SF Coffee Hosts Meet and Greet with Artist Jamie Calkin

Note: Images in this article were taken from http://www.jamiecalkin.com.

jamie_headshotAthens-based artist Jamie Calkin is kicking off a month-long exhibit at San Fransisco Coffee, 1192 N. Highland Ave. in VaHi, with a meet and greet at the cafe on Friday, April 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jamie is a science teacher turned full-time artist who paints with ink and watercolor in the plein air style. Jamie loves to paint street scenes and buildings, and one of his most notable pieces is a 64-foot long mural in the University of Georgia’s student center.

Jamie regularly produces commissions, prints, murals, and other forms of art for his clients, both in Athens and elsewhere. Recently, he completed a series of Atlanta paintings which will be on display at San Francisco Coffee Roasting Co. in April. He hopes you’ll stop by to check out his work.

To learn more about Jamie and to view his work, visit http://www.jamiecalkin.com/ and  https://www.facebook.com/events/807199999424081/.

ARCH+LONG+BROAD-COLLEGE+PRINT

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Traffic Advisory: Filming at Clermont Hotel on March 31

Filming inside the Clermont Hotel on Ponce de Leon Ave. will close the curb parking lane and sidewalk on both sides of Bonaventure Ave. between Ponce and North Ave. on March 31. Be advised there also will be set up work on March 30 and tear down work on April 1 that may also cause minor traffic disruptions.

According to the notice we received, all filming will take place inside the hotel and there should be no traffic disruption on Ponce itself.  See map below.

Bonaventure Traffic Plan

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GDOT Seeks Input for Briarcliff Rd. Study

Passing this notice along from the Georgia Department of Transportation:

Photo Credit: John Becker

Photo Credit: John Becker

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is conducting a Road Safety Audit (RSA) for State Route 42 / Briarcliff Road NE, from Ponce de Leon Avenue NE to North Druid Hills Road.  An RSA is a formal safety performance examination of an existing or future road or intersection by an interdisciplinary team of transportation professionals.  RSAs have been used successfully for a wide variety of locations to identify potential solutions leading to both short-term improvements and longer term efforts including construction projects.  RSAs are proactive tools, not solely dependent on crash data, but that use an innovative approach, including firsthand observation, to identify potential safety issues and enhancement opportunities to be considered in improvement projects.

As part of the RSA process for this corridor the audit team is conducting a survey in order to obtain input from key individuals and groups that have an interest in the study area along the stretch of State Route 42/Briarcliff Road NE between Ponce de Leon Avenue NE and North Druid Hills Road.   You are receiving this email because you were identified as a potentially interested party and the audit team would like to gather your thoughts about potential safety concerns and possible solutions to those safety concerns along this corridor.  We invite you to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Please feel free to share this survey with others you think might be interested in taking it.

Please CLICK HERE to launch the survey, or enter the following URL into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BriarcliffRSAPlease note, in order to expedite the audit process, this survey will be available for a limited time: it will remain open until 11:59pm on Friday April 15, 2016. Please contact Michael Turpeau, State Safety Program Supervisor, Georgia Department of Transportation, with any questions: MTurpeau@dot.ga.gov.

This survey asks some very specific questions about Briarcliff’s intersections with several roads.  If you have not traveled them recently, you may wish to refresh your memory before taking the survey.

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MARTA Extends Hours of Operation for Bus Route #36

marta-logoThanks to Courtenay Dr. resident Cary Aiken, MARTA will be extending the hours of operation for Bus Route #36 (No. Decatur Rd./Virginia-Highland) from the current 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., effective April 18.

Aiken noticed that when MARTA Route #’s 45 and 36 were combined a while back, connectivity to either Emory or Midtown was lost after 9 p.m. This caused problems in terms of getting home late at night from events he chose to attend in either of those areas.

Aiken brought the issue to the attention of MARTA Service Planner II Andrew McBurney in January and McBurney advised in late February that Bus #36 service would indeed be extended to 11 p.m.

McBurney additionally advised that starting in April Bus #36 will be re-routed to end at Decatur Station due to a transit-oriented development construction project at Avondale Station, where the bus currently terminates. The re-route is expected to be in place for approximately 18 months.

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First Plastic Reduction Day Set for March 24

thOn March 27, 2015, Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall, along with local Atlanta artist Pam Longobardi, and a group of international attendees, convened at the Centers for Disease Control and officially proclaimed this date as Plastic Reduction Day Atlanta. In recognition of this date, a group of Atlanta-area researchers and artists have created a pledge drive to reduce the use of single-use plastics in restaurants throughout the city. The group hopes that Atlanta businesses will serve their last plastic straw – or better yet – give up single-use plastics altogether.

Here’s a schedule of events for Atlanta’s first Plastic Reduction Day:

6 PM: Meet & Greet at Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Dr., NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

6:30 – 8 PM: Film Screenings / Speaker Series, also at Midtown Art Cinema

8 PM: Cocktail Hour at nearby Apres Diem

Click here to view the event day flyer. Click here to go to the EventBrite site to register.

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Intersection of Barnett Street and Virginia Circle Now a 4-Way Stop

IMG_4753

The city has installed stop signs for north and southbound traffic on Barnett. Previously, only motorists going in either direction on Virginia Circle were required to stop at the intersection.

Nearby resident Anurag Sahu had witnessed a few accidents and numerous near misses at the intersection over the years and reached out to VHCA to see what could be done. City Councilmember Alex Wan asked the city’s Office of Transportation to examine the situation.

Stop signs are not a cure for many traffic challenges.  Transportation engineers have a set of specific criteria – volume of traffic, signage on nearby roads, speed, and visibility among them – by which they make such decisions. It makes sense because the impacts can be widely distributed. This decision was not clear-cut, but after considerable input from neighbors and VHCA Safety Committee members Peggy Berg and Jenifer Keenan, the city decided to install the signs.

As always, we appreciate Councilmember Wan’s willingness to initiate and support the study, and we hope this change will reduce accidents and improve safety at the intersection.

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Traffic Advisory: Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon

ATC_EventBadges_CMYK__MarathonExpect traffic delays, road closings along the course route on Sunday March 20 between 7AM-1PM

More than 12,000 runners, 2,500 volunteers and 30,000 spectators will be along the course from downtown Atlanta to Decatur and back. Runners will pass through Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia State University, MLK Historic District, Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, The Carter Center, Candler Park, Agnes Scott College, Emory University, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland, Midtown and Georgia Tech. VaHi residents should be aware of the course route and plan their travel accordingly.

To view a map of the Marathon and Half Marathon course, click here. For detailed traffic and road closure information, click here.

Here’s an overview of how VaHi traffic will be impacted:

Shortly before 8 AM half marathon runners will enter the neighborhood, proceeding north on N. Highland Ave. from Poncey-Highland. Runners will turn left at Virginia Ave., then right on Park Dr. Runners will proceed down Park, across Monroe and into Piedmont Park. Partial roadway closures will begin on these streets around 7:15 AM and streets should reopen to normal traffic by 10:30 AM.

Shortly before 9 AM marathon runners will enter the neighborhood, proceeding west on Stillwood Dr. from Briarcliff Rd. Runners will turn right on Los Angeles, make a quick right on N. Highland followed by a quick left on Los Angeles. Runners will continue on Brookridge Dr. after the road changes name, staying right at the ‘Y’, then turn right on Elkmont, then left on Orme Circle. Runners will cross Monroe and proceed into Piedmont Park. Partial road closures will begin on these streets around 8:30 AM and street should reopen to normal traffic by 12:45 PM.

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A Community Meeting with LifeLine Animal Project

lets talk flierBy Kay Stephenson

Several months ago on a Sunday morning, VaHi resident Elizabeth Baker (who operates a local dog walking business) found two loose dogs on her front porch. She was able to get them leashed and checked (unsuccessfully) for microchips.  It was the start of a challenging journey that lasted well into the night, when the dogs were finally taken into the Fulton County Animal Shelter.

Hudson-6Once the dogs were safe (and happily reunited with their owner a couple of days later), Elizabeth and I had some conversation about how difficult it can be for private citizens to know how to help loose dogs that we encounter around the neighborhood. Virginia-Highland is a dog and cat loving community and almost daily we hear about or are directly involved with cats and dogs that need help or are lost.

Many are reunited with owners after a quick post on our neighborhood bulletin boards. Others are taken in and eventually re-homed through rescue groups and individuals. However, when those solutions are not an option, most of us don’t know where to turn. In the past, many of us avoided contacting the county shelter for fear that a healthy animal would not fare well in that environment.

Kittens-12Enter LifeLine Animal Project. Both the Fulton County and DeKalb County animal shelters are now operated by Lifeline Animal Project. Anisa Telwar-Kaicker, Founder & CEO of Anisa International and Board Chair of Lifeline Animal Project is also a Virginia-Highland resident and committed pet lover. Over the past several months Anisa and I have continued the conversation started with Elizabeth back in October.

The result of those discussions is that Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Watch is hosting a gathering for the community to hear from Rebecca Guinn, Lifeline founder and CEO, and Laura Hudson, Director of the Fulton County Shelter. They will share information about how our community can work with them more effectively. They will answer questions about the shelter, when and how to contact animal control officers, and share their plan to make Atlanta a no-kill city.

Flora-4On Wednesday April 20th we will gather at the Trees Atlanta TreeHouse, 112 Krog Street, Suite 7 (The Stove Works) from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. To attend, RSVP to VaHiSafety@gmail.com with name and number of attendees. We are limited to 50 people, so don’t miss out.

Special thanks to Trees Atlanta for the use of their new education facility right on the Atlanta BeltLine. We encourage you to carpool, walk or bike to this event. Parking is available in the valet/pay lot ($3) at Krog Street Market, in the gravel lot adjacent to The Stove Works, or on nearby side streets.

For more information on Lifeline and the animal services they provide for Fulton county residents: http://www.fultonanimalservices.com/

To learn more about the Lifeline Animal project and its no-kill goals: http://www.lifelineanimal.org/news/96-are-you-in

Most vets will scan animals for microchips with no charge, including Ansley Animal Clinic, Briarcliff Animal Clinic, Inman Park Animal Hospital, Intown Animal Hospital, and Pets Are People, Too.

Kay Stephenson is a long-time Virginia-Highland resident and serves as a volunteer for the Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Watch. 

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Update on Restoration of Fire Station #19

No. 19 Fire Station c. 1920sBy Dr. Catherine Lewis, VHCA Board Member

For the past year, VHCA and dedicated neighborhood volunteers have been working on a plan to renovate Fire Station #19. This promises to be a model partnership between the City of Atlanta, City Councilman Alex Wan’s office, the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, and VHCA.

VHCA board member Catherine Lewis, left, and VHCA planning committee member Chip Bullock, right, meet with architect Tom Little of Surber Barber.

VHCA board member Catherine Lewis, left, and VHCA planning committee member Chip Bullock, right, meet with architect Tom Little of Surber Barber.

Throughout the fall and winter a committee interviewed four architects and after a rigorous process selected Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, the team that recently completed the restoration of Ponce City Market. One of the project’s goals is to have VHCA donate the architectural work to help stretch the $600,000 the city has set aside from the recent transportation bond. Over the next several months you will be seeing more information about the station renovation, and we appreciate anyone’s willingness to donate funds to support the effort. 

VHCA board members Jack White and Catherine Lewis, left and center, talk with firemen outside FS #19.

VHCA board members Jack White and Catherine Lewis, left and center, talk with firemen outside FS #19.

There is an important fundraising event coming up soon for the station – the Morningside Mile. This is a nearby, one-mile race where 100% of the proceeds support restoration of the fire station. The race will be held Sunday April 17, Noon – 2pm. Please encourage everyone to register. After all…it’s only a mile! For more information or to register, click here.

We will advise of future steps in the process of restoring our treasured Fire Station #19 as the plan takes shape.

Catherine Lewis is a VHCA Board Member, a historian and museum curator, and is coordinating the restoration of the No. 19 Fire Station. If you would like to become involved, email her at clewis1@kennesaw.edu. 

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Piedmont Park Activity Update

Lake Clara Meer #1Here’s an update on a few events and activities taking place soon at Piedmont Park, as passed along to the VHCA board by Cresthill Ave. resident Ken Haldin.

  • The Green Market in Piedmont Park opens this Saturday for the 2016 season. The market is open every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM at the 12th St. entrance into the park.
  • FREE History tours are given each week at Green Market. A walking tour that gives you a fun and educational tour of the park. 
  • Doggie Dash 5K benefiting the Piedmont Park Dog Park is this Saturday March 20. $25 pre-registration and $35 day of. Onsite registration is at 8 AM and the race starts at 9 AM. You can run or walk with or without your dog. Strollers are also welcome. Winners get a medal and also a one night stay at the W Midtown Hotel.
  • 2016 Season Pool Passes are available and range from $125 for a Senior (55 or Over) to $395 for a family of 5 or more. Get unlimited access to the pool during all pool hours, special pass holder only hours, late night swims and guest passes.
  • EnviroVenture Summer Camp registration is open.  Camp runs June 6 to July 29 with different themes each week.

For more information on these events and all the goings-on at Piedmont Park, click here to visit their website.

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Recycling News

thReduce, reuse, recycle.

Those concepts are what the three sides of the chasing arrows logo found on every recyclable item represent.  The logo informs the consumer that the item is recyclable where allowed.  Recycling is just a portion of the larger effort that goes into saving our natural resources.  The big picture approach includes a fourth R: refuse, as in, refuse to accept single-use items.  Bring a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store and refuse the single-use plastic bag.  Bring a travel mug for beverages, and refuse a single-use coffee cup, wrapper, and lid.  Up to 52 billion paper coffee cups per year are used once, then thrown away.  Due to health regulations, the cups must be made almost entirely of virgin – not previously used – paper.  Would you join the City of Atlanta and reduce, reuse, recycle, and refuse?

The City of Atlanta accepts the following recyclables curbside: cardboard, carton board, paper, glass, plastics #1-5 & 7, metal cans, and juice cartons.  All items to be recycled should be clean and dry, and placed loosely in bin, not bagged. Lids and caps should be removed and placed with recycling bins.

The City of Atlanta hosts Recycle Day at 850 Oak St., SW, Atlanta, GA  30310.  This event is held the 3rd Saturday of each month, except in December, between 9 AM to noon.   Acceptable items include:  paper for shredding, clothing, tires, #6 polystyrene, electronics, and all items accepted curbside.

www.atlantaga.gov/recycling

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New Life for North Highland Park Bike Rack at IMS

The bike rack at its original location at North Highland Park. Photo courtesy Jack White.

The bike rack at its original location at North Highland Park. Photo courtesy Jack White.

Rarely Used Bike Rack at NHP Repurposed for Use at Inman Middle School

By David Brandenberger

The bicycle rack that has lived at the northeast corner of N. Highland and St. Charles at North Highland Park – likely since the days of the public library – has a new home. Due largely to its obscured location at the park, the rack has received very little use since the lot was converted to greenspace. After noting the increasing use of pedal-power as a mode of transport for students heading to and from Inman Middle School (even more so now that the weather is getting nicer)—and the reality that IMS’ existing bicycle racks were often filled to capacity – the idea of relocating and donating the rack to the school was circulated with IMS staff and the LSC. Several staff members both acknowledged the need for another bike rack and resoundingly supported the gift.

Workers prepare the bike rack's new site at Inman Middle School. VHCA Board member David Brandenberger shovelling at far left. Photo courtesy Jack White.

Workers prepare the bike rack’s new site at Inman Middle School. VHCA Board member David Brandenberger shovelling at far left. Photo courtesy Jack White.

On a fine February Saturday two weekends ago, several neighborhood volunteers and Board members dug up the 10’ long, heavy steel structure, hoisted it into a truck, transported, and then installed the ‘new’ bike rack at Inman next to the portables. We are happy to report that the rack is now experiencing unprecedented use in its second career and new location!

The repurposed bike rack at its new location at Inman Middle School. Photo courtesy of Jack White.

The repurposed bike rack at its new location at Inman Middle School. Photo courtesy of Jack White.

We note that Inman now has five bike racks (up from two a year ago), a measurable reflection of the growth of cycling in VaHi. It’s also a reminder to us all to drive appropriately and be on the alert for cyclists of all ages at all times – and let’s please double our attention around schools.

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“Slow Down” Yard Signs Available

Slow Down Atlanta_Signage_v4Is speeding an issue on the street where you live?

The office of City Council President Caesar Mitchell is distributing “Slow Down” yard signs as part of its #ATLSlowDown campaign, “a citywide initiative to reduce vehicular speeding in our neighborhoods and communities.”

If speeding is an ongoing issue where you live, click on this link to order your yard sign.

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VHCA Monthly Planning Meeting

The VHCA Planning Committee meets with residents seeking zoning variance requests to discuss the impact of the variance on neighboring properties. Approval or denial recommendations are then made for consideration by the VHCA’s full board of directors.

Meetings are held at 7 PM on the Wednesday before the second Monday of every month at the Church of Our Saviour, 1068 N. Highland Ave. (across from the fire station).

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Bob Coomes: A Life Well-Lived

Bob Headshot for ObitBy John Becker

Editor’s Note: John Becker is a former VHCA board member and Voice editor who recently moved to Poncey-Highland. John remains involved in the neighborhood and is a close friend of the Coomes family.

Longtime Virginia-Highland resident Bob Coomes passed away recently, finally succumbing to the cancer monster he fought for an incredible seventeen years.

Bob was that rare individual who always had a smile on his face and never met a person he didn’t like – and the feeling was almost always mutual. His constantly upbeat spirit and can-do attitude were infectious and an inspiration to many who stood by him during his long and often difficult battle with the disease that ultimately took his life.

Bob, who would have been 64 in October, shared his love of people with his undying love for dogs. He could often be seen walking his chocolate lab mix Fudge along the sidewalks of VaHi. After a successful professional career that included a 27-year stint with AT&T, Bob and his wife Nancy formed a business around their creation of LickALots, a healthy frozen treat for dogs. LickALots was as much a labor of love for Bob and Nancy as it was a business.

4434_86331041772_4641705_nBob had a sense of community and was always willing to roll up his sleeves and get involved. In addition to volunteering for seventeen years with Meals on Wheels, Bob served several years on the VHCA board, was at one time editor of The Voice newsletter and volunteered with Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful. In recent years Bob and his wife Nancy devoted their time and talents to making the Saturday morning Tot Trot one of Summerfest’s most anticipated events. Bob was the consummate Tot Trot master of ceremonies.

No description of Bob would be complete without mentioning that he was a passionate and knowledgeable sports fan. The Atlanta Braves and Louisville Cardinals lost some major fan mojo with Bob’s passing.

A service in Bob’s memory will be held at Morningside Presbyterian Church (1411 N. Morningside Dr.) at 3 PM on Thursday, September 10th. Anyone wishing to celebrate the life of Bob Coomes is welcome to attend.

Bob Coomes’ full obituary follows.

473504_10150598685126773_1227160640_oBob (Robert T.) Coomes, with his bright smile, enthusiasm, and optimistic spirit is in heaven now.  His 17 year battle with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) was epic. As he had wished, Bob was at his home in Atlanta when he died on August 17, 2015.  He was 63.

The Service to give thanks and celebrate Bob’s life will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. at Morningside Presbyterian Church.  The Church is located at 1411 N. Morningside Dr. NE in Atlanta, GA 30306 (www.morningsidepc.org).  A reception at the Church will follow the service.

Bob loved dearly his father, Thomas Coomes (deceased), his mother, Agnes Coomes, his wife, Nancy Phillips Coomes, his daughter, Chelsea Coomes, and his siblings, Barbara Coomes(Jim Johnson), Rick Coomes (Sally), Pat Coomes (Nanci) and their families, as well as his sister-by-marriage, Gena (Demaree) Jones.  Throughout his life he was surrounded and sustained by the strong bonds of a large extended family, many dear and supportive friends and neighbors and a strong church family.  He treasured being known as “Bobby”, “Brother Bob”, “Dad”, “Uncle Bob”, “Cousin Bob”, “Neighbor Bob”, “Friend Bob” and “Beer Rat Bob”.   To Nancy, he was “Puffy”.  To his beloved dogs, Kisses (deceased), Fudge and Chris, with whom he had a close and special bond, he was “Daddy Bob”.

Bob was a proud native of Louisville, Kentucky and lived there until 1988 when he relocated to Atlanta.  He held a masters degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville and was a loyal supporter of the school throughout his life.  His professional career included 27 years as a manager with AT&T.   In more recent years, he partnered with Nancy to create a healthy treat for dogs called LickALots.  That business was sold to King of Pops in 2010.  The product continues to be manufactured, sold and enjoyed by dogs throughout the Eastern United States.

Bob volunteered his time to the Meals on Wheels program for 17 years. He not only delivered food to the seniors he served, he brought them cheer with his sincere interest in their lives.  He formed friendships and lasting bonds that were very important to him.

Bob and JohnBob participated as a volunteer for programs sponsored by the Virginia Highland Civic Association in an effort to give back to the community he called home.

In his battle with kidney cancer, Bob focused on being Empowered, Educated and Engaged.  He studied in great detail the development and availability of new treatments, their side effects, and potential benefit.   He worked in close partnership with his physicians and care-giving teams to select and follow treatment plans that had the greatest potential efficacy for him.

He joined the M.D. Anderson Network for patient and caregiver support in 2002.  This group of volunteers, who are current and former cancer patients, are available to talk with someone with cancer who has had a similar diagnosis or treatment as the volunteer. Bob spoke with dozens of patients in an effort to help them and their loved ones make the transition from diagnosis to survivorship.

In 2004, Bob became a patient advocate for one of the National Cancer Institute’s Cooperative Groups that develop and implement cancer clinical trials.  Patient advocates include survivors who provide input to the cancer clinical research process.  They remain current on new treatment research and ultimately ensure that the patients’ perspectives and needs are at the center of clinical trial decisions. 

Those wishing to honor Bob via donations can send checks made payable to First Presbyterian Church Atlanta with the designation that the money is for the “Meals on Wheels Program in memory of Bob Coomes”.  Envelopes should be addressed to:

First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta

Attn: Meals on Wheels Program

1328 Peachtree St.

Atlanta, GA 30309-3209

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It’s Time to Summerfest!

SummerfestWho’s ready for some Summerfest?

The 32nd edition of VaHi’s summertime celebration of art, music and food is just days away. Here’s the 411 on this year’s event:

Friday

It all gets kicked-off Friday June 5 with resident-only events, starting with the Community Parade (this year’s theme is “Rock Stars and Divas”) which kicks off from Intown ACE Hardware at 7 PM. Parade participants should arrive no later than 6:30 PM. If you have not yet registered for the parade and would like to do so, click here and complete the form at the bottom of the page. On-site registration will also be available.

DSC_0036For those cheering on the participants, the parade will proceed down Drewry, turn right on Barnett and end up on the eastern side of John Howell Park where the community dinner and movie will be held this year. Please note that this event has been moved from the Inman Middle School ball field where it has been held in recent years. The dinner starts at 7:30 PM, and the movie will start around dusk (usually around 8:45 PM). Admission to the dinner/movie is free to VaHi residents with an ID. Non-resident guests (date, houseguest, babysitter, etc.) are welcome when accompanied by a resident. Cost for guests: $10 for adults, $5 for children. If space is available, non-resident neighbors may enter the area after dinner (around 8:15 PM) to watch the movie. This year’s movie is Big Hero 6.

