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Sandy Springs Reporter

DEC. 25, 2015 — JAN. 7, 2016 • VOL. 9 — NO. 26


Rave reviews

Filing suit?

Northpark project may head to court COMMUNITY 14

Give peace a chance Art organization brings hope MAKING A DIFFERENCE 18


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

Planning Commission rejects Galloway sports fields BY JOHN RUCH

The Galloway School’s sports field debate came to the Sandy Springs Planning Commission Dec. 17 and boiled down to the letter of the law versus the neighborhood’s quality of life. The neighborhood prevailed, as the commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the project. Commissioner Dave Nickels said the planning body is tasked to “uphold the mission of the city when it was founded, and that’s to uphold the quality of life and integrity of the neighborhoods…and this [plan] does not do that.” City planning staff had recommended denial as well. The Buckhead private school’s plan for an athletic facility at the southern dead-end of High Point Road

next goes to Sandy Springs City Council for a final vote. “That’s the only controlling vote,” Galloway attorney Sharon Gay noted in a post-meeting interview, indicating the school will wait and see how it fares there. Galloway says it has an urgent need for more athletic facilities that won’t fit on its Buckhead campus. Two students testified that they miss class time because of their long travels to “home” games on even more distant fields. The school has settled on the High Point Road site, which it is buying from former NFL football star Warrick Dunn. But the proposal requires a use permit and two variances: one for creating a new curb cut on a local street, and the other for violating a 50-foot residential buffer

zone. The hotly controversial plan drew a standing-roomonly crowd of at least 130 people. Studies on two key issues—flooding and traffic—came into question in an unpredictable debate. The commission’s decision came down to zoning versus the city’s Comprehensive Plan, a set of non-binding guidelines. The zoning allows for athletic facilities there. But the Comprehensive Plan labels High Point a “protected neighborhood” to be preserved as a suburb, and suggests non-residential uses be allowed only if they are “serving the neighborhood.” In one surprise, Gay ended up facing off with attorney Pete Hendricks, who joined the High Point Civic Association and the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods in opposing the plan. Hendricks is often the one defendSEE CITY PLANNING, PAGE 15


Sandy Springs turns 10 and other events from 2015 BY JOHN RUCH

Sandy Springs turned 10 this year. City officials threw a birthday party and started work on a big, new present to be delivered in 2017 – a City Hall and town center that they decided to call “City Springs.” But as the new came in, some of the old had to give way to make room – venerable Glenridge Hall, for instance, was razed. And that was just part of what went down in 2015. Here are some of the major events of the year in Sandy Springs.

City Springs rises The city’s long-planned downtown development went from dream to reality—and along the way was renamed from “City Center” to “City Springs.” City Springs, slated to open in 2017, is a public-private partnership redevelopment of a 15-acre site bounded by Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs Circle, and Roswell and Johnson Ferry roads. It will include a new City Hall, a performing arts center, various parks, housing and commercial space. Preliminary designs showing fountains and glass-walled buildings were unveiled to community applause in June. At a September ground-breaking ceremony, two dozen residents followed Mayor Rusty Paul’s call to mingle soil from their communities on the site to symbolize it would be “everyone’s neighborhood.” And the city successfully issued $220 million in bonds to fund the project. City Springs also was intended to spur similar mixed-use redevelopments along Roswell Road, and several were approved or got underway, including at Hilderbrand Court



DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

and the Gateway project on the Buckhead border. Some of that redevelopment displaced such landmark local businesses as the Punchline comedy club, which moved to Buckhead, and the Brickery restaurant, which closed.

City celebrates end of its first decade, starts planning for the next 10 years Sandy Springs marked its 10th birthday the first week of December with a dinner party and an open house at City Hall, where residents were especially intrigued by the traffic management center and its wall of live video feeds. Meanwhile, it is already planning ahead for its next decade and beyond. In the summer, the city launched a “Next Ten” planning process to update the land-use plan, create a Unified Development Ordinance and draw up blueprints for various redevelopment hot spots around the city.

