Caroling Fundraiser Set for December 22-23

YouthChristmasCaroling_Small-300x283On Sunday and Monday December 22 and 23, from 4:00-7:00 PM, the Grady High School Gay Straight Alliance will be holding a Christmas caroling fundraiser to benefit Lost N Found Youth, Inc. The event will be held at the VaHi triangle island at the corner of N. Highland and Virginia avenues.

Lost N Found Youth is a small organization created specifically to help homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the Atlanta area. The group provides emergency and transitional housing and other services, but because the problem of LGBT homelessness is so great, they are not able to help everyone in need.

The Grady High School GSA will be singing carols, passing out hot chocolate and collecting donations to help Lost N Found Youth expand and help more homeless youths. The group invites all residents to attend.

VaHi Safety Team Report: December 22, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Holiday Messages from APD and AFR

Our APD Chief Turner sends us a holiday message – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixbiGMxclu8&feature=youtu.be.

A light-hearted but serious musical message from AFR and Chief Cochran  – http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/24232277/video-atlanta-firefighters-sing-holiday-safety-song#2o7kGAE7x. I think most of our firefighters were hired for their bravery and not their vocal talents! :) Too bad our folks at # 19 were not included.

APD’s Highlights for November 2013

http://atlantapd.org/files/GreatestHitsNovember2013.pdf

MARTA’s New “See and Say” App

MARTA now has a new app, which is a free smart phone application that allows patrons to report suspicious activity directly and discreetly to the MARTA police at http://www.itsmarta.com/police/see-something.aspx. From someone who does not have a cell phone, I think that this technology is so neat.

The Clean Car Campaign

This much touted APD campaign that states that ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times, still gets forgotten about. Our thanks to Scott Stern, the owner of the commercial area at North Highland and Amsterdam Avenues, who has upgraded the parking lot lighting and installed more of our VaHi Safety Team Clean Car Campaign signs as a reminder to his patrons to clean out their cars when parking there. Unfortunately, some folks do not think these signs apply to them.

A couple of sad stories about folks who had forgotten about this campaign – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/thieves-steal-couple-celebrating-engagement/ncQ8z/. I hate it when a merchant’s reputation gets smeared because of his patron’s naiveté. Another story that does not have a direct link is at http://www.wsbtv.com/, then go to the “news videos” on the right hand side of the page and click on the video captioned “police warn shoppers to be aware of car”. This incident happened in Dawsonville – this can happen anywhere anymore.

Be sure to warn your holiday visitors of this danger when they are at your home or business. VaHi is known to the thieves as a great place to ply their trade, and our car break-ins are increasing. This particular crime is so easy to prevent, yet it goes on and on.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 crime stats for the 2013 weeks 46, 47 and 48 (11/9-11/30). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise your level of alertness as to what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault: There was a domestic dispute on Highland Lane.

Auto Theft: Two incidents in this time period – a 2007 Honda Accord was taken from Frederica Street and an unspecified vehicle taken from St. Charles Place.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Burglary: Two incidents in this time period.  Elkmont Drive- where there were no signs of forced entry other than a slit in a porch screen, with jewelry taken.  Park Drive – entry via a rear window with jewelry and small electronics taken.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents in Beat 601

Pedestrian Robbery: The reported details are very sketchy other than a lone pedestrian walking home on Drewry Street from a bar at late nite was approached by two males in a car who asked for directions, then a third male tried to grab a purse. The victim was knocked down in the struggle – but nothing was taken. No reported injuries. There was also a reported such incident with the address of the Briarcliff Summit building – but no details as to whether it was inside or outside of the building or what happened.

Larceny From Vehicle: These reports are seasonally escalating with vehicles entered on Los Angeles Avenue (3), Barnett Street, Hudson Drive, North Highland Avenue (4), Frederica Street, Virginia Avenue (3), Briarcliff Terrace, Greenwood Avenue (2), St. Charles Avenue, Drewry Street, and Clemont Drive.  This is NINETEEN incidents in three weeks – not good!!!!  If you do not clean out your parked car – someone else will!!

Larceny Other: An iPhone, driver’s license and an ATM card were taken from a purse at an un-named bar on PDL Avenue.  When you are unloading your car – do not assume that someone is not watching.  At Amsterdam Walk, a whole case of cymbals was taken from the parking lot – they had been placed on the ground while drums were being taken into a building.  I can only assume that there was a very unhappy musician.

Around the Zone in this time period there were 3 shoplifters caught at our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores and 4 non-payers caught at  the Target Store in the Edgewood Retail District.

In the Edgewood Retail District parking lot a victim met a Craigslist buyer in daylite for her two cellphones – he grabbed the phones and fled. Surprised??   Also in this same parking lot in front of Kroger, a shopper with plastic bags on her arms, picked up her child from the cart, then turned around to get her purse out of the cart and it had been snatched.  All in an instant!!!

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Thanks to all of the generous VaHi folks who left piles of toys on my front porch to take to the Zone 6 Christmas toy drive. I attended the party at the precinct on Friday and there were a lot of very happy kids. I am proud to live in such a caring neighborhood.

Five more thank you’s: first one to Rad Slough from Urban Body who continues to clean up Maiden Lane on a regular basis – we are all indebted to Rad for cleaning up after less civic-minded folks. Also thanks to Dennis Baker of Paris on Ponce for hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas luncheons for our first responders – APD and AFR. And a third thank you to Intown Hardware, Morningstar Self-Storage and Urban Body for being safe delivery addresses for our intended package deliveries. This is a unique VaHi service not found in other city neighborhoods. A fourth thank you to Osteria 832 for hosting their annual Breakfast with Santa. We are so lucky to have such great businesses amongst us. Be sure to let them know with your patronage, and verbal thanks. The fifth thanks goes to all of our diligent and caring Safety Team Street Captains who help our unique neighborhood watch really make a difference in the safety for all of us.

There was a fire in the unpaved alleyway between St. Charles and PDL Avenues after dark on 12/19, evidently caused by urban campers. Thanks to fast response from AFR # 19 there was no serious damage. I had not been informed of all of this camping activity until this incident – but it is evidently becoming a big problem again. The St. Charles Avenue residents who abutt this alley have pledged a cleanup after the holidays and I will be glad to help – keep me informed so we can all help as a whole neighborhood. What goes on in this alley affects all of us.

Stay alert and have a safe holiday season!

Open Door Community Needs Your Help

HomelessMany Virginia-Highland residents are aware of the Open Door Community, which operates out of an old home located at 910 Ponce de Leon Avenue, just a short walk west from Briarcliff Summit. An Atlanta “Protestant-Catholic Worker community”, Open Door’s mission, broadly stated, is “to resist war and violence and nurture community in ministry with and advocacy for the homeless poor and prisoners, particularly those on death row.”

In everyday terms, Open Door is an important resource in our community – a last resort, in many cases – for the unfortunate souls we see sleeping on our park benches or sidewalks and wandering aimlessly through our streets. Many of these disadvantaged citizens have mental disabilities and no place else to turn for help. Open Door provides housing, food, clothing, sanitary services, medical care and access to additional resources that can help keep the homeless alive and healthy. Through their ministry, the staff offers the homeless a shelter from the storm and hope that a better life can lie ahead.

DSC_0005Open Door staff members Mary Catherine Johnson and Terry Kennedy reached out to the VHCA recently in an effort to foster a new, more active working relationship between Open Door and the Virginia-Highland community at large. Several members of the board visited the facility this week and were educated on Open Door’s mission. We saw the limited resources the staff has to accomplish that mission. The challenge is enormous, to say the least, and we thought you’d want us to let you know how you can help.

Donations

Donations are accepted at the front door of the Open Door Community, 910 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Contact Mary Catherine Johnson at mcjohnson78@yahoo.com or 404-273-0621 with any questions or to make arrangements outside of those times.

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Open Door staff member Terry Kennedy explains the process for providing the homeless with clean clothes while fellow staffer Mary Catherine Johnson (right) and VaHi resident Stephanie Coffin listen.

In the cold winter months, the community urgently needs the following items:

  • Men’s shoes, especially sizes 12 and up
  • Long underwear
  • Blankets
  • Backpacks
  • Winter coats for men and women
  • Gloves
  • Men’s jeans, all sizes
  • Ready-to-serve covered dishes that are homemade or left over from parties/receptions

Donations of cash or checks are also greatly appreciated. Make checks payable to the Open Door Community.

Volunteer Needs

As much as clothing, food or money, Open Door needs you. Volunteer help is desperately needed in the following areas:

  • Tuesday Soup Kitchen & Men’s Showers: 8:45 am – 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday Soup Kitchen & Women’s Showers: 9:30 am – 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday Foot Clinic: 7:00 – 9:30 pm
  • Volunteers to cook or bring supper for the community’s residents (about 25 people) any night of the week except Friday and Saturday
  • Volunteers to come in on weekends to help around the house: sorting donations, cleaning, etc.
The community is in dire need of men's shoes, especially size 12 and up.

The community is in dire need of men’s shoes, especially size 12 and up.

Contact Mary Catherine Johnson at mcjohnson78@yahoo.com or 404-273-0621 to volunteer or if you have questions.

The VHCA looks forward to hosting Mary Catherine at our February 10 monthly meeting (7:00 PM at the public library on Ponce de Leon Avenue) where she will make a short presentation and take questions. All interested VaHi residents are cordially invited to attend.

To view an album of photos from the VHCA board’s tour of the Open Door facility, click here.

For more information on the Open Door Community, visit their website.

Traffic Alert: Atlanta Christmas 5K Road Race Coming to VaHi December 21

DSC03397Residents should be advised that the Atlanta Christmas 5K Road Race returns to Virginia-Highland on Saturday December 21.

The race will start at 8 AM. Runners will gather for the start across from the YWCA at the intersection of N. Highland and Adair avenues, wind their way through VaHi and wrap things up in the parking lot of Morningside Presbyterian Church. A turn-by-turn course route can be found below.

Morning-of-the race packet pick-up is available at the YWCA for runners who did not pick up their packets at Phidippides. There will be no full road closures for this event – just the usual partial closures and roadblocks at crossing intersections.

For more information, click here.

Turn-By-Turn Course Route

  1. Start—North Highland & Adair (line up on Adair) across from YWCA
  2. Turn RIGHT on North Highland
  3. Turn right on Greenwood Avenue
  4. Turn RIGHT on Ponce de Leon Place
  5. CROSS Virginia Avenue
  6. Turn right on Elkmont
  7. Bear LEFT at Elkmont/ Brookridge Drive
  8. Turn right on Brookridge, crossing the Orme Park bridge (water stop on the right)
  9. Bear left to Amsterdam Avenue
  10. Turn LEFT on Amsterdam
  11. Amsterdam merges to Courtenay
  12. Turn left on Greenland
  13. Greenland merges to Hillpine
  14. Turn right on Wayne Avenue
  15. Turn LEFT on Courtenay
  16. Turn LEFT on North Highland
  17. Turn LEFT on North Morningside Drive
  18. Turn right into the lot at Morningside Presbyterian Church

Grady High College and Career Center Says Thanks for Grant

Henry_W_Grady_High_School_AtlantaEarlier this year, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association awarded an $800 grant to Grady High’s College and Career Center in support of the work the center does with seniors to prepare them for life after high school. The grant was part of a total of $15,000 in grants awarded by the VHCA in 2013.

The center’s director, Susan Muntzing, emailed last week to say thanks on behalf of the students and staff who have directly benefitted from the grant.

photo

Grady students Nadia Brewer (left) and Tatum Young use the facilities at the Grady College and Career Center.

“The Grady CCC is appreciative!” Muntzing wrote. “We could not accomplish what we do for the students without generous donations from supporters like the VHCA.”

“The VHCA Grant Committee is excited to support the Grady CCC,” says VHCA board member Peggy Berg. “It’s a remarkable resource with many volunteers doing excellent work with our graduating seniors.”

For more information on Grady’s CCC, click here or visit the center’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grady-High-Schools-College-and-Career-Connection/281342895780.

What’s Appropriate for that Big Blue Recycling Bin?

recyclingworldPassing along the following from John Wolfinger regarding what’s appropriate – and what’s not – to place in your blue recycling bin:

The City of Atlanta is having problems with our recycling program, in that far too many city residents are placing items in the large blue recycling bins that are not intended to be there. The single stream recycler the city uses is spending way too much time separating all the garbage and trash from the recyclables. Evidently the biggest problem comes from the plastic shopping bags which tend to fly around and get caught in the conveyor lines. These bags can be taken to Publix stores for recycling.

If you are in doubt as to where to take certain items for recycling, check with www.earth911.com. This is a great website with all sorts of useful recycling information.

Also, the Keep Atlanta Beautiful recycling sessions in Buckhead and the Old 4th Ward continue to grow as more and more folks are bringing items to these convenient locations once every month. Go to www.keepatlantabeautiful.org for details. Even though it was a miserable rainy day this past Saturday, we had a great turnout on Irwin Street in the 4th Ward. Now is a great time to start accumulating items to bring in January – styrofoam from gifts packaging, old electronics being discarded in favor of new models, batteries, and old paperwork from income tax filings, left-over paint you will never use again, etc.

The more items that can be kept out of our green trash cans – the less money that the city has to spend on transportation to ship this trash to distant landfills. It is a matter of dollars and cents.

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The City of Atlanta and Mayor Reed are on a continued mission for Atlanta to become a top-tier recycling city and divert 90 percent of municipal solid waste by 2020.

In a statement to metro communities, the Department of Public Works said they want to, “ensure that all residents are a part of the effort to recycle more and protect our recycling stream from contamination.”

Here are the City of Atlanta’s “big three recycling reminders:”

- DO NOT put FOOD, YARD TRIMMINGS, CLOTHING/SHOES, GARBAGE, PLASTIC BAGS or STYROFOAM in the recycling carts (NO PIZZA BOXES)

- Keep the cart clean & dry! Rinse out all food containers

- Keep your cart lid closed AT ALL TIMES!

Also, please note that beginning this week, residents who have contaminated their recycling will receive a red “violation” sticker issued by Solid Waste Operators on their recycling cart, and a Contamination Notice door knocker will be issued by Solid Waste Supervisors. To ensure residents are aware of what is accepted and what is not, graphics are included on the back of the door knocker. By taking note of what actually can and cannot be recycled, we can help keep the recycling stream clean of contamination and working efficiently.

It’s the Most Wonderfully Sustainable Time of the Year

RecycleWreatheBy: Jess Windham

With countless ways to make the holidays environmentally friendly, why not see how many you can do at once? No one can do it all, but we can all do something. Here are some ideas to get your ‘enviro-wheels’ turning as you make the season bright:

What’s the Use – Give a present that will keep on giving, both to the recipient and the environment. Things like rain barrels, a replacement LED, a native hardwood sapling, or a compost bin can help reduce annual bills, decrease carbon footprints, prevent flooding, or produce less waste materials.

Maker – Just when you think Atlanta’s shown all her cards, you discover another creative business, craftsman, or brewery ready to knock your socks off. An incredible wealth of products made in Atlanta and our region in general from Charleston to Asheville to Nashville are just waiting to be discovered. The more local your gift, the fewer miles it has to travel to get to you and the more you support a local economy.

Material – When choosing gifts, choose presents made of sustainable, recycled, long-lasting, or reusable materials. Bamboo is a good material to choose and a lot of companies are now incorporating recycled materials into their products. Have fun with it and see what you can find. If you’re lost, look for certifications like FSC for paper products or cradle-to-cradle certification.

Thought That Counts – Some say the best gifts are actually experiences. Every Atlantan I’ve met has at least once quintessential Atlanta experience they haven’t yet experienced. Just to name a few, you could give someone a walking tour at Oakland Cemetery, adventure through The Atlanta History Center, hang out with dinosaurs at Tellus and Fernbank, or laugh with characters of all types at the Center for Puppetry Arts. This barely scratches the surface – go forth and explore!

In the Aftermath – If you’re like me, you’ll have a lot of packaging, styrofoam, old electronics, and an old Christmas tree hanging around after the holidays. The City of Atlanta aims to divert 90% of municipal waste by 2020 and has multiple resources to help divert these things from our landfills. Find out more online at http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/c13d702b501bc5a7b3731ca6d3cc2ae6. For more sustainable holiday tips, here is an A to Z:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2007/dec/12/toptipsforagreenchristmas.

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K Road Race Set for December 7

BLP_Runningseries_logo (2)Passing this along from our friends at the Atlanta BeltLine:

Atlanta BeltLine Running Series Announces Eastside 10K on Saturday, Dec. 7

Peachtree Qualifier Event Also Features Alumni Tailgate and Neighborhood Challenges

ATLANTA (Oct. 8, 2013) The Atlanta BeltLine Running Series(R) announced today its third annual Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. A Peachtree Qualifier, the race will kick off at Stoveworks at 112 Krog Street Northeast  Atlanta, GA 30307 at 10 a.m. Race day activities include the highly-popular College Alumni Tailgate Challenge and the Neighborhood Challenge.

Featured Image

Photo credit: Christopher T. Martin

“As a Peachtree Qualifier, the demand for the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K has been enormous, and even sold out last year,” said Atlanta BeltLine Running Series Race Director Dan Popovic. “Since the Peachtree Road Race began assigning start positions based on performance in qualifier races, this ups the ante on the value of participation to the running community.”

This run/walk on the Eastside Trail winds through the Inman Park, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey Highland, and Virginia Highland neighborhoods.  Participants will pass by the new Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skate Park, take in beautiful vistas of downtown and midtown Atlanta, travel an off-road stretch of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, and enjoy a jaunt through Piedmont Park.

“The Eastside Trail is the hottest thing to happen to Atlanta in years. Every week, thousands of Atlantans use the Eastside Trail for fitness, fun, access and connectivity,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valarie Wilson.  “We hope to see participants of all fitness levels running and walking the Eastside 10K.”

Race Day Activities

  • Alumni Tailgate Challenge – Coinciding with the day of the SEC Championship and Championship Saturday, the Eastside 10K features an exciting Tailgate Challenge that encourages college football fans to represent their schools and enjoy a rigorous run before heading into the evening’s football programming.
  • Neighborhood Challenge – Atlanta neighborhood associations will compete for a $500 cash purse to be divided among the fastest, largest, and most spirited neighborhood teams.  “Atlanta’s neighborhood associations are rallying at the opportunity to compete for BeltLine bragging rights and potentially win some cash to support their community,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Program Director, Rob Brawner.
Running by Ponce City Market

Photo credit: Christopher T. Martin

More details about the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series – including the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K, challenges and other races, can be found at http://Run.BeltLine.org. Participants are encouraged to register by December 4, when registration will increase from $38 to $45. Proceeds benefit the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership.

About the Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) is the entity tasked with planning and executing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine in partnership with other public and private organizations, including City of Atlanta departments.

About the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABLP) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds from private and philanthropic sources to support the Atlanta BeltLine, working with the community and partners to raise general awareness and support, and serving as a catalyst to mobilize resources to achieve the positive social impacts of the Atlanta BeltLine vision. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit www.BeltLine.org.

Murphy’s To Host Seventh Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

The folks at Murphy’s have let us know they’ll be hosting their Seventh Annual Christmas Tree Lighting & Neighborhood Celebration this Thursday December 5th from 6:30 – 7:30 PM.

You’re invited to come join your neighbors in listening to – and singing along with – Christmas carols performed by the Georgia Boys Choir. There will be plenty of complimentary hot cocoa and fresh baked cookies to help warm things up a bit. Even Santa won’t miss this event so you’ll want to stop by for sure.

Murphy’s is located at 997 Virginia Ave., next door to Taco Mac.

Treelighting2013v3[1]

Meeting Reminder: Historic Designation Exploration For Two VaHi Subdivisions

What: #4 in a series of 5 informational meetings regarding exploration of historic district designation for two specific Virginia-Highland subdivisions. This meeting is primarily for residents living in the F.A. Ames Property/Virginia Highlands subdivision on Virginia Ave.(between N. Highland and Rosedale Dr. and Hudson Drive – but any interested party may attend. Andy affected resident who has been unable to attend other meetings is encouraged to come as well. Please see the map found on our website (link below) to see if you live in the contemplated district. The next meeting will be on Dec. 11.

When: Thursday Dec. 5 – 7 PM

Where: Garrison Hall at Church of Our Saviour (opposite the fire station at the corner of H. Highland and Los Angeles)

Note: Additional information can be found by clicking here.

VaHi_Adair_Neighborhood_111413

VaHi Safety Team Report: December 2, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Holiday and Every Day Safety

I have a feeling that many of us, who are safety minded most all of the time let the “holiday syndrome” overtake us at this time of year, and let common sense slip as we try to get way too many things done in a limited amount of time. Yeah, you may run into Starbucks or a convenience store thinking you are going to be gone from the car only a couple of minutes and absent-mindedly leave your laptop on the front seat – but that guy hanging around in the parking lot looking for an opportunity to steal something only needs seconds to break your car window and get away with your laptop and all of the data stored in it. Yeah – you have a home alarm system and usually always set it before leaving home – but you think you are only going to be gone a few minutes at the drug store and it will be ok this time – but that guy sitting in the parked car on your street sees that the driveway is empty and no one answers his knock on the door – so he is free for a few minutes to open a back bedroom window that you forgot to lock and he is in and out of your house in minutes and gone in his car. Yeah – you are out shopping and have a bunch of packages to stow in the car trunk before going to another store nearby – but that guy in a nearby parked car sees what you have put in the trunk and while you are gone he jimmies the trunk lock and is gone in seconds with a lot of loot. You have a lot of out of town guests at your annual holiday party and you don’t want to scare your guests, so you don’t remind them to clean out their parked cars before they enjoy your hospitality, and they leave and find their car windows smashed and now they vow never to visit your house again! I think that you get the idea now – just slow down a bit and remember the same common sense safety rules you follow the rest of the year.

The VaHi Holiday Home Tour

By now you know that the annual VaHi Home tour is this weekend. Eleanor Barrineau states she is short just a few volunteers to staff all of the houses – don’t assume your neighbor will step up to fill your slot.  Go to http://vahitourofhomes.org/ to volunteer. Also use this site to see where the open houses are and if you live near one of the houses, expect a lot of cars and park your car in your driveway if you have one and leave that spot for a visitor. Also, if you see a suburban visitor get out of their car with laptops, cameras, etc. visible, gently remind them to hide them. We have never had an incident (that I know of anyway) during the tour – let’s keep it that way. I’ll be letting Zone 6 know about the tour.

Our Safe Address Package Delivery Program

I know, I know – I keep writing about this, but there always seems to be folks who do not know that we have a no-cost way to thwart the front porch package thieves that will be here amongst us. Just go to Intown Hardware, Morningstar Self-Storage or Urban Body on PDL Place and sign up to have your packages sent to their safe address. Then remember to tell your out-of-town friends and relatives to send their holiday gift packages to this safe address (including Aunt Ruth who sends you a fruitcake every year). These friendly community-minded merchants will also call you when you have a package to pick up.

Recent Home Burglaries

We have suffered three home burglaries and one attempt in just the past few days – two in Morningside on Wayne Avenue and N. Highland Avenue and one here in VaHi on Park Drive. There was also a foiled attempt on Virginia Avenue on 12/2. Be sure to lock ALL doors and windows and set your alarm system EVERY time you leave your house. If you are going away on a holiday trip – let your trusted neighbors know and request a house check from FBAC, if you are a member (one of the greatest membership perks IMHO). Not an FBAC member?  Go to http://www.fbacvahi.com/ to find out about this off-duty subscription neighborhood patrol service. If you are already a member be sure to avail yourself of their house check service. Oh yes, stop the mail and newspaper while you are gone.

Stanley Eugene Spradlin

I’m certain that this name rings a bell for most of you (especially Elmwood Drive) in that he was the subject of a neighborhood-wide search the end of September before his arrest by Officer Joe Cooper. He is still our guest at Rice Street and is coming up for a hearing on December 13th in the Fulton County CourtHouse downtown. When I learn of the time, courtroom number and specific charges I will be making a posting on our community message boards, as I am sure there will be many of you who will want to CourtWatch to show the judge we do not want him back on our streets anytime soon.

ADP Zone 6 Toy Drive

The Officers of Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) have gotten a list together of needy children in the Zone and are asking for donations of new, unwrapped toys for a Christmas party at the precinct on 12/20. I will serve as a VaHi collection spot for your donations – just leave them on my front screened-in porch at 1054 Vance Avenue, NE before 12/18 and I will take them to the Kirkwood Zone headquarters for you. If you have questions as to what sorts of toys are needed – e-mail Sergeant Caroline Tanksley at   ctanksley@atlantaga.gov to get her advice. Please notify me via e-mail when you are leaving items on my front porch so I can take them inside.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6, VaHi Beat 601 crime stats for the 2013 weeks of 44 and 45 (10/27-11/9). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise your level of alertness as to what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault: On 11/1 on St. Charles Avenue a solo female resident was walking home late at nite and as she reached her apartment a male assailant grabbed her, pushed her down and stated “if you scream I will kill you” while holding a knife at her neck.  She screamed anyway (good for her) - her boyfriend heard her, came to the window and yelled at the knife-wielder to stop.  Amazingly enough, the assaulter fled into the nite on foot.  Please, please, if you know folks who walk solo late at nite – ask them to take a cab or at the least, walk with a group.  Our neighborhood watering holes will help you find a safe way home – if they are just asked.

Auto Theft: A motor scooter was taken from the garage of the Briarcliff Summit.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary: On 11/8 a residence was entered on St. Charles Place, stating only that entry was via a rear door, no word as to whether it was locked or not.  On 11/9 a Greenwood Avenue residence was entered with no forced entry noted.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601  However though, this category of crime is still prevelant elsewhere in the Zone – which means no walking and talking on your cell phone, as I see so often here in VaHi.

Larceny From Vehicle: A Drewry Street resident lost a purse in a taxi cab, and amazingly enough, her driver’s license was mailed back to her – but not the other contents of the purse.  Vehicles were entered on Briarcliff Terrace (a usually crime-free street), PDL Place, Greenwood Avenue, Orme Circle, North Highland Avenue AND a theft of note on PDL Avenue, in that an off-duty APD Officer lost from his private vehicle’s trunk – 2 handcuffs, an APD flashlite, an APD taser, an APD baton, an APD traffic vest, a 40 cal. Smith & Wesson handgun, 40 cal ammo and his own GPS.  I have a feeling that a certain APD Officer had some serious “splaining to do. Yeah – this kind of theft can happen to any of us, if we are not careful.

Larceny Other: A bicycle locked to a Monroe Drive tree was taken with the lock left on the ground.  I wonder if the bolt-cutter used for this theft was also stolen.

Elsewhere in the Zone – our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 5 shoplifters, and always wonder as to how many are not caught, including the folks who eat their way thru the aisles.

The Target store at the Edgewood Retail District caught four shoplifters – one of whom, after confronted, offered to pay for the merchandise with a bad check!!  He just racked up two charges with that offer.

Stay alert, use common sense safety tactics and enjoy this beautiful holiday season.

SPARK Angel Tree

angeltreePassing along the following from our friends at Springdale Park Elementary School:

Dear SPARK Community,

As we begin the holiday season, we are saddened that many children at Springdale Park Elementary and their families will not receive any gifts this year due to financial circumstances. However, we are fortunate to be in a community with generous and caring families and individuals, which is why we are having an angel tree for our students in need.

SPARK staff members have worked with the families of these students to get lists of needed items (clothes/shoes) and desired items (toys/games). Items are written on the back of ornaments hung on a tree, located just inside the front doors of the main building.

Unlike some angel trees that ask you to adopt a child or a family and provide their entire wish list, our angel tree has individual items on each ornament. We have also included gift card requests for each family, such as Publix and Wal-Mart gift cards, which can be used for food or toiletries.

Please consider being an angel for a SPARK student in need and providing an item or two. SPARK parents and all community members are welcome to take ornaments at any time during school hours (you will need to sign in at the main office first). If you are unable to come to SPARK and would still like to provide a gift, please email Meghan McClosky at memcclosky@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Gifts can be dropped off at SPARK with Kimberly Walker. Please have your gifts delivered to SPARK by Tuesday, December 17th. Gifts will be distributed to families by Friday, December 20th.

We ask that items not be wrapped in wrapping paper since we need to accurately distribute the gifts (gift bags are acceptable and appreciated). Also, each ornament tag includes a color code assigned to each family and child, in order to protect their privacy. Please send your tag with your gift or attach a note listing the two colored dots on the tag.

Many SPARK staff members are providing gifts, and we have asked SPARK parents to contribute as well. Our students even helped out by making the ornament tags for the angel tree (thanks to our wonderful 5th-grade volunteers). However, we would like to extend the opportunity for the larger SPARK community to participate in helping its students.

If you have any questions regarding the angel tree, please contact Meghan McCloskey at memcclosky@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

We hope the many angels in the SPARK community can help our students in need and their families have a happy holiday season.

Winter Wren Opens at Corner of Virginia and N. Highland Avenues

WinterWrenWinter Wren – a ladies’ boutique under the same ownership as nearby 310 Rosemont – recently opened in the space previously occupied by Mitzi & Romano (1004 N. Highland Ave.). We asked store manager Carrie Cala to tell us a bit about their new venture and this is what she provided:

DSCN0623This is not about ANOTHER ladies’ boutique in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood. It is much more. Winter Wren Hodges purchased a house just down the street from his latest project in the Morningside area back in 1996. He made it his home in 2011. Owning a retail store with his namesake has been a dream for almost two decades. Atlanta is his largest market and Virginia-Highland is his favorite place to be.

He introduced 310 Rosemont (named for his childhood address) in 2011. In early 2012, Hodges was diagnosed with MDS. After a later diagnosis of AML and a stem cell transplant, Hodges spent every possible moment planning a new concept that would be compatible with 310.  Winter Wren, which opened this past month, has a well thought through selection of labels with location, customer and price point in mind.

