5th Anniversary

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A path to the future: Brookhaven’s journey from ‘Yes’ to the Greenway Continued from page 5

with the police, that rancor dying down.” For Rebecca Chase Williams, the city’s “I was initially opposed to [citysecond mayor, the first five years “have hood],” said J. Max Davis, the city’s first gone by so fast.” mayor and the chair of the Brookhaven “I look back and see so many accomYes movement. “My inclination was to plishments and have this overwhelming not be in favor for what I thought would sense of pride,” she said. be more government.” “We’ve lowered taxBut when he realized that es, we’ve paved roads, our he and other residents were parks are vastly improved, willing to pay for private sezoning and planning is curity to provide protection done closer to home,” she in their neighborhoods, he said. “All the promises we had an epiphany that tax made, we’ve kept.” money could be used to Williams became mayor fund a city police force. in 2015 after Davis resigned “We weren’t getting the to make an unsuccessful bid coverage from DeKalb police for the seat representing Diswe wanted. The higher-ups trict 80 in the state House of were not assigning officers Representatives. to patrol our area,” he said. “Part of our challenge SPECIAL When a police lieutenJ. Max Davis. is that Brookhaven is alant told him that DeKalb poready a popular and wonlice probably would not be able to provide derful place to live and lots of people the coverage he wanted, Davis felt he had no and developers are coming in,” she addchoice but to support the creation of the city ed. “We don’t want to infringe on the of Brookhaven, he said. “I think that was the great quality of life ... and so there is real impetus to support cityhood for many work to be done in finding that balance people — having real security,” he said. of growth and quality of life.” Creating Brookhaven wasn’t an easy The city’s first five years include some sale, however. In 2012, after state legislators rocky moments. Davis was accused of approved a vote on the new city, residents sexual harassment for allegedly spraying split roughly 55 percent to 45 percent in the aerosol at a female colleague. The city atvote to create Brookhaven. The new city torney was dismissed after some city officame into existence in December of 2012. cials said he tried to help cover up the accuThe city covered some 12 square miles sation against Davis. from I-85 to I-285, where it bordered DunResidents have packed City Hall in woody, another new city set to celebrate red shirts demanding city officials pro10 years of existence in 2018. (After an hibit certain kinds of new development, annexation, Brookhaven now extends including the proposed Brookhavensouth of I-85 into an area where ExecuOglethorpe MARTA transit-oriented detive Park and the North Druid Hills camvelopment (the city did pus of Children’s Healthagree to pause that) as well care of Atlanta are located.) as planned mixed-used deDuring the debate velopments along thriving over whether to create a Dresden Drive (the council city of Brookhaven, heathas approved one and deed “Brookhaven Yes” and nied another; both are cur“Brookhaven No” camrently locked in litigation.) paigns formed. One of When Ernst took over Ernst’s main campaign as mayor in 2016, one of promises when he took ofhis and the council’s first fice in 2016 was to find tasks was to dismiss former ways to unite the two. city manager Marie Garrett “When I got elected, there over a contract dispute. SPECIAL was no ‘Yes Brookhaven’ or Rebecca Chase Williams. Garrett had been with the ‘No Brookhaven,’” Ernst said. city since it was founded. “We are just Brookhaven. We’ve moved on “The whole thing with J. Max was a sad from that and are running a city now.” episode,” Williams said. “And I was sorry to There may be a little bitterness left besee how all that ended with Marie. She was hind. “There’s still one person on Osborne a great city manager for a start-up city.” Road with a ‘Brookhaven No’ sign,” Davis But, Ernst said, he and the council said with a chuckle. don’t look back and only look forward “People of both sides of the cityhood to keeping the promises that were the issues came together really well,” Dafoundation of forming the city. vis said. “In the beginning there was still Police, parks and paving are the “three some of that suspicion ... and there are Ps” many cities and municipalities promstill some negative nellies out there. But ise to spend their residents’ tax dollars I’ve noticed after about a year, especially on, and Brookhaven’s government con-

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Brookhaven 5th Anniversary | 7


tinues to make those areas a priority, city continues to work to have its own Ernst said. “Our paving schedule is agschool system and admits disappointgressive. We have some of the best-paved ment that the state charter school known roads in the region,” Ernst said. as Brookhaven Innovation Academy decidThe new Peachtree ed this year to make its perCreek Greenway, a linear manent home in Chamblee park that is expected to conafter not finding a location nect Brookhaven to Chamwithin Brookhaven. blee and Doraville as well “We have to keep tryas PATH400 on Buckhead ing,” he said. “Economic and eventually to the Atlandevelopment is inherently ta BeltLine, is set to break tied to quality education. ground early next year. We didn’t seize on [the The police department new school], but I hope in has bumped up the numthe future we can.” ber of its officers from a Rather than its charter beginning of 54 to 74 now, school, Brookhaven will be SPECIAL and a new citizens’ patrol the home of the new John Mayor John Ernst. is in the works. Lewis Elementary School, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta selectnow going up where Skyland Park was ed Brookhaven as the home for its new once located. A new, smaller Skyland massive hospital complex at the I-85 and Park is being built adjacent to the school North Druid Hills Road interchange, and using the money the DeKalb County promises to invest millions of its own monSchool District paid for the property. ey on traffic improvements in the area. “We got a brand-new park and an exCity officials also praise the “halo tra $1.7 million that we’ve leveraged to effect” CHOA will bring to the surbuy more green space,” Ernst said. That inrounding area, especially along Bucludes 33 acres of former DeKalb-Peachtree ford Highway, where it is expected new Airport land expected to open in January medical-related businesses will pop up. as a city park including walking trails. Across the street from CHOA is Execu“I think a lot of good planning was tive Park, recently purchased by Emory done in the first few years and now we University. Although Emory hasn’t reare in the building stages and moving vealed its plans for Executive Park, city forward to keep those promises,” Ernst officials expect it to complement the said. “We are getting the job done on CHOA medical complex. The area also what we set out to do.” includes a brand new, state-of the-art Atlanta Hawks practice facility that’s a partnership with Emory Healthcare. City Hall is currently located in a leased building on Peachtree Road. Ernst said that finding a permanent City Hall building is not a main priority of his current term, but there are plans to use some $15 million in new Special Local Option Sales Tax funds to pay for a new police department and municipal court, perhaps to remain located on Buford Highway. Williams said she expects the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station redevelopment to come back before the City Council in the next five years, if not sooner. “And I hope we go forward in a way in which both sides benefit,” she said. All three mayors agree the first five years included a great deal of planning: a parks master plan; a bike and pedestrian master plan; determining a fair way to pave roads; funding the Peachtree Creek Greenway; coming up with an affordable housing task force; a character-area study for residents to discuss how they want to see their neighborhoods preserved; and a citywide zoning rewrite designed to better handle the rapid development of one of the hottest cites in metro Atlanta. “I think the next five years are going to be terribly exciting,” Williams said. “We have wonderful master plans, which was Atlanta a long process. The real challenge is paying for them all and setting priorities.” 275 Collier Road, NW Suite 100-C Davis said when Brookhaven was startAtlanta, GA 30309 ed, there was no guidebook and a lot of lessons had to be learned. He hopes the

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8 | Brookhaven 5th Anniversary

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Happy Birthday, Brookhaven!