DSC_0103There will also be live music on the Acoustic Stage at the intersection of Virginia and N. Highland Ave.’s on Friday night from 8-11 PM.

Saturday

DSC03397Don’t stay out too late Friday night because the popular Summerfest 5K Road Race gets going at 8 AM Saturday June 6. For more information on the race or to sign up to participate, click here. On-site registration will also be available this year. If you have aspiring runners too young for the road race (ages 5 and younger), bring ’em over to the eastern section of John Howell Park following the 5K’s conclusion (around 9:15 AM) for this year’s Tot Trot. Click here to pre-register for Tot Trot or you can register on-site.

Summerfest 2015 officially opens at 10 AM Saturday. Festival-goers can choose from events like the Artist Market and Kidsfest (please note Kidsfest ends at 3 PM and the Artist Market closes at 6:30 PM on Saturday).

DSC05195The Music Stage gets going at Noon Saturday with a performance from Sans Abri. Here’s the rest of Saturday’s music lineup:

Please note that this year’s Music Stage will be located on the eastern side of John Howell Park and not on the Inman Middle School ball field.

And after Southern Gothic wraps things up on the main Music Stage, the Acoustic Stage at Virginia and N. Highland Ave.’s will be the place to be again Saturday night with entertainment provided from 9-11 PM.

Sunday

IMG_0716Get ready to do it all over again on Sunday June 7 when Summerfest reopens at 10 AM. Before you hit the festival, though, why not participate in the 2015 Warren Bruno Summerfest Celebration Bike Ride? The ride starts at 8 AM at North Highland Park (corner of St. Charles and N. Highland) and you can choose to ride a 9.5 mile loop (once or twice) or a 20-mile loop. Cyclists of all ages and levels are welcome. For more information or to register, click here.

DSC01436If you’re up for a little music on Sunday morning, grab your coffee and bagel and head over to the Acoustic Stage where the spotlight will be on two fun and unique groups featuring young performers from our area:

  • 10:00 AM: Performers from Eclectic Music
  • 11:00 AM: Irish Dancing with Burke Connolly Dance

The Music Stage gets going Sunday at 12:15 PM with Taylor & Ciara performing. The rest of Sunday’s music lineup:

DSC01429And, since you probably didn’t have enough time to enjoy all the activities on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Artist Market and Kidsfest area on Sunday. Kidsfest closes at 3 PM Sunday and the Artist Market closes at 6 PM.

Just a reminder that Summerfest’s Artist Market is a juried show of gallery-quality art featuring 230+ of the Southeast’s finest artists. You’ll find artists specializing in painting, sculpture, jewelery, textiles/fiber arts, photography, clay, wood, metal, graphics and mixed media (click here to view a list of exhibiting artists). Please be sure to visit the Artist Market and support the 2015 Summerfest artists by making a purchase or two.

VHCA Summerfest Store

11080256_978523362211018_332461056547736383_oThis year we’re making it even more convenient to buy your commemorative Summerfest t-shirt and help support the neighborhood. We’ll be selling Summerfest t-shirts at Friday night’s Community Cookout & Movie and at the Acoustic Street Party. Ladies, you’ll have three designs from which to choose: two in a fashionable ladies-cut and another in a traditional unisex t-shirt cut. Guys, you’re sure to enjoy the 2015 Summerfest design. T-shirts are available in sizes S thru XXL. Get one before they’re gone! And if you’re unable to join Friday’s resident-only events, or you lost sleep regretting not having purchased a t–shirt, be sure to stop by one of the two Summerfest stores during the festival on Saturday or Sunday.

11165072_978523358877685_1823068065588305904_oIn addition to the always popular Summerfest t-shirts, we’ll also be carrying Virginia-Highland branded car tags, address plaques, framed neighborhood posters and signed copies of History of Virginia-Highland, written by VaHi residents Karri Hobson-Pape and Lola Carlisle. The store will also display samples of several Virginia-Highland branded items now available for purchase at the VHCA’s’s Zazzle store.

Free Bike Valet at Summerfest

imageAnd don’t forget that you can help alleviate Summerfest traffic congestion by cycling to the festival. We’ve made that easier to do by partnering with Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to provide free bike valet parking during festival hours. This year the ABC bike corral will be located at the “Field of Dreams” on the southwest corner of Virginia Ave. and Ponce de Leon Pl. (adjacent to the festival’s western entrance).

For more information on Summerfest, click here.

We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend at Summerfest 2015!

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Spice Up Your Summer at Red Pepper Taquería 

_MG_0496Who isn’t a fan of Mexican cuisine? These days, it seems like there’s a new taco stand opening on every corner, and with so many options it can be difficult finding those with any real hint of creativity or originality. Then, there are those that far exceed expectation, like Red Pepper Taquería. With two locations in Atlanta, Red Pepper makes its mark as one of the city’s top destinations for Mexican cuisine.

IMG_6810A far cry from the average “Tex-Mex” cuisine one may expect, Red Pepper’s menu features a wide range of options and has something for every palate. In addition to fajitas, enchiladas, and other familiar south of the border menu items, a variety of ceviches, oysters (both raw and cooked), and “addictive” taco combinations are just a few things that make Chef Mimmo Alboumeh’s menu at Red Pepper worth exploring. Truly impressive, Chef Alboumeh adds a signature Spanish flair to the menu with standout specialty dishes – like the mussels in a spicy morita cream sauce – that are enough to excite even the stiffest of critics.

IMG_1672Let’s not forget the drinks. Those familiar with the ‘order two drinks at once because it will take forever to get a second round later’ act will find a refreshing change of pace at Red Pepper’s Briarcliff location. Why? Because of the P.Y.O.B (Pour Your Own Beer) program, which puts guests in control by allowing them the option to pour as they please at one of several available draft tables. Draft tables are equipped with between two and six built-in beer taps, featuring an assortment of craft and domestic options for the ultimate customer service experience.

_MG_0585Not a beer fan? Aside from the traditional lime variety, Red Pepper offers several flavor options to allow guests a truly customized margarita experience, including watermelon, blood orange, mixed berries and prickly pear. But flavored margaritas aren’t the only star on the drink menu; unique cocktails like the El Maestro – made with Maestro Dobel, lime juice and Cointreau – also make an appearance.

_MG_0554Food and drink aside, local live music performances on the weekend help set the vibe at Red Pepper, which can be described as the perfect blend of upbeat and carefree. Additionally, several flat screens with surround sound inside and out help make Red Pepper the ultimate game day destination, as sports fans cheer their favorite teams to victory with an assortment of delicious snacking options.

While their “addicted to tacos” tag line is displayed throughout, there’s plenty more to be addicted to at Red Pepper. With great times, delicious food, creative cocktails, exceptional service, and a top-notch game day viewing experience Red Pepper is nothing short of a home run.

Red Pepper Taquería is located in Decatur at 2149 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30329 and in Buckhead at 3135 Piedmont Road Atlanta, GA 30305. P.Y.O.B options are available exclusively at Red Pepper’s Decatur location. To learn more, visit them online at www.eatredpepper.com and follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @RedPepperATL and Facebook.com/RedPepperAtlanta.

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Final Commemorative Bricks at North Highland Park Go on Sale

DSC06114Dedicated in 2013, North Highland Park has quickly become one of our neighborhood’s most popular features. Residents and visitors alike can be seen enjoying the wonderful green space – reading a book, relaxing under the trees, walking a dog, or eating lunch at one of the picnic tables along North Highland Avenue. Click here to read more about the park and how it came to be.

One of the ways we’ve raised money to maintain the park and pay down the debt owed on the mortgage is by selling commemorative bricks. There are already several sections of bricks installed along St. Charles Pl. but we still need to sell 37 more before we can engrave and install the bricks in the last section. Several residents who have already purchased bricks have been waiting more than a year for these final bricks to be sold. You can help us complete the project.  

Please consider showing your support for the park by purchasing one of the last bricks to be sold. A tax deductible $100 donation gets you the brick and up to three lines (up to 14 characters per line) to inscribe as you see fit. Leave your own legacy in North Highland Park and/or give an inscribed brick as a gift (each comes with a certificate suitable for gift-giving).

So, act now and be one of the last to buy a brick at North Highland Park. Click here to order yours today.

Thanks so much for your support of Virginia-Highland’s newest green space!

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Bon Voyage (Sort Of), John Becker!

By Jack White (on behalf of the VHCA BoD)

This is an article that could have been written a few weeks ago, but wasn’t for a specific reason – no one was very happy about the subject matter. John Becker – long-time VHCA Board member, Communications Chair, and Voice editor – sold his home in VaHi recently and has moved a mere 500 feet past the neighborhood’s borders into a BeltLine condo in Poncey-Highland. As one must be a resident of Virginia-Highland to serve on the Board, John has stepped down from his seat and is in the process of wrapping up his communication and other duties with the VHCA. Though he hasn’t moved far away – and has already been spotted back at Taco Mac on more than one occasion since the move – the Board, the Association and the neighborhood must face the fact that we will miss him greatly.  

DSC06460A bit of history is in order. As recently as four years ago – it seems like another era altogether – the Voice was still being printed and mailed to residents. It had many attributes then (among them the fact that John was its editor); an online tour of the old copies provides a lively flavor of the community’s comings, goings, struggles, and successes. But timely and contemporary it wasn’t. By the time articles were written, edited, mailed and received, the events they described were often well in the rear view mirror. Pam Papner, winding up her time as VHCA President, wanted to transition to an online version, but the challenges seemed formidable. The mailing list of residents was rudimentary, and the process of creating a new advertising and distribution infrastructure seemed imposing to an all-volunteer organization. There was considerable skepticism about whether it would work.

Enter Board member Brian Gross, who was confident that an electronic version of The Voice would be a vast improvement – less costly to produce, much more timely, with greater outreach potential and capable of generating good ad support. In six months Brian created a proposal, designed the site, sold ads, and convinced (an ever-dwindling group of) skeptical residents that the concept was sound and solid and that our newsletter would reach more people than ever before. Responding to arguments that not enough citizens were wired in, Brian found studies and stats that showed that 90+% of citizens in communities like ours were online. Out of an abundance of caution, the Board offered to print and mail copies to anyone not online; not one such request was ever received.

DSC_0058Brian himself moved about a year later (he still owns property here and – like many former residents – still subscribes to The Voice), by which point the online version was firmly established. The new format was an incredible success from the start. Three years later, the whole topic seems quaint, but Brian’s contributions cannot be underestimated.

When Brian left, John Becker took over again as editor and made a good thing even better. He did a fantastic job of managing ads, writing and gathering content, nudging board members and others to write stories, and suggesting topics for coverage.

Those who know John in any of his many roles – as a Rosedale Road neighbor, as a Taco Mac denizen, as a supporter of all things Auburn, as an inveterate dog lover and walker, as a huge fan of John Howell Park (for years John has kept up with the community’s insatiable consumption of doggie poop bags at JHP), as a faithful friend of the Triangle, or as volunteer coordinator for the past three Summerfests – will immediately know why he was so good in those roles. He has been involved firsthand in so many aspects of this community’s daily life that he was a perfect candidate to coordinate a written and photographic narrative of it online. His background as a journalist and his considerable photography skills were on display from the start. When he wasn’t a part of the story (when an Inman student left a menacing book bag at the Triangle and the APD bomb squad closed the intersection, John was among those cleared out – not the first or last time algebra has threatened us) he was recording them for posterity, as he did with countless APS, Master Plan, and VHCA Board meetings.

triangle_volunteers_265hAnd because John knew so many people in so many contexts, he had a great read on the pulse of our neighborhood – on topics both serious and silly. There were few people better able than John to gauge the concerns that residents expressed in multiple forms and formats, and few who were more instinctively knew which topics needed responses and which needed to play themselves out on their own.

Selfishly, we will miss John for many other reasons, too. He has a fine sense of humor, one of the most important parts of any volunteer activity. He measured his friends on the board and residents (their attributes, personalities, motives, and contradictions) in a kind but realistic fashion that served us very well, and often left us laughing at ourselves and others. We will all miss those parts of dealing with John on a regular basis.

Champion LeadershipOf course, like most stories, this one has a silver lining. John is starting a new job that is well-aligned with his considerable talents. He has a new home just yards from the BeltLine about which he is so passionate, and not much further from his old neighborhood. By the way, if Virginia-Highland ever gets an army, that’s the area we’ll annex; the empty fields between us and John are lightly defended. Until then, Poncey-Highland is fortunate to have him. Meanwhile, we will see John at Summerfest both this year and – we very much hope – in the future.

And John is leaving us in good hands. As Brian did with him, John is closely involved in training his replacement, who – we are delighted to report – is longtime VaHi resident Stephen Cohen. Stephen and his wife Eleanor (who has herself been involved with the Tour of Homes and the street captain network for many years) have lived here for over 40 years. Stephen is anything but a neophyte on communication; he is the founder of the neighborhood’s first and longest-lasting community blog, the Yahoo Group VHList. Stephen is quite capable and also has a deft touch with people; he will do a fine job. Like Brian and John, Stephen will no doubt put his own stamp on all parts of the job; he will introduce himself here soon.

Meanwhile, bon voyage John Becker, and many thanks for everything you’ve done for VaHi.

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Latest Zone 6 Crime Stats

Click here to view the October 2017 statistics for APD Zone 6, which includes Beat 601

Click here to view the September 2017 statistics for APD Zone 6, which includes Beat 601

Click here to view the August 2017 statistics for APD Zone 6, which includes Beat 601

Click here to view the July 2017 statistics for APD Zone 6, which includes Beat 601

Click here to view the June 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the May 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the April 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the March 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the February 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the January 2017 statistics for APDs Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland)

Click here to view the December 2016 statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the November 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the October 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the September 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the August 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the July 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the June 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the May 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the April 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the March 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the February 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the January 2016 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the December 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the November 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the October 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the September 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the August 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the July 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view the June 2015 crime statistics for APD’s Zone 6, which include Beat 601 (Virginia-Highland).

Click here to view a pdf of earlier crime statistics for Zone 6.

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SPARK Garden Center Bees: A Great Learning Opportunity

Fifth generation beekeeper Jon Caylor dons his protective suit to work with the SPARK bees.

Fifth generation beekeeper Jon Caylor dons his protective suit to work with the SPARK bees.

By Lola Carlisle

On May 6, we heard there was a swarm of bees at Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK), then heard that they were part of the school’s garden center. So, where did we go? Over to watch Jon the beekeeper sort out what was happening. He wasn’t 100% sure but believed the colony had grown too large so some bees were leaving to start another colony. In this case “the defectors” gathered temporarily in a nearby tree, and then returned to swarm around the old hive. Jon set up another hive to encourage formation of the second colony. He moved the queen to the new hive along with some of the other bees and now he’ll just keep an eye on how it goes. Jon is quick to note the extensive benefits of honey bees, and points out that they are not aggressive. SPARK is very careful regarding both the care of the bees and the safety of the students.

Caylor works to establish a second colony for the swarming SPARK bees.

Caylor works to establish a second colony for the swarming SPARK bees.

If you think this is fascinating – and who wouldn’t? – jump on over to SPARK’s Garden Center website to learn more. The center’s headed up by Jenna Mobley, SPARK’s Environmental Science teacher…and many energetic kids are actively engaged. You’ll also find more stories about Jon Caylor, a fifth generation beekeeper, who says that beekeeping is a hobby. He’s actually completing his graduate degree in organizational development at Mercer. Don’t you imagine he can draw some parallels between the organizational structure of businesses and bee colonies?

Just another everyday adventure in Virginia-Highland.

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Inman Middle School Expansion Meeting Set for May 5

DSC_0004What: Inman Middle School Expansion Meeting

When: Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Inman MS Auditorium, 774 Virginia Ave., NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

April 16, 2015

Dear Inman Middle School Family,

In February, we met as a community to discuss the space and enrollment issues at Inman Middle School.  We had good dialogue about the current situation, potential scenarios for addressing our issues and explored new ideas (many from you) for solutions.

A big part of our discussion also included weighing the effect that the potential annexation of the Druid Hills community would have on the enrollment zone.  The annexation proposal did not pass the legislature, and now our planning will turn solely to developing solutions within the existing Grady Cluster.

We have scheduled another Community Meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, in the Inman auditorium to continue these discussions.

We appreciate your energy and continued support as we work to develop a long-term plan for meeting the enrollment growth projected.

Along with our superintendent and area Board of Education members, I look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

Betsy Bockman, Ph.D., Principal

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Some Thoughts from My Own Business Experiences with Security Cameras

By: Peggy Berg, VHCA Safety Committee

logitec_alert_750e-11372307Using security cameras to provide additional information for police investigations came up at the Atlanta Police Department safety presentation at the VHCA meeting in April. We’ve had cameras at our business for a while, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to comments and thoughts from the professionals who’ve installed and maintained ours.  Here are a few points from them – and some other professionals I’ve spoken to – that might be of interest if you’re thinking of this approach and aspire to have a chance to provided information for the police. (The professionals are mentioned for purposes of attribution and without any implied endorsement at all. I thank them for their time.)

  1. Watermarks: To be admitted as evidence in Court, according to I-Tech Security, the footage or images should be watermarked and time stamped to show that they are genuine. Camera system clocks sometimes get out of sync, and police may need to see the camera system as well as the footage. Not all systems use watermarks or time stamps, but these are good features if you are shopping for security cameras. The presenter should be able to show that the integrity of the footage is not compromised, which means showing that it has been properly stored and presented.
  2. Pixels: Resolution of security video is measured in pixels per foot. The minimum for facial recognition is 40 PPF, explain our friends at Aronson Security. The range is from hundreds to millions of PPF. More is better, particularly if you want to zoom.  The new cameras at my business make it obvious how much cameras have improved. We used to get grainy footage of barely recognizable people; we now have a chance to capture license plates and faces at some distance. Basically,  the security footage is only as good as the camera’s resolution.
  3. Infrared: Not all security cameras record clearly in the dark. If you want coverage at night – particularly if you want it to have value for security purposes – select cameras with infrared.
  4. Color: Not all security cameras record in color. The oldest of my old business cameras provided grainy black and white footage, resulting in our spending a lot of time looking at images that were only vaguely discernable. The new camera images are much more crisp and useful.

Of course, no cameras can take the place of a range of security measures that discourage break-ins in the first place, but if things go wrong at our homes, video can be instructive both in apprehension and in trying to prevent this from happening again.  VHCA is pleased to work with the Atlanta Police Department in asking citizens for camera footage from residents when crimes occur.

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Show Your VaHi Pride – Shop at Our New Zazzle Store!

virginia_highland_pillow-rf0a80da6e5df465287c9946220daf0b9_i5fbw_8byvr_512After creating the new VHCA logo last year, our design team has been working to apply the new branding across all of our messaging channels. Last summer we created fun Virginia-Highland posters that were received very well at Summerfest. And now we’ve created and populated The VaHi Zazzle store with fun Virginia-Highland branded merchandise.

whats_cookin_virginia_highlands_apron-rcfa56cb555e24a3899509133c50288e7_v9wh6_8byvr_512Twenty-five percent of every purchase will go directly to the Virginia-Highland Civic Association to support the work they do in the neighborhood. A few of the items are shown here, but we encourage you to go to the store and check out all that’s there. If we know Virginia-Highlanders, you’ll have a few ideas of your own for new products. We welcome your suggestions at communications@vahi.org.

viewSpecial thanks to VaHi resident Ernest Lessenger for helping us get the store off the ground!

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Orme Park Turtle Release a Success!

DSC_0272We had a successful release of five turtle hatchlings at Orme Park today. With a crowd of about 40 on hand (including many fascinated children) Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Mark Mandica led the event, allowing the children to touch and handle the turtles before they were released. You’ll remember that Mandica and his staff, along with concerned residents, were instrumental in the rescue and care of the hatchlings. Go to vahi.org for articles on how the turtle nest was discovered and protected and how the hatchlings were saved from an almost certain demise.

DSC_0313Thanks again to Mandica and his staff for all their care and concern for the Orme Park turtles over the past few months. The five young hatchlings they’ve nurtured are now fending for themselves along the creek in Orme Park. Mandica gives them an excellent chance for survival and a long life. We sure hope he’s right.

Here’s a link to photos from today’s release event.

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Surviving Orme Park Turtles Thriving, Release Event Set for Sunday

Orme_Park_Snapping_Turtle_Rescue_2015sLast June, Paige Cucchi and her husband Sean discovered a buried turtle nest during one of their regular walks through Orme Park. Concerned residents – including Cucchi, her husband and VHCA board member Lola Carlisle – set up a protective fence around the nest so that no one would disturb the turtles until they could hatch. Click here to read about the discovery and the steps taken to protect the hatchlings from predators.

When the turtles hadn’t hatched by early fall, residents became concerned. Click here to read how staff from Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Amphibian Conservation Program, Carlisle and other VaHi residents worked together to remove the turtles from the nest and save them from what would almost certainly have been a very early demise.

ABG Amphibian Research Coordinator Mark Mandica and his staff have been nurturing the hatchlings since their birth last year, and he sent over a progress report and photograph of the young turtles last week.

“We have five healthy young turtles that made it through the winter,” Mandica said. “They’ve been outside for the past few weeks sunning and getting used to outdoor temperature fluctuations. We did the best we could but lost a few that just couldn’t pull through such a stressful hatching. Fortunately, the five that survived are heathy, active and eating like crazy!” 

Mandica says the young turtles are now healthy enough to be released into the wild, a time we all knew (hoped) would come. Knowing that many in the neighborhood have followed the turtles’ incredible saga and would want to be a part of this momentous event, we’ve scheduled a small release ceremony for 2 PM this Sunday April 26. We’ll meet at the playground on Brookridge Dr. and Mandica and his team will lead us to the best spot to release the young turtles.

If you want to see and be a part of the Orme Park turtles being released back into the wild, grab the kiddies and meet us at the Orme Park playground this Sunday at 2 PM!

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Stand Against Racism

Posting this on behalf of our friends at the YWCA:

Please join the staff, board, students, and other members of the YWCA community as we 

STAND AGAINST RACISM

Friday, April 24

Ways to participate:

  • Wear the YWCA “persimmon” (i.e. orange) colors
  • Sign the national Stand Against Racism pledge online http://cqrcengage.com/ywca/app/sign-petition?0&engagementId=78748
  • Sign our banner in front of the agency on North Highland Avenue
  • “Like” us on Facebook and other social media
  • Take a stand and help raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism on our community

Click here to view the YWCA Stand Against Racism poster.

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Help!!

at-the-corner-of-9.5X24-MECH-01A Call for Volunteers

By Lola Carlisle

I’m not sure if all who live in the neighborhood know how much the Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA) does to help maintain the quality of life we all enjoy. That’s OK – we’re all busy and some are new to the area and have never heard of VHCA. We’re a group of volunteers and we could use your help. Actually it’s really rewarding but can be so much more so if the workload is distributed across more engaged and talented residents.

From the amount of comments one sees on social media channels for our neighborhood, there are many who care a lot about what’s happening around them. We’d sure like to see that positive energy and concern channeled into action!

VHCA Committees in Need of Additional Volunteers

Safety Committee 

Peggy Berg chairs it and in case you didn’t know, she is our sidewalk hero! But there are so many influences on safety and Peggy could use some help. There’s criminal activity, homelessness, appearances that may influence safety (keeping trash picked up and graffiti removed), VHCA’s support of the Neighborhood Watch Street Captain program, traffic/lighting/signage, communication with our elected officials and APD, and more. Reach out to safety@vahi.org.