DSCN0621A Free People shop is a strong component of Winter Wren with shoes and accessories from designers like Michael Kors, Minnetonka, Rebecca Minkoff, Ugg, Hobo and Ty Jewelry. Other clothing lines include BB Dakota, Michael Stars, Ella Moss, Wildfox and 7 jeans.

Although it is another boutique, Winter Wren is a great addition to the neighborhood of retail. Light and airy, fresh and savvy, it offers alternative brands with pricing every customer, partner or husband will love.

DSCN0622After his recent battle with cancer, Winter thought about slowing down. However, knowing his love of retail as well as his love for the area, he feels as though he is in fact slowing down. He knows this is where he is supposed to be. He actually bought a pair of boots in one of the local stores back in 1995.  It was that experience which gave him the dream of one day opening a store and just being a part of such an awesome community.  He counts it as one of his many blessings.  It’s really not just another boutique.

Tour of Homes Committee Adds Touch of Holiday Color to VaHi’s Main Intersection

IMG_6360We want to give a shout out to Angelika Taylor and the rest of the 2013 Tour of Homes committee who helped add some holiday color to the neighborhood by hanging big red Christmas bows from the light posts and the main VaHi sign at the intersection of Virginia and N. Highland avenues.

Taylor says the team had to be out hanging TOH banners anyway, so adding the beautiful touch of holiday color was a no-brainer.

“We’re very pleased with the hint of Christmas the bows provide,” Taylor says, “and we hope it helps get people into a festive holiday mood as the tour approaches this coming weekend.”

IMG_6362Taylor says she hopes to get local businesses involved next year and expand the effort to decorate the neighborhood’s business nodes for the holidays.

Thanks, Angelika and TOH committee – and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Preliminary Concepts for the Virginia-Highland Master Plan Open for Comment

By: Jess Windham and Jenifer Keenan, Co-Chairs, Master Plan Steering CommitteeDSC_0037

Since the Master Plan process began in August, there’s been a great deal of conversation about what makes Virginia-Highland a great place to live. It’s the Master Plan’s goal to capture neighborhood consensus on those features that make the neighborhood such a successful and vibrant community and to outline a path for continued success.

Importance of Master Plan in Future Funding

The Master Plan will be a key document in securing funding from the City of Atlanta for neighborhood improvements and projects. As part of the City of Atlanta, Virginia-Highland’s transportation infrastructure, economic development, zoning laws, urban design, education options and environmental regulations are shaped by that municipality, as well as by Fulton County and the state. Having a Virginia-Highland Master Plan provides a formal avenue for citizen and neighborhood goals to be identified and clearly expressed.

Additionally, the Master Plan will knit together elements from existing and sometimes overlapping plans and policies that already address parts of Virginia-Highland. Currently, parts of the Connect Atlanta Plan, the Atlanta BeltLine Overlay District regulations, Cycle Atlanta: Phase 1.0, and the Ponce de Leon Corridor Plan all contain plans for parts of Virginia-Highland. Understanding these plans is a considerable task and becomes an even greater challenge when considering the likely impacts of future development that existing zoning already assumes. The neighborhood can engage in those initiatives to shape them to our mutual benefit, or alternatively wait for changes and new projects to move forward without Virginia-Highland input.

Creating this Master Plan provides an opportunity to be involved in initiatives that the City has already begun – some of them well underway. It also gives the neighborhood a platform on which to prepare for future projects, including those that may be contemplated in next year’s anticipated bond referendum. Changes are inevitable; this is a grand chance to inform and shape these changes. The choice broadly is to sit back and wait, or try to use these opportunities to identify and meet the neighborhood’s needs.

Where We Are in the Process

Planning consultants Market + Main lead the Master Plan process alongside a volunteer steering committee of residents from a variety of backgrounds. The process has three broad and overlapping parts: discovery, design, and documentation. While we still have a long way to go, the end result will be a final Master Plan document voted on by Atlanta City Council around April 2014 to help guide future project and funding decisions.

The discovery phase has been extensive, and it continues as Market + Main begins to create design options based on existing input. During the first two months of the process, a Master Plan online survey and interactive map were available 24 hours a day so people could provide input for the master plan, whether at 2 PM or 2 AM. It gathered over 150 comments each to both the survey and map comments. In addition, an all-day and evening design charrette was hosted to get ideas and have discussions in person. Also, in the last two months we have hosted volunteer focus groups and will continue to do so through January. All of this has been done with the intent of ensuring that everyone who wants to provide input has ample opportunity to do so over the many months that this process is ongoing.

Provide Your Input on Preliminary Concepts

Using these discussions and various avenues for feedback, Market + Main has shaped some preliminary concepts for the Virginia-Highland Master Plan that are now available for comment. Preliminary concepts will be available for comment on the website now through January 3, 2014. A public meeting in late January will further explore these concepts, incorporating feedback from the website, and continuing to leverage community involvement to shape the Master Plan document.

Check out the preliminary concepts and comment at http://www.vahimasterplan.org/preliminary-concepts.html.

Click here to view a video of Market + Main’s evening presentation at the design charrette.

The Master Plan is sponsored by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association. Updates are provided monthly at the scheduled VHCA board meetings, as well as at vahi.org and in The Voice e-newsletter.

Tour of Homes Committee Recognizes 2013 Sponsors

2013-Facebook-coverThe 2013 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is only three weeks away. With tickets sales already booming and our sponsorships locked in, this promises to be another successful neighborhood event. We’ve already broken all records in terms of funds raised via our business sponsorships. The TOH Committee would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to this year’s sponsors. Thanks for your generous contributions at all levels to help ensure the success of our event, support our community and give back to our neighborhood.

This year’s Presenting Sponsor is Muffley & Associates.

Our Premium Sponsors are Barking Hound Village and Heritage Bank.

Our Major Sponsors are Artisan Closets, Distinctive Appliances & Vacuum – Buckhead, Dog Gone Handy Home Rebuilders, Founders Kitchen and Bath, Karen Hott Interiors, Morningstar Mini-Storage, Natalie Gregory Home – Keller Williams, Remax Metro Atlanta – The Zac Team, Rinehart Design Group, The Great Frame-up, The Intowners – Sadlier, D’Aprile & Bade, Traditions in Tile, Urban Body Fitness and Studios, Warren City Club and Whole Foods.

Our Benefactor Sponsors are Atlanta INtown Newspaper, CR Home USA, Copper Sky Renovations, Daltile, Faith Flowers, Nite Vision Outdoor Lighting Atlanta, Phoenix Renovations Group, RLS Construction, Twelve Boutique and Flowers, and YWCA Greater Atlanta

This year’s Neighborhood Sponsors are Abraham Properties, Allied Fence Company, Allstate Insurance – William Kelly, Antiquity Architecture & Design, Bla Bla Kids, Design BH Architecture, Cindy Gilmore Hair Studio, Ellis Landesign, Festivity, Intown Hardware, Jones Pierce Architects, Judith Bright Jewelry, Kitsy Rose Public Relations, Moore Farms and Friends, Neptune Pools, New York Butcher Shoppe, Nonies Garden, Olde Savannah Flooring, Peace by Piece Organizing, PSB Studio Architecture, Stanton Law LLC, and Ten Thousand Villages.

And the Tour Committee would be remiss if we didn’t extend a heartfelt thank you to the local restaurants that will be providing tasty samples at each of this year’s Tour homes: American Roadhouse, Atkins Park, D.B.A. Barbecue, El Taco, Fontaine’s, Highland Tap, La Tavola, Marlow’s Tavern, Noche, Rosebud, San Francisco Coffee and Timone’s. 

Get your Tour tickets NOW online at our Tour of Homes website. Plan Dec 7th and 8th as your weekend to EAT, TOUR and SHOP in VaHi. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of tour. Your Tour of Homes ticket gets you into eight incredible homes, a sneak peak into a newly renovated apartment home at Briarcliff Summit, food samplings from ten different community restaurants and special coupons and discounts for our local eateries and shops. This is the perfect weekend to kick off your 2013 holiday season!

- Angelika Taylor, Tour Chair

New Eleven Ton Midtown Public Art Exhibit Has VaHi Connection

imageLong-time VaHi residents Stephanie and Tom Coffin must be beaming with parental pride this morning.

The Coffin’s eldest son Zachary is a designer and sculptor – of very, very large pieces. His most recent work – entitled Rockspinner – was erected yesterday at the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets. Rockspinner is a 22,500 pound boulder that sits on a spinning pedestal.

Coffin also has works on display at the Lindbergh MARTA Station, Cleopas Park and another Rockspinner near the Georgia Aquarium.

Click here to read an AJC article on Coffin’s newest project. Click here to visit Coffin’s website.

Most VaHi residents know Stephanie Coffin is an artist in her own right, having crafted colorful mosaics that can be seen throughout the neighborhood and surrounding area. Click here to read a Voice article about Stephanie and her mosaic work.

Congratulations to Stephanie, Tom and, of course, Zachary!

Fundraiser for VaHi Resident Jennifer Chambers

Thanks to John Wolfinger for passing this notice along which is appearing on other message boards around the neighborhood. Please consider helping Jennifer out if you can.

If you have lived in VaHi for a long time you will remember that Jennifer Chambers and her late husband, Jerry, were very active in the community during the I-485 expressway crisis and that later on Jenny was one of the caregivers for the late John Howell when he was gravely ill. Jerry had a furniture re-finishing business in L5P until his recent death. Now – it is time for the community to step forward and help Jenny in her time of need.

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JenniferandJasonJennifer Chambers | Help Jenny Chambers Get Through This Year

Jennifer Chambers, a Virginia-Highland resident, has been by her son’s side since he was assaulted on Halloween weekend. Jason Chambers has a severe brain injury.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/GW-Professor-Beaten-Near-Dupont-Circle-230122801.html

Jennifer and son Jason are both Grady High School alumnae. Jason is a professor at George Washington U where he earned his MBA. Jennifer is a massage therapist in Va Hi.

Following is a donation website on Give Forward created by Sophia Peterman raise funds for Jennifer Chambers. http://gfwd.at/1b5DBDO

The site hopes to raise $15,000 to help Jennifer pay her bills while she is away from her business taking care of her son. Jennifer is posting reports of Jason’s progress.

Residents Invited to Master Plan Design Charrette

DSC_0037By: Jess Windham and Jenifer Keenan

The Virginia-Highland Master Plan community design charrette is coming up, and we want to see you there!

All day Tuesday, November 12th, the Market + Main team of planners and designers will be hosting this design charrette (aka workshop) for the Virginia-Highland Master Plan. Stop in at Virginia-Highland Church across from Inman Middle School between 7:30am and 5pm to contribute your ideas, see the results of the online map and survey, share your VaHi experience, and be a part of the process by interacting with the planning team.

At 7pm on the 12th, the Market + Main planning consultants will conduct a community meeting at the church where they will present the ideas and concepts that have been generated to address the issues and opportunities expressed by the community. These emerging concepts will include ideas for addressing traffic calming, pedestrian mobility, biking, future land uses and open space enhancements.

Before the community design charrette, be sure to participate in the online survey (http://www.vahimasterplan.org/survey.html) and put pins in the online interactive map (http://vhmp-civicworks.dotcloud.com/#page/about) so that the Market + Main team can know your ideas and concerns heading into the November 12 charrette. The survey and interactive map will only remain active through Friday November 8 so please submit your experience, ideas, feedback, gripes, loves, and all before then!

For more background and information about the Virginia-Highland Master Plan process, please visit http://www.vahimasterplan.org/.

VaHi Safety Team Report: November 12, 2013

Two Community Volunteer Job Opportunities Open

Our FBAC (Fight Back Against Crime – http://www.fbacvahi.com/) neighborhood subscription off-duty patrol system is in need of a Marketing/Membership point person to continue the great work started by Brian Gross before he moved to Mexico. Brian has laid all of the important groundwork – so this volunteer job will be to follow and make sure this important safety group maintains its strong membership base. Interested persons please contact Nancy Safay at  safay629@comcast.net.

We also need a successor to follow in the footsteps of Laura Voisinet to head up the VaHi Graffiti Task Force – here again, Laura has done the important groundwork, and a new person just needs to eradicate any new graffiti vandalism that is spotted here. Hopefully this new person will have a tool shed or basement to store the eradication supplies that Laura has in the ready and be able to summon Task Force members to do a quick cleanup. Contact Laura at graffiti@vahi.org to get a rundown on the details.

Zone 6 Christmas Toy Drive is Underway

Yes – it’s that time of year and Zone 6 Officers are creating a list of children in need of some special Christmas cheer.  They are asking for donations of new, unwrapped toys, and I will be glad to serve as a VaHi collection point.  Just being your donations to my front porch at 1054 Vance Avenue, NE after 11/25 until 12/17 and I will take them to Zone 6 headquarters in Kirkwood for the Christmas party on 12/20.  If you have questions as to what sorts of toys are needed send an e-mail to Sergeant Caroline Tanksley at  ctanksley@atlantaga.gov.

Public School Safety Meeting

APS will be having a school safety meeting at Inman Middle School on Virginia Avenue from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on 11/19.

Fulton County Drug Courts – Good or Bad??

This is a tough question to answer as there are good and bad results.  http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/state-gathering-statistics-on-effectiveness-of/vCH4DM/

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 crime stats for the 2013 weeks of 42 and 43 (10/13 – 10/26). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Auto Theft: No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary: The under renovation Briarcliff Summit building on PDL Avenue @ North Highland Avenue had a series of construction supply thefts on two days. On 10/14 two pressure washers and metal pieces were taken from the back parking lot with 2 males in a pickup truck being seen taking these pieces. On 10/15 heavy unchained/unlocked equipment pieces were taken.  Then also on 10/15 two more folks were seen looting the basement storeroom of windows and loading them into a U-Haul truck. Thanx to an observant neighbor across the alley in the Collonade Condo building 911 was called and 2 arrests were made in this incident.

Residential Burglary: A Greenwood Avenue residence was entered with no signs of forced entry (maybe via an unlocked door) with small personal items taken.  An Adair Avenue home was entered via a bedroom window with jewelry and small electronics taken.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on Bonaventure Avenue, PDL Avenue, North Highland Avenue and Drewry Street.

Amazingly enough – the Drewry Street incident was the only report for Week # 43!!

Larceny Other: A bicycle was stolen from PDL Place and power saws were taken from an Adair Avenue residence work site.

Elsewhere in the Zone – our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix supermarkets caught 4 shoplifters.

Stay alert and keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times.

Meeting Reminder: VaHi Master Plan Design Workshop and Community Meeting

DSC_0037The Virginia-Highland Master Plan community design charrette is tomorrow Tuesday, November 12th, and we want to see you there!

All day Tuesday, November 12th, the Market + Main team of planners and designers will host a design charrette (aka workshop) for the Virginia-Highland Master Plan. Stop in at Virginia-Highland Church across from Inman Middle School between 7:30 AM and 5 PM to contribute your ideas, see the results of the online map and survey, share your VaHi experience, and be a part of the process by interacting with the planning team.

Then, at 7pm on the 12th, the Market + Main planning consultants will conduct a community meeting at the church where they will present the ideas and concepts that have been generated to address the issues and opportunities expressed by the community. These emerging concepts will include ideas for addressing traffic calming, pedestrian mobility, biking, future land uses and open space enhancements.

For more background and information about the Virginia-Highland Master Plan process, please visit http://www.vahimasterplan.org/.

DHPC Schedules Education Series on Poverty

DHPCWebsiteLogoPassing along the following from our friends at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church:

For the month of November we will be hosting speakers from many of our outreach ministries in the neighborhood. We will have the opportunity to meet with the leaders who can help us understand what living on the streets is about and how we might engage in ministry ourselves. 

  • November 3, Rev. Chad Hyatt, pastor at Mercy Church, will share his experiences and discuss ways we might make more connections with Mercy Church.
  • November 10,  Brenita McCord, Executive Director of Journey,  will share some of great accomplishments and  hopes for our Journey Ministry.
  • November 17, Rev. Brad Schwears, Executive Director of Intown Collaborative Ministry will help us understand how their food and support ministry helps so many in our neighborhood
  • November 24, TBD

All sessions start at 9:30 AM. DHPC is located at 1026 Ponce de Leon Ave.

Meeting Reminder: Historic District Exploration for Two Virginia-Highland Subdivisions

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadWhat: #3 in a series of informational meetings regarding exploration of historic district designation for two Virginia-Highland subdivisions. This meeting is primarily for residents in Adair Park living on the North side of Adair Ave., the East side of Todd Rd., and all of Rupley Drive – but any interested party may attend. Please see the map found on our website (link below) to see if you live in the contemplated district.

When: Thursday Nov. 7 – 7 PM

Where: Garrison Hall at Church of Our Saviour (opposite the fire station at the corner of H. Highland and Los Angeles)

Note: If this topic is new to you, please click here to view the original detailed announcement regarding this process. Additional information can be found by clicking here. 

Presenting the 2013 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

2013 Voice Dates“What’s that?…Can you hear it?…It’s all the buzz!”

In case you’re wondering what the buzz is all about, everyone is talking about our neighborhood’s next BIG event, the 2013 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes!  Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday December 7-8, you’ll want mark your calendars now and start making plans to EAT, TOUR and SHOP right here in VaHi.

The Tour of Homes committee has been working hard all year to kick off the holidays with another spectacular and successful event. This year’s TOH showcases eight unique homes and one newly renovated apartment home at Briarcliff Summit. Although the homes are always the main attraction, ten local restaurants – six of which are new to the Tour – will serve up their eclectic food samples in each home as well.

OK, it’s time to spill the beans. Scroll down to view photos and descriptions of the wonderful homes on this year’s tour.

For more information about the tour, including a list of the participating restaurants and a page where you can purchase tickets, click here.

The Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is such a fun way to kick off the holidays. Tell your friends and family to come out and support our neighborhood on a weekend where everyone loves to EAT, TOUR and SHOP!

- Angelika Taylor, 2013 Tour of Homes Chair

1 – 1162 Briarcliff Place:  The oldest home on the tour, built in 1910, the homeowners kept the original floors on the main level along with a few rooms and then they took it down to the studs. In the crawl space below they added 18 steel pillars to support the house. Their extensive renovation reveals a comfy, spacious cottage style home with serious “wow” factor influencing the owners’ passion for art and entertaining.

1 – 1162 Briarcliff Place
The oldest home on the tour, built in 1910, the homeowners kept the original floors on the main level along with a few rooms and then they took it down to the studs. In the crawl space below they added 18 steel pillars to support the house. Their extensive renovation reveals a comfy, spacious cottage style home with serious “wow” factor influencing the owners’ passion for art and entertaining.

2 – 885 Arlington Place When two oak trees fell on this home in 2009 the structural damage to the 1920’s bungalow was so severe that only some of the foundation, two exterior walls and the fireplace could be saved. It was rebuilt with a focus on recreating the style of the original house plus a few modern additions – think open kitchen and closets. It’s a fantastic example of exacting quality and attention to detail. Be sure to see the flooring and handrail on the stairs leading to the basement. They are reclaimed wood from the original home.

2 – 885 Arlington Place
When two oak trees fell on this home in 2009 the structural damage to the 1920’s bungalow was so severe that only some of the foundation, two exterior walls and the fireplace could be saved. It was rebuilt with a focus on recreating the style of the original house plus a few modern additions – think open kitchen and closets. It’s a fantastic example of exacting quality and attention to detail. Be sure to see the flooring and handrail on the stairs leading to the basement. They are reclaimed wood from the original home.

3 – 896 Arlington Place Fresh, airy and bright, this well designed home with gallery-like spaces is entirely new construction. Its open plan design flows effortlessly through three finished levels and continues seamlessly to the outdoor lounging terraces and back lawn. An art lovers dream, it features iconic modern furnishings and a stellar contemporary art collection including graffiti wall art. You won’t want to miss this one.

3 – 896 Arlington Place
Fresh, airy and bright, this well designed home with gallery-like spaces is entirely new construction. Its open plan design flows effortlessly through three finished levels and continues seamlessly to the outdoor lounging terraces and back lawn. An art lovers dream, it features iconic modern furnishings and a stellar contemporary art collection including graffiti wall art. You won’t want to miss this one.

4 – 1099 Lanier Blvd Built in the 1930’s and renovated in the late 90’s this sophisticated home is flush with elegant yet comfortable style. Gone is the dark and gloomy rental property of the 80’s and in its place is an intimate home spanning three finished levels. One of the highlights is the master bedroom suite. An extension of the homes original attic, it boasts striking angles and wood clad walls that add a dose of drama to the tranquil sanctuary. The cozy, stone lined terrace level opens to a naturally shady landscape featuring a treasured 46-foot tall silver oak.

4 – 1099 Lanier Blvd
Built in the 1930’s and renovated in the late 90’s this sophisticated home is flush with elegant yet comfortable style. Gone is the dark and gloomy rental property of the 80’s and in its place is an intimate home spanning three finished levels. One of the highlights is the master bedroom suite. An extension of the homes original attic, it boasts striking angles and wood clad walls that add a dose of drama to the tranquil sanctuary. The cozy, stone lined terrace level opens to a naturally shady landscape featuring a treasured 46-foot tall silver oak.

5- 1214 North Highland Ave Tucked away behind historic boxwood hedges, this 1930’s classic was recently updated to include a new master suite, screened porch, lower terrace guest bedroom suite and a garage. Much larger than it appears from the street, this sprawling three-level home is a great example of successfully merging the old with the new. From its custom concrete counters to designer chandeliers and well selected turn-of-the-century antiques, the home’s romantic, vintage vibe make this one a must see.

5- 1214 North Highland Ave
Tucked away behind historic boxwood hedges, this 1930’s classic was recently updated to include a new master suite, screened porch, lower terrace guest bedroom suite and a garage. Much larger than it appears from the street, this sprawling three-level home is a great example of successfully merging the old with the new. From its custom concrete counters to designer chandeliers and well selected turn-of-the-century antiques, the home’s romantic, vintage vibe make this one a must see.

6 – 648 Orme Circle The bespoke and genteel appeal of this 2006 Craftsman-style home greets you at the front door. The result of a major overhaul to the first floor that was completed in September 2013, impeccable designer touches can be seen in the new, custom kitchen, dining room, living room, keeping room and stunning, reconfigured master suite. A handsome mix of textures and alluring finishes, like leathered granite counter tops and hand-finished wood floors, take the quality of this renovation to new levels. It’s one of our favorite kitchens on the tour.

6 – 648 Orme Circle
The bespoke and genteel appeal of this 2006 Craftsman-style home greets you at the front door. The result of a major overhaul to the first floor that was completed in September 2013, impeccable designer touches can be seen in the new, custom kitchen, dining room, living room, keeping room and stunning, reconfigured master suite. A handsome mix of textures and alluring finishes, like leathered granite counter tops and hand-finished wood floors, take the quality of this renovation to new levels. It’s one of our favorite kitchens on the tour.

7 – 688 Cooledge Ave Once a two bedroom, one bath house built in 1922, this home was given new life in 2012 when it was transformed into a luxurious four bedroom, three and one half bath retreat. The homeowners preserved the original Georgian Revival exterior entrance, first floor framing and white oak floors – the rest is brand new. Imported marble from Greece, floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the back of the house and a palm-lined outdoor oasis complete with pool are just a few of the signature details you’ll love about this designer home.

7 – 688 Cooledge Ave Once a two bedroom, one bath house built in 1922, this home was given new life in 2012 when it was transformed into a luxurious four bedroom, three and one half bath retreat. The homeowners preserved the original Georgian Revival exterior entrance, first floor framing and white oak floors – the rest is brand new. Imported marble from Greece, floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the back of the house and a palm-lined outdoor oasis complete with pool are just a few of the signature details you’ll love about this designer home. 

8 – 921 Ponce Place This home’s stately stone exterior is the perfect segue to the cultivated aesthetic you will find inside. Built in 2005, it is the largest home on the tour with three finished levels, four bedrooms, four full baths, two half-baths and three stacked stone fireplaces. It is furnished with many family heirlooms, including a custom 1890’s Steinway grand piano made of Brazilian rosewood. The piano belonged to the homeowner’s Great-Grandmother whose portrait (painted in the 1940’s) hangs in the dining room. You’ll take in both history and style at this address.

8 – 921 Ponce Place
This home’s stately stone exterior is the perfect segue to the cultivated aesthetic you will find inside. Built in 2005, it is the largest home on the tour with three finished levels, four bedrooms, four full baths, two half-baths and three stacked stone fireplaces. It is furnished with many family heirlooms, including a custom 1890’s Steinway grand piano made of Brazilian rosewood. The piano belonged to the homeowner’s Great-Grandmother whose portrait (painted in the 1940’s) hangs in the dining room. You’ll take in both history and style at this address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 - 1050 Ponce De Leon Ave. History buffs will love this year’s bonus stop. The Briarcliff Summit or  “The Seven-Fifty” building  — as it was first named when it was built in 1925 by Asa Candler, Jr., son of the founder of The Coca-Cola Company — is steeped in rich history. Once luxury apartments and home to many famous faces, it’s once again under new ownership and fresh from a major renovation. Don’t miss this rare opportunity for a peak inside this landmark that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

#9 – 1050 Ponce De Leon Ave. History buffs will love this year’s bonus stop. The Briarcliff Summit or “The Seven-Fifty” building — as it was first named when it was built in 1925 by Asa Candler, Jr., son of the founder of The Coca-Cola Company — is steeped in rich history. Once luxury apartments and home to many famous faces, it’s once again under new ownership and fresh from a major renovation. Don’t miss this rare opportunity for a peak inside this landmark that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Peggy Berg and Randy Guensler: VaHi’s 2013 PEDS Golden Shoe Award Winners!

The 2013 PEDS Golden Shoe award winners. Randy Guensler is on the far left, Peggy Berg is second from left.

The 2013 PEDS Golden Shoe award winners. Randy Guensler is on the far left, Peggy Berg is second from left. Photo credit: Todd Burford

Congratulations to VaHi residents Peggy Berg and Randy Guensler who were named recipients of the 2013 Golden Shoe award from PEDS, the pedestrian advocacy organization. The pair was given their awards at a ceremony Thursday night at All Saints Church on West Peachtree Street.

Berg won the award for Pedestian-friendly Activism. As safety/sidewalks chair for the VHCA Berg negotiated an arrangement with the city’s Public Works Department that resulted in the first large-scale repair of sidewalks in our neighborhood in 40 years. Ms. Berg took responsibility for all of the program’s considerable organizational challenges – securing partial matching funds from the neighborhood association, overseeing public outreach, answering every respondent, measuring and estimating the repair costs of each section, and submitting the collected funding and schematics to the city. Bundling sidewalk repairs in this manner was a win/win for both parties, enabling the Civic Association to promote a comprehensive approach to making sidewalk repairs on a large scale and the city to perform the work in a cost effective, efficient and timely manner. Click here to read more about this effort.

Berg was also recognized for her participation in a city hall task force last year that took a hard look at the city’s policies and procedures for dealing with sidewalk maintenance, widely considered to be archaic and ineffective. The task force produced recommendations that will hopefully bring about improvements.

Left to right: Georgia Tech graduate assistant Alice Grossman, Peggy Berg, Randy Guensler, Georgia Tech graduate assistant Zan Frackelton

Left to right: Georgia Tech graduate assistant Alice Grossman, Peggy Berg, Randy Guensler, Georgia Tech graduate assistant Zan Frackelton

Guensler received the award for Pedestrian-friendly Research for the comprehensive sidewalk inventory project he spearheaded through Georgia Tech’s Center for Traffic Operations and Safety. Guensler fitted a tablet device onto a wheelchair and programmed the rolling contraption to take video, measure cracks and bumps, and upload latitude and longitude coordinates to a mapping system. You can read more about Guensler’s sidewalk inventory mapping project here. 

Click here to learn more about PEDS and read more about Thursday night’s awards ceremony.

Congratulations again to two VaHi residents who are making a difference in the walkability of our neighborhood and the city of Atlanta!

SPARK Teachers Win APS Awards

SPARKSupporterLogoCongratulations to SPARK teachers Jennifer Lockwood and Brianne Turgeon who were honored this past Tuesday by receiving $7,500 awards from Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education.

Lockwood teaches 4th grade at SPARK and Turgeon is the school’s music and chorus instructor. They were two of ten APS educators to win the prestigious award.

Click here to read a Patch article on the awards.

Congratulations again to Jennifer Lockwood and Brianne Turgeon – two of Atlanta’s top educators!

Faith Flowers Hosts Accent Decor Photo Shoot, Rob Plattel Flower Arranging Workshops

Did you pass by Faith Flowers today and wonder what all the hubbub was about?

Owner Laura Iarocci emailed to let us know it’s been a busy week at her shop. First, they’ve been hosting flower arranging workshops all week conducted by Rob Plattel, a renowned natural art designer from the Netherlands.  If that wasn’t enough, Iarocci’s shop hosted a photo shoot today for Accent Decor’s 2014 catalogue. Accent Decor is an Atlanta-based wholesale home goods and event decor company that specializes in innovative and quality containers, vases, ceramics and accessories.

A number of colorful arrangements crafted by Plattel and his students are on display in and around the shop. Iarocci invites everyone to stop by for a peek. Scroll down to see photos of some of the spectacular flowers on display.

Faith Flowers is located at 1183 Virginia Ave. NE, in between Eclectic Music and Dr. Lisa K. Williams chiropractic office.

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Worthmore Jewelers Wants Your Leftover Halloween Candy for Charity

Passing this along from our friends at Worthmore Jewelers located on Amsterdam Walk.

November 1-10, Worthmore Jewelers (worthmorejewelers.com) — located on Amsterdam Walk — will be collecting left-over Halloween candy from community members to be donated to the organization ”Operation Stars and Strips” (operationstarsandstripes.org) which sends the candy in care packages to servicemen and women abroad. 