Mike Jacobs DeKalb County State Court judge and former state representative I wish to extend my congratulations to the city of Brookhaven on its five-year anniversary as a municipality. Working together as neighbors, I am confident the future of the community will be bright. Kelly Marsh Brookhaven Arts Festival director and real estate agent Currently, Brookhaven is one of the hottest real estate markets in Atlanta. Based on past history, it looks like the number of higher price point (over $800,000) homes will slow in the next five years, making the area more affordable for buyers. Brookhaven will remain healthier than the rest of Atlanta due to the improvements to the parks, roads and the high demand to be inside 285. Positive changes to our schools will take effect in about four years from now, creating movement amongst current residents and those wanting to move into Brookhaven. This will also stimulate the real estate market, giving buyers and sellers great opportunity. As for the Brookhaven Arts Festival, we are building on our most successful year so far in 2017 and I predict that in five years we will offer the highest-quality art in the most easily accessible environment, providing a fun and unique outing for Brookhaven residents and people from far away. Linley Jones Brookhaven City Council member The first five years of our City have been highly successful. The City is up and running efficiently and cost-effectively with top-notch police, community service and public works. Brookhaven has worked closely with citizens to gather feedback and plan for the future. Implementation of many of the City’s plans is already underway. I expect the next five years will see tremendous change and improvement as the City’s resources are directed to plan implementation. From the Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor Study to the Park Plans to the Nancy Creek Watershed Improvement and Peachtree Creek Greenway, our City will see the makeover continue as we tackle challenges like traffic improvement and growth, with citizen input to our grassroots government always critical to the efforts. Aníbal Torres Executive director, Latin American Association Brookhaven continues to deepen its commitment to diversity. In just the past year, it has commissioned an affordable housing task force, become a “Welcoming City,” and hired a public engagement specialist to lead the city’s outreach to Brookhaven’s diverse community. If current progress continues, within five years, Brookhaven will have become a leading example of a city that embraces Latinos, celebrates their culture, and meaningfully includes them in its public processes.

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Gabriel Sterling Sandy Springs City Council member, consultant on Brookhaven cityhood campaign “Like every city that’s been established since 2005, they’re different personalities … and all for the most part have been pretty successful. I agree with others who have said this isn’t Balkanization. This is allowing those areas, those regions, those cities to have a voices that were true. At the end of the day, I’m always going to say Sandy Springs is the best single example of how a city should run. But I think all of them are better than the alternative. With all of the drama and the heartache and the angst, they are better off than when they had been county protectorates.” Lawrence Schall President, Oglethorpe University Let me offer my congratulations to the city of Brookhaven on its fifth birthday. First and foremost, I want to thank the leaders of the city for being such good and thoughtful partners to the university. We have developed strong and collaborative working relationships with the mayor, all the City Council people, the city manager, and many others. Those relationships have grown over time and I certainly expect that to continue as we move forward together.

J.D. Clockadale President of Brookhaven Police Foundation and Zoning Board of Appeals member Our police department will continue to a model of how to build strong relationships with all aspects of our community while effectively ensuring the safety and high quality of life that make Brookhaven such a great place to raise a family. The community itself will continue to reap the rewards of dedicated greenspace, progressive road paving and rebuilt parks infrastructure, as well as boards and commissions served by engaged, committed residents who actively seek to grow Brookhaven in a way that serves our great history and even greater potential.

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018


Brookhaven 5th Anniversary | 9

Georgia’s destination for pediatric care We’re proud to be part of the Brookhaven community for its first five years, and we look forward to celebrating more milestones together. Coming in 2018, we will be celebrating the opening of two new locations in the area—our first in town urgent care center, Children’s at Chamblee-Brookhaven, and the Center for Advanced Pediatrics. And over the next eight years, we have plans to build a new North Druid Hills campus that will transform the lives of children, families, and Brookhaven citizens with state-of-the-art care. Thanks again, Brookhaven, for working with us to build a better future for our kids and our communities. Visit choa.org/breakingnewground for more information.

©2018 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.

10 | Brookhaven 5th Anniversary

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The changing face of Brookhaven Brookhaven formed as the country emerged from the Great Recession, and like many cities, is now dealing with the plusses and minuses of a development boom, from infill housing to such major concepts as transit-oriented MARTA station complexes. The city has seized the opportunity to massive effect, most notably by annexing Executive Park – bringing Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare and the Atlanta Hawks to town as major players – and preparing for the Peachtree Creek Greenway park and trail. But it also faces challenges of preserving affordability and diversity, especially along Buford Highway, whose residents have found new activist voices. This map shows the places where the city is likely to change the most in its next five years.

A Executive Park/North Druid Hills Road DORAVILLE









Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is planning a massive 80-acre campus at the I-85 and North Druid Hills Road interchange, including an 8- story Center for Advanced Pediatrics and a new $1.3 billion hospital. Across the street, Emory University purchased 60 acres of Executive Park that now includes a new Atlanta Hawks/Emory Healthcare practice facility. Emory has not revealed its future plans for the site that is ripe for redevelopment.

B Peachtree Creek Greenway

The “model mile” of the Peachtree Creek Greenway between Corporate Boulevard and Briarwood Road breaks ground in early 2018. This is the first leg of the approximate 12-mile linear park that is expected to connect Brookhaven with Chamblee, Doraville, PATH400 in Buckhead and eventually the Atlanta BeltLine.

C Buford Highway

Redevelopment and gentrification along and near Buford Highway continues with older apartment complexes being torn down for luxury townhomes. Organizations such as We Love BuHi are trying to find ways to preserve and promote the cultural diversity of the international corridor as developers eye properties for redevelopment. City Councilmember Joe Gebbia has talked of wanting to see a performing arts center on Buford Highway.

D Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station BUCKHEAD





The city rejected plans for a transit-oriented mixed-use development at the station, but city and MARTA officials fully expect redevelopment to take place within the next five years on the acres of mostly vacant parking lot.

E Dresden Drive Restaurants and retail continue to thrive on Dresden Drive. One multi-use development, Dresden Village, is currently being held up by a lawsuit filed by a resident after the project was approved by the city, and another multi-use development, Solis Dresden, is also still in the courts after the developer, Terwilliger Pappas, filed a lawsuit against the city for rejecting its proposed apartments and retail project.

F Skyland Park area


A new, smaller Skyland Park is under construction now and will open in early 2018. The DeKalb County School District is also building the new 900-seat John Lewis Elementary School at the site set to open in 2019, which is expected to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster.

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Brookhaven 5th Anniversary | 11


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12 | Brookhaven 5th Anniversary

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BROOKHAVEN AT 5 BY THE NUMBERS Since the city’s formation, Brookhaven’s population has gotten bigger and wealthier, but also less diverse and with more people living in poverty. In terms of the “three P’s” — paving, parks and police — that residents wanted cityhood to improve, green space and the police force have increased significantly and about 29 percent of the city streets have been repaved.




Hispanic or Latino (All Races)


Median Household Income

Population Living Below Federal Poverty Level


49,000 52% 11.4% 30.2% 5% $56,231 12.2%


52,444 57% 9.6% 24.8% 5.6% $69,277 15.2%




Out of 120 miles of roads in the city, nearly 35 miles will have been paved from 2012 through the end of 2017.

In 2012, the city had 12 parks and 271 acres of green space. In 2017, the city has 15 parks and nearly 317 acres of green space.

