Category: People & Places

Photos: NYO Football kicks off in Buckhead’s Chastain Park with family event

Northside Youth Organization football kicked off in Buckhead’s Chastain Park on Sept. 8 with a family event at Blackwell Field. Besides a “Bigs League” game – the league for sixth- and seventh-grade players – the event including a cheerleading exhibition and a character lesson discussion with Daron and Zack Blaylock, twins who formerly played football in NYO and at the University of Kentucky. NYO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and is planning a celebration for Oct. 6. For more information, see nyo70th.splashthat.com. Photos by Phil Mosier. From left, Vikings cheerleaders Morgan Rhino, Brooke Davis, Anna Sheets and...

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Standout Student: Riverwood’s Lucas Daniels builds flight simulator for flying club

Lucas Daniels, a junior at Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, has been interested in planes and aviation since he was in middle school. Upon beginning his freshman year, Lucas heard about the school’s flying club and immediately joined. After just one year, Lucas became the club’s president, when the club’s faculty sponsor, Alan Sohmer, decided that Lucas would be a good fit for the position. Riverwood’s flying club teaches students about aviation through instructional videos and takes the students to fly around the Gwinnett County Airport at the end of each semester, but the trip is financially...

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Up for debate: Local schools ride high in speech competitions

Jeffrey Miller portrays his introduction to high school debate as a happy accident. He signed up for his first debate class at his south metro Atlanta high school because he was looking for something that wouldn’t be too demanding. “I heard it was an easy A,” he joked. But debate turned out to mean a lot more to Miller than just something to fill out his schedule. He was hooked. “I took debate all four years,” he said. “I really caught the fever. It’s all I did in high school.” And it stuck. Now, he’s director of speech and...

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Around Town: Jamming on the old tunes at a Sandy Springs barbecue spot

Libby Lintel played piano, but she decided it was too solitary an instrument. She wanted to tackle music that would allow her more chances to play with other people. So, a little more than six years ago, she took up the banjo. Learning to play her new open-backed banjo led her to “old-time” music, the slice of American folk music associated with songs and string bands of the Appalachians. “The old tunes are pretty,” the 57-year-old Cobb County resident said. “They’re simple melodies. They’re historic. It kind of links you with the past.” It links her with like-minded musicians,...

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Worth Knowing: In a leap of faith, a new church is born

In the last 20 years, attendance at American houses of worship has dropped 20 percent, according to Gallup. Last year, the percentage of Americans reporting church or synagogue membership reached an all-time low of 50 percent. So, why would anyone want to start another church? That’s what I asked a group of Dunwoodians who five months ago started a Bible study in a private home that is now preparing for its official launch as an independent church in a 70-year-old stone chapel in Sandy Springs. Miracle? You decide. It all started last March when a popular worship leader left...

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Old stonework and new HQ are signs of Chastain Park progress

Mark Nelson hiked up some of the historic stone stairs he recently exhumed from head-high weeds in Chastain Park, part of months of his work to uncover fine stonework that is little-known even among park regulars. “It reminds me of north Georgia,” said Nelson, who joined the Chastain Park Conservancy as director of operations and volunteer programs in January in a busy year for the park. A devastating Jan. 4 fire at the conservancy’s headquarters – the day after Nelson started work – was the first challenge. The conservancy is now preparing for a move into a new headquarters...

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Sandy Springs to remove ‘iconic’ tree at Lost Corner Preserve due to safety concerns

The city of Sandy Springs will remove a historic oak tree in Lost Corner Preserve due to experts’ safety concerns. “It is a beautiful tree and we wish there was another option,” said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The city has been monitoring the health of the white oak for several years, according to Kraun, and received reports conducted by certified arborists last week. “[The reports] confirmed that the tree is in poor condition, including advance decay, impacting the structural integrity of the tree,” Kraun said.  The arborists estimate the oak is 125 to 200 years old. The tree currently...

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Sandy Springs brothers take home silver at Maccabi Games

Geordie and Jake Francombe, brothers from Sandy Springs, brought home three silver medals at the Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games, hosted July 28 through Aug. 2 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. The JCC Maccabi Games are hosted in a different city each summer, Olympics-style. Every year, teen athletes from around the world compete in 14 different sports, perform community service, promote human values and “have an amazing time,” according to a press release. This year, the Games took place in Atlanta for the second time — the first being in 2001 — from July 28 to...

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Exceptional Educator: Kathy Vail, Dunwoody High School fencing team leader

Kathy Vail has led Dunwoody High Fencing from its start as a small team in 2009 to a full club with a large practice area. Now, she’s won the United States Fencing Association’s Outstanding Service Award for Youth Fencing for her work building and coaching the program, which allows high school students to learn fencing and participate in competitions with other Georgia schools. “Receiving the award at the National Championships in front of coaches and fencers from across the country was amazing and humbling,” Vail said. “To be asked to speak to young fencers about our sport was a...

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The Buckhead resident who covers the world of sports: Q&A with CNN anchor Don Riddell

A marathon runner and lifelong soccer fan, CNN sports anchor Don Riddell has lived in Buckhead near Chastain Park since moving from England to Atlanta in 2012. He has hosted “World Sport” for CNN International for the past 16 years and has also presented “Living Golf” and programs such as “World News” and “CNN Today.” Riddell, 46, covered the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, as well as the fatal plane crash that wiped out most of the Brazilian Chapecoense soccer team that same year. He produced two award-winning documentaries: “Branded a Rebel” about a West Indies cricket team that...

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Worth Knowing: Hospital’s volunteer corps celebrates a half-century ‘paying it forward’

Ten years ago, after a successful career as a corporate executive, Dunwoody resident Chris Cox retired and soon found herself in a bed at Northside Hospital recovering from breast cancer surgery. Filled with fear and uncertainty about her future, she was visited by a former patient who had survived the same surgery. Dressed in a Northside Hospital Auxiliary blue volunteer’s coat, Cox’s visitor answered her questions and allayed her fears. Thus began a whole lot of healing beyond cancer. When she felt better, Cox began spending four hours a week doing for other breast cancer patients what had been...

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Around Town: A farmers market director’s work is never done – and always delicious

Sara Craig-Goodell has a thing for food. She’s quick to say so. “Yes, I do like food,” she says with a grin. “I like eating it. I like learning about it. … How can you not care about food? I spend most of my day waiting for get hungry again so I can eat.” Her fondness for good food comes naturally. She remembers visiting her grandparent’s home and orchard in rural Mexico, where she dined on fresh avocados and pecan, limes and figs, persimmons and nectarines. “I’ve just always been a big eater,” she said. “I like to try...

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