City’s advocate and founding mayor dies Eva Galambos, who was known as the “mother” of the city of Sandy Springs, died April 19 at age 87. Galambos’ family fled Europe to escape Fascist persecution prior to World War II and settled in Georgia. An economist, Galambos received her Ph.D. in 1969. In the 1970s, she started leading efforts to convince state lawmakers to allow creation of a city of Sandy Springs. After decades of work by Galambos and other supporters, the city finally won approval in 2005. Galambos was elected the new city’s first mayor. She served two terms and put her stamp on the new city government. “Eva was truly our city mother,” said her successor, current Mayor Rusty Paul. “Her efforts led to the city’s creation. She cared and nurtured the city, and the strength of our community is due greatly to her unwavering love and devotion to creating something better for us all.”



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Glenridge Hall razed, to be replaced by housing and park The demolition of Glenridge Hall, a beloved 1929 mansion in a 75-acre estate off Abernathy Road, and its upcoming replacement with housing, sparked one of the city’s biggest controversies. Owner Caroline Glenn Mayson began selling off the estate in February, when it was announced that a southern section would become home to Mercedes-Benz USA’s new headquarters. But the community was caught off-guard by the March filing of a demolition permit for the historic Tudor Revival mansion, which appeared in movies and TV shows, and was used for local functions. Preservationists staged protests, but Mayson said maintaining the sprawling home wasn’t feasible, and it came down in April. Controversy only got hotter when Mayson selected Ashton Woods to build hundreds of housing units on the property. Residents packed community meetings and threatened to sue, but the city approved the project with various mitigations. The Sandy Springs Conservancy convinced Ashton Woods to preserve 14 acres of the property as a future public park. Meanwhile, Mayson plans to use some of the sale proceeds to establish a foundation that will issue local grants starting in 2016.

Mount Vernon Towers residents fight plan for roundabout that takes their front yard The city unveiled plans in the spring to replace the X-shaped intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road with dual roundabouts. But the plan ran into opposition from the Mount Vernon Towers home for seniors and people with disabilities as design changes appear to show the new roadway eating up most of its front yard. The exact legal and planning reasoning remains unclear, while Chris Peterson, the Towers’ executive director, fears the roundabouts will be a “geriatric demolition derby.”

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Brookhaven vs. Sandy Springs on Pill Hill Plans for a mixed-use project with 305 apartments on Johnson Ferry Road in Pill Hill sparked some friction between Brookhaven and Sandy Springs leaders and got some momentum going for better planning in the traffic-snarled medical center area. The project’s site is on Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital land in Sandy Springs, but close to the Brookhaven border. Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams protested developer North American Properties’ plan at Sandy Springs meetings this summer, complaining of lack of cross-border notice. Meanwhile, many residents in both cities criticized the project as increasing traffic, though North American Properties says it will be walkable and transit-oriented. The brouhaha led Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul to convene an unusual private meeting with Pill Hill hospital leaders, who committed to more coordinated traffic planning, though the details remain unclear.

Work begins to fix Lake Forrest dam After years of prodding from the state’s Safe Dams Programs, the cities of Atlanta and Sandy Springs agreed to split the costs of repairing the “high-hazard” dam running beneath Lake Forrest Drive on the cities’ border. Sandy Springs took the lead on long-overdue maintenance of the dam and partly drained the lake—including capturing and relocating its fish—to begin a close review of the dam’s condition. The review will wrap up in 2016. The state rates the dam as “high hazard,” meaning that if it fails, the flood likely would kill people. It’s one of 11 high-hazard dams in Reporter Newspapers communities. SS

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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


City rethinks six-month road closure for intersection fix BY JOHN RUCH

Work to realign Carpenter Drive at its off-kilter intersection with Roswell Road sparked local resistance when the city announced last month the fix could come with a six-month road closure. The city is now looking for ways to keep Carpenter open during the work, which could begin next spring. “I am all in favor of the road being moved,” said Mark Scheinfeld, CEO of the Right Smile Center dental practice on Carpenter. But after hearing of the potential long-term road closure, he said, “I had a couple sleepless nights.” Scheinfeld was among many Carpenter resident and business owners who attended a City Hall meeting about the intersection plan last month and spoke against a long closure. “We took the feedback from the meeting and are in the process of looking at design alternatives which would possibly keep a lane open during construction,” said city spokeswoman Sharon Kraun. “We have not finalized any design as of today.” Located off Roswell Road just north of I-285, Carpenter Drive runs as a half-mile horseshoe with both ends making quirky intersections with Roswell. On the south end, a median blocks left-hand, southbound turns. On the north end, Carpenter is off-center by roughly 40 feet from