The city had 54 officers in 2013 and has 73 officers in 2017.

Tr a n s f o r m y o u r s p a c e t o f i t Y O U







Sources: U.S. Census (*latest available statistics from 2015), Brookhaven Reporter, City of Brookhaven.

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Community | 13


Heavy hitters join park over Ga. 400 steering committee BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Several heavy hitters have joined the new steering committee for the proposed park over Ga. 400, including former MARTA CEO Keith Parker, Home Depot officials, and the CEOs of Atlanta Tech Village and Arby’s, the Buckhead Community Improvement District has announced. The steering committee has been launched to support and advise a nonprofit organization the CID is creating to manage the fundraising, operation and construction of the proposed park, which would cap Ga. 400 between Peachtree and Lenox roads, provide green space and bring a redesigned Buckhead MARTA station. The CID will have no formal position on the committee. “We really want to take [the park] from the CID to the community,” said CID Executive Director Jim Durrett at a Nov. 29 board meeting. Nine business leaders from around metro Atlanta have so far accepted the CID’s invitation to join the committee. They are: Parker, now the CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia; Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s; David Cummings, CEO

of Atlanta Tech Village; Raj Deshpande, CEO of Pulseworks, LLC; Lane Moore, managing partner at QuarterMoore and co-founder of Rubicon Global; Valeria Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine; Robert Sheft, CEO of Installation Made Easy, Inc.; Larry Smith, former general counsel of The Home Depot; and Carol Tomé, chief financial officer and executive vice president of corporate services at The Home Depot. Durrett said the CID still is looking for other prospective members. At least one person asked to join the group has declined. Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and a former Atlanta mayor, previously said he declined because he thinks the park is beyond the scope of what the CID is tasked to do. The park concept was created by the CID and it has so far overseen the proposal, but the CID is now turning it over to the steering committee and the new organization. The full transition of power to the organization will be completed by the end of the year, Durrett said. The CID has submitted paperwork to create the new organization that would operate the park if it is created, and it is

working to have it designated as a nonprofit, Durrett said. Two consultants are overseeing the creation of the new organization — a representative of the Dentons law firm and Bruce Bowers of the law firm Baker Donelson. The consultants are being paid with outside funding, according to Durrett. Some members of the steering committee could become members of the new organization once it is created, Durrett said. Although it was previously considered, a CID staff member will not have a position on the steering committee, Durrett said. CID board Chairman David Allman, the owner of Regent Partners, said he would provide informal guidance and “stay engaged” with the committee, but would have no formal position on the committee. The CID board could agree to provide some money for the park, Durrett said. The amount has not been determined, he said. “We really want to transition this away from the CID,” Durrett said. A team of consultants that has been providing periodic phases of studies to the CID will present its last update at the board’s January meeting, Durrett said.


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14 | Community

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know that every single vote that has been cast hood resident and City is exactly reported out Council member. Botthe way that it should toms is a south Atlanta be.” resident and also a forAmidst the dispute, mer City Council memBottoms announced ber. Dec. 12 the two coDuring the campaign, chairs that will lead Bottoms said in a Reporther transition team, iner questionnaire that as cluding Larry Gellermayor, she would focus stedt, the CEO of Buckon issues including “imhead-based Cousins proved roads and transit Properties. The other access, stronger support co-chair is Vicki Palmfor students and famiSPECIAL er, who was formerly Keisha Lance Bottoms. lies, better access to jobs an executive at Cocaand opportunity, and inCola Enterprises, Inc. creased residential affordability.” In the runoff, as in the Nov. 7 election, She would also work to make the planalmost all Buckhead precincts voted for ning process for the proposed park over Norwood. Three precincts in the LindGa. 400 in Buckhead more transparent. bergh area where a majority voted for “The Ga. 400 park Bottoms in the Nov. 7 has the potential to imelection also backed prove the quality of life her in the runoff. Votin the area and to proers in other Buckhead vide critical green space precincts backed Norin an area that is ripe for wood by over 80 permore,” Bottoms said. “So cent and some by over far, the Ga. 400 project 90 percent. has not operated with Fulton turnout dethe transparency and creased from the Nov. engagement residents 7 election to the Dec. expect from a project of 5 runoff, according to this magnitude.” unofficial election reTo improve public sults. Turnout was 22.4 safety, Bottoms said, she percent in the Nov. 7 would expand the pielection and decreased SPECIAL lot programs for camera Mary Norwood. to 17.6 percent in the systems and providing runoff. However, turnpolice officer housing. out in most Buckhead precincts was alBottoms declared victory late Dec. 5, most identical in both elections. but Norwood called for a recount, a process that was not completed by the ReportAtlanta City Council er’s time of publication this week. president Fulton County Elections Director RichFelicia Moore will be the next Atlanta ard Barron said it would be difficult for City Council president after defeating her Norwood to win the race in a recount. opponent Alex Wan in the Dec. 5 runoff He said at a press conference Dec. 6 that election. he had never in his career seen electronWith 100 percent of precincts reportic votes change during a recount, only paing, Moore won 55 percent of the vote, acper absentee ballots, and absentee ballots cording to unofficial aren’t numerous enough election results. Moore to likely change the outreceived 46,512 votes to come of the election. Wan’s 38,816. Norwood lost the The president ap2009 election to current points council commitMayor Kasim Reed by tee chairs and serves 714 votes, an experience as acting mayor when she alluded to in a statenecessary. ment to supporters late Wan won almost all Dec. 5, when she called the precincts in Buckfor a recount. head, except for three “I’ve done this bein the Lindbergh area. fore,” Norwood said. Wan represents the “The next few days are Lindbergh area as the going to be all hands on District 6 city councildeck and all analysis SPECIAL member. Moore, who done, so we’re going to Felicia Moore.


DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Community | 15


serves as the District 9 to make an unsuccesscouncilmember, won ful run for the Atlanta most of the precincts in mayor’s office. He won west and southwest At54,072 votes to Waites’s lanta. 44,192. In a previous quesPitts is a former comtionnaire, Moore said missioner and Atlanta one of her prioriCity Council president ties that would directwho pledged to be an exly benefit Buckhead perienced, strong leader. would be working with In a previous interview, Buckhead neighborhe said his priorities hood associations and would be transportation NPUs to push the city investments, modernizto fill vacant police ofing the county’s crimiSPECIAL ficer positions and denal justice system and Rob Pitts. crease police zone sizbeefing up capital ines to decrease emergency response times. vestments in a new animal control facilShe also said she has not made a final ity, the library system’s decision on if she supports the proposed master plan, senior fapark over Ga. 400, citing the need for final cilities and Grady Hosdeadlines and costs. But she said she appital. proves of what details have been released In precinct-based reso far and said she’d be “be proud to help sults, Pitts won most of make the new park a reality.” his home Atlanta neighborhood and southern Fulton County chairman Sandy Springs, while Waites topped the vote Robb Pitts will be the next Fulton in Sandy Springs’ cenCounty Commission chairman after detral and panhandle arfeating Keisha Waites in the Dec. 5 runoff eas. election, according to unofficial state results. Pitts, a Buckhead resident, drew 55.03 percent of the vote in the special election to replace John Eaves, who resigned


State Senate District 6 Jen Jordan won the

state Senate District 6 seat in the Dec. 5 special runoff election in a victory over fellow Democrat Jaha Howard. Jordan, an attorney from Cobb County, won 63.9 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. She replaces Hunter Hill, a Republican who resigned to run for governor, in the Senate seat, which includes most of Buckhead, parts of central and southern Sandy Springs, and southern Cobb County. Jordan won 10,681 votes to Howard’s 6,017. In Buckhead and Sandy Springs, Jordan dominated the vote, with Howard winning only two precincts; it was the reverse situation in Cobb. In a previous interview, Jordan said she hopes to create legislation protecting children’s health insurance coverage; to boost transit funding; and that she will oppose a senior exemption for school property taxes in Fulton County. In the eight-way Nov. 7 general election, Jordan and Howard were the top vote-getters, guaranteeing the district would flip to Democratic representation for the first time in five years, to the surprise of SPECIAL some GOP leaders. Jen Jordan.

