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Dunwoody Reporter

DEC. 25, 2015 — JAN. 7, 2016 • VOL. 6 — NO. 26


It’s a small world


Three spirits haunt holiday ROBIN’S NEST 10

A reboot Austin remains on Roberts Dr. COMMUNITY 15


While there was plenty of hustle and bustle in our daily lives over the past 12 months, area youngsters had no trouble taking the time to enjoy what our local communities have to offer. We’ve taken a look through the Reporter Newspapers archives and selected a few of our favorite cover photos from 2015, shown below, with more on pages 6-7.


Top left, Morgan O’Keefe, 11, left, and Kerston Moss, 8, feed ducks during a warm, spring day at Murphey Candler Park in Brookhaven on April 11. Bottom left, Alec Williams, 6, left, with his brother Cullen, 4, and their dog Cooper, cool off in Nancy Creek at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead on July 18. Center, Olivia Whitake, 10, takes delight in getting a close look at a “Julia Longwing” while attending the annual Butterfly Festival at the Dunwoody Nature Center on Aug. 15. Right, from left, Mel Mobley, Vann McNeill, center, and his children Seema, 1, and Ravi, 2, right, pour their neighborhood’s soil into a planter at the request of Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, at a ceremony to unveil “City Springs” on Sept. 20. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Tilly Mill Road to get bike lanes, sidewalks, paving BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

A road that has been a flashpoint between bicyclists and motorists for months is getting a new look from city officials. City Council on Dec. 14 directed city staff to come up with new designs for Tilly Mill Road, which has been a source of contention between bicycle activists and homeowners for months. City Council members say they favor accommodating cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, but they want to weigh carefully the desires of homeowners along Tilly Mill Road with those who would bike it. The Tilly Mill project expanded over the year as council members considered how to make room for bicyclists, cars, left-turn lanes and sidewalks without encroaching on homeowners’ yards. City Capital Projects Manager Mindy Sanders in June said the city needed a new contract with the project’s design consultant because the work exceeded

the $50,000 threshold and on Dec. 14 Sanders again sought and was approved to pay an additional $25,000 for work done outside the scope of the contract. One of the main considerations for cyclists that staff came up with involved painting bike “sharrows” on the pavement indicating lanes cars and bikes share. But because bicycles are permitted in traffic by law, the sharrows are little more than “window dressing,” City Councilman Doug Thompson said. Thompson argued drivers don’t slow down when they see “deer crossing” road signs so they aren’t likely to pay added attention to cyclists solely on the basis of new pavement markings. One of the bike lane supporters, Charlie Bolocan, is a 13-year-old student who said he rides his bike to school every day. While he has ridden his bike on Tilly Mill Road, Bolocan said the cars go by quickly and he doesn’t have much room to maneuver.

“I have friends who refuse to bike down that road for that reason,” Bolocan said. “I thought the wider bike lanes — without the sharrows — would really be safer, which I think is your number one priority—to have people be safe on the road.” Bob Dallas, Dunwoody Planning Commission Chair, said cars ignoring speed limits between Cherring and Womack roads makes narrowing the lane advisable. “Wider lanes equal faster speeds” he said. “If you want to slow the speed down, narrow [the lanes]. Every study I’ve read suggests that.” Dallas asked council to narrow the lanes, keep the center turn lane and help keep cyclists safe by giving them a dedicated bike lane where possible. City Council asked staff to design sidewalks for one side of Tilly Mill Road, keeping a center turn lane and taking a hard look at putting in bike lanes along the entire segment, instead of only halfway. This would avoid painting bike “sharrows,” which are pavement markings, on the one half of the road. SEE TILLY MILL, PAGE 15


Dunwoody elects new mayor, police wear body cameras in 2015 BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

2015 brought some big changes to Dunwoody. Mayor Mike Davis lost his bid for reelection to former Councilman Denny Shortal, and a new city manager came aboard. Police officers started wearing body cameras—but the department also requested more bodies, as Chief Billy Grogan warned of understaffing and rising crime. A longstanding lawsuit over parks funds was finally settled and Light Up Dunwoody expanded to handle a controversy over a menorah display. Here are some of Dunwoody’s top stories from 2015.

Voters pick Shortal as city’s third mayor Mayor Mike Davis lost his bid for re-election and Dunwoody will welcome its third mayor Jan. 4. Former City Councilman Denny Shortal took 63 percent of the 5,487 votes cast in the Nov. 3 election. Davis received 34 percent of the vote. Two other candidates, Chris Grivakis and Steve Chipka, claimed about 2 percent and 1 percent respectively. Incumbent Councilman Terry Nall handily won re-election to the District 1 At-Large post by claiming 70 percent of the vote, according to county election officials. Council members Lynn Deutsch and John Henneghan were re-elected without opposition. Pam Tallmadge also was unopposed in her run for the seat on City Council that Shortal had held. Davis said he was disappointed by the SPECIAL news because he thought the council was a “well-oiled machine.” Davis said he felt most Newly-elected mayor Denny proud of the work he did leading a cohesive Shortal and his wife Meredy, City Council. on election night.



DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

“I think representative government in general has a tendency of breaking down into factions,” Davis said. “I successfully kept our City Council from ever going in that direction. Everybody truly stayed with the idea of making decisions based on what is best for the community.” Shortal said he plans to bring Dunwoody’s community back into the planning process. “Let’s bring back the positive attitude and mutual respect between citizens and leadership,” Shortal said.

New manager, assistant manager aboard City Manager Eric Linton took office Jan. 5, relieving Police Chief Billy Grogan from his duties as acting city manager. Linton left Douglas County after 14 years to join Dunwoody staff, following former City Manager Warren Hutmacher, who left the job in April 2014 for the city manager’s post at Johns Creek. Dunwoody’s mayor and City Council members said Linton’s extensive background in planning and zoning made him a top candidate for the job. Linton called his nomination a homecoming. “I grew up just outside the Dunwoody city border and attended Chamblee High School, so I am very familiar with the area’s character, history and tradition,” Linton said. Dunwoody announced on May 29 its decision to hire its first assistant city manager, Jessica Guinn. “We were very impressed with her first-hand experience with various Livable Centers Initiatives, knowledge of land use and master planning services,” Mayor Mike Davis said in a press release. “All of these skills will help our city.”

Light Up Dunwoody amps up controversy Controversy crept into Dunwoody’s annual holiday planning this year. The possible addition of a six-foot menorah to the property at the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse caused the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, which hosts the annual Light Up Dunwoody event,


2015: YEAR IN REVIEW to disallow any potentially religious symbols, including a Christmas tree displayed during past events. Co-presidents of the trust said the mission “to include all” meant restricting all non-secular objects on the property. “Because some holiday symbols are open for individual interpretation, we respectfully request that DHA move the tree to another location,” Dunwoody Preservation Trust said in a public statement. After briefly considering a complete move of the Light Up Dunwoody event, DHA President Robert Wittenstein and the board members sought a solution that would allow a menorah and a Christmas tree nearby, while keeping the traditional lights at the farmhouse property, located at 5455 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The owner of Dunwoody Animal Clinic, Douglas Morgan, allowed the religious symbols on his property, across from the farmhouse. Santa Claus in his sleigh with reindeer greeted children from the farmhouse driveway.

Police department ‘woefully understaffed’ Crime reports in Dunwoody grabbed the attention of city officials and candidates for elected office this year. “The violent crime rate is up and what has our police chief been doing?” asked Becky Springer, who was defeated in her bid for the District 1 At-Large seat on City Council. “He’s been acting as interim City Manager, filming award-winning videos, and writing and publishing his new book,” Springer said. “We need to be proactive, not reactive. The buck stops with the council; they are ultimately responsible for managing city employees.” Councilman Terry Nall said a high percentage increase in rape and armed robbery represented relatively low numbers. “I encourage everyone to evaluate crime claims with real numbers and not misleading percentages based on small numbers,” Nall said. “Dunwoody is a very safe city.” Police Chief Billy Grogan wrote a memo to City Council saying, compared to some of Dunwoody’s neighboring cities, “our [major] crime rate is unacceptably high.” Grogan called his 51-officer department “woefully understaffed,” and sought a 10percent increase in the police department’s 2016 budget, to $8.2 million from $7.4 million to add four new officers.

