Category: People & Places

Exceptional Educator: Brandon Hall teacher leads National Cemetery cleanup

Greg Morris has been working hard to have his students more actively engaged in the community, from cleanup projects to water testing experiments. Morris teaches science at Brandon Hall School, a Sandy Springs private school serving grades 6-12, and started in 2017. Before he became a teacher, Morris was in the Army and worked for the Lilburn Police Department, which inspired his school field trip in September. To honor the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorism attacks, Morris brought the middle school class to the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, one of the 135 national burial sites in the...

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Worth Knowing: Exercise pro takes her fitness students to the water

Do you ever wonder why some people seem naturally impervious to aging? To find out, I recently spent time with Marlene Colon, a seemingly ageless local fitness instructor. If you’ve taken an aerobics or dance-based fitness class at any of the top fitness clubs in Dunwoody or Sandy Springs during the past 30 years, you’ve probably encountered her. Certified in Zumba and LaBlast, both dance-based high-impact forms of exercise, Colon was trained by “Dancing with the Stars” fan favorite and fitness expert Louis van Amstel. She also studied adaptive physical education at Georgia State University and has worked as...

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Young Sandy Springs cousins win the right to sing at Carnegie Hall

What does it feel like for a singer to step onto the stage to perform in Carnegie Hall? Two young cousins from Sandy Springs set foot in the historic New York City venue for the first time to do just that in mid-December. Phoebe Rose Claeys, 8, and Sarah Serena Thompson, 12, were winners in the 2019 American Protégé International Vocal Competition. Winners in the competition won the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall. Claeys admitted to being a little frightened at first as she looked out at all the people in the iconic recital hall. “But once I...

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Gov. Kemp names Brookhaven resident to Georgia Board of Regents

A Brookhaven resident is one of five people who were named Jan. 3 by Gov. Brian Kemp to serve on the Board of Regents. The 19-member Board of Regents is responsible for overseeing public higher education in the state. Cade Joiner of Brookhaven, founder of Shred-X Secure Document Destruction, was appointed by the governor to serve as an at-large member on the Board of Regents, according to a press release from the governor’s office. In 2018, Joiner served on Kemp’s Finance Committee and he was also on the executive committee for Kemp’s inauguration, according to the release. In early...

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Buckhead’s historic trees to be mapped in Heritage Society project

Historic Buckhead trees that have stood for more than 200 years will be mapped in a new project that the public can join. The Buckhead Heritage Society “Living Sentinels Historic Tree Hunt” is a year-long process attempting to find any survivors from an 1821 survey conducted when the state of Georgia acquired the area from the Native American Creek Nation. Heritage Society board member John Beach will speak about the trees and the project at a Jan. 8 event. Beach said the 1821 survey marked around 1,000 trees in what is now Buckhead, including by location and species. One...

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Memorial service for Shepherd Center co-founder to be held in Buckhead

A memorial service for James Shepherd, the co-founder of Buckhead’s Shepherd Center rehabilitation hospital, is scheduled for Jan. 6. Shepherd, who co-founded the hospital after receiving a paralyzing spinal cord injury in a 1973 body-surfing accident, died Dec. 21 at age 68. The memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 3434 Roswell Road. “We hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate James and all he means to us,” the hospital said on its website. Shepherd was an Atlanta native and graduate of Buckhead’s Westminster Schools and the University of Georgia. Frustrated...

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Around Town: From the Marines to mastering art

William Makepeace knew it was time for a change. He was in his forties, getting a divorce, and after years in the financial industry, he wanted to work with his hands. So the ex-Marine and father of two decided to become a sculptor. “I hit the reset button,” the 50-year-old Buckhead artist said one recent afternoon, sitting in his sculpture studio and surrounded by things he’d made since his change of direction in 2015. “I 100 percent hit the reset button.” He believed he could handle his new direction. He felt it was in his DNA. For generations, he...

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Brookhaven’s historic Goodwin House sits in storage, awaiting a home

Three years after it was taken apart piece by piece for redevelopment, DeKalb County’s oldest house is sitting in storage somewhere mysterious, awaiting a new home. The 1830s Goodwin House has been replaced with a 3-story medical building under construction on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven. The historical marker erected at the house in 1954 as part of a state’s commemoration of the Civil War apparently was removed during construction. And a former owner worries another piece of local history is being forgotten. “It’s been a few years and I am still really sorry I couldn’t preserve it for the...

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James Shepherd, co-founder of Buckhead’s Shepherd Center hospital, dies at 68

James Shepherd, who co-founded Buckhead’s Shepherd Center rehabilitation hospital after receiving a paralyzing spinal cord injury in 1973, died Dec. 21 at age 68, according to the hospital. He was an Atlanta native and graduate of Buckhead’s Westminster Schools and the University of Georgia. He was injured in a body surfing accident. Frustrated by the lack of rehabilitation hospitals in the Southeast, he co-founded the Shepherd Center in 1975 with his parents Alana and the late Harold Shepherd and Dr. David Apple. Today, the 2020 Peachtree Road hospital is among the nation’s top rehabilitation and research facilities. James Shepherd...

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‘Richard Jewell’ movie stirs Atlanta Olympics bombing memories, AJC controversy

Well before its Dec. 13 debut, the movie “Richard Jewell” was already stirring local memories of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing – and controversy about its portrayal of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter. The Clint Eastwood-directed, Atlanta-made movie sets out to ensure the legacy of Jewell, a heroic security guard who was briefly, and wrongly, targeted by the FBI as a top bombing suspect. However, the film is opening to intense controversy over its treatment of the AJC’s Kathy Scruggs as supposedly offering sex for a scoop. The real bomber was right-wing terrorist Eric Rudolph, who went on to bomb...

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‘Richard Jewell’ movie was filmed at Oglethorpe, Johnny’s Hideaway, other local spots

The new Clint Eastwood movie “Richard Jewell,” which debuts Dec. 13, not only tells the story of the Atlanta Olympics bombing hero turned suspect, but also was filmed in the metro area. Local sets ranged from Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University to Johnny’s Hideaway, a popular Buckhead nightclub where Eastwood reportedly shot an already notorious scene suggesting a reporter offered an FBI agent sex for the Jewell scoop. Perhaps the biggest area set was Centennial Olympic Park downtown, where Eastwood recreated the 1996 bombing. Smaller scenes were shot in such places as Oglethorpe, where university spokesperson Renee Vary Keele says Hearst...

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Dunwoody man’s news photos captured Sandy Springs blast, other moments in Olympic bomber’s terror campaign

Around these parts, Alan Mothner is best known as the longtime executive director of the Dunwoody Nature Center, which programs a beloved local park. But in the 1990s, he had a very different career as a news photographer on the story of a terrorist’s bombings of the Olympics and other metro Atlanta sites. In 1997, he was within 30 feet of a bomb when it exploded outside a Sandy Springs abortion clinic, and took dramatic photos that were published around the nation. “It was one of those fight-or-flight moments… I decided to do what a good journalist does, which...

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