16 | Community

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Bobby Jones clubhouse plan hits $1M fundraising goal


A group proposes to transform the now vacant Bobby Jones Golf Course clubhouse into a recital hall capable of hosing chamber music concerts and private lessons. The clubhouse was built in 1941 and is located at 384 Woodward Way.

residents and organizations to donate a total of $1 million to the project, the threshold needed to be met before the group could begin negotiating with the city. “We have those verbal commitments and we are very excited,” Simmons said. The $1 million number wasn’t tied to a budget needed to operate or build the recital hall, but was used simply to show the project had financial backing and community support. The clubhouse, located at 384 Woodward Way in Atlanta Memorial Park, is now vacant because the golf course operator is building a new clubhouse

amidst larger renovations of the course. Simmons, an attorney who is leading the effort, is working with other Buckhead residents, lawyers and Perkins+Will architect Allen Post and members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, acting independently from that organization, to bring forth a plan that would demolish walls on the main level of the clubhouse to build a stage and expand seating, build a bar and create several rooms to host private music lessons. Now that backers of the recital hall have reached the fundraising threshold required in a city ordinance passed in September, Simmons is working with

lawyers to draft a memorandum of understanding for the project. An ordinance that would allow the city to lease the clubhouse to the group went before the Atlanta City Council Dec. 4, but District 8 Councilmember Yolanda Adrean, who drafted the ordinance, said she asked that it be deferred because the memorandum of understanding was not ready to be presented. Simmons said he is hopeful the document will be ready by January and the ordinance can be passed then. A new District 8 councilmember, J.P. Matzigkeit, will be sworn in January as Adrean decided not to run for re-elec-

tion. Matzigkeit said he also supports the current recital hall plan. Simmons declined to name the people who have committed to donate because there are only verbal agreements and not actual donations. “It includes neighbors and people in the arts community. Certainly everybody who has contributed is supportive of the arts community,” he said. He said that art patrons around the city have “rallied around this idea.” Vanya Foote, the executive director of the Atlanta Chamber Players, said her group supports the preliminary plans and would be interested in using the space. The ACP toured the facility in December and were shown the plans for the proposed recital hall, she said. “Though the designs are still preliminary, we are excited at the prospect, and yes, we would definitely be interested in using it if it moves forward as it’s being planned,” Foote said in an email. It can be challenging at times for her group to find venues to perform in Atlanta, and they would appreciate another option, she said. The ACP often holds concerts in various churches around metro Atlanta and at the Shakespeare Tavern in Downtown Atlanta, according to their website. “For an ensemble like ours that performs throughout metro Atlanta, finding venues can be a challenge. It will be nice to have another option, and one that could potentially be very well-suited to chamber music,” she said. Underlying the plan is a concern that the historic clubhouse could be demolished as it loses its current golf uses. The formerly city-owned golf course was transferred to the state in a 2016 land swap and is undergoing its own renovation. A new clubhouse is being built as

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Above, A drawing shows how the Bobby Jones clubhouse could look if the plan to transform it into a recital hall moves forward. Below, This back wall of the former Bobby Jones clubhouse would be demolished and a stage would be built in the back room to host the performances. under a proposal to turn the 1941 building into a recital hall.

Community | 17

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part of the renovation, so the state had no use for the existing clubhouse, and it is now leased to the city. The golf operator moved out of the clubhouse in early November, so it is now vacant. That led some to fear that the clubhouse would be demolished. Simmons saw an opportunity to ensure the building had a tenant and create a new recital hall in Atlanta, which he believes is needed. “The question came up about what would happen to the building when the golf operator moves out. It was one of those things that just clicked,” he said. No other uses for the clubhouse have been proposed, and the city said it did not issue a request for proposals to solicit bids for other uses. “If [the Department of Public Works] had planned improvements for any park asset, we would use one of our procurement methods -- existing citywide conBH

tracts or bid,” said Anne Torres, a city of Atlanta spokesperson. “In this case, a community group has engaged DPR with a proposal to raise philanthropic funds to help renovate. We are considering a MOU that memorializes roles and responsibilities similar to our MOU with Piedmont Park Conservancy to raise funds and provide for capital improvements,” Torres said. Simmons said no studies on how much it would cost to renovate the building or operate the recital hall have been done. Proponents of the project also don’t have detailed drawings or plans yet, only a rendering that was presented at an October public meeting. New plans will be drawn up after the memorandum of understanding is in place, but he doesn’t have a specific timeline yet, he said.

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18 | Commentary

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Commentary / Cityhood is leading to regional collaboration Across metro Atlanta, citters Initiative grant from ARC ies are making notable proglast year to collaboratively enress. vision the future of the Buford Sandy Springs is transHighway corridor that runs forming a dated shopping through their cities. center into a vital civic and The six cities in north Fulcultural center. Chamblee ton are now finalizing their is reinventing its historsecond North Fulton Compreic downtown as a vibrant, hensive Transportation Plan. walkable place. Dunwoody With planning assistance from is improving pedestrian and Sam Shenbaga ARC, the cities are developing a bicycle access to shopping Manager of the Atlan- strategy that will help improve and MARTA. ta Regional Commis- mobility options for residents sion’s Community De- of each jurisdiction, realizing These ambitious efforts velopment Group. that what’s good for one city is are to be applauded, as they promise to improve quality of ultimately good for all of them. life for so many people. Those same north Fulton cities also But cities are also realizing that there’s share ambulance and dispatch serviconly so much they can do alone. Many es, allowing them to save money while key issues, from traffic congestion to ecomaintaining efficient response times. nomic revitalization, cross political lines And recently, city leaders from across and require a collaborative approach. the top end of I-285 met to discuss possiIndeed, a growing number of cities ble transit options in that congested corare joining forces to tackle problems and ridor and other ways of improving momake significant improvements. bility across their city boundaries. It’s A notable example is the Peachtree likely they will meet again to dig even Gateway Partnership, which includes deeper into this critical issue. the cities of Brookhaven, Chamblee, Collaborative efforts are also taking Doraville and Dunwoody. place elsewhere in the Atlanta region. The group, which formed a few years Consider the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alago with help from the Atlanta Regionliance, which launched a few years ago al Commission, is working to build a cowhen local governments, businesses and ordinated trail network and coordinate civic leaders near Hartsfield-Jackson Aton a range of issues, from transportalanta International Airport came togethtion planning to branding and marketer with the goal of making the area a beting. There’s enormous potential, and the ter place for businesses and residents. group is just getting started. The alliance worked with ARC to deMeanwhile, the cities of Doraville and velop a long-range vision for the area Chamblee were awarded a Livable Cencalled the Aerotropolis Atlanta Blue-

