Author: Reporter Newspapers

Coalition vows to fight Ga. 400 toll extensions

By John Schaffner editor@reporternewspapers.net Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell made it very clear during a public forum about a Ga. 400 variable Pricing study Jan. 4 that his organization will oppose any attempt to extend the tolls on the state’s only toll road beyond 2011 and oppose any plan that would result in additional traffic being diverted off the road and into neighborhood streets. The Georgia State Tollway Authority and its transportation consultants from Wilbur Smith Associates held the first public meeting for stakeholders regarding a recently started study into the possible use of variable pricing of tolls on Ga. 400 rather than the present fixed 50-cent toll. The audience was mainly interested parties from Buckhead, but the meeting was held at the Sandy Springs city hall, 7840 Roswell Road, miles north of the 6.2-mile stretch of Ga. 400 being studied between I-285 on the north and I-85 to the south. Patrick Vu, manager for the SRTA study project, explained that this is being looked at as a possible better way to manage the corridor. “It is not about raising money, it is about mobility,” he said. He also said it is about getting more people to use Cruise Cards, which lowers the operations cost to SRTA. However, the toll would be used to pay for maintenance of the road system. As part of the study, the project team...

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2 NPUs deny rezoning for complex off Howell Mill

C. Julia Nelson cjnelson@reporternewspapers.net Despite previous intentions to maintain zoning for a proposed 280-unit apartment complex in Buckhead, a Texas real estate firm applied to rezone a 5.5-acre plot along Downwood Circle, which has neighbors up in arms. Not one, but two Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) voted to recommend denial of the request from Grayco Partners, LLC to rezone property at 3200 Downwood Circle NW from OI-C (office institutional/community business) to RG-4 (residential general for multi-family dwelling units). Located between Northside Parkway and Howell Mill Road, the proposed complex site plan presents a variety of resident affirmed quality of life issues, including increased traffic, an over-populated school and preservation of natural space among others. During a Jan. 2 meeting at the Atlanta Speech Center, NPU-A, voted to deny the request 9-1, seven members abstained. Overwhelmingly, NPU-C members voted 104-0 to deny the request and to adopt task force recommendations of opposition at its Jan. 8 meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Upon NPU review, the applicant will go before the Zoning Review Board (ZRB) to obtain a recommendation to Atlanta City Council. The ZRB meeting was to be held Jan. 10 at City Hall. According the NPU-C chair Eric Ranney, the applicant intended to request a 60-day deferral on the request at that meeting. (Results from that meeting were not available at Reporter press time.) Since 1988, the property has...

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3 barbershops keep an old-fashioned tradition alive in Buckhead

C. Julia Nelson cjnelson@reporternewspapers.net History. Simplicity. Camaraderie. These are the ideals keeping traditional barbershops alive and well in the heart of Buckhead, despite the onset of the modern day salon and spa. While salons cater overwhelmingly to females, males appreciate a more low key environment where getting a clean cut and tight shave takes 15 to 30 minutes. Gauging the value of this tradition, several local entrepreneurs have kept old school barbershops on the map. Today, three barbershops keep the old-fashioned ambiance alive in the Buckhead area: Tommy’s Barber Shop, the Peachtree Battle Barbers and 71 Barbershop. Each distinctive in its own right, these barbers are preserving what many mistakenly believe has been swept away. Thomas Barber Shop – A taste of history: Nostalgic Coke bottles, local football helmets and a shrine to clients past and present line the walls at Thomas Barber Shop. That coupled with a team of hometown barbers give this shop a home-sweet-home appeal. Located at 1268 W. Paces Ferry, Thomas Barber Shop first opened in 1959 in the West Paces Ferry Shopping Center. Owner Walter “Tommy” Thomas, son of Gilmer Thomas – the original Tommy – who built the shop, whole-heartedly believes history is an integral part of any authentic barbershop. Thomas Barber Shop is no exception having served senators, CEOs, governors and the like for almost half a century. “It’s about history,” Tommy...

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Business briefs

Law firm names two new shareholders Buckhead law firm Davis, Matthews & Quigley, P.C. (DMQ) announced that Emily McBurney and David Marple have been named shareholders, and Rett Peaden and Mina Elmankabady have joined the firm as associates. Managing shareholder Lee Drake said, “We continue to expand our firm with the best talent available to meet our clients’ comprehensive needs in multiple practice areas.” Emily Widmann McBurney joined the firm in 1999 and practices primarily in the taxation section as well as the firm’s domestic relations and family law section. Recognized internationally as an expert on the topic of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), she is frequently invited by legal and professional organizations to lecture on this subject. David N. Marple joined the firm in 2000 and concentrates in the area of domestic relations and family law. Prior to joining DMQ, he was a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office in Cordele, Ga, the Cobb County Solicitor’s Office, and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Rett Peaden is a native of Griffin, Ga. He practices in the firm’s taxation and estate planning and probate sections and advises clients on personal and business planning and taxation. Mina A. Elmankabady practices in the firm’s business and commercial litigation section. Born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Lawrenceville, Ga., he is fluent in both English and Arabic. New gallery specializes in rare...

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Education briefs

Marist School’s debate team wins tournament Marist School’s varsity policy debate team was victorious at the West Georgia Debates tournament Dec. 7 and 8 claiming first and second place after preliminary rounds and winning their elimination rounds—J.P. Zivalich and Stephen Grugett defeating Lakeside-Evans and Nadia Hassan and Pranav Mahadevan defeating Carrollton. Zivalich was selected top varsity speaker for the tournament, Grugett was second, Hassan was third and Mahadevan was sixth. The team members (left to right) are juniors J.P. Zivalich and Stephen Grugett, and sophomores James Grugett, and Pranav Mahadevan. Marist groups raise money for charity Many groups in the Marist School community raised money for charity for Christmas. Students in the school’s Foundations program, which is made up of 7th and 8th graders, have raised more than $2,000 to assist a family devastated by Hurricane Katrina in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Marist School seniors in Tracy Kaminer’s World Literature class have written persuasive essays nominating charities to receive a donation. They’ve named the fundraiser The $5 Christmas Essay. Each student has donated $5 to the cause. Emily Harmeier’s essay was chosen by the students as the winner. Emily’s charity was the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and the charity received $450. Marist School faculty members are also raising money for those in need. They collected over $300 for the family of a teacher colleague in Kyrgyzstan in Central...

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