This year, Worthmore has organized a competition between its Midtown and Decatur locations to see who can gather the most candy. Participants will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a $50 Worthmore Jewelers gift card. 

Worthmore has long had a significant client base in Virginia Highlands and we would love to give ViHi residence the opportunity to do some good with their left over Halloween candy! 

WorthmoreJewelers_Stars&Stripes

VaHi Safety Team Report: October 28, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Two Neighborhood Cleanups Planned

The fall neighborhood business district clean-up coordinated by Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful will be this Saturday morning (11/2) from 8 until 12 Noon – meet at the American Roadhouse patio for coffee and pastries before donning your gloves and setting out for your assigned area. This will be a good family outing  – if your kids are old enough to bend over and pick up litter they are quite eligible to join in. The Old 4th Ward had 150 people at their recent Boulevard cleanup – so let’s not let them beat us in numbers. More details at  http://vahi.org/date-set-for-keep-virginia-highland-beautiful-fall-clean-up-event/

Then, on the following Saturday morning (11/9), the BeltLine Security Patrol and the Piedmont Park Conservancy will be cleaning up under the Park Drive bridge from 9 until 12 Noon. This cleanup should be of particular interest to those VaHi residents west of Monroe Drive and I hope that many of you can join in on this cleanup, since this is right in your midst. Just show up under the bridge with your gloves and be ready to join in.

VaHi Home Tour Needs More Volunteers

Eleanor Barrineau is looking for more helpers to staff all the houses for this annual event on 12/7 and 12/8. I always meet more neighbors by volunteering for this event and it is an enjoyable way to introduce our community to visitors.  Read the details at  http://vahi.org/volunteers-needed-for-2013-vahi-tour-of-homes/

Our Safe Address Delivery Program

For those of you who may be new to the neighborhood – we have an easy and free way to thwart the front doorstep thieves who will soon be out looking for packages to steal. Just go by Intown Hardware, Urban Body on PDL Place or Morningstar Storage (formerly CityStorage) and sign up to use their safe addresses for the intended delivery of your packages. Then be sure to let all of your friends and relatives who send you holiday packages to use this address for shipping to you. These friendly neighborhood businesses will also call you to let you know you have a package to pick up. This program has been in operation for several years now and it really works – take advantage of it. Also – if you know a package is to be shipped via FedEx – their office on PDL Avenue at the Plaza will hold packages for you – stop by there to get the details. Don’t let Aunt Millie’s gift fruitcake end up in the bushes somewhere.

Making Suspicious Activity 911 Calls

The COPS division of APD has a great video on YouTube showing how to make such calls. This video “stars” two Zone 6 alums – Officers Woolfolk and Trotter – in their premier acting assignments.  http://youtu.be/ZupdDxc3WCE

Last Summer’s Missing Child Incident

I was very impressed at the writing and reporting ability of Grady High School student Mary Claire Morris as she wrote up the facts of this scenario that we all lived thru last summer.  http://thesoutherneronline.com/frontpage/?p=8162

FBAC Activity Reports

For those of you who always wonder what our subscription off-duty neighborhood patrol group (Fight Back Against Crime) does during their patrol times – the following figures will give you an idea at how busy this service is.  These figures are for 9/22 – 10/19.

Directed Patrols – 22, Park and Walks – 21, Suspicious Person – 6, Alarm Response – 9, Suspicious Vehicle – 3, Parking Complaints – 5, Noise Complaints – 2, Out of Town Checks – 12, Abandoned Auto – 1, FBAC Member Contacts – 5, and Intoxicated Person – 2.

Learn more about this community service and how to join up at  http://www.fbacvahi.com/

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2013 weeks of 40 and 41 (9/29 – 10/12).  These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault : On 10/6 at the clubs around the corner of PDL Avenue and PDL Place, an intoxicated club patron was arguing with club security.  He was calmed down and went to the parking lot – it was then that people were screaming that someone had a gun.  An arrest was made by an off-duty officer at the scene with no shots fired.

Auto Theft: A 2000 Honda Civic was stolen from St. Charles Avenue.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Pedestrian Robbery: On 9/29 a group of friends was leaving a North Highland club at closing time when one female was supposedly forced into a car that was not a cab.  One male friend ran alongside the car trying to open the door, but was not successful.  The driver took $120 in cash from the victim’s purse and then they stopped at an ATM where the victim withdrew more cash. She left the ATM location with 2 unidentified females who were following the car and they took her home to Sandy Springs.

On 10/3 a male/female couple were robbed at gunpoint at the corner of Greenwood and Frederica by 3 males who sped off in a waiting vehicle.  No injuries to the victims were reported.

On 10/8 the male victim stated he was riding his bicycle on Greenwood Avenue in the evening when a vehicle hit him intentionally from behind.  The victim stated 2 males exited from the vehicle and kicked him in the face, and that they fled in the vehicle.  The victim stated he was unable to find help, so climbed a grassy hill and passed out.  No word in the report as to how it was that he was found by the officer or as to the extent of his injuries.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on PDL Place, Bonaventure Avenue, Virginia Avenue, St. Charles Avenue (3), North Virginia Avenue, Lanier Boulevard, Greenwood Avenue, Los Angeles Avenue, North Highland Avenue, and Drewry Street.

In this two week time period there were 84 such incidents all over Zone 6.

Larceny Other: The victim plugged her I-pad into a plug at an unidentified PDL Avenue restaurant, went to the restroom and (surprise!) it was gone upon her return.

An unwatched cell phone was taken from a counter at the Bank of America on PDL Avenue.

At a St. Louis Place apartment the victim stated the suspect came in his (unlocked?) front door stating he was looking for his cell phone.  A fight ensued and the suspect grabbed the victim’s cell phone and fled on foot.

An unwatched purse left on a chair at an un-named PDL Avenue bar had the wallet taken from it while the owner was in the restroom.

Elsewhere in the Zone our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 2 shoplifters and the Edgewood Target store caught 5 non-paying visitors.  An unwatched cell phone was taken from a shopping cart at the Edgewood Kroger store.  A cell phone was snatched out of a hip belt- holder from an Edgewood Barnes and Noble customer.

At a Boulevard gas station a male approached a female in a cab offering her some cocaine.  She handed him her phone so he could enter his phone number, he ran and she gave chase – only for him to circle around the cab to take her I-pad off the seat, and he got away.

For all of the hundreds of parents who are accompanying their kids for trick-or-treat night – don’t forget to get new batteries for your flashlight. In all of the years I have been doing these reports I am not aware of any incidents on this night – let’s keep it that way.  FBAC and APD both will be looking out for the roving groups of parents and kids Thursday evening.

Enjoy fall and Halloween safely!

Meeting Reminder: Historic District Exploration for Two Virginia-Highland Subdivisions

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadWhat: #2 in a Series of Informational Meeting Regarding Exploration of Historic District Designation for Two Virginia-Highland Subdivisions – (this meeting is primarily for residents of Lanier Blvd. and Los Angeles Dr., but any interested party may attend)

When: Monday, Oct. 28 – 7PM

Where: Pettway Hall at Church of Our Saviour (opposite the Fire Station at the corner of Los Angeles and N. Highland)

Note: If this topic is new to you, please click here to view the original detailed announcement regarding this process. Additional information can be found by clicking here.

Work Day Scheduled for VaHi Triangle Island

DSC05442It’s time to bring some fall color to Virginia-Highland’s main intersection. Please join me and other interested volunteers at 1 PM on Sunday, October 27 at the triangle park space in front of Taco Mac.

Bring trowels, gloves and a bottle of water, if you have them. If not, we will provide them. We will do some light maintenance and plant some beds of pansies and kale. Stay for as long as you want. Come help us make your community center a beautiful place to spend time.

Questions or suggestions? Contact us at parks@vahi.org.

- Lauren Wilkes Fralick, VHCA Parks Committee

Traffic Alert: Atlanta Marathon Passing Through VaHi on October 27

Marathon logoResidents should be aware that the Atlanta Marathon and Ten Miler road races will pass through Virginia-Highland on Sunday October 27.

A complete list of road closures associated with the marathon can be found here. Here’s a list of impacted roads in the immediate VaHi area, including whether or not they are total or partial closures and the times they’ll be closed.

  • Highland Ave from Elizabeth to Drewry St.; right side of road only; 7:55 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
  • Highland Ave from Drewry to Virginia; right side of road only; 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
  • Virginia Ave. from Highland to Park; right side of road only; 8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
  • Park Dr. from Virginia to Piedmont Park; entire road closed; 8:00 a.m. to 10:55 a.m.
  • Enter Piedmont Park off Park Dr.; exit 14th; 8:05 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
  • Start of 10 Miler at 14th Street 7:15 a.m.
  • Piedmont Rd From 14th Street to E. Morningside; right side of road only; 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • East Morningside from Piedmont To E. Rock Springs; right side of road only; 7:00 a.m. 11:40 a.m.
  • East Rock Springs from E. Morningside To Johnson; right side of road only; 7:05 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
  • Johnson Rd. from E. Rock Springs to Briarcliff; left side of road only; 7:10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Briarcliff from Johnson to Shepherds Lane; left side of road only; 7:15 a.m. 12:00 p.m.

For more information, visit the Atlanta Marathon website.

Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Announces Free Fitness Programs

IBeltline_logo_finalnitial Programs Include Aerobics, Intro to FitWit and Soccer Street Cups

Passing this along from our friends at the Atlanta BeltLine:

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership announces the launch of free, fun fitness activities at parks and trails around the Atlanta BeltLine. Offered in cooperation with the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, Park Pride and other health-centric organizations, the program is designed to engage the community in healthy, active lifestyles. Grant funding for the programs is provided through the Coca-Cola Company, awarded to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership this year.

“In fulfilling the Atlanta BeltLine vision, it is our goal to address the health disparities around Atlanta by getting Atlantans of all ages, races, and fitness levels out and moving,” said Atlanta BeltLine Executive Director Valarie Wilson. “We are grateful for the support of the many partners who are helping make the vision of a healthier Atlanta possible.”

The initial offering of programs includes aerobics classes and an introduction to FitWit that will accommodate all ages and fitness levels, as well as the first Soccer Street Cup for youth of all ages. The line-up includes:

Street Cup at D.H. Stanton Park

What: Youth soccer tournament that promotes character development. Teams are mixed to accommodate all skill levels.

When: Sunday, October 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: D.H. Stanton Park – 1052 Martin St. SE, Atlanta, GA

Cost: FREE

Aerobics at Historic Fourth Ward Park

What: Energizing 60 minute workout for all ages.

When: Tuesdays in November at 6 p.m.

Where: Historic Fourth Ward Park, by the lake – 680 Dallas St., Atlanta, GA

Cost: FREE

Aerobics at Boulevard Crossing Park

What: Energizing 60 minute workout for all ages.

When: Saturdays in November at 9 a.m.

Where: Boulevard Crossing Park (Lower Field Pavilion) – 500 Englewood Ave., Atlanta, GA

Cost: FREE

Introduction to FitWit at Gordon White Park

What: 60 minute workouts for all fitness levels combining equipment and natural landscapes.

When: Saturday, November 2 and Saturday, November 16 at 11 a.m.

Where: Gordon White Park – 1200 White St., Atlanta, GA

Cost: FREE

For additional information, please visit Events.BeltLine.org.

Volunteers Needed for 2013 VaHi Tour of Homes

2013 Tour of Homes DatesThe Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is coming up soon, Saturday and Sunday December 7 & 8. This year’s tour promises to be one of the best yet with eight beautiful and interesting homes, each paired with delicious food tastings from great local restaurants, plus a history-lover’s bonus stop. Tour of Homes is a festive holiday event that also happens to be an important fundraiser for our community.

carolers_home_265hPlease how your support for our wonderful neighborhood by signing up for a volunteer shift. Signing up is quick and easy at http://vahitourofhomes.org/volunteer/. Volunteers will receive two complimentary tickets to the tour.

If you can’t volunteer, please plan to attend this year’s tour and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Details are available at http://vahitourofhomes.org/. It’s a great way to give back to YOUR neighborhood!

Dude, It’s Only a Mile!

Morningside Mile LogoRace Registration Now Open for the Morningside Mile Benefiting Historic Va-Hi Fire Station 

Mark your calendar: the 4rd annual Morningside Mile race & block party is Sunday, October 20 (noon-2pm)!

THE RACE (HIGH NOON)

Register now to run Atlanta’s only competitive 1-mile race with cash prizes!  Registered runners get a technical race hat, free SweetWater beer or Yoforia frozen yogurt & other great swag.  All level walkers and runners are welcome from kids to competitive runners.  The race starts in Virginia Highland and ends at Morningside Village.  Race numbers are limited so register soon at Highland Runners, Phidippides Ansley or www.MorningsideMile.com.  Registration closes on Oct. 17 or at 1000 runners, whichever comes first.

THE BLOCK PARTY (NOON – 2PM)

Music, food & family fun at the finish line hosted by Doc Chey’s, Morningside Village merchants & local fire-fighters.  Sign-up in advance to participate in Doc Chey’s annual Noodle Eating Contest (adult or kid round) for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

For more info, visit MorningsideMile.com.

6th Annual Monumental Ball Set for Friday

monumentalballlogoPassing this along from our friends at the Morningside-Lenox Park Association:

Please join us for BEACH MUSIC IN THE PARK at the 6th Annual Monumental Ball at Magnolia Hall in Piedmont Park from 7-11 on Friday, October 18th.  

The Swinging Medallions are playing along with a guest performance by the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable. Affairs to Remember is our caterer and Platinum Sponsor along with Ken Covers, Fourteen West REALTORS. 

Wear beach, costume or black tie attire. Incredible raffle bag with gifts totalling nearly $8,000! Profits support the Morningside Lenox Park Security Patrol.  

COME HAVE A BALL!

For more information, visit the Monumental Ball website.

Recycled Hexagonal Pavers Available From VHCA

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadHave you been waiting for the cooler fall weather to take on that project of repairing your sidewalk of broken hexagonal pavers? If so, the VHCA has a deal for you.

Paver pileThe civic association has a healthy inventory of the historic pavers that have been recycled from sections of VaHi sidewalk previously repaired by the city. Pavers are 18″ x 18″, six-sided (what else would you expect from a hexagonal paver, right?), and vary in color due to age. See accompanying photos of the stored inventory and what a repaired hexagonal paver sidewalk can look like.

pavers installedPrices are $6 ea. for Virginia-Highland residents, $8 ea. for non-residents with all funds going to the VHCA general fund. If you’re interested, contact VHCA safety/sidewalk committee chair Peggy Berg at pegberg1111@gmail.com or 404-236-9064.

Local Residents Initiate Historic District Exploration for Two VaHi Subdivisions

DSC_0037A group of residents who live in two historic subdivisions of Virginia-Highland have reached out to fellow residents/owners on the topic of preserving the historic character of the area near the intersection of Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Those who grew up here in the 30s and 40s called the area near the intersection of our two primary streets “Highland and Virginia,” which seems to be a useful overall tag for reference purposes.

The two specific historic subdivisions considered by this group’s efforts are Adair Park (established in 1914) and the F.A. Ames Property/Virginia Highlands (1922). They are made up of just over 300 homes; you can see both on the boundary map graphic below. Historic Districts are always based on the historic development of the neighborhood and that is why these historic subdivisions have been chosen. If residents on adjacent streets or across the street from boundaries are interested in inclusion, this can certainly be considered. The business properties along N. Highland and Virginia in these areas are not included; since 2009 they have had their own commercial-based overlay zoning.

The efforts and studies by previous local historic committees – which gathered many specific plat maps and other materials from all of Virginia-Highland and studied the application process and requirements – provided a useful starting point for this discussion. Our first review suggests that a form of historic designation called ‘Historic District Overlay Zoning’ is the specific one that would be most appropriate here. It is the least restrictive form of regulated historic district, yet still offers some significant protection. Like many topics, what we all need to know is in the details, and we look forward to sharing and studying all those with other owners and residents.

We’re seeking additional committee members who live in the area. If the residents and owners wish to see this move forward, it will require the support of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, the City of Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission and our council members. Professional consulting groups often help neighborhoods prepare the formal submissions that the process above requires and Market + Main is assisting in that respect. Market + Main led the commercial zoning overlay project mentioned earlier and has done many studies for VHCA.

We have planned a series of meetings so all property owners and residents within the designated boundaries can learn about this concept and its advantages and limits.  Our reactions are paramount in this process; the information sessions are specifically intended to give us the ability to absorb and reflect upon what such an approach would – and would not – accomplish and to hear one another’s ideas.

If at the end of our sessions and discussions we learn that property owners and residents support such an effort, historic district guidelines – written with resident and owner input in mind – can be drafted and submitted to the Urban Design Commission for review. Their review consists of a separate process in which they examine the history of the area’s homes, the submitted designation report, and the draft regulations.

Should that review produce a positive recommendation; the next step will be seeking approval through the legislative process. Market + Main can help represent the neighborhood during those stages.

Should this review process bear out a lack of support, the effort would be stopped once that conclusion is reached.

We’ve included a schedule of meetings below. We want to make sure that all property owners and residents have a chance to learn and be heard so we are breaking the area up by street for smaller, more interactive meetings. Each meeting will cover the same material so you only need to attend one meeting. If the date assigned to you does not work with your schedule, feel free to join in on another date below or come on the make-up date of Dec. 11. You may attend multiple meetings if you wish.

All meetings will be held at 7 PM at The Church of Our Saviour, opposite the Fire Station at the corner of Los Angeles and N. Highland. Check the website before attending in case of changes to date and place. 

Thursday, Oct. 17 – Attendees from N. Virginia Ave and Stillwood Dr. – Garrison Hall

Monday, Oct. 28 – Attendees from Lanier Blvd and Los Angeles Ave. – Pettway Hall

Thursday, Nov. 7 – Attendees from Adair Ave., Todd Rd., and Rupley Dr. – Garrison Hall

Thursday, Dec. 5 – Attendees from Virginia Ave. and Hudson Dr. (excluding commercial properties in NC) – Garrison Hall

Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Attendees from North Highland Ave. (excluding commercial  properties in NC),  Kentucky Ave., Rosewood Dr., and a make-up session for all streets – Garrison Hall

See link below to map of proposed historic designation area – on some streets only one side of the street is being considered.

Additional meetings and communications will be needed to follow up on comments and concerns and to review draft regulations should the residents/owners support the effort. Look for further announcements.

While the meetings listed above will be open to the public, their primary purpose is to educate and hear from property owners and residents of the area.  With that in mind, we’ll ask everyone to sign in and list the property they own or rent in the area, or provide their address and interest in the process if they live outside the area. Residents and owners will be given first priority for discussion purposes.

A number of property owners and residents have some experience with these ideas, and most of them agree on this truism:  There are a lot of potential advantages and disadvantages in this (and every other land-use) plan. We look forward to discussing these advantages and disadvantages thoroughly; all relevant topics are on the table. In the interest of efficiency, there are a few things we really hope not to spend time on – because they are not on the table. (They are not features that would be regulated in this type of historic district.)

  1. No paint colors are mentioned in any way.  We can still go nuts; under this overlay, bright purple exteriors with yellow stripes will be as legal (completely) and as desirable (possibly less than completely) as they are now.
  2. Renovations done inside a house are not addressed at all anywhere in a Historic Overlay District.
  3. The contemplated regulations apply to work that is visible from the street. The UDC is currently reviewing the definition of “visible from the street” as a neighborhood’s topography and where a person is standing greatly influence what is visible from the street. More to come on this topic. But the bottom line is that work on the back of a house and out of sight is not regulated beyond the regulations provided by the current city ordinances.
  4. Approval of work to be done in a historic district does not necessarily take longer than the current process. All projects would be evaluated by the UDC – some can be approved by the staff; others go before the commission for review and approval.  All other city review processes are still followed.

And there is the obvious reality that all work done in this city has to meet all other city ordinances and building standards, as it would have to in any case.

We’re really hoping not to spend any time on these latter points. Instead we really look forward to a robust evaluation of all the advantages and factual limitations offered by historic designation.

VERY IMPORTANT:

These meetings are being attended by your friends and neighbors. It is required that we be respectful, observant, and willing to listen to what each other has to say. Cordiality and congeniality are essential parts of a productive process, and they make for improved outcomes, no matter what the specific outcomes are.

See you Thursday or at a subsequent meeting.

To get involved or for more information, email the committee at info@HighlandandVirginia.org. A website is reserved and under construction: www.highlandandvirginia.org.

Additional Resources

Click here to view a street map of the proposed historic district.

Click here to view a historic map of Adair Park.

Click here to view a historic map of F.A. Ames Property/Virginia-Highland.

Judith Bright Donating 15% of Store Sales to Atlanta Community Food Bank

Leslie Brinkmeyer, manager of Judith Bright Jewelry at the corner of Virginia and N. Highland avenues, reached out to let us know they’ll be donating 15% of store sales from Friday November 1 through Sunday November 3 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

“The ACFB is a fantastic organization that not only directly distributes food to those in need,” Brinkmeyer wrote, “but they also support many smaller local organizations that serve specific communities in need. With the holiday season right around the corner we think this is an ideal time to do our part to support them.”

Thanks for giving back to the community, Judith Bright Jewelry!

ATL_foodbankflyer

Don’t Miss the Morningside Mile This Sunday October 20!

Morningside Mile LogoRace & Block Party Benefits Historic Va-Hi Fire Station #19

Join Virginia-Highland firefighters in celebrating National Fire Safety Month at the 4rd annual Morningside Mile on Sunday, October 20 (Noon – 2pm).  The event kicks-off with a 1-mile race at noon (starting in Virginia-Highland) and ends with a family-friendly block party at Morningside Village.

MMileImage#3Enjoy live music, food, Doc Chey’s Noodle Eating Contest (adult & kids rounds) and other fun festivities. Meet station 1#9 firefighters and local merchants.

Register soon to run Atlanta’s only mile race with cash prizes & great swag. The first 750 registrants get a technical race hat. Show your race number at the block party for a free SweetWater beer or Yoforia frozen yogurt. All level walkers and runners are welcome from kids to competitive runners. Race registration closes on October 17 or at 1000 runners, whichever comes first. Register at Highland Runners, Phidippides Ansley or MorningsideMile.com.

Dude, it’s only a mile!

For more info, visit MorningsideMile.com.

MMileImage#2Street Closure Notice

The 4th annual Morningside Mile will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 12 Noon.

The starting line is at Virginia Avenue and Lanier Boulevard.

Here’s a description of the race route:

  1. Start – northbound on Lanier Blvd
  2. Turn left on North Morningside Drive
  3. Turn right on Lanier Place
  4. Turn right on North Highland
  5. Finish on North Highland across from Doc Chey’s (just before University Avenue)

MMileImage#1North Highland Avenue between N. Morningside Drive & University Avenue will be closed to through traffic for 30 minutes from 12 Noon until 12:30 PM. Several police officers will be on duty to control traffic and assist residents driving in and around their homes. The post race Morningside Village Merchant block party will follow the race from 12:30 PM until 2 PM at Morningside Village.

We apologize for any inconvenience, which should be minimal, if any.

This is an annual event that benefits our neighborhood Fire Station #19.  Music, food & family fun hosted by Morningside Village merchants & our neighborhood fire-fighters.  For more info, visit MorningsideMile.com.

VaHi Safety Team Report: October 14, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Neighborhood Cleanup Planned for Nov. 2

Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful, an independent coalition of concerned businesses and residents, has announced a community fall cleanup on Saturday morning, November 2, from 8 AM until Noon. Meet at the patio of the American Roadhouse restaurant at 8 AM for coffee and pastries and to get assignments to fan out along the North Highland business corridor. RSVP at either  keepvirginiahighlandbeautiful@gmail.com or at their Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/events/221805984647003/.

If you are involved with a church, school, service, business or other such group – please consider this as an invitation to join in to make this morning a resounding success. If you also would like to self-organize a cleanup for other specific neighborhood areas – please let us know so you can be worked into the total effort for this day. Our previous cleanups have made a significant difference – let’s make this the best one yet.

What does this cleanup have to do with public safety? A lot – in that I am a confirmed believer of the “broken windows theory of crime prevention” – read about this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory.

In the meantime before the cleanup – we urge business and property owners to take a critical look at the area from your front door to the street and make an extra effort to clean up broken glass, cigarette butts and trash every day. This also apples to residents by making sure your property is well groomed all the way to the street. As you take your daily walk, take a plastic bag with you to gather up litter as you walk.

A special thanks goes out to Rad Slough of Urban Body for continually cleaning up the west end of Maiden Lane. If your business or residence backs up to this street, please consider partnering with Rad to keep this street even cleaner.

Cell Phone and I-Pad Thefts

These devices continue to be stolen from unwary addicted users every day all over the city. Many are stolen as they are laid down unwatched. Display these personal electronic devices cautiously in public. A recent such theft incident in Buckhead is documented at  http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/23663243/police-arrest-3-after-woman-robbed-of-ipad. This caution also applies to the BeltLine – this popular path has been free of incidents lately, but don’t tempt fate.

Residential Security Camera Systems

Two very recent incidents were captured on high-resolution camera systems. The stories at  http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/home-surveillance-video-catches-robbers-breaking/vCFfHf/  and http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/gun-wielding-car-jacker-caught-tape-20541011. Congrats to Zone 5′s Lieutenant Cantin for becoming a nationally known crime fighter via this film.

These camera systems are increasingly becoming more and more sophisticated with very clear images – but I am not knowledgeable about such electronic gear. If anyone out there would like to write up a short blurb about these new cameras, I would be glad to share with everyone in the community.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for our VaHi Beat 601 for the 2013 weeks of 37, 38 and 39 (9/8 – 9/28). These reports are now meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness. Note that this report contains 3 weeks of stats, instead of the usual 2 weeks – life has gotten in my way and I’ve just gotten behind in compiling a report.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft: A 2008 Toyota Camry was stolen on Virginia Avenue and a scooter was taken from Briarcliff Court.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on PDL Place, Virginia Circle, Drewry Street, Virginia Avenue, PDL Avenue, Los Angeles Avenue (2), and North Highland Avenue (2).  In this 3 week total, there were 120 vehicles entered for theft all over Zone 6. Imagine that if everyone adhered to the Clean Car Campaign – how much more time Zone 6 Officers would have to spend patrolling, instead of writing up auto larceny reports. This is one of the easiest crimes to prevent – yet this category continually drives our crime stats upward every week. And – we all pay for this with higher insurance rates. Please warn your out-of-the-neighborhood visitors to clean out their cars before leaving their parked cars. The same goes for your lawn service guys – all equipment in the back of their trucks needs to be chained down.

Larceny Other: An unwatched cell phone was taken at an un-named PDL Avenue business.  Four unwatched cell phones were taken from 4 student football players while they were exercising in the gym. The North Highland Avenue CVS store spotted a shoplifter, but he got away.

Do you lock your car doors while pumping gas?  At Buddy’s gas station on North Avenue a purse was stolen from the front seat while one perp distracted the gas pumper and another took a purse from the front seat and both fled.  At a gas station on Boulevard – one perp asked the pumper “what you need?” and his accomplice took a laptop from the front seat and both fled.

At the Edgewood Retail District Target store, an unwatched cell phone was taken from a shopping cart.

Stay alert and enjoy this wonderful fall weather.

Mark Your Calendars: 2013 Tour of Homes Set For December 7-8

2013-Facebook-coverBy: Angelika Taylor, Tour Chair

What an incredible year it’s been in Virginia-Highland! We’ve enjoyed Summerfest, ran numerous road races, hosted Streets Alive – twice, battled burgers, and now it’s time for the next exciting event in our community. It’s almost time for the 2013 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes which will be held Saturday and Sunday, December 7th and 8th.

DSC06097The Tour of Homes committee has been preparing all year for another tour that will be nothing short of spectacular. This year’s tour features eight very different homes, plus an historical landmark renovation in our neighborhood. This year you’ll get to sample foods from ten local restaurants, four of which are new to the tour.

There are more surprises to come as Virginia-Highland kicks off the holiday season with a weekend to Eat, TOUR and Shop so mark your calendars now for the first full weekend in December. And keep an eye out for the November 1 Voice e-newsletter that will include a sneak peak at the homes and restaurants included on this year’s tour.

Atlanta Pride Festival Returns to Piedmont Park This Weekend

slide_aquariumAtlanta Pride Festival returns this weekend with a variety of events in and around Piedmont Park. This is a major festival event with 35-45,000 attendees expected on Saturday and 45-50,000 more on Sunday.

Click here for a document from festival organizers that includes information on street closings, neighborhood parking, deployment of on and off-duty APD officers working security for the event, and sanitation. Click here to go to the Atlanta Pride website where more information can be found.

Happy Pride Weekend, Virginia-Highland!

Battle of the Burgers Returns to John Howell Park This Saturday

2013-Logo-78wThe fourth annual Battle of the Burgers returns to John Howell Park this Saturday October 12 from 11 AM – 6 PM. The event features a Best Burger in Atlanta contest in which up to 25 purveyors of fine burgers will compete, including local entrants American Roadhouse, Murphy’s, Highland Tap and Taco Mac.

The event is hosted by Embraced, a local non-profit organization. General admission tickets are available for $25 in advance, $35 at the gate. VIP tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the gate.

There will also be a 5K road race that starts and ends in John Howell park starting at 9 AM Saturday morning.

For more information on the burger cook-off (including a complete list of participating restaurants) and the road race (including a map of the course route), click here. Advance tickets may also be purchased through this site.

Trees Atlanta 14th Annual Tree Sale and Festival Set for Saturday October 12

treesatlantalogoFrom our friends at Trees Atlanta:

What: 14th Annual Trees Atlanta Tree Sale

When: October 12th, 2013, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Where: Trees Atlanta 225 Chester Ave SE, Atlanta, 30316

Looking for native trees and plants to add beauty and shade to your yard? Well, you won’t find a wider selection or better prices than at the 14th Annual Trees Atlanta Tree Sale. It’s the best tree sale in the southeast, featuring over 1,000 plants—including more than 200 species of trees, shrubs, native perennials, and tree-friendly vines.