Police don body cameras City Council members approved $30,000 in the 2015 budget for video storage fees and 37 body-worn camera units that officers began wearing by February. Police Chief Billy Grogan said his first step after securing the funding was to set policy and advise officers on the guidelines for wearing cameras and recording interactions. “You want to train officers on policy,” Grogan said. “You push a button to work the camera, but policy concerns when to record, how to classify video and how to upload video.” Grogan said that the legislature passed a SPECIAL law to exempt police officers from the twoDunwoody police officers party statute that exists in Georgia. The stathad access to body-worn ute states both parties must be made aware cameras in 2015. and agree to videotaping. “If we’re going somewhere where there’s an expectation of privacy, we say ‘We’re recording; is that OK?’” Grogan said.

City recieves $4 million in park bond funds A long-standing court battle over park funds concluded May 26 with Dunwoody City Council’s acceptance of a $4 million settlement from DeKalb County. DeKalb County was set to make a one-time $3.2 million grant to Dunwoody to be used toward the construction and development of the 5-acre Dunwoody Renaissance Park. Additionally, the county would grant $500,000 toward updating the master plan for parks and green space projects, and the county will grant $300,000 for construction of a great lawn at Brook Run Park. “This is a glorious day,” City Councilman John Heneghan said. “We’re done suing each other with our own money.” DUN

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Perimeter Business Mercedes-Benz USA goes local

In a corporate headquarters coup for Sandy Springs, luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz USA announced in January that it would relocate there from New Jersey. The new headquarters off Abernathy Road is slated to open in 2018, and in the meantime, Mercedes is working out of a Dunwoody office. Mercedes made an Atlanta splash by buying naming rights to the new football and soccer stadium downtown. Locally, it became involved in controversy over a housing development that will accompany its Sandy Springs headquarters. And its pending attempt to rename part of Barfield Road as “Mercedes-Benz Drive” is opposed by a Barfield family descendent. But it also drew thanks for kicking off corporate donations by giving a van to the nonprofit, Community Assistance Center.

Builder picked for interchange

Fixing the I-285/ Ga. 400 interchange had been projected to cost more than $1 billion, making it the most expensive road project in Georgia history. But when bids finally were opened in December, North Perimeter Contractors won the job by offering to do it for a mere $460 million. When all costs were totaled, state Department of Transportation officials said the price of the project would be just $679 million, meaning it only ranks among the state’s more expensive road projects. The construction will cover 10 miles of highway as the project stretches from east of Ashford-Dunwoody Road to west of Roswell Road and from the Glenridge Connector to Spalding Drive. Contractors will add flyover bridges and connector/distributor lanes to the interchange. Once the work is done, likely to be some time in 2020, the average commuter will save eight hours a year in commuting time and employers will save $100 million in lost productivity, Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said.

High-speed Internet battle comes to town

Google announced in January it would bring a new high-speed Internet service to Sandy Springs, Atlanta and Brookhaven, along with a half-dozen other communities in metro Atlanta. Local political leaders jumped at the chance to get high-speed fiber lines.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our city, our citizens and business community,” said Brookhaven City Councilman Bates Mattison, who attended Google’s announcement along with then-Mayor J. Max Davis and other city officials. Dunwoody was left out of the Google program, but AT&T stepped in with its own plans to provide its own highspeed fiber network and to include Dunwoody along with Sandy Springs. AT&T’s Internet service found a fan in Dunwoody City Councilman John Heneghan. “[T]he productivity gained on large uploads should cut my processing time way back,” Heneghan wrote in his blog.“I hope it comes to your neighborhood soon.” In December, Brookhaven’s Google Fiber hit a snag when the Zoning Board of Appeals denied a necessary utility hut in Parkside Park, leaving Google to hunt alternative locations.

Restaurant Council grows in Sandy Springs

In its second year, the Sandy Springs Restaurant Council began expanding its mission beyond the typical “restaurant week” promotion to start marketing the city as a foodie mecca. An August football season kick-off cook-out was a hit, and the first of new quarterly dining events the council intends to hold. The Restaurant Council formed in 2013 as an initiative of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, and could become an influential model for neighboring cities, as there is talk of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs partnering on a restaurant week promotion and the newer city of Brookhaven starting its own. “People go down Ga. 400 to get to Buckhead and bypass Sandy Springs … when we have over 500 restaurants in Sandy Springs,” said Karen Trylovich, the council’s chair.

Apartment boom reshaping Perimeter cities

A continuing apartment-development boom began reshaping the new Perimeter cities and Buckhead, sparking debates about density, traffic and quality of life. Residents packed neighborhood gatherings and city zoning meetings in order to push back against apartment plans. The Roswell Road corridor in Sandy Springs alone had more than 2,400 new apartments approved or under construction. Millennials and baby boomers were driving the trend, real estate experts said. About 11,000 new multifamily units—including apartments and condos—have been built in the past seven quarters in metro Atlanta, according to Ron Cameron of Colliers International-Atlanta. --John Ruch and Joe Earle

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Standout Students

Local students work to make the world a better place Editor’s note: In 2015, Reporter Newspapers identified 22 local high school students who make significant contributions to their communities. They won prizes for academics, excelled in athletics, and volunteered to do charity work close to home and in faraway places. Here are the “Standout Students” we met during the past year and, according to officials from their high schools, where they are now.

Abraham Araya set the cross-country record at Chamblee Charter High School and now attends Cornell University.

Aidan Brady, a senior at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, developed “Wordzie,” an iPhone app.

Ansley Guthrie, a student at the Whitefield Academy, helped a charity with imprisoned Ugandan children.

Andrew Agrippina started a pro-life club at Holy Spirit Preparatory School and attends Washington and Lee University.

Asia Durr, a basketball star at St. Pius X Catholic High School, plays for the University of Louisville.

Avi Botwinick, a senior at the Weber School, is part of the robotics team.

Eagle Scout and Lovett School senior Benjamin Yarmowich cleaned over 300 signs in his neighborhood.

Caroline Grant, from the The Lovett School, developed a reading curriculum for children.

Ean Huang, a graduate of Holy Spirit Preparatory School, helped provide earthquake relief in China.

Haley Vincent, a student at The Westminster Schools, volunteers with youthSpark.

Haley Barnes, a student at The Lovett School, has raised money for cancer research.

John Arnold, a junior at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, made lunches for disadvantaged children.

John Willingham, a senior at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, organized rocketry and Bible study clubs, and earned his pilot’s license.

Josh Doman, a senior at The Westminster Schools, was awarded silver in the United States Physics Olympiad.

Kenny Buckner, a graduate of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, was named Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate and attends Syracuse University.

Matt Tanenblatt, a graduate of Pace Academy, introduced “Scootle,” an app that addresses traffic congestion.

Max Harris, a senior at Weber School, formed the school’s Investment Club.

Pascal Acree, a senior at Riverwood International Charter School, presented at an international radon symposium.

Sarah Corning, a senior at The Lovett School, taught and volunteered in Guatemala.

Sydney Holmes, as a Dunwoody High School student, taught youngsters to stay safe.

William Denning, a senior at The Westminster Schools, won the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association Award.

Xanthos Likes, a graduate of Marist School, published a children’s book, “Corporate Fish.” He’s on a Mormon mission. |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 5


Phil picks his favorite photos of 2015 Phil Mosier teaches photography at Georgia Perimeter College and takes many of the photos that appear in the pages of Reporter Newspapers. We asked him to choose his favorites from the many he shot for the newspapers in 2015. His first choice was the photograph on the cover of this issue of a girl with a butterfly on her nose. Phil also listed the photo shown here, left, of Sophia Wetherbee holding a chicken during an event at the Atlanta History Center, among his favorites. “I try to capture moments that will make viewers respond to beauty, integrity and spirit that, in turn, illuminates peoples’ lives in our neighborhoods,” Mosier said.


Above and on the facing page are some of our other favorite photos from 2015. Sophia Wetherbee, 9, petted a Barred Rock Cochin Chicken during the annual Folklife Festival at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead on Sept. 26.



DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

Ruthie Williams, 3, left, and her friend Anna Harding, 3, dance to the music of “The Return,” a Beatles tribute band performing at Heritage Green in Sandy Springs on Aug. 2. The show was part of the annual Concert by the Springs series.