Cliftwood Drive on the opposite side of Roswell. The out-of-alignment set-up makes for an oversized, complicated intersection that frequently traps confused drivers and clogs traffic. The city plans to fix the northern intersection by shifting that end of Carpenter northward to align with Cliftwood. But the proposal included a full closure of Carpenter’s north end during the work for as long as half a year. That was a big concern on a street that, despite its small size, has many varied and dense uses—apartments, a hotel, a senior home, office buildings, churches, even the Colombian consulate. A proposed detour map showed that southbound drivers attempting to access Carpenter would be sent on a 1.4-mile loop, crossing I-285 twice. Drivers attempting to exit Carpenter southbound would have to make a similarly long loop through downtown Sandy Springs. Llisa Jones, a resident of the CampbellStone senior home on Carpenter, said the home’s director drove a busload of fellow residents to the City Hall meeting. Jones said the plans were confusing and couldn’t answer such basic questions as, “How are ambulances [and] fire trucks going to come to Campbell-Stone?” John Murillo, general manager of the Comfort Inn on Carpenter, said the hotel is “keenly aware” of the possible closure

and had its sales manager attend the City Hall meeting. He said he remains uncertain about the project’s timing, and the hotel was planning to provide customers with an “apology” and detour instructions. “We haven’t gotten much information,” Murillo said. Scheinfeld was concerned about the impact on his family’s dental busiSPECIAL ness, which has opA city illustration of the proposed realignment erated on Carpenof Carpenter Drive’s intersection with ter for 13 years. He Roswell Road at Cliftwood Drive. said it was unclear why a six-month planned closure, and his sense is that “clostotal closure was considered. Consultants ing it for six months is off the table.” at the City Hall meeting cited utility reloKraun said the city is considering altercation and the construction of a retaining natives and hopes to begin the project in wall, Scheinfeld said, adding that in his exthe spring, if design and bidding can be perience as a developer, those shouldn’t redone in time. The city already owns a corquire complete road closure. ner property needed to shift Carpenter At the meeting, Scheinfeld presented a northward, she said. drawing of a way to keep one lane of Car“The main issue to be decided is the penter open during construction. He said road closure element,” Kraun said in an there was “positive movement” from city email. “Once we do settle on a final decistaff about it. He added that he believes sion on the closure, we’ll reach back out to Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Counthe Carpenter Drive neighborhood (busicil had not been “fully apprised” of the ness and residential).”

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

A monorail system connecting MARpromoters will also take a serious look at TA, office parks and DeKalb-Peachtree all the non-recreation monorails that opAirport is getting a $10,000 preliminary erate on a daily basis around the world.” study from the city of Brookhaven. A possible Sandy Springs monorail has “I have a vision. I see it as a potential been in the news since that city’s Planning Disneyland type of monorail,” said City Commission chairman floated the idea Councilman Joe Gebbia, who announced last month. But Gebbia said he indepenDec. 15 he is paying for the study from dently thought of a local monorail earlihis discretionary fund. “If we do it right, er this year and has talked informally with I think this would be an example of what various officials about it. cities and unincorporated areas could be “Monorails seem to be resonating,” doing to expand MARTA.” Gebbia said. “I was very pleasantly surMayor Rebecca Chase Williams is not prised to see that article come out from a fan of the idea, asking, “Is a monorail Sandy Springs…If Sandy Springs does it, old-style, 1950s Disney technology?” that’s great.” She noted that at Disney World, monoGebbia said he thought about monorails connect the hotels, but trams move rails while driving on I-85 through people from the parking lots to the park. Brookhaven, pondering traffic snarls, “I would look at trolleys…Let’s do express MARTA’s expansion struggles and forthbus lanes first,” Williams said, questioning coming redevelopment around I-85 and the possible expense of a monorail. North Druid Hills Road. Kim Pedersen, president of a Califor“I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be really neat nia-based advocacy group called Monoto see a monorail [running along Buford rail Society, said that Brookhaven should Highway], saying “Brookhaven?” on the think beyond the Disney image. A smallside,’” Gebbia recalled. scale monorail could be feasible in the He envisioned the monorail that his area, he said. family rode when they visited Disney “The Disney monorails are quite capaWorld. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that ble and do carry hundreds of thousands monorail handled a lot of people.’” of passengers each day,” Pedersen said. “We’ve got to find a way to take tires “However, I hope that the studies and off the street” while attracting top-quality 12 | DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

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-


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.