print. The group is now working on a range of projects, such as connecting employers to qualified workers and creating a trail network that may eventually link to the Atlanta BeltLine. Other notable programs include Learn4Life, a nonprofit collaborative focused on improving educational outcomes in metro Atlanta, and ARCHI, a collaborative that is working to make the region’s residents and communities healthier. Meanwhile, the region’s transportation agencies — ARC, Georgia DOT, MARTA, and GRTA/SRTA — are working closely with each other and local governments to provide us all with increased mobility options. To reflect the momentum around collective action, ARC chose “The Power of Collaboration” as the theme of this year’s State of the Region Breakfast, held last month. Our executive director, Doug Hooker, told the 1,400 people in attendance that the most pressing issues facing our region are simply too big, and too complex, for any one organization or political jurisdiction to address alone. After all, challenges like traffic, health, and education don’t stop at a city or county boundary. At ARC, we firmly believe that a community that works together is the best way to ensure a stronger, more resilient future for all of us. We encourage individuals and groups to come together around regional issues and start working toward solutions. Sometimes, all it takes is a conversation to move an entire region forward.

Guest Column / A high-profile media clash inspires a student journalist In my semester as one of two managing editors of the Tufts Daily, there’s one constant: everything is always an emergency. Often, I say that sarcastically, but Nov. 21 gave those words new meaning as our small paper stared down a potential lawsuit from former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The battle reinforced the importance of journalism to me, both as a student and in a larger world.

correcting problems our copy editors uncover and doing a final check of our paper before it’s sent to our printer. I get out of the office at 12:28 — a full 32 minutes ahead of our deadline. The day isn’t over, though; I still need to finish an essay my professor had been kind enough to extend past its original Friday deadline. I Eddie Samuels plummet into bed around 4 Brookhaven resident, one of two managing ed- a.m.

itors at the Tufts Daily newspaper at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He is a 2014 graduate of The Weber School in Sandy Springs.

Monday, Nov. 20: I get into the Daily’s office — three small rooms in a basement in a long-forgotten Tufts building — around 6 p.m. Five nights a week, I and dozens of other students work until the early morning to put together a paper to be distributed to the school community the next day. In my role as managing editor, most of my night is spent fact-checking,

Tuesday, Nov. 21: I wake up at 10 a.m. and check my phone. Nothing of particular note. We received a new op-ed from a contributor who had previously written a pair of pieces supporting a petition calling for Scaramucci’s removal from the board of advisors at the university’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. At noon, I make my typical run to pick

up a copy of our paper. I go to grab a bite to eat, mindlessly refreshing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and emails. 12:08: I feel my phone vibrate on the table and reach to check it out. A new email: I’m sure it’s just another random emailing, informing us of some story that’s not a story. The subject line: “Demand to Immediately Retract Defamatory Public Statements and to Cease and Desist from Ongoing Defamation.” This was definitely not a typical email. Our opinion pieces had bothered a certain high-powered alum who spent 10 days in that White House job, before a profanity-ridden rant got him the boot. A brief series of texts back and forth to my fellow managing board members, and I was off to my 1:30 class. My phone never stops vibrating in my pocket and I step out to “go to the bathroom” and see 200plus missed messages. At 2:45, I get out of class, and at this point we’re in a weird holding position. Tufts is the smallest school with a daily BH

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

paper, and we are completely self-funded by selling ads. We can’t afford to fight a millionaire in a legal battle, but we’re not backing down. I leave Boston that night, headed to spend my Thanksgiving in St. Louis with family and, for the most part, we have our plan ironed out. We wanted to talk to an attorney from the Student Press Law Center to confirm that our understanding of the situation is right. At dinner one night, I pass my phone around the table as my family laughs at Scaramucci’s letter. By Saturday, Nov. 25, our strategy is set. We’re going to run the letter on our front page, and publish it online at 1 a.m. On Sunday, we’re all back for production, and we’re ready to run the cease-and-desist the following day. Halfway through the night, however, we get an email from the Boston Globe asking for comment. There’s nothing worse than being scooped on a story about your own paper. We end up releasing the cease-and-desist a few hours earlier than we’d intended to, but we got the story up. We expected some attention from media, but this story blew up in a way that we couldn’t have even predicted, with coverage in the New York Times and

Washington Post. The majority of the media frenzy told the story about how we expected. The small, sympathetic, student newspaper won the day. Scaramucci resigned from the board following the incident, describing it as “time to move on,” after a 35-year relationship with Tufts. In publishing an oped about the situation, our goal was never to force a resignation, and in fact, we were looking to talk to Scaramucci about the petition. It’s an interesting time to be a student looking for a career in journalism. Cries of “fake news,” whether from a Twitter troll or a politician, are common. This incident, more than ever, proved that there’s a group of people in this country who believe that money and influence give them the right to bully and deprive others of legitimate viewpoints. The incident was terrifying, but it was also thrilling. An attempt to stifle free speech ended up the largest story of the year and the most exciting night in the Daily office I’ve ever seen. These last few months have been frustrating, but rewarding, and this incident confirmed more than ever that journalism is what I want to do.

Letter to the Editor

GOP tax cuts are pure evil Karen Handel’s column that recently appeared in the Reporter amounted to an attempt to put lipstick on a pig when it comes to the Republican tax cut. [“GOP tax reform would help local families,” Nov. 24] In her column, Handel did what Donald Trump does best, which is lie lied through his teeth. The GOP tax plans amount to a massive giveaway to the wealthy and wealthy corporations. For every dollar of tax relief that benefits the middle class, fully $9 of tax cuts goes to the wealthy and wealthy corporations. This tax ripoff conclusively proves that Republican politicians are slaves of the rich. Favoring the rich is in the GOP DNA. This GOP tax plan will transfer billions of dollars of wealth from the bottom to the top, massively grow income inequality, and blow a trillion-and-a- half-dollar hole in the deficit. The Trump family will receive a billion-dollar windfall from this outrageous tax plan. The GOP politicians are massively cutting taxes on the rich in the expectation that the rich will show their appreciation over the GOP greed grab by showering massive campaign contributions on those GOP politicians who vote for this outrage. The GOP congressmen will attempt to pay for the deficit they caused with savage BH

Commentary | 19


cuts to the social safety net including cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Obamacare. How many seniors will lose their nursing room care? How many Americans will go hungry after they lose their food stamps? It is simply outrageous that the GOP would do away with the Estate Tax, which is only paid by the super-rich, and the Alternative Minimum Tax, which ensures that the wealthy pay something. The Trump tax cut would actually raise taxes of the least of these while savaging the social safety net the least of these depend on in order to pay for obscene tax cuts for the wealthy. The moral issue of our time is growing income inequality, which would be made worse by this evil GOP giveaway to the rich. It is time for a vicious and remorseless redistribution of wealth from the 1 percenters, who own so much of America’s wealth, to the middle-class, working-class and poor, who are cash-strapped. The GOP tax plan is pure evil ... especially given the suffering that will result from this class warfare. Forget the GOP class warfare. It is time for righteous class warfare that would benefit the many and not the few. W. Keith Watkins Brookhaven