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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


Founder & Publisher Steve Levene Editorial Managing Editor Joe Earle Associate Editor: John Ruch Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Staff Writer: Ellen Eldridge Copy Editor: Diane L. Wynocker Creative and Production Creative Director: Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer: Isadora Pennington Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Senior Account Executives Jeff Kremer Janet Porter Account Executives Susan Lesesne Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis Contributors Phil Mosier, Clare Richie

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What’s next? Looking ahead to 2016 As 2015 slips past, it’s time to take a moment to look forward. What’s coming in 2016? We asked newsmakers from Reporter Newspapers communities what they thought would be the biggest issues or trends facing our local areas in the coming year. Here’s what they see heading our way in 2016. I think the most important issues that the General Assembly will address during the upcoming 2016 session include passing of education reforms, including changing the way state funds are distributed to local districts, and considering teacher merit pay. I think the General Assembly will significantly revise the $5-per-night hotel/ motel fee that was part of last session’s transportation funding bill. The General Assembly also will consider important Fulton County reforms. I will propose tax relief for Atlanta’s seniors. -- Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) 2016 will be another transformative year in Fulton County. I’m expecting a balanced budget which will hopefully result in a further decrease in our millage rate. The BOC is working on several significant initiatives in a number of areas including public health, safety and economic development. We are having great collaboration with the Fulton mayors around tackling our transportation challenges. Also, the potential sale of Turner Field and unveiling of dynamic opportunities for the redevelopment of the area will be something to watch. -- Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis The groundbreaking on Brookhaven’s park improvements will be the biggest event for Brookhaven, which I hope leads to more resident-led projects through 2016 and beyond. The new trend for our city government will be monthly town hall meetings. I’m very excited to work for – and with – every Brookhaven resident to make our city better. -- Brookhaven Mayor-elect John Ernst I foresee a trend toward more active recreation opportunities within the Dunwoody Park system and specifically more programming at Brook Run Park. The hospital in the back of the park was torn down in 2007, leaving a rocky, open field and the city has been slowly filling it in with clean fill dirt to level it out. The city just settled a $4 million lawsuit with DeKalb County where the Parks Master Plan update may direct money toward improving Brook Run’s playing fields. I hope to see permanently installed, flat

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

multi-use playable fields in the back of Brook Run Park, so that new recreation opportunities can be available to our community. -- Dunwoody City Councilman John Heneghan For a number of years, Buckhead’s leadership has recognized the growing need for replacements from the younger generation. Before our Buckhead Coalition was formed, the Buckhead Business Association started just such a group (called YoungBucks, by my son Steve). More recently, the coalition started an organization of new leaders nominated by neighborhood associations. Named the Diplomatic Leadership Corps, it consists of 25 men and women around the age of 25 (to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the coalition). Imagine our excitement when David Cummings developed Atlanta Tech Village as an incubator for young tech startups. Add to this the wisdom of 36 different developers announcing 44 apartment complexes with 13,974 units to meet the desire for mobility by the estimated population expansion, with 38 percent made up by millennials. Young leadership is what’s trending in Buckhead for 2016! -- Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition I believe the most significant local event in 2016 is: Will the GM project move forward or stall due to bureaucratic infighting and/or ignorance? Also, will DeKalb’s legislative delegation finally embrace the Republican initiative to eliminate the CEO position and go to a county manager system? In Fulton County, will the Fulton County Commission continue to make progress in relations with its cities? -- Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) I expect resolution on at least these two definitive key items for Dunwoody in 2016: 1. Begin Brook Run Park improvements using the $4 million settlement from DeKalb County due to the parks bond litigation. This should include turning the undeveloped back field into recreational fields, developing the Great Lawn, adding vehicle entry to the park from Barclay Drive and other amenities in the Parks Master Plan. The $4 million for these improvements is already in the bank. 2. Finalize a timeline, location and action plan for future Dunwoody City Hall arrangements, as the current lease expires in 2019. I have asked for discussion during our annual retreat in February around these two issues that I hope will result in a policy consensus: a different policy approach to our paving plan in order to accelerate paving of the city’s lowestranked roads; and how council will address an increasing tax digest in order to achieve residential property tax relief. -- Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall

COMMENTARY In the New Year, we will finalize our long-term plan. At the start, Sandy Springs adopted Fulton County’s existing development codes because: 1) we needed something immediately, 2) we understood the process, and 3) we could fix its obvious flaws over time. After a decade of patching, we realized the old land use plan and development regulations were mid-20th Century relics unsuited for early 21st Century demands. This forced council to implement three development moratoria because we lacked adequate controls to block certain types of unwanted development. In 2016, we will update our land use plan and development ordinances to ensure public engagement before developers can apply for a rezoning. The goal is to develop a plan that our residents believe ensures our long-term quality of life. -- Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul Notwithstanding the political claims that DeKalb is “back on track,” 2016 will be a year of decision. The Legislature will consider further reform of our Organizational Act (County Constitution) and voters will elect a new CEO, four Commissioners and a District Attorney. A newly created independent Internal Auditor will, for the first time, provide an informed and focused critique of county operations. While new cities and annexations may slow, the conflicts generated by intensive development along municipal boundaries will necessitate intergovernmental cooperation that has been lacking. All residents can and should be active in every election, because county decisions affect everyone. -- DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader The most significant local event will be formulating smart strategies and then making decisions to expand transportation alternatives and fund projects that alleviate traffic congestion. One example is whether Fulton Countians should consider a November referendum for an extra 1 percent sales tax to fund road, bridge and other transportation projects. Stakeholders will meet to adopt criteria, and local officials will then have to discuss priorities and forge an agreement. This will lead to much-needed debate and decision making. -- Rep. Joe Wilkinson, (R-Sandy Springs) Brookhaven will continue to blossom and bloom in 2016. The MARTA development at the BrookhavenOglethorpe station will move forward, a decision should be made about where to locate the Brookhaven library, and City Hall will likely determine its next home. All the parks master plans will start coming to fruition, along with the bike-pedestrian plan. The folks studying the Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor should be engaging the community to create a vision for one of our busiest roads. With a good team in place at City Hall, I feel confident that it will build on the foundation that has been laid and continue building a great city. -- Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams

In 2016, I look forward to more partnerships pushing major projects forward that enhance Perimeter, Georgia’s corporate center, and benefit our city and county partners and the region - projects like the I-285 at Ga. 400 Interchange project. I see more big wins, collaborations and successes for our Perimeter business community as long as we continue to work together for the good of the whole. As we identify the needs of our thriving corporate center, PCIDs will continue to be at the table with a hand up, not a hand out. -- Yvonne Williams President/CEO, Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

A look at the 2015 news in cyberspace... Online readers had their own preferences when it came to news in our communities. Here are some of the most-read stories on for each Reporter Newspapers community. Brookhaven • Brookhaven introduces new tourism mascot ‘Brook’ • Historic Brookhaven residents wary of proposal for Hastings site • Peachtree apartment plan draws opposition despite negotiations Buckhead • Buckhead NPU approves 22-story condo tower • Lindbergh Kroger rezoning gets Atlanta City Council approval • PATH400 opens and Buckhead hits the trail • Atlanta Classical Academy: We’re counter-cultural • Two long-serving coaches reflect on football tradition Dunwoody • Dunwoody Tavern closes for filming, welcomes movie stars, seeking extras • New development rolls into Chamblee • Dunwoody voters choose new mayor • Cobb County man dies in one-car accident in Dunwoody • Police identify Dunwoody victim in I-285 fatality Sandy Springs • Glenridge Hall: A little known Sandy Springs historic gem • Ice rink opens in Sandy Springs • After 23 years, local icon Brickery grapples with change • Disney Springs? Planning chair wants a Sandy Springs monorail • Proposal for Galloway softball and tennis facility in Sandy Springs finds critics

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

Dickens was on to something. In his classic tale, “A Christmas Carol,” he writes about the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future visiting Ebenezer Scrooge, all in one night. Well, it seems to me that his story isn’t all that fanciful because those same three spirits haunt our house from December straight through till spring. The Ghost of Christmas Past lives in the ornament box. I pull out spray-painted pieces of cardboard that are covered with gold pasta and clumps of glitter, and the Spirit whisks me back in time to the years when my children proudly presented them to me. The Spirit enchants photo ornaments of pudgy little baby faces, causing me to recognize those faces hiding behind my sons’ facial hair when I squint just so. She transports me as I rifle through the trimmings -- suddenly I am with friends who moved across the country years ago; I am reliving birthdays and anniversaries and hearing choirs I once sung with. The Ghost of Christmas Present is persistent. He enters jovially on Christmas Eve, explodes on Christmas Day with gilded glory, and then on Dec. 26, quietly takes off his boots and settles himself in for the rest of the winter. We find him in the house and yard, and in the very air we breathe − in the half-packed boxes of decorations and bows that fill the den for weeks, in the scent of Frasier fir candles ever burning, in bowls of red and green M&Ms scattered about, in the needlepoint stocking found mid-February on a knob of the living room door. Christmas Present lingers by the potted poinsettias as they drop curled leaves onto my kitchen floor and near the gingerbread-man garden flag that flaps in the wind while daffodils push up the earth around it. He will remain until pastel jellybeans and porcelain bunnies appear in March or April -- my tradition being to pack away the final remnants of Christmas on Good Friday. Christmas Future lives in the pantry

