Category: People & Places

Around Town: His life changed, retiree finds new focus in helping kids

Two moments changed Steve Wadley. Taken together, they convinced him to spend part of his retirement devoting his time, talents and experience to raising money for local organizations that support education in Atlanta’s inner-city schools. The first moment came when Wadley was a boy. He played football then on a team based in Buckhead. His team played in a citywide league and when he and his teammates played away games in poorer Atlanta neighborhoods, he saw that those players had nowhere near the level of support — the new equipment, the uniforms, the practices — that benefited him and...

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Exceptional Educator: Orchestra director Stephen Lawrence of North Atlanta High

Buckhead’s North Atlanta High School orchestra will perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall next month under the leadership of director Stephen Lawrence, the Atlanta Public Schools’ high school Teacher of the Year. “It was surreal! Having the chance to be recognized is beyond believable,” Lawrence said of the award. “There are so many inspiring educators out there. The fact that I was chosen is both humbling and exciting.” Lawrence, the director of orchestral activities and the chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department, has been an educator for 11 years and has taught at North Atlanta High, his...

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Dunwoody neighborhood activist Bob Lundsten dies at 65

Robert “Bob” Gordon Lundsten, a former president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, neighborhood activist and avid gardener, died on Jan. 16, 2019. He was 65. A memorial service is set for Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Church, 2443 Mount Vernon Road. A reception will follow at noon at the Dunwoody Country Club, 1600 Dunwoody Club Drive. City Councilmember Terry Nall, who noted Lundsten was also known as “Farmer Bob” and at one time wrote a blog under that name, praised Lundsten’s work on behalf of the residents of Dunwoody, especially his work in helping raise...

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Sandy Springs event set to honor late senior advocate Dorothy Benson

  Fulton County has announced a Jan. 28 to honor late senior advocate Dorothy Benson, the namesake of a Sandy Springs senior center. Benson, who died in November 2018 at the age of 97, according to an online obituary, helped create Fulton County’s senior centers, including the one that bears Benson’ name, the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Mulitpurpose Complex at 6500 Vernon Woods Drive. The Fulton County event will be held there from 4-7 p.m. The event is essentially the public memorial service to honor Benson, whose death had not been announced other than the obituary, for “her community activism, senior...

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Food for Thought: ‘Low and slow’ is the key for Chef Scott Serpas

Renowned chef Scott Serpas burst on the Atlanta restaurant scene more than a decade ago, working as executive chef at TWO Urban Licks before venturing out on his own in 2009 with Serpas True Food in the historic Old Fourth Ward. Just over one year ago, the award-winning chef opened Dixie Q in his own Brookhaven neighborhood where he’s lived for a decade. It’s just off bustling Dresden Drive, where other notable restaurants make their homes, such as Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub, Verde Taqueria and Haven Restaurant and Bar. Dixie Q opened in the former Slice of Brookhaven site...

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From Atlanta to Broadway: Q&A with Courtenay Collins of the hit musical ‘The Prom’

Calling “The Prom” a “gay teen romantic farce,” as Vanity Fair did a few months ago, is like calling New York a big city — true, but demanding a fuller description. The Atlanta-born musical, which opened on Broadway to positive reviews in November, is making a lasting impression on audiences that goes beyond its peppy songs, energetic choreography, eye-popping costuming and satire of show business. It has something more to say, according to Courtenay Collins of Sandy Springs, who has a performing role in the production and is hearing nightly from those who are moved by it. “It’s a...

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Brookhaven teacher tackles Civil Rights legacy with Super Bowl murals

When tens of thousands of people flock to Atlanta for the Super Bowl next month, they will be greeted by dozens of colorful murals painted throughout the city that highlight the Civil Rights legacy. Two of the murals were painted by Cross Keys High School art teacher Yehimi Cambron, an artist willing to tackle controversy through her art by raising up the voices of undocumented immigrants. Cambron first made her mark in the world of murals in 2017 with a colorful mural featuring large monarch butterflies on the side of the Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Highway in Brookhaven....

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Millar will miss ‘being in the game’ at State Capitol

For the first time in two decades, Fran Millar will not be headed this month to the State Capitol, ready to begin another legislative session. Instead, he’ll be wearing a pair of swim trunks and sitting on a beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands with other tourists seeking escape from their everyday lives. Don’t let that sunny image fool you, though. Millar would rather be sporting a tie and khakis and be seated in the Senate chamber listening for the hammer of the gavel to start another 40 days of debating policy and voting on bills. “When you...

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20 Under 20: Honoring students who give back to the community

The question arises every year as we consider nominations for our annual 20 Under 20 honors: How do these students find the time to give so much back to the community? As you will see, this year’s list is filled with young people who somehow manage to juggle their busy lives with doing extraordinary things to make Reporter Newspapers communities and the world a better place to live. As in previous years, we asked public and private schools along with service organizations and the general public to nominate students who have been active volunteers in their communities. These students...

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Heritage Sandy Springs awards volunteers

Heritage Sandy Springs volunteers were recognized with awards at a Dec. 12 ceremony, the nonprofit announced. “These volunteers were honored for their dedication to the community and their outstanding volunteer contributions to Heritage Sandy Springs,” the organization said in a press release.“Heritage Sandy Springs would not be where we are today without three decades of committed and caring volunteers,” said Carol Thompson, the executive director in the release. “Starting with Joey Mason, Garnett Cobb, Dottie Megal, and others who saved the spring site and relocated the Williams-Payne House, volunteers have created, built, and supported Heritage Sandy Springs since 1985,”...

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Arts Q&A: Joe Gransden, the jazz man around town

On any given night, Joe Gransden draws a crowd. The musician figures he plays more than 340 gigs a year throughout metro Atlanta, the Southeast and in New York and California. On Nov. 29, Gransden played at the White House tree-lighting in D.C. The trumpet virtuoso, singer and bandleader is a name in jazz and big-band music, and he has a passion to make the music and to share it with established and up-and-coming musicians, including through a jazz camp. At 46, Gransden has made a name for himself and his 16-piece band. He also has a trio, quartet...

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Atlanta guitar legend is honored as ‘Positive Aging Icon’ in Buckhead

The way Beverly “Guitar” Watkins tells it, her association with the musical instrument that’s become a part of her name goes back to the 1940s. She was a young girl then, living with her grandparents in a farming community outside Commerce, Ga. Watkins had been born in 1939 in Atlanta, a “Grady baby,” but after the death of her mother when Beverly was about 8, her grandparents took her in and “raised me down in the country.” Her grandfather, like many of his neighbors, was a sharecropper. Beverly walked to school and remembers that the family hitched the “Sunday...

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