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20 | Commentary

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Taking the greeting card challenge If it’s Dec. 23 and I’m not sitting at my used to be my deadline. Then I startkitchen table behind a pile of unposted ed giving myself a grace period, and I greeting cards, then it’s just not Christstretched the deadline to New Year’s mas at my house. Day. When I still couldn’t meet that Suffice it to say that I have not mailed deadline, I got very liturgical, put three my cards yet. What’s more, I have not wise men on my cards, and marked the chosen the card theme, format, font or Epiphany (which arrives mercifully latgreeting, nor have I written my Annuer into January, on the 6th). al Blurb. (I’ve been writing I used the Epiphany deadthis column, instead.) line for a while, until one What I have done is year I tried following the Robin Conte is a writer lead of a friend who sends manage to corral all six of and mother of four who Valentine’s cards. But withmy family members togethlives in Dunwoody. She out the momentum of the er in the same spot long can be contacted at December madness pushing enough to take a group selfrobinjm@earthlink.net. ie, which will serve as the me along, I found myself pephoto for my card this year. tering out, like a balloon that This happened last June, beslowly wilts into a deflated cause the kids all materialand droopy state, waiting ized for a Father’s Day dinfor someone to poke the finer, and I couldn’t let that nal hole and squeeze the rest opportunity pass. of the life out of it. Yes, that The kids knew it was inwas my February-deadline evitable, as their main deself, and I still have a stack terrent to coming home is of Valentine’s-themed cards the threat of a family photo. from 1996 that never made it One year, I found myself to the mailbox. in mid-December still lackOne year I sent Easter ing a group photo, and I greetings, and one year I altook aim at the family treemost sent Fourth of July trimming in a last-ditch effort to capgreetings, but then I figured that Decemture the magic. I badgered the offspring ber was going to roll around again soon for poses and “candid shots” until one enough, so I just waited. son couldn’t stand it anymore. He took a But I never let more than two years picture of our namesake ornaments that pass, because I value the sentiment and were hanging on the tree and told me to the correspondence. More than wishuse that. I did. It worked great. ing people peace and joy and health So for me, The Photo is Challenge A and blessings and all the nice things of the card. that one can wish for at the conclusion Challenge B is Formatting the Photo of a year and the commencement of anonto 1,437 different options on Shutterother, the annual greeting card serves fly or Tiny Prints or Costco until I find to keep our personal connections alive. just the right fit, or deciding to scrap all (I know, I know, there’s always Facethat and format it onto a blank piece of book. But that’s another column.) paper. Truthfully, I only did the latter So if you’re on my list, I can pretty once, and five years later I’m still findmuch assure you that you will not reing drafts of it being used as scratch paceive a card from me by Dec. 25. But you per around the house. know what I look like, and you know Challenge C is The Blurb. that I wish you Merry Christmas and Here, I must provide you with some Happy Holidays. backstory. While I was smack dab And now I’ve told you something, as in the middle of my impressionable well. youth, I overheard my Girl Scout leader make a remark to a friend about holiday greeting cards. She said, “I know what you look like and I know you wish me a merry Christmas, so if you’re going to send me a card, tell me something.” And I’ve been telling people something with my greeting cards ever since. Challenge D is the SPECIAL Deadline. The greeting card snapshot of snowmen ornaments that Robin’s son took to get out of the dreaded family group photo. Christmas Eve

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Rabbi’s book recalls her silent retreat at a Christian monastery BY JOHN RUCH

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Ordered by a doctor to rest her voice, a Sandy Springs rabbi retreated into the silent world of a Christian monastery, a religious experience she recounts in a new book called “The Voice of Silence.” Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz of Congregation Or Hadash said her experience three years ago not only regained her voice, but was “revelation” of the power of meditation in an era of noise and distraction. “We live in a very cacophonSPECIAL ic world now, invaded every sinRabbi Dr. Analia Bortz. gle moment of our day,” Bortz said. “Our creative mind is going into filling spaces and time instead of [following] what the Greeks said, which was to admire the world.” Diagnosed with vocal cord strain and polyps, Bortz was advised to go many days without speaking. “It’s like a bird that their wings are cut,” Bortz said of being a rabbi, a professional communicator and counselor, receiving that order of silence. And in the monastery, she said, she found “a rescuer that restores the wings.” The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Ga., is a regionally famous complex run by Trappist monks who live under a vow of silence and operate popular silent retreats where anyone can share in the contemplation. Bortz learned of it only by searching for retreats on the internet. A Christian monastery might not seem like a natural fit for a Jewish rabbi, and Bortz writes in her book that she was a bit anxious about some “conversion” references in its literature, but she is involved in interfaith programs and found the retreat appealing. “So I was curious. I was excited. I was not afraid,” she said. “I took it as an opportunity, a great opportunity, to learn.” On retreats, guests are given a room and basic supplies, then keep silent as they are free to wander the grounds or join the monks in five daily prayers. Bortz says she avoided the Christian rite of communion, but joined those prayers and some classes that were “very much about humanity and universal values and living an ethical life.” She also enjoyed one sound: the monks’ chanting from the Psalms, a section of the Bible sacred in both religions. “They never even knew I was Jewish,” said Bortz, as the many retreat participants naturally do not speak to each other about their identities or motivations. “I was surprised and very curious about, ‘Where are all these people coming from?’” she said, but instead focused on seeing “the divine spark in every human being, regardless of any religion.” “I found a lot of sound in silence,” said Bortz. “There is so much music that can go through your mind as you remain silent.” She does not mean literal music, but a realization of “the presence of God through nature” and in other people. Bortz has since returned to the monastery for a second retreat after experiencing the personal crisis of her mother falling ill, and says she would like to return again with a group of women for a special retreat. In her book, published in August by WestBow Press and available on Amazon.com, Bortz combines journal-like memories of her experience with advice on how others can experience and benefit from silence and meditation. “Silence may disguise loneliness or solitude,” she writes in her book, “or it can open the endless possibilities of an encounter with God, self, a fellow human, the world. Silence is an invitation to contemplate.”

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22 | Out & About

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Center admission info: 404-814-4000 or atlantahistorycenter.com.



Stroll through the gardens and grounds of the Atlanta History Center, decorated and illuminated by candlelight, where you can shop at a holiday Christmas Market filled with local crafts and experience holiday traditions in three historic houses. Santa visit, puppet show, improv comedy holiday show, storytelling, singalongs and musical performances. $20 adults; $15 members; $10 children. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: 404-814-4000 or atlantahistorycenter.com.


Perimeter North Family Medicine

Through Dec. 23, Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

The Spruill Gallery continues its 24th annual Holiday Artists Market of locally crafted gifts and decor. 4681 AshfordDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770394-4019 or spruillarts.org/gallery.

Welcoming new patients! Perimeter North Family Medicine is proud to serve the families throughout the Atlanta area. Dr. Mithun Daniel provides comprehensive, patient-centered care to patients of all ages, and offers a full range of medical services, including chronic disease management, preventative care, acute illness care, mental health services and specialized care for men and women’s health. We accept most insurance plans and offer a convenient location for the families of the Greater Atlanta area.

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Saturday, Jan. 6, through December 2018, Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays, noon to 5:30 p.m.