Free will is key

and in the freezer. He is sometimes known as the Spirit of Christmas Cookies Yet to Come. He lives in the Crisco that I have in the cabinet above the refrigerator − purROBIN JEAN chased anew each Decem- MARIE CONTE ber for the past ROBIN’S NEST three years− that still may, one day, become biscotti. He is found in the containers of candied fruit that never made their way into batter, but that still hold the promise of Ina Garten’s fruitcake cookies. Christmas Future also haunts the Christmas mailing list in my Outlook contacts file, which continues to be updated with changed addresses and will be an incredible time-saver next year once we spend three days trying to remember how to get the contacts to print out on the address labels. And he haunts the closet where 70 percent-off items rest, awaiting the gift-exchanges of Christmases in future years. For three months, I live in a very crowded house. The Spirits jostle for position in my kitchen, den and basement, and then, being ethereal creatures, manage to occupy my head and my credit card bills, as well. I find myself, as Mr. Scrooge professed at the end of The Carol, to be living “in the Past, the Present and the Future.” Perhaps it is as the Spirits intended, but there is really nothing I can do about it. I mean, what the Dickens? Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at

informed and revisionist history perspectives to themselves. The flag artwork disTo the editor: played in the OK Café is one of the things Two articles/comments [in the Dec. I have come to like most about the OK 11-Dec. 24 Reporter Newspapers] caught Cafe, primarily because so many people my attention and inspired me to comwant to “force” the owners to remove it. ment. Actually, they caused me to shake We frequent the OK Café because of the my head in frustration. food and service. We have come to appreFirst, the caption under the photo on ciate the associated denotations and conp. 10: “Sandy Springs resinotations referenced by the dents ... are forced to walk in framed book cover of “To the road ...” Correction: No LE T T E R T O Kill a Mockingbird,” the one “forced” Messrs. Hor- T HE E DIT OR note from Ms. Lee, the conton and Tigner to walk in the tinuation of Southern hosE-mail letters to road. There are literally miles pitality, the friendliness and of places where these two in- fellowship of long-time dividuals and any other hucustomers and the folk art mans or animals may walk. It which includes the flag that is a factual is a free choice. part of the community’s heritage. Second, in the review billed as “DinMore specifically to Ms. Volpert and ing Out” by Megan Volpert, Ms. Volpert those who share her views: No one is forcserves the reader well by commenting on ing you to eat at OK Café. If you find it the restaurant OK Café, its food, its sernot to your liking, well “bless your heart” vice. Ms. Volpert may - and I request that and don’t feel that you must come again. she and others do - keep their political, illWilliam Joseph


Hitting the high notes


Choirs from The Epstein and Mount Vernon Presbyterian schools joined in a celebration of holiday music and an exploration of diversity through song. Front row, from left, Isabella Akhlaghi, Kennedi Espy, Jai Deans, Annabel France, Liam O’Toole and Aidan Ray. Back, from left, Leighton Batcheller, Isabella Moffett and Emma Dickie.

Foster Berlin takes a long look at the menorah.



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Front row, Thomas Fennelly, left, watches Samantha Londe, right, light the candles as Isabella Moffett, back left, and Will Jackson look on. |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 11


Councilman wants circles, not roundabouts, to calm speeds BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

Dunwoody Councilman John Heneghan says he wants drivers to slow down. In a recent blog he advocated for “neighborhood traffic circles,” which, he said, are usually found where residential streets intersect and are different than roundabouts. The blog went up Dec. 14, shortly before the City Council met to discuss the city’s traffic calming policy, which was written in 2009 to establish criteria for installing different measures to slow traffic, Public Works Director Michael Smith wrote in a memo. Heneghan asked city staff to review the policy and add discussion to the agenda in part because residents say they want city officials to do something about speeding along North Peachtree Road, where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour. “I am under the belief that something needs to be done to cut down the speeding on North Peachtree, but the state has tied our hands on reasonable enforcement, and our own traffic calming policy appears to be too onerous for implementation, therefore I am hopeful that something will change soon,” Heneghan wrote. State law bars police from using radar to enforce speed limits where a steep hill slopes, “no matter what the speed,”

Heneghan wrote. “The 25-mile-per-hour speed limit on North Peachtree is actually allowing 35 miles per hour de facto before any enforcement can be done,” Heneghan said during the council meeting. Officer Trey Nelson, a spokesman for the Dunwoody Police Department, said the department may set up speed trailers to inform drivers of their speeds on North Peachtree Road. The devices, which show a car’s speed in large numbers, most recently were set up on North Peachtree in April, Nelson said. Recent analysis of speeds on North Peachtree showed 15 percent of the cars were going more than 11 miles per hour over the speed limit, Smith said. That would qualify the street for traffic calming devices, such as speed humps, splitter islands and roundabouts. Smith said traffic circles are one form of traffic calming, but they required wide streets. Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch questioned why the neighbors along North Peachtree Road aren’t pursuing more traffic calming. “You have to get buy-in from the neighbors,” she said. Sixty-five percent of the residents have to agree to support traffic calming measures, the city said.

Take flight Above and right, Dunwoody Elementary School first-grade students met with Jackie Sherry, program manager with the Dunwoody Nature Center, to discuss Monarch butterflies and their disappearing habitat. The center donated milkweed plants and a butterfly garden to the school last spring to help promote the butterfly’s North American migration. SPECIAL PHOTOS

CEO says he’s ‘building a better MARTA’ BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

When Keith Parker accepted the position of MARTA’s general manager and CEO in 2012, reports said the transit authority would be “fiscally bankrupt” by 2017, Parker said during a Dec. 15 Dunwoody-Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Now, three years later, Parker says

he wants people to think of MARTA as the norm, and all other modes of transportation, such as cars, as an alternative. And, rather than facing bankruptcy, Parker said, MARTA is expected to pull in a more than $200 million surplus in fiscal year 2017. Parker says he’s managing his vision


Keith Parker, MARTA’s general manager and CEO, says the transit authority expects to pull in more than $200 million in fiscal year 2017. 12 | DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

by “building a better MARTA.” Parker said. That, he said, means Wi-Fi serIf the person inside needs help, the vice on more buses, fresh food at train restroom could call an ambulance or stops and an entire “MARTA Army” police, he said. devoted to improvements. He’s fixed Additional future goals include taimany basics that MARTA lacked, such loring bus service to individual needs, as restrooms, and says customer serParker said. While many riders agree vice satisfaction is the to use train service, highest it’s been in 20 Parker said fewer years. people agree to use By focusing on buses. “We know bikes are rider safety and in“In the next few a big thing of what’s stalling what Parkmonths, you’ll beer calls a “smart restgin to see a removcoming next in Atlanta room,” many riders al of the one-sizeand we want to be on are returning. MARfits-all bus service, the forefront of that.” TA restrooms now where everyone use a system designed uses the 40-foot to allow users in one bus and that’s it,” – KEITH PARKER at a time and to check Parker said. on them if they stay Mid-sized buses past a certain time and larger 60-foot limit. The new restbuses “with every rooms are also “virtually graffiti proof ” type of amenity you could think of ” and increase public safety, Parker will serve varying needs in different said. neighborhoods, Parker added. “This is one of the smartest restThe transit agency also is “partnerrooms in the country,” Parker said of a ing with the Bicycle Coalition on a pilot program at the Lindbergh MARnumber of initiatives,” Parker said. TA stop. “It lets you in and you have a “We know bikes are a big thing of few minutes to take care of your busiwhat’s coming next in Atlanta and we ness and if you take too long the rewant to be on the forefront of that,” stroom will ask you, ‘Are you OK?’” he said. DUN

COMMUNITY DHA adopts a new ‘spot’ The Dunwoody Homeowners Association plans to start regular cleanups at the intersection of Winters Chapel and Peeler roads through the city Adopt-a-Spot program. DHA started the Adopt-a-Spot cleanup program and the city now administers it. About four years ago, the DHA adopted a spot on Mount Vernon at Mount Vernon Place, but that property now is privately owned, DHA President Robert Wittenstein said, so the organization is finding a new place to clean. “A core part of DHA’s mission is to enhance the community we live in,” Wittenstein said. “We’ve selected this spot because we think it will have a positive impact on the community.”

nesses,” Cannon said in an AMB press release. “I made an immediate connection with Arthur because we have very similar value systems and a shared vision for what the customer experience can and should be.” Replacing Cannon at MBUSA is Dietmar Exler, who currently serves as vice president of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA. Exler, a Brookhaven resident, will take over MBUSA on Jan. 1 and Cannon will act as a consultant through Jan. 31, according to a press release.