Whether you want to bring shade to your yard with a tall oak …make a statement with a dramatic Dovetree or contorted Filbert…cover an arbor in coral honeysuckle…line your driveway with ethereal muhly grass…or add more pollinator plants to your garden, our tree sale has got you covered.

Your decision to purchase from Trees Atlanta affects more than just the health and beauty of your property; it also makes a contribution to one of your favorite local non-profits, as well as to the entire Atlanta community. All proceeds benefit our neighborhood tree planting projects, helping Trees Atlanta volunteers plant about 2,000 trees each year all around metro Atlanta. 

We know you can shop anywhere, so we thank you for choosing to shop with us. We’ll see you October 12th. A complete list of trees and plants for sale are available on www.treesatlanta.org.

If you want a big tree but have a small car, Trees Atlanta can provide delivery, as well as planting assistance, within a limited area for a small fee!

Inman Middle School To Host APS BOE Candidate Forum

DSC_0004The PTA’s of Inman Middle and Mary Lin Elementary schools are hosting a two-hour forum for candidates running for a seat on Atlanta Public Schools’ Board of Education next Wednesday October 9 starting at 6 PM. Candidates for District 1, 2 and 3 seats are expected to attend.

For more information, click here.

Top Ranked Inman Softball Team Surges Into Playoffs

DSC_0004Passing this info along from VaHi resident Mark Arnold. When I told Mark we’d be glad to help promote this in hopes of drumming up some support, he replied:

“The parent turn-out has actually been great!  Lots of fans this year which has not been the case in past years. My motives are somewhat selfish, though – my daughter is one of the two pitchers.  I’m having a blast, probably more so than her.”

Inman Middle School’s softball team is ranked #1 going into the playoffs! The next game is tomorrow October 10 at 5:30 PM at Crim High School, 256 Clifton Street, SE, 30317.

If they win tomorrow there’ll be a semi-final game on Tuesday October 15. If they win that game, the championship game will be Thursday October 17, also at Crim.

Come out and support our neighborhood middle school softball team!

2013 MS Softball Final Rankings2013 MS Softball Brackets

Input Needed for Virginia-Highland Master Plan

DSC_0037

By: Jess Windham and Jenifer Keenan

As detailed over the last few months, a Master Plan for Virginia-Highland is being developed to address a wide range of issues in our neighborhood – from traffic and parking, to historic preservation, and everything in between.  In order to make the Plan a success, and reflect the hopes and wants of the neighborhood, we’d like to know all about your neighborhood experiences. One of the most visible and active tools in the Master Planning process is the website (www.vahimasterplan.org) and its accompanying tool box of features that will gather input directly from you and enable people with all kinds of schedules to participate.

From today through Friday November 8th, you can share your experiences, opinions, and unique perspective on Virginia-Highland through a brief online survey: http://www.vahimasterplan.org/survey.html. Having your feedback will be key to shaping the questions to be addressed in the Master Plan. What do you think are the most important issues that will be facing Virginia-Highland in the next five years? How would you rate parking or the cost of housing?

At the bottom of the survey, you’ll find another tool we are excited about: an online map where you can pinpoint and note exactly what you have observed, love, hate, or want improved in Virginia-Highland.  You can add your input directly to the map at http://vhmp-civicworks.dotcloud.com/. The map will allow you to place a “dot” on a specific area on the map and add comments tied to that map location.  This will enable the community to address specific issues – like whether a stop sign is needed for a particular intersection – to more general issues, like the impact of large events and festivals on our community.

For all you Instagram fans, send us pictures of what you love (or hate!) about Virginia-Highland to @VaHi_ATL with the hashtag #welovevahi. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest updates and reminders for events.

On top of feedback from all of these tools – the website, survey, interactive map, and social media – we will also be holding focus groups on specific topics, a Design Workshop, and a Plan Presentation in the coming months. The Design Workshop and Plan Presentation will be open to the public. Details on dates, times and locations will be announced soon.

Atlanta Streets Alive Returns to VaHi on October 6

Atlanta Streets Alive Oct. 6 logoAtlanta Streets Alive Oct. 6 logo - Version 2On Sunday, October 6, Atlanta Streets Alive will return to N. Highland Avenue. As with last October’s event, Virginia Ave. will also be included, but this time Boulevard and Monroe Dr. will be included, as well. Make plans now to attend the biggest Streets Alive yet, nearly 4.5 miles!

For four hours, you, your friends and your family will have the chance to take back nearly 4.5 miles of our streets – by foot, by bike, by roller skates, by skateboard or by any human-powered means of transportation. Just one thing… no gasoline-engines allowed.

Atlanta Streets Alive aims to transform Atlanta streets into safe places for people to bike, walk, run, dance and skate — for fun, fitness and transportation.

It’s an event inspired by open streets projects all over the world. The idea originated in Bogotá, Colombia, where neighborhood activists opened the streets for people to bike, skate, or use any human powered means of transportation, while temporarily closing them to motor vehicles. In Bogotá today, 70 miles of streets are opened to the public from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday. Amazingly, over 2 million people – young and old, on foot, bike, and every imaginable kind of wheeled device – take part every Sunday!

Our Atlanta event is organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition in partnership with Yo Boulevard! and hundreds of local businesses, activity partners and volunteers.

Atlanta Streets Alive is graciously sponsored by the City of Atlanta, The Coca-Cola Company, MailChimp, Birds of a Feather, 92.9 The Game, Whole Foods, Yelp, New Belgium Brewing, Ponce City Market, REI, Antica Posta, Kilpatrick Stockton, Silverman Construction, and Custom Installation Atlanta.

Scroll down to view a map of the October 6 Streets Alive event.

ASA—October-6-2013

Atlanta Bar Association Legal RunAround 5K Coming to VaHi October 5

DSC03397Race director Ed Williams has advised that the ABA’s Legal RunAround 5K road race will be held in Virginia-Highland on Saturday October 5. Following are the event particulars from the website. Scroll down for a turn-by-turn course route for the race which begins and ends in John Howell Park.

DATE: Saturday, October 5, 2013 @ 8:30 AM (EDT)

ADDRESS: John Howell Park, 841 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta , GA 30306

REGISTRATION CLOSING DATE: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 @ 3:00 PM (EDT)

ORGANIZER’S WEBSITE: http://running4fitness.com/

Join us for the 13th Annual Legal Runaround in John Howell Park. Proceeds benefit the Atlanta Bar Foundation Police Scholarship Fund which provides college scholarships to the children of Atlanta police officers who are killed or disabled in the line of duty. For those who cannot participate but would still like to support the cause, “Phantom Runners” can make donations and will be mailed a t-shirt. Strollers and dogs on leashes welcome.

AGE GROUPS: 10 & under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70 & over.

T-SHIRT: Short sleeved 100% cotton t-shirt to 5k participants.

RACE DAY REGISTRATION AVAILABLE: Race Day registration and packet pick-up 7:30-8:15 am at race start – John Howell Park.

TOT TROT: Tot Trot is open to kids ages 5 & under. There is no charge and should register by mail or on Race Day. Finisher ribbons given. No Tot Trot t-shirts.

PARKING: Parking available in pay lots on N Highland, along side streets (please do not block driveways) and MARTA.

Rain or Shine. No refunds.

5K @ 8:30 am; Tot Trot @ 9:15am

FEES: $25 until Sept 10, $35 thereafter

Turn-by-Turn Course Route:

1. Starts at Virginia Avenue and Greencove

2. Right on Greencove

3. Left on Clemont

4. Right on Park Drive

5. Right on Elkmont

6. Bear left on Elkmont/ Brookridge

7. Right on Brookridge and cross the Orme Park bridge

8. Bear left to Amsterdam

9. Left on Amsterdam

10. Amsterdam merges to Courtenay

11. Left on Greenland ( Water stop on the left)

12. Greenland merges to Hillpine———–Hillpine merges to Northview

13. Stay south on Northview

14. Right on Courtenay

15. Courtenay merges back to Amsterdam

16. Right on Brookridge——–bear right across the Orme Park bridge

17. Turn left at Elkmont/ Orme Circle

18. Turn or bear right on Elkmont

19. Go left on Park Drive

20. Left on Clemont

21. Right on Greencove

22. Finish on right curb on Greencove

Inman BBQ and Blues Bash Set for October 4

DSC_0004Passing this along from our friends at Inman Middle School:

When: Friday, October 4 from 6-8pm (or later for folks who just can’t get enough)!

When Nancy Zintak and Warren Bruno started throwing this party in the 90’s, the only other school-wide event for Inman parents was a spaghetti supper in the cafeteria. We’ve come a long way since then, and the BBQ and Blues Bash has only gotten better with age. And you’ll want to make sure to come this year because it’s Nancy and John Zintak’s last year (finally!) as Inman parents.

So, come on out to John Howell Park (directly across from Inman) on Friday October 4. Bring your whole family, a cooler if you don’t want water or soda, and your appetite for lip smacking BBQ from Fat Matt’s! We’ll have a great blues band, delicious desserts baked by Inman parents, and – best of all – fellowship with your Inman community. Come out and enjoy what we hope will be the first nip of fall (or a cool drink if it’s still 85 degrees) and meet the parents of all the friends that your kids are texting! You can even skip the ticket line and buy your grub NOW http://inmanmiddleschool.org/inman-bbq-and-blues-bash/.

This is not a fundraiser; it’s a party! BBQ is $7 for adults and $5 for kids.  We’re barely breaking even!  The music and camaraderie are FREE!  So book the date now, and see you on October 4!

Virginia-Highland Master Plan Wants Your Input Starting Next Week

DSC06465By: Jess Windham and Jenifer Keenan

Efforts to create a Master Plan for Virginia-Highland are well underway, and we want to know all about your neighborhood experiences.

One of the most visible and active tools in the Master Planning process will be the Master Plan website and its accompanying tool box of features that will gather input directly from you and enable people with all kinds of schedules to participate. We’re still putting the finishing touches on the website and our current plan is to officially launch the site on Monday, October 7th. The few entries that have already been submitted will be recorded, but we ask that people wait until the official launch on Monday to respond to the survey and submit comments.

Starting Monday, you’ll be able to share your experiences, opinions, and unique perspective on Virginia-Highland through a brief online survey. Having your feedback will be key to shaping the questions to be addressed in the Master Plan. What do you think is the most important issue facing Virginia-Highland in the next 5 years? How would you rate parking or the cost of housing?

At the bottom of the survey, you’ll find another tool we are excited about: an online map where you can pinpoint and note exactly what you have observed, love, hate, or want improved in Virginia-Highland. You will be able to add input directly to the map.

On top of feedback gathered through the website, survey, interactive map, and social media, we will also be holding focus groups and a Design Workshop in the coming months. Dates and locations will be announced soon.

Keep an eye out for our official launch announcement on Monday.

A Little TLC for JHP

IMG_5347Work that was done last week and continues this week at John Howell Park – and much more that’s planned for later this fall and winter and next spring – is part of a process that began in 2012 with the goal of restoring the major horticultural elements included in the original plan developed by landscape architect Peter Frawley at the turn of the century. An absence of maintenance in the last half of the previous decade had allowed a huge influx of invasive plants and a marked increase in erosion in many areas. Frawley, the VHCA Parks Committee, and VHCA landscaping consultant Walter Bland of Rock Spring Farm laid out a plan last year that envisions a series of timed responses to all these challenges. Last year a large number of volunteer and arbitrary plantings were removed, bamboo around the playground was significantly eradicated, definition was restored to many of the landscaped areas, benches were sanded and cleaned, some new plants were installed, and a number of minor infrastructure repairs were made. Repairs to damaged grass were begun, particularly on the Ellipse (the Barnett end) and on the Great Lawn.

DSC_0003This summer’s abundant rainfall helped the grasses fill in nicely, but it also led to an abundance of weed growth and made it difficult to do other scheduled tasks until things dried out. Last week a massive amount of weeding and invasive plant reduction was done on the hillside between the upper and lower levels, new plantings were added to the Virginia Avenue slopes (more will follow in time) and in spots around the playgrounds, and more liriope – not always loved, but always practical – was installed in and around the John Howell Memorial (the black sculpture near the park’s center) to help frame it as Frawley intended. Alert park viewers will also spot related less dramatic changes, as well as the erosion challenges that remain on the south side of the upper level. While there’s no inexpensive or non-labor intensive solution for those pieces, some mitigation will occur this fall and winter.

DSC_0010Last year’s other significant accomplishment – securing a matching grant from Park Pride for a major renovation in and around the volleyball courts – will yield visible results in the coming seasons. The sandbags will vanish, and new granite sitting walls and more attractive fencing will be installed.  More plantings and other changes will follow; the outcomes will be functional, aesthetic, and yield a lot less erosion. These plans may be viewed on the VHCA website by clicking here.

All of these projects were approached with an assumption of substantial future use and a goal of practical maintenance. Parks that are as loved and heavily utilized as John Howell will always need attention and will always show the impacts of their popularity. Both Frawley and Bland remain optimistic that the designs are solid and functional and that the new changes will blend in well and help redress some of the park’s existing challenges. We think so too; we look forward to finding out.

Click here to see a photo album of the recent improvements.

Inaugural BeltLine Wine Stroll Set for September 28

Beltline Wine Stroll logo jpegEditor’s Note: Passing along this notice from our friends in Inman Park. Organizers tell us that, in future years, plans call for this event to be extended further north on the Eastside Trail to include merchants in the Ponce City Market and Midtown Promenade areas.

Join us Saturday September 28 for the first BeltLine Wine Stroll, a mile long walk and wine tasting along the southern portion of the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Fifteen restaurants and businesses along the BeltLine – from Poncey-Highland to Inman Park to the Old Fourth Ward – will be serving one cup of wine each and light appetizers to participants.

Proceeds go to Friends of Inman Park, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to support phase two improvement projects at Springvale Park. Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased at the event’s website: https://beltlinewinestroll.eventbrite.com/.

Participating restaurants and businesses include: Two Urban Licks, Authentique, City Issue, The Albert, Savi Urban Market, Pure, Barcelona Wine Bar, King of Pops, Inman Perk, Nandina Home Designs, Parish, Dockside Gallery/Kinectic Hive, Atlanta Beltline Bicycle, Irwin Street Market/Bell Street Burritos, and Serpas.

The idea is for participants to get a firsthand look at the way in which businesses along the BeltLine have brought the former stretch of abandoned railway to life and transformed it into a river running through the city. We’re grateful for the support of Art on the BeltLine and the folks at Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

We hope you’ll support this event and tell all your friends, as well. The BeltLine Wine Stroll should appeal to anyone interested in urban planning, wine and exercise regardless of where they live.

Georgia State Income Tax Credit Available for Rehabilitated Historic Properties

historic home renovationBy: Paul Burks

For almost a dozen years, Georgia property owners of historic homes have been blessed with a state tax credit program that rewards those with the foresight and determination to complete some basic paperwork. With this substantial state tax credit – in effect a rebate – 25% of the cost incurred on home improvements for a rehabilitated historic residence can be returned to the owner, with a cap of $100,000 on the credit. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Historic Preservation Division (DNR-HPD) and the Georgia Department of Revenue administer this state tax credit. Owners of historic residential and commercial properties who plan to start a substantial rehabilitation are eligible to apply for the credit.

If the home is located in a target area, as defined by the state, the credit may be equal to 30% of rehabilitation expenditures, also capped at $100,000. For any other income producing, certified structure, the credit is 25% of rehabilitation expenditures, with the cap at $300,000. This includes rental residential properties. The credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in taxes owed to the State of Georgia and is meant to serve as an incentive to those who own historic properties and wish to complete a rehabilitation project.

The property must be eligible for or listed in the Georgia Register of Historic Places. To find out if a property qualifies, you can contact the Historic Preservation Division’s National Register specialist at 404-651-5911. Many homes throughout the Virginia-Highland neighborhood are eligible for the credit if the property owner will take the time to do the research and complete the state’s application.

The rehabilitation must meet DNR’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The Department of Natural Resources’ Historic Preservation Division reviews all projects to certify that the project meets their standards.

Every project must meet the substantial rehabilitation test and the applicant must certify to the Department of Natural Resources that this test has been met. The substantial rehabilitation test is met when the qualified rehabilitation expenses exceed the following amounts:

  • For an historic home used as a principal residence, the lesser of $25,000 or 50% of the adjusted basis of the building
  • For an historic home used as a principal residence in a target area, $5,000
  • For any other certified historic structure, the greater of $5,000 or the adjusted basis of the building.

At least 5% of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures must be allocated to work completed to the exterior of the structure. Acquisition costs and costs associated with new construction are not qualified rehabilitation expenses.

If a homeowner wishes to further investigate the possibility of using this tax credit to rehabilitate their home they should contact the DNR at www.georgiashpo.org. Click on Tax Incentives. Contact Carole Moore, Grant & Tax Incentives Coordinator, at 404-651-5566 or carole.moore@dnr.state.ga.us for more detailed information.

Upon request, HPD will offer technical assistance to rehabilitation tax projects by meeting with individuals at HPD’s office or at the project site to discuss specific rehab issues. HPD encourages early communication with their office.

As for me, I strongly recommend this program to my neighbors in Virginia-Highland. As a resident of the Atkins Park neighborhood, I used the program very successfully on a major rehab of my home in 2007-2009. The tax credit returned to me in succeeding tax years approximately 25% of my costs of repair, a substantial sum of money.

I was able to prepare all of the forms myself, and worked with the excellent and helpful staff of the HPD, as they reviewed my documents and subsequent work. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results, both to my home and to my tax liability.

If anyone wishes, I would be very glad to provide further information or assistance. Please contact me at paulrburks@gmail.com. This is a terrific program that all of us with eligible homes should not hesitate to consider.

2013 VHCA Annual General Meeting Recap

Music was provided by the Music@SPARK Advanced Chorus

Music was provided by the Music@SPARK Advanced Chorus.

The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association was held September 19 at the Inman Middle School cafeteria. Approximately 75 residents were in attendance.

The meeting opened with a performance by the Music@SPARK Advanced Chorus under the direction of Brianne Turgeon. Accompanied by SPARK music teacher Jon Marvel on guitar, the chorus performed four songs that were warmly received by those in attendance.

District 6 City Councilmember Alex Wan

District 6 City Councilmember Alex Wan

The following elected officials were recognized and made comments at the meeting:

  • Atlanta Police Department Captain J.B. Shaw (second in command in Zone 6)
  • Georgia House of Representatives District 57 Rep. Pat Gardner
  • Atlanta City Council District 6 Councilmember Alex Wan
  • Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Board of Education (BOE) District 3 Rep. Cecily Harsch-Kinnane
  • APS BOE Member-Elect Matt Westmoreland.

Several candidates for seats on the APS BOE and Atlanta City Council were also introduced and made brief comments.

APS Board of Education member-elect Matt Westmoreland

APS Board of Education member-elect Matt Westmoreland

Election of Officers

The VHCA Nominating Committee formally introduced the following candidates for seats on the 2013-14 VHCA Board of Directors. All candidates were confirmed in the election that followed and will serve for the upcoming board year.

  • John Becker (incumbent)
  • Peggy Berg (incumbent)
  • David Brandenberger (new board member)
  • Suzanne Buck (new board member)
  • Lola Carlisle (incumbent)
  • Genny Ferrero (incumbent)
  • Paige Hewell (new board member)
  • Jenifer Keenan (incumbent)
  • Colleen Lysen (Atkins Park representative, new board member)
  • Jack White (incumbent)
  • Lauren Wilkes Fralick (incumbent)
  • Jess Windham (new board member)

Retiring board members Arturo Cruz-Tucker, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Pamela Papner and David Wolfson were recognized and thanked for their service.

Committee Reports

Attendees were provided with a printed report detailing accomplishments made this year by the various VHCA committees. Click here to view the report.

VHCA board members (left to right) Lola Carlisle, Peggy Berg and Jack White presenting grant awards.

VHCA board members (left to right) Lola Carlisle, Peggy Berg and Jack White presenting grant awards.

Grants Awarded

The VHCA announced the awarding of the following charitable grants for 2013. A total of $15,000 in grants was awarded.

  • Grady High PTA
    • $500 in support of the Teacher Grant Program
  • Grady High College and Career Connection
    • $800 in support of college/career counseling for all Grady students
  • Inman Middle School PTA
    • $2,500 in support of teacher training in behavior reinforcement and to support all Inman students having the opportunity attend the 7th grade Jekyll Island field trip
  • Springdale Park Elementary School PTO
    • $3,000 to purchase new science kits (8) for grades K-5.
  • Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
    • $500 in appreciation and support of Atlanta Streets Alive
  • Church of Our Saviour
    • $500 in gratitude for the church’s support of the community and willingness to host multiple VHCA meetings
  • Hillside, Inc.
    • $250 in gratitude for their longstanding support of NPU-F
  • Ponce de Leon Public Library
    • $2,950 in recognition and support of the vital role public libraries play in supporting education and cultural literacy in all communities
  • PEDS
    • $500 in support of promotion of pedestrian rights and infrastructure
  • Trees Atlanta
    • $3,500 in support of their tree planting programs and advocacy for trees in our neighborhood and across the city
VHCA Board President Jack White (r) introduces Aaron Gross Award recpient Pamela Papner while former board members John Wolfinger and Winnie Currie look on.

VHCA Board President Jack White (right) introduces Aaron Gross Award recipient Pamela Papner while former board members John Wolfinger and Winnie Currie look on.

Aaron Gross Award Presented

The evening’s final order of business was a presentation of the Aaron Gross Award which was created in 2001 in honor of its namesake, a VHCA President and NPU Chair who gave many years of service to the community. The award recognizes exceptional dedication and enduring excellence in the performance of duties to both the Virginia-Highland neighborhood and to the VHCA. It is not given annually, but when the Board believes that the width and breadth of a resident’s contributions merit special recognition.

Joining VHCA Board President Jack White in presenting this year’s Aaron Gross Award to long-time board member Pamela Papner were previous recipients Winnie Currie – who developed and shaped the association’s processes and approaches to planning and zoning and remains a walking authority on the topic – and John Wolfinger, who campaigned for and gave life to a practical and effective neighborhood safety movement that is based on both newsletter outreach and a street captain system.

In presenting the award to Papner, White made the following comments:

“This year we are delighted to honor a resident who was elected to the board in 2006, served one year as Secretary, and 5 years as President. Such tenure in those jobs alone is itself meritorious, but today we recognize some very special and particular achievements. Six years ago she became the chair of Summerfest, inheriting a model that was widely regarded as satisfactory and successful. Our honoree saw an opportunity to expand the festival’s scope and reach, to engage more citizens and have more fun, and to markedly increase revenues in the process. And she had ideas of what this community could do with those revenues – prominent among them, the purchase of two lots and creation of a brand new public green space, a task that was very much beyond the capacity of the city.

Retiring VHCA board member Pamela Papner receiving the Aaron Gross Award.

Retiring VHCA board member Pamela Papner receiving the Aaron Gross Award.

Like Ms. Currie and Mr. Wolfinger, this year’s honoree will truthfully report that she had a ton of help along the way, and she did. But it was her vision and her will that inspired both the remaking of Summerfest into the event we enjoy today and the purchase and creation of the new park. The added revenues she generated have not only financed the park; they have supported renovations in Orme Park and the pending improvement project in John Howell Park, fueled community grants to all our schools and non-profits, and made possible a level of planning sophistication that included – among many other parts – the creation of Neighborhood Commercial zoning along North Highland Avenue and the Master Plan we will undertake this fall.

It’s a remarkable list of accomplishments, all done with her trademark combination of hard work, diligence, humor, back-patting, volunteer arm-twisting, and – most importantly – an ability to create and share a vision of how this community can expand and protect what has made it special for so many years. We are all much the better for what she has done.

The VHCA is honored to present the Aaron Gross Award to Pamela Papner.”

“I am so honored to have received this award,” Papner commented. “I have such tremendous respect for the Civic Association; keeping it strong is vital.  The willingness of so many citizens to band together and “give back” is what makes our community so special.”

The award comes with a $1,000 stipend that, true to form, Papner chose to apply to the outstanding debt on the new park she was instrumental in creating. Papner was also presented with a commemorative tribute card and a framed photograph of an historic Virginia-Highland street scene.

Click here to view a video of this year’s annual general meeting.

Sally Flocks of PEDS accepts a $500 grant.

Sally Flocks of PEDS accepts a $500 grant.

Madison McGillicuddy from the public library on Ponce de Leon Ave. accepts a $2,950 grant.

Madigan McGillicuddy from the public library on Ponce de Leon Ave. accepts a $2,950 grant.

John Wolfinger: Atlanta Police Foundation 2013 Citizen of the Year!

Photos courtesy of Kay Stephenson.

Rosedale Dr. street captain Kay Stephenson, Peggy Denby, John Wolfinger and street captain coordinator Eleanor Barrineau (left to right)

Left to right: Rosedale Dr. Street Captain Kay Stephenson, Midtown/Ponce Security Alliance Director Peggy Denby, John Wolfinger and VaHi Street Captain Coordinator Eleanor Barrineau.

Virginia-Highland resident, former VHCA board member and VaHi Safety Team director John Wolfinger has been named APD and Atlanta Police Foundation Citizen of the Year for 2013. Wolfinger was presented with a plaque by Mayor Kasim Reed and APD Chief George Turner at the foundation’s annual “Crime is Toast” Breakfast held September 24 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Wolfinger was recognized for his leadership in building VaHi’s public safety network, which serves as a model for similar programs in other Atlanta neighborhoods. Now retired, much of this work was done while Wolfinger served on the VHCA board, chairing the Safety Committee. Also mentioned was Wolfinger’s implementation of a unique program that allows residents to have packages delivered to local businesses when they aren’t at home to receive them in person. Packages left unattended on a doorstep can alert potential thieves to the fact that there might be no one home, increasing the likelihood the home will be burglarized.

Wolfinger received his award from Mayor Kasim Reed and APC Chief George Turner

Wolfinger received his award from Mayor Kasim Reed and APD Chief George Turner.

The presentation to Wolfinger came at the end of an emotional ceremony that included the awarding of Purple Hearts to two officers wounded this year in the line of duty, and a memorial tribute for Officers Richard Halford and Shawn Smiley who were killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year while searching for a missing child.

“I’m still in awe that I was picked out of public safety geeks from all over Atlanta to be honored” Wolfinger commented. “My selection, though, is really a tribute to all our dedicated Street Captains, and the citizens from their watch areas who really make the Safety Team function every day in some way. The unselfish teamwork in Virginia-Highland is what has made our neighborhood watch system the largest and most active in the city, and what many other neighborhoods are striving to achieve. I’m the first to admit that our system isn’t perfect. For example, our fluid population makes it close to impossible to reach everyone with the Safety Reports. Unfortunately, we’re just not reaching so many of our young renters who don’t stay at the same address for very long. Often times these folks just don’t get to know their neighbors well and so they remain the ones who are very often the victims of crime.”

IMGP3347“The Crime is Toast breakfast also reminded me that even though we are in a big city,” Wolfinger continued, “Atlanta is also very much like a small town, as I saw quite a few police officers and civilians I know from all over the city. Everyone who attended has a keen interest in helping APD become a better force and advancing safety efforts in their own neighborhoods and businesses. The powerful force that the Atlanta Police Foundation has become has been a unifying agent in connecting the business community with APD for better overall safety practices in the city.”

We know we speak for everyone in Virginia-Highland when we say a heartfelt thank-you to John for all he’s done for our community.

2012-13 VHCA Committee Accomplishments

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadFollowing are lists of accomplishments of the various committees of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association as reported by the respective committee chairs.

Communications Committee (reported by John Becker)

  • Published 312 original articles to the VHCA website in 12 months, ensuring that all content was in support of VHCA activities, goals and objectives.
    • Actively engaged other board members and non-board members as appropriate to provide content.
    • Personally wrote or edited most articles.
    • Actively supported Summerfest and Tour of Homes committees in developing their communication plans, as well as content for their respective websites and/or pages on the VHCA site.
  • Based primarily on content posted to the website, published 27 issues of The Voice e-newsletter in 12 months, (meeting goal of publishing at least 2 issues per month).
    • Grew Voice subscriber base from 2,966 email addresses in October 2012 to 3,051 in September 2013 (3% increase).
    • Generated $5,300 in revenue from Voice advertisers. Signed The Intowners up for new ‘skyscraper’ premium ad space for six months; another advertiser has committed to leasing the space when Intowners’ agreement is up in November. Grew number of sidebar square advertisers from 3 to 7 (currently).
    • Revised/updated The Voice masthead. Masthead revision included creation of new ‘skyscraper’ premium ad space and moving premium ad space from masthead to sidebar (providing greater focus on the fact that the newsletter comes from the VHCA).
  • Served as admin for three VHCA Facebook pages (VHCA, Summerfest and Tour of Homes) and VHCA’s Twitter account. Actively used social media to promote neighborhood events, promote The Voice newsletter and other website content and provide timely alerts as needed. Posted content as appropriate to neighborhood message boards like Nextdoor VaHi and VHLIST. Also created a blog account on VaHi Patch and posted neighborhood-related content to it as appropriate.
  • Took hundreds of photos of numerous neighborhood events and activities. Created 13 online Google albums with photos from different events that are archived through the VHCA website for future reference.
  • Managed our two primary communications committee volunteers: Ida Centner (website), and Mary Johnson (website, e-newsletter). Solicited additional committee involvement and have talked to a few people who are interested in helping.
  • Along with safety chair Peggy Berg, implemented WelcomeMat service where each month new VaHi residents receive a welcome flyer from the VHCA that includes instructions to visit a welcome page on the VHCA website to learn more about the neighborhood, sign-up for The Voice e-newsletter, safety updates and more. Also designed and built the new welcome page to support the service. Flyer is delivered to roughly 200 addresses each month and we get 20-30 hits per month on the welcome page in the days following the mailing.
  • Established positive relationships with editors at VaHi Patch and Atlanta INTown resulting in those sites picking up VHCA website content on several occasions.
  • As part of initiative to establish relationships with other civic association communication chairs, met and talked with counterparts from Inman Park and Piedmont Heights and now have reciprocal arrangement to share information and ideas as appropriate.