COMMUNITY Mixed-use development guidelines approved New “Interim Development Guidelines” encouraging dense, mixed-use projects in certain areas were approved by City Council Dec. 15. They apply to projects in Perimeter Center, the City Springs downtown area and parts of Roswell Road. The guidelines give more precise definitions of “mixed use” than current zoning codes. They allow denser projects in exchange for such benefits as higher-quality materials, less parking and middle-income affordable units. The guidelines are only suggestions, not zoning code. They are “interim” until the new Comprehensive Plan, a land-use document now under revision, goes into effect in 2017. Mayor Rusty Paul said the guidelines show “the kind of path we’re heading on when it comes to future development in Sandy Springs…It’s to try to raise the standards that we implement in this community.”

‘Blighted’ properties may see tax hike

The city now can slap “blighted” properties with a seven-fold property tax boost under a new law approved at the Dec. 15 City Council meeting. The “Community Redevelopment Tax Incentive Program,” available under state law, provides for the tax boost until the blighted condition is removed. The extra revenue must go to “community redevelopment.” Blight is defined as meeting at least two of several conditions listed in the law, including abandonment, long-term code violations or repeated illegal activities. The law applies only to commercial or multifamily residential properties.

Mercedes CEO leaves for job with Falcons, stadium

Mill Creek project to start; Brickery closes The Hilderbrand Court shopping center at Roswell Road and Hilderbrand Drive will start coming down this month to make way for Mill Creek Residential’s new mixed-use development, according to a project manager in a new on-site office. Construction fences are already up around most of the complex. The Brickery restaurant, one of many businesses displaced by the $90 million project, was slated to close Dec. 23 after 24 years in operation. Brickery owner Bruce Alterman said “preferred customers” will be invited to a Jan. 5 auction of the restaurant’s fixtures. He also thanked the community. “I don’t know how to do anything special besides a group JOHN RUCH hug,” Alterman said. “We are greatly appreciative.” Workers pour Meanwhile, another giant mixed-used project next door, concrete for the at 6077-6075 Roswell Road, remains stalled several weeks foundation of the after developer Camden USA pulled out. Owner Kirk Deperforming arts metrops said he hopes to have a new developer to announce center stage. by year’s end.


Mercedes-Benz USA president and CEO Steve Cannon, who oversaw the automaker’s move to Sandy Springs, is leaving to head the company that owns the Atlanta Falcons and the new downtown football stadium, among other assets. Cannon will start as CEO of AMB Group on Feb. 1, essentially replacing well-known Atlanta corporate leader Arthur M. Blank as the company day-today operator, according to a press release. Earlier this JOHN RUCH year, MBUSA bought the naming rights to the stadiSteve Cannon um Cannon will now oversee, a move he and Blank announced in a press conference. “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,” Cannon said. Dietmar Exler, a Brookhaven resident and vice president of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA, will take over MBUSA on Jan. 1 and Cannon will act as a consultant through Jan. 31, according to a press release.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 13