GDOT chief: Project will save time, lives

Time—and lives—will be saved by the upcoming reconstruction of the I-285/ Ga. 400 interchange, state transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said at a Dec. 11 luncheon celebrating GDOT’s selection of construction team North Perimeter Contractors. “We always get focused on what the design is and what the project will look like… but sometimes we lose sight of what the project does,” McMurry said at the PerimeMercedes-Benz USA president and CEO Steve Cannon, who oversaw the autoter Business Alliance luncheon. This project will annually save commuters eight hours maker’s planned move to Sandy Springs and employers $100 million in lost productivity, and will reduce accidents in the and its current location in Dunwoody, is crash-prone corridor, he said. leaving to head the company that owns the Slated for a possible groundbreaking next year and completion in 2020, the reAtlanta Falcons and the new downtown build will add exit/entrance lanes and flyover ramps, much like the I-285/I-85 interfootball stadium, among other assets. change nicknamed Spaghetti Junction. Cannon will start as CEO of AMB Also like Spaghetti Junction, the new I-285/Ga. 400 interchange won’t be clogGroup on Feb. 1, essentially replacing wellfree. Those eight saved hours a year amounts to less than two minutes shaved off the known Atlanta corporate leader average trip, and McMurry acknowledged, “There still will be congestion Arthur M. Blank as the compaon I-285.” Still, he said it should handle projected development growth for ny’s day-to-day operator, accord“20-plus years” in an interchange that currently carries about 400,000 vehiB RIEFS ing to a press release. Earlier this cles per day. year, MBUSA bought the namBrookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and Dunwoody City Couning rights to the stadium Cannon cilwoman Lynn Deutsch were among those who expressed concerns in an inwill now oversee, a move he and Blank anterview about traffic detours and delays during construction. nounced in a press conference. “We’re doomed” with cut-through traffic during construction, Deutsch said. How“This is a truly special opportunity for ever, both officials agreed that, as Williams put it, “The long-term fix is worth it.” me to move from an iconic brand that I McMurry said that construction impacts on traffic will be unavoidable. But, he JOHN RUCH love to a role working with an iconic leadadded, part of the contractor selection included coming up with a plan to handle it— Steve Cannon er and the diversified Blank Family of Busior at least warn travelers about how bad it will be.

Mercedes CEO takes Falcons, stadium job

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 13


Monorail study for Brookhaven/ Chamblee gets green light BY JOHN RUCH

economic development, he said. Gebbia envisions a circulator monorail connecting the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, Buford Highway, PDK Airport, and the Century Center, Executive Park and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta office centers. That would require partnership with MARTA and the city of Chamblee. Gebbia would like MARTA to own and operate the monorail and tie it into its Breeze card fare system. Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson declined to comment, saying he hadn’t heard the monorail idea before. MARTA and PDK did not have immediate comment. Gebbia believes monorails could help MARTA expand on east-west corridors because, unlike heavy rail, they don’t require buying expensive rights of way and could run on city- or county-granted easements. He also believes such a “unique” project could better attract federal transportation matching funds. But cost is where “the rubber hits the road,” he noted. The preliminary city study essentially will determine whether a deeper, fuller study is worth doing. “I don’t know how valid the idea is. But I think it’s worth spending $10,000 to find out,” he said. The study technically is “open to anything and everything” for transit solutions connecting the various areas of Brookhaven and Chamblee, but the monorail vi-

A monorail system connecting MARTA, office parks and DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is getting a $10,000 preliminary study from the city of Brookhaven. “I have a vision. I see it as a potential Disneyland type of monorail,” said City Councilman Joe Gebbia, who announced Dec. 15 he is paying for the study from his discretionary fund. “If we do it right, I think this would be an example of what cities and unincorporated areas could be doing to expand MARTA.” Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams is not a fan of the idea, asking, “Is a monorail old-style, 1950s Disney technology?” She noted that at Disney World, monorails connect the hotels, but trams move people from the parking lots to the park. “I would look at trolleys…Let’s do express bus lanes first,” Williams said, questioning the possible expense of a monorail. Kim Pedersen, president of a California-based advocacy group called Monorail Society, said that Brookhaven should think beyond the Disney image. A smallscale monorail could be feasible in the area, he said. “The Disney monorails are quite capable and do carry hundreds of thousands of passengers each day,” Pedersen said. “However, I hope that the studies and

promoters will also take a serious look at all the non-recreation monorails that operate on a daily basis around the world.” A possible Sandy Springs monorail has been in the news since that city’s Planning Commission chairman floated the idea last month. But Gebbia said he independently thought of a local monorail earlier this year and has talked informally with various officials about it. “Monorails seem to be resonating,” Gebbia said. “I was very pleasantly surprised to see that article come out from Sandy Springs…If Sandy Springs does it, that’s great.” Gebbia said he thought about monorails while driving on I-85 through Brookhaven, pondering traffic snarls, MARTA’s expansion struggles and forthcoming redevelopment around I-85 and North Druid Hills Road. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be really neat to see a monorail [running along Buford Highway], saying “Brookhaven?” on the side,’” Gebbia recalled. He envisioned the monorail that his family rode when they visited Disney World. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that monorail handled a lot of people.’” “We’ve got to find a way to take tires off the street” while attracting top-quality


Brookhaven City Councilman Joe Gebbia is contributing $10,000 from his discretionary fund to pay for a monorail study.

sion is the driver. The consulting firm Gresham, Smith and Partners has already agreed to conduct the study, Gebbia said. That firm previously created Brookhaven’s transportation plan and is now doing its Ashford-Dunwoody Road improvement plan. Gebbia said the study will coordinate with MARTA, the state Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The estimated timeframe for a report is four to six months.

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DeKalb County school officials say the new superintendent, but members they’re ending the years-long debate of the community had been waiting over where to put a new Austin Elefor an update on Austin Elementary. mentary School. Harris said Green impressed her It’ll be on Roberts Road. They’re with his ability to express himself simjust not sure where. ply. “Our intent is to keep the school “I was impressed with how he exon Roberts Drive,” said Dan Drake, plained his plan,” she said. “There was director of planning and Special Purno psycho-ed babble. And I underpose Local Option Sales Tax programstood it. I walked out of that meeting ming for the DeKalb County School more optimistic than I’ve ever been.” District. Harris said she understood the fiDrake told members of the Dunnancial benefit to expand. She said woody Homeowners Association in a when a school expands to 900, more Dec. 9 meeting that the school would state funding is available. either be built on “One item the baseball fields at [Green] talked Dunwoody Park or about from his years on the school’s exist- “I was impressed with how in Kansas City was ing site. [how] he decreased he explained his plan. And despite some their contractors/ There was no psycho-ed parents’ arguments vendors from 6,000 that the school babble. And I understood to 600,” Harris said. should stay at 600 “When he talks it. I walked out of that students, Austin Elabout cutting costs meeting more optimistic ementary will be reand putting money built as a 900-stuback into the classthan I’ve ever been.” dent school, Drake room, I actually besaid. lieve him.” – STACEY HARRIS A prototype Harris said she school building brought her eighthDHA BOARD MEMBER was developed by a grade son, Liam, to 14-member comthe Dec. 9 meeting, mittee for a 900-seat too. school to be developed at seven sites, Harris said her son asked about including Austin, Drake said. The first what would become of the STEM protwo have been completed: Peachcrest gram, and he was happy to hear about Elementary School in Decatur and a new Science Technology EngineerFernbank Elementary School in Aling and Math lab, which is part of the tanta. It’s a 58-classroom building that prototype. stands up to three stories in height in “This is Liam’s fifth superintendent places. and I feel like Dr. Green is going to DHA Board member Stacey Harris make a difference,” Harris said. “The said the school board should know the timeline they gave us is they will make location in about six to eight weeks. a decision on the site in six to eight She said the DHA originally wanted weeks, and then five to six months for to meet with Superintendent Dr. R. design and then they’ll start [buildStephen Green simply because he is ing],” Harris said.