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This major exhibition at the Atlanta History Center explores the ways that Latinos are shaping the South and the South is shaping Latinos. Developed by Charlotte’s Levine Museum of the New South in collaboration with the Atlanta History Center and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, “NUEVOlution!” shares personal stories behind the statistics. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. History

The Buckhead Library hosts a “Women Empowerment Conversation” with New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison, who strives to eradicate double standards. Morrison’s son, Jesse Byrd, will also appear at the library in a discussion with teens about his young adult/ teen novels “King Penguin” and “Werewolf in New Orleans.” Free. 269 Buckhead Ave., Buckhead. Info: 404-814-3500.


Wednesday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friends of the Brookhaven Library will hold a “Mini Book Sale.” To get there, park behind the library and enter at the lower level. 1242 North Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: 404-848-7140.

FAMILY FUN DAY AT THE MJCCA Monday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

An activity-packed day at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta features family-friendly movies, inflatables and ride-on toys, arts and crafts, table tennis, basketball, indoor swimming, and a community service opportunity. Food available for purchase until 2 p.m. Free and open to the community. MJCCA Zaban Park campus, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or call Ashley Cohen at 678-812-3861.


The New Horizons Concert Band of Atlanta invites senior musicians, ages 55 and up, to join the band, whether your skills are polished or rusty. New Horizons performs at churches and community events in north Atlanta, often for senior citizens in independent living facilities. Hear the band rehearse Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 550 Mt. Paran Road, Sandy Springs. Registration info: AtlantaNewHorizonsBand.org or call 770-978-1287.

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Out & About | 23




Dec. 18-22, Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-6.

Dec. 21-22, Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 2-3.

Half-day and fullday options are available at this camp for ages 2 to 13. Kids play outside and discover secrets of nature. 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Registration info: bhnp.org.

Kids will study the winter climate’s effect on the animals, plants and habitats of Dunwoody Park. Half-day sessions for 3- and 4-year-olds. Full-day sessions for kindergarten through fifth-grades, with early drop-off and late pickup available. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Registration info: dunwoodynature.org.




Jan. 2-5 (for Fulton County).

Camp Kingfisher offers hikes, animal encounters, outdoor games and more summer fun in the winter. Full-day, with free extended-day options. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Registration info: campkingfisher@chattnaturecenter.org or 770-9922055, ext. 222.

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kids ages 5 to 10 can explore art through drawing, painting, collage or clay projects as they create keepsakes. Extended-day available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Registration info: SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT spruillarts.org.

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Healthy Holidays!! 5 TIPS FOR OLDER ADULTS TO STAY ACTIVE AND ENGAGED DURING THE HOLIDAYS • Physical activity: Taking a walk after a hearty holiday meal is a good idea for those of any age, but it is particularly beneficial to seniors. • Healthy diet: Lean meats, such as turkey breast, serve as a healthy alternative to red meat. Other “super foods” for older adults that are beneficial in holiday meals are blueberries, flax seed, carrots, eggs, nuts and salmon. • Sharp minds: Designing holiday festivities around skill-based games such as Scrabble, checkers, backgammon or Wii, not only makes the event fun for party-goers, but it can also help seniors enhance cognitive function. • Social ties: While group activities in family homes or senior centers can be the focus of holiday celebrations, aging adults can also benefit from receiving daily calls or emails to help them feel connected to those they care about.





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More than a year after a massive leadership transition lowered its public profile, the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts is emerging to launch a new master planning process that may be called “Perimeter: The Next Generation.” New Executive Director Ann Hanlon is essentially rebuilding the self-taxing business districts’ organization after longtime leader Yvonne Williams’ surprise resignation for personal reasons in September 2016 left it in turmoil. Hanlon has overseen a nearly clean sweep of the staff — former key members resigned or were laid off — and says the PCIDs need a sharper focus on transportation projects, better intergovernmental relations, and that coordinated master plan, which will be conducted with general public input. “I’m personally committed to make sure the entire community is on board with what we’re doing,” Hanlon said in a recent interview at the PCIDs office in Sandy Springs’ Northpark complex. “I live in Dunwoody and my neighbors are going to fuss at me if I don’t.” The PCIDs are two separate but jointly operated districts in Perimeter Center, one on the DeKalb County side and one on the Fulton County side, whose members voluntarily pay extra taxes to fund local improvements. The PCIDs funds some infrastructure projects — including a $10 million contribution to the state’s I-285/Ga. 400 interchange recon-

struction — and also such programs as Perimeter Connects, which advises employees about alternative commuting options. Most of those existing programs and planning efforts will continue, Hanlon said, though “we’re going to try to do a better job of explaining what we do.” With revenue of around $7.7 million a year, she added, the PCIDs need a master plan to organize and expand those efforts. “We’re going to begin a master plan process, hopefully in the first quarter of next year,” said Hanlon, who had a similar plan in her previous job running the Alpharetta-based North Fulton Community Improvement District. “Generally, [with] $7.7 million a year, we need to have an academic, thoughtful plan for how to spend it.” That may include such small, unglamorous projects as filling in gaps in local sidewalks. But it can include “very large things,” Hanlon said, and a “very compelling” one she has in mind is improving the looks and accessibility of Perimeter Center’s three MARTA stations. Earlier on the day of the interview, she had walked the property beneath the Dunwoody MARTA Station tracks where PCIDs has a long-stalled concept of creating a new park. “I’m coming from [North] Fulton, where we were trying to get transit for years,” Hanlon said, adding that in Perimeter Center “we’ve got [those] crown jewels of the commercial real estate market in our district.” PCIDs also need to adapt to a “new

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

day” in transportation planning, Hanlon said, with local cities launching new projects and new technology, such as self-driving vehicles, coming along. She said the PCIDs have not been involved in recent cross-city talks about I-285 transit and that it is unclear what role the organization might play, she said, but “we’d champion it.” Perimeter Center directly includes two counties and three cities — Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs — and its projects often coordinate with governments farther afield. Hanlon has hired a dedicated government relations director, Linda Thompson, who previously served as a liaison to Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker and Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann. Thompson says she’s well aware that Perimeter Center is the “center for gravity” for the economy of several jurisdictions. One relationship to immediately improve is with Sandy Springs, which is suing the PCIDs over the previous staffs’ paperwork errors on a streetscape project which forced a payback of $2.8 million in federal funds. “That was my first phone call … It’s important that we get that figured out,” said Hanlon, adding that the PCIDs is reviewing the files on all of its federally funded projects. As a local resident, Hanlon is also aware that local cities are more than Perimeter Center. She calls Dunwoody “the tale of two cities,” with her singlefamily residential area distinct from Perimeter Center’s mall and office towers. Within Perimeter Center, another goal is to expand the PCIDs’ membership. The North Fulton CID expanded by 40 percent under Hanlon’s leadership, she said, adding that organizations “should always be in growth mode.” One thing that won’t change is the focus on transportation. “Our strength here is … in building transformational infrastructure projects,” Hanlon said. “That is the lane I see us staying in … It’s what we do.”