Communications Committee

This committee is very important and we’re losing one of the neighborhood’s most treasured volunteers (to Poncey-Highland and aren’t they lucky!): John Becker, who’s served as Communications Chair (among other things) for the past three years. As a result of the efforts of many including John, VHCA communications are a best-in-class example of how it should be done. Our website, newsletter and social media communications are effective and important. We’re looking for someone to act as committee chair and others to fill out the committee. These volunteers will need to help steer our communications strategy, update our WordPress website, write and edit articles, manage ad sales and placement, send out the newsletter, tape and upload the board meeting videos and other tasks. If you’re interested in helping with this committee, reach us at communications@vahi.org.

Fundraising Committee (Summerfest / Tour of Homes)

DSC05121A key reason that our neighborhood is so effective at maintaining our culture is our funding. We are able to hire consultants on planning, traffic and development issues; we receive grants to match the funds we put into our parks (see recent JHP improvements); and we give grants to our schools and local non-profits. We plan and execute both the Tour of Homes in winter and Summerfest in the summer; this work is time-intensive but certainly rewarding both in terms of experience and monetary gains for the neighborhood. Both committees need help! Tour of Homes is looking for a volunteer graphics person and someone to help sell sponsorships. Summerfest will need many volunteers so sign up at https://vahi.org/summerfest/volunteers. To get more involved with Summerfest, email summerfest@vahi.org or for the Tour of Homes email angelikataylor@me.com or robin_ragland@bellsouth.net.

Virginia-Highland Preservation & History Committee

DSC_0144This committee does a good bit of scanning and filing and could really use help from someone who has a passion for history. We have 100 gigs of historic images and documents and many physical items that need organizing and attention. When better managed this can become a resource for the entire city of Atlanta as we’ll share it with the Atlanta History Center. If you’re interested in helping, you can reach us at preservation@vahi.org.

Just for fun – and as proof that you’ll learn new things during your volunteer experience – these are things I thought I’d never know, but do because I volunteer with VHCA:

  • Many amazing neighbors!
  • Many city officials personally – lots of whom are professional and energetic and care a lot.
  • How many guns were stolen out of cars in our neighborhood this year so far – 7!
  • Where the Todd Cemetery is and its history – you can visit it, too.
  • What a “quatrefoil” is, and where it appears architecturally in our neighborhood.
  • That the state stream buffer protection line is 25’ and the city stream buffer protection line is 75’.
  • The subdivisions of VaHi.
  • Our neighborhood’s exact boundaries.
  • Many folks that have contributed to things I enjoy – John Howell, Jerry Bright, Tinka Green (who we sadly lost recently), the Coffins, Warren Bruno and so many more.
  • How nice the folks at Open Door Community are.
  • How many neighbors routinely do a lot of thankless tasks that produce a much more liveable community.
  • How city planning constantly evolves, and how hard it is to anticipate the impacts of land use decisions.
  • That there aren’t near enough fields left in VH for our kids to go play on, with or without adults present.
  • How diverse the knowledge base is in VaHi – from aerospace engineers to paleontologists to geologists to dog walkers to master gardeners to screenplay writers to cartographers to…
  • A little more about Robert’s Rules of Order.
  • That Winnie Currie is from the mountains of Appalachia and worked at Sears for years and bought a house in VaHi when many were afraid to and told her she was crazy to do so.
  • How many structures, addresses, and people there are in VH.
  • That there used to be an attack goose owned by one of two feuding neighbors – the goose attacked the neighbor almost daily.
  • Who started VHCA, why it was started, and what highways had to do with that.
  • That Nass Almeleh paid 50 cents for a beer at Atkins Park as long as he lived – no matter what the price of beer was at the time.
  • The difference between Green B. and George W. Adair.
  • That Rooster Foot Alley must have been really cool and I need to find descendants of people who lived there.
  • That the top of Atkin’s Park Tavern is the house that was on that lot but was raised a story when the bar (that started as a deli) was built below it.
  • That we should start a VaHi Trivia game as part of Trivia at George’s!

If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, reach out to board@vahi.org and someone will get back to you. Better yet, attend a planning or board meeting and you’ll start to get a feel for what we all do. Meeting schedules can be found on vahi.org.

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APD Officials Listen and Respond to Resident Safety Concerns

IMG_0560The first portion of this month’s regular meeting of the VHCA held on April 13th was devoted to a special discussion of neighborhood safety.  District 6 Councilperson Alex Wan (who organized the meeting and arranged the speakers), APD Asst. Chief Shawn Jones, Deputy Chief Joseph Spillane, Zone 6 Commander Timothy Peek, and other officers made presentations, listened to resident concerns, and spent over an hour answering a wide range of questions.

While acknowledging the well-publicized instances of violent crime in and around Beat 601 that have caught everyone’s attention, the presenters pointed out that violent crime – murders, rapes, robberies and burglaries – is down in our beat when compared with last year, which itself had low numbers.  What is not down is the level of vehicle break-ins; officers encouraged residents and visitors to remove anything of value from parked cars and pointed out that among the items stolen from cars recently were seven handguns.

IMG_0563One resident pointed out that her knowledge of crime came at least in part from social media and asked about actual statistics. VHCA Safety Chair Peggy Berg and Board member Jess Windham graphed the last six years of stats for Beat 601 (solely and entirely composed of VaHi) and prepared and distributed a handout of those numbers at the meeting.  (They may be viewed here on our website, and we will update them monthly as we receive new data from APD.)

The officials thanked residents who told stories of calling 911 when they saw something suspicious, and encouraged everyone in attendance to do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.  They explained the priority system that governs response to calls and provided average response times for all categories.  They reminded, urged, and pled with citizens not to intervene in crimes being committed, but to call APD.

IMG_0561Officials also commented that common traits of neighborhoods that effectively fight crime are neighborhood watches like the two-decade old one in VaHi. If you are not currently connected with your local Street Captain, please contact safety@vahi.org.

Several speakers were critical of the county role in dealing with juvenile offenders and thought sentences were too light.  Another viewed the problem of keeping criminals off the street as a multifaceted one.  Police, prosecutors, judges, and the state (which runs prisons) all have a role in ensuring that the most dangerous and predatory of criminals are successfully caught, prosecuted, and incarcerated.

What was abundantly clear is that APD is highly informed as to the location and frequency of crimes, with data coming in and being analyzed constantly. The department’s ability and willingness to respond and shift resources around on an hourly and daily basis was impressive.

We appreciate the time and energy that the whole department expends on this effort, and the presentation ended with a warm ovation from neighbors.  We thank all those at APD and Councilmember Wan for the work they do and for making the evening possible.

Click here to view a video of the meeting in its entirety.

Click here for information on participating in the CourtWatch program.

Click here for a link to the Christian Science Monitor article on the Atlanta Police Department referenced by a resident who spoke at the meeting.

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Local Teen Wins Second National Writing Award

clarissa-mulligIn May 2013 we posted this article about VaHi resident and then 8th grader Clarissa Mullig who had just won a Gold Medal in the national Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, the largest and longest-running recognition program for creative teens in the U.S.

Well, Clarissa obviously isn’t one to rest on her laurels as she was recently awarded her second National Medal in a completely different writing category. Click here to read a Grady High School Facebook post about Clarissa’s accomplishment.

Congratulations, Clarissa, on being the only Georgia student in the past six years to win two National Medals across all writing categories!

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Ten Thousand Villages

stroefrontVirginia-Highland’s Fair Trade Retailer for 20 Years

Ten Thousand Villages has been a Virginia-Highland staple since 1993. Located at 1056 St. Charles Avenue, the neighborhood shop has seen the ebb and flow of the local business community and, at one time, was the only open storefront on their side of St. Charles for nearly a year. Selling handcrafted items from nearly three dozen countries around the world, the locally run, non-profit store is committed to providing fair wages and steady employment to thousands of artisans through the sales of their products. The forty or more volunteers who give their time to helping customers and supporting fair trade love the local community and, while they hail from all over Atlanta, many of them live in Virginia-Highland and most live in surrounding intown neighborhoods.

childrens cornerThe staff and volunteers at Ten Thousand Villages enjoy being part of such a vibrant and special community.  There’s always a water dish for neighborhood dogs outside the shop and the staff is committed to keeping Virginia-Highland beautiful with seasonal plantings in their tree bed and regular sidewalk cleanup of theirs and neighboring storefronts. Ten Thousand Villages sales associates love to help customers shop for just the right gift, home décor accent, or piece of jewelry and are accommodating to all shoppers. There’s even a little nook where children can play, color and read while their parents shop.

spring trendWhether you are a long-time customer, have never visited, or it’s been a while since you’ve stopped by, the staff at Ten Thousand Villages would like to welcome you in for a visit. There’s always something new going on at the shop and this spring is no exception. There is a new collection of jewelry and accessories on trend for Spring 2015.  Planters, bird houses, wind chimes, and other garden décor are featured, and Mother’s Day shopping is made easier with thoughtful gifts, personalized assistance, and gift wrapping. With all of the online shopping these days it’s truly a pleasure to enter a brick and motor store that knows how to give a multi-sensory shopping experience: fragrant soaps and candles calm the senses, natural materials like stone and intricately carved wood beg to be touched, unique and vibrant color palettes draw your eyes to goods from Colombia to Kenya, global music often incites toe-tapping and hand-clapping, and samples of fair trade coffee and chocolate tickle the taste buds.

blue fountainFind out about upcoming sales and events at atlanta.tenthousandvillages.com, on Facebook or visit the store during regular business hours Tuesday-Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 1-5.

Ten Thousand Villages

1056 St. Charles Avenue

404-892-5307

atlanta.tenthousandvillages.com

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Support Fire Station #19 at 5th Annual Morningside Mile

mmlogo300pixelsmmraceThe Morningside Mile is a 1-mile race and block party hosted by Doc Chey’s. 100% of race profits will be donated to the fund to renovate Fire Station #19 to help keep it in service. This year’s event – the fifth annual – is scheduled for Sunday, March 29th, 12noon-2pm.

Registered runners get a technical race shirt, free SweetWater beer and other swag. Cash prizes will be awarded for fastest runners. This is a very family-friendly race so all ages, runner levels and walkers are encouraged to participate.

The post-race block party includes music, food and family fun with the FS19 firefighters on hand to join in the fun.

Register ($25) to run at www.morningsidemile.com or in-store at Doc Chey’s, Highland Runners, Phidippides Ansley, or Podium Multisport.  Advance race registration is required.

Visit www.morningsidemile.com or https://www.facebook.com/morningsidemile for more information.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: March 28, 2015

By John Wolfinger

I know, I know that I am way behind in getting a new report out to you – but life events got in the way with the death of my mother in Ohio and I was gone for quite a while. Nice to know though, that FBAC and my neighbors were watching my house while I was away. This report contains the crime stats for five weeks from 2/15 to 3/21 – so keep this time span in mind when reading about the incidents.Lawn Equipment Thefts

Lawn Equipment Thefts

Officer Reddick from Morningside has asked me for you to alert your lawn and tree care crews to keep all of their equipment locked up when not being used, as there have already been several of these thefts in the past few weeks. Probably a lot of these firms are small and can ill afford to lose the tools they need for their livelihood. Allow them to park in your driveway, off the street, if you have such space.

Gas Station Thefts

Stay alert even while pumping gas.  http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/woman-robbed-while-filling-gas-station/nkKMj/

The 3/10 Parking Lot Murder

Since I am sure that by now everyone knows the story about this cold, senseless murder of Joshua Richey in the BeltLine Kroger parking lot on 3/10, which resulted in the 3/26 arrest of suspect Demarius Thompson. A fund has been set up for the victim’s family – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/fund-set-to-help-family-of-worker-killed-outside-a/nkS4T/. Thanks to the Kroger Company for donating $25.000 to CrimeStoppers which resulted in useful tips.

There was a similar sort of incident scenario in Grant Park on 2/25 where the victim was wakened by his growling dog. He looked out the window to see his truck being stolen.  His wife called 911 and the victim went outside with his wife’s gun to chase the truck. The perps then jumped out fleeing on foot – one of them turned around and fired three times at the victim who then returned fire two times. No one was hit.

Even though you would have a strong urge to protect your hard-earned property if you saw it being taken – our Zone 6 Commander, Major Peek, warns against confronting the suspects, as there is no way to know if they are desperate and armed.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2015 weeks 8,9,10,11 and 12 (2/15-3/21). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: Vehicles were taken from – Adair Avenue (2003 Jeep Liberty), Barnett Street (this was a failed attempt that left a broken door lock and popped ignition), Bonaventure Avenue (2004 Nissan Sentra which was recovered on Somerset Terrace), PDL Avenue (2000 Jeep Cherokee, which had also been stolen in January with a popped ignition and had never been repaired), and on North Highland Avenue (2013 Subaru).

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary: A Kentucky Avenue residence was entered after the nanny left, setting the burglar alarm, but forgetting to lock the door.  A purse and contents were taken.

Commercial Robbery: During business hours on 2/27, the Virginia Avenue Wells Fargo Bank was brazenly robbed by three armed masked males who shouted “this is a stickup” to the employees and patrons. Two of the males went behind the counter and cleaned out the cash drawers and became agitated when the safe could not be opened. They were followed down Todd Road by a witness who got their tag number.  The money bag had a tracking device in it and the money was recovered in Clayton County after the robbers ditched the bag.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery: On 3/14, a male and female couple, who were walking home from the Dark Horse around 2:30 a.m. were pistol whipped and robbed at gunpoint by three young black males who took their wallets and cellphones. The suspects fled in a white Ford F-150 pickup truck. This incident took place near the corner of North Highland and Los Angeles Avenues at the Episcopal Church. The victims reported a shot being fired in the chaos, but no one was hit and no spent bullet was found. The victims refused EMT treatment.

Larceny From Vehicle: PDL Avenue (GPS and gift cards), North Highland Avenue (laptop), PDL Avenue (I-pad), Virginia Avenue (a witness saw 2 males looking into cars, 911 was called and they were detained – one took flight and was caught on the BeltLine), PDL Place (backpack, 2 laptops, prescription drugs and 2 watches), Greenwood Avenue (clothing and suitcase), PDL Avenue (2 vehicles – duffle bag, 3 laptops, I-pad), and Highland Lane (leaf blower).

At the Oakland Cemetery parking lot, the victims stated they were approached by a panhandler and said they had left her wallet in the car, so no money to give. Yep – you guessed it, the panhandler entered their car and got the wallet and some other items.

In this period of time – there were 5 more handguns added to what is already on the streets, and a taser and an ammo clip were also taken.

Larceny Other: Late night behind the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, an intoxicated female victim lost her cell phone and debit card to a snatch and run thief. On Rosewood Drive, a beagle dog and dog bowl were taken. On 3/10 in daylight, at the bike rack in front of Diesel on North Highland Avenue – the victim saw a suspect quickly cut the bike lock and ride away on his bike on Drewry Street. The victim gave chase, but lost sight of him.

A nice honor was given to our VaHi Safety Team neighborhood watch initiative in the current Creative Loafing issue. We all owe a debt of thanks to all of our Street Captains and all others who make this program successful at fighting crime and getting folks to know their neighbors.  http://clatl.com/atlanta/atl-neighborhood-mvps/Content?oid=13816897.

Spring is on the way – stay alert and enjoy!!

Also – please remember the Clean Car Campaign which states ALL parked cars are to be clean at ALL times.  We would not have the guys wandering our streets in the middle of the night if there was nothing here to steal from cars.

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Traffic Alert: Georgia Publix Marathon and Half Marathon Pass Through VaHi on March 22

Publix_Georgia_Marathon_Logo_copy_2012Expect traffic delays, road closings along the course on Sunday March, 22 between 7AM-2PM

More than 12,000 participants, 2,500 volunteers and 30,000 spectators will be along the course from downtown Atlanta to Decatur and back. Runners will pass through Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia State University, MLK Historic District, Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, The Carter Center, Candler Park, Agnes Scott College, Emory University, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland, Midtown and Georgia Tech.

To view a map of the Marathon and Half Marathon course, click here. For detailed traffic and road closure information, click here. For detailed traffic information and driving suggestions for participants or spectators, click here.

The following excerpt from the road closure document will impact Virginia-Highland residents:

North Highland Ave – North Highland Ave from North Ave to Virginia Ave is part of the course during approximately 7:13am-9:30am. Also, the intersection of North Highland & Virginia is closed to traffic during approximately 7:13am-9:30am. After approximately 9:30am, North Highland Ave is open to traffic from Baker-Highland Connector to Los Angeles Ave. The intersection of North Highland & Los Angeles is closed to traffic during approximately 8:30am-12:45pm, after which all of N. Highland is open to traffic.

Briarcliff Rd – Briarcliff Rd from Stillwood Dr to The By Way is part of the course during approximately 8:25am-12:30pm. During the race, Briarcliff Rd is open to 2-way traffic south of Stillwood Dr and north of The By Way.

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VHCA Encourages Support for Tuesday Bond Referendum

Fire Station 19 repair funds confirmed on list

Anticipated light voter turnout means your vote matters more than ever

No. 19 StationAtlanta City District 6 Councilmember Alex Wan confirmed this week that repair funds for Fire Station 19 are included in the infrastructure bond coming up for a vote this coming week. In a meeting with Wan at the station, Atlanta Fire Department Interim Chief Joel Baker assured community members that the station would remain a fixture in the neighborhood for another generation. Noting that the area’s increased growth means additional fire and rescue capacity might be necessary, Baker reported that the department would address those needs through additional facilities, not replacement of FS19.

The infrastructure vote has flown along relatively under the radar, gathering attention only in the last two weeks. Councilmember Wan, chair of the Council’s Finance/Executive Committee, is a strong supporter, as is the VHCA Board, which voted unanimously in favor of it last week. Creative Loafing’s Thomas Wheatley says the city’s aging and crumbling infrastructure leads him to support the vote, notwithstanding the fact that the project list may be adjusted to some degree. Max Blau finds that last point all too characteristic of this administration and wants to send the Mayor a message about more transparency. Neither of them – no one, to our knowledge – has contested the need for the repair work. You can read both their opinions here: http://clatl.com/atlanta/how-were-voting-on-the-infrastructure-bond-vote/Content?oid=13727618.

Greater transparency is a goal we can all endorse, but not fixing broken roads and aging bridges is a costly way to make the point. Our ‘strong mayor’ form of government gives that individual’s personality and style outsized importance – something well worth remembering when we next go to the polls to vote for that office in 2018 – but a ‘no’ vote on infrastructure improvements doesn’t change city government in the least. It just means we will lose at least half a decade in addressing these problems.

Meanwhile, David Pendered notes in the Saporta Report that the city’s improved credit rating enabled the municipality to refinance some of its outstanding water bond debt at a lower rate last month, saving – he suggests – about 10% on the refi amount. You can read his article here: http://saportareport.com/good-news-on-atlantas-water-debt-may-raise-support-for-bond-referendum/.

Taxpayers pay for all public work one way or another, and there can be no absolute guarantee that a tax increase related to these bonds will never be needed. But Reed is opposed to it publicly, and even his harshest critics acknowledge that he has greatly strengthened the city’s financial position. If there is one area in which his credibility is strong, this is it.

Lastly, local impacts. We appreciate the role of Fire Station 19 in this community’s life and are glad its preservation will be ensured by the passage of this vote. But even if it were not on the list, the other repairs and improvements this bond will deliver need to be started now. It is inevitable and appropriate in our representative system that special efforts will be made to ensure that all communities are benefitted in some way, but the needs of this city are so vast that it wasn’t very hard to make sure that occurred. In our neighborhood this includes a host of traffic improvements, including many along Monroe Drive and Boulevard that are supported by communities along the length of those roads.

We urge you to take the time to study these issues and vote on Tuesday, and we hope you will support this referendum.

~ The VHCA Board of Directors

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Lighting and Plumbing Improvements Continue at John Howell Park

20150307_122713The progress that the City of Atlanta Parks Department has made at restoring the lighting in John Howell Park is increasingly visible (pun intended). The park’s interior lights have been substantively rewired and many globes have been replaced, so the odd amalgam of three different bulb styles is now almost uniform. Remaining on the to-do list are several park lamps along Virginia Avenue, where street lights offer some help in the meantime.

Each fixture has displayed any (and sometimes several) different challenges, but Parks Department electricians – like those pictured here – have worked through them systematically.

20150212_153120Fans of the perpetually leaky faucet along Virginia Avenue (there are some, and your Parks Committee is grateful for your vigilance; it takes a village of eyes…) will notice that the supply pipes and faucet there have been dug up and replaced, and new concrete footing has been poured.

We appreciate all the department’s work to keep our park safe and available for our use.

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“Hotter Than Wasabi™” in Virginia-Highland

By Denise Romeo

Tiger Shrimp

Tiger Shrimp

That’s the motto of Genki, Virginia-Highland’s favorite sushi restaurant that offers fresh, creatively presented sushi rolls and generous noodle bowls. Since opening in Atlanta in 1996, Genki has not only expanded from its original Buckhead location to two other restaurants, but has also become the sushi purveyor for the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena and the World Congress Center. Genki recently added a food truck to their inventory as well with the idea that they would like to reach every neighborhood in Atlanta.

I ♥ Sushi Roll

I ♥ Sushi Roll

For its location in Virginia-Highland – which owner Reid Zeising feels is “the best true neighborhood in Atlanta” – Zeising strived to create a warm, welcoming environment for residents by combining 100-year-old reclaimed wood with high ceilings, and hanging original artwork influenced by his childhood in Tokyo on the brick walls that came with the historic space. In the true spirit of the menu, the TV’s are frequently tuned to NatGeo’s “Wicked Tuna.” The restaurant lives up to its name, which means “energetic, and full of life” in Japanese, with an enthusiastic wait staff and lively clientele.

Virginia-Highland Roll

Virginia-Highland Roll

Virginia-Highland also serves as Genki’s home office and is the name of one of the most popular sushi rolls on their menu. The Virginia Highland Roll is made with spicy tuna and mango topped with escolar, avocado, fresh jalapeño and Masago. The plate is beautifully garnished with fresh oranges and spiraled beets. You can literally taste the freshness of the ingredients in each bite-sized creation. All dishes are hand made at each location and because each piece is sliced a bit thinner than the typical ½-inch roll, each morsel is perfectly bite-sized so that you taste all of the complementary components in one mouthful. The I ♥ Sushi Roll with shrimp tempura and cream cheese, topped with tuna, avocado, sweet and spicy chili sauce, and wasabi cream is equally spectacular with its unsurpassed flavor and texture combinations.

Yakisoba

Yakisoba

In addition to amazing sushi, Genki also serves an array of appetizers including Tiger shrimp sautéed in spicy garlic chili sauce, served over house made guacamole with wonton chips – a fun play on guacamole and chips with a spicy shrimp accompaniment. And, what Japanese-style restaurant would be complete without a selection of noodle bowls? Yakisoba is the most popular street food in Japan and Genki’s version is proof of its status with stir-fried ramen noodles topped with super thinly sliced grilled beef and shredded cabbage, sprinkled with nori and served with red ginger and a side of Japanese mayonnaise.

Tiger Shrimp

Tiger Shrimp

Genki is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week with daily specials like “Tokyo Tuesdays” with deals on sushi, sake and beer, or Sundays when children eat free with the purchase of a parent’s entrée. Their Monday night “Genki Gives” program allows charitable organizations to earn 10% of each dedicated check. Genki also has a wide range of catering options for corporate functions and weddings.