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Tilly Mill Road to get bike lanes, sidewalks, paving CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Dallas said the sharrows mean bicycles will share the lane with automotive traffic, inevitably slowing it down, but with a bike lane, both cars and bikes travel at proper speeds and “there is not an impediment of the bicyclist on the motorist,” he said. Drivers should remain aware of cyclists on all streets, regardless of whether or not a lane, marking or road sign exists, Thompson said. Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch arDUN

gued that bike lanes are “literally pushing civilization closer to [homeowners’] homes along Tilly Mill Road.” One of those homeowners, Cheryl Summers, opposes bike lanes and asked Council to defer discussion until the after the new mayor was sworn in. “The city staff is sneaky and this is what they proposed in May,” Summers said after she heard about the discussion. “It’s still not part of the transportation plan and they are shoving their own agenda down our throat.” |

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 15

out& about



‘Home Alone’ with the ASO Saturday, Jan. 2 and Sunday, Jan. 3 –

“Home Alone,” a classic holiday film, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra team up for a special performance. Families are invited to watch the movie as it plays on the big screen with a live score. Suitable for all ages. Go to for more information, showtimes and to purchase tickets. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, 30309.

Books and Babies Monday, Jan. 4, 10:30 - 11 a.m. – Calling all babies! Books & Babies is a storytime for kids up to one year old. Engage and help your little ones to learn with the use of nursery rhymes, songs, stories and fingerplay that target the developmental needs of infants and early

crawlers. Open to the first 25 participants. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. Go to or call 770-512-4640 for additional details.

Viking Society Monday, Jan. 4, 1 - 4 p.m. – Delve into the

history of Viking society in this Atlanta History Center program for homeschoolers. Learn about their conquests, exploration, travels, trades, myths, technology and more. Admission: $8.50 for nonmembers; $6.50 for children of members; free for adult members. Discounted rates available for groups with 10 or more children. Call 404-814-4018 or email: to find out more. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 30305. Visit with questions.

Toddler Time Tuesday, Jan. 5, 11 - 11:30 a.m. – Bring

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your little one to this fun storytime. The event features stories, fingerplay, rhymes and songs targeted toward the developmental needs of toddlers. Suitable for kids up to 2 years old. Free and open to the first 20 participants. Park behind the library and enter at the lower level. Brookhaven Library, 1242 N. Druid Hills Rd., Brookhaven 30319. Need more information? Go to

Digital Builders Tuesday, Jan. 5, 6 - 7 p.m. – Love Minecraft? Got a budding desire to become a builder? This is the event for you. Participants partake in individual and team challenges to build worlds while learning technical problem-solving skills and utilizing their creativity. Suitable for youngsters in grades 3 through 6. Register and learn more online at Marcus Jewish Community Center-Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody 30338. Contact Sandra Bass via email at with questions.

Ecosystem Stories Wednesday, Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m. – It’s sto-

rytime at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. This family friendly event features stories to be read and crafts to be made. Kids learn about the ecosystem and the Chattahoochee Watershed while sharing with their families. Free with general admission and CNC membership. Suitable for all ages. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075. To learn more, go to

Core Learning Math Games! Friday, Jan. 8, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. – Play

games and learn math the fun way at the Sandy Springs Branch Library. Recommended for elementary and preschool age kids. Registration required and starts Jan. 3. Space is limited. Free. Register by stopping by the library, calling 404303-6130, or emailing Workshop repeats monthly on Fridays, February 5, March 4 and April 1. 395 Mount Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs, 30328. For more information, go online to

Kids in the Kitchen Saturday, Jan. 9, 3 - 4 p.m. – Start the new

year off right with a workshop for all ages on healthy eating. This hands-on experience focuses on preparing balanced and nourishing meals for children and their families. Recommended for all ages. Free. Sandy Springs Branch Li-

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brary, 395 Mount Vernon Hwy., Sandy Springs, 30328. Questions? Call 404-303-6130, email, or go online to

Night Hike Saturday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. – Bundle up and

head on over to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a guided night hike to welcome the new year. Explore the trails and look for nocturnal animals as they roam during the night. Participants end the evening with a winter campfire. Advance tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for CNC members; $10 for general admission and $8 for CNC members when purchased at the door. Register by January 7. Visit or call 770-992-2055 for further details. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075.

Three Kings Day Monday, Jan. 10, 1 - 5 p.m. – Kick off

the new year with Three Kings Day, a Latin tradition celebrated with storytelling, music, live performances and activities. Enjoy a special visit and photo opportunity with the three kings. Note: this is a free admission day at the Atlanta History Center, and guests are invited to check out the holiday festival and also visit the traveling exhibitions, historic houses, and the property’s gardens and trails. Food and drink available for purchase. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta 30305. Go to for more information.

4-H Community Club Meeting Monday, Jan. 10, 2 - 3:15 p.m. – The Buckhead 4-H Community Club returns to the Atlanta History Center for their monthly programming. Each meeting focuses on leadership and community service, and contains a hands-on educational component, targeted to youngsters in fourth through sixth grades. To learn more, call 404-762-4085 or email 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta, 30305. Go to for more details.

‘Inside Out’ Tuesday, Jan. 12, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. – The

Brookhaven Library hosts a family movie night and screens the film “Inside Out.” Movie is rated PG. Free and open to the first 20 participants. Snacks served. Need additional information? Go to 1242 N. Druid Hills Rd., Brookhaven 30319.

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Noon Year’s Eve Thursday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m. – Ring in

the New Year a full 12 hours early at this family friendly celebration taking place at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Guests will enjoy music and games. Make your very own “mocktail,” and check out a unique dinosaur photo op. A balloon drop with over 2,000 balloons will take place at noon, cascading down over the large dino displays in the great hall. Free with general admission or membership. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta 30307. For more information, call 404-929-6300 or go online to

Peach Drop Thursday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. – Celebrate

the season with Atlanta’s classic New Year’s Eve experience. The event kicks off with children’s activities during the day, with the main acts taking the stage at 7 p.m. The Peach Drop will

count down with a giant 800-pound peach that descends at midnight, followed by fireworks, all taking place at Underground Atlanta. Free, and suitable for all ages. Go online to peachdrop. com with questions. 50 Central Ave. SW, Atlanta, 30303.

Resolution Run Friday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – What’s on your

resolution list this year? Start with the Resolution Run, a 1-mile race for ages 7 and up, 4mile race for ages 9 and up, and a 50-meter kids dash for ages 6 and up. Number and T-shirt pickup takes place Jan. 1 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Headphones, pets, baby joggers/strollers, roller/inline skates and bicycles are not permitted. $40 for the 4-mile race; $20 for the 1-mile; $15 for the dash. Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station, 4047 Peachtree Rd., NE, Brookhaven, 30319. Register and learn more online at

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 17


Winner of ‘Positive Aging Award’ says it helps to stay young BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE

In 1995, Linden Longino was “on loan” to the Carter Center during his final years as a banker with SunTrust. He worked with former President Jimmy Carter and his associates on an inner-city poverty program called The Atlanta Project. “I worked in south Atlanta in the Carver Homes area, the very poor neighborhood, and I tried to bring some much needed banking services into that area,” Longino said. But he also saw kids “trying to grow up under awful conditions, facing gangs and drugs.” He wanted to help them “do something constructive,” so he started a program for Atlanta kids and kids from other countries to show their artwork at the 1996 Olympics. “It happened and it was successful, and one thing led to another, and I was contacted by people with the United Nations in New York, asking if I could do a worldwide children’s exhibit for a meeting they were having in New York on civil rights,” Longino said. More than 20 years later, the International Paint Pals program is still going, and Longino recently received recognition from an association of 150 nonprofits dedicated to seniors. The organization, LeadingAge Georgia, recognized Longino for his longtime community service and “positive aging” lifestyle. Longino said his motto is “To stay young, help the young.” The Paint Pals organization first exhibited at the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta and has mounted exhibitions around the world ever since, including at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia last year. “Art is a universal language for kids, and anyone really, to express themselves,” the Buckhead resident said. “International Paint Pals gives children a worldwide forum to express their views on global issues and share their similarities and differences through visual creativity.” In total, more than 200,000 young artists from around the world have participated in International Paint Pals events