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Editor’s note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recomeryday praying they get something to eat.” mend a “Standout Student” for our series, Jones was inspired to volunteer by his please email editor@ReporterNewspapers. sister’s service accomplishments. net with information about the student and “She really paved the way in introducwhy you think he or she should be featured. ing service to me. There was never realJordan Jones recently won the Gold ly a big epiphany. Service was just somePresident’s Volunteer Service Award, thing that I always made sure to do, not which is awarded for achieving over 250 because I had to, but because I wanted to,” hours of community service — almost said Jones. “Usually, if a service opportuni10-and-a-half days — in one year. ty came about, I’d just decide to do it and The honor is awarded by the federal government for volunteering at qualified organizations. The gold award requires the most volunteer hours. Jones primarily volunteers at Crossroads Community Ministries (CCM), a nonprofit organization located in downtown Atlanta that provides homeless people free meals and other services. Jones said he brings his set of SPECIAL skills and knowledge to Jones and Clyde Corbin, the kitchen director at CCM through many difCrossroads Community Ministries, pose with toiletries collected in a drive Jones organized. ferent activities. “I have done all sorts go with the flow, so to speak. It’s weird, I of things. I have run toiletry and book bag know, but I haven’t really thought that drives, sold fidget spinners to raise money, much of what I’ve done. It was always just made sandwiches for them to serve to the common sense to me.” homeless, and served breakfast early in Jones said his one regret is not getting the morning in their kitchen,” Jones said. more of his fellow students and friends While serving breakfast has been a to volunteer at CCM, but he is working to great experience for Jones, he saw othmake Lovett a certified organization for er community needs where he felt he the President’s Volunteer Service award could help. so hours students spend volunteering for “It is definitely the most fun, but I reLovett organizations can count towards realized I could help out more by doing the ceiving the award. other things I did,” he said. “Looking back, I wish I had gotten Jones made $373 to donate to CCM by more people involved with me,” Jones selling fidget spinners, handheld spinsaid. “However, this year, I am working ning gadgets that have surged in popuwith my service coordinator at school to larity in the past year, to his classmates. make Lovett a certified organization for “It also felt good that it was a money the President’s Volunteer Service Award. donation. I am positive that my friends The intent is to give students the extra moat CCM know where that money needs tivation to not just rack up the hours, but to go most,” he said. rack up the experience of working with In addition to his fidget spinner enterthe different people of our community.” prise, Jones has also organized a toiletry drive for CCM. What’s Next? “I reached out to various private comJones plans to attend college in Georpanies, like my dentist and mother’s health gia. He laments he won’t be able to volunclub, who sent loads of toothbrushes, teer as frequently as he has while in high toothpaste, floss and various other staple school, but hopes others will continue to items that most people don’t think about. volunteer as he has. I couldn’t imagine living without tooth“There is always time to do something paste or soap,” Jones said. “I organized the for someone else,” he said. toiletries myself into plastic bags and then This article was reported and written by gave them to CCM. CCM then distributed Charlie Benedict, a junior at The Westminthe kits to the homeless men, women, and ster Schools. children who walk through their doors ev-

DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Classifieds | 29


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30 | Community

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Christian TV airs from Tyler Perry’s former mansion


Above, There are plans to film worship sessions around the outdoor pool. Opposite page, A makeshift film set is set up in the ballroom, but there are plans to modify the ballroom to build three fully-functioning, permanent sets.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A Buckhead businessman-turned-televangelist is turning the former Tyler Perry mansion into a production facility to launch a web-based Christian TV network. David Turner bought the estate, located at 4100 Paces Ferry Road, for $17.5



million in 2016. He lives there with his family, but is also using the property as a filming location for his new streaming network, Jesus Live TV. According to the show’s senior producer, Keith Hines, Turner felt that God was telling him to move to Buckhead. When Turner visited the mansion, he heard God’s voice tell him to buy the

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property. decided they should look at the Tyler Per“As soon as he was up on the property, ry mansion because it was “so beautiful,” he heard the Lord’s voice say, ‘I have this Hines said. place for you. This is what I intended for Despite Turner’s initial fear of the you,’” Hines said. steep bills that come with the mansion, Eight shows are currently being he trusted that buying it was God’s plan filmed on the estate, either in one of the for him and made an offer, Hines said. living rooms or in the ballroom, Hines The property’s aesthetics are influsaid during a recent tour of the properenced by the Gothic architectural style, ty. Turner was traveling and not available especially in the for an interview. decorative arches Plans are in on the ceiling and the works to modcolumns found ify the ballroom throughout the to build three house. A large infully-functionfinity pool is suring, permanent rounded by three soundstages and a hot tubs and overcontrol room. looks the ChatMakeshift tahoochee Rivsoundstages now er. During the operate on either recent tour, variside of the ballous small Christroom and cammas decoraeras are set up in tions were placed one of the living around the house, spaces. There are including gingeralso plans to film bread houses, a worship sessions small Santa and around the outminiature Christdoor pool. mas trees. Turner, who Turner sold made his wealth his businesses through snack SPECIAL and now operates David Turner, a businessman turned food businesses the ministry fulltelevangelist, has launched web-based headquartered in time. Access to all Christian television network out of Tyler Phoenix, Az., once the videos is free, Perry’s former estate in Buckhead. dreamed of ownand Hines said ing an oceanfront property. But TurnTurner plans never to make money off er’s spiritual advisor, Harry Gomes, who the ministry. has his own ministry in India, told Turn“God blessed [Turner] in business so er that God had a list of five places Turnthat he could maintain his ministry,” er should live. Buckhead was the number Hines said. one place, Hines said. Turner chose to build a streaming net“They had never heard of Buckhead, work instead of a broadcast network so Georgia. They were just like, ‘Why would he could fully fund it himself, Hines said. God move us to Buckhead?” Hines said. Broadcasting a show would cost anySo the Turners visited Buckhead and where between $1,000 and $10,000, and


DEC. 15, 2017 - JAN. 4, 2018

Community | 31


Above, one of two temporary film sets built in the ballroom. Right, a side entrances to the home has two balconies. Below, a living room used as a set while permanent sets are built.

Turner didn’t want to have to ask for donations to run the network, Hines said. “It seems like the younger generation is truly turned off by asking for donations,” Hines said. Hines and Turner conceived the idea for the network during a dedication ceremony for the house held in the ballroom, which about 150 pastors from around the country attended, Hines said. The eight shows being filmed on the estate talk about topics including marriage, prayer, healing and the Bible. Most are hosted by Turner and his wife Jennifer and streamed on a mobile application, he said. Turner’s 14-year-old son Christopher hosts his own program called “The Truth,” on which he interviews people from around metro Atlanta about times they have told lies.

Church services from around the U.S., including ones from Buckhead’s Mount Paran Church, are streamed live on the platform, Hines said. Seventeen contributors from around the world, including ones in Israel and Nigeria, send in videos as well, Hines said. The staff running the network works out of Perry’s former “hobby house.” When the Turners moved in, they had to have Perry’s extensive model train tracks removed from the middle level of the house. Perry also built model airplanes on the top floor of the hobby house and landed them on a small runway outside, where Turner’s son now practices his baseball pitches. For more information on Turner’s network, visit jesuslivetv.com.

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human error or supplier price increases. Products while supplies last. We reserve the right to limit quantities. It is illegal to sell alcohol below cost in the State of Georgia. In the event of a price error or price match, customer satisfactions cannot go below our purchase cost. Some items in limited quantities at the listed prices. Total Wine & More is a registered trademark of Retail Services & Systems, Inc. © 2017 Retail Services & Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Please drink responsibly. Use a designated driver. * Spirits available in our Kennesaw and Alpharetta locations only.




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