Safety Committee (reported by Peggy Berg)

Safety

  • Hold an annual Street Captain’s meeting and Safety public meeting. The meeting was held on September 14, 2013
  • Maintain a working relationship with FBAC and encourage that group to be highly visible, effective at outreach, integrated with the community on a daily basis, financially viable, responsive to quality of life issues, and viewed as a neighborhood asset. FBAC has been submitting regular reports to its members and operating consistently.
  • Provide opportunistic support (holiday dinners, e.g.) to local Public Safety personnel. John Wolfinger organized this for our first responders at the end of 2012.

Sidewalks

  • Advocate for public policy changes in the city that both encourage the city to assume formal responsibility for and fund sidewalk repairs and greatly simplify the capacity of citizens to make their own repairs as desired. We chaired a sub-committee on sidewalks for City Council, researched red tape and neighborhood initiatives for Atlanta and provided comparison to other communities, developed detailed recommendations which were presented to City Council and DPW, met with DPW and Parks about the recommendations. Some changes have already been implemented.
  • Continue to participate on the City Council Sidewalk Committee and advocate for safer pedestrian and cycling measures.
  • Continued to monitor the anticipated CoA bond issue that contemplates funding for sidewalk repair.
  • Push the city to fulfill its commitment to complete the sidewalk repairs on St. Charles Avenue identified and funded in 2012 by residents and VHCA. Repairs completed.
  • As practical, develop a similar program in a second section of the neighborhood. Second bundle delivered to the City; a supplement is complete and will be delivered by August 21, 2014.
  • Using the methodology developed by VaHi resident Dr. Randy Guensler and his grad students at Georgia Tech, inventory the neighborhood’s sidewalks and provide that data to the city’s Public Works department. This is in progress. Participated in volunteer initiative to inventory sidewalks and will again.

Traffic & Transportation

  • With the Planning Committee, develop a formal transportation plan for VaHi. This is in progress.
  • With the Education Committee, work to improve pedestrian safety along Briarcliff near Spark. This is in progress. We extended the sidewalk bundle to improve sidewalks along Briarcliff and hope to have significant improvement between St. Charles and Ponce on the VAHI side of Briarcliff.
  • Work with the CoA to restore and enforce the directional signage at the Triangle. Worked with the CoA to restore multiple street signs and traffic indicators around the neighborhood.

Planning Committee (reported by Lola Carlisle)

Committee Members: Mark Arnold, Chip Bullock, Lola Carlisle, Karen Feigh, Genny Ferrero, Jenifer Keenan, Jess Windham, Jack White

  • Reviewed applications for variances, special exceptions and liquor licenses and made recommendations to the board.
  • Represented VHCA at NPU-F, BZA meetings.
  • Monitored the development of public policies in the city that might impact VH – including Beltline related activities, CDP updates and other transportation and development initiatives.
  • Monitored developments in NC zones.
  • Began compilation of NC zone database of business types and contacts and allocated parking for each business.
  • Responded to citizen concerns about building code violations.
  • Notified City of hazards in the neighborhood such as broken sewer drains, hazardous trees, etc.
  • Reviewed public education policy and planning that effect VH. Advocated for inclusion of the VH Planning committee in planning meeting for Inman expansion and will continue to monitor and be involved .
  • Approved plans and engaged Market + Main to develop a master plan for VH and formed a steering committee – called out for focus group participation.
  • Continued to address traffic implications resulting from overcrowding at Inman.
  • Identified original subdivisions of VH with intent to support historic efforts by subdivision.
  • Maintained updated vahi.org site with planning reports and database of information.
  • Met with new director of Callanwolde and director of Laurel Heights to ensure transfer of history regarding stormwater issues from Callanwolde and potential issues with expansion of Laurel Heights.

History & Preservation Committee (reported by Lola Carlisle)

Committee Members: Paul Burks, Rachel Blacher, Lola Carlisle, Karri Hobson-Pape, Judy Potter,  Jack White,  Jess Windham

  • Continued to add to VH historic archives.
  • Met with an archivist to discuss best practices for archiving images and documents.
  • Added historic maps to archives and development map online.
  • Served as a resource as needed for those concerned about preservation in VH.
  • Encouraged creation of and provided preservation content on vahi.org relevant to VH.
  • Called out to community to identify subdivision champions to gather history and promote preservation by subdivision. Resulted in the identification of several research projects which will result in content creation. Also resulted in the creation of a Historic Designation Steering Committee for “F.A. Ames Property / Virginia Highlands.” This committee will pursue HD for that area.

A Taste of Art on the BeltLine

634992871904132500art-on-the-beltlineArt on the BeltLine 2013 kicked off officially on Saturday September 7 with the fourth annual Lantern Parade sponsored by the Krewe of the Grateful Glutton. This was a fun and inspiring event attended by an estimated 10,000 BeltLine enthusiasts – hopefully you had a chance to check it out. If you missed it, click here to view an album of images from the event.

By now, you’ve probably had an opportunity to walk or bike the Eastside Trail and enjoy some of the more than 70 temporary exhibits that have been set up along 8 miles of paved and interim trails of the BeltLine’s 22-mile loop. If not, we biked the section of the trail from the Irwin St. access point into Piedmont Park and took photos of many of the exhibits. We even took pictures of the display cards so you can see who the artist(s) is/are and read a little about their creations. Scroll down for a few highlights; click here to view an online album with all the photos.

In addition to the temporary art exhibits you can also enjoy live performances at various venues along the BeltLine each weekend. For more information about Art on the BeltLine including a schedule of live performances, click here.

Titled Moving Elements, this creation from Ana Maria Paramo sits on the east side of the trail near the Kevin Rathbun Steak restaurant.

‘Moving Elements’ by Ana Maria Paramo sits on the east side of the trail near the Kevin Rathbun Steak restaurant.

These hanging 'sculptures' are crafted from plastic barrier fencing. Chris Jones and Bud Shenefelt's creation titled Tissue: Permutations can be seen under the N. Highland Ave. overpass.

These hanging ‘sculptures’ are crafted from plastic barrier fencing. Chris Jones and Bud Shenefelt’s creation titled ‘Tissue: Permutations’ can be seen under the N. Highland Ave. overpass.

This is a straight-on view of William Massey's The Object of Ma(tt)n. As you approach the exhibit from the south or north, it looks like nothing more than a pile of industrial junk. Not so when you reach the standing frame.

This is a straight-on view of William Massey’s ‘The Object of Ma(tt)n’. As you approach the exhibit from the south or north, it looks like nothing more than a pile of industrial junk (see online album for side views). Not so when you reach the standing frame. This exhibit is under the Freedom Pkwy. overpass.

Cecilia Lueza's Tower of Seasons was inspired by the four seasons of the year: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring.

Cecilia Lueza’s ‘Tower of Seasons’ was inspired by the four seasons of the year: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. This exhibit is on the east side of the trail just across from the skatepark.

David Lewis Bean's If You Build It, They Will Come is a functional bike rack with tubular bells hanging above it that plays Georgia On My Mind when struck. Very cool.

David Lewis Bean’s ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’ is a fully functional bike rack with tubular bells hanging above it that plays Georgia On My Mind when struck. Very cool. This exhibit is on the east side of the trail near Two Urban Licks.

Terri Dilling's 'From Stardust to Us' is a creative timeline that explores how life developed over time - from stardust to us.

Terri Dilling’s ‘From Stardust to Us’ is a creative timeline that explores how life developed over time – from stardust to us. This exhibit sits just inside the Angier Springs access point.

'A Million Flecks of Light' from The Experience Collective adorns the fencing along the trail's east side just south of the Ponce bridge (between Ford Factory Lofts and Ponce City Market).

‘A Million Flecks of Light’ from The Experience Collective adorns the fencing along the trail’s east side just south of the Ponce bridge (between Ford Factory Lofts and Ponce City Market).

Misao Cates' 'Forest of My Three Words' is an interactive display in which visitors are challenged to express themselves by writing three words on a ribbon, then tying the ribbon to a post.

Misao Cates’ ‘Forest of My Three Words’ is an interactive display in which visitors are challenged to express themselves by writing three words on a ribbon, then tying the ribbon to a post.

 

 

VHCA Co-Sponsoring APS BOE At-Large Candidates’ Forum This Week

110713063635_NewAPS-LogoThe Virginia Highland Civic Association and Inman Park Neighborhood Association are sponsoring an Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education At-Large Candidates’ Forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Inman Middle School auditorium, 774 Virginia Avenue NE.

Candidates in attendance are running for at-large seats Districts 7, 8 and 9. Confirmed attendees to date include: Courtney English (At-Large Seat 7); Cynthia Briscoe-Brown, Reuben McDaniel, Mark Riley and Tom Tidwell (At-Large Seat 8); Jason Esteves and Lori James (At-Large Seat 9). The event will be moderated by past CNN and WABE journalist, Susanna Capelouto.

All are welcome to attend. Please submit questions in advance to IPedevents@gmail.com.

Do You Have One of America’s Most Desperate Landscapes?

America's Most Desperate Landscape logoAre you one of those Virginia-Highland residents who’s been a little neglectful about keeping your yard looking neat and tidy? Would you like to turn your yard into one of the most beautiful in VaHi and put a big smile on your neighbors’ faces at the same time? If so, you might be interested in this casting call from the DIY Network:

Yard BeforeDIY Network is searching for some of the ugliest front yards in America for a special edition of “Desperate Landscapes”. It’s the biggest makeover licensed contractor Jason Cameron and his team will do all year! 

Jason wants to see video and pictures of you and your very desperate front yard. We’re not talking small problems like a bad lawn or some dead shrubs. We’re looking for over-the-top desperation on the front of your house and in your landscape. We want yards so ugly that it will take a massive two-day transformation to take them from worst to first!

Yard AfterJason wants to see your yard and hear from neighbors who hate your landscape. The first step to getting Jason to show up at your house is by showing us your fun spirit and your depressing landscape. Jason’s advice: BE CREATIVE! Your video will be one of hundreds he’ll receive so make a video that will really stand out.

For more information, tips on preparing your video, or to apply, click here.

VaHi Safety Team Holds Annual Street Captain Meeting

Editor’s Note: Photos appearing in this article are courtesy of Lynn Melin.

VaHi's street captains pose for a group photo.

VaHi’s street captains pose for a group photo.

The Virginia-Highland Safety Team held its annual street captain gathering on Saturday September 14 at the Church of Our Saviour on N. Highland Avenue. By all accounts, it was a well-attended and informative half-day session with over thirty street captains on hand.

John Wolfinger started the Street Captain program in 2007 when he was Safety Chair for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association. Street captains are a network of VaHi residents who’ve volunteered to stay connected with and promote safety-related initiatives to residents in their watch area. They welcome new residents to the neighborhood, make them aware of the VHCA and other neighborhood services and encourage them to get involved by meeting and, most importantly, getting to know their neighbors.

Orme Circle street captain Lynn Melin (l) and VaHi safety team chair John Wolfinger.

Orme Circle street captain Lynn Melin (l) and VaHi safety team chair John Wolfinger

Street captains use email to distribute Wolfinger’s periodic safety report, and also to alert residents to more immediate safety concerns. The connectivity provided through the program has directly aided in the apprehension of wanted criminals on more than one occasion.

Wolfinger retired from the VHCA board a few years ago but his street captain program is as strong as ever. There are more than 85 street captains who are responsible for watch areas that represent about 80 percent of the community. In case you’re interested in volunteering yourself, street captains are still needed for the following areas:

  • St. Louis Place
  • Ponce Place (single family homes)
  • N. Highland Ave. (between Virginia Ave. and Lanier Blvd.)
  • Monroe Dr.
  • Briarcliff Rd.
  • Cresthill Ave. (west of Monroe)

Saturday’s meeting was an opportunity for street captains to get updates on what’s new and different around the neighborhood, exchange best practices for staying in touch with residents and hear presentations from Atlanta Police Department Captain Brent Schierbaum and Reiko Ward from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.

APD Captain Brent Schierbaum makes a point to the group while John Wolfinger listens.

APD Captain Brent Schierbaum makes a point to the group while John Wolfinger listens.

Formerly Sector Sergeant for the APD’s Zone 6 (of which VaHi is a part) and then Lieutenant in charge of COPS (Community Oriented Policing Section), Schierbaum is now interim director of the department’s 911 call center. Schierbaum provided the group with insight into the call center’s inner workings, as well as information and guidelines that can help residents get the most out of using the system. For example, Schierbaum said that, when calling 911, the most critical information to have ready is:

  • Exact location (as specific as possible)
  • Nature of the problem (medical, police, fire, etc.)
  • When reporting a crime or suspicious activity, provide specific details as to the suspect’s physical description (height, weight, skin color, tattoos or other distinguishing characteristics) and what the suspect is wearing (color of shirt/pants, jewelry, hat, shoes, backpack, etc.).
  • In case of fire, advise the call taker if anyone is inside the structure or if there are any hazardous or flammable materials in the area.
Reiko Ward with the Fulton County DA's office addresses the group.

Reiko Ward with the Fulton County DA’s office spoke about the Citizen’s Courtwatch program.

Reiko Ward coordinates the Citizen’s Court Watch program for the Fulton County DA’s office. Courtwatch empowers citizens by providing an understanding of the criminal justice system and encouraging people to take an active role in the process. Through the program, residents are made aware of opportunities to come to the courthouse and watch a trial or hearing that often has local significance. Ward said having the community present at trials could make a difference in sentencing by letting the judge know that residents are concerned about the outcome of the case.

Wolfinger is proud of how the street captain program has grown and the difference it makes helping residents feel safer about the world in which they live.

VHCA safety committee chair and Rosedale Dr. street captain Peggy Berg addresses the group.

VHCA safety committee chair Peggy Berg addresses the group.

“I’ve watched the VaHi Safety Team – our neighborhood watch initiative – grow not only in number of involved citizens,” Wolfinger said, “but in importance in creating connectivity among residents and raising awareness of what goes on around us everyday. None of this would be possible without the dedication of the street captains who are at the very heart of our neighborhood watch system. It says a lot about the commitment of these folks that they’d take half their Saturday and spend it learning more about how they can help their neighbors,”

“I also want to thank Father John Bolton for graciously hosting our meeting at his church,” Wolfinger continued, “as well as San Fransisco Roasting for providing the coffee and the BeltLine Kroger for donating pastries.”

If you’ve yet to be contacted by the street captain for your area, visit vahi.org and click on the ‘Sign Up to Receive Updates’ button. On the form that appears, make sure the Safety Reports box is checked and be sure to enter your name, email and street address at the bottom of the screen before clicking on Submit so we know where to find you.

Progress on Ponce!

Ponce-City-Market-Logo-221x300The Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board of Directors wishes to sincerely thank Jodi Mansbach, Vice President of Development, Construction and Sustainability for Jamestown Properties, for hosting members of our board and that of the Poncey Highland Neighborhood Association at Ponce City Market this past weekend. We were thrilled to see the tremendous progress being made on this important redevelopment along the Atlanta BeltLine and look forward to the day when a stroll down the Eastside Trail can include a stopover at your wonderful property.

Jodi Mansback with Jamestown Properties is our host.

Jodi Mansbach with Jamestown Properties is our host.

Before the tour starts she gives use the 50,000 foot view via the model.

Before the tour starts Jodi gives us the 50,000 foot view via the model.

Hard hats donned, we begin our tour.

Hard hats donned, the tour begins.

We walk from the building where the leasing center will be, past the newly laid surface parking lot and into the west side of the building.

We walk from the building where the leasing center will be, past the newly laid surface parking lot and into the west side of the building.

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This shot shows how endless the space appears when you're inside. The restored original columns are awe-inspiring.

This shot shows how endless the space appears when you’re inside. The restored original columns are awe-inspiring.

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Jodi was very knowledgable and provided great insight into the status of the project and its importance to Jamestown Properties.

Jodi was very knowledgable and provided great insight into the status of the project and its importance to Jamestown Properties.

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VHCA Board President Jack White makes a point.

VHCA Board President Jack White makes a point.

That's a view down 8 floors...made my stomach a little queasy.

That’s a view down eight floors of stairwell…made my stomach a little queasy.

It was very hazy and the light was less than ideal, but here's a shot of the Midtown skyline.

It was hazy and the light was less than ideal, but here’s a shot of the Midtown skyline from one of the best views in the city.

This south-looking view from the roof shows just a glimpse of the development that's taking place along the BeltLine Eastside Trail.

This south-looking view from the roof shows just a glimpse of the development that’s taking place in the Old Fourth Ward along the BeltLine Eastside Trail.

The iconic water tower and flag that can be seen from just about anywhere. The water tower will actually serve a purpose by containing gray water that will provide gravity-fed cooling for the HVAC system.

The iconic water tower and flag that can be seen from just about anywhere. The water tower will actually serve a purpose by storing water that will provide gravity-fed cooling for the HVAC system.

The luck tour-goers.

The lucky tour-goers.

Click here to view the full album of photos from the group’s tour.

 

 

VHCA Education Committee Offers Thoughts on Search for New APS Superintendent

110713063635_NewAPS-LogoOn Monday, September 9th, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association Education Committee submitted a letter to Ann Cramer, chair of the Atlanta Public School Superintendent Search committee. The letter outlines some of the experience and qualities the committee would like to see in the new superintendent.

The Atlanta Public School Board hired Superintendent Erroll Davis on July 1, 2011. In December, 2012 the board extended Davis’s contract from June 30, 2013 to as long as December, 2014. In July 2013, the APS Board of Education dismissed its previous superintendent search firm, ProAct Search, and in August 2013, two new firms were awarded the contract: Atlanta-based BoardWalk Consulting and Philadelphia-based Diversified Search.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cramer said, ”We will not begin to bring any kind of serious candidates to the table until after the election November with the intent that the new school board installed in January will make that selection hopefully in February or early March.”

Click here to read a copy of the education committee’s letter.

2013-14 VHCA Board of Directors Bios

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadFollowing are bios for members of the 2013-14 VHCA Board of Directors.

IMG_6945 - Version 2John Becker 

I’ve lived on Rosedale Rd. in VaHi for 12 years and have been an active volunteer in the neighborhood since 2005. My initial volunteer roles were at Summerfest and I also served as editor of the hard-copy Voice newsletter from 2006 until 2010. In 2012 and again this year I served as volunteer coordinator for Summerfest, successfully recruiting and managing over 300 volunteers to support the neighborhood’s largest annual fund-raising event.

I was elected to the VHCA board last year and during this term I served as chair of the communications committee. In this role I’m responsible for the vahi.org website, serve as editor and business manager for The Voice e-newsletter, and generally promote the VaHi brand and raise awareness of association and neighborhood issues through various print and digital media (i.e., I am admin for three different VaHi FB pages). I also served this past year on the Summerfest and parks committees.

I hope to continue helping out with the neighborhood’s communication needs in 2013-14. We have a very active, involved neighborhood and it’s important that we tell our story right and in all the right places.  I’d also like to continue to help provide leadership for Summerfest through involvement in that committee and to do what I can to preserve and improve VaHi’s three tremendous parks by continuing to serve on that committee.

board_peggyPeggy Berg

I moved to Virginia Highland in 1984 and have a home, rental property and had a business in the neighborhood. My husband and I raised our two sons here and I served on PTAs for Morningside Elementary, Inman Middle and Grady High Schools. We have always been active in our neighborhood.

Our family is in the hotel business (we own the Hampton Inn Northlake Mall) and I have also been a partner in a consulting firm and an international CPA firm. I have a strong business background. I have chaired several industry and professional organizations. I recently completed a Masters degree from Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

I believe that our individual involvement is what makes our neighborhood such a good place to live so I served on the VHCA Board in 2012 and 2013. I work on sidewalks and streets. This year, the City has responded to requests from us with regard to pedestrian signs, street signs, traffic lights and other maintenance items on the streets. We have also been working on a program to improve sidewalks in Virginia Highland and expect to have 29 sidewalk segments replaced by year-end with collaborative funding from VHCA, the City and property owners.

LinkedIn BrandenbergerDavid Brandenberger

I have been a homeowner on Rosedale Road for nearly fourteen years where I now live with my wife of ten years, Dana and our 6-year old son, Eric. Since playing sports and earning a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, I have been employed in various sales and sales leadership roles in the technology and now ‘cloud’ computing space, presently managing Southeast enterprise sales for a leading marketing automation company based out of Northern California.

Since living in the neighborhood, I have been fairly active with more ‘street-centric’ community activities, including helping to organize block parties, street yard sales, and at various times working with the City, DeKalb County and other adjoining non-residential neighbors to the East of Rosedale Road to try to remedy various rainwater and sewer-related runoff issues of concern to several homeowners on the street. I have a keen interest in preserving our unique intown neighborhood and the quality of life for all residents it provides.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family, gardening, cooking, coaching my son’s soccer team and enjoying our awesome neighborhood and surrounding communities. I am eager to expand my leadership and ‘community’ involvement beyond the work I have done on our street and expand this to the broader Virginia-Highland community. While I have interests in potentially working with the Parks, Planning, Communications and/or Safety committees, I feel my skills and enthusiasm would be a good fit anywhere and I am eager to be of service wherever needed most upon being elected to the Board.

IMG_1577Suzanne Buck

Though I’m a Georgia native, I’ve lived in most regions of the country as an adult. I moved back to the Atlanta area in 2005 and moved into the VaHi community in 2008. I love our neighborhood and feel proud to call it my home. It is lovely to live in an in-town, walkable, thriving community and I am happy to be part of a neighborhood that values education, the arts, health and commerce.

I have two elementary aged children; my son Cooper is 9 and is a 4th grader at Springdale Park Elementary and my daughter Della is 7 and is in 2nd grade at SPARK. Cooper and Della both love being out and about around the neighborhood, visiting friends and local parks, and eating out at one of our many fine neighborhood restaurants. Most importantly, they love being able to walk or ride something that has wheels to all these places we go week to week!

I am a CPA and I work in corporate accounting focusing primarily on the area of revenue recognition. In addition to my day job as an accountant and my full time job as a parent, I am an active athlete (boxing, kickboxing, boot camp, biking, yoga), a lover of great beer and wine, someone who appreciates laughter every day, and I try to give back to the community in whatever way I can. For all of us, some years we are able to do more and some years we aren’t able to do as much. I am a former VHMPA board member and now, after a few very hectic years at work and focusing on my kid’s early elementary years, I am excited to get more involved in community affairs once again.

board_lolaLola Carlisle 

I am currently on the VHCA board. I have volunteered with various organizations in Virginia-Highland since 1997. My husband, Tom Beisel, and I have lived in Virginia-Highland at 1030 N. Virginia Ave. since 1993, and are the second family to live at this address! We have a daughter who is 17 years old and has taken advantage of the amazing quality of life we all enjoy here in Virginia-Highland.

Over the years I’ve volunteered with VHMPA, VHCA History & Preservation efforts, PLAN – reporting to the City of Atlanta from Virginia-Highland as the zoning code was revised, the VHCA Planning Committee and various fundraising efforts of VHCA. Having a passion for preservation, I co-authored Images of America – Virginia–Highland history book with Karri Hobson-Pape. The Virginia-Highland History Center, while looking for a better permanent home, is housed at my offices – Tailfin Marketing. Feel free to stop by and talk history.

I hope to continue working with the planning and preservation committees helping to ensure that development in the area supports the neighborhood’s vision. Through proper planning and oversight, Virginia-Highland can represent the best Atlanta has to offer in a vibrant intown neighborhood.

DSC_0293_2Genny Ferrero 

Genny is a returning Board member of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, having served as Board secretary in since 2011. She is a member of the Planning and Tour of Homes committees. By way of background, Genny and her husband purchased their home in Virginia-Highland in 2011. She is relatively new to Atlanta, having relocated to Atlanta from Chicago with her family in 2009. In Chicago, Genny was a commercial real estate and finance attorney with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. She also devoted time to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She is now a stay-at-home mother to her three-year-old son and devotes her time to the community.

PicCivicAssocPaige Hewell

I have lived in the neighborhood on Virginia Circle for over a decade. A native Atlantan, I grew up in Buckhead and had little exposure to Va-Hi. I truly love our community and sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am to be a part of it. Leon, my puppy, is loving the neighborhood as well.

My professional background is marketing. I worked primarily in telecom for 10 years before following an old boss to healthcare. I’ve loved the challenges and education I’ve gained from the switch.

Though a latecomer to neighborhood volunteerism, I have really enjoyed working on the Summerfest organization committee. I became involved in many activities that I had never imagined I would, such as appearing in a TV promo and even fence building. I’ve gotten to know some great people whom I might not have met otherwise. I’ve loved every minute of it.

I look forward to continuing my involvement with Summerfest and serving on the board of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association.

Keenan-jeniferJenifer Keenan 

I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia Highland for 10 years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine and important neighborhood issues. Many may remember me from the “Flowers Not Towers” grass roots campaign opposing the 40-story towers that a developer wanted to build at Piedmont Park near 10th & Monroe.

I have served as the Secretary of NPU-F for the past several years and in that capacity have formed strong relationships with community leaders. My service as NPU Secretary has also allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the issues facing our neighborhoods and the most effective ways to deal with those challenges. My neighbors, friends, work colleagues and fellow NPU board members would all describe me as a “go-getter” – when I see something that needs to be improved or changed, I work hard to make it happen!

I was elected to the VHCA board last year and served on the Planning and Education Committees.  I was recently selected as the co-chair of the VHCA Master Plan submcommittee. The comprehensive Master Plan will address many of the most important topics facing our community, including zoning and development, historic preservation, traffic, parks and open space, environmental issues. I look forward to serving on the Board for 2013 – 2014 and plan to focus on the Master Plan over the next year.

ViHi headshot clColleen Lysen

I’m a new resident of Atkins Park/Virginia-Highland, my husband and I bought our house in May of 2013. Originally I’m from the Philadelphia area, two years ago when we visited Atlanta for the first time we knew that the Virginia-Highland area would be where we would want to live.  We loved all the great restaurants, historic homes, and walking though the neighborhoods parks.

I work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a molecular epidemiology team that focuses on water borne parasitic diseases.

In my spare time I enjoy travelling and food related endeavors including cooking, tending to my vegetable garden (fending off the squirrels), and trying new foods and restaurants. I have a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd that loves to go for long walks throughout the neighborhood and exploring the great parks that Atlanta has to offer.

Jack White 

When my (then four-year old) daughter and I moved from Midtown to Virginia-Highland in 1984, we were the two youngest people on the half-block.  If I am not now the oldest, I’m pretty darn close. My particular interests are planning, parks, and public resources, particularly water use and stream issues, a field in which I’ve worked for several decades. Our neighborhood schools that both my kids attended are pretty high on the list too.

I’m grateful for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association’s role in helping shape the history of the community.  If the residents of the late 60’s and early 70’s hadn’t organized and stood together with their allies to the north and south, it’s very likely that most of us wouldn’t be living in – and might not even recognize – this neighborhood today.  The idea of a huge interstate highway cleaving the Old Fourth Ward, clipping the Inman School parking lot, splitting Orme Park, and blasting through our neighborhood and Morningside seems even more preposterous in retrospect than it did then, but I believe it’s accurate to say that the successful struggle to prevent that road’s construction represented the first defeat of its scope for the (then) Georgia Highway Department.  (Thankfully, there would be more, the original huge Presidential Parkway among them.)

It took endless energy and an almost illogical faith in the potential of citizen movements to stop that road.   The lasting gifts of that period include are a tradition of openness and a belief in the power of organization that are as important  today as they were then.  The challenges of our decade are not as obvious nor as dramatic, but the need for a strong and democratic community organization that capably advocates for the neighborhood remains very clear.

I’ve enjoyed serving on the board these last two years.  The experience has made me even more appreciative of the Association’s wide range of activities and the volume of effort that our volunteers expend.   The challenges and occasional frustrations have been more than counterbalanced by the chance to work with large numbers of energetic, humorous, and hardworking optimists who like to get things done.  I’d be pleased to serve another year.

Lauren Wilkes FralickLauren Wilkes Fralick 

Lauren and her husband Frank moved to the neighborhood in 2011. They live on Highland View with their dog Abner. Lauren works in Government Relations for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. On the weekends, you may find her working on one of the many “do it yourself” projects they have going on at their home.

Lauren has been a board member for two years and has been a driving force on the Parks Committee. Lauren looks forward to another year serving the neighborhood.

Jess at 4th and SwiftJess Windham

I recently moved to Virginia-Highland with my boyfriend after living in three other parts of Atlanta. This area is certainly the best. A transplant from Charleston, SC, I studied Historic Preservation and Community Planning at the College of Charleston and soon after earned an MBA at The Citadel. Now I’m working as a commercial account manager on an energy efficiency program across the state. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering, either with Lifecycle Building Center, ULI’s Sustainability Committee, or organizing Earth Day for my Green Team at work.

Since day one of moving to Virginia-Highland, I have been active with the neighborhood through the VHCA Planning and Historic Preservation Committees. I joined the committees earlier this year and have reviewed variances, gathered feedback from neighbors on issues, presented on behalf of VHCA at the NPU, and provided input at Board meetings.

In my free time, I like to walk to our great VaHi restaurants or over to Inman Park, Poncey-Highland, or Little Five. I keep my eyes peeled for free art Fridays around town and enjoy crafting, reading Atlanta news, and planning adventures. I have a diplomatic approach, a desire to contribute, and would appreciate the opportunity to serve the neighborhood.