get get

since 1995, most recently in Barcelona. The organization unveiled a 3,000-piece collection, called “My Dream of Peace,” which included work from 91 countries, to express hopes for peace at the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. International Paint Pals and Friendship Force International, an Atlantabased nonprofit, selected two art pieces from each country represented. They were exhibited at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit held in Barcelona in midNovember. “Peace of Art” events took place in schools and communities across Atlanta and the world. These events included one for the children and grandchildren of residents and staff at Lenbrook, the 500-plus resident senior community where Longino lives. “I have donated many artworks from several exhibitions to Lenbrook,” Longino said. “They have been nicely framed for brightening the walls in the Healthcare Center rooms, much to the delight of the residents there.” Jacque Thornton, senior vice president of LeadingAge Georgia, said the award given to Longino was created to reframe the image of aging. “The Positive Aging Awards program rightfully recognizes elders who are still generously giving of their time and talents to the community and changing the lives of others for the better,” she said. “These honorees show us how we can all continue to learn, grow and contribute at any age in life.” Earning the award made Longino feel “positively old,” he joked. “When we lose our sense of humor about the inevitable, then we truly are old.” As happy as Longino was with the recognition, he said what matters most is the people he helps. “I was delighted to have the [LeadingAge Georgia] recognition, but I was more delighted when a Nobel Peace Prize winner came up and gave me a hug,” Longino said.

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The teacher wrote to acknowledge that Longino understands “we all want peace, the children suffer the most and the exhibit gives some of them a little hope that their cries for peace will be heard somewhere.” “It’s messages like that that keep me going,” he said.

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A thank-you note from a teacher in Kabul, Afghanistan, also hit home, he said. “She’s in great risk because girls in Afghanistan are sometimes shot on their way to school and teachers run that risk all the time,” Longino said. “A woman teaching girls in Afghanistan is a very brave individual and takes great risks.” | DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016


Top, Linden Longino, right, was honored by LeadingAge Georgia as an example of “positive aging” and for his longtime leadership of International Paint Pals. Joining him, at left, Chris Keysor, president and CEO of Lenbrook, a resident senior community in Buckhead, and Jackie Durant, also of Lenbrook.

Middle, some of International Paint Pals’ art was chosen from around the world for display at the 2015 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Bottom, a teacher in Afghanistan sent Longino a note thanking him for the program.


New Ronald McDonald House gets rave reviews BY JOHN RUCH

The new Ronald McDonald House wowed officials and some families it will serve at a Dec. 17 ribbon cutting. “I was overwhelmed when I walked in,” said Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, about the luxurious, hotel-style building at 5420 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs. Of the roughly 350 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide, said Hyland, who has served on the international charity’s board, “I’m willing to bet this is the best.” The 31-bedroom facility, which opened for business Dec. 21, houses families of ailing children when they are treated in local hospitals, especially CHOA’s Scottish Rite. Beth Howell, president and CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, said they call it “the house that love built.” An unusual feature of Pill Hill’s house that attracted attention is a three-story “treehouse” in the lobby. It’s an elevator shaft decorated to appear tree-like, with two treehouse-style play rooms built into it. More than a hundred people attended the ribbon cutting, including many local McDonald’s restaurant operators, who were among those contributing more than $18 million to build the facility. The houses are run separately from the restaurant chain, but get major financial support from it. An actor portraying restaurant mascot Ronald McDonald, who declined to give his real name, joined the ribbon cutting. “We go all over the world,” the Ronald McDonald actor said. “This [house] really stands up as one of the top ones.” Most importantly, the facility impressed the families who will use it, including the Winstons of Valdosta, Ga. Son Erick Jr. needed a kidney transplant in 2009, just shy of his sixth birthday, and father

Erick Sr. was his organ donor. Erick Jr. continues to need treatment at Scottish Rite. Instead of a four-hour drive from southern Georgia, the Winstons can stay blocks away and take a 24-hour shuttle to the hospital. The Winstons have stayed in other Ronald McDonald Houses, inED WOLKIS PHOTOGRAPHY cluding one in Atlanta, The new Ronald McDonald House located but they expressed astonat 5420 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. ishment at the Pill Hill facility’s amenities. leston site, was rebuilt with 50 bedrooms “I’m speechless. The kids love the treein 2008. house,” said mother Shaneka Winston. Efforts to expand the Pill Hill house “It’s like a mini resort,” added Erick Sr. began more than a decade ago. Fulton “They treat everybody like that’s their County approved the project in 2005, whole house. It’s fun,” said Erick Jr. prior to the existence of the city of Sandy The Winstons’ stay in other Ronald Springs. But a lawsuit from neighbors deMcDonald Houses have ranged from days layed it. The groundbreaking finally came to months. “It’s a home away from home,” last year. said Shaneka. “There’s a fee if you can pay. A spokeswoman said that the new They don’t press you to pay.” house’s capacity should prevent wait lists “Just money-wise…can you imagine for families in need. staying at a hotel three months?” said ErFor information on eligibility to stay at ick Sr. the house, call 404-315-1133 or see armFor the Winstons, the biggest luxury is staying close to Scottish Rite and Dr. Edwin Smith, who has long treated Erick Jr. “The level of care, it’s unreal,” said Erick Sr. about Scottish Rite. “We need more facilities like this,” said Shaneka. But the Pill Hill house had a long road to expanding. ARMHC opened an Atlanta house in 1979, followed by the Peachtree-Dunwoody location—originally an 11-bedroom house—in 1994. Both saw heavy demand and wait lists, leading to the conSuccess in our struction of new facilities in recent years. The Atlanta house, near CHOA’s Eg-

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Back row, from left, Javier Goizueta, with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, Beth Howell, president and CEO of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, “Ronald McDonald,” Donna Hyland, president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Thomas Kirbo, ARMHC’s board chairman, join children at the ribbon cutting for the new facility on Dec. 17.

Atlanta INtown & Reporter Newspapers work for our advertisers! To find out how your business can benefit, contact publisher Steve Levene at 404-917-2200, ext. 111

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 19


PEDS celebrating 20 years of pedestrian progress Left, PEDS considers policy changes and increased funding for sidewalk repairs in the city of Atlanta essential, like these along Howell Mill Road. Right, PEDS promotes crossing treatments that increase safety for everyone who walks. SPECIAL PHOTOS

BY CLARE S. RICHIE Next time you safely walk in a crosswalk, think of the advocacy group Pedestrians Educating Drivers (PEDS). In January, PEDS and its partners will celebrate 20 years of progress making the Atlanta metro area safer and more accessible for people who walk. PEDS, led by founding president and CEO Sally Flocks, has promoted safety improvements that helped change driving behavior. “Crosswalks changed from two parallel lines to a more visible ladder design,” Flocks said, noting that in-street signs, median islands and high-tech beacons are other tools PEDS promoted to help people cross busy streets.

In 1995, the Georgia legislature changed the crosswalk law, requiring drivers to “stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians in crosswalks, not to just yield to them. Flocks started PEDS a year later. Flocks grew up in California during the 1960s, where drivers stopped for pedestrians and police enforced pedestrian laws. After moving to Atlanta in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and had to stop driving. She experienced how dangerous it was to walk to work – broken sidewalks, insufficient crosswalks, poor street design and drivers indifferent




City of Sandy Springs

Property Location:

124 & 126 Johnson Ferry Road

Present Zoning:

O-I (Office Institutional; RZ08-011) & R-4 (Single Family Dwelling)


To rezone the property subsequently to a land exchange between 124 Johnson Ferry Road and former Masonic Lodge property to O-I.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission January 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council February 16, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.


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

to walkers. After successful brain surgery in 1995, Flocks was eager to start a new chapter in her life. She started PEDS as a full-time volunteer. In 1999, PEDS led crosswalk demonstrations at 13th and Peachtree streets, where 50 years earlier a speeding car had struck and killed “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. Drivers honked and yelled, and Flocks was nearly hit as she tried to walk in the crosswalk. In 2001, thanks to PEDS’ efforts, North Highland Avenue and Peachtree at Woodruff Park received the first in-street crosswalk signs. As more were added, driver behavior changed. “Good engineering breeds good driving,” Flocks explained. “Police felt better about enforcement and the public learned that pedestrians do have the right of way.” PEDS’ initial focus was to educate drivers, but the advocacy group later realized that road design was more critical. For example, one-way multilane streets like Courtland Street in Downtown facilitate speeding. In contrast, adding center turn lanes like on Ponce de Leon Avenue reduces the number of crashes. Thanks to PEDS, transportation agencies are installing pedestrian refuge islands, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons and other safe crossing tools. PEDS also learned that Atlanta’s most vulnerable pedestrians were transit commuters. The Atlanta Regional Commis-




Thomas & Emily Followill

Property Location:

380 Montevallo Drive


One (1) primary variance from Section 6.4.3.C of the City of Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance to encroach six (6) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback to allow for an existing carport and to encroach one and half (1.5) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback to allow for an existing home and a proposed second floor addition.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals January 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.