Genki Noodles and Sushi

1040 N. Highland Ave. NE (Virginia-Highland Location)

404.853.3315

www.genkiatl.com

Local food blogger Denise Romeo has lived in the Virginia-Highland area for 25 years. She and her husband, Dom, enjoy spending time together cooking and entertaining. You can read more from Denise on her award winning blog at We Like To Cook!

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Traffic Alert: Intown 10K Passing Through VaHi on March 1

2015intowntenredmanlogo1-300x300The Intown Ten 10K Road Race will take place one week from today, Sunday, March 1, 2015 starting at at 9:00 AM. There will be no street closings, only “rolling closures” as the racers pass through intersections. Click here for more information on the Intown 10K Road Race.

Here’s a turn-by-turn of the race route:

  1. Start – 900 block of Virginia Circle near Todd Avenue—westbound
  2. Go west on Virginia Circle
  3. CROSS Barnett Street
  4. Turn RIGHT on Arcadia
  5. Turn RIGHT on Virginia Avenue
  6. Turn RIGHT on Barnett Street
  7. Turn RIGHT on Greenwood Avenue
  8. Turn RIGHT on Ponce de Leon Place
  9. Turn LEFT on Virginia Avenue
  10. Turn RIGHT on Kanuga ( 1st Water Stop on the Right)
  11. Turn RIGHT on Monroe Drive
  12. Turn RIGHT on Sherwood Road
  13. Turn RIGHT on N. Morningside Drive
  14. Turn RIGHT on North Highland
  15. Turn RIGHT on Courtenay (2nd Water stop on the right)
  16. Courtenay changes to Amsterdam Avenue
  17. Turn RIGHT on Brookridge Drive
  18. Bear RIGHT across the Orme Park bridge
  19. Turn LEFT at Brookridge/ Orme Circle (signs are confusing)
  20. Turn or bear RIGHT on Elkmont Drive
  21. Turn LEFT on Park Drive
  22. CROSS Virginia Avenue
  23. Turn LEFT on St. Charles Avenue
  24. Turn LEFT on Barnett Street
  25. Finish on Barnett Street between Adair and Virginia Circle on the right side of Barnett
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Walk to Your Doc: New Practice Opens in VaHi

Va Hi primary care ad The Voice rev FINAL 022415Those who live or work in Virginia-Highland now have another convenient option for health care.

Atlanta Medical Center Primary Care Physicians at Virginia Highland has opened in Amsterdam Walk, in the former Supplement Warehouse location. Same-day appointments are available.

Dr. Lekeshia Jarrett, a board-certified family medicine physician, is accepting new patients. She enjoys caring for the whole patient and the whole family, realizing that both physical and mental health are important in achieving an optimal quality of life. Dr. Jarrett cares for patients as young as newborns all the way to 100 years of age. Dr. Jarrett encourages a healthy lifestyle as the first step for any health plan.

Jarrett_Lekeshia_MD_labcoat_4x6A native of Mississippi, Dr. Jarrett earned her medical degree from University of Mississippi School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Family Practice and Community Medicine at the University of South Alabama. A wife and mother, she lives in nearby Grant Park.

Dr. Jarrett is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and National Medical Association.

Services include:

  • Preventive screenings and complete physical exams
  • Sports participation physical exams
  • Well-child checks and well-woman exams
  • Chronic disease management
  • Prenatal care
  • Acute illness management
  • In-office procedures

The practice offers free parking and is designed to be convenient for people who live or work in Virginia-Highland.

Atlanta Medical Center Primary Care Physicians at Virginia Highland is located at 560-D Amsterdam Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306. Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. – noon. The office is closed for lunch from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Most insurance is accepted, including Medicaid and Medicare. To make an appointment, call (404) 479-5708.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: February 24, 2015

By John Wolfinger

Learning Opportunities Coming Up

Two citizens public safety academies starting soon and a city-wide safety awareness program, too.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy, to be held on 7 Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., starts April 22nd. These sessions are mostly held at the County Safety Training Center on Merk Road in College Park near the Wolf Trap outdoor arena. The purpose of this academy is to give an understanding of the daily operations of the Sheriff’s Office from every aspect to include a tour of the downtown courthouse, the Fulton County Jail, the Special Operations/Tactical Units and a portion of their specialized training. Sheriff Ted Jackson and Chief Jimmy Carter will personally give several of the presentations. This class is already more than halfway filled up, so to hold a seat – contact Lieutenant Dan Cochran at daniel.cochran@fultoncountyga.gov  listing your name, e-mail address, mailing address and phone numbers. I also have applications – e-mail me for a copy. I am a graduate of this program and it is a stellar presentation.

The City of Atlanta Police Department has announced their spring session of their Citizen’s Police Academy, to be held for 8 Wednesday evenings starting April 29th, from 6 to 9 p.m. These sessions are mostly held at the Police Academy on Southside Industrial Parkway near the main post office. This program provides an opportunity to learn how the police department operates with its many units. This includes a visit to our 911 operations center, a ride-along with a Beat Officer, watching a K-9 demo and a chance to meet a lot of seasoned Officers who teach classes at the Training Academy.  Request an application at Atlantacops@atlantaga.gov  – the deadline for doing this is April 1st. I am also a graduate of this terrific program, and it is eye-opening.

APD is also sponsoring a city-wide safety awareness training program on Saturday, March 21st from 8:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the downtown Public Safety Building – free parking at the attached garage. E-mail Inspector S. Thomas at sabthomas@atlantaga.gov for further details and registration. Deadline for registration is March 16th.

These sessions allow you to see how relatively crime-free VaHi is compared to what other city neighborhoods have to endure.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2015 weeks 6 and 7 (2/1-2/14). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday – so you can be alert and aware. This report is absolutely amazing to me – with the small amount of 601 reported incidents.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, all over the Zone there were 27 such cases.

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: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle: Only ONE such incident reported – PDL Place (camera, laptop and bag, tablet and house keys). However, in the total Zone in this time period there were 53 such incidents – with one catalytic converter sawed off and one more hand gun added to the arsenal on the streets.

Larceny Other: An iPhone and a tablet were stolen from a Greenwood Avenue apartment – they were taken by an acquaintance of the resident while she was taking a shower.

Nearby, on Edgewood Avenue – a big “whoops” – a cell phone was taken from the dashboard of an APD patrol car while the Officer  was out of the car conducting a traffic stop.  Guess that nothing is sacred anymore.

All of the stores at Edgewood Retail District reported 6 shoplifting incidents.  At the Walgreens at Piedmont and North Avenues – a “shopper” pretending to buy a cupcake, grabbed the cash out of the register when the drawer was opened – he ran and escaped.

Just because we only had one auto break-in in this time period – do NOT forget the Clean Car Campaign and keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times.

Spring will be here soon – just endure the rest of winter.

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Trees Atlanta Annual VaHi Planting Set for February 21

image001VaHi’s streets are among the most tree-lined of any intown Atlanta neighborhood. We have many years of joint planting events with Trees Atlanta to thank for that wonderful fact. This year’s annual Trees Atlanta/VaHi tree planting will be held Saturday February 21 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

DSCF0011The overall focus continues to be to plant in areas of high automobile traffic to help slow down the traffic, reduce pollution and increase the sense of ‘neighborhood’. This year most of the trees will be planted along Greenwood and St. Charles, but a number of fill-in trees will also be planted along Adair and some along Barnett. Click here for a detailed list of what trees will be planted where. All sites where trees will be planted have been leafletted.

DSC_0012Concurrent with the planting of these 85 trees in the neighborhood, neighbors on Clemont and Greencove are sponsoring a mulching of the trees in the back of the field at Inman Middle School. The mulch for both projects will be dropped at that location. If there are enough volunteers, we should be able to mulch all the trees not only in the field, but also the street trees immediately surrounding Inman School.

We need volunteers for both events. If you’d like to help plant trees, come to New Highland Park at 9:00 AM. If you want to help mulch, come to the back of the field at Inman School along Clemont. All ages are welcome and no RSVP is needed – just show up if you can help.

Trees Atlanta will provide buckets, pitchforks, shovels and gloves for volunteers. Let’s bring out the entire neighborhood and celebrate Arbor Day planting and mulching trees, VaHi-style. Special thanks to the scouts and leaders of Cub Scout Pack #17 for their ongoing support of this annual event! Pack #17 has been instrumental in raising funding and providing volunteers for the event, year in and year out.

For more information contact Alex Beasley at Trees Atlanta alex@treesatllanta.org or Stephanie Coffin stcoffin@comcast.net.

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APS Officials Hold Community Meeting to Discuss Inman Expansion

DSC_0004Officials from Atlanta Public Schools – including Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and board member Matt Westmoreland – met with residents on February 19 to discuss options for addressing overcrowding at Inman Middle School. If you were unable to attend, here’s a link to a video of the meeting.

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APS Puts Hold on Inman Expansion Project

DSC_0004By Jack White, VHCA Board President

Yesterday, Matt Westmoreland responded to ongoing queries about the status of the Inman expansion with a note saying the Board had decided to defer confirming the pending construction contract. In a letter released last night, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen confirmed this action, based on APS’ new estimates that project a 2015-16 school year enrollment greater than Inman could accommodate even if expanded (a process projected to take about two years).

Carstarphen’s letter grimly proposes even more portables at Inman while the school board looks at the challenge the cluster faces. The exact status of the expansion plans is unclear; it is possible that some improvements – a revamped gym and lobby, new science labs, and school bus lanes – could be made even without the classroom additions.

VHCA is investing considerable effort in following this process and will have further comments in the near future. It’s time to calmly put all the challenges and options on the table and openly consider them in a thoughtful atmosphere of respect and cordiality. VHCA is committed to meeting that standard ourselves; we expect that everyone else involved in the process will be, as well.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent, Matt Westmoreland, and other APS personnel will review the expansion dilemma at a public meeting in the Inman Auditorium at 6:30 on Thursday, February 19th. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.

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Support Fire Station #19 at Yeah! Burger on February 17

No. 19 StationOn Tuesday February 17 from 6PM – 10PM, Yeah! Burger at 1017 N. Highland Ave. will donate 10% of sales to the Virginia-Highland Conservation League (VHCL) in support of efforts to restore the neighborhood’s historic Fire Station #19. Please consider supporting this worthwhile cause by patronizing Yeah! Burger during the dine-out.

Click here to read more about VHCA/VHCL efforts to protect this neighborhood treasure from an uncertain future.

Feel Good Tuesday Flyer

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North Highland Park Update

Over Half of Debt Retired

By Pamela Papner, Virginia-Highland Conservation League

DSC06195

Anyone new to the neighborhood might not know that in December of 2008, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, Inc. (VHCA) closed on the purchase of two lots at 1076 and 1082 St. Charles Place, at the corner of St. Charles Place and North Highland Avenue. Formerly the site of a public library, these lots had remained vacant and often overgrown for more than ten years. Financing for the acquisition came through the Georgia Land Conservation Program (GLCP). VHCA was the first non-profit in the state to be approved for funding under this program.

The association raised almost $160,000 (including a $50,000 grant from Park Pride), and the two lots were developed as an environmentally-friendly, passive park for the community’s residents and visitors. The park opened on March 16, 2013.

In contrast to city-owned and maintained parks, North Highland Park is privately-owned by our neighborhood through VHCA. The park is not only a respite from asphalt and noise; it is also a bio-retention project for stormwater management. A rainwater garden and a large selection of native foliage capture and hold rainfall on site instead of sending it to the city’s stormwater system. Soil and plants naturally remove pollutants from stormwater. This park is also a major element in the future of the Atkins Park commercial area, the rejuvenation of which was one of the many focus points of the Virginia-Highland Master Plan.

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VHCA pays the debt on the park through proceeds raised by our major fundraising efforts – Summerfest and the Tour of Homes – and additional  events sponsored by the Association’s fundraising arm, the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, Inc. (VHCL). Our goal is to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible to ensure the park remains ours forever. To that end, VHCA has made several additional payments over the past two years to further reduce the principal balance on the loan.

We are excited to report that one neighbor who is passionate about the park recently gave us an extremely generous donation of $27,000! We are very excited about this gift and will be adding funds to pay down the mortgage by an additional $35,000. We thank this generous benefactor – who wishes to remain anonymous – so much!

By April 1, 2015 the remaining balance on the loan will be ~$432,000, which means we will have retired over half of the initial debt in just over 6 years of the 15-year GLCP loan term. While we are very happy about that, we still have more money to rise, and we have not lost sight of the end goal of retiring the debt completely. Plans are already underway for this year’s Summerfest, which has been a solid money-maker for our community. If any residents wish to spearhead fundraising ideas, please contact me at ppapner@earthlink.net.

DSC06114Buy a Brick to Support North Highland Park

Residents who have followed this project know that a significant amount of revenue for the park’s construction came from the sale of engraved bricks that are installed along the sidewalk that runs along St. Charles Place. Brick sales brought in more than $38,000 – one brick/one $100 donation at a time. After park construction was completed, we realized we still had space for more bricks. The excitement surrounding the opening of the new park enabled us to sell 24 more bricks; however, we need to sell another 37 before it’s economically feasible for us to engrave and install the final group of bricks.

We are asking the community to help us sell those final 37 bricks! Please consider ordering one so that we can complete this final wave.  If you order a brick, you can have it engraved with up to 3 lines (14 characters, including spaces). Please consider doing so! You can purchase a brick online – or simply contribute to the park – at https://vahi.org/parks/contribute.  If you order a brick as a gift, you will receive a certificate suitable for gift-giving.

Thank you and we hope to see you in North Highland Park soon!

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Improvements On the Horizon for City of Atlanta

IMG_6344By Jess Windham, Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board

Those passionate about transportation improvements in the city of Atlanta have experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the past few years. As a review of the list of projects included in the city’s upcoming proposed infrastructure bond reveals, we all now have something to look forward to.

The city of Atlanta is currently conducting a third and final round of public meetings for the upcoming Renew Atlanta 2015 Infrastructure Bond. Representing the city at a January 13 meeting were Public Works Program Management Officer Rodney Givens; Billy Warren, Director of Facilities Management in the Office of Enterprise Assets Management and ADA Coordinator; Chief Real Estate Officer for the Mayor Jalal Slade; Commissioner of Public Works Richard Mendoza; Katrina Taylor Parks, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office; and Charletta Wilson Jacks, Director of the Office of Planning. All will play an important role in the implementation of projects included in the bond.

at-the-corner-of-9.5X24-MECH-01The bond has two parts: transportation projects and municipal facilities. Each part will be voted on separately;  $186,456,718 is being considered for transportation improvements and $63,543,282 for municipal facilities.  A handful of projects would occur within Virginia-Highland. You’ll recall our neighborhood’s boundaries: the BeltLine to the west, Amsterdam to the north, Briarcliff to the east and Ponce de Leon to the south. Inside this area, six projects are on the proposed list:

  • Inman Middle – School flashers for middle school at 774 Virginia Avenue
  • Monroe Drive – Complete Street improvements inclusive of milling, resurfacing and pedestrian improvements from Piedmont Circle to Ponce de Leon Avenue
  • Monroe Drive at Park: Replacement of traffic signal LED’s, cabinet, controller monitor, signal wiring, communications, & timing at the intersection.
  • Monroe Drive at Amsterdam: Replacement of traffic signal LED’s, cabinet, controller monitor, signal wiring, communications, & timing at the intersection.
  • Barnett Street – Resurfacing from Virginia Avenue to Ponce de Leon Avenue 
  • Barnett Street at Saint Charles Ave: Replacement of traffic signal LED’s, cabinet, controller monitor, signal wiring, communications, & timing at the intersection.

These projects represent only the tip of the iceberg of what would be improved with bond funding. Other inspiring projects include a number of streets to be converted to “Complete Streets” (more on that below), a citywide traffic signal upgrade, numerous road resurfacings, and school flashers for SPARK, Morningside Elementary and many other schools. A full list of proposed projects can be found on the city’s website. The site features a useful interactive map where you can make comments.

DSC_0037“Complete Street” projects would significantly improve existing transportation corridors. The term refers to a set of policy and design principles adopted nationwide in communities looking to improve the variety and safety of their transportation options. In the words of Smart Growth America, Complete Streets “are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.” (See link below.) This can include bike lanes, sidewalks, rapid transit lanes, or any number of comprehensive transportation infrastructure improvements. With this range of improvement recommendations, each specific Complete Street project must be customized for the unique street where the policy is applied. In our case, we’re talking Monroe Drive.

Virginia-Highland’s Master Plan reiterated the need and consensus for improvements on Monroe Drive. With a fatal accident happening yet again last weekend, the call for improvements on Monroe has never been louder. The Master Plan recommendations, however, are much more specific than what is called for in the infrastructure bond. Those recommendations include support for the road diet recommended by Connect Atlanta and, additionally, a traffic circle at Park Drive. However, that may not at all be what the city ultimately implements. Before any improvements are made, a traffic study and further design will ultimately shape and determine the appropriate improvements to be made. At the end of the day, VHCA fully supports any improvement for safety on Monroe. It simply cannot happen soon enough.

trafficsbadmkeaWithin resurfacing projects, there is an opportunity for increasing Atlanta’s bike infrastructure as well. If a bike lane, cycle track, or sharrow path has been called for in a previously adopted plan, whether it be the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) itself or additions like the Connect Atlanta Plan or VaHi’s Master Plan, then bike infrastructure will be engineered into the project. This is a key element in making Atlanta a more healthy, sustainable and desirable place to live, especially as we compete globally with other cities for jobs and housing growth. Not to mention, having separate infrastructure for cyclists makes travel safer and smoother for everyone. VHCA will follow the resurfacing project proposed for Barnett Street and publicize any developments as they come available. The Master Plan made a handful of recommendations for improvements on Barnett Street and we would like to coordinate with the city and neighbors to see those improvements implemented.

If the infrastructure bond is approved by voters in the upcoming election, the city expects to begin work on projects as soon as funding is available on or shortly after July 1, 2015. Similar to the Quality of Life bond projects undertaken more than a decade ago, working through the full list of projects included in this bond referendum is likely to take about five years.

What can you do to support improvements in Virginia-Highland and throughout the city? Vote for the bond on March 17th.  If you aren’t registered to vote, you can do so on this website.

In the meantime, you can always submit regular maintenance and repair requests to the city’s new 311 system. Call 311 anytime or visit http://www.atl311.com/. For sidewalks, don’t forget that at this time citizens are ultimately responsible for sidewalk repairs to their adjacent property. This applies to both residential and commercial property owners. If the damage has been caused by a tree root in the city’s right of way, then the City is responsible and you should reach out to them for repairs. The topic of sidewalks in Atlanta is an entirely different can of worms and anyone interested in what the city is doing to improve sidewalks should closely follow the legislation proposed by city council representative Mary Norwood and eight of her peers. VHCA is also very interested in this topic and would be happy to discuss it with anyone interested.

For more information on Complete Streets, visit Smart Growth America’s website.

Click here to view the complete Virginia-Highland Master Plan.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: February 10, 2015

By John Wolfinger

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2015 weeks 4 and 5 (1/18-1/31). http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx

These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary: On 1/26 Real Chow Baby restaurant on PDL Avenue was burglarized and reported $1200 in cash taken from the manager’s office safe.  Their security cameras showed the perp opening the back door with a key, use the code to disarm the alarm and use another key to open the office door.

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: No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, just south of us at the Edgewood Retail District – there were two more carjackings. On 1/24, 3 male suspects took a car and purse from the female victim via vocal commands along with an object that looked somewhat like a knife. This car was recovered one day later.  Then on 1/26 another such incident happened – the story at  http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/police-step-security-after-rash-edgewood-carjackin/njyy8/  This resulted in the arrest of 2 of the 3 suspects. No other such incidents at Edgewood after these arrests that I am aware of.

Larceny From Vehicle: Cars were entered on PDL Place (purse, retainer, dental nite guard), Virginia Avenue (dress, I-pod), Amsterdam Avenue (gym bag and running shoes), Highland Terrace (vehicle registration), North Highland Avenue ( Macbook, bag, watch, check book, bracelets and a scarf), Barnett Street (GPS and drill set).  These were all the incidents that were reported to APD via a 911 call – but I have a strong feeling there were several more of these intrusions, judging from reports I have gotten from some Street Captains.  No report to APD – no crime committed.

All over the Zone in this time period there were 57 reported cases resulting in one more weapon added to the arsenal on the streets, 5 catalytic converters sawed off and 3 license plates unbolted. Keep walking behind your car on a regular basis to make sure you have a license plate.

Larceny Other: A Monroe Drive male victim lost $100 in a stolen change jar by a female perp he had met on-line.  At an un-named North Highland Avenue bar the victim was handing $40 to a friend when it was snatched by the suspect who ran out and escaped on a bicycle.

Elsewhere around the Zone, at the Historic 4th Ward Skatepark a female suspect asked to borrow the male victim’s cell phone. She handed it off to a male accomplice and they drove off in a car with a stolen license plate. At the Edgewood Retail District, the victim went into 5 Guys to buy food for a panhandler and when he came out his bike and the panhandler were gone. Talk about biting the hand that was going to feed you.

In this time period all the stores at Edgewood reported 6 shoplifting incidents.

Remember the Clean Car Campaign and keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times.

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Tentative Agenda for VHCA’s February Board and General Meeting

Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board of Directors Monthly Meeting

Monday, February 9, 2015; 7:00 PM; Ponce de Leon Library

Proposed Agenda

Call to Order

Adoption of Agenda

Police & Fire Dept. representatives

City of Atlanta officials; other public officials & municipal representatives

Planning Committee

A.     Variances and License applications – Lola Carlisle

  • V-14-305; 1158 Lanier Blvd. NE
  • Liquor license app. (change of ownership): Frances L.S. Catherall on behalf of Sushiking; dba Noche Highlands, 1000 Virginia Ave. NE

B.     VHCA Inman Tree Appeal – Jack White
C.     Reported development along Monroe Dr. – Jenifer Keenan
D.     Large Event study at Piedmont Park – Jack White
E.      Master Plan implementation – Jess Windham
F.      Zoning Overlay study – Lola Carlisle & Jess Windham

Budget Committee

  • Proposed 2015 Budget – Peggy Berg & Jess Windham

Parks Committee – David Brandenburger

  • Triangle
  • JHP

Calendar update

NPU-F at Hillside; mon., 2-16-15; 7:00 PM

 

  • APS Supt. at IMS auditorium; Thurs., 2-19-15; 6:30 PM
  • Tree planting with Trees Atlanta; North Highland Park; Sat., 2-21-15; 9:00 AM
  • VHCA Planning Comm.; Church of Our Saviour; Wed., 3-4-15; 7:00 PM

New Business

 

Adjournment

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February City Council District 6 Newsletter

wan_190Click here to read the latest from City Councilmember Alex Wan’s office, including updates on:

  • 2015 Infrastructure Bond Hearings Continue
  • Park Pride Awards Grant in District 6
  • Google Fiber Coming to Atlanta
  • Municipal Court Amnesty ProgramMorningside Mile – and Yeah! Burger Dine-Out – to Benefit Fire Station #19
  • Spotlight on City of Atlant Government: APD

Please note the following from Wan on the status of Fire Station #19:

Clarification About Fire Station No. 19 Replacement Plans

Fire Station No. 19 is one of three fire stations slated for replacement in 2016. This list is generated as solely a proposal to lifecycle all stations based on such variables as age, building code, etc. However, the capital necessary for a new facility has not been budgeted, nor are there yet any viable sources, thus dramatically lessening the likelihood that this will actually happen. As a result, preliminary meetings between Atlanta Fire & Rescue and concerned residents have taken place, and plans are underway to renovate the fire station.