I’d like to be involved on the board so that I can support the neighborhood with broad initiatives, from master planning to fundraising for our parks. Having served on the Planning and Preservation committees, I understand the time, patience, and dedication needed to create positive changes that keep the neighborhood vibrant. Change is inevitable and the desirability of VaHi is only going to grow. I’d like to be on the board to ensure the character and quality of life in Virginia-Highland continues to get better each year.

VHCA Announces Candidates for 2013-14 Board of Directors; Absentee Ballot Available

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadThe nominating committee of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association presents the following list of candidates, all of whom have declared their candidacy. Click on the candidate’s name to go to a page with candidate bio’s.

Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the Annual General Meeting to be held September 19, 2013 at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria starting at 6:30 PM. In order to vote, please bring a copy of a valid ID (GA driver’s license, e.g.) or a utility bill issued within 60 days of the meeting and showing your name and address.

Absentee Ballot

Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot along with a copy of one of the forms of identification mentioned above may be delivered to the offices of Tailfin Marketing (1246 Virginia Ave.) by noon on Thursday, September 19th or to the Annual Meeting by its start time at 6:30 PM. Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope with the identification documents separately sealed inside or stapled to the outside. (Please cross out specific account or driver license numbers.) After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed. Your ballot will remain anonymous.

Click here for a copy of the absentee ballot.

Music Midtown Street Closures

musicmidtown-logoPassing along the following notice from Leigh Davis-Turner of The TreadWell Experience regarding street closures for Music Midtown which begin today. She can be reached at ldt@treadwellexp.com.

Music Midtown will start lane / street closures this Friday September 13 for the next 10 days. Please click here for a set of maps showing street closures throughout the duration of the event.

Also, Distribution for Music Midtown resident only access passes will be on Wednesday, September 18th from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, September 19th from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Pick-up is in the Grady Parking Lot nearest 10th Street and Charles Allen Drive, the same lot as the box office trailer. Passes are not mandatory, residents that live within the resident only areas can also show a valid driver’s license or recent utility bill. All officers on-duty will be trained on the acceptable forms of identification for resident access in advance. There is a limit of two passes per household and residents must present a valid driver’s license or recent utility bill to receive the pass. The maps referenced above also show the resident only access points.

More information regarding Park Atlanta command center phone number to come the middle of next week.

Suzuki School To Open Third Campus at Ponce City Market

logo-suzukiGood stories never fade away.  And thirty-eight years after its establishment, The Suzuki School’s story will continue when it opens a third campus at Ponce City Market in August 2014.

LangaugePThe Suzuki story began in 1976, with a person and a vision. Atlanta businessman David Smith was seeking an educator to develop a school. When he found Marlene Lerer, a passionate early childhood educator, The Suzuki School was born. In collaboration with renowned music teacher Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the school was founded on Suzuki’s belief that every child is born with talent, and that it is the teacher’s job to draw that talent out. A child’s natural growth should be respected, Dr. Suzuki maintained, by guiding his or her natural curiosity and ability.

The School opened with six children in 1976, grew to two small locations by 1980, and today serves over 500 families at its two thoughtfully designed, SACS accredited Buckhead campuses.

RamaOver time the Suzuki staff recognized that Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy (the purpose of education should be to develop a positive attitude of self worth and independence, which he refers to as a “noble heart”) struck a particularly harmonious chord with Dr. Maria Montessori’s ideas and methodologies for educating very young children. The School decided to adopt the Montessori approach, providing a thorough, high-quality methodology to accomplish its mission.

This collaboration between Suzuki and Montessori educational philosophies has produced a richer experience for children, and the collaborative approach has become the standard in Suzuki classrooms. Employing this innovative teaching design, teams of teachers serve to meet each child’s development through careful observation and by supporting each child’s natural learning style. The collaborative environment also provides children with multiple opportunities for interaction and cooperation, and allows them to develop a firm foundation of personal responsibility and social skills.

IanThe Suzuki School is excited to bring its unique approach to early childhood education to families in the communities surrounding Ponce City Market!

For more information, email Kimberly Curtis at kcurtis@suzukischool.com.

Springdale Park Elementary PTO Announces SPARK Partners Program

External Picture of SPARKLeave it to Virginia-Highland residents to meet a challenge head-on by trying something a little different.

As many are aware, the funding model for public schools across the country is under distress. While student population continues to grow at Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK), the school’s budget from Atlanta Public Schools leaves a gap in the funding needed to deliver the high quality enrichment programs our residents expect. A team of parents recognized this earlier this year and responded with an innovative new program called SPARK Partners.

SPARK Partners creates win-win relationships between profit and non-profit organizations and SPARK by establishing comprehensive, one-year partnerships. SPARK serves Virginia-Highland, Poncey Highland and a portion of Midtown and Druid Hills, so organizers reached out to potential partners that were present in all stakeholder communities. The inaugural year began in August with several different partner tiers and 25 total partners, including Whole Foods Market, Fernbank Museum and other businesses and professional services. The businesses are promoted to the parent-base (never to students) through the SPARK website, e-newsletter, signage on campus and more. More than $45,000 in cash and in-kind giving was secured in the first year from participating partners.

Organizers understand, though, that SPARK Partners will only succeed if the objectives of the business are clearly understood and programs are aligned as closely as possible to the organization’s brand positioning. Here are some examples of how this is being done.

  • Thanks to its close proximity to the school, SPARK students have historically enjoyed occasional field trips to Fernbank Museum. This year, though, Fernbank is the the program’s designated education partner and the museum’s leadership is working with teachers to create field trip experiences that map directly to the school’s Common Core Curriculum. All SPARK teachers were invited to a meeting with group education specialists to design the program, and this year every SPARK class will visit the museum. Fernbank will also take a lead role at the SPARK Family Science night in September, providing the keynote address and demonstrations throughout the evening.
  • Whole Foods, the top SPARK Partner, will not only donate 5% of all sales to the school on a date in the spring yet to be determined, but will also provide fruit for “Fresh Fruit Fridays” and flowers for the 5th grade Valentine’s teacher appreciation event. Through the Schoolyard Sprouts program, Whole Foods has actively helped build SPARK’s Environmental Educational program and continues to show a commitment to sustainable living by sharing materials to create waste-free lunches and more.

SPARK GardenSeveral other SPARK Partner programs have launched that have gotten the collective community engaged. Among them:

  • For years, Osteria and Doc Chey’s have supported SPARK through independent gifts and “dine-outs” – when a restaurant gives a percentage of an evening’s sales to the school. This year the school moved from these very ‘transactional’ dine-outs, to SPARK Partner Spirit Nights. A Spirit Night will be at Doc Chey’s during Chinese New Year this year. Students will receive enrichment in class to learn more about the cultural celebration, and will then enjoy an evening at Doc Chey’s with classmates exploring the food and iconography with greater appreciation.
  • As part of the School Yard Sprouts program, Atkins Park’s Chef Andrew has worked in the garden for years with Jenna Mobley, the SPARK Environmental Education teacher. This year, we will also enjoy the SPARK Spirit Night “garden to table” style. Students will harvest sweet potatoes and other vegetables from the school garden and Chef Andrew will prepare them in various dishes at the restaurant for kids and families to enjoy in preparation for the Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Established in 1922, Atkins Park is proud of its history in our community. In February the restaurant will launch a competition for students to submit a photograph of an in-town historic building or architectural detail and the winning student will receive a free dinner for their entire family. Atkins Park owner Sandra Spoon says, “We are excited to be a community partner with SPARK this school year. We want to know our neighbors and we want the neighbors to know us as their local business. Chef Andrew has a passion for quality fresh produce and works with local farmers. He enjoys his work with the Environmental Education program at SPARK, engaging with students in gardening and cooking demos.”
  • Murphy’s Restaurant will also be celebrating a “Garden to Table” Spirit Night, featuring fresh lettuce from the October harvest.
  • San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company supports each Principal Tea / PTO Coffee that is held at the school for parents to gather with administrators. They’ve also allowed students to use their Virginia-Highland location during the summer months as a gallery for their end-of-year art show.
  • Career Day takes place in November and this year school counselor William Holley needed to look no further than the professional talent of SPARK Partners for expertise. American Roadhouse’s Emile Blau, Ameriprise Investing’s Marc Welborn, Harry Norman Realtors’ Ashley Bynum and others will be sharing their enriching career experience with students.

Another program benefit for parents is a SPARK Retailer Card, a loyalty card fob that can easily be attached to a keychain. Partners will offer different promotions that will be posted on a website and parents can visit the business to take advantage of the discount. Rich Chey, of Osteria and Doc Cheys, shared that  “The SPARK Partner Program is a great way for my restaurants to support Springdale Park Elementary and all the families it serves. We often have guests in the restaurants who thank us for supporting their school. It’s gratifying and reinforces the decision to dedicate a portion of our marketing budget to the SPARK Partners program.”

Strong in-town communities have been described as having three essential characteristics: an active residential community, with safe, walkable streets and established parks; a successful public school system; and a healthy business community. Business owners clearly recognize that a thriving school system enables the next generation of our community to succeed, which helps their business to prosper in future years. As Sandra Spoon said, “we view this as an important investment in the future of this community.  If our community is successful, it helps us be successful.”

Parents feel much the same and want to celebrate what the SPARK Partners are bringing to enrich the lives of the students. Mark Rebillot, one of the parents actively involved in the program’s development, said, “It’s important for the program that parents recognize the contribution of our Partners, and in turn that Partners exceed their business objectives. We intend to execute successfully so that each partner will commit again for next year, hopefully at a higher investment level.”

Scroll down to see logos of the businesses currently enrolled in the SPARK Partners program.

To learn more about SPARK Partners program, visit partners.springdaleparkelementary.org.

Banner with SPARK Partners logos jpeg

VaHi Safety Team Report: September 10, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Good People Rule!!!!

I know that when most of you see yet another Safety Team Report, you expect to see more bad news on the crime front (and yes there is such news further down in this report), but I wanted to lead this time with some good news about recent events that have come down with no significant bad problems.

During the Labor Day weekend, Downtown and Midtown hosted DragonCon, several athletic events, Black Pride, etc. with no bad incidents per the Zone 5 report at last week’s NPU “M” safety meeting. Thanks to Zone 5, led by Major Whitmire, for all of the advance planning that culminated with tens of thousands of visitors enjoying Atlanta hospitality.

Then, this past weekend thousands more reveled in the glow of the nighttime BeltLine lantern parade and the daytime sunshine of Peachtree Street’s Streets Alive celebration – again without major incidents. I was a bit apprehensive about so many folks being on the BeltLine well after dark – but there was safety in numbers of good folks. What was not too long ago an urban wasteland, the BeltLine hosted tens of thousands of residents enjoying each other’s company in safety.  http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com/2013/09/estimated-50000-took-part-atlanta-streets-alive/   http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/09/09/atlanta-beltline-lantern-parade.html

911 Calls Do Make A Difference!!!!

This past week’s events demonstrated this very well. All of the 911 calls that were placed about sighting Stanley Spradlin resulted in his arrest last Thursday 9/5. That recap and the note of thanx from our Zone 6 Commander, Major Peek, at  http://vahi.org/vahi-safety-team-update-spradlin-and-hannibal-captured-neighborhood-thanked/.  Thanks to our new Zone 6 Community Prosecutor, Keith Lamar, Spradlin has no bond and is safely ensconced in the Rice Street jail, awaiting further hearings. We will have CourtWatch opportunities eventually and I will be making message board posts as these come up at the Court House.

This past week also, a VaHi resident called 911 about a guy sleeping on their front walk, and it turned out to be Bobby Perry, who has warrants from Bartow County. He was one of the four who burglarized and vandalized the Virginia Highland Church back in 2009 – but is out of prison now from that sentence. He has been seen a lot lately on PDL Avenue, as well as North Highland, and has a  long list of priors just like Spradlin. Our Zone 6 Investigator Gurley has told me he is going to talk to Perry about our recent home burglaries and car break-ins before he gets shipped off to Bartow County.  http://www.jailbase.com/en/arrested/ga-fcso/2013-09-07/bobby-james-perry-1325296.

Also – while on the subject of 911 calls, there is finally discussion about the confusion of cell phone placed 911 calls near the Atlanta-DeKalb County border that happens here in this area.  http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/residents-911-call-confusion-could-cost-lives/nZp8Q/. Thanks to Natalyn Archibong for exploring this dangerous problem.

Emergency Preparedness

If you do not yet have a family plan for emergencies – there is a good form for listing details for all household members at – http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/readywrigley/documents/family_communication_plan.pdf.

Police Information Sharing Plan

Yes, I would have thought that this would have been SOP, evidently not – but is becoming a reality now.  http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=672&recordid=2266

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) for the 2013 weeks of 33 and 34 (8/11 – 8/24) for our VaHi Beat 601. These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601. But – across PDL Avenue at Dugan’s bar, a patron pointed a handgun recklessly at several other patrons and an arrest was made. Guns and booze don’t mix well.

Auto Theft: A ’93 Toyota was stolen from Greenwood Avenue. On Orme Circle a stolen car report was cancelled after the owner realized the car had been left on Park Drive around the corner. Whoops!!

Commercial Burglary: Two separate incidents from the under-renovation Briarcliff Summit building on PDL Avenue. On 8/14 there was a lot of scrap metal pieces taken from the basement workroom via a kicked-in door. Then on 8/24 stoves, a/c units, etc were taken again from the basement via a damaged door. Hope that basement door is now REALLY secured!

Residential Burglary: The first of our string of residential burglaries was reported on 8/23 in the 600 block of Park Drive – with entry made via a broken out rear window.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery: On 8/23 in the 500 block of Park Drive at 11:30 p.m. the female victim was returning home and saw a male on the sidewalk who raised her suspicions.  She stayed in her car for a while until he left from sight. When she got out of her car, he reappeared with a companion and asked for her car key – the car was keyless ignition and they did not know how to start it. They then took her cell phone, debit card and driver’s license and fled into the night on foot. The victim was not hurt. In a situation such as this – it’s a good idea just to drive away and either wait for a while before returning home or call 911 or FBAC (if you are a member and they are on duty) to ask for a safety escort to your door.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on North Highland Avenue (6), Briarcliff Road, St. Charles Avenue, Monroe Drive, PDL Place (2), Virginia Avenue, Maiden Lane and St. Louis Place.

Larceny Other: At a North Highland Avenue store, two males took an employee’s unwatched cell phone while being distracted by these males. A chained bike was taken from a Virginia Avenue apartment porch. PLEASE – hide these bikes while not in use!  Front porches are not a good hiding place, as we see from this and many, many previous reports!

Safety Team Meeting

Street Captains, business owners and other interested neighbors – don’t forget the safety meeting this Saturday morning (9/14) from 9:15 until 11:30 in the basement meeting room at Church of Our Saviour at North Highland and Los Angeles Avenues.  Enter from the Los Angeles side of the church. We fully realize that all Street Captains and business owners will not have the chance to attend – but please ask a watch list neighbor or staff member to attend in your place. Our guest speaker will be Captain Brent Schierbaum of the 911 call center and video integration center. This represents an excellent way to better understand how these vital APD services function to serve us. Coffee from San Francisco Roasting and pastries from the BeltLine Kroger will be served. Thanx also to Father John Bolton for allowing us to use the church meeting room.

VaHi Safety Team Update: Spradlin and Hannibal Captured, Neighborhood Thanked

By: John Wolfinger

Major Peek has written a nice note to the citizens of VaHi that I am glad to share below. Thanks to all of the folks who reported their Spradlin sightings to Zone 6 via their 911 calls. I saw Keith Lamar, our Zone 6 Community Prosecutor at the NPU “M” safety meeting last night and he will see that Spradlin does not get bond this morning at his first hearing in the jail house courtroom. Now – his arrest does not necessarily clear up the recent residential burglaries we have suffered. It remains to be seen yet as to what, if any, of these recent incidents can be attributed to Spradlin – so this does not mean you can let up your vigilance on safe guarding your home. I suspect that it will be a while yet before we know anything on this front.

I have also been informed by Zone 6 Investigator Gurley that Kevin Hannibal is also behind bars in a capture away from this neighborhood on entering auto charges. Once he is finished with Fulton County charges – he will be sent to Clayton County for charges against him there. His dance card is filled for a while now.

This still leaves us to be watching for the silver 4-door Chevrolet sedan for suspicous activity.

I also want to state that it is great to have Officer Cooper working in our neigborhood again, as per Major Peek’s note below.

And another shout-out to the Elmwood Drive folks, led by Jo Ann Zyla, who had their way to capture Spradlin all set to go by luring him back to their street with the promise of more work. He was nabbed though before this plan got to go forward.

Major Peek’s email:

Good evening,

With the help of the Virginia Highland Safety Team and the residents in the community, we are glad to share that Stanley Spradlin has been arrested. Mr. Spradlin was wanted for a burglary in the Virginia Highland community. Under the supervision of Sergeant T. Apple, Officers J. Cooper and L. Alston were working in an undercover capacity. They were able to spot Stanley Spradlin in the area based on the tips that you (citizens in the community) provided. This is a true testament of how successful we can be as a city, when citizens and police work together as one to fight crime. Thank you all for what you are doing. We look forward to this relationship growing as we continue to serve the Zone Six community.

Sincerely,

Major T. D. Peek

Commander

Zone Six Precinct

Atlanta Police Department

2025 Hosea Williams Drive

VaHi Safety Team Report: BOLO

By: John Wolfinger

I received the message below from our Zone 6 Commander, Major Peek, on Monday and I immediately posted it on all of our neighborhood message boards. Since then I have had several requests to send it out via our Safety Team network also, since there are many residents who are not members of any of the message boards. At the bottom of this report are two people and one vehicle to be on the lookout for.

This is a time when “See Something – Say Something” is of vital importance to get whomever is violating our fellow residents’ homes. Yeah – these burglaries have happened at night – but this thief may very well be out and about during the daytime checking out houses. Since two of the incidents have involved entry via 2nd story windows – please make sure your ladders and those of your neighbors are well stowed and hidden away. Even though the thief reportedly unscrewed the exterior light bulbs on Amsterdam Avenue – keep all of those outside lights on anyway. If you know of neighbors who are away from home – make sure their newspapers and mail have not accumulated and collect this for them. Make sure your electronics are not visible from your windows, and above all – make sure that ALL doors and windows are locked at ALL times – whether you are in or out of your house.

There have been a couple of “fake” jogger reports, too – the runner that stops and starts a lot looking in yards and cars as they are trying to look like they are just out getting some exercise and trying to blend in with the community. This sort of behavior should raise your suspicion and if you see such people while you are on the street – stop and ask them an innocent question such as if they know the time or where a certain street is (if you are comfortable doing this) – this will help to get across to them that they have been noticed. Then when you are out of their sight – make a suspicious person call to 911 noting which way they are traveling, their physical description and what they are wearing.

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John,

Thanks for giving us an opportunity to address the concerns listed. We have noticed the burglary pattern that has appeared with late evening/early morning burglaries.  Unfortunately, several communities are experiencing similar patterns. We are aware and we are also in dialogue with Zone Two and DeKalb County since they are also experiencing similar trends. We are also communicating with other law enforcement partners in attempts to increase visibility while we gather more leads to try and bring these criminals to justice. If possible, please send the message to your community that we need their help (eyes and ears) to combat these crimes. I can assure you that we are putting all of our officers out in the areas when we see crime trends changing. Understanding that we can’t be everywhere at the same time, having extra eyes and ears allows us to cover more ground. The cases have already been assigned to detectives and they are working diligently to resolve them. In recent days, we have been able to catch one burglar and identified some other burglars. We have caught other thieves because residents called when they noticed suspicious behavior. Yes, it will help if they make sure that ladders and other items are not left for criminals to use in their attempts to gain entry to the properties. The option of partnering (community and police) will prove to be very effective in the fight against crime. To sum it up, we will be there and we will increase our efforts in every way we can to detect and deter criminal activity.

Please see the incident locations below:

  • #132412694     5XX Orme Circle 08/29/13 (Thursday) Resident left at 2030, alarm went off at 2228. Rear window broken out and back door left closed but unlocked. Main floor ransacked. Electronics stolen.
  • #132432716    10XX Amsterdam Avenue 08/31/13 (Saturday) Resident left at 1730, returned at 2250 found rear window broken and the rear door closed but unlocked. Electronics stolen.
  • #132450776    7XX Amsterdam Avenue 09/02/13 (Sunday) Resident at home from 2300. At 0800 found side window broken and electronics stolen. Resident was home at the time of burglary.
  • #132450991    7XX Virginia Avenue 09/02/13 (Sunday) Resident was at home at 0320 and heard noise in house, disregarded it. At 1030 resident found side window broken out and electronics stolen. Resident was home at time of burglary.

Art on the BeltLine is Back!

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Photo from last year’s Lantern Parade. Photo courtesy of Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons website.

Since much of it will take place only a stone’s throw from our neighborhood, we want to make sure VaHi residents have all the particulars about what has become – in only four short years – the city’s largest temporary art and live performance exhibit: Art on the BeltLine.

If you’ve walked the Eastside Trail lately, you’ve probably seen several exhibits being installed or already on display. You’ll see more artists’ creations going up in the coming days along eight of the BeltLine’s 22 miles. The exhibits will be concentrated primarily in the following areas:

  • West Side: From Gordon White Park north to Washington Park
  • West Side: From Allene Avenue to Lee Street
  • Eastside Trail: From Lake/Irwin north to the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive then north to Montgomery Ferry Drive
  • Eastside Trail through Reynoldstown: From Wylie Street south to Memorial Drive

When the event hits its stride, you’ll be able to enjoy more than 70 visual and live performance exhibits from September through November. Here’s a link to an article and pictures of the most recent addition to the 2013 collection. This Corinthian column made from railroad ties and other artifacts collected from the BeltLine was installed in the past few days near the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark and will be a permanent exhibit. The artist is Phil Proctor. Scroll down to see a few images of a very creative exhibit under the Freedom Pkwy. overpass that looks like a pile of industrial junk as you approach it from the south or north, but eventually reveals itself to be a very distinct image of a man’s face – fascinating!

Art on the BeltLine kicks off officially on Saturday September 7 at 8:30 PM when the 2013 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade takes place. Sponsored by the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, this is the parade’s fourth year and big crowds are expected. The event is free and open to the public and everyone’s invited to get creative and come help hold up a light for the BeltLine. The parade starts at the Irwin Street access point and winds it’s way down the Eastside Trail, ending in the Piedmont Park Meadow next to Park Tavern. Click here for more information on the Lantern Parade.

Art on the BeltLine’s live performance start Sunday September 8 and continue each weekend through October 12-13. Performances are scheduled for several locations along the BeltLine including venues in Reynoldstown, Gordon White Park, Adair Park and – closest to VaHi – Historic Fourth Ward Park (September 28-29). Click here for more information on Art on the BeltLine’s live performances including a complete schedule of performances and list of artists.

Click here to visit the Art on the BeltLine web page. You can follow Art on the BeltLine on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArtontheAtlantaBeltLine.

Enjoy Art on the BeltLine 2013!

Approach from the south - what's this pile of junk lying under the bridge??

Approach from the south – what’s this pile of junk lying under the bridge??

Same things from the north - who the heck dumped all this junk along the trail??

Same things from the north – who the heck dumped all this junk along the trail??

Get a little bit closer from either direction and...

Get a little bit closer from either direction and…

...you start to see that this might actually be intentional. It looks like...

…you start to see that this might actually be intentional. It looks like…

...a man's face! It is a man's face! Unbelievable and quite impressive!

…a man’s face! It is a man’s face! Unbelievable and quite impressive!

VaHi Safety Team Report: August 27, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Fulton County Sheriff’s News

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson has announced a new sex offender location service at http://www.communitynotification.com/cap_main.php?office=55274. You can use this website to locate the residences of such offenders.

At the Rice Street jail, Sheriff Jackson announced the graduation for some inmates who have completed one of the jail programs being utilized to help turn inmate’s lives around.  https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/media/set/?set=a.187023658145379.1073741864.141153622732383&type=3

Read about one of these programs, Canine Cellmates, at http://caninecellmates.org.  Granted, all of these jail programs cannot turn around all persons being released, but every former inmate who does not return to a life of crime is good for all of us. Thank you, Sheriff Jackson.

Registering Your Burglar Alarm

You can now register your business or residence alarm system at https://www.crywolf.us/oss/atlantaga/GeneralDocs.aspx?Rpt=FAQs.c1d. Granted, you have until February to complete this mandated registration – but why wait? It’s something you need to do – so get it over with. I registered mine online and it only took a few minutes (would be even less for those of you who can type faster than I can).

Crime Stoppers

The phone number of 404-577-TIPS that you see at the end of so many crime stories on local TV station newscasts, must really work as detailed in this Crime Stopper report at  http://crimestoppersatlanta.org/blog/.

The BeltLine Mounted Patrol

If you have not yet seen this terrific YouTube video – check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oMciWt-qqw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-oMciWt-qqw&nomobile=1. There have not been any reports (that I know of anyway) of criminal activity on this popular pathway since the new police force took charge – but do not tempt fate by flaunting electronics. This beautiful addition to our city scene is drawing thousands of joggers, bike riders, and strollers – but please stay alert as you are still in the city.

A New Crime Fighting Tool Proposal

I was a somewhat skeptical meeting attendee at police headquarters on 8/27 to announce a new crime fighting tool that is under consideration by APD to be used here. I will admit that I left with most of my skepticism left behind. Rather than trying to describe all of the details on how this system works, please go to the company’s website at www.copdots.com for a better explanation. This is a marking system to be used on items that you would consider to be candidates for theft and does not rely on your etching or writing your own identification marks. Using a glue stick looking tube you rub on an adhesive substance that contains crystals the size of a salt crystal that contains a code number that is matched to you. There is a tool used by the police that can then read the crystals on items that have been stolen and recovered. The tool would be available at Lowe’s for about $30.00. Also – try Googling “copdots” for even more info about this system and where it has already been put in use. After you have read the web info about this and you have questions/suggestions/remarks, please pass them on to me and I’ll forward on to the APD folks working on this project. Remember, this is only a proposal at this time – no commitments have been made by the city or APD.  But – this is your chance to influence APD’s thinking about this system.

Maiden Lane Cleaning

We all owe Rad Slough, the Urban Body owner, a vote of thanx for his continual cleaning along Maiden Lane on the PDL Place end of this street. It is my hope that others will follow Rad’s lead and help him keep this street clean, especially those whose property abuts this once neglected street.

Also – does anyone know folks who live in the apartments along Bonaventure Avenue between St. Charles and PDL Avenues? The trash and recycling bins in this area are often left in the street long after the Monday pickup day, in violation of city ordinances which state they are to be taken in by Tuesday. We also really need a Safety Team Street Captain for Bonaventure and if you know of someone who would be a good candidate for this position – please let me know.

Safety Team Street Captain’s Meeting

As I announced in the last Safety Report, there is a terrific meeting planned for all residential Street Captains and businesses on 9/14 Saturday morning (9:30 til noon) at the Church of Our Saviour.  If you will not be able to attend (and we realize not everyone will be able) please nominate another person in your watch area or from your business who can attend.  Captain Brent Schierbaum of the 911 call center and video integration center will be the speaker and I am sure we can all learn from him about this vital part of APD.  San Francisco Coffee is providing coffee with the BeltLine Kroger providing pastries.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) for the 2013 weeks of 31 and 32 (7/28 to 8/10) for our VaHi Beat 601. These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault - On 7/31 at an unnamed St. Charles Avenue at North Highland Avenue bar (there are only 2 here) the victim (a male employee) stated that a young w/m who was asked to leave earlier, stayed around and when female employees were leaving he began to yell at them as he went to his car. The armed victim then came out to check on the situation and the suspect aimed his car at him. The victim then fired at the car as it barreled towards him, causing the suspect to crash the car who then fled on foot into the early morning darkness. The suspect’s name was on the debit card he had used for payment – but no word as to an arrest. I’m glad that no one was hurt in this incident.

Auto Theft - No incidents reported from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary - Two such incidents and both on Lanier Boulevard. The 8/1 entry was made via an unlocked door with jewelry and silver taken. The 8/3 entry was made by breaking a door- side window with electronics taken. I always wonder as to how many houses thieves have to check out to find one with an unlocked door.

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

However, around the Zone, there are still lots of reports of such robberies taking cell phones, wallets, etc. either via weapons, strong arm or intimidation.

Larceny From Vehicle - Here we go with another long list of folks, many of whom ignored the Clean Car Campaign.  Vehicles were entered on North Highland Avenue (3), Rosedale Road, Lanier Boulevard (2), Maiden Lane, and PDL Avenue – this last incident resulted in an arrest courtesy of a security camera that showed the suspect with an identifiable limp.  Good police work here to find this limping guy.

All over the Zone in this time span there were 118 incidents with 12 arrests made.

Larceny Other - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

At the PDL Avenue BeltLine Kroger a customer left his cell phone at the u-scan checkout – and (you guessed it) it was gone when he returned.

Enjoy these rain-free days while they last and stay alert.

Learn to Code and Do Something Big

email-header_longOn October 15th, Tech Talent South will launch an immersive, eight-week adult coding program in nearby Grant Park. Both full-time and part-time classes will be held in the mornings and evenings at NEX Atlanta, accommodating for any schedule. The goal of the classes is to help adults learn invaluable web development skills to keep up in an increasingly technological world, enabling them to better run their own business or launch a new career. Among skills taught: coding in the popular Ruby on Rails framework, modeling domains to work with database backed applications, designing and building out websites in HTML/CSS, adding interactivity using JavaScript and AJAX, and integrating websites with APIs such as Facebook and Google.

Native southerners and start-up entrepreneurs Betsy Hauser and Richard Simms are launching this first set of adult classes after a series of highly successful kids’ coding camps that ran over the summer. Tech Talent South’s mission, according to Hauser, is “to help put the South on the map as the next big tech hub and start-up epicenter. Everyone knows that having the right talent is absolutely crucial in order to move things in that direction.”