Sandy Springs rejects Northpark permit; developer may sue BY JOHN RUCH

thing crazy” in redeveloping it, Heagy said. After waiting and seeking nity approvals, the owner now is blocked from profiting from its investment during Developer Hines’ latest plan for the with the zoning denial. a hot market, he said. massive Northpark site at Ga. 400 and “I wish we had a resolution here,” HeThe now 14-acre, wooded Northpark Abernathy Road—this time focused on a agy said. “Here we are at a golden time site at the southeast corner of the Ga. 400/ hotel—may be heading to court after the in the market. We should be moving forAbernathy interchange was part of a largSandy Springs Board of Appeals upheld a ward, but instead here we are sitting on the er development site that has been mostconstruction permit rejection Dec. 10. sideline. ly built out, includ“Our recommendation to the client is “If we can’t get ing office buildings to to file suit in the Superior Court of Fulton some resolution, the north and nearby County,” said Doug Dillard, Hines’ lawwhich it doesn’t apshopping centers. yer, in an interview after the board’s unanpear we can, then this “Here we are at a golden The wooded site imous vote. “I think their decision was arproperty’s owner will time in the market. We has gone through varbitrary in basis, in law and fact.” have to do what they But City Attorney Wendell Willard have to do…which is should be moving forward, ious planning and physical changes. In and city development staff said a 1987 filing suit,” he added. but instead here we are 1987, Fulton Counzoning plan Hines’ application hinges on Hines is not the sitting on the sideline.” ty rezoned the paris no longer valid and rezoning is required. property owner, just cel—then about 19 That plan includes a possible 50-stoits chosen developacres—for the two ofry office tower—taller than many Atlaner. Heagy said Hines – JOHN HEAGY III fice towers, the hotel ta skyscrapers. But John Heagy III, a Dunhas been asked not and a large section of woody-based senior managing director for to identify the owner, commercial space. The Hines’ southeast region, said in a later inwhich appears in rerezoning was conditerview the 50-story building is not on the cords only as a limited tioned on that site plan, city officials said. current drawing board. company named for the project. HowevChanges since then include PeachtreeInstead, Hines is focused on other parts er, Heagy said the owner is a “state agency” Dunwoody Road cutting through it in the of the 1987 plan, including a roughly from outside Georgia, and noted that it is 1990s and the sale of a corner near MAR25-story office tower and a 600-room hocommon for state pension funds to buy TA’s Sandy Springs station to a hotel detel up to 8 stories tall. A “village” of other investment properties around the nation. veloper. That hotel project, the Grand mixed uses around it would make up for “What’s really disappointing is, this Bohemian Atlanta, remains unbuilt. the loss of the 50-story tower in the plan, great state agency had owned the properMeanwhile, in 2013, Hines sought a reHeagy said. He expressed “frustration” ty so long…and they could’ve done some-

zoning to add mixed-use residential development to its project, but withdrew that plan last year after community opposition. The 50-story tower was still on the table at that time, but Hines began talking about reducing its height after community complaints. Heagy said that Hines was sensitive to “public perception about what is appropriate for a quasi-suburban location…Our goal was not to fly in the face of the public or the city of Sandy Springs, though that was the zoning on the site.” Hines is now back to what it considers the 1987 plan, and earlier this year applied for a city land disturbance permit at an address it calls 6500 Peachtree-Dunwoody. But in an internal administrative decision, city staff rejected the permit and said the site must be rezoned. The hotel has become a sticking point. The city essentially says that Hines is trying to get two hotels out of a 1987 rezoning that only allows one. “The issue here is whether the hotel is still allowed on the remaining 14 acres,” Dillard said, boiling down the technical zoning arguments. The new hotel would change the site’s approved density, among other issues, city officials say. Rezonings in 2000 and 2006 related to the Grand Bohemian plan also changed the 1987 site plan, rendering it invalid, Willard said.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |



Planning Commission rejects Galloway sports fields CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

ing a controversial project against such groups—in fact, he did so for another project later in the same planning commission meeting. The property is along Nancy Creek, and possible stormwater impacts are a big concern for residents devastated in 2009’s historic flooding, who report water standing as deep as 30 inches regularly on the proposed fields’ site. Hendricks said he was convinced to join the opposition when he walked the property in his knee-high turkey-hunting boots and found water too deep to wade through. But Gay said that a Galloway-commissioned water study shows the plan won’t increase flooding. “I think the thing everybody strug-

gles with is the idea of flooding,” Gay said, adding that “this matters to Galloway” for obvious reasons. She acknowledged that it’s “counterintuitive to say that making changes to the property, putting in this project, will not increase flooding.” But that’s what an engineering firm reported at a previous public meeting. However, city engineer Gilbert Quinones said it’s too early in the process for the study to hold much water because the plan could still change significantly if it moves from concept to construction blueprints. And he questioned the proposed inclusion of one runoff-filtering system, known as “bio-retention,” saying, “I don’t believe they can do bioretention here.”

Game-related traffic is another concern of the neighbors. Galloway says most teams would come by bus, and commissioned a traffic study that found a significant amount of vehicle traffic already. But residents claimed the study was done on a day when a NBC crew happened to be filming an TV show in a local house. That unusual activity, Hendricks said, makes for study results that “at best are terribly skewed…[The report is] simply flawed. It is not, in fact, correct.” But Gay said the study was actually conducted on a different day from the filming and from a house party that neighbors also blamed for a traffic blip. “We will run that to ground” and find out if traffic really was unusual on the

study day, she said. Gay, peppering her comments with references to the state constitution and “settled law,” argued that objective zoning trumps suggestive Comp Plan guidelines, and said that opening the fields to community use in off-hours serves the neighborhood. But most commissioners were unconvinced. Nickels said that a use primarily for “a school in a different city 2-pointsomething miles away” is not serving the neighborhood. Commissioner Susan Maziar, a High Point resident, had a similar opinion. “I do not think the Galloway application or project would serve me or my neighborhood,” she said, “and I think that is the definition for the use permit.”

Pill Hill apartments approved with affordable units BY JOHN RUCH

A controversial Pill Hill apartment project was not only approved by Sandy Springs City Council Dec. 15, it also was reborn as a pioneering local experiment in creating affordable “workforce” housing. North American Properties, developer of the 305-unit project on Johnson Ferry Road in the medical center area, agreed to price 10 percent of the units as affordable to households earning 80 to 120 percent of Fulton County’s area median income for 10 years. North American’s Richard Munger said he agreed beforehand to the workforcehousing deal in routine private meetings with city staff to review the plans. An affordable component was raised “by the staff on a number of different occasions… We told them, ‘Let’s keep it on the table,’” Munger said in an interview, adding that a final deal came in recent weeks. He told the council that the affordable component would not impact the financial feasibility of the $55 million project. “It’s not going to have any effect whatsoever, definitely not a negative effect,” he told the council.

Housing affordability for the middle class is a growing political concern in increasingly expensive Sandy Springs, where the council also is considering a housing stipend for police officers and firefighters. “I think this [affordable component] will absolutely become more prevalent” in future residential developments, Munger said in an interview. “It just has to be a solution that works for both sides and is not so onerous it doesn’t work financially.” The apartment project, planned for a site currently owned by Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, has been controversial since debuting this summer, receiving repeated deferrals from the council and the city’s Planning Commission. The site is close to the Brookhaven border, and many residents of both cities have voiced opposition. Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams attended early Sandy Springs meetings to protest the project, claiming a lack of notice that Munger has denied. About 70 residents attended the Dec. 15 council meeting. Many opposed the project, but the council noted its successes in using the controversy to leverage at least

two extraordinary benefits − the workforce housing component and the first unified planning effort among Pill Hill’s three hospitals. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said the hospitals are following through on their promise to work together with city staff on a coordinated plan for Pill Hill in Sandy Springs’ new Comprehensive Plan.“They are working together,” said Paul, who convened hospital leaders in his office in October. “I can report positive movement.” Pill Hill’s rush-hour traffic is the heart of the controversy. Many residents say a 305-unit apartment building will make it worse. But Munger argues that the project will reduce traffic by housing Pill Hill employees and because of its proximity to MARTA’s Medical Center station. Trisha Thompson, president of the influential Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, spoke in support. She noted the closest neighbors, in the Johnson Ferry Park townhomes across the street, also were in support. “They liked the use,” Thompson reported. “They liked the reduction in traffic.” Munger estimated that 75 to 85 percent of the tenants will be Pill Hill em-

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ployees, based on his company’s experience with a similar project in Nashville. Councilman Gabriel Sterling said that “we are wildly under-housed in this area” and noted that the property as zoned could have a much more traffic-creating medical office building instead. Alton Conway, a leader of Brookhaven’s opposition, maintained concerns about the building’s density and height, which would be up to 70 feet, requiring a zoning variance. He also threw a new curveball, claiming that part of the property may actually be within the city of Brookhaven. But Michelle Alexander, Sandy Springs’ director of Community Development, shot that down, saying North American’s certified survey and the city’s data shows the property is entirely within Sandy Springs. Another item delayed a previous council decision on the plan: the Perimeter Center Improvement Districts’ concept of a new roadway extending Perimeter Center Parkway from the “flyover bridge” across I-285. At the Dec. 15 council meeting, Sterling said his understanding was that the apartments would not get in the way of that still entirely conceptual roadway.

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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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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

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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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

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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.

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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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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.

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DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 | 21


Sandy Springs Police Blotter presents

Sandy Springs police blotter: Dec. 5 to 18 The following incidents and arrests are some but not all, of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police. The following information was provided by Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department from its records and the information is presumed to be accurate.

ROBBERY block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 15, a man said he was at a grocery store parking lot around 8:30 p.m. when a silver/ blue car pulled up. A man got out, pulled a knife and took the victim’s passport and $200, then left.


 7500

 200

block of Northwood Drive—On Dec. 17, a man said that around 1:18 a.m., when he was leaving a nightclub, he was struck in the head from behind. Three men hit and kicked him, then took his wallet and cellphone, and ran off. He was later taken to North Fulton Hospital with injuries to his head.

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 Spruce

Bluff Drive—On Dec. 17, officers were called to a reported home invasion around 9:40 p.m. The caller said a man came up to the home through a gated rear area, where he pulled a gun on his wife. The man tied the wife’s legs and hands, and sat her down inside the home. The husband then arrived and, upon entering from the patio area, he was shot in his thigh by the suspect, who then fled. The husband was treated at North Fulton Hospital for a nonlife threatening gunshot wound. The caller said her cellphone and purse were taken.

BURGLARY  4000 block of Riverview Road—On Dec.

10, a resident reported someone forced entry through a rear glass door that had been shattered by a rock. Jewelry was taken.

 500

block of Northridge Road—On Dec. 11, a forced-entry burglary was reported.

DEC. 25, 2015 – JAN. 7, 2016 |

address listed—A high school freshman reported that she gave her friend a laptop to hold on to while outside in a freshman common area. The friend placed it on the bench and now it is gone.

 6300

block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 12, a man and a woman stole several remote-control toys.

 2000

block of Dunwoody Club Drive— On Dec. 12, a man reported he left his wallet on the lotto machine counter and walked off. On return, it was gone. Video showed an older man picked the wallet up and left the store.

 5900

block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 12, a grocery manager said a man took an $18 bottle of wine and ran off. Also at a grocery, loss prevention staff observed a woman take two small boxes of facial cream products and go into the women’s bathroom. The staff found the boxes in the trashcan, so they detained the woman. She said she tested the product, but returned it. However, she could not show where she returned it. She later admitted placing one of the tubes in her…well…hiding place. The second tube was found later and she was arrested for shoplifting.


 Powers Ferry Road—On Dec. 12, an em-

block of Kingsport Drive—On Dec. 10, a man reported his 2007 Dodge Charger was stolen.

 6100


 No

Chase—On Dec. 13, a resident returned home from out of town around 9 p.m. When he entered his home, he found a man inside, hiding in the bathroom. The man pulled a weapon and ordered the resident to leave the home. The resident then fled through a back window. The suspect took an antique watch, video camera, PS4 and a pistol. The resident retreated to the nearby woodline and called police.

 5500


Road—On Dec. 11, a man reported his 2007 Escalade was stolen.

block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 12, loss prevention staff watched a man dressed as a woman take two Beats Headphones, valued at $199 each, and unhook the wire ties. He then concealed them and left. The man got into a car as the police arrived. He then drove recklessly around the parking lot and then onto the road where he hit another car, then fled onto Kingsport Drive. The officers initiated pursuit, but quickly terminated it due to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The car’s ID showed it registered to someone on Wendell Court in south Fulton County.

 Old Virginia

block of Peachtree-Dunwoody

 5600

ployee said two men entered the store, took four remote-controlled helicopters and left without paying.

 5500

block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 12, a man said he left his wallet in a locker SS

PUBLIC SAFETY at a gym. Later, he discovered that someone got into the locker, without force, and took the wallet and $625 cash.  700

block of Hammond Drive—On Dec. 13, a hotel employee reported that a suspicious man removed food items from the hotel kitchen storage area. She saw him walking around in a suit, but carrying a plastic trash bag. She later saw the same man in workout clothes, acting as if he were helping other guests with whatever, and soon attempted to enter a locked food area door. The employee confronted him. The man left the hotel and got into a gray minivan that drove away.

 900

block of Crestline Parkway—On Dec. 15, a hotel guest reported that his room was ransacked and some items were taken.

 5600

block of Roswell Road— On Dec. 15, a restaurant manager said a man snatched the tip jar after putting a mask on his face. He then ran toward Lake Placid Drive.


address—A man reported his credit card number had been used in Virginia three times for just over $300.

 No address—A man said some-

one opened an AT&T account in his name.

said he (suspect) was not well mentally, and was upset. The knife was a bread knife. The victim was taken to the hospital to be evaluated and the suspect was arrested for aggravated assault.  900

block of Summit Place—On Dec. 11, officers responded to an apartment on a “person stabbed” call. They found a man in pain and bleeding from his mouth. The man told officers that he had gone to visit his family and, upon return, his girlfriend was angry with him for being gone so long. She slapped him and then said she “had something for him” which turned out to be a knife. She stabbed him in the mouth causing him to bleed severely. She then drove off in her car. Warrants are pending. The victim was transported to the hospital and will recover. Powers Ferry Road at New Northside Drive—On Dec. 12, just before 2 a.m. officers met a woman who said that she had gotten into an argument with a friend named “Frankie,” who picked her up from her job as a dancer. While they were in the truck driving, Frankie punched her so she punched him back and the two began fighting. She kicked the window out and jumped from the car causing non-life threatening injuries. That case was turned over to detectives.

address—A woman reported she was a victim of a “Secret Santa” scam. She was recruited by “James Heredia” by phone and was later mailed a check for “future services” in the amount of $993. It is not clear if she had yet spent her own money before the bank notified her the check was fraudulent.


From the first meeting to our move-in day I have been extremely satisfied with the help I received and more importantly with the care my mother has received. The community is warm and inviting, the staff is very helpful, and everyone seems to focus completely on the care of the residences.” – Daughter of resident Phoenix at Dunwoody


block of Roswell Road—On Dec. 10, employees of a discount department store stopped a man who stole a PS4 game system by removing the electronic do-dad that signals when you leave the store. He was arrested for the theft valued at $300. That same day staff at the store plucked off another thief when they got a man who took four bottles of cologne, valued at just over $180. He was  No address—A arrested. Read more of the woman was lookPolice Blotter online at  6300 block ing on Craigslist of Peachtree-Dunfor a job as a modwoody Road—On el and, of course, Dec. 10, employsoon was conees of a big-box discount store nabbed a tacted by a man who said he would send woman who stole some Zyrtec and a bother a check for $2,650 to put into her actle of Advil, then bought some other items count and to use for whatever expenses. and passed through after paying for them, She was instructed to send $2,200 of it to but not the meds. She was arrested. 8300 a third party, which she did via two Monblock of Roswell Road—On Dec. 10, afeyGram prepaid cards. She then found ter handling a shoplifting call at a grocery out the original check was fraudulent. store, the officer who took the report was at a nearby gas station when he saw a man Four words folks: WAIT-TILL-CHECKmatching the description of the suspect. He CLEARS. spoke to the man, who appeared intoxicated, who said he had been to the grocery. ASSAULT While talking to the man, he lifted his shirt  6300 block of Powers Ferry Road— revealing a DVD that the officer later deOn Dec. 11, officers were called to a grotermined was stolen from the gas station. cery store regarding a person who had been The DVD was categorized as Asian pornogstabbed. The victim had non-life-threatraphy, taken from the “porn” section. The ening cuts from another person, both of man was later arrested. whom were employees. The suspect said the victim had been disrespectful. The suspect  No

“I thank God I found Phoenix Senior Living.

 5500

When it comes to your loved one, EVERYTHING matters and it MATTERS to us. Each Phoenix senior Living community offers innovative and personalized services for seniors. • Assisted Living • Memory Care THE PHOENIX AT ROSWELL (770) 521-9913 11725 POINTE PL.


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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 Sandy Springs Reporter  
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