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



DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

sion found that more than 20 percent of pedestrian crashes occur within 100 feet of a transit station or bus stop, half within 300 feet. PEDS’ Safe Routes to Transit Initiative pushed for making safe crossings at transit stops a local, regional and state priority. State and local agencies responded. Georgia DOT added Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons on Buford Highway. Midtown Alliance partnered with the city of Atlanta to install Rapid Flash Beacons on 10th Street at the Midtown MARTA station. More pedestrian advocacy is still needed, especially for city of Atlanta sidewalk repairs, Flocks said. Sidewalk funding and policies are both broken, she said. City officials cut the proposed $40 million for sidewalk repairs and $35 million for curb ramps on the infrastructure bond project list to $5 million. The city also maintains the option to bill property owners for sidewalk repairs, something Flocks said the city is unlikely to enforce. To PEDS, sidewalks are shared resources that increase walkability and connectivity, and improve public transit accessibility. So, sidewalk repairs should be funded by all taxpayers – like in Charleston, Charlotte and D.C. “Every sector – and every one of us – has a role to play in increasing walking and making our communities walkable,” Flocks said. A PEDS 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held Jan. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at The Wrecking Bar, 292 Moreland Ave. For more about PEDS, visit




Kacy & Ross Homans

Property Location:

220 Abington Drive


One (1) primary variance from Section 4.3.4.B.2 of the City of Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance to encroach three and a half (3.5) feet into the required ten (10) foot setback for play equipment.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals January 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.


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

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Tranquil Waters Lawn Care - Pressure washing, aerating, flower beds, trimming, tree/shrubs installation, hauling of debris, etc. Free estimates, Discounts for Seniors & Veterans. No contracts needed. Call Mike 678-662-0767 or Andrew 678-672-8552.

CEMETERY PLOTS Arlington Memorial Park – Two (535-A 1 & 2) spaces in the Calvary section of the cemetery. Plots available for viewing by visiting the cemetery office. Closing will be held at Arlington Cemetery offices. Asking $9500.00 for both spaces. Call 404-2167175.

STORAGE SPACE WANTED 300 sq. ft. of storage space. Lease for 12 months. Call 404-932-4774.

SERVICES AVAILABLE Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576.

WINDOWS & SIDING Offering vinyl, wood and composite windows – All types of siding. Factorytrained installation. Family-owned, Familypriced. Angie’s List ‘A’ Rated. BBB ‘A+’. 33 Years In Business. Quinn Windows & Siding. 770-939-5634.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 21


Dunwoody Police Blotter presents

From police reports dated Dec. 4 to Dec. 17 The following information was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-to-Citizen Portal Event Search website and is presumed to be accurate.

R O BBERY  None


BUR G LARY  2300 block of Sandell Drive—On Dec.

4, an arrest was made for burglary at a non-residence.

 5500

block of Perimeter Loft Circle— On Dec. 7, burglary was reported at a residence.

 4400

block of Tilly Mill Road—On Dec. 12, burglary was reported at a residence.

 1800

block of Cotillion Drive—On Dec. 15, burglary was reported at a residence.

Westin Perimeter 7:00 PM


 First

block of Perimeter Center East— On Dec. 16, burglary was reported at a residence.

 8000

block of Perimeter Lofts Circle— On Dec. 16, burglary was reported at a residence.

 2300

block of Dunwoody Crossing— On Dec. 6, theft of parts from a vehicle was reported.

 5200 block of Vernon Lake Drive—On

Dec. 7, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.

 100

block of Perimeter Center West— On Dec. 7, shoplifting was reported.

 2600

block of East Madison Drive— On Dec. 10, theft of parts from a vehicle was reported.

 100

block of Perimeter Center Place— On Dec. 12, an arrest was made for shoplifting.

 6800

block of Peachtree-Industrial Boulevard—On Dec. 12, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.


Band X

Silent Auction

Tasting the City One Bite at a Time

 First

block of Perimeter Center East— On Dec. 15, theft of a motor vehicle was reported.


block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 6, 8, 12, 13, 15 reports and/or arrests were made for shoplifting and/or larceny.

 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 16 and 17, shoplifting, thefts of parts from a vehicle and/or larceny was reported and/or arrests were made.

 4700



DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 4, harassing communications were reported; On Dec. 16, a simple assault was reported.

 100

block of Perimeter Center West— On Dec. 4, assault by intimidation was reported.

 4600

block of Peachtree Place Parkway—On Dec. 6, family battery was reported.

 2200

block of Dunwoody Crossing— On Dec. 6, family battery was reported; On Dec. 15, harassing communication was reported.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, larceny, theft of articles from a vehicle and/or shoplifting was reported and/or arrests were made.

 2100

 2300

 2200

block of Briarleigh Way—On Dec. 4, theft of articles from a vehicle was reported.


block of Peachford Road—On Dec. 7, simple assault and battery was reported. block of Whitfield Drive—On Dec. 7, simple assault was reported.

 First

block of Perimeter Center East— On Dec. 4, theft of articles from a vehicle and larceny were reported.

block of Perimeter Center West— On Dec. 8, harassing communication were reported; On Dec. 15, simple assault and battery was reported.

 1100

 4300

block of Hammond Drive—On Dec. 5 and 7, shoplifting was reported and/or arrests were made.

 100

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 8, simple assault and battery was reported. DUN


block of Dunwoody Park—On Dec. 10, simple assault and battery was reported.

 1900

block of Mount Vernon Road— On Dec. 12, simple assault and battery was reported.

 10,000

block of Madison Drive—On Dec. 12, family battery was reported.

 First block of Perimeter Center Place—

On Dec. 13, family battery was reported.

F RA U D  First

block of Perimeter Center East— On Dec. 4, an arrest was made for fraud by swindle.

 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 5 and 15, reports of credit fraud were made.

 1800 block of Leiden Court—On Dec.

5, fraud by swindle was reported.

fraud by impersonation was reported.

AR R ES TS  I-285

at North Peachtree Road—On Dec. 4, an arrest was made for improper lane usage; On Dec. 13 and 15, arrests were made for driving while unlicensed.

 First

block of Perimeter Center East— On Dec. 4, an arrest was made for failure to appear.

 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road—On Dec. 5, an arrest was made for possession of marijuana.

 Peachtree-Industrial

Boulevard at Greenhedge Way—On Dec. 5, an arrest was made for improper lane usage.

 100

block of Perimeter Center West— On Dec. 5, an arrest was made for disorderly conduct.

 I-285

at Ashford-Dunwoody Road— On Dec. 5, an arrest was made for driv 6600 block of ing on a suspendPeachtree-Industried license, during al Boulevard—On Read more of the a traffic stop for Police Blotter online at Dec. 6, credit fraud safety belts was reported. quired for all persons over age 5;  4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody On Dec. 12, an arrest was made for DUI; Road—On Dec. 7, credit fraud and On Dec. 13, an arrested was made for counterfeiting were reported; On Dec. 9, driving while unlicensed.

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Brookhaven, we are moving in January!

Come ship your Holiday gifts one last time in the old store. We look forward to serving you at our new location 8 doors down. (Formerly Cook's Warehouse)


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4060 Peachtree Road, Suite D Atlanta, GA 30319 P.. 404.237.1223

Store Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:30am - 7:00pm Sat: 9:30am - 4:00pm Sun: Closed

Locally owned and ready to help.


DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 23


the opening of the new Atlanta Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Heal thcare of Atlanta a t Scot tish Rite .

© 2015 RMHC

Keeping Families Close when it matters most. The mission of Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities is to nurture the health and well-being of children and families. At our Ronald McDonald Houses, no family is turned away if they cannot afford the $20 per night contribution and many of these families stay at our Houses for weeks, even months, while their children receive medical treatment at local children’s hospitals.

Donate today at 24


DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |


12-25-2015 Dunwoody Reporter