As a popular, trending center of activity among professionally minded individuals and entrepreneurs, Virginia-Highland and Grant Park are the perfect base for the hub that Hauser and Simms envision. Simply being surrounded by skilled programmers and developers is not always enough for innovative minds, however. As Simms puts it, “We really believe that everyone can and should learn how to code. Learning to code teaches you a whole new way of looking at the world and a whole new way of thinking about solving problems – which is important for anyone looking to build their own business and leave a mark on the world.”

Additionally, Simms and Hauser hope to boost the local economy of the place they call home by bringing in talent that will be starting companies and buying houses as well as shopping local, small businesses.

The adult program will be held October 15 to December 7, 2013. Applications are due by September 7, 2013.

Click here to view a YouTube video of a recent kid coding camp held at Atlanta Tech Village.

To learn more about Tech Talent South or apply online, visit the website at www.techtalentsouth.com or follow them on Twitter @TechTalentSouth.

VHCA Announces Process to Develop Neighborhood Master Plan

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadIn July of this year, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association announced the formation of a Task Force to guide the creation of a transportation plan for Virginia-Highland. This plan contemplated combining public input and review of existing factors with professional planning guidance to create an effective set of goals based on an overall vision. We asked for volunteers; the number of citizens who responded represented an impressive cross-section of VaHi residents.

As we tried to define the scope of such a plan, many closely related topics emerged that are fundamental to the community’s future, though not directly related to transportation. In order to make the most efficient use of the feedback processes and resources needed for any such public effort, it became clear to the Board that it makes more sense to broaden the planning scope beyond transportation to key topics like open space, urban design characteristics, historic resources, public services, demographic issues, development variables, environmental challenges, and educational concerns. The result will be a Master Plan for Virginia-Highland.

The advantages of a formal master plan are considerable. One is obvious: it’s a formal chance for citizens to examine alternatives and create goals in the context of existing development plans, policy and research. Visions that are formed absent such contexts have very limited chances of being implemented. Additionally, most governments – including the City of Atlanta – are far more likely to approve and fund projects that are broadly consistent with their own approaches and have been formally adopted through a recognized master plan process. Once just a very good idea, community-based master plans are now a practical necessity in large urban areas. Neighborhoods that have such plans are far better situated than those that do not.

Our neighbors in Poncey-Highland and Candler Park have recently completed master plans; they may be viewed at http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=767 and  http://www.candlerparkmasterplan.com, respectively.

The timeline and method for creating this plan is approximately 8 to 12 months, with public engagement and meetings throughout the process. The process will be led by our longtime planning consultant and partner, Market +Main, under the guidance of Aaron Fortner, who played such a key role in the adoption of the Neighborhood Commercial Zoning along North Highland Avenue.

Market + Main will facilitate a variety of focus groups on broad topics such as:

  • Neighborhood businesses and market conditions
  • School site analysis and planning
  • Historic preservation, zoning, and land use
  • Parks, green space, and environmental resources
  • Traffic and transportation

There will be many opportunities to contribute to this effort, and we would like to hear from you. Please keep an eye out for announcements throughout the fall season for public engagement, both in-person and online. Throughout the process, we will be compiling information on this website: http://www.vahimasterplan.org/. While no requirement other than residency is needed to be part of this process, you can let us know if you are particularly interested in serving on a focus group by providing this form to Jenifer Keenan at jkeenanvahi@yahoo.com by Sept. 9.

  • Name, address, and time as VaHi resident or business owner
  • Why are you interested in serving on the Focus Group?
  • What expertise/experience do you have in the area that will be covered by the Focus Group?
  • Focus Group (choose one):  1) Neighborhood Businesses 2) Schools 3) Historic Preservation, Zoning, & Land Use 4) Parks, Green Space, & Environmental Resources, 5) Traffic and Transportation

Decatur Elementary School to Host Seminar on Coyotes in an Urban Environment

Photos By Trail CameraWith all the recent talk of coyotes being seen in and around the neighborhood, we thought we’d pass along this notice of a seminar called “Coyotes in the Community” being conducted tomorrow evening at Winnona Park Elementary School, 510 Avery St. in Decatur. The time to RSVP has passed but hopefully you can still attend if you’re interested.  

Coyotes in the Community – A Presentation by John Eberhart, Member, Wildlife/Wildlands Committee of The Sierra Club GA Chapter

WHEN: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Winnona Park Elementary – Cafe
COORDINATORS: Sonali Saindane; Greg Wiseman

John Eberhart has worked in wildlife preservation for 30 years and helps communities resolve conflicts that occur with wildlife peacefully based on best practices. Some of the topics that will be covered:

  • Basic coyote natural history
  • Why are coyotes here?
  • Coyotes WANT to be good neighbors and go out of their way to avoid us. What are some simple things we can do so coyotes will continue to be good neighbors?
  • What happens if a coyote is removed from its habitat?
  • What to do if you see a coyote?

The event is FREE and open to all neighboring communities. Please R.S.V.P. attendance to: sonaligokhale@yahoo.com by Monday, August 26th.

A Conversation with Stephanie Coffin

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Stephanie Coffin stands in front of her Highland View home, where she’s used mosaics extensively to decorate the exterior. The mural that runs the width of her home above the porch depicts the environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which devastated the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans in 2010. To view close-ups of the mural, click on the photo album link below.

By: John Becker

Stephanie Coffin and her husband Tom have lived in Virginia-Highland for forty years, moving from Midtown to their current home on Highland View in 1973 when Stephanie was “very pregnant” with their second child.

Many VaHi residents know of the Coffins’ involvement with The Great Speckled Bird, the iconic counterculture weekly that grew out of an anti-Vietnam War newsletter published by the pair and others during Tom’s time at Emory in the late 60’s. The Bird, as it was known, never missed an issue during its eight-year run (1968 – 1976) and it became known as one of the nation’s premier underground newspapers with an impressive circulation of 22,000 at its peak. For more on The Bird’s fascinating story, check out this link and this link.

Stephanie Coffin remembers her years of activism fondly, but today she spends much of her time trying to make a difference in the neighborhood where she’s lived for so long. She’s a past chair of the VHCA’s parks committee, a passionate arborist and a talented artist. You can see her colorful mosaics at Sevenanda in Little Five Points, at the Truly Living Well urban garden in Old Fourth Ward (this piece was originally part of 2012’s Art on the BeltLine program), and throughout the neighborhood. Her home – inside and out – is homage to what can be done with a few pieces of colorful glass, a little adhesive and some grout.

Coffin’s most recent work – a colorful mosaic on the east-facing wall of the Intown Ace Hardware planter at the corner of N. Highland Avenue and Drewry Street – caught our eye last week and we thought we’d reach out to the artist to get the scoop on how it came about.

Coffin's newest mosaic - Atlanta Afloat - adorns the wall of the Intown Ace Hardware planter that faces N. Highland Ave.

Coffin’s newest mosaic – Atlanta Afloat – adorns the wall of the Intown Ace Hardware planter that faces N. Highland Ave.

Before we talk about mosaics, I know you and your husband were part of the group that founded The Great Speckled Bird. That must have been an interesting and rewarding time for you two.

It was absolutely the most exciting time of our lives. It was incredible. The whole country was being turned upside down by issues like the war and the civil rights movement. It was sort of the tail end of the civil right movement, but it was still very much a struggle at the time. We were right in the middle of it – the good and the bad – and I’ll always recall how passionately we spoke up for what we believed in.

You’re a passionate arborist, too, right? Tell me a little about that.

In the early ‘90’s I became interested in protecting and preserving trees and today both my husband and I are active members of the Georgia Arborist’s Association. I also work closely with Trees Atlanta and have personally coordinated numerous Trees Atlanta plantings throughout Virginia-Highland. Over the years I’ve probably planted or helped plant hundreds of trees in the neighborhood.

Coffin created a 4-sided mosaic for this planter outside the front door at Sevananda in L5P. View our photo album (link below) for photos of the other three sides.

Coffin created a 4-sided mosaic for this planter outside the front door at Sevananda in L5P. View our photo album (link below) for photos of the other three sides.

When and how did you start doing mosaics?

It was about 15 years ago. I needed to make some improvements in the kitchen – including a new backsplash – and I was very interested in colors and shapes and I found the mosaics to be a fun and artistic of way of doing the improvements. I liked the kitchen improvements so much I just kept going. I did the front walk, then the upstairs, then the back of the house. All of my initial work was here at the house. Once I got my feet on the ground I started doing work for others.

How did you learn about the process of creating mosaics?

I’m self-taught. The library has many good books on how to create mosaics and I just read as many as I could find and just started doing it. It’s not difficult to get going. Anyone who wants to learn should read up on the subject, then just pick a small project to start with – a birdbath or small clay pot to decorate, for example – and before you know it, you’ll be hooked.

Can you tell me a little about how they’re made?

The process of creating a mosaic varies depending on what it is you’re creating. But the basic process starts with designing the image you want to create and determining what pieces you’ll use to create it (this is usually the most time-consuming part of the process), then using adhesive to affix the pieces to the surface you’re covering, and finally using grout to fill in the spaces between the pieces to create the final image.

Coffin's workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

Coffin’s basement workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

When/how did you come up with the idea to do a mosaic on the planter at Ace Hardware?

Intown Ace is such a great part of the business community here and a real asset to the neighborhood. I’d had my eye on their planter for some time. People walk or drive by it all the time and I knew I could improve its drab appearance. At the same time, one of the biggest problems for artists today is to find places to display their art. It’s a huge problem and it has forced artists to become creative in finding places to show what they create. The Ace Hardware planter is a perfect example of what you can come up with if you’re creative. It was a way for me to share my art with the community and make the neighborhood more beautiful at the same time.”

How long did it take to create the mosaic? Is there a title?

The most time-consuming part of creating a mosaic is the upfront time you put in figuring out what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. I started designing the Ace Hardware mosaic in January, slowly started building the mosaic in March and had the main work complete by late July. I’ve gone once or twice during August to put on some finishing touches. And yes, the mosaic has a title. I call it Atlanta Afloat. You can see the image of the city’s skyline in a ‘bubble’ in the center surrounded by various types of ocean life.

Coffin created this mosaic for the 2012 Art on the BeltLine exhibit. It now stands at the Truly Living Well community gardens in Old Fourth Ward.

Coffin created this mosaic for the 2012 Art on the BeltLine exhibit. It now stands at the Truly Living Well community gardens in Old Fourth Ward.

What sort of reaction have you received?

I spent a good deal of time at the planter doing the installation and plenty of folks stopped to say how beautiful it looked and how nicely it was coming along. I’ve gotten lots of very positive feedback since it’s been finished. It’s been very gratifying.

Have you talked with the folks at Ace Hardware about doing the rest of the planter?

They’ve talked about it and I certainly have ideas – I’d love to do something to acknowledge the chickens in their coop, for example – but we haven’t gotten serious about it yet so nothing’s actually in the works.

What about other examples of your mosaic work? Where can they be found?

Two years ago I put mosaics on two different planters in front of Sevenanda on Moreland Ave. in Little Five Points – one four sided, the other two sided because of its close proximity to a fence. Everyone was very pleased with the way they came out and I came away from the experience with a great understanding of how to create mosaics for planters.

Last year I created a mosaic mural that was on temporary display during Art on the BeltLine. It’s a 5′x3′ mosaic mural of glass, marble and ceramic tile mounted in a steel frame that was anchored in concrete. The mural shows enlarged images of the five most damaging insects for organic gardeners, and the plants they attack. Unfortunately they put the mural way down on the southwest side of the BeltLine where nobody was really going. The area wasn’t even handicap accessible so it makes you wonder why they’re putting art in places where people aren’t even supposed to be going. After the exhibit ended I rebuilt the piece and installed it at the Truly Living Well community gardens on Hilliard St. in Old Fourth Ward where it stands today. I’m especially fond of this piece because it’s both artistic and educational.

What’s next?

I have a neighbor down the street I’m going to do a street number plate for, and I have a few others I’ve spoken with about that kind of work (which I’ve already done some of in the past). Nothing major, though. I’m keeping my plate fairly clean in case the Ace Hardware folks decide to move forward with the rest of the planter.

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Coffin created this three panel mosaic to illustrate the impact of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power disaster.

Coffin created this three panel mosaic to illustrate the impact of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power disaster.

Editor’s Note: Intown Ace Hardware garden center manager Robbie Cotney says they’re seriously thinking about asking Stephanie to do the other three sides of the planter.

“We’re very pleased with the many positive comments we’ve gotten about Stephanie’s mural,” he said, “and we’re seriously considering asking her to come back and decorate the planter’s remaining three sides. If we decide to go forward with the work, we’ll definitely be compensating Stephanie for her time and work.”

Coffin did the work on the planter’s east-facing wall for free, with Ace Hardware picking up the cost of most of the materials.

The Voice would also like to suggest that the Tour of Homes committee consider including at least an exterior tour of Coffin’s home on a future tour. We think folks would love to see how Coffin has used mosaics to decorate her home and get ideas aplenty about how they might do the same themselves.

Click here to view an album of photos of Stephanie Coffin and her work. Click here to view a YouTube video of the mosaics Stephanie’s created around her home.

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Coffin has covered much of the back of her home with mosaics, and there are enough birdbaths scattered around to satisfy even the thirstiest flock of birds.

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Coffin did this piece to acknowledge the Occupy movement. “99% refers to the overwhelmingly large number of people who are excluded from the increasing concentration of wealth held by 1% of the US population.”

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Coffin’s mosaic of an Asian Longhorn beetle, an invasive species that attacks trees primarily in the upper midwest.

Ponce de Leon Resurfacing

th-1We received the following notice late last week from our friends at the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Resurfacing of Ponce de Leon Avenue has commenced.

The work schedule (weather permitting) is from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays (no Friday/Saturday work). The entire resurfacing should be completed within four weeks.

Workers will start in the eastbound direction, closing only one lane at a time; they will then turn and work westbound, again closing one lane at a time. The work will be completed in three sections:

Section 1 — North Avenue from State Street to Tech Parkway; approximate time one night.

Section 2 — North Avenue from Spring Street to Piedmont Avenue and Piedmont Avenue to Ponce de Leon Avenue; approximate time, four to five nights.

Section 3 — Ponce de Leon Avenue from Piedmont Avenue to Moreland Avenue/Briarcliff Road; approximate time, 10 to 12 nights.

For more information on Georgia Department of Transportation projects, please visit the GDOT website: www.dot.ga.gov — this project identification (PI) number is M004536.

 

Players from VaHi, Other Intown Neighborhoods Help Bring Home Ultimate Gold!

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The ATLien team at the awards ceremony. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

A team that includes Virginia-Highland student athletes who attend Grady High, Paideia School and other local schools traveled to Blaine, Minnesota recently to compete in the USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships (YCC). Ranked 10th out of 19 teams entering the tournament, the ATLiens, as they’re known, shocked the world, taking first place and bringing gold home to Atlanta.

Before we share the details with you, though, we’re pretty sure there’s someone out there asking: What’s ultimate?

For the uninformed, ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc – also known as a Frisbee. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or the in-goal area in rugby. Players can’t run with the disc, and must keep a pivot foot planted while holding it. Teams typically have seven players each. The field of play is usually 120 yards long – including two 25-yard end zones – and 40 yards wide. Click here for more information on ultimate.

Now, back to the ATLiens outstanding weekend (August 11-12) in Blaine.

The YCC serves as the national championship tournament among the country’s best youth leagues. This year’s tournament featured 40 teams in U-16 (under 16 years old) open, U-19 open, mixed, and girls divisions.

Nathan Haskell with a defensive steal. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Nathan Haskell with a defensive steal. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Playing in the U-19 division, the ATLiens – a team made of all-star players from nine schools throughout the city, and coached by Michael Baccarini from Paideia and Jonathan “Frito” Monforti of Atlanta’s Chain Lightning men’s ultimate team – turned in a dominating performance when they needed it most.

On Saturday the team finished first in its pool, racking up impressive 11-2, 11-3 and 11-0 victories against a single 9-7 loss. There’d be no loss on Sunday, though, as the ATLiens defeated Chicago 13-8, Delaware 13-5 and, finally, Seattle in the championship game, 13-7.

Click here to read a report on the Atlanta Flying Disc Club’s website about the ATLiens championship weekend.

Both of ATLien’s coaches couldn’t have been more proud of their team.

“Going into this experience, I’d never worked with high school kids before,” said assistant coach Monforti. “I’ve coached or captained at the college and club level, but I didn’t know what working with high school kids would be like. Lucky for me, I got to work with Michael Baccarini, one of the most renowned high school ultimate coaches ever.”

“There were lots of highs and lows throughout the time we had together as a team,” Monforti explained. “It was great to see the guys come together as a team since most of them had only played against each other in high school.”

Coach Michael Baccarini using every moment as a coaching opportunity.

Coach Michael Baccarini using every moment as a coaching opportunity. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

“It all culminated at the YCC,” Monforti continued. “The kids’ hard work and training paid off. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the weekend because youth club ultimate has a lot of turnover year to year, but the ATLiens blew my expectations away. It was the most rewarding and satisfying ultimate experience I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed working with such a first class group of gentlemen who displayed tremendous spirit throughout a tough weekend of competition. They worked very hard to bring a championship home to Atlanta.”

“While I’ve experienced highs at the highest levels of youth ultimate, this experience was something special, truly out of the ordinary and beyond compare,” said head coach Baccarini.  “These boys were so respectful and supportive of each other, exemplifying what a ‘team’ should strive to be, and is always capable of being. They showed tremendous maturity and seasoned competiveness – an honorable and respectful version of it that’s rarely seen from teams or individuals at any age level.”

“It was a delightful and encouraging experience for both me and Frito, as well as the other adult organizers,” continued Baccarini, “and bodes well for the youth ultimate scene in the Atlanta metro area.”

Here’s a list of the ATLien team members, many of whom attend or attended metro Atlanta schools including Grady, Paideia, Druid Hills, Parkview, Decatur, Brookwood and Lakeside:

Sebastian DiFrancesco, Riley Erickson and Nathan Haskell with the championship trophy. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Sebastian DiFrancesco, Riley Erickson and Nathan Haskell with the championship trophy. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Connor Brownell

Christopher Carson

Sebastian DiFrancesco

Michael Dillard

Riley Erickson

Rylan Gordon

Nathan Haskell

Felix Jaffin

Joe Lavine

Ben Mapes

Mike McGinnis

Vasiliy Mishin

Eli Motycka

Anders Olsen

Jacques Perivier

Caleb Shorthouse

Jack Smith

Jack Spiva

Joe Lavine going up big for the disc. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Joe Lavine going up big for the disc. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Danny Stevenson

John Stubbs

Jay Tolbert

Sam Trent

Leo Warren

Atlanta also sent a U-16 team to the championships and there were VaHi student athletes on that team, too. That team – ATLarge – finished the tournament in 4th place out of nine teams, well ahead of their original #8 seeding. ATLarge was coached by VaHi resident, former club player and Inman Middle School ultimate coach Paddi White, as well as Jen Waldrup and Andy Jones.

Here’s a list of the ATLarge team members, many of whom attend metro Atlanta schools including Grady, Paideia and Galloway:

Stan Birdsong

Noah Cohen

Drew DiFrancesco

Mack Hodges

Brandon Kleber

Henry Laseter

Bryson Levisay

Noah Li

Robby Odum

Fin Ouweleen

John Stubbs and Caleb Shorthouse celebrate after a score. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

John Stubbs and Caleb Shorthouse celebrate after a score. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Hank Persons

Ollie Peterson

Kiran Potula

John Roorbach

Isaac Sencer

Alex Schrader

Houston Schrader

Luke Smith

Congratulations to the players and coaches of both the ATLien and ATLarge teams for an outstanding YCC performance!

Any high school players interested in playing ultimate this fall can sign up for the AFDC Juniors Fall League, and play on Saturdays at Old 4th Ward Park between Sept. 7 and Nov. 2.

Team high fives after an opening round victory. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Team high fives after an opening round victory. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Some Thoughts on Teardowns and New Construction

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadSpurred by a recent wave of teardowns and new construction, there has been a lively debate over the last couple of weeks about historic preservation and the building characteristics that help define the neighborhood. While Virginia-Highland is a collection of smaller subdivisions built over a span of several decades, some local architects and residents identified and summarized many common and key architectural features during the community’s 2009 study of historic preservation guidelines. The students and faculty of the Heritage Preservation Program at Georgia State University summarized them in a reference document that may be viewed at http://vahi.org/planning/preservation/.  Scroll down to the section titled “Design Reference For Renovation.”

Its level of detail is fascinating; it formalized and summarized for me a wealth of personal observations formed over years of long strolls, porch conversations, neighbor interaction, and study. But I also think a shorter summary might be useful. To that end, here is my own list of five key do’s and don’ts that go to the heart of what makes some renovated houses fit in nicely and leave others looking like they belong on a 1-acre lot.  Many people will find these points painfully obvious; some may disagree with them. I’ll be glad to hear your thoughts.

  1. The Golden Rule:  Build to the neighborhood scale. Find an architect who will work very hard not to plunge the neighbors into perpetual shade or make them feel they are living in the shadow of a castle. A common contributing factor to the feel of excessive height are basements that are above ground enough that they feel more like a first floor. In this vein, if you’re adding a second floor next to a house that already has one, try to line up the bedrooms windows so that they don’t face one another.
  2. Modify the existing roofline as little as possible, especially in front. There are numerous examples in this neighborhood of homes with greatly expanded capacity that do not dwarf their neighbors or appear grossly out of scale when viewed from the street.
  3. Don’t put garages on the front of the house. They stand out like a sore suburban thumb, and exiting your car directly into the house reduces interaction with your neighbors.
  4. Matching the existing front setbacks on your street will help any house fit into its setting.  While this may require an extra administrative step, the variance process was created to consider exactly this sort of challenge.
  5. Be thoughtful about your choice of exterior building materials; use the predominant historic ones on your block.

A final wish list item is mentioned separately because it’s not historically specific; it’s relevant to all remodeling and new construction, independent of the factors listed above. Capturing and reusing your stormwater is a practical and civic-minded act that ensures that your development will not cause stormwater issues for your neighbors and it will provide a return on your investment sooner than you think. Most of northeast Atlanta (including Virginia-Highland) has combined sewers – the stormwater on the street goes into the same underground pipes as our wastewater. In big storms, it’s a big problem, one we pay for every day with astronomical water rates that are primarily linked to the cost of treating stormwater. Addressing this issue benefits both your neighbors and your wallet.

You can write me at planning@vahi.org.

Lola Carlisle

Vice President, Virginia-Highland Civic Association

Piedmont Park Summer Arts & Crafts Festival Set for August 17-18

PPAF_logoPiedmont Park Summer Arts & Crafts Festival will host its third annual event August 17-18. Up to 250 artists and artisans are expected to exhibit.

Visitors will enjoy a wide variety of art and crafts, a children’s area and local food and beverage concessions including food trucks. Local acoustic musicians will perform. Visitors will be able to enjoy a Guinness World Record hula-hoop attempt presented by HoopEssence and “Cirque du Piedmont” performances by the Imperial Opa Circus. The Atlanta Burger and Craft Beer Crawl will also be taking place throughout the weekend. The “Sunday Funday Corn Hole Tournament” will be held to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer.

The event is being organized by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces and volunteer artists.  Best of all, it’s entirely free to attend! The event will support a scholarship fund for local artists administered by the non-profit Georgia Foundation for Public Spaces.

Where: Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309

When: Saturday August 17 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday August 18 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Music: Acoustic music only

Admission: Free to attend

“We are full of surprises for this event,” says Patrick Dennis, President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. “Local artists will enjoy the beautiful park and visitors will especially enjoy the wide range of art, craft and entertaining “events within the event” ranging from acoustic local musicians to circus performers. This is the ideal summer festival to enjoy the outdoors, browse for irresistible art and crafts as well as appreciate the beauty of Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s true jewels.”

“Although this is a nationally advertised show, we strongly support local artists,” says Randall Fox, V.P. of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces.  “With this event, it gives both regional artists and those from outside the area an opportunity to showcase our beautiful park and the best Atlanta has to offer.”

For more information, contact Patrick Dennis at 404-845-0793 or visit http://www.piedmontparkartsfestival.com.

Click here to read a flyer promoting the hula-hoop world record attempt presented by HoopEssence.

Click here to read a flyer promoting the Sunday Funday Cornhole Tournament.

Propagating the Spiller Magnolias

Trees Atlanta and Partners Work to Preserve a Piece of Atlanta History

By: John Becker

Photo courtesy deadballbaseball.com

Aerial view of Ponce de Leon Park. The Sears Building – now Ponce City Market – can be seen across PDL Ave. from the park, as can the Ford Factory – now lofts and retail – directly across the diagonally-running railroad tracks. That railbed is now the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. Photo courtesy deadballbaseball.com.

From 1907 until Fulton County Stadium opened in 1965, Spiller Field – also known as Ponce de Leon Park or Atlanta Crackers Field – was Mecca for baseball fans in Atlanta. Both the Atlanta Crackers and the Atlanta Black Crackers played there and the diamond was graced by the likes of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, Luke Appling, Eddie Matthews, Pete Richert, Tim McCarver, and Chuck Tanner.

In 1940 the park hosted an exhibition boxing match between a 45-year old Jack Dempsey and wrestler Clarence “Cowboy” Luttrell (Dempsey won), and it was also where the Tech High Smithies and Boys’ High Purple Hurricanes played their Friday night football games during the 1940’s (these games often outdrew college games at the time).

The northernmost magnolia can be seen in the foreground, with the other tree in the background. Ponce City Market is in the background on the right.

The northernmost magnolia can be seen in the foreground, with the other tree in the background. Ponce City Market is in the background on the right.

The park was especially known for a pair of magnolia trees that stood in center field and were actually part of the field of play until Earl Mann purchased the team and field in 1947 and moved the outfield wall in about 50′.

The field occupied the space on Ponce de Leon Avenue where the Midtown Place retail development is today, directly across from Ponce City Market. The trees – surprisingly still healthy and thriving – stand in between what is today a Whole Foods store and the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Despite their apparent good health, the trees are threatened by their proximity to the large retail development to their immediate west, so the environmental non-profit Trees Atlanta took action.

Oreon Mann, son of Earl Mann, who purchased the Atlanta Crackers and the stadium in 1947.

Oreon Mann, son of Earl Mann, who purchased the Atlanta Crackers and the stadium in 1947.

A team met Wednesday August 14 to take cuttings from both trees. These cuttings will be nurtured over the next two years, then replanted along the BeltLine’s arboretum. Some may be made available for purchase. These new plantings will be direct genetic descendants of the magnificent magnolias you’ll see in the photos that accompany this article. Kudos to Trees Atlanta and their partners Bold Spring Nursery (they’ll be cultivating the cuttings) and Sunbelt Equipment Rental (they supplied the cherry picker) for taking action to preserve an important part of Atlanta history.

Mann’s son Oreon was on hand for the cutting event and brought along a bag of photos and other memorabilia from the days when he was a batboy and his father the owner of the premier baseball team in Atlanta. We were all surprised – and touched – when Mann walked over to one of the trees and pointed to where he and his stepmother had buried his father’s ashes when he died in 1990.

Scroll down to see a few more photos from Wednesday’s event. Click here to view a full online album of photos.

Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Trees Atlanta and the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum by taking a free walking tour of the Eastside Trail with an expertly trained docent. You’ll hear all about the Spiller Magnolias and much more. For more information or to register for a tour, click here.

Oreon Mann points out where he and his stepmother buried his father's ashes when he died in 1990.

Oreon Mann points out where he and his stepmother buried his father’s ashes when he died in 1990.

Kevin Redeker from Bold Spring Nursery explains what will happen to the cuttings to Trees Atlanta staff and volunteers.

Kevin Redeker from Bold Spring Nursery explains what will happen to the cuttings to Trees Atlanta staff and volunteers.

Redeker and Trees Atlanta co-executive director Greg Levine look for the ideal cuttings.

Redeker and Trees Atlanta co-executive director Greg Levine look for the ideal cuttings.

Levine tosses the cuttings down to volunteers who collect them.

Levine tosses the cuttings down to volunteers who collect them.

Volunteers dipped the cuttings in water, then placed them in a dry storage cooler - one cooler for each trees cuttings.

Volunteers dipped the cuttings in water, then placed them in a dry storage cooler – one cooler for each tree’s cuttings.

Oreon Mann chats with VHCA board VP and history/preservation committee chair Lola Carlisle.

Oreon Mann chats with VHCA board VP and history/preservation committee chair Lola Carlisle.

Trees Atlanta's Bethany Clark and Mann share a pleasant moment.

Trees Atlanta’s Bethany Clark and Mann share a chuckle.

Cherry picker at about the full extent of its reach. The best cuttings come from new growth at the top of the tree.

Cherry picker at about the full extent of its reach. The best cuttings come from new growth at the top of the tree.

Redeker and Levine wave to the crowd.

Redeker and Levine wave to the crowd from the basket.

Redeker inspects a cutting.

Redeker inspects a cutting.

The cherry picker was donated for the event by Sunbelt Equipment Rental.

The cherry picker was donated for the event by Sunbelt Equipment Rental.

Levine inspects a cutting before dropping it for volunteers.

Levine inspects a cutting before dropping it for volunteers.

It was a bountiful harvest.

It was a bountiful harvest.

This is a picture inside the canopy of one of the trees from the cherry picker bucket. Lots of healthy growth...

This is a picture inside the canopy of one of the trees from the cherry picker bucket. Lots of healthy growth…

View of the northernmost magnolia from the bucket with leaves of the other tree in the foreground.

View of the northernmost magnolia from the bucket with leaves of the other tree in the foreground to the right.

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This seed pod’s full of future wannabe magnolias…

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Mr. Kevin in the bucket with magnolia tree to the left.

Shot of the Trees Atlanta gang from the cherry picker. Thanks for inviting me, guys...I had fun!

Shot of the Trees Atlanta gang from the cherry picker. Thanks for inviting me, guys…I had fun!

VaHi Safety Team Report: August 12, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Burglar Alarm Registration

City Council has passed an ordinance requiring all of we residents and businesses to now register our burglar alarm systems to get hold of all of the false alarms that APD responds to.  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/police-atlanta-residents-businesses-must-register-/nY7Bm/

The registry site is available at www.crywolf.us/atlantaga/ or by calling 1-855-725-7102. I’ve registered mine online and it only takes a few moments. The new ordinance takes effect September 15 and you have until February 15, 2014 to register without a penalty – but why wait until February?

Does This Article Describe VaHi?

Interesting article on the Atlantic Cities website describing what makes a safe neighborhood. I think that this is a pretty good description of VaHi, but I also wonder if too many think that our community is Mayberry and we are not as vigilant as we should be.  What do you think?  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/07/google-street-view-knows-why-some-neighborhoods-just-feel-safe/6326/

The First Anniversary of Mike Moloo’s Murder

There will be a gathering for reflection and remembrances on September 17 at Fellini’s Pizza at 909 PDL Avenue at 3 p.m. RSVP to Rita at rmyersga@aol.com if you plan to attend so there will be a head count. Too bad that this Barnett Street murder is still unsolved.

Safety Team Street Captains – Save The Date

There will be a Street Captains’ meeting on Saturday morning September 14 from 9:30 until Noon at Church of Our Saviour in the lower level meeting room.  The guest speaker will be Captain Brent Schierbaum – now the interim head of our 911 call center and video integration center. I’m sure many of you wonder as to what happens after you dial 911 – this will be a good chance to get all of your questions answered. This gathering will also be open to other interested residents and our community business folks too. I’m sure many of you remember Schierbaum from when he was our evening watch Sector Sergeant a few years ago. He has remained a good friend of VaHi as he has moved up the APD ladder.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) for the 2013 weeks of 29 and 30 (7/14 to 7/27) for our VaHi Beat 601.  Again, as always, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft - A 1992 Honda was taken from PDL Place.

Commercial Burglary - An unsuccessful entry attempt was made at Going Coastal restaurant on Virginia Avenue, with pry marks left on the front door.

Residential Burglary - At a Greenwood Avenue residence entry was made via a front bedroom broken window with 3 laptops taken. A Barnett Street home was entered via a kicked-in door. A Greenwood Avenue apartment was entered via a kicked-in door, with the male resident confronting and having an altercation with the burglar who escaped. The suspect is the ex-boyfriend of the victim’s girlfriend.

Commercial Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle - In spite of this being the easiest of all crimes to prevent by cleaning out ALL parked cars at ALL times – thieves were lured here and vehicles were violated on Drewry Street (2), Frederica Street, Virginia Avenue (3), Los Angeles Avenue (3), PDL Avenue, North Highland Avenue, and Greenwood Avenue. There were 134 such vehicle intrusions in all of Zone 6 in this time period with 5 more firearms being added to the arsenal already on the streets! Comforting thought – right?

Larceny Other - A Nancy’s Pizza delivery guy was seen on camera taking an unwatched laptop from a Brookridge Drive front porch. No word as to whether he has been apprehended. An arrestee was caught taking money from a tip jar at the Bookhouse Pub on PDL Avenue. A ten foot piece of angle iron was taken from the grounds of the Briarcliff Summit building on PDL Avenue. At an un-named retailer on North Highland Avenue, an unwatched cell phone was taken while the employee was lured to the back of the store by two “shoppers”.

Around the Zone – there were many reports of unwatched cell phones taken from all sorts of places. If you want to keep that phone – keep it in your pockets.

No bad reports that I know of from the BeltLine lately and this is good. But, do not let up your guard and flaunt your personal electronics on this wildly popular recreational pathway. Granted we have the dedicated security force on duty now here – but they cannot be everywhere at all times.

Stay even more alert while driving now that school has started again.

Agenda Set for August 12 VHCA Board and General Meeting

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadHere’s the tentative agenda for tonight’s monthly board and general meeting of the VHCA. The public is invited to attend the meeting which will be held at the public library on Ponce de Leon Ave. and start at 7:00 PM.

Call to Order

Adoption of Agenda (with permission for chair to rearrange order as needed) & Minutes

Reports from Police & Fire Department representatives

City of Atlanta officials

Other Elected Officials & Guests

  • Joan Garner, Fulton County Zone 6 Commissioner
  • Kate Baltzell, Trees Atlanta education coordinator (Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum)

Planning Committee – Lola Carlisle

Variances – Lola Carlisle

VaHi Master Plan – Jenifer Keenan and Jess Windham

Fundraising

  • Summerfest – Pam Papner
  • Tour of Homes – Angelika Taylor

Safety Committee – Peggy Berg

  • Sidewalks update
  • Streets Alive – Sunday, October 6, 2013

Parks -  Lauren Wilkes-Fralick

  • John Howell Park update

New Business

Calendar Items – Lola Carlisle

Adjournment

Inaugural Atlanta BeltLine Southeast 8K Run/Walk Set for September 28

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Photo courtesy Christopher T. Martin

From our friends at the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership:

The Atlanta BeltLine Running Series is expanding its lineup of exciting events around the Atlanta BeltLine. The first annual Atlanta BeltLine Southeast 8K is a run/walk south of Grant Park, starting and ending in the Atlanta BeltLine’s Boulevard Crossing Park in Chosewood Park, and through D.H. Stanton Park. The race will take place Saturday, Sept. 28 at 9 a.m.

Also included in this event is the Atlanta BeltLine’s third “Youth 1K Fun Run,” designed to get children 12 and under excited and involved in running early, which takes place shortly after the 8K.

The Atlanta BeltLine Southeast 8K also will include exciting features such as:

  • Appearances by the Atlanta Silverbacks
  • Members of the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series Community will earn points redeemable for awesome prizes
  • Participants of the Atlanta BeltLine Active Lifestyle Challenge will earn points and can compare their results against other runners on the online leader board
  • Music by Power 96.1
  • Fun, creatively-designed t-shirts
  • Exciting, custom-designed award mugs
  • Course friendly to strollers and dogs as well

“Thousands of walkers, runners, bikers and more are enjoying our trails every day,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valarie Wilson. “The addition of the Atlanta Beltline Southeast 8K extends the opportunity for increased health and fitness across new areas of the Atlanta BeltLine.”

Registration is $30 for the Atlanta BeltLine Southeast 8K and $10 for the 1K Youth Fun Run. Additional information is available at Run.BeltLine.org.

Proceeds from the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series support Atlanta BeltLine Partnership programs vital to the Atlanta BeltLine, including tours and other public outreach.

About the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABLP) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds from private and philanthropic sources to support the Atlanta BeltLine, working with the community and partners to raise general awareness and support, and serving as a catalyst to mobilize resources to address social concerns. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit www.BeltLine.org.

Extreme Makeover, VaHi-Style: Briarcliff Summit Gets Much-Needed Facelift

Distressed Landmark VaHi Building with Rich, Colorful Past Looks To a Brighter Future

By: John Becker

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Briarcliff Summit

It’d be hard to live in Virginia-Highland and not have some awareness of Briarcliff Summit.

Many know and cherish the tremendous history that almost oozes from the nine-story building on the northwest corner of Ponce de Leon and N. Highland Avenues. After all, “The Seven-Fifty” – as the building was originally known – was built in 1925 by Asa Candler, Jr., son of the famous Coke mogul. At the time, its luxury apartments were considered some of the finest in the city, with famous tenants like Al Capone. The building is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Briarcliff Summit building features a stylized Mediterranean top floor with arched windows. Photo courtesy of Robin Davis Photography.

The Briarcliff Summit building features a stylized Mediterranean top floor with arched windows. Photo courtesy Robin Davis Photography.

But others, while acknowledging the building’s period architecture and intriguing past, look the other way when they stroll by. They’re far from proud of the perception of crime and drug use that’s historically plagued the area around the property, and they’ve cringed while watching the building’s former owners let the proud landmark fall into disrepair.

Today, the 200-unit building provides quality, affordable housing to the elderly, many of whom live with disabilities. Much of the housing is provided under the government’s Section 8 program.

I count myself among those who have some awareness of both the good and bad about Briarcliff Summit, but I have to admit I’d never been inside the building, nor had I ever really met any of its residents. I’d pass by some of them on the corner as I’d walk to and from Poncey-Highland, and I’d often say hi. But I’d never really met them.

So, against the backdrop of a new owner who’s extensively renovating the property, I decided to pay a visit to get a sense of what Briarcliff Summit is all about.

Briarcliff Summit property manager Annie Copeland (right) with relocation coordinator Brandon Copeland (front) and technician Brian Arterburn

Briarcliff Summit property manager Annie Copeland (right) with relocation coordinator Brandon Copeland (front) and technician Brian Arterburn.

Labor of Love

I met on a recent hot afternoon with Annie Copeland, site manager at Briarcliff Summit. The property’s management team had only recently moved into new offices that come with central air instead of the old window units that were a pre-renovation fixture of the building. Although still largely “working out of boxes” while organizing the new space, Copeland commented that the new offices are just the latest part of improvements that began over a year ago.

“Things are really looking up at Briarcliff Summit,” she says with a smile.

‘Miss Annie’ – as her residents know her – has been the building’s property manager since May 2010. With 23 years of Atlanta property management experience, Copeland was overseeing a nice development in Covington when she was contacted about the VaHi job. The building’s owner at the time sought her out because of her reputation for turning around distressed properties.

After she was offered the job, Copeland and her husband Charles drove over one afternoon to check the place out. She took one look at the dilapidated building and the throng of residents sitting around outside, turned to her husband and said, “Turn this car around and get me out of here as quickly as possible!”

So why did Copeland end up taking the job? After returning home she sat down with her husband and they talked about what they’d seen.

“Charles looked me in the eye and said, ‘Annie, they need you at Briarcliff Summit. They don’t need you in Covington any longer.’ When he put it that way, I knew what I had to do.”

Annie Copeland and Brandon Copeland meet with new Briarcliff Summit residents

Annie Copeland and Brandon Copeland meet with new Briarcliff Summit residents.

The day she started, Copeland realized the owners were looking to sell the severely distressed property and, as such, were unlikely to invest seriously in making improvements. Over the next year and a half, she saw more than a dozen potential buyers take a close look at the 88-year-old building that had no best foot to put forward.

Then, in January 2012 – after securing long-awaited tax credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs – Portland, Maine-based Evergreen Partners announced it would buy Briarcliff Summit and start major renovations that summer.

It’s not uncommon for a new owner to bring in their own management team, but one of the first things Evergreen did was ask Copeland if she’d stay on as property manager.

“I was really hoping they’d ask, so I said yes immediately,” Copeland says. “Even better, they let me keep my entire staff!”

Briarcliff Summit isn’t an assisted living facility, so there’s no on-site medical staff. There are two resident service coordinators – Ed Pierre and Karma King – who coordinate with local service agencies to look after the vast majority of resident needs. Using a comprehensive database of medical and other support services, these coordinators can cover just about any need a resident might have. Copeland’s other staff members are assistant manager Shantell Lane, maintenance supervisor Bennie Harris and maintenance technicians Ronnie Long and Charles Harper.

Apartment interior, before and after renovation

Apartment interior, before and after renovation

Recovering from Years of Neglect

Workers arrived in September 2012 to begin renovations and have been a regular presence at Briarcliff Summit ever since. Copeland says the building could easily be filled to capacity, if it weren’t for the need to have an inventory of vacant units available during the renovation. The plan calls for relocating residents so entire floors can be completed every four weeks, with the entire project taking about 18 months.

“One floor at a time,” Copeland says, “residents in units set to be renovated are moved into recently updated apartments – permanently – and work begins on the vacated units. We all come in one weekend each month to help with the move and to make sure each resident gets settled into their new apartment.”

Both the exterior and the interior of the building are being restored. History buffs will be pleased to know the historic components of the structure are being preserved. In fact, plans to refurbish the facade of the building had to be approved by the United States Park Service, which oversees the National Historic Registry.

Kitchen, before and after renovation

Kitchen, before and after renovation. Photo courtesy Preservation Management, Inc.

The common areas of the community are undergoing significant upgrades, and each apartment unit is being upgraded with new energy efficient thermo-pane windows, flooring, Energy Star appliances, countertops, cabinets, lighting, doors, window coverings, VOC paint, and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Old window AC units that should have been retired long ago are hauled off, and central air conditioning is installed.

Another big improvement is a new wellness center – complete with two private conference rooms – where visiting medical staff can tend to resident needs. Today, staff must clear an existing library of all tenants to provide a place where doctors can meet privately with patients.

“The wellness center is just one example of improvements designed to create an environment in which residents won’t need to leave the building unless they want to venture out into the community,” Copeland says. “They won’t have to leave to seek out a service that’s not available here.”

Apartment bedroom, before and after renovation

Apartment bedroom, before and after renovation. Photo courtesy Preservation Management, Inc.

Additional amenities in the works for residents include a fitness center, a 9-workstation computer room (to augment the existing library), an arts and crafts room, and a new common area with new furniture, a flat-screen TV and pool and ping-pong tables.

Cost to the building’s fixed income residents for all the improvements? Not a dime. On top of that: no increase in rent.

“Evergreen Partners saw the benefit of making this a livable property that we can be proud of again,” Copeland says, “and for that we’re all grateful.”

Eleven months into the renovation, Copeland says the project is right on schedule.

“They’re close to 60% done,” she says. “They’ve already finished renovating all nine floors on the building’s east side, now they’re working on the west side and we just started on the 4th floor.”

Hallway, before and after renovation

Hallway, before and after renovation. Photo courtesy Preservation Management, Inc.

Copeland says she’s optimistic workers will have the interior work finished by this coming December.

“There will probably be some landscaping left to do after that,” she says, “including a redesign of the front courtyard. But by the end of this year, we expect the project to be completed and Briarcliff Summit will once again be a proud neighbor of the Virginia-Highland community.”

Resident Reaction

Not surprisingly, Copeland says residents – some of whom have lived at Briarcliff Summit for close to twenty years and have watched the building literally decay around them – are thrilled with the improvements.

“Resident feedback’s been incredible. Some actually cry when they see their new apartment for the first time,” Copeland says.

Resident Michael Rogers uses the newly renovated laundry room

Resident Michael Rogers uses the newly renovated laundry room

I asked a few residents to share their thoughts with me about the improvements and what they like most about life at Briarcliff Summit.

“I have two more floors to wait before I get to move into my new apartment,” says 13-year resident Connie Muntner. “I’ve seen the new rooms, though, and they look super – much better than what I’m in now. I love it here at Briarcliff Summit. The management’s great and the staff take great care of us. With Publix right across the street this is a great location, and you can get just about anywhere you need to go by bus.”

Todd Jenkins has lived at Briarcliff Summit for six years and has been in his new room for a few months. “The room’s great…cleaner, newer. I miss my old window air conditioner, though.”

4-year resident Janice Johnson has been in her new unit for a few months and loves it. “It’s cleaner, neater and everything’s up-to-date. I can’t say enough about the management and the residents are great, too.”

Gregory Ford’s lived at Briarcliff Summit for three months and had only been in his renovated unit for three days when we talked to him. He was having a problem with his cable when we visited, but all in all he’s thrilled with his new place. “The new room is very nice,” Ford says. “Living at Briarcliff Summit is great because of the location – it’s convenient for me to get to the doctor and other places I have to go. I like the area a lot, too.”

*            *            *            *

Plans are in the works for Briarcliff Summit’s common area and an apartment or two to be added as a stop on the 2013 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes in December. Organizers are optimistic this will happen – watch http://vahi.org/tour-of-homes/ for more information.

Click here to view an album of photos of Briarcliff Summit and the renovation.

City of Atlanta Announces Alarm Registration Program

New Program Takes Effect September 15; Residents Have Until February 1, 2014 to Register Without Penalty

City of Atlanta logo colorThe following was announced on Tuesday by the city of Atlanta. Click here for the actual press release.

City Residents, Business Owners Must Register Alarm Systems

City of Atlanta residents and businesses are now required to register their security and burglar alarm systems. In 2012, the Atlanta Police Department responded to 65,000 alarm system activations, 95% of which were false alarms or alarms that were cancelled in route. These calls represent more than six percent of total 911 dispatches. With every call taking an average of 20-30 minutes, the equivalent of 8-12 full-time police officers were dedicated to responding to false alarms, thereby taking away valuable public safety resources from more pressing matters.

In an effort to improve public safety and better allocate resources, the City has enacted a series of amendments to the existing False Alarm Ordinance. The new ordinance will take effect on September 15, 2013 and residents will have until February 1, 2014 to register without incurring an unregistered alarm penalty. Residents can register their alarm system for free online at www.crywolf.us/atlantaga/ or by calling 1-855-725-7102. There is a $150 fine for not registering an alarm. If an alarm is activated and it turns out to be false there is no fine, just a warning. The 2nd false alarm will result in a $50 fine to the homeowner. Fines will escalate for each false call thereafter.

“Our police officers take every alarm call seriously. In many cases, however, the call ends up being nothing more than a false alarm caused by accident or human error,” said Chief George Turner. “This new program will allow our officers to spend more time responding to true emergencies.”

The City of Atlanta’s False Alarm Program will be coordinated by CryWolf alarm monitoring service and software, designed and developed by Public Safety Corporation. CryWolf is a comprehensive false alarm tracking and billing system and has helped agencies across the country and in the Atlanta region reduce false alarms, increase collections, and improve administrative efficiency. The issuance of citations will be determined solely by the Atlanta Police Department.

VaHi Safety Team Report: July 29, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

BeltLine Safety News

Thanks to VaHi’s own John Becker we have a great article covering last Friday’s APD press conference at the 4th Ward Skatepark introducing the new BeltLine APD path force.  http://www.vahi.org/mayor-introduces-new-beltline-path-force-unit/. This article has a link to the AJC article which, in turn, has a link to a WSB-TV story also.

APD “Major” Changes

We welcome Major Timothy Peek as commander of our APD Zone 6, and wish Major Keith Meadows the best of luck as he leaves Zone 6 to assume command of the new APS school security force.  https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPolice/posts/626956123981920

Here in Beat 601 we also welcome Officer K. F. Romer and Sergeant N. Mitchell to the evening watch patrols. They were both at the July VaHi civic association meeting to introduce themselves to our community. Welcome aboard!

Run With The Cops

The annual Atlanta’s Finest 5K is August 3rd this year. Details at  http://www.atlantapolicefoundation.org/Atlanta’sFinest5K-25  While you are on this page, note the APF and APD 2012 annual reports linked on the right hand side.

National Night Out on 8/6

As in the past few years, since we suffered a complete rainout about 4 years ago – there is not a community-wide event scheduled for this date. But, if you want to set up a block party this evening for your watch area, let me know and I’ll advise Zone 6 of your plans – so you can get APD visitors.  Interesting article about National Night Out and neighborhood watches in general at http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/07/new-way-understanding-eyes-street/6276/. As this article points out, I hate how the term “neighborhood watch” has been bandied about in the media following the Trayvon Martin case, where the group that George Zimmerman was a part of is completely different from our naturally-occurring neighborhood system dedicated to neighborliness and watching out for each other, assisted by our network of dedicated Street Captains.

Zone 6 Back To School Event

This event will be held in the parking lot of Israel Baptist Church – just east of Zone 6 headquarters – on Hosea Williams Drive, SE in the heart of Kirkwood on 7/31 from 8 am until noon. This event is where the school supplies that many of you generously left on my front porch will be given out to needy Zone 6 school kids.  Many APD units will be represented here – including the helicopter unit, the mounted unit, COPS, PAL, motorcycle unit, gang unit, and the K-9 unit among others.  This might make an interesting field trip to see so many different aspects of APD all on display in one place.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 27 and 28 (6/30 to 7/13) for our VaHi Beat 601. These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft - Vehicles were stolen from Drewry Street and Barnett Street.

Commercial Burglary - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary - A home was entered on PDL Place via a possible unlocked door.

Commercial Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery - No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery - Such a robbery was reported on 7/13 on Park Drive (west of Monroe Drive). The victims (not listed as to how many) were robbed at gunpoint by 4 males on the morning watch time period (10 pm – 7 am). No other details available from the report.

Around the Zone – These robberies continue with many of them aimed at taking cell phones from unaware victims. Do NOT walk and talk or text on our sidewalks, the BeltLine path, parks or other public areas. That call is not that important that you have to risk losing a cell phone. Yes a good idea to have your phone along – but keep it hidden in your clothing.

Larceny From Vehicle - Vehicles were entered on North Highland Avenue (3), PDL Avenue (3), Virginia Avenue (2), Barnett Street, Drewry Street, Highland View, Maiden Lane and St. Charles Avenue.  One of the Virginia Avenue incidents involved yard care equipment being taken from the back of a contractor’s pickup truck.  Have you warned your yard care guys of the danger of leaving unwatched and unlocked equipment on the street while they are working???  Somebody in the 1100 block of Virginia Avenue did not, or at least the lawn guys did not, pay attention to a warning.

Among all of the items taken from vehicles during this time period all around the Zone – the most alarming incidents involved the theft of handguns SIX times!!!!  These are all weapons that can now be used for armed robberies!!

Larceny Other - A wallet and its contents was taken from an unwatched purse at a North Highland Avenue bar. Yet another chained bike was taken from a balcony of an apartment at the Virginia Highland apartments on Virginia Avenue – this is one of a continuing sequence of such thefts at this apartment community – are we getting the word out to these residents that the porches/balconies are not safe places to store bikes????

Nearby at the Edgewood Target store – there were 6 shoplifters caught.  The Publix at Piedmont @ North Avenues caught 3 shoplifters while our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores only reported one such incident. At the Edgewood Kroger store an unwatched cell phone was taken from a shopping cart – keep those phones in your pocket while not in use!!! They are NOT a status symbol to be shown off to the world.

Stay alert, keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times,  and enjoy a few days outside without any rain!!

City of Atlanta Temporarily Re-Opens 2013 VaHi Sidewalk Repair Bundle

Atlanta North Highland sidewalkIf you’ve been watching all the new sidewalk being installed on St. Charles Ave. and are wondering how you can make similar improvements in front of your home, VHCA safety chair Peggy Berg wants to hear from you.

The window of opportunity to participate in the most recent sidewalk repair bundle organized by Peggy has been reopened for a limited time. If you’re interested in having the sidewalk, curb and/or driveway apron in front of your home repaired at today’s price of $3.90 per square foot (for sidewalks – Peggy can provide pricing for driveway aprons and curbs), the time to act is now. The city has suggested – although not yet confirmed – that the cost for residents to repair sidewalk may rise significantly in the near future, possibly to as much as $10-12 per square foot. Background information on the challenges the city faces in maintaining its sidewalks can be found in this earlier Voice article.

Interested residents should send an email to pegberg1111@gmail.com no later than Thursday August 8. Peggy will come measure your repairs and quote you a price no later than Monday August 12. You would then have until Sunday August 18 to get Peggy a check for the amount of the repairs made out to the City of Atlanta. If your sidewalk needs repairing but you cannot afford to participate, the VHCA has limited funds available on a first come, first served basis. The VHCA can match up to $500 for residents with a financial need, while funds last.

Re-opening this window to enroll will not impact the city’s estimation that work on this sidewalk repair bundle will be completed within the next 6-12 months.

Scroll down to see a few pictures of the sidewalk that was repaired on St. Charles Ave. last week.

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Mayor Introduces New BeltLine Path Force Unit

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Mayor Kasim Reed addresses the crowd.

Mayor Kasim Reed formally introduced the new 15-person BeltLine Task Force bicycle patrol unit at a press conference today at Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark.

“The BeltLine will be secure,” Reed said during his comments. “We are going to do whatever we can in my administration to make it safe and keep it safe.”

The Mayor acknowledged the critical importance of the BeltLine to Atlanta’s social and economic future and pledged to do whatever is necessary to keep the project’s trails and parks safe, including additional lighting under bridges, video surveillance, and additional signage.

The BeltLine path force was funded by a $1.8 million federal grant which was contingent upon the APD using post-9/11 military veterans on the force. To comply with the grant requirement and still provide the most experienced possible force for the BeltLine, the APD promoted existing officers with military experience to the new Path Force while replacing those positions with recruits who also served in the military.

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The new BeltLine Path Force patrol unit (bicycle and mounted).

Other dignitaries who spoke at the press conference included Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Parks Commissioner George Dusenbury, and new Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. President and CEO Paul Morris.

Click here to read an AJC article about today’s press conference.

Click here to read an article about today’s press conference from the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. website.

Click here to read a VaHi Patch article about today’s press conference.

The Voice was the only media present in June when the Path Force unit went through bicycle training at the offices of Diversified Metal Fabricators on Pylant Street in VaHi. Click here to read an article about and see photographs from the training.

Scroll down to see a few pictures from today’s press conference, or click here to see the entire online library of pictures from the conference.

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Sign Up Today for the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Walking Tour

treesatlantalogoimage001Take a Unique Natural Journey Through Atlanta’s Living Past, Present and Future

The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum (ABA) is an ever-changing, dynamic natural space that offers a unique glimpse into the horticultural history of the city. The Arboretum can be enjoyed in many ways, but the most fulfilling experience is provided by the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Walking Tour, guided by trained Trees Atlanta Docents.

DSC_0023Over time, the ABA will evolve into a 22-mile long horticultural collection. This one-of-a-kind linear expanse provides neighborhood connectivity along the Atlanta BeltLine, while showcasing unique natural characteristics within each community. Neighborhoods near the Arboretum will be identifiable by the surrounding trees, and visitors will be able to develop a greater appreciation for the value of trees in an urban environment. The exact number of trees planted will depend on space available, but the conceptual plan proposes several thousand trees. The Arboretum will be built over the next two decades.

DSC_0067Enjoy fresh air, new city views, fascinating Atlanta history, and every changing season of horticultural interest. Come walk the Atlanta BeltLine with a Trees Atlanta Docent and learn firsthand about the Arboretum from a well-trained expert. These walking tours explore the Eastside Trail with a strong focus on the horticultural collections and interesting facts about the Atlanta BeltLine. A walking tour of the Atlanta BeltLine is the best way to see the progress and be active at the same time.

DSC_0063The walking tour takes approximately 90 minutes and begins from an easily accessible trailhead in the Inman Park neighborhood at 9:00 A.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. Each docent prepares their own unique talking points to spotlight the native trees, architectural interests, key historical stories, and much more. Be sure to take advantage of this free walking tour, which is offered year round so you can experience every season of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum with an expert docent.

Click here to see a video about the Arboretum walking tour, courtesy of Atlanta Channel 26.

DSC_0038Registration for the following month opens at 9:00 A.M. on the 20th of each current month. Click here to register online. If you have questions or want to learn about special group accommodations, contact Trees Atlanta Education Coordinator Kate Baltzell at kateb@treesatlanta.org.

UPDATE: Come meet Trees Atlanta Education Coordinator Kate Baltzell who will be a special guest at the next monthly general meeting of the VHCA Board of Directors. Kate will be on hand to talk about the Arboretum walking tours and other fun stuff happening at Trees Atlanta. The meeting will be held Monday August 12 at 7 PM at the public library on Ponce.

Win a Big Green Egg; Help Out the Atlanta Humane Society

BGE Raffle Photo - FinalStarting Monday, July 29th, Intown Ace Hardware will begin a month-long raffle with “BIG” rewards to the winner.

With 100% of net proceeds going to the Atlanta Humane Society, Intown Ace will be selling $5.00 raffle tickets in-store, with ticket sales continuing through Monday, August 26th. The drawing will be held the following Saturday, August 31 at 1:00 pm in the store’s parking lot. The winner will receive a large Big Green Egg, along with a variety of accessories including a large nest, plate setter, V-rack, drip pan, ash tool, grill gripper, fire starter and a bag of Big Green Egg 100% lump charcoal. Total retail value of the entire package is $1180.

To be eligible to win, customers should come in to the store, fill out a ticket stub with their name and phone number, and give that to the cashier along with $5.00. The entire prize package will be on display in the store’s Big Green Egg section located near the gardening center.

Phillip Ramsey, manager of Intown Hardware’s Big Green Egg and grilling department, explained the concept behind the raffle.

“Our store has, for many years, been a willing participant in helping the Atlanta Humane Society any way we can. We thought this would be an interesting and unique way to raise money for their cause, while at the same time letting more and more people know that we are fast becoming one the premier dealers in Atlanta for Big Green Egg products.”

In business since 1979, Intown Ace Hardware sells a complete line of hardware, gardening and outdoor grilling products. They are well known not only for stocking hard-to-find items, but also for providing a level of customer service that is unmatched throughout the city. The store is both dog and cat-friendly, and is located at 854 N. Highland Ave, at the corner of N. Highland and Drewry St. They can be reached at 404-874-5619 or online at www.intownhardware.com. Or, check out their Facebook page: Intown Ace Hardware – Atlanta.

Relocated BeltLine Cat Settles in VaHi

33081898b3e877df52249c7fc0767939Piper – the celebrity cat who, until recently, resided in a drainage pipe near Angier Springs Road along the BeltLine Eastside Trail – has apparently found a new home in Virginia-Highland.

According to an article in Patch, Piper was forced to relocate because of some grading that developer Perennial Properties must do. VaHi resident John Craft offered up his “unique rental” (see photo below) just two blocks off the BeltLine and Piper had her new home.

BPeLzJuCcAApThfHere’s a link to the article in Patch. You can also check Piper’s @beltlinepiper Twitter feed or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PiperBeltline) for more information.

Welcome to VaHi, Piper!