 

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VaHi Safety Team Report: January 27, 2015

APD Crime Story

Interesting story about the changes in crime incidents here in the city over the past few years at http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2014/jan/10/atlanta-police-foundation/police-foundation-target/. I have heard many APD police folks state over the years though that a reduction in crime incidents is not of importance to someone who has just been the victim of a crime. Yes, we still have crime, as we are a big city in the middle of a very big metro area. But the lower rates help to show that APD is seeing success in using modern and innovative crime fighting techniques such as the video integration center that monitors over 3,400 public and private cameras city-wide, predictive policing software to point out hot spots for extra patrols, alarm registry to cut down on false alarm calls (have you registered your alarm system at www.crywolf.us/atlantaga?), and Google mapping for quicker response time (http://googleforwork.blogspot.com/2014/05/atlanta-police-department-makes-city.html).

Deceptive Sales Techniques for Home Alarm Systems

This video comes courtesy of an alarm system company (ADT), and I am not advocating this particular firm at all – but wanted you to see how some alarm companies try to sell their systems and services.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmwSjoufBrk.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2015 weeks 2 and 3 (1/4-1/17). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: In the parking lot of the Briarcliff Summit – there were attempts to steal a 1998 Dodge Caravan and a 2008 Chrysler.  A witness saw 5 young males at these cars and they fled on foot west on PDL Avenue.  Both cars were damaged though.

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: No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, at the Edgewood Retail District on 1/11 there was yet another car-jacking with the victim reporting that a male appeared and pointed a pistol at her stating “give me the keys and your money”, she wisely gave him the keys and he took off with her car and her purse that was in the car.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on Cooledge Ave. (GPS), PDL Avenue (book bag, pistol, laptop,I-Pod and purse), PDL Avenue (bag and contents), PDL Avenue (car battery from front seat), PDL Avenue (2 backpacks, I-Pad, computer bag,and a wifi device), Amsterdam Avenue (backpack, I-Pad, laptop,kindle and clothing), Los Angeles Avenue (book bag), Briarcliff Tr. (license plate), PDL Avenue (I-Pad, clothing, flashlight, pistol and radio speaker), PDL Place (spare tire and license plate decal).

Zone-wide for this time period there were 74 reported such incidents with 4 more hand weapons added to the arsenal on the streets.  Also – of note, there were 5 catalytic converters sawed off.  If you have a vehicle built high off the ground – be careful where you park, as you are a candidate for catalytic converter theft.

Larceny Other: An unidentified North Highland Ave. store reported $955 in deposits missing.  An entire a/c unit was taken from a Drewry Street residence. A cell phone was taken from an unwatched purse at the Drunken Unicorn club on PDL Avenue. At the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church 14 checks totaling $7100 were taken from a mailbox – 3 of these checks were cashed to unknown persons.

Stay alert and remember the Clean Car Campaign that states that ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times.

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Fire Station #19 – Onward and Upward

No. 19 Fire Station c. 1920sBy Lola Carlisle

Since its opening in 1925, Fire Station 19 (FS19) has been a beloved institution in Virginia-Highland. The firefighters and the building have a unique place in this community. A lot of children in this neighborhood have climbed on its engines, and a good many of us have been treated by the EMT team housed there.

To no one’s surprise and everyone’s delight, FS19 – and its sister station FS27 in Piedmont Heights – have received a lot of attention and support from Councilmember Alex Wan since he took office in 2010.

No. 19 StationWhen the Councilmember and local resident Catherine Lewis discovered last fall that the station had been placed on the city’s 2016 replacement list, it caught everyone’s attention.  The first response was to organize a meeting to review the reasoning behind the announcement, the current status of fundraising, and the specific proposals and options for making needed changes to the building. The goal of that meeting was to develop a strategic plan to update and protect FS19.

Catherine assembled a diverse committee, and the meeting drew a lot of organizational support. The group agreed to schedule meetings with (then) Fire Chief Cochran, develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy, review the needed repairs, place funds raised by the community into a new 501(c)(3) conduit (the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, which has a very low administrative fee for donations), and add Catherine to that group’s board.

Ian Allum with DogCatherine has been involved in researching the subject from a lot of different angles; it is a task to which she is particularly well-suited.  Her resume includes being an Assistant Vice President for Museums, Archives & Rare Books at Kennesaw State University, Special Projects Coordinator for the Atlanta History Center, and President of Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries. It’s everyone’s good luck that she also lives in VaHi and is a member of the VHCA Preservation Committee.

The meetings that followed with Councilmember Wan and (then) Chief Cochran were promising. Cochran indicated that the station’s replacement status was both a result of the station’s age and a perception that it needed to be expanded. The AFD confirmed that funds had not yet been designated to tear it down or replace it, but it would remain on the 2016 replacement list.  The AFD and City of Atlanta were open to listening to other alternatives and partnering with the Virginia-Highland Civic Association to consider preserving the station in its current location.

From his post as Chair of the Finance-Executive Committee, Councilmember Wan is well-positioned to keep abreast of the city’s budgeting particulars – such as funding for new fire stations – and safety planning in general. There seem to be a large number of capital needs more critical than FS19 (which is structurally sound), but there was still concern about FS19’s future.

No. 19 with DogThe firefighters themselves also pay close attention to internal developments within the Public Safety Department, and protecting the historic station became part of last year’s Virginia-Highland Master Plan.

These are not guarantees of the station’s permanence; they’re an opportunity to use the intervening time to good advantage, and that is our approach. Cochran’s unanticipated departure as chief will necessitate a new review with his eventual successor, whenever (s)he is named. Other communities have worked with the AFD and City to raise funds and help preserve older stations, effectively removing them from “replacement.”  We can do the same.

When Councilmember Wan asked VHCL to become the effort’s financial agent last year, we readily agreed. Establishing a long-range financial plan is a necessity, along with finalizing the review and costing of specific repair plans and increasing fundraising.  In the latter category are the Breakfast with Santa at Osteria 832 (organized by Rich Chey), the Santathon fundraiser (a joint effort of VHCA and Tailfin Marketing) at the station, and other upcoming events throughout the community.

As the fundraising plan develops with the new fire chief, we hope you will support it. FS19 is a landmark in Virginia-Highland, and our goal is to keep it functioning as a fire station for as long as it’s viable. To our knowledge, the Public Safety Department believes it has a lot of life left in it. Let’s make the station safe and sound for our current firefighters and for future generations.

If you’d like to help, please contact us at preservation@vahi.org.; we’d be glad to hear from you. You can also learn more and make a tax-deductible donation here.

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APS Excludes Trees Around Inman Softball Field from Removal Plan

IMG_0270New plan with reduced tree loss may be offered

By Jack White

As promised last week, APS has filed a revised plan for tree removal at Inman that excludes all the healthy trees on and around the softball field along Greencove Avenue.  They have also removed a 41” oak along Virginia Ave., the removal of which was to accommodate stormwater that this plan no longer creates.  Click here to see the revised plan.

APS’ original plan proposed removing nineteen trees that totaled 435”; the revised one proposes removing eleven trees totaling 192”. The revised plan both generates less stormwater (sparing the tree already mentioned) and makes creating a new replacement tree plan a great deal more practical.

In their note last week that addressed our concerns about removal of these trees, APS mentioned the possibility of further design efforts being undertaken with the specific goals of minimal tree loss and stormwater management. Those are worthy goals, and we will promptly share any information we receive about any new plans.

The revised plan received today still anticipates the removal of the trees around the Clemont driveway (proximal to the proposed expansion) and along Park Dr. (to accommodate new lanes for two special education busses). Those trees are included in separate appeals filed by neighbors who are understandably unhappy to see any trees go and who question whether or not the planned expansion will provide sufficient future capacity at Inman.

Our school board representative, Matt Westmoreland, has assured us throughout the process (most recently two weeks ago) that the trailers will be removed from Inman upon the completion of the addition. At a meeting with neighbors this weekend, he promised that he would review the computations of the APS demographers with this exact outcome in mind.  When we receive his report we will pass it along to residents.

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Trees Atlanta Announces Expansion of Environmental Education Programs

treesatlantalogoNew opportunities for grade schoolers and tree enthusiasts

Trees Atlanta is expanding its youth and adult education programming designed to provide opportunities for everyone to learn proper techniques for planting and caring for trees while also becoming better stewards for the urban forest. Each program stands alone, but all serve a common goal: giving members of our community the knowledge and tools necessary to successfully restore and maintain the precious natural resources that are essential to our quality of life.

Junior TreeKeepers

Trees Atlanta is, of course, eager to share the love of trees with the next generation, and is excited to expand the 2015 Junior TreeKeepers Summer Camp at the new Trees Atlanta TreeHouse!

The Junior TreeKeepers summer camp provides five (5) days each session of interactive and hands-on activities in environmental science, as well as field trips to local attractions such as Fernbank Forest, a 200-year-old forest, the Atlanta BeltLine and Atlanta Botanical Garden!

Each week-long session costs $250, and scholarships are available. Enrollment is open and middle and elementary school students are encouraged to apply now at www.treesatlanta.org.

TreeSpeakers

Trees Atlanta needs help sharing its story and is seeking the first group of energetic public speakers to complete training to lead presentations in the community about Trees Atlanta.

Volunteers are needed to present already prepared presentations approximately 30-45 minutes in length and answer questions from the audience. Preliminary interviews will take place prior to the start of training. Training will be held over two 3-hour sessions. It will include classroom instruction, review of presentation, practice, and presentation critiques. Visit www.treesatlanta.org for training information.

Do you have an upcoming meeting or event where you’d like to host a presenter to learn more about Trees Atlanta? Contact kateb@treesatlanta.org to process your request.

Youth Tree Stewards

Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees), CSX, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are partnering with Trees Atlanta to prepare the next generation of environmental stewards. Trees Atlanta is working with teens from George Washington Carver Boys & Girls Club on programming relating to Atlanta’s urban forest that focuses on three key themes: stewardship, leadership, and advocacy.

Youth Tree Steward environmental activities include removing invasive species from the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum and cleaning up litter around Fred Armon Toomer Elementary. At the end of seven sessions, the students will be empowered to lead local advocacy efforts that build support and awareness of the benefits trees provide to their communities.

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Trees Near Softball Field at Inman Middle School to Remain as APS Reviews Plan Design

IMG_0270

By Jack White

Appeals of APS postings for tree removals at Inman Middle School were filed this week by both the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and individual citizens.  Two appeals filed on Tuesday by VaHi residents included all listed trees on site (including those around the construction areas), while VHCA’s (filed Wednesday morning) addressed the large trees in the field by Greencove Ave. and a large oak along Virginia Avenue, the removal of which seemed to result from a new stormwater line there.The loss of any tree – particularly one that is otherwise healthy – is difficult on many fronts. Construction activities imperil trees in many ways: reducing (often already compromised) root zones is an obvious one, and damage from nearby construction equipment is another. Trees that are already living in perilous conditions face extreme challenges when the environment around them changes dramatically. While trees lost will be replaced, losing mature trees is a major loss; saving large healthy trees produces many ecological benefits (and also makes the applicant’s tree replacement burden a great deal more manageable.)

The loss of any tree – particularly one that is otherwise healthy – is difficult on many fronts. Construction activities imperil trees in many ways: reducing (often already compromised) root zones is an obvious one, and damage from nearby construction equipment is another. Trees that are already living in perilous conditions face extreme challenges when the environment around them changes dramatically. While trees lost will be replaced, losing mature trees is a major loss; saving large healthy trees produces many ecological benefits (and also makes the applicant’s tree replacement burden a great deal more manageable.)

In addition to the judgment provided by the city Parks Department arborist on this project, we sought evaluations (both informal and formal) from other professionals, none of whom thought that any tree around the active classroom construction areas could be legally or practically saved. However difficult such opinions were to hear, the result was we found no known logical basis or legal support for an appeal to save these trees.

The trees adjacent to the softball field were another matter. While the additions to the school building along Clemont and the new bus lane along Park had been shared and examined many months ago, no review of any field re-design had been offered for discussion or reviewed in any specific way by the Inman Expansion Committee or any other citizen group.

Our dismay with this plan was especially acute because redesigning to accommodate the field’s large trees had always been an obvious and specific goal, along with providing upgraded facilities for Inman’s softball team (at least for practice and perhaps for games, if APS would accept a reduced field size.) VHCA had offered to provide funds for landscape architecture that would incorporate common design elements found both at John Howell Park across the street and at the Georgia Power facility on Ponce Place, and for hiring the very same firms to lead the process. The design phase of this part of the project – to enhance the field for Inman students and create a more visually appealing space for the community at the same time – had been estimated by APS as more than a year away.  We anticipated and looked forward to a public approach that included citizen input into the process.

The recent abrupt tree posting led to multiple discussions with APS, City Parks arborist Chris Kallio, the Tree Conservation Commission, and several private consultants, all in search of a full understanding of what was driving this design and proposed tree removal and an understanding of viable options. (VHCA Planning Committee member Chip Bullock was especially insightful in this regard). The day before the appeal deadline – and after at least one appeal had already been filed by a local resident – we met with Facility Director Alvah Hardy and Expansion Committee Co-Chairs Tamara Jones and Gail Price and asked again that the field trees proposed for removal be stricken from the plan, pending a full review of the goals and options, and that the Expansion Committee be reconvened to review the plans.

Hardy agreed to review the design imperatives and the points we raised – specifics of the field placement, design objectives and options, the size of the space, methods for reducing and controlling stormwater, the alternatives we offered, and to engage an arborist with the specific goal of saving as many trees as possible. Some trees on the APS site will come down regardless of this process due to their ‘Dead Dying or Hazardous’ (DDH) status. He advised, however, that he could not complete any such review or react before the approaching appeal deadline; we proceeded with our appeal on the field trees, which we filed on Wednesday morning. (Click here to read the appeal document we filed; click here and here to view supporting documents.)

Late Wednesday afternoon, Alvah reported that he had begun the processes we had all discussed and that the trees on the field would be taken off the list of trees to be removed pending an examination of these issues, which he hoped would not take more than a couple of weeks. In that regard, he specifically referred to a ‘temporary’ delay, awaiting the creation of a brand new design plan, which he was optimistic would result in reduced tree loss. He also noted that reducing tree loss would provide other design and project benefits.

He anticipates filing an interim revised plan that excludes removal of the field trees by the middle of next week, ideally followed by a new version of a plan for the field by the end of the following week (which is, for reference’s sake, the end of the month). We appreciate this action and have thanked him for it. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the design goals and objectives in a larger and more thoughtful context.

We understand the formal legal process as follows: the appeals that have been filed are scheduled for the Tree Conservation Committee hearing of February 18th  (6:30 PM, City Hall Committee Room 2, or an adjacent space if needed).  No tree work will occur on site pending the resolution of those appeals. APS is looking at alternatives for the field design. Unless there is a brand new decision by the school board to approach the capacity issue differently (and none are contemplated, to our knowledge), the scheduled construction will continue on its existing track this summer.

With the pending appeals in place, many citizens remain very disappointed at the prospect of any tree loss, particularly for an expansion that some believe will not sufficiently address Inman’s capacity challenges and may not result in the pledged and promised removal of the trailers when the expansion is complete. While such issues are not a formal part of the plan to remove trees, they do raise anxiety levels in several contexts.  One of them is APS’ promise that the trailers will leave the site at project completion, a topic that we have discussed several times with District 3 School Board Representative Matt Westmoreland.  He has always plainly and publicly stated – at Inman this past fall and most recently in the last two weeks – that the trailers will depart upon the completion of the new addition.

An improved field re-design does not ensure that any of us will be completely satisfied or pleased with the eventual outcome. What it should do is provide clear design goals and a chance for review and comment along the way. Such a process is not necessarily small-d democratic, nor does it threaten the primacy of school needs in the process.  It does acknowledge that schools and communities have to get along as neighbors,  understanding and considering the ways in which we impact each other and working together on solutions to mutual challenges.

How hard can that be?  We’ll keep reminding ourselves and all parties of the importance of making it happen.

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VaHi Safety Report: January 13, 2015

By John Wolfinger

Arrest and Court News

Phillip Gamble, who was arrested in a daylight take-down on Virginia Avenue (east of Lanier Boulevard) after a residential burglary on this street on 10/8/14, and who also admitted to other residential burglaries on Bellevue Drive and on 6th Street in Midtown, was in court on 1/8/15 to receive a sentence of 20 years with 5 years to serve. If he enrolls in a drug treatment program in prison and successfully completes it – he could be out in less than 2 years.

Paul Williams, a career criminal, was arrested in the Old 4th Ward on 1/7/15 charges of breaking into vehicles. He has a long history of being arrested and serving time both in our county jail and in our state prison system. I remember seeing him and his infamous burgundy Buick on Los Angeles Avenue near North Highland many years ago when he had been stopped by Zone 6 for questioning. No word as of yet as to any court dates for him on this latest arrest.

The Zone 6 Christmas Toy PartyThanx to all of the generous folks here who kept bringing toys to my front porch for me to take to the precinct – the toy party on 12/19/14 was a great success. There were a lot of happy little kids that day with their bags of toys, and also little kids who now can look to the police as friends as opposed to enemies.

Thanks to all of the generous folks here who kept bringing toys to my front porch for me to take to the precinct – the toy party on 12/19/14 was a great success. There were a lot of happy little kids that day with their bags of toys, and also little kids who now can look to the police as friends as opposed to enemies. Thanks also to Joy Ariola of Morningstar Storage on PDL Place for her support of this program and attending the party with me at the precinct office.

Coyote Sightings

I have gotten reports again of coyote sightings in the Orme Park/ Amsterdam Avenue area of the neighborhood. Just be cautious when letting your 4-legged pets outside to keep them in your view and do not leave out filled pet food bowls to attract the coyotes to your backyard. Interesting story about this subject at http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/bio…

New Neighborhood Watch Systems

Morningside and Poncey Highland are in the process of setting up Street Captain watch systems for their respective neighborhoods, emulating our successful VaHi program. I am glad to have been of some help to these folks.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the last week of 2014 and the first week of 2015 (12/21/14 – 1/3/15). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft – A Mercedes E-32 was taken from Maiden Lane and a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant stolen from Highland Terrace.

Commercial Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601Residential Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601Commercial Robbery – 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 12/21in the late nite hours on Barnett Street, the victims were walking home when a male, wearing a bandana over his face, jumped out of a passing car – pointed a small revolver at them and demanded they take everything out of their pockets or he would shoot them. Items were thrown on the ground, the suspect gathered them up and fled in the car.

Larceny From Vehicle – Of the 80 such reported incidents all over the Zone in this time period – the following incidents were reported in Beat 601. Maiden Lane (laptop). PDL Avenue (backpack and clothing), North Highland Avenue (purse, 2 laptops, driver’s license, credit and debit cards), Virginia Avenue (change). Greenwood Avenue (backpack), Greenwood Avenue (gym bag, I-phone charger, earphones), Clemont Drive ( laptop bag), Todd Road (clothing, camera, cheeseboard, gym bag, cookbook, backpack), PDL Place ( sunglasses), PDL Avenue (GPS and music system).

Amazingly enough, there was only one weapon stolen in the Zone – a 22 caliber Glock – to be added to the arsenal on the streets.

Larceny Other – A mini bike and a wheelbarrow were taken from an Adair Avenue backyard. A wallet was taken from an unwatched purse at Neighbor’s Bar. A purse was taken from behind the d.j.’s booth at the MJQ Club. An unwatched cell phone was taken at an unnamed North Highland Avenue business.In this time

In this time period all of the stores at the Edgewood Retail District reported seven shoplifting incidents.

Happy New Year!

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Life on the Atlanta BeltLine: Virginia-Highland’s Jenny Wood

The third installment of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s Life on the BeltLine video series highlights the story of cancer survivor Jenny Wood, and the role the BeltLIne played in her recovery process.

FrankowskiFamily-2Jenny lives in Virginia-Highland, along with her husband, Matt, and their twins. After seeing the first two installments in the video series, she decided to reach out to the folks at the BeltLine to tell her story.

“The BeltLine is something I feel very passionate about,” Jenny says, “and it definitely played an important role in my recovery. It really felt wonderful to share my experience with others.”

Check out Jenny’s story here. We think you’ll find it inspirational. And be sure to say hi to the Woods when you see them out and about in the neighborhood.

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Work Begins on Implementing Master Plan Recommendations

at-the-corner-of-9.5X24-MECH-01By Jess Windham & Lola Carlisle, VHCA Board

As we raised our glasses this New Year’s Eve, we paused to remember – with appreciation and gratitude – the many contributions of neighbors and volunteers during 2013-2014 on the Virginia-Highland Master Plan, which is now an official part of the City of Atlanta’s Comprehensive Development Plan. As important as its adoption was the process that created it and its rich content. Close to 100 projects were recommended for our neighborhood.

Now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, we’re ready to dive into the hard part: implementation. The VHCA Planning and Master Plan Steering committees have been reviewing the recommended action items, identifying the processes and agencies that can move them forward. The projects can be distinguished in several ways. Some are dependent on City of Atlanta funding initiatives (a broad topic now on the table at City Hall); some are longer range and process-intensive and will take a while to come to fruition. Some projects are already underway or can be initiated here at the local level.

In the last category are some that could use volunteer help from the community; they include storm-drain stenciling (reminders not to dump paint or commercial liquids in street drains, which in both of our sub-watersheds lead to the streams), further research on the Eco District concept (already adopted by Georgia Tech), rain barrel promotion, and the search for space for a community garden (we’ve been looking for several years; any potential ideas are welcome).

We are monitoring the City of Atlanta infrastructure bond initiative with a close eye toward improvements in our own neighborhood. So, of course, are many other communities. That process is underway, and we appreciate Councilmember Wan’s advocacy and efforts on our behalf. We’ll share what we know as this develops. Topics like the study of an Urban Design District need – and are getting – further study by the Planning Committee, a process spurred a bit by the recent wave of new construction that is pushing the legal limits on height and size. Some topics in the Master Plan are being addressed by other entities than VHCA, including the latest pedestrian improvements at SPARK. Pedestrian safety and improvements to help students get safely to school were a clear priority in the Master Plan. The new signal on Briarcliff Road has been installed and is now functional, with much credit going to Mary Stouffer, one of several Virginia-Highland residents involved in the Safe Routes to School program. We applaud the result (which we supported) and credit all the partners (including GDOT and the City) for their work.

As you may have noticed, none of this happens – or will happen – quickly or without discussion. If you have questions or are interested in helping in a particular area, please contact us at planning@vahi.org. The Planning Committee meeting is public and you are welcome to attend. Meetings are held at the Church of Our Saviour (on N. Highland across from the fire station) and start at 7 PM on the Wednesday before the monthly Board meeting (dates posted on our vahi.org calendar). This month’s meeting is January 6th. February’s and March’s are on the 4th of each of those months.

Click here to review the entire Virginia-Highland Master Plan.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: December 30, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Business Owners Stay Alert

I was recently informed about a theft incident at a N. Highland Ave. store that happened the week before Christmas. This happened shortly after opening and all staff members were busy with customers that kept them away from the front of the store. A thief entered and took an employee’s cell phone from the counter as well as some cash, and was gone in a minute.

