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Our Town DeKalb

6 Back Talk: Your iPhone May Be Ruining Your Spine Health 8 Tandem Bank Opens Flagship Location on Main Street Tucker 10 Movie Tavern Remodels, Relaunches in Tucker

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OurTown NE DeKalb Community and Family Magazine

A Shiny Inc Publication Editor Lizbeth A. Dison Shinycomm.com ldison@shinycomm.com Our Town DeKalb is published and direct mailed to Creative Director Jay Adcock jaywadcock@gmail.com Writers Lizbeth A. Dison Art Wood Lois Ricci Cindy E. Farrar Karl Schwartz Distribution Coordinator Emma Dison Brantley

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4426 Hugh Howell Road, Suite 307B Tucker, Georgia 30084 770.621.9041 info@ourtowndekalb.com

select homes in the Tucker / Northeast DeKalb area. Opinions expressed by the writers and staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town DeKalb reserves the right to edit or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town DeKalb is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2019 by Our Town DeKalb and Shiny Inc LLC. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden in any media without written permission from the publisher.

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IN THIS ISSUE 3 Magnolia Room Cafeteria: Comfort is More Than a Food – It’s Family 6 Back Talk: Your iPhone May Be Ruining Your Spine Health 7 Age-Friendly Tucker: Maintaining Our Designation 8 Tandem Bank Opens Flagship Location on Main Street Tucker 9 Common Sen$e with Art Wood Plan New Year’s Resolutions That Succeed 10 Movie Tavern Remodels, Relaunches in Tucker 11 Smoke Rise Academy of the Arts Presents DISNEY’S THE LION KING for Winter Program 11 Acclaimed Soprano Schedules Recital to Benefit Tucker Park 12 Wellness in Sight: Happy New Day! 12 Northlake Girl Scout Achieves Silver Award with Pollinator Study 14 Construction Begins on New Smoke Rise Elementary School 15 Tucker Resident Graduates with Top Honors from U.S. Coast Guard Bootcamp ON THE COVER: Magnolia Room founder Louis Squires toasts the New Year with servers (left to right) Rosie, Hilda, Vilma, and Yasmilla.

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On The Cover: Magnolia Room Cafeteria:

Comfort is More Than a Food – It’s Family L.A. Dison Louis Squires doesn’t like to cook. For seventeen years, he was a regular diner at the Embry Hills S&S Cafeteria, sometimes eating there twice a day, seven days a week. Over the years, “Mr. Louis,” as he was affectionately called there, became more than just a regular customer; he formed a close bond with all the staff – not just the wait staff, but the line servers, the kitchen staff, the bussers, even the head chef and the management. He considered them family, and they felt the same about him. So in 2016, when he heard that the 33-year-old restaurant was slated to close, his first thought wasn’t where he was going to continue eating, it was concern over the fate of his “family,” who would all soon be out of jobs. “I couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen,” remembered Squires of that fateful day. “Some of those people had worked there for decades. The restaurant had lost its lease, and rather than relocating, S&S decided to just close it. I had to do something – this was my family.” Squires didn’t think long about what he needed to do. He decided to open his own restaurant – a bold decision for an online retailer with absolutely no restaurant experience. He envisioned a restaurant that would continue to serve old-fashioned fare that many consider “comfort food,” the kind of food once popular in cafeterias like S&S and Morrison’s but was quickly disappearing in the South. Squires grew up in Atlanta but has fond memories of spending summers on his grandparents’ farm in North Carolina. “Farm to table” wasn’t some trendy culinary movement but a way of life. His grandparents raised the meat and grew the vegetables; chicken was fried and vegetables were seasoned with pork. It was simple but good food, always fresh and grown locally. “That old Southern cooking is a part of my heritage,” said Squires. “Part of my decision to open a restaurant serving traditional Southern dishes was not just because that’s what I like to eat, but because that kind of cooking means a lot to so many people.” After he decided to become a restaurateur, Squires told the S&S staff and management of his plans, and asked how many of them would come along with him. Twenty-four of the employees decided that when S&S closed, they would move over to work for Squires, who committed to putting them on his payroll after their S&S jobs were terminated, even though the new restaurant wouldn’t open for another six months. Squires realized he was going to need a miracle to get the new restaurant up and running in that short timeframe. He had his core staff in place, already trained and experienced, and a full catalog of field-tested recipes. But he had no location, no permitting, and, again, no restaurant experience at all. “I really think that we were destined from the start to open that restaurant,” Squires said. “Every time we hit a roadblock – and there were many – somehow the problem would get solved. Once the old S&S customers got wind of the plan, we were constantly being asked when we were going to open. The Tucker business community welcomed us from the start, and offered valuable guidance and support on locations, permitting, zoning and just general business needs. We couldn’t have opened as quickly as we did without the support of the entire community.”

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Executive Producer Scott Chalk interviews Squires for a segment of Atlanta Eats. “Magnolia Room,” named after the dining room at the now-shuttered Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta, opened its doors to the public on February 2, 2017. Of the twenty-four former S&S employees, twenty-two are still employed at Magnolia today; some of the older employees have worked in the food industry for decades. Head chef Williams Finley has been cooking Southern food for over fifty years; Dorthy Burley has been baking rolls and cornbread for over forty. When S&S shuttered its last Atlanta area location at Campbellton Road in 2018, Squires hired some of those employees at Magnolia, adding even more experience to his team. “It seemed the right thing to do,” he said. Like Squires’s grandmother, Magnolia Room serves up traditional Southern cuisine, simple but good, and locally sourced. Chicken comes from Springer Farms, always fresh, never frozen, with no antibiotics, contaminants and pesticides used. Vegetables and fruits are purchased through Sherry’s Produce, which has served the residents and businesses in Tucker for fifteen years. Magnolia even still uses a gas grill - an anomaly among local cafeterias. Diners are treated to a diverse menu, which rotates daily so there are different items as well as some standards every day. Fried chicken, baked chicken, meatloaf, turkey and dressing, baked ham, prime rib, fried shrimp, fried fish and trout almondine are just some of the familiar Southern entrees. Side dishes include collard or turnip greens, green beans, squash lyonnaise, deviled eggs, cabbage, fried and boiled okra, and fried green tomatoes. Salads use fresh ingredients and are prepared onsite, not prepackaged and delivered in. Bread is baked there daily, and includes fluffy dinner rolls and plain, jalapeno, and cracklin cornbread. Desserts are the best of Southern sweets, with a variety of homemade pies and cakes.

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The Bits in Between: The Privilege of Resolution

Magnolia Room From page 3

My teenage daughter has beautiful hair. It’s perfectly healthy, never been touched by any kind of chemical, glossy and dark, flowing below her shoulders. Her hair is the envy of many, including her mother. But for the past year, she has held a burning desire to change it up, to color it some radical nonconformist color, or get some trendy new cut. Maybe it has to do with being a teenage girl, or maybe it’s just part of growing up and wanting to break out from her childhood with a more sophisticated, mature look. Whatever the reason, she has made a resolution to save her money and get what is called an ombre coloring. The cost of this procedure is about $400, because it requires a specific skillset and a lot of time from your stylist. But she really wants it, and is willing to make the financial sacrifice to achieve it. My daughter is not a shallow person; she is always thoughtful of others and she does a lot of community volunteer work, through her church youth group, through her school action groups, or on her own. But even though she is pretty confident in herself and fearless when it comes to asserting herself or defending others, she is pretty certain with newly glamorized hair she will be an even stronger presence in her world and maximize her success in school, at work, and in life. This started me thinking about the resolutions we all make this time of year, to make some change in lifestyle which is supposed to enhance our lives and make us better people, either for ourselves or, hopefully, for the world around us. Does just changing a norm really make us better, or is it only in seeing the “flip side” of our resolution, in realizing the opposite of our situation, that we realize the true lifestyle change? One of the most common New Year resolutions is to lose weight, but what about being thankful that you aren’t one of the 37 million Americans facing hunger every day, and that you have the choice of how and what you eat? Maybe you plan to exercise more in the New Year, but do you think about the 20 million Americans with disabilities who face everyday challenges with mobility? Planning to cut back on eating out or other entertainment expenditures so you can put more money towards savings? Be grateful for the fact that you have disposable income that allows you to make those kinds of decisions, and that you aren’t one of the 25 million American seniors living at or below the federal poverty level, who have to make daily decisions on whether to buy groceries, pay a utility bill, or fill a prescription. I’m not suggesting that we give up making resolutions. Several of our contributing writers this month offer advice on the pragmatic way to make resolutions, to set achievable goals. But having the ability to make resolutions is a privilege, and for every lifestyle we are trying to adjust, we need to remember the many others who don’t have those choices. I hope for success and happiness for all in the New Year. May your resolutions include seeing fully your good life, and always sharing your good fortune with others.

Squires also was sure to include on the menu that staple of Southern cooking – those casseroles popular at church dinners and family events. “No one still serves basic casseroles like we do,” he boasted. “Squash, eggplant, sweet potato, lasagna, chicken and dumplings – all made from scratch and slowcooked in the oven.” The restaurant was grown exponentially since its opening; Tucker Business Association President Honey it’s not unusual for Sunday Van De Kreke presents Squires with the organidiners to be lined up through zation’s “Business of the Year” Award. the lobby and out the door. Magnolia’s take-out and catering business has grown to the point where the restaurant is contemplating a section dedicated specifically to take-out, as well as a separate kitchen just to handle catering orders. The restaurant has also garnered some industry recognition. Magnolia Room has been featured on television’s Atlanta Eats, and this year was awarded “Business of the Year” by the Tucker Business Association. It has also been designated a “Neighborhood Favorite” by social networking service Nextdoor, and achieved a “Certificate of Excellence” from travel and restaurant website

Since 1998

TripAdvisor. As successful as Magnolia Room has been, Squires realizes he can’t rest on his laurels but has to continue planning for the future. He researches “old recipes” as he looks to expand menu offerings. He remembers “fusion” dishes from the 1960s as Southern cooks tried to incorporate elements from Asian, European, and Spanish cuisines into traditional Southern dishes. Some of those newer items, such as chicken teriyaki, come from the old Morrison’s cafeteria. Never cutting corners, Magnolia’s chef makes the teriyaki glaze from scratch and marinates the chicken in a very labor intensive technique for a dish that brings back memories of what was then “exotic” cuisine. What about those who express health concerns about cholesterol or the high fat content of some of the dishes? “All our vegetables are fresh, locally sourced and, yes, many are cooked with pork,” answered Squires. “But aren’t you supposed to eat three to five servings of vegetables a day to maintain good health? You won’t eat a good serving if they don’t taste good.” Squires still doesn’t like to cook. Twice a day, seven days a week, he sits down to a table at Magnolia Room and enjoys a hot meal including all his favorite dishes. But the food isn’t what brings him comfort – it’s the family who greets him there each and every day. Magnolia Room Cafeteria is located at 4450 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker, and is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can check out its daily menu and order online at magnoliaroomcafeteria.com.

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Back Talk

Age-Friendly Tucker

Your iPhone May Be Ruining Your Spine Health

Maintaining Our Designation Lois Ricci

Karl Schwartz, DC “Text neck” is a coined term for the symptoms that occur from loss or reversal of the normal C-shaped curve in our necks (viewing the neck from the side). Before this current generation, text neck was caused primarily by trauma, especially motor vehicle accidents causing “whiplash” type injuries; however, it also was seen intermittently in patients who had jobs or hobbies that required looking down most of the time, such as dentists and dental hygienists, or people who read a lot. Our current younger generation is the first with such an ubiquitous, constant use of technology; almost every girl or boy under twentyone seems to always be engaged with a mobile phone, a tablet, or some kind of electronic device, even as young as toddlers. Over time, the repetitive nature of constantly bending the head down causes the C-shaped curve to flatten, and in severe cases to even reverse, leading to a cascade of related problems. Patients can experience postural changes such as forward head and shoulder posture, and if not corrected can create pressure on the spinal nerves, causing tingling, numbness and muscle weakness down the arms, forearms, and hands. Ultimately, this can all lead to disk problems, degenerative joint disease (DJD), and degenerative disk disease (DDD). Orthopedic surgeon Kenneth K. Hansraj believes text neck poses a real threat to the younger generation.

“We did a study on the issue of poor posture and how it affects you, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device.” Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj “We did a study on the issue of poor posture and how it affects you, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device,” says Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitative Medicine. “It’s a lot of load, an amazing amount of weight to be carrying around your neck.” Just how much load does that constant downward-looking gaze put on the neck muscles? “When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about ten to twelve pounds. At fifteen degrees [forward], the neck sees twenty-seven pounds. At forty-five degrees, it sees forty-nine pounds, and at sixty degrees, it’s sixty pounds.” As device use becomes more widespread among all age groups, how do we avoid endangering our physical health? Just like any other problem, the most effective way is to deal with it proactively rather than reactively, i.e. to keep the

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Tucker is one of only 454 U.S. cities awarded the “Age-Friendly City” designation by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the designation places emphasis on meeting the needs of an aging population, the larger definition means that the city enables people of all ages and abilities to actively participate in community. So how did Tucker become officially recognized as an Age-Friendly City, and, most importantly, how do we as a community maintain that designation? This country is looking at doubling its older population in the next twenty years. Life expectancy has increased more than thirty years in the last century; a ten-year-old child today has a fifty percent chance of living beyond the age of 100. The 85-plus age group is the fastest growing subgroup of the aging demographic. Demographers have for decades warned about the challenges presented by an aging U.S. population but it is just recently that city organizations realized agefriendly communities aren’t just serving older adults, but people of all ages. AARP joined forces with WHO in the U.S. to create more “lifelong communities,” healthy, walkable places with housing, transportation, and service options for people of all ages. Rodney Harrell, director of AARP’s Livable Communities Program, believes, “What is key is that the community has the support of people who can implement the changes. It’s not enough just to have a plan.” Tucker city officials have made the commitment to maintain the city’s Age-Friendly designation. Working with various community groups, including

Tucker Civic Association’s Lifelong Community Committee, non-profits, businesses, and residents, the city has begun planning and implementing efforts that focus on eight core community features specified in the WHO requirements. These “domains of livability” influence the quality of life for all, and include transportation; housing; outdoor spaces and public buildings; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; community and health services; and communication and information. The Tucker Action Plan will identify completed work and work in progress for each of the domains, and is due to be submitted to WHO by December 2020. The Tucker Civic Association’s Lifelong Community Committee meets monthly to discuss recommendations for the Action Plan; the next meeting is 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Hearthside Tucker, 4358 Lynburn Drive. Keeping Tucker’s Age-Friendly designation is a community effort; the Committee welcomes all who want to participate in the development or execution of the Action Plan. For more information, contact loisricci@ bellsouth.net. Dr. Lois Ricci is a longtime resident of Tucker, where she chairs the Tucker Civic Association’s Lifelong Community Committee. She serves as an adjunct faculty member at both Kennesaw State University and Clayton State University, where she teaches gerontology courses and the Professional Development in Gerontology Certificate Class.

problem from happening rather than trying to treat it after the fact. • Improve ergonomics by holding phones or tablets at eye level or slightly higher • Use stands to hold and display devices • Decrease time spent looking down while texting or reading • Break up sessions into several smaller time frames • Do exercises that stretch the front neck muscles and strengthen the back neck muscles • Work on improving your posture • Become more aware of your routine when using devices and make adjustments accordingly Finally, spinal adjustments can be a faster path to correcting neck posture, muscles, joints, and disks from continued movement away from proper posture and weight bearing. This will decrease neck pain, and improve muscle, disk, and nerve function. Have your kids been checked by a chiropractor? Maybe they should! Dr Karl Schwartz is a graduate of Life University in Marietta, Georgia; he has been practicing chiropractic in Tucker for twenty-one years and a resident here for fifteen years. His office specializes in preventing sports injuries and maximizing performance by analyzing posture, weight bearing, and gait. If you have a question you would like addressed in a future column, please email karlschwartzdc@gmail.com. Note “Back Talk” in the subject line.

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Tandem Bank Opens Flagship Location on Main Street Tucker

Common Sen$e with Art Wood

Plan New Year’s Resolutions That Succeed Happy New Year, Tucker - Welcome to 2020! The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on last year, and plan for the year ahead. A major part of most people’s plans for the upcoming year revolve around New Year’s resolutions. Now, I am sure that half of the people reading this groaned at the thought of New Year’s resolutions, and the other half were excited by the idea. This article hopefully will inspire each group to feel good about having New Year’s resolutions, and also give each the best chance of success in achieving them. First, be honest with yourself. Are you the type of person who is motivated by goals? It’s not a trick question, and if your answer is NO, that’s okay – some people work well with goals, and some people don’t. But being a goal-oriented person can lead to both failure and guilt when you don’t make pragmatic resolutions. Maybe you set yourself up to fail all along - and the last thing you need is to start your New Year with a sense of failure! If you have had a problem seeing your past resolutions through to completion, it may be because you set the bar so high that they were impossible to achieve. “In 2020, I am going to put 50% of my paycheck per month in savings,” or maybe, “In 2020, I am going to stop going out to eat, and eat at home 100% of the time.” These types of statements are unrealistic, with an almost certain chance of failure. According to U.S. News and World Report, 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Setting such lofty goals only increases your chance of failure and the potential guilt that comes along. Make the resolutions more realistic, and make them life changers. Tie in rewards for achieving the results. Here is how I would reword the above resolutions: “In 2020, I am going to put at least 10% of my paycheck in savings every month, but on months where I can save the stretch goal of 50%, I will reward myself with a night on the town.” Or, “In 2020, I am going to eat out less, and for every week that I can eat at home every night, I will give myself permission to eat out one night.” Do you hear the difference between those two sets of resolutions? Which set do you think is attainable, even, dare I say, fun? The latter set of resolutions gives yourself room for new challenges every week or month, and if you don’t succeed, there’s no guilt or sense of failure - you can just try again during the next block of time. If you do succeed in keeping your resolution, then you get the freedom to reward yourself for your hard work. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a strong financial fortress. Small steps in resolutions can get you to big changes in lifestyle. Good luck in 2020. I believe it is going to be a great year!

L.A. Dison Downtown Tucker welcomed in September the first new bank to open in Georgia in over a decade. Tandem Bank is a full-service bank offering checking accounts, home equity loans and banking assistance for small business owners. The bank is organized by a group of fourteen community members with ties to the Tucker and Decatur areas, and headed by founder and president Charles DeWitt. DeWitt is from Tucker, and previously founded and operated Resurgens Bank in Northlake for ten years before its acquisition by Charter Bank (now operating as part of CenterState). DeWitt spent seventeen years working at a regional bank, but wanted to establish a community bank, with close relationships with its customers and strong support for small local businesses. “There’s a reason we wanted to open our office on the corner of Main and First, in the heart of downtown Tucker,” said DeWitt. “Our location reflects our identity as a community bank, and symbolizes our strong belief in Main Street.”

“Our location reflects our identity as a community bank, and symbolizes our strong belief in Main Street.” Charles DeWitt The old-fashioned commitment to community includes a personal approach to banking. “We don’t offer one-size-fits-all banking solutions because we realize that every customer is unique,” continued DeWitt. “We want our customers to be able to bank the way they prefer. Senior customers want to bank more traditionally, preferring personal visits to handle transactions. Younger customers want to do everything via mobile. But no matter how you bank, we leverage the latest technology to make banking fast, secure and efficient.” DeWitt extends that personal approach to include Tandem’s business customers. “The buck literally starts and stops in this building,” he said. “Financial requests made at a local branch office have to be escalated through multiple layers; ultimately, those decisions are made by people that probably don’t know you or your business. We aim to develop a close relationship with each business client, and know and understand their goals. As a local bank we have a lot of flexibility; requests made here are decided right here.” When it came to naming the new venture, DeWitt said the partners wanted something that represented the bank’s relationship with the community. “We named the bank Tandem because we work in nimble partnership with our customers, catering to each one’s requirements—we’re doing it together.”

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Art Wood (NMLS #118234) is the branch manager of Legacy Mortgage Team of Goldwater Bank, located at 2341 Main Street in downtown Tucker. “Tucker’s Mortgage Guy” for fifteen years, he is a former Tucker Tiger (Class of ’92), and co-founder and organizer of Taste of Tucker. Family guy, community guy, and definitely not your typical mortgage guy - it’s all that he does that makes Art Wood who he is. Contact him at 678.534.5834 or art.wood@goldwaterbank.com.

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OurTown NE DeKalb Community and Family Magazine

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Our Town DeKalb is always looking for talented writers! Send story suggestions to info@ourtowndekalb.com. Submissions become the property of Our Town DeKalb; all submitted material is subject to review and editing. Acceptance of submitted material does not guarantee publication.

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Smoke Rise Academy of the Arts Presents DISNEY’S THE LION KING for Winter Program

Movie Tavern Remodels, Relaunches in Tucker L.A. Dison After a major renovation, the Movie Tavern Northlake reopened in November as Movie Tavern by Marcus. The evening celebration kicked off with Marcus President and CEO Rolando Rodriguez presiding over the official ribbon-cutting, followed by a reception featuring many of the new menu items for the in-theatre dining. Tucker city officials were on the guest list, including Mayor Frank Auman, Director of Community and Economic Development John McHenry, and many members of the Tucker city council. After the reception, guests were invited to stay for a movie of their choice, either 2019 WWII drama “Midway” or action crime thriller “21 Bridges.” In an onsite interview with OTD, Rodriquez revealed that early in his career, he had served as a manager with the Tucker theatre, which was then part of the AMC Theatre chain. He said that it was quite gratifying to return to the location now as part of the executive team leading the entire franchise into the next era of cinema experience. Guests were guided through the newly upgraded space, including a brand new concession stand and updated corridors and lobby space. All eight auditoriums are now furnished with DreamLounger recliner seating, with plenty of legroom and the comforts of a home theatre. A SuperScreen DLX auditorium features an oversized digital screen and Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound.

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A SuperScreen DLX auditorium features an oversized digital screen and Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound. The theatre has stepped up its game in regards to in-theatre dining, with a scratch kitchen and executive chef creating original menu items exclusive to Movie Tavern. The varied selections include entrees, garden picks, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and award-winning Zaffiro’s® pizza, plus beer and wine is available. Delivery-to-seat service is available throughout the theatre; guests can place their orders at the concession stand and a friendly associate will deliver it to the seat. The company also has launched a series of promotional initiatives sure to appeal to moviegoers of any age - $5 Movie Tuesdays, Student Thursdays, Young at Heart for 65+, and Magical Movie Rewards. Many of these programs come with perks like free popcorn or discounted tickets.

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This was the first of the three Movie Taverns in metro Atlanta to be renovated, with the Roswell and Suwannee locations planned for relaunch in early 2020. Tucker remained open and operational during the renovations, and Rodriguez thanked local customers for their patience and loyalty during this time of transition. Marcus Theatres is the fourth largest theatre circuit in the U.S., currently owning or operating 1,106 screens at 91 locations. The company acquired the Movie Tavern circuit, including the three metro Atlanta locations, in early 2019.

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The elementary actors of the Smoke Rise Academy of the Arts (SRAA) drama department will present two versions of the family musical Disney’s The Lion King as its first 2020 production. The younger elementary class (ages six to nine years) will present Disney’s The Lion King Kids, a shorter version suited for younger actors and audiences, on Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1, 2020. The older elementary class will stage Disney’s The Lion King JR, Friday, February 21 through Sunday, February 23. All performances will be in the Fellowship Hall of Smoke Rise Baptist Church, 5901 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker. Members of the Smoke Rise, Tucker, Northlake and surrounding communities are invited to attend this free performance. Based on Disney’s animated epic The Lion King, Disney’s The Lion King Kids and Disney’s The Lion King JR are both charming musicals that will inspire the imagination of its audiences. The African savannah comes to life on the stage with Simba, Rafiki and an unforgettable cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle, and back again. The colorfully-costumed SRAA casts will perform many of the songs from the Academy Award winning film score by Elton John and Tim Rice, along with additional material written especially for the children’s productions. Both children’s versions of Disney’s The Lion King are fun family shows suitable for all ages. Show times for Disney’s The Lion King Kids are 7:00 p.m. on both Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1. Show times for Disney’s The Lion King JR are 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 21; 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 22; and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 23. Each show will have concessions available for purchase during intermission. Attendance is free with no tickets required. The SRAA teen drama class will present Fiddler on the Roof, March 20-22, 2020.

Acclaimed Soprano Schedules Recital to Benefit Tucker Park Our Town DeKalb Staff Lyric soprano Lucille Golden-Blakey will be performing in a February recital to benefit Tucker’s William McKinley Peters Park. The performance is scheduled at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 22 at First Christian Church of Atlanta, 4532 Lavista Road, and is sponsored by the Friends of Peters Park and Tucker area churches. Golden-Blakey has appeared in concerts throughout the United States and Europe, with a repertoire featuring arias by Mozart, Puccini, Debussy, Faure, Handel, and Schumann. She most notably performed at one of President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural concerts. Tickets are $20, and will be available for purchase on eventbrite.com after January 18; search for “Benefit Concert for William McKinley Peters Park.” Tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the concert; doors open 3:30 p.m. A reception with refreshments will follow the recital, and guests will have the opportunity to take photos with Golden-Blakey.

Smoke Rise Academy of Arts provides group arts instruction for children and adults, and individual music lessons for all ages on piano, violin, flute, guitar, drums and voice. Visit smokerisebaptist.org\arts or call 678-533-0562 for details on performance, program and classes.

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Wellness In-Sight: Happy New Day! Cindy E. Farrar, LMT, BCTMB, CLC Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? This is probably the most frequently asked question this time of year. Even though 22% of resolutions don’t make it past the first week, and 40% have been abandoned after a month, making resolutions does not have to be a losing proposition. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who explicitly make a resolution are ten times more likely to attain their goal than people who don’t clearly state their resolution. Successful resolutions, like goals, are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-lined. Resolutions that are overly generalized or broad can be daunting. An example of a SMART resolution is, “From January through March, each week I am attending two Tai Chi classes.” Effective resolutions are also stated in the present tense. Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu stated, “A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” (Often incorrectly quoted as, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”) There tends to be much less pressure thinking about taking a “single step” daily, weekly, or even monthly instead of a year’s worth of lifestyle changes. If we start small with something that we can “see,” the idea of resolutions will not be so overwhelming. When we implement gradual yet consistent practices, it will help to make our resolutions more achievable. In addition, rather than waiting for January 1 to roll around, why not choose to make these resolutions a part of daily life? I like to think of New Year’s resolutions and Thanksgiving from the same perspective. The conscious practice of expressing our gratitude and resolving to do things to improve ourselves, our lives, our communities should not be reserved to one special day a year. I propose that every day we manifest our thankfulness and make “new day” resolutions. Cindy E. Farrar is a licensed massage therapist, certified life coach and the owner of Massage Associates of Atlanta, LLC (Lavista Road in Tucker). In addition, she is a certified Qi Gong instructor and a nationally approved continuing education provider for massage therapy and bodywork. Cindy enjoys sharing insights on wellness and personal and community development as a speaker and writer.

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...at it’s finest! Local and farm fresh, Sherry’s produce is our exclusive source for fresh vege�a�les and frui�s. �ome �as�e �he di�erence��

Northlake Girl Scout Achieves Silver Award with Pollinator Study Northlake Girl Scout Emma Porlier has earned a Silver Award, completing one of the organization’s highest awards challenges. To earn a premium award, a Girl Scout is required to pick a “Take Action” project that makes her community a better place, putting in around fifty hours to meet the requirements for a Silver Award. Porlier was inspired by her troop’s environmentally-themed booth at last year’s Tucker Day to create a butterfly garden as her project. After researching the declining pollinator populations in her area, she selected and planted different flowers and herbs to attract butterflies and bees. The project has given her an appreciation for and sensitivity to the delicate balance between pollinators and their environment, and an awareness that even a relatively small gesture can make a long lasting, positive impact on her community. Porlier is a member of Troop 12721, led by Julie Fries, a part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. She is a homeschooled ninth-grader, and the daughter of Marc and Laura Porlier.

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SHOPS OF HERITAGE PLACE 4450 Hugh Howell Road, Tucker, GA 30084

Our Town DeKalb

Our Town DeKalb

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www.MagnoliaRoomTucker.com

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(770) 864-1845

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Construction Begins on New Smoke Rise Elementary School

Tucker Resident Graduates with Top Honors from U.S. Coast Guard Bootcamp

L.A. Dison Construction has started on the new Smoke Rise Elementary School, located on the old Sears site at Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Boulevard. The school was designed by Atlanta firm Chapman Griffin Lanier Sussenbach Architects, Inc.(CGLS), with Nix-Fowler Constructors, Inc. selected as the general contractor. Total construction cost, excluding land cost, is budgeted at $27,621,279. The new school is scheduled to open August 2021, just in time for the 2021-2022 school year. CGLS designed a new 900-seat structure as part of DeKalb’s initiative to replace elementary schools throughout the district with facilities that will accommodate neighboring populations. This prototype will be utilized initially for the construction of Smoke Rise Elementary School. CGLS has been contracted to perform site adaptation at the new school’s location to ensure sustainable construction. The construction of the new school seeks to address two main problems. One is that the existing Smoke Rise Elementary is one of the older facilities in DeKalb County, so the school district was not only concerned with meeting current educational needs but addressing an overburdened septic system. The design utilizes a sewage holding structure, mandated by Dekalb County Watershed, until the downstream infrastructure improvements are complete.

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This is not a septic system. The structure consists of two large pipes that will temporarily hold 44,400 gallons. Sewage will be held during peak hours and will be pumped into the county sewage system during off peak hours. Once DeKalb Watershed completes their downstream improvements, the sewage holding structure will be decommissioned. Secondly, a new, larger school building, combined with redistricting, will help alleviate overcrowding in elementary schools across Tucker. Enrollment at the five elementary schools in the Tucker Cluster (Idlewood, Brockett, Livsey, Midvale and Smoke Rise) is about 105 percent of total capacity before the new Smoke Rise Elementary School is completed. With redrawn lines, some of those students could potentially find themselves zoned for the new elementary school. Redistricting is an issue that will be talked about later this year by the school district, parents, and community leaders. There will be a public engagement process starting in Fall 2020, where the community can weigh in on how they would like to see redistricting handled. Ultimately, the superintendent, then the school board, would approve a plan in Winter 2021, about five months after the new school opens.

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Seaman Ian Nuhfer, from Tucker, Georgia, earned the title of Honor Graduate after graduating in November from the U.S. Coast Guard’s eightweek basic training at Training Center Cape May. Nuhfer graduated with the highest final overall standing of the eighty graduates of Recruit Company Bravo-198, and is now authorized to wear the Coast Guard Honor Graduate Ribbon on his uniform. Training at bootcamp is difficult and approximately twenty percent of recruits do not graduate with their original company. Nuhfer’s company earned multiple awards during their eight weeks of training, such as high mid-term scores, donating blood, physical fitness, marksmanship, and seamanship. They also volunteered at Veterans Day parades and helped overhaul a classroom for new recruits. Training Center Cape May is the fifth largest base in the Coast Guard and the sole accession point for the entire enlisted workforce. It is considered the birthplace of the enlisted corps or the Coast Guard’s Hometown.

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OUR TOWN DEKALB (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020)  

Northeast DeKalb's premier community magazine serving

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Northeast DeKalb's premier community magazine serving

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