I notice that quite often in small stores cell phones are left on counters and available for quick theft. Why not buy work aprons for all employees that have large pockets so that cell phones will not be visible – yet accessible for use? These aprons could also help to identify employees. If all staff members have to be away from the front door for whatever reason – it would be prudent to just lock the door with a sign stating you will be back open in just a few minutes.

The Repeat Offender Commission

Interesting article about preliminary work being done to address the huge problem we have with repeat offenders. Hope this is not yet another study done that ends up on someone’s storage shelf though. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/atlanta-commission-wants-to-slow-the-revolving-doo/njGns/

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 50 and 51 (12/7 to 12/20). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary: A Virginia Ave. apartment was entered via a damaged front door lock and a laptop taken.  A PDL Pl. apartment was entered via an unlocked balcony door – the front door lock was damaged but still locked.  The victim first reported the intrusion, but said that nothing was missing.  Then the victim called 20 minutes later to report missing – $7120 cash, a safe, 3 passports, 2 laptops, an Ipad and a playstation.

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: Los Angeles Ave. (purse), St. Louis Pl. (wristwatch), N. Highland Ave. ( purse, checkbook), Clemont Dr. (GPS, drill and drill bits), Elmwood Dr. (pepper spray and gloves), Crestridge Dr. (gifts), N. Highland Ave. (pilot’s bag), Los Angeles Ave. (satchel and i-pad), Briarcliff Pl. (purse, wallet and contents, pills, employee key card), PDL Ave. (3 jackets, bag with medical supplies), Briarcliff Tr. (laptop), Virginia Ave. (briefcase, 3 I-pads, laptop, cellphone, bag), N. Highland Ave. (purse, wallet and contents, keys), Highland Tr. (tool bag, 2 drills, sander, router) this truck was unlocked, Lanier Blvd. (2 GPS’s), PDL Pl. (45 caliber handgun). All over the Zone in this time period there were 121 reported incidents, with 6 weapons added to the arsenal on the streets, and 11 catalytic converters sawed off.

Larceny Other: A UPS package was stolen at the front door of a Georgia Power building on PDL Pl.. A wallet and contents were taken from a purse at the Drunken Unicorn on PDL Ave. At a PDL Pl. apartment a laptop was missing from a closet after the victim hosted a party. Nearby, there were 6 shoplifting reports from all of the stores at the Edgewood Retail District – wonder how many incidents were not detected?

Stay alert and aware and enjoy the rest of this holiday season. And remember the Clean Car Campaign which states that ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times.

Happy New Year!

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Trees Marked for Removal at Inman Middle School

VaHi-Logo-Vertical-Hypen-RGB

VHCA has closely followed the expansion plans for Inman Middle School. The first construction drawings have just emerged, and a number of trees on campus have been marked for removal. Some of the most relevant school personnel are not back from holidays to provide all the information we want, but we met the city arborist at the site during his formal posting and learned a few things.

Four of the marked trees are designated DDH – dead, dying, or hazardous (i.e., the arborist determined that they merit removal based on their existing health). One of those, a large water oak on Park Drive, has a critical root zone that will be compromised by the creation of the new school bus lane. There are other trees marked for removal for reasons we do not currently understand, nor do other members of the Inman Expansion Committee to whom we’ve spoken. Included in this group of trees are several that appear to be well outside the boundaries of the softball field featured on early renderings, including two along Virginia Ave and another near the entrance to the parking lot.

City of Atlanta Parks Dept. Arborist Chris Kalio (l) and VHCA Board President Jack White

City of Atlanta Parks Dept. Arborist Chris Kalio (l) and VHCA Board President Jack White

These trees may be marked for reasons related to issues with existing sewer, stormwater, and utility lines that traverse the school fields along Virginia Ave and (are believed to) connect to other lines down Virginia just west of John Howell Park. According to the VHCA rep who served on the previous Inman expansion, those lines were problematic then.

By early next week, we expect to have seen the plans and have better information, which we will share with residents on vahi.org.  We have full faith in the integrity and knowledge of the city arborist who is handling the case, but we want to understand the reasoning behind the requested removals. If there are ways to save trees in this process, we’d like to know them, and we believe that APS would, too.

Softball Field Renovations

Many Virginia-Highland residents aren’t even aware Inman has a competitive softball team, partly because the team travels about five miles to Crim High School for its ‘home’ games. Crim is a nice facility, but it’s not home for Inman students.  Games on campus will result in many more residents and students getting to see the team,  local citizens will be able to attend, and the entire experience will have much more of a community and family feel to it.  These are outcomes we support enthusiastically.

Crowd sizes are historically modest and the school’s own parking lot will be available for parking. The games start well after the lot’s daytime users have left, and many local residents will bike or walk, as they do now. We have also told APS that we want to be part of the design of the new facility, so that the field retains its neighborhood character and feel, including an appearance that is consistent with John Howell Park across the street. We very much hope that such facilities will continue to be accessible to all citizens during off-hours, as they are now; that decision, of course, belongs to the school system, which owns the property in its entirety. By far the best way to achieve all these outcomes is to work as closely as we can with the school and be as supportive as possible.

Supportive doesn’t mean uncritical; we all believe the sylvan nature of the neighborhood is invaluable. It has been our experience that a reasoned fact-based discussion centered on understanding mutual needs and goals is most likely to achieve all these ends. This is the approach that VHCA and its members have pursued in our interaction with APS on this expansion, and we are convinced that it yields the best results.

As we learn more specifics about the trees and the rest of the project, we’ll share them here.

IMG_0272 IMG_0270 IMG_0269 IMG_0266

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Tour of Homes Recap

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Operations central for the Tour of Homes was the YWCA on N. Highland Ave.

Thanks to all who attended, volunteered for and participated in our 20th anniversary Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes held December 6th and 7th. The tour committee started getting excited after the first day’s strong attendance, rainy though it was. By the end of Sunday, we were ecstatic because it was clear we had broken all records this year. For the first time, we sold out the tour with just under 1900 tickets! Record attendance plus increased financial support from our sponsors generated proceeds that surpassed last year’s $51,000 by 20%. We raised over $61,000 for VHCA initiatives. Again, the first words that come to mind are THANK YOU!

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2014 Tour of Homes organizers Angelika Taylor, Arturo Cruz-Tucker and Robin Ragland (l-r)

We’re still receiving feedback about the tour and have begun to review it as a committee to identify opportunities for improvement for next year’s event. We already have some new ideas for next year’s tour we think you’ll enjoy. We hope to see everyone back again in 2015! We’ll need more volunteers, sponsors, and beautiful homes. Let us know at any time if you have an interest in next year’s tour!

Tour of Homes organizers Gina Hecht and Eleanor Barrineau (l-r)

Tour of Homes organizers Gina Hecht and Eleanor Barrineau (l-r)

Tour of Homes volunteer Allie Fenn assembles bags for tour-goers

Tour of Homes volunteer Ally Fenn assembles bags for tour-goers.

 

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Santathon Fun at Fire Station #19

station19santathonBy all accounts, the Fire Station #19 Santathon fundraiser was a huge success. If the children’s smiling faces didn’t make it clear, the great turnout in spite of rain and the firemen’s appreciation sure did. We can’t thank the firefighters enough for opening up their “home” to the neighborhood and for all they do for our community. And thanks to the community for coming out to have fun and show support.

Santa_1_jpgWe raised nearly $3,000, not a small amount for a first-year event. We’re hoping to continue to raise additional funds for the much-needed repairs and improvements that will preserve this historic fire station. You can browse through shots of the events and donate to the fund at www.station19santathon.com. Your donations are tax deductible.

Santa_2A special thanks goes out to Catherine Lewis for her amazing coordination skills and dedication, our Fire Station #19 firemen, Santa, Councilman Alex Wan for supporting our neighborhood and fire station, Rich Chey for helping raise funds for Fire Station #19 as well and supporting Santathon and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the incredible volunteers who donated countless hours. Thanks to our generous sponsors again for their support and donations: Osteria 832, George’s, Photography by Alli, Virginia-Highland Civic Association, Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes, Avant Gardener, Fit: To Be, Kroger, San Francisco Coffee and Barefoot Mountain Farms.

Here at Tailfin Marketing we are already looking forward to next year’s event. Can’t wait to see you all there!

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Get Your Workout On at Fit: To Be

FTB FINALNew Fitness Studio Opens in Retail Space Behind American Roadhouse

Fit: To Be has opened in the retail space on N. Highland Ave. behind American Roadhouse. The new workout studio offers classes that help clients sweat, sculpt, and shake their way to personal transformation.

“At Fit: To Be, we pride ourselves in creating an atmosphere that promotes comfort, growth, and change,” says owner Julie White. “We are a comprehensive fitness studio designed to produce fast results, with change often seen in as little as ten visits.”

untitled (3)White says Fit: To Be’s classes focus on working ancillary muscles as well as major muscle groups with targeted, repetitive movements that result in a deep burn. A wide variety of classes ensures clients are always challenged and never get bored. Sculpt classes are derived from ballet, pilates, TRX and weight training. Cardio and boot camp classes are interval classes, designed to “trick” your heart into working hard. The cardio interval classes offer a wide variety of exercises, and they change frequently.

1047986_428610860623847_1950443779550449537_oFit: To Be is the exclusive provider of Ballerobica in the Atlanta area. Ballerobica is an internationally growing workout that fuses ballet technique with aerobic exercises creating long, lean, dancer-like muscles.

“We also offer two candlelight stretch classes per week,” White says, “and two stretch and tone classes per week that are designed to build strength and flexibility while also facilitating deep release of the physical, energetic, mental and emotional effects of everyday stresses. Stretching is critical in any exercise program and is incorporated into every class, as a limber body is key to injury prevention.”

At Fit: To Be, become part of a community dedicated to better health and stronger bodies. Come workout with us! Your first class is FREE!

Click here for more information on Fit: To Be.

Fit: To Be

842 North Highland Ave, Suite 3, Atlanta, GA 30306 (behind American Roadhouse)

404-229-4195

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VaHi Safety Team Report: December 12, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Mailbox Thefts

There were reports on the Morningside yahoo message board recently of mail thefts from what I would presume to be streetside boxes. If you are at work or away when the mail is delivered in your area – you might want to ask a trusted neighbor to retrieve your mail for you to prevent such thefts.

Holiday Travel Plans??

If you are going to be away from home, be sure to let your Street Captain and trusted neighbors know of your plans and how you can be contacted if need be. Of course, stop your mail and newspaper deliveries, and make sure that your alarm system is activated before leaving. If you are an FBAC member – let them know of your travel plans too, so that house checks can be made during your absence. Not an FBAC member? Check out the website at http://www.fbacvahi.com/ to read about the benefits of membership.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 47, 48 and 49 (11/16 to 12/6). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: There were two vehicles stolen from a Highland Terrace residence – a 2012 Infiniti and a 2012 BMW. The BMW was recovered in the Westview neighborhood in Zone 1 and was kept for investigation as it had likely been used in reported pedestrian robberies. The license plate for the Infiniti was found in the West End, but the car had not been found yet. These victims are newly moved in and lost both of their cars at once.Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, there was an unsuccessful attempt at kicking in the front door of a Highland Terrace home. Evidently there was not an activated alarm system here.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.Pedestrian Robbery: On 11/30 in late nite hours on Briarcliff Place, a male motorist who had car troubles was walking home when approached by another male who put an unknown object to his back and demanded his jacket, shoes, watch and wallet and contents. The robber fled on foot.

Pedestrian Robbery: On 11/30 in late nite hours on Briarcliff Place, a male motorist who had car troubles was walking home when approached by another male who put an unknown object to his back and demanded his jacket, shoes, watch and wallet and contents. The robber fled on foot.

Also, in the late night hours of 11/20 on the 1100 block of  Virginia Avenue a lone male pedestrian in front of his apartment building was approached by another lone male with a pistol – the victim was told to be quiet and not say anything. The robber took his wallet and contents, as well as his wedding ring and cell phone and demanded his his pin number. No injuries reported in either of these incidents.Larceny From Vehicle: Yes, you guessed it: we have a long list of reported incidents.  On PDL Avenue (messenger bag and lots of kitchen utensils were taken), Cooledge Avenue (nothing taken – though there was still a broken window to be replaced), Lanier Boulevard (MacBook, ring, books, cell phone charger and an employee ID), Park Drive (a GPS), Cooledge Avenue (60 cents in coins), Virginia Avenue (an unsuccessful attempt to saw off the catalytic converter), Virginia Avenue (laptop and I-Pad), Greenwood Avenue (a Gwinnett County fire-fighter’s turnout coat, flashlight, duffle bag with clothing, backpack with books, and bolt cutters) a suspect was seen but not caught, North Highland Avenue (I-Pad, laptop, headphones, jacket, and backpack), Elmwood Drive (toilet paper, paper towels, boxes of custom bags, and K-cups), Elmwood Drive (nothing taken), Virginia Avenue (laptop and backpack), North Highland Avenue (cooler), PDL Place (clothing, I-Pad, duffle bag and a book), Briarcliff Place (Macbook and backpack), Barnett Street – 3 vehicles (MacBook, 2 backpacks, 2 tote bags, book bag and clothing). In this incident, the patrolling officer spotted a BMW with 3 males inside, the driver said they had been working on their car. The officer was not aware of the break-ins at this time and the BMW drove off.

Larceny From Vehicle: Yes, you guessed it: we have a long list of reported incidents.  On PDL Avenue (messenger bag and lots of kitchen utensils were taken), Cooledge Avenue (nothing taken – though there was still a broken window to be replaced), Lanier Boulevard (MacBook, ring, books, cell phone charger and an employee ID), Park Drive (a GPS), Cooledge Avenue (60 cents in coins), Virginia Avenue (an unsuccessful attempt to saw off the catalytic converter), Virginia Avenue (laptop and I-Pad), Greenwood Avenue (a Gwinnett County fire-fighter’s turnout coat, flashlight, duffle bag with clothing, backpack with books, and bolt cutters) a suspect was seen but not caught, North Highland Avenue (I-Pad, laptop, headphones, jacket, and backpack), Elmwood Drive (toilet paper, paper towels, boxes of custom bags, and K-cups), Elmwood Drive (nothing taken), Virginia Avenue (laptop and backpack), North Highland Avenue (cooler), PDL Place (clothing, I-Pad, duffle bag and a book), Briarcliff Place (Macbook and backpack), Barnett Street – 3 vehicles (MacBook, 2 backpacks, 2 tote bags, book bag and clothing). In this incident, the patrolling officer spotted a BMW with 3 males inside, the driver said they had been working on their car. The officer was not aware of the break-ins at this time and the BMW drove off.

As long as there are lots of items left in vehicles to be stolen, these thieves will continue to roam our streets looking for opportunities. They are hard to spot as they usually work on the sidewalk side of cars and can quickly duck down behind cars when headlites are seen coming towards them. I always feel sorry for victims who have a clean car, but are in the path of these thieves who break in anyway just to see if anything is hidden.

Larceny Other: At a PDL Avenue club, a cellphone, driver’s license and debit card taken from an unwatched purse.  Also, at Blind Willy’s – another unwatched purse and contents were taken.  On St. Augustine Place, a package of dog treats delivered by UPS was taken.

At the Edgewood Retail District there were 16 reports of shoplifting in all stores.

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Please remember our free safe address delivery program for your UPS, FedEx and USPS packages. That bag of dog treats could have been saved if the homeowner had just gone to Intown Hardware on North Highland Avenue or Morningstar Storage or Urban Body on PDL Place and signed up to have packages sent to their safe addresses. This is such an easy way to ensure you receive your packages.

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Don’t forget the Zone 6 Christmas toy drive for needy families here in our Zone. You can leave new toys on my front porch at 1054 Vance Avenue, NE before 12/17 and I will take them to the precinct headquarters in Kirkwood for you. Toys are needed for all age groups from toddlers to tweens to be handed out on 12/19 at the precinct.

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If you have guests coming to your house – please remind them of the Clean Car Campaign that states that ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times. Ensure a pleasant visit without having to make a 911 call.

Stay alert and aware and enjoy this wonderful holiday season!

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Inman Frosty 5K Road Race Set for December 13

Fosty-5K-2014-600You’re invited to run – in Virginia-Highland and along the Beltline – to benefit Inman Middle School students and teachers. Experienced runners, beginners, and families are welcome. Runners with strollers stay to the back, please.

5K begins at 9 A.M. Early registration is $25, ‘day of’ registration is $30. Check-in and number distribution begins at 8:00 AM.

The race begins at the school on Virginia Avenue, then continues along Atlanta’s beautiful Beltline from Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward skate park and back. See map below for course route.

Click here for more information or to register.

2014 Frosty 5K Final map copy

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APD Zone Six Toy Drive Underway

Christmas Drive Poster 2014 copyPut an unexpected smile on the face of a deserving child this Christmas by supporting Atlanta Police Department Zone Six’s Annual Toy Drive and Giveaway.

The VHCA encourages you to consider donating an unwrapped toy to this year’s drive. Don’t worry about the age of the recipient – toys are needed for all ages, from toddler to tween.

Toys can be dropped off at the precinct offices at 2025 Hosea L. Williams Drive, Atlanta 30307, or you can drop them on John Wolfinger’s front porch at 1054 Vance Ave. in VaHi. John is periodically shuttling carloads of toys from VaHi to the precinct and would be glad to include your toy in one of his runs.

You’re also invited to join John and other VaHi residents at the giveaway event to be held at the precinct on December 19 from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you’re interested in riding to the event with John, contact him at jjonww2@earthlink.net.

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VaHi Resident Continues Work on Mosaic at Intown Ace Hardware, Education Event Scheduled for Saturday

Coffin Dedicdation InviteLet’s face it: there’s a Hall of Fame for just about everything. Pro football, major league baseball, country music, even harness racing. If it’s something people follow, then there’s a hall somewhere where the best of the best are enshrined.According to VaHi resident Stephanie Coffin, that’s all well and good. But what about insects?

According to VaHi resident Stephanie Coffin, that’s all well and good. But what about insects?Coffin, Intown Ace Hardware and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association invite you to stop by Intown Ace’s parking lot at 845 N. Highland this Saturday December 13 from 1-3 PM for the dedication of Coffin’s newest mosaic creation which she’s calling the

Coffin's VaHi home is a virtual showcase of mosaic art.

Coffin’s VaHi home is a virtual showcase of mosaic art.

Coffin, Intown Ace Hardware and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association invite you to stop by Intown Ace’s parking lot at 845 N. Highland this Saturday December 13 from 1-3 PM for the dedication of Coffin’s newest mosaic creation which she’s calling the Insect Wall of Fame.

“The name is a play off of the College Football Hall Fame,” says Coffin. “The idea is to specifically honor four insects and present their images in beautiful settings. I hope the mosaic inspires children to learn more about insects, these four in particular.”

Coffin's workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

Coffin’s workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

Coffin’s been doing mosaic work in and around Virginia-Highland for years. Her work titled Precious Predators was presented as part of the Art on the BeltLine series (and is now on display at Truly Living Well Gardens), and it can be seen on planters at Sevananda market on Moreland Ave. in Little Five Points. Last year Coffin began work on the planter in the Intown Ace parking lot. For more information on Coffin and her art, click here to read an interview with the artist published last year in The Voice.

Thanks in part to a community art grant awarded this year by the VHCA, the artist was able to recently complete a second planter wall. So, just which insects is Coffin featuring on her Insect Wall of Fame?

“I’m featuring the ladybug, the Monarch butterfly, the praying mantis and the honey bee,” Coffin explains. “I chose the ladybug and praying mantis because of the work they do for us in the garden. I chose the Monarch because it stands in the throes of extinction. The butterfly’s image is surrounded by milkweed which it needs for reproduction and hangs by a thin thread. We can all help preservation efforts by planting NATIVE varieties. Lastly, because of colony collapse and other bee problems, I wanted to prominently feature the honey bee. In addition to these insects I’ve included vegetables and flowers so the insects are shown in a natural setting.”

Not only will Coffin be on hand Saturday to answer questions about her creation, Intown Ace gardening expert Robbie Cotney will provide useful and interesting information about each insect featured in the mosaic.

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Organizers plan to provide hot cider to attendees.

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Tentative Agenda: December VHCA Board/General Meeting

VaHi-Logo-Vertical-Hypen-RGBFollowing is the tentative agenda for tonight’s general meeting of the VHCA Board of Directors. The meeting will be held at the public library on Ponce de Leon Ave. and will start at 7 PM. The meeting is open to the public and interested residents are encouraged to attend

  • Tentative Agenda
  • Call to Order
  • Adoption of Agenda
  • Police & Fire Dept. representatives- Zone 6
  • City of Atlanta officials; other public officials & municipal representatives
  • Planning Committee – Variances
  • Fire Station 19 Fundraising
  • Fundraising Committee – Tour of Homes report
  • Parks Committee – John Howell Park construction update
  • Calendar update
  • New Business
  • Adjournment

 

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20th Anniversary Tour of Homes Set for December 6-7

2014 VHTH Logo_OL

Mark your calendars now for the 2014 VaHi Tour of Homes – the 20th anniversary of one of the best home tours in Atlanta – set for Saturday and Sunday December 6-7. This year’s tour will showcase seven homes and the Church of Our Saviour on N. Highland Ave. across from the firehouse, with each stop including a food tasting from one of your favorite local restaurants. It’s a great way to celebrate the holidays in the ‘hood. Tour, eat and shop…all right here in VaHi!

Click here for more information and be sure to like our Facebook page to receive important updates as the event approaches and to have a chance at giveaways including free TOH tickets as well as gift certificates to local businesses.

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Fire Station #19 Santathon is On!

station19santathonWhen: Saturday, December 6th, 1PM – 8PM (Santa will arrive after he finishes Breakfast with Santa at Osteria 832)

Where: Fire Station #19, 1063 N. Highland Ave., across from Church of Our Saviour

From caroling to roasting s’mores to selfies with Santa, there will be something for everyone to enjoy at this Santathon to benefit Fire Station #19. In the spirit of holiday giving, this festive event – presented by Tailfin Marketing – is a fundraiser with proceeds going to help restore our historic fire station.

Fire Station #19 is Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating fire station, was designed by Atlanta’s City Engineer, C.E. Kaufman, and built in 1925. The station sits in the heart of Virginia-Highland and holds an important place in the hearts of VaHi residents. It is home to a 1925 American LaFrance fire engine, much like the engine that would have operated out of the fire station in its early days. The firefighters have been raising funds for several years and have plans in hand to make repairs and improvements that will preserve this fire station for years to come. Please take part and help preserve our important landmark Fire Station #19!

Starting Nov. 28th visit http://www.station19santathon.com to sign up for Santathon events by appointment. Residents and visitors are also invited to drop by and participate throughout the event.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: December 3, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Door-To-Door Solicitors

When I first started seeing chatter on our message boards about door-to-door solicitors, I figured that this situation would be like recent years and these guys would be gone in a couple of days – but this year it seems that we have a real determined group leader who is keeping these guys on our streets for a long time.  Most of the recent chatter has been on the VHMPA parent’s message board, and I guess because this group has a lot of stay-at-home parents who are at home during the day when these solicitors come knocking.

I am glad that most VaHi and Morningside posters are reporting that they have called 911 about these solicitors – but also surprised at how many folks have opened up their front doors to these strangers. Most of the solicitors have been described as young w/m and all have the same sort of story about how they live in the neighborhood and you probably know my mother who walks her dog on your street, etc, etc. As long as they have stayed here tells me that they are being successful in garnering up cash (I suppose for magazine subscriptions) and they may be here longer as long as their luck holds out. Calling 911 about their presence is our most practical way of getting rid of them, as the more these guys are hassled by APD from your calls, the sooner they will want to leave. I would doubt that any arrests will result from your 911 calls as there is only a shaky probable cause – that is, unless some of them have warrants. Yeah – we have a permit system for door-to-door soliciting, but it is seldom used.

To understand how this scam works – try googling phrases such as “magazine sales” or some similar sort of words – and you will turn up a vast array of links. Some that I found are –  http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-07-17/news/what-mainstream-publishers-don-t-want-you-to-know-about-door-to-door-magazine-sales/  – http://www.magcrew.com   –  http://www.wfla.com/story/24808728/local-lawyer-rescues-teen-caught-up-in-traveling-magazine-sales-crew. Note the dates on some of the articles you turn up – this scam has been going on for years.

If you have elderly neighbors who may believe and fall prey to these solicitors – please warn them about this scam operation.

The PDL Avenue Drug Nest

Kudos to Midtown’s MPSA off-duty security patrol group for their very well-researched report on the group of PDL Avenue buildings on the south side of the street between Boulevard and Parkway Drive.  http://www.midtownponce.org/p5679.html   Also – thanks to channel 46 CBSAtlanta for doing a story about this situation at  http://www.cbs46.com/story/27531583/midtown-crackdown-on-criminal-behavior-police-making-arrests.

The VaHi Tour of Homes

This weekend (12/6 and 12/7) we will be playing host to a horde of out-of-the-neighborhood home tour goers who may get lost as they wend their way from home to home.  Please exhibit our usual VaHi hospitality and help them to find the address they are looking for.  Also – many of these folks will not be aware of the Clean Car Campaign, so if you notice folks leaving their parked car with items on the seat ready to be stolen, please gently warn them of this danger.  I don’t know of any car break-in incidents over the years during the tour – but I would hate for this year to be an exception.  https://vahi.org/tour-of-homes/.

Our Safe Address Delivery Program

Last evening about 5:30 (after dark) I was behind a UPS truck and watched them quickly leave packages on 4 doorsteps on Los Angeles Avenue between Brookridge and Vance – I could very well have been a thief waiting to snatch these packages.  PLEASE – we have a way to stop these front porch thefts. Just go to Intown Hardware on North Highland Avenue, Morningstar Storage or Urban Body on PDL Place or Framing By Design on Piedmont Road @ Rock Springs and sign up to use their address for safe delivery of your holiday packages. It is so simple – but quite obviously we are still taking our chances at getting what we ordered or receiving gift packages from friends and relatives.

Stay alert and aware and enjoy this holiday season – AND remind your visitors to completely clean out their parked cars!!!!!!

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Atlanta City Council District 6 Newsletter

wan_190To read City Councilperson Alex Wan’s latest newsletter, click here. This issue includes updates on:

  • Holiday Safety Reminders
  • Morningside/Lenox Park Public Safety Meeting
  • Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Recognizes Rich Chey
  • Help Shape the Clifton Corridor
  • Center for Hard to Recycle Materials to Open in 2015
  • Neighborhood Spotlight: Midtown
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VaHi Safety Team Report: November 24, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Fight Back Against Crime (FBAC)

Thanx to Kay Stephenson for this great explanation about our neighborhood off-duty patrol system:

As many of you know, here in Virginia-Highland, we have a supplementary police patrol that is privately funded by memberships. Fight Back Against Crime was started over 20 years ago by neighborhood volunteers and all of the administrative work is still done voluntarily. FBAC is one of the longest running such patrols in the city.

This patrol is managed by Chris Clark, a veteran and experienced APD Sergeant, and is staffed with senior officers who are all well versed about our neighborhood, our crime patterns, our regular offenders and problem areas. As sworn officers, these individuals patrol in uniform, and though off-duty from APD, still carry full policing powers to investigate and arrest criminals.Patrols are conducted throught the streets, alleys and parks of VaHi, both in their vehicles and on foot. The timing of the patrol periods varies depending on what is happening and what crime patterns are observed. In addition to patrols, members may notify officers when they will be away from home, so that during each shift your home can be inspected on a walk-around to make sure everything is secure. In addition, these officers monitor the Zone 6 police dispatch radio and respond to calls along with the on-duty APD officers.

Patrols are conducted through the streets, alleys and parks of VaHi, both in their vehicles and on foot. The timing of the patrol periods varies depending on what is happening and what crime patterns are observed. In addition to patrols, members may notify officers when they will be away from home, so that during each shift your home can be inspected on a walk-around to make sure everything is secure. In addition, these officers monitor the Zone 6 police dispatch radio and respond to calls along with the on-duty APD officers.

Sadly, subscriptions to this essential service are down significantly. If we can’t increase subscriptions, it is likely that patrol hours will need to be reduced. This is especially problematic as we head into the holiday season when we typically see an uptick in crime.

The cost for an individual household subscription is $25 per month and the cost for an individual renter or condo owner is $20 per month. Many residents spend more than that amount on cable tv per month.

I hope that you will consider signing up or renewing membership. For more information – go to http://www.fbacvahi.com/ If you are a member, please remember to notify FBAC when you are going to be out of town for holiday visits.

The Morningside Safety Meeting 11/24Thanx to our councilman Alex Wan, and the Morningside/Lenox Park association for organizing a very informative safety meeting that was attended by a large crowd of NPU “F” residents. This session, with a lot of APD brass, was in response to all of the apprehension due to the several middle-of-the-nite burglaries in our area, and city-wide car-jackings. APD organized a special city-wide task force to coordinate information, which has led to the identification of a car-jacking ring with arrests. One arrest has been made for a VaHi home burglary and warrants are out for two more suspects, with these investigations continuing. Our at-large councilperson, Mary Norwood, also gave an update on the Repeat Offender Commission, which has completed its work and will be issuing a complete report next week. She said that some judges are already modifying their sentencing, using these new guidelines, to get more repeat offenders off the streets for longer periods of time. A similar effort is going to address repeat juvenile offenders also.

Thanx to our councilman Alex Wan, and the Morningside/Lenox Park association for organizing a very informative safety meeting that was attended by a large crowd of NPU “F” residents. This session, with a lot of APD brass, was in response to all of the apprehension due to the several middle-of-the-nite burglaries in our area, and city-wide carjackings. APD organized a special city-wide task force to coordinate information, which has led to the identification of a car-jacking ring with arrests. One arrest has been made for a VaHi home burglary and warrants are out for two more suspects, with these investigations continuing. Our at-large councilperson, Mary Norwood, also gave an update on the Repeat Offender Commission, which has completed its work and will be issuing a complete report next week. She said that some judges are already modifying their sentencing, using these new guidelines, to get more repeat offenders off the streets for longer periods of time. A similar effort is going to address repeat juvenile offenders also.

Front Porch Package Thefts

This crime category can be virtually eliminated by using the free safe address package delivery service offered by Intown Hardware on North Highland Avenue, Morningstar Storage and Urban Body on PDL Place, and now, thanx to Susan Kanellos of Piedmont Heights, Framing By Design on Piedmont Road at Rock Springs. Just go by any of these friendly neighborhood merchants and sign up to use their safe address for delivery of your UPS, FedEx and USPS packages. Then, you have to remember to use this different “ship to” address and to notify friends and family who will be sending you holiday gift packages. The new Framing By Design location will be very convenient for Piedmont Heights, north Morningside and Lindridge/Martin Manor residents. These merchants will also call you to let you know you have a package to pick up. Make sure that Aunt Millie’s gift fruitcake does not end up being tossed in a gutter somewhere!

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 45 and 46 (11/7 to 11/15). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, an incident of note that involved Zone 6 Sergeant Bill Skeens who is a regular patrolman for FBAC. He was injured in Grant Park as he and a partner stopped behind a parked car with lights on and the engine running. They saw a blunt in the center console and one of the 2 naked occupants tried to hide it with his hand – Skeens opened the driver’s side door asking for the blunt – the driver put the car in reverse at high speed, pinning Skeens between the 2 vehicles. The suspect’s open car door was bent back alongside the rear door, pushing Skeens under the police car’s front bumper. The driver put his car into forward gear and sped out of the park. Skeens was taken to Grady and I have not yet heard as to the extent of his injuries or as to how he is healing.Auto Theft – A 2006 Acura TSX was taken from Virginia Avenue

Auto Theft – A 2006 Acura TSX was taken from Virginia 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 – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle – OK – you knew this is where there is going to be a lot of incidents – right?? In this time period, there were 105 such reported incidents all over Zone 6.

Here in Beat 601 – there was a wealth of goods left to be stolen (and they were). Virginia Avenue – (laptop, credit card, debit card, driver’s license, Bose headphones and a backpack), Briarcliff Place – (backpack, laptop, hard drive), Lanier Boulevard (laptop and bag), North Highland Avenue (2 laptops and a backpack), Greenwood Avenue – (I-pad, laptop and bag, x-box, clothing, camera and camera lens), Virginia Avenue – (laptop, 5 pair sunglasses), St. Charles Avenue – (bookbag, I-pad), St. Charles Avenue (nothing taken), Virginia Avenue – (laptop, briefcase, charger), Los Angeles Avenue – (laptop and bag), North Highland Avenue – (cellphone).

This is a great story of great police work – even for the naive victims! In the parking lot behind American Roadhouse, a witness saw 2 males break into two vehicles from a 2nd story window, ran down to try to stop them, but they escaped, but not without him remembering the license plate number and type of car. He then called 911 as they left. They stole a bag with 5 credit cards, a checkbook and an I-pad from one car and a backpack with school supplies from the 2nd car. The I-pad had a tracking device which was tracked down to a Cascade Road, SW residence in Zone 4 who were contacted. Zone 4 took a pic of the car in the driveway which was positively identified by the witness. Zone 4 entered the house (with permission) and found the two suspects hiding in a closet blocked by a mattress. All of the stolen items were recovered. One of the arrestees was a 16 y/o juvenile.Larceny Other – At a Monroe Drive apartment the victim’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now I assume) burned her sofa and took her cell phone. At an un-named PDL Avenue bar, a patron had her unwatched purse taken containing a cell phone, s.s. card, driver’s license and sunglasses. (Why do some people carry their s.s. cards with them anyway??)

Larceny Other – At a Monroe Drive apartment the victim’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now I assume) burned her sofa and took her cell phone. At an un-named PDL Avenue bar, a patron had her unwatched purse taken containing a cell phone, s.s. card, driver’s license and sunglasses. (Why do some people carry their s.s. cards with them anyway??) In this time period at the Edgewood Retail District there were 16 shoplifting reports. Tis the season – huh??

In this time period at the Edgewood Retail District there were 16 shoplifting reports. Tis the season – huh??

If you have holiday guests coming – PLEASE remind them of the Clean Car Campaign and have them bring ALL items from their cars into your house while they are with you. Small town and rural people just do not think to clean out their cars.

Be alert and aware and enjoy this holiday season.

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VaHi’s Shops and Restaurants are Open for Business for the Holidays

Don’t Forget “Small Business Saturday” on Nov 29th 

By: Jess Windham, VHCA Board Member

at-the-corner-of-9.5X24-MECH-01We’ve all heard the phrase “buy local”, but why really is it important to shop locally? Frankly, it’s all about economics. Sustainable Connections said it best by highlighting that “when you buy from an independent, locally owned business – rather than nationally owned businesses – much more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms, all of which strengthens the overall economic base of the community.”

Talking with residents of VaHi, we love our neighborhood and the rich options we have available within a walkable distance. Supporting our commercial neighbors perpetuates and heightens both our sense of place and the economic vitality of Virginia-Highland. Our neighborhood is home to a vibrant mix of commercial endeavors, from butchers and chocolatiers to bicycle shops and clothing boutiques, dog groomers, sugaring studios and everything in between. The neighborhood features countless retail shops, mouth-watering restaurants and numerous businesses providing services along North Highland between Amsterdam Ave. and Ponce de Leon Ave. That’s not to mention shops at Rosedale and Virginia, a plethora of shops along Monroe at 10th, the Ponce de Leon corridor, and Amsterdam Walk. Together, these businesses employ hundreds of Atlantans and purchase merchandise from both local creators and global providers alike. We have the world at our doorstep and our local businesses bring it to us.

This week, Thanksgiving confronts us with the best of problems: what to eat! I encourage you to explore the shops in VaHi to help lighten the burden of Thanksgiving cooking, because there are amazing take-home and dine-in options available from Monroe to Amsterdam to Ponce.

IMG_6362Once you get past the big day of food and family, Shop Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29th! Small Business Saturday is an event officially hosted by American Express, who provides credits up to $30 for participating card holders. Whether you use AmEx or not, Shop Small presents a wonderful opportunity to unwind, get some fresh air, and walk off some of those marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. You could park your bike at North Highland Park, pick up your Tour of Homes tickets, then explore the gems that our local vendors have stocked for your perusing pleasure in order to get a leg up on Christmas and Hanukkah shopping. We even have some new kids on the block – can you spot them?

IMG_6360During the recent Master Planning process, many neighbors expressed concern over the empty storefronts along North Highland, especially in the St. Charles commercial district, which stretches from Diesel to Hand in Hand. This district in particular faces the challenges presented by Park Atlanta. I’ve spoken with a handful of business owners who have frequently lost sales as people drop their selections to run out in an attempt to avoid the merciless and oftentimes unwarranted parking ticket. To alleviate this parking stress, the Master Plan recommends rezoning the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church parking lot into the Neighborhood Commercial district so that it can be used as parking for this commercial district. We hope to continue those discussions with the church and surrounding neighbors early next year to whip up a vibrant, livable solution. All of this is to say, we locals know about the parking at the back of our commercial nodes, the bike rack at the park, and love few things more than we love the walkability of our neighborhood. So let’s get out there and show our VaHi businesses how thankful we are to have them!

All of this is to say, we locals know about the parking at the back of our commercial nodes, the bike rack at the park, and love few things more than we love the walkability of our neighborhood. So let’s get out there and show our VaHi businesses how thankful we are to have them!

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John Howell Park Construction Nears Completion

IMG_0021By: David Brandenberger and Jack White, VHCA Parks Committee

The construction activity at the western end of John Howell Park is almost complete. The new granite walls on three sides of the volleyball courts are finished, new columns have been built along Virginia, and the steps that lead to the courts from the street along Arcadia are done. The path connecting the sidewalk to the new plaza is finished.

IMG_0020We await the new wrought iron fences around the court and along Virginia; they will be offset sufficiently to allow room to sit along the inside. The same contractor will install a new railing on the Arcadia steps. New hollies (refugees from Ponce City Market) have been planted; more landscaping in this area will follow during this dormant season and beyond.

IMG_0024A couple of minor issues are as yet unresolved. That said – and a few enlightening and amusing episodes notwithstanding – the entire process has proceeded fairly well. Much of the credit for that goes to our extremely capable landscape architect (and the park’s original designer), Peter Frawley, who has been steady and calm even amidst occasional chaos. Park Pride is paying for half our expenses on this project; without them the project would not have been possible.The city’s Parks Department has donated the fences along Arcadia, which is a huge help; Parks Commissioner Doug Voss has been a constant supporter.

IMG_0018We expect the fences to be installed in December, and we look forward to a formal dedication ceremony this spring.

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Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes Committee Thanks 2014 Sponsors

2014-Tour-of-Homes-DatesThe 2014 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is only three short weeks away. With ticket sales already booming and our sponsorships locked in, our 2014 tour promises to be another successful neighborhood event. This year we have a total of 75 business/individual sponsors and have raised $35,000 to fund important neighborhood initiatives. THIS IS INCREDIBLE!  In addition to sponsorships, some businesses and restaurants donated TOH tickets and gift certificates via the Tour of Homes Facebook page. We’ll continue to run these promotions right up to event weekend so check our page out daily to have a chance to win!

On behalf of myself and the entire Tour of Homes Committee, we would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to this year’s sponsors. Thank you 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 Keller Knapp and The Real Estate Company.

Our Major Sponsors are Atlanta Intown, Barking Hound Village, Engineered Solutions, DogGoneHandy, Foam South, Home Rebuilders, Lisa Fish Creative, Mark Arnold Architect, Peachy Clean, Phoenix Renovations, Round Here Renovations, The Great Frame Up, The in towners, The Warren, Whole Foods – Ponce and YWCA.

Our Benefactor Sponsors are Abraham Properties, Balance Design, Broad Builders, Centner Consulting LLC, Construction Resources Inc., Copper Sky Renovations, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Interior Evolutions, John Wesley Hammer, Karen Hott Interiors, Liz Lapidus, She’s Wired, Traditions in Tile and Stone, The Suzuki Prepatory PreSchool and Urban Body Studios.

Our Neighborhood Sponsors are 310 Rosemont, Allied Fence Company, Atlanta Active Wear, Bla Bla Kids, Dan DeHart, Muffley & Associates Real Estate, Design BH Architecture, Distinctive Appliances Buckhead – Midtown Vaccum, Fern Valley Landscape & Interiors, Faith Flowers, HOMESTEAD Real Estate Consultants, Intown Hardware, Mike Price, Realtor – The Mike Price Team, MLC Properties, Neptune Pools, Nikie Barfield Design, Nonies Garden Florals & Botanicals, PSB Studio Architecture, Urbana Designs, William Wren and Winter Wren.

Our Giveaway sponsors are Atkins Park, Barking Hound Village, Bla Bla Kids, Disel Filling Station, El Taco, Engineered Solutions, Foam South LLC, Fontaine’s, Highland Tap, Keller Knapp Realty, La Tavola, Moore Farms & Friends, Muffley & Associates Real Estate, Murphy’s, Noche, Tapa Tapa, Ten Thousand Villages, The Rea Estate Company, The Warren City Club, Timmone’s and Whole Foods Market – Ponce de Leon.

Get your tour tickets online NOW at the Tour of Homes website. Plan Dec 6th and 7th as your weekend to EAT, TOUR and SHOP in VaHi. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of tour. Your tickets get you access to seven incredibly unique homes, a tour of the historic Church of Our Savior, food samplings from 10 different community restaurants and special coupons and discounts from our local eateries and shops.

This is the perfect weekend to kick off your holiday season. Bring your family and friends out to hear the Grady High School Jazz Band and Choir perform. What an amazing community we live in. It’s time to celebrate in Virginia-Highland.

~ Angelika Taylor, 2014 Tour of Homes Chair

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VaHi Safety Team Report: November 11, 2014

By: John Wolfinger

Medical Marijuana

Granted, this issue really has nothing to do with public safety, but – this is an issue that personally affects our own APD Sergeant Chris Clark. Sergeant Clark’s work affects most everyone in VaHi somehow, as he is the lead Officer in our off-duty patrol service, the FBAC (Fight Back Against Crime) http://www.fbacvahi.com/, as the head of security for Summerfest every year and also the security service for many Class A events in Piedmont Park. Rather than try to explain his personal dedication to this issue – I’ll just let you read http://atlantaforward.blog.ajc.com/2014/10/30/parental-pleas-for-medical-marijuana/, as well as http://www.thedoctorstv.com/articles/2743-medical-marijuana-to-treat-seizures. Yet another story about this same issue at http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/some-medical-marijuana-advocates-hope-legislation-/nh3TH/. I very much admire the bravery of Sergeant Clark as he battles this medical issue with his wife Kim and their sons. Parental love is an amazing thing.

Two Recent Morningside Incidents of Note

The details of these incidents were gleaned from various Morningside message boards that were forwarded to me. The first happened this past Friday on Middlesex Avenue as residents arrived at home at about 11 p.m. when a hooded b/m rushed them with the front door open, pointed a gun at them, made them lie down in a dark spot in shrubbery and robbed them of their phones, cash, cards and driver’s license. Their car had been stolen from their driveway also in the past week. They called 911 from a neighbor’s house with a delay in police response due to the fact that this happened during shift change time. The responding Zone 2 Officer suggested that these two events may be related and these folks may have been watched. Of course, the Officer also suggested the home-owners install outside lighting and a camera system.The second incident was on Pasadena Avenue when the residents were wakened at 3:15 a.m. with the sound of a rock being thrown thru a window. A laptop was taken in this incident and I am wondering if it was visible from outside the window. This suspect escaped before being caught.

The second incident was on Pasadena Avenue when the residents were wakened at 3:15 a.m. with the sound of a rock being thrown thru a window. A laptop was taken in this incident and I am wondering if it was visible from outside the window. This suspect escaped before being caught.

I strongly urge everyone to be very honest with yourself, look around your house after dark to see if your personal electronics are visible thru windows, if there are hiding places in your over-grown shrubbery and if there are dark areas where you do not have adequate exterior lighting. Of course, also make sure that ALL doors and windows are securely locked and if you have an alarm system, that it is turned on.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 43 and 44 (10/19 to 11/1). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.Auto Theft: Only one reported incident, a 2000 Jeep Cherokee taken from a parking lot on Cooledge Avenue. This thief was caught later in the West End area when he ran a stop sign – a chase ensued til he wrecked the vehicle and he was arrested.

Auto Theft: Only one reported incident, a 2000 Jeep Cherokee taken from a parking lot on Cooledge Avenue. This thief was caught later in the West End area when he ran a stop sign – a chase ensued til he wrecked the vehicle and he was arrested.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary: A Virginia Avenue apartment was entered via an unlocked window and a cell phone taken.  Another Virginia Avenue apartment was entered via a rock thrown thru a back window – taken were a wallet and contents, an X-box and a laptop.  Also on Elkmont Drive the nite-time burglary that was written about in the last Safety Team report. Here entry was made by breaking a sliding glass door.  The victim discovered the suspect while in their house, and the thief fled, taking a desktop, a laptop and a driver’s license.  The suspect has been identified thru fingerprints – but, to my knowledge, has not yet been caught.  The driver’s license was found the next morning by an alert neighbor while on a walk.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Though throughout the Zone – there are many such reported incidents. One particular incident really caught my eye and I cannot fathom why anyone would seek to sell something to a “buyer” in a parking lot. In a North Avenue parking lot in the dark, after selling bit coins for $5000 in cash – the suspect grabbed back the cash from the victim and fled in a vehicle. I also assume he got the bit coins too. No word as to how the buyer and seller connected with each other.

Larceny From Vehicle: There were 76 such reported incidents in all of Zone 6 in this time period. Here in Beat 601 vehicles were entered on Virginia Avenue (laptop, backpack, GPS, wireless mouse and a S.S. card), Drewry Street (3 Craftsmen tools and an air compressor), North Highland Avenue (nothing taken, but an unwanted bowling bag was left outside the car), St. Charles Avenue (an I-pad), North Highland Avenue (a work bag), Los Angeles Avenue ( laptop and books), North Highland Avenue (Samsung Galaxy), North Highland Avenue (2 laptops), PDL Avenue (laptop, sunglasses, and a purse with contents).

Thank you to Scott Stern, owner of the commercial property at North Highland and Amsterdam Avenues, for hiring (via FBAC) an off-duty Officer for every evening thru the rest of the year, in an attempt to curb these incidents from happening in these parking lots. There are already Clean Car Campaign signs posted here and improved lighting – but patrons still continue to leave items visible in their cars here. Hope that this extra Officer presence will not give patrons the idea though, that they can leave their laptop in the front seat now without consequences. This Officer will be on foot and cannot be everywhere in this large parking lot at once.

I also got an e-mail this week from an Inman Park resident stating that his girlfriend’s car was broken into on Virginia Avenue near Lanier Boulevard in broad daylight between noon and 12:30 taking a backpack and contents. A credit card from the backpack was used to buy $126 worth of gas at the Texaco at PDL Avenue at Boulevard at 12:48 p.m. (this station does not have outside cameras and evidently the criminals know this) and then they tried to buy something at the Boulevard BP across from the Atlanta Medical Center at 12:53. These guys can work fast to use credit cards before they are canceled.  Unfortunately, our once-successful CourtWatch program seems to have disappeared from the DA’s office and I never get notifications as to when these thieves are scheduled for court hearings – too bad. Anyone from the DA’s office want to comment here?

Larceny Other: At the nail salon on PDL Avenue at PDL Place, a billfold and contents was taken by a male accomplice of a female “customer”. An Inman School student left his cell phone in his jacket that was placed on the ground and it was taken. The suspect was seen on their security tape – but no word as to his being arrested. Elsewhere in the Zone – an unwatched wallet was taken from a baby bag at Target at Edgewood – the victim discovered this as she was ready to check out. In all of the Edgewood stores in this time period, there were 12 shoplifting reports. Also in this same center, a phone was snatched from the victim’s hand as she walked from one store to another. This incident also just amazes me that there was not a “See Something – Say Something” person at the Aldi store on Moreland Avenue when two shoplifters came in with two duffle bags, filled them up with 75 bags of shrimp valued at $600, walked out and fled in a Mercedes-Benz (wonder if this was a stolen car).Thank you to Harris Botnick, the owner of Worthmore Jewelers of Amsterdam Walk, for presenting a very worthwhile professional security/safety seminar this past Thursday – too bad that there were not more area residents present. You do have another chance though, to participate in this presentation this Thursday evening (11/13/14) at 6:30 at the Decatur Rec Center at 321 Sycamore Street.

Thank you to Harris Botnick, owner of Worthmore Jewelers at Amsterdam Walk, for presenting a very worthwhile professional security/safety seminar this past Thursday – too bad that there were not more area residents present. You do have another chance though, to participate in this presentation this Thursday evening (11/13/14) at 6:30 at the Decatur Rec Center at 321 Sycamore Street.Stay alert and aware, remember the Clean Car Campaign which states ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times, and enjoy the upcoming holiday season here intown.

Stay alert and aware, remember the Clean Car Campaign which states ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times, and enjoy the upcoming holiday season here intown.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: October 30, 2014

By: John Wolfinger

Bicycle Thievery

Interesting article about securing bicycles against theft- not being a bike owner myself, I always thought that U-locks were the way to go for protection. Not so – according to this article.

Interesting article about securing bicycles against theft- not being a bike owner myself, I always thought that U-locks were the way to go for protection. Not so – according to this article.  http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2014/10/your-u-lock-is-basically-worthless-but-dont-worry/381818/.

Halloween Safety

Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year – there is the possible danger of mixing adult fun with trick-or-treat fun along with the traffic gridlock.  http://www.myajc.com/news/lifestyles/halloween-on-a-friday-more-fun-mixed-with-more-cau/nhp7t/. Sorry that I do not know how (if it is possible) to forward an AJC article behind their paywall.  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/gridlock-guy-halloween-friday-traffic-downright-sc/nhqp9/.

Our New 311 System

I’ve had reports of varying success in using our new 311 non-emergency call system – but guess that we just have to give the city time to work out the bugs.  http://www.ajc.com/news/news/atlanta-launches-atl311-one-stop-city-service-hotl/nhqn9/.

Save The Date – November 6th

Our annual Street Captain’s meeting on 10/25 was well attended, with great discussions on many subjects.  I will be sending out the notes from this session in a separate report.  Harris Botnick, the owner of Worthmore Jewelers at Amsterdam Walk announced a safety/security seminar he is sponsoring at 6:30 p.m. at Loca Luna in Amsterdam Walk on 11/6. Every VaHi street should be represented at this session, along with our neighborhood businesses too – as this concerns both personal, residential and business safety matters. We also invite our neighbors from surrounding east-side neighborhoods – we are all in this together.  http://worthmorejewelers.com/blog_posts/view/70-worthmore-is-hosting-free-personal-safety-seminars  Loca Luna should be packed for this evening.

Help Wanted

Our neighborhood off-duty patrol service, Fight Back Against Crime (FBAC), is in desperate need of some administrative help to assist Nancy Safay with marketing, e-publishing and general computer skill sets. This patrol is a neighborhood fixture with a 20 + year track record of serving VaHi and deserves our support, both with memberships as well as talents to guide its growth and stability.  Contact Nancy Safay at safay629@comcast.net for more details.  http://www.fbacvahi.com.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 40, 41 and 42 (9/28 – 10/18).  As I always state, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft: Two scooters were taken from the same Briarcliff Road parking lot on the same nite.  One was chained – but the chain was cut.  There were 35 vehicles taken from all over Zone 6 in this time period.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary: On 10/2 a PDL Place apartment was entered (with no signs of forced entry) with a 47″ tv, an I-pad and 2 laptops taken.  On 10/4 a St. Charles Avenue apartment was entered via a rock thrown thru a window resulting in a playstation and controllers taken.  On 10/8 during the day a Virginia Avenue residence was entered by removing a kitchen window screen.  This suspect was arrested thanx to an alert neighbor who called 911 right away.  On 10/10 the first of our string of nite-time burglaries was committed on Adair Avenue with entry via a broken rear basement window – taken were 2 laptops, one laptop bag and a driver’s license.  On 10/15 on Park Drive entry was via a broken back window – taken was a sledge hammer.  On 10/18 a Rosedale Road residence was entered via an unlocked side window – taken were 2 I-pads, 2 desktop computers, 1 laptop, a wallet and contents and headphones.  A third nite-time VaHi burglary was reported on 10/26 with the Elkmont Drive residents being wakened to scare off the thief – entry was via a broken glass door.  Also – in this string of nite-time burglaries were one on East Morningside Drive in Morningside and another on University Drive in DeKalb County.

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601.Residential 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: A vehicle was entered on North Highland Avenue (laptop taken).  The license plate was taken from a motorcycle on Greenwood Avenue, and a catalytic converter was sawed off on North Highland Avenue.  This is an amazing decrease in the number of these incidents on our Beat.  There were 91 reported incidents in this time frame all over the Zone.

Larceny Other: At the CVS on North Highland Avenue a shoplifter put a can of beer in his shirt and he was arrested.  Two Apple I-pads were stolen from an Inman School classroom.  Two outgoing checks made out to Bank of America were stolen from an Orme Circle mailbox. One was cashed at a Forest Park Bank of America with the other check being refused to cash.  A “customer” was allowed to take out a bicycle from  Paris on Ponce for a BeltLine test ride and he and the bike never returned.

Nearby at the Edgewood Best Buy store – a customer put down her purse on a counter to get help from an employee and she lost $3000 in cash, a green card and a passport.  At all of the Edgewood Retail District stores – 14 shoplifting reports were filed.

With the recent nite-time burglaries – now is a good time to be honest with yourself and install good exterior lighting (not just a 40 watt bulb on the front porch), trim down over grown shrubbery around and under windows, get in the habit of locking ALL doors and windows (day and nite) and use your alarm system if you have one.  Hide your billfold and purse at nite before retiring – not just leave it on the kitchen table in view of a window along with your phones and laptops.

Recent Incidents in Candler Park/ Lake Claire Area

A Candler Park adult female was attacked at her home as she unloaded groceries – the story at http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/clip/10765046/candler-park-woman-fights-attacker. The suspected attacker is still at large as of today and his picture is enclosed in this tv news clip. He has supposedly been sighted a couple of times since this attack, but no arrest has been made.The attempted abduction of a Candler Park student is detailed at

The attempted abduction of a Candler Park student is detailed at http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/girl-says-she-fought-attempted-kidnapper/nhqzH/. APD Zones 2, 5 and 6 are working with the School Detectives Section to step up patrols around schools as well as main routes to schools in our general east-side area. No arrest has been yet made either of the suspects in the purple van.

There was also a report on one of our message boards about a suspicious incident on Rosewood Drive here in VaHi concerning a 7y/o female, walking her dog, stating that a white passenger van (with no commercial lettering) stopped beside her on the street and the b/m driver spoke into a phone and then drove on. The child ran home with the parent calling in a 911 report. No further word on this incident.

These incidents point out that parents should have conversations with their children about safety precautions and awareness. Children should be taught to walk in groups to and from school. Set up a safe route to school and have a plan about safe houses or businesses children can go to if they are scared or threatened. Children should know their home address and parent’s phone numbers as well as another trusted adult. Go over instructions with your children as to how to call 911 and what to say to the operator. Every afternoon as I see children walking from the Inman School – I see many of them talking and texting on their phones and not being at all aware of their surroundings. Yes – cell phones are still being snatched from pedestrians and it could very well happen here too.

And – speaking of calling 911, make sure you have signed up for the Smart911 system.  Go to https://www.smart911.com. Click on the link to create your own family safety profile. Once you are signed up and call 911, the operator already knows facts about the person calling and speeds up the call. This program has now been in effect here in the city for well over a year now and it does work.Dig out your winter jacket and sweater and enjoy fall.

Dig out your winter jacket and sweater and enjoy fall.

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Taste of Atlanta Comes to Midtown October 24-26

Taste of Atl 600x200More than 90 of Atlanta’s best restaurants will participate in this year’s Taste of Atlanta, to be held October 24-26 in Midtown at Tech Square. With eateries featured from both inside and outside the perimeter, festival-goers will be able to savor truly authentic flavors that represent every corner of the city.

New this year, to help attendees pinpoint their local favorites or discover new dining treasures during Taste of Atlanta, the festival will take food lovers on a culinary tour through the city’s many diverse neighborhoods. Whether it’s Buckhead’s St. Cecilia, Virginia-Highland’s The Original El Taco, Roswell’s Little Alley Steakhouse, Decatur’s No. 246, Brookhaven’s THERE, Alpharetta’s Milton’s or Midtown’s Table at Ten, festival-goers will experience a variety of signature sensations from each community.

Keeping with tradition, Taste of Atlanta will kick off the festival’s 13th year of fantastic fare with an exclusive block party on Friday, October 24. The event, themed Culinary Matrimony, will feature local celebrity chefs for an evening of both famed and more obscure flavor pairings. Guests can also look forward to live music from Electric Avenue, a PleaseRock tribute band, and bountiful booze. Select restaurants, including Seven Lamps, Fox Bros. BBQ, The Optimist and Buttermilk Kitchen, will also be onsite to serve up delicious bites.

“I think people will be hard pressed to find more culinary variety in one place,” said Chef and Restaurateur Ron Eyester of Rosebud, The Family Dog, Timone’s and his latest concept, Diner. “With every signature taste, the festival showcases just how diverse and progressive our city’s dining scene really is. I welcome any opportunity to support my fellow chefs and our local food landscape, and that is exactly what Taste of Atlanta brings to the table!”

Click here for more information on Taste of Atlanta.

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Say Hello to the Orme Park Turtles!

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Lola Carlisle for the pictures included in this article.

IMG_7726Sometimes good things happen to people who wait. Other times they happen to people who take action.

In June, VaHi resident Paige Cucchi and her husband Sean witnessed a snapping turtle laying her eggs in the middle of the walking path on Orme Park’s northeastern edge (across from 818 Brookridge). Click here to read about the Cucchi’s encounter and resident efforts to protect the nest until the eggs hatched, and hopefully ensure the hatchlings short but treacherous trip to the nearby creek.

IMG_7729It was thought the eggs might hatch as early as late July or early August. But when summer turned to fall, concerned residents – many of whom had modified their daily walking habits to check on the status of the nest – began to wonder when – or even if – the young turtles would make their appearance. Most were reluctant to dig up the nest for fear of harming the hatchlings or otherwise disturbing their natural birth process.

Fortunately, VaHi resident Anita Wallace, who volunteers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Amphibian Conservation Program, saw our post about the Orme Park turtle nest and shared it with her supervisor. As amphibian research coordinator for the Department of Conservation Research at the Garden, Mark Mandica knew something was awry when the hatchlings hadn’t made their appearance by mid-October.

Mark Mandica's wife Crystal does her part to help rescue the Orme Park turtle hatchlings.

Mark Mandica’s wife Crystal does her part to help rescue the Orme Park turtle hatchlings.

Mandica reached out to the VHCA and offered to lend his expertise. When Mandica inspected the nest on Wednesday he determined the hatchlings were definitely overdue, and that the reason for their failure to appear was likely the dense, compacted soil in which the nest was buried. In a rescue operation worthy of major media coverage, Mandica and two others dug up the nest and, in fact, found numerous young turtles struggling to make their way to the surface and then on to the creek. If Mandica and crew had not intervened, all of the hatchlings would most likely have perished.

Amazingly, all ten hatchlings were rescued, although one unfortunately did not survive the short trip to Mandica’s home. Three of the remaining nine appear somewhat lethargic, but the rest are frolicking in the bathtub playground Mandica’s created for them. Dehydration is the major concern at this point. Mandica’s watching them closely,  though, and he’s hopeful that, now that they’re in water and receiving nourishment, all nine will make a speedy recovery.

IMG_7725

No doubt about it: ABG Department of Conservation Research amphibian specialist Leslie Philips, Mark Mandica and Mark’s wife Crystal (l-r) have earned their gold star for the month by rescuing the Orme Park turtles.

Mandica will observe the baby turtles for the next week or two, after which the survivors will be released into the creek in Orme Park. VHCA plans to organize a turtle release event and interested residents will be invited to attend. We hope to also include an educational component at the event during which Mandica can help attendees better understand the plight of these wonderful creatures which he describes as “a species most people would just as soon kill.” When a time and date for the event are confirmed, we’ll let you know.

Click here to view a video of the grateful hatchlings thriving in Mandica’s bathtub.

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Battle of the Burgers Returns to VaHi

hamburgerThe Battle of the Burgers returns to John Howell Park this Saturday October 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

2014 marks the event’s fifth year as up to 25 of your favorite Atlanta restaurants fire up their grills and compete for the best burger title. Attendees can look forward to savoring signature burgers, while enjoying live music and cold beer. Prizes will be awarded for The People’s Choice Best Burger and for Judges’ Choice Best Burger.

Event organizers are also hosting a 5K road race starting at 9:00 a.m. at John Howell Park on the morning of the event.

Click here for more information including ticket prices, a list of participating restaurants – some from VaHi – and judges. You can also purchase tickets and sign up for the road race on the website.

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Volunteers Needed for Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful Fall Clean Up

KVHB Fall Cleanup PhotoPassing along the following from our friends at Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful…

Join residents and business owners in a fall cleanup of the neighborhood. This is the kick-off for our efforts to having N. Highland Avenue looking in top shape for the upcoming holiday season.

For Volunteers:

  • Meet in front of American Roadhouse restaurant (coffee and biscuits will be served). If you can’t be there at 8:30 am, join us at any point in the morning!
  • Bring work gloves, rakes, weed spray, gas powered weed whackers, small scrapers for sticker removal, etc.
  • We will provide trash bags and latex gloves
  • Can’t make it on the 18th? Go for a walk in the neighborhood any day. Take a trash bag and pick up litter as you go.
  • Parents, please consider bringing (or volunteering) your teens to help. This would make a good volunteer project for any youth group or to meet high school volunteer requirements.

For Business Owners:

  • Volunteer staff to work alongside residents
  • Hire someone to do extra clean up around your business
  • Donate supplies or refreshments for volunteers
  • Consider what you can do to improve the appearance of your storefront – perhaps it’s time for some new planters and fall pansies. See Mica at Intown Ace Hardware for guidance on what to plant
  • Don’t neglect parking areas. This is often the first thing your patrons see driving into the neighborhood.
  • Partner with nearby businesses and hire someone to do regular cleanup of your whole block, or shared parking area.
  • Make sure trash is making it all the way into the dumpster and dumpster doors/lids are kept closed.
  • Have graffiti on your building? Contact the Graffiti Task Force for help. graffiti@vahi.org

Questions? Contact Kay Stephenson kay.stephenson@gmail.com (404) 431-2603, or Tim Langan t_langan@hotmail.com (678) 464-7268.

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeepVirginiaHighlandBeautiful

 

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It’s Almost Time to Tour!

2014-Tour-of-Homes-DatesYES! It’s finally Autumn in VaHi and the air is cooler, the leaves are falling AND the Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes committee is in FULL SWING preparing for our neighborhood’s next big event. The 2014 Tour of Homes is set for the first weekend in December, Saturday and Sunday the 6th and 7th. Our committee has been working hard all year to ensure the success of this year’s tour.

This year’s line up of homes features seven incredible homes and one historic church. Each home is uniquely designed and decorated and represents the charming characteristics of our neighborhood. The Church of our Saviour is included this year, giving tour goers a special look inside a historic landmark and one of the oldest church communities in VaHi.

IMG_6360One of the highlights of the tour remains the delicious food tastings served in each home along the tour. Local favorites like LaTavola, Murphy’s, Highland Tap, Fontaine’s, Atkins Park, Timone’s, Noche, El Taco and San Francisco Coffee are back. New to the tour this year: Moore Farms & Friends and Tapa Tapa.

To make the tour more festive this year, we are very excited to have the Grady High School Chorus and Jazz Band performing live holiday music and carols throughout our community streets, restaurants and shops.

Each year the tour just keeps getting bigger and better. So many people make this fundraising event possible in order improve the quality of life in our community. The funds raised by the Tour of Homes go to support various projects in our neighborhood including playground/park improvements, sidewalks, safety, traffic concerns, planning and preservation and other community efforts.

DSC06097So far, 2014 ToH has raised $32,500 in sponsorships alone. This does not include tickets sales. Hopefully Mother Nature will provide the clear skies and perfect temps to bring out tour goers.

Please visit our website vahitourofhomes.org for more detailed information on the times, the homes, the sponsors and the restaurants. There’s a map of the tour and some “teaser” pictures of our featured homes. You can purchase tickets on the website, as well.

This is a great weekend to kick off your holidays. TOUR, EAT and SHOP in the charming neighborhood we all call home. Remember, ToH tickets make great gifts, day dates, girls trips and family memories!

Hope to see you all out & about,

Angelika Taylor

 

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Agenda: October VHCA Monthly Board and General Meeting

VaHi-Logo-Vertical-Hypen-RGBFollowing is the tentative agenda for the Monday October 13 monthly Board/General meeting of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association:

Call to Order

Adoption of Agenda

Welcome from Reverend Zachary Thompson

Police & Fire Dept. representatives: Zone 6

City of Atlanta officials; other public officials & municipal representatives

Variances

V-14--200; 841 Virginia Circle (SW corner of De Leon Ave.); the zoning is R-4 in the BeltLine Overlay.

Applicant Cathie Magnan Power (on behalf of owners Allan & Lori Levy) seeks a variance to reduce the required half-depth front yard setback (along De Leon Ave.,  on the west) from 17.5’ (existing) to 8’ to allow for a rear addition (with a garage underneath) to an existing single-family dwelling.

The addition will be level with the main floor of the existing home; garage access will be from De Leon Avenue.   A new terrace will act as a rain garden to capture stormwater.  Unrelated to this project, concrete from an old parking pad in the very rear of the lot adjacent to a very old oak tree will be removed by hand. Letters of notification were sent on 9/29/14 to 825, 826, 840, 843, & 844 Virginia Aves and 828, 840, & 846 Adair Avenue.

The Planning Committee unanimously recommended approval conditioned on the applicant’s provision of a revised site plan stamped by the City showing elevations and better tree details.

V-14-213; 815 Drewry St. NE.   Deferred at request of applicant.

V-14-197; 657 Cresthill; the zoning is R-4 

Applicants and owners Kasey Libbey seek a variance to reduce the west sideyard setback from 7′ (required) to 3′ to allow a new addition and deck on the rear of the property.

The proposed additions total 1081 s.f. and bring the lot coverage to 50%. Two boundary trees (a 36’ hardwood and a 24” pine) will be lost. Though the applicant’s infiltration test suggests that no formal mitigation is required by city regulations, they are adding a 65 s.f. rain garden at the southwest corner to accommodate new stormwater.

The Planning Committee unanimously recommended approval based on the applicant’s provision of a revised site plan matching that one signed at the Planning Committee meeting that included the rain garden. (Mr. Bulloch did not participate in this vote.)

2014/15 Committee Appointments:

  • Communication: John Becker, Chair; Lola Carlisle
  • Finance: Peggy Berg and Jack White (ex-officio), Co-Chairs; Lola Carlisle; Jess Windham
  • Fundraising – Summerfest: John Becker & Paige Hewitt, Co-Chairs, Lola Carlisle, Pam Papner.
  • Fundraising – Tour of Homes: Robin Ragland & Angelika Taylor, Co-Chairs; Lola Carlisle
  • Parks: David Brandenberger, Chair; John Becker, Lauren Fralick, Colleen Lysen, Jack White
  • Planning: (rotating chairs); David Brandenberger, Chip Bullock; Lola Carlisle; Karen Feigh, Jenifer Keenan, George Van Horne, Jack White, Jess Windham
  • Safety: Peggy Berg, Chair

Appointments to the Virginia-Highland Conservation League (VHCL) Board (term is three years): Genny Ferrero, Judy Potter, Jack White

ToH update – Angelika, Robin

Music Midtown update – Jack

JHP construction update – David

Calendar update – Lola

New Business

Adjournment

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VaHi Safety Team Report: October 12, 2014

Please Save These Dates

Saturday, October 18th: This is the date for the annual neighborhood clean up organized by the Keep VaHi Beautiful committee. Meet before 8:30 a.m. on the patio of the American Roadhouse for coffee and breakfast sandwiches, and get assignments for where to go to pick up trash/litter. Bring along your gloves, a scraper for removing stickers and a neighbor to help clean up neglected areas of VaHi. Finish up at noon, and then adjourn to Highland Tap for a special discounted lunch. If you are a Facebook user, go to Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful and “like” this dedicated group to sign up for this clean-up. Yes – there are folks who do care about how our business district looks, being mindful that there are lots of other city neighborhoods now to shop, dine and drink.

Saturday, October 25th: Start gathering at 9:30 a.m., in the lower meeting room at Church of Our Saviour (entrance on Los Angeles Avenue), for socialization and be ready to start at 10 a.m. sharp, for our annual Street Captain’s meeting.  The speaker for this year will be Lieutenant Cummings from Code Enforcement, and I expect a lot of folks who live nearby to 1001 St. Charles Avenue to be present to find out what has happened to the investigation to find the true owners of this beleaguered empty residence that has become an urban campground (to put it nicely). Finding the true owners is tantamount to being able to have someone press trespassing charges. Yes – this educational get together is open to the neighborhood in general (including businesses) as well as all of our Street Captains. We will finish up by noon, so you will still have time to tackle other weekend projects and errands.

The 10/8 Virginia Avenue Residential Burglary Incident

Thanks to a lot of aware folks who alerted me to police activity on Virginia Avenue east of Lanier Boulevard, we found out that a good next-door neighbor called 911 about a burglary in progress in this area and rapid APD response resulted in the arrest of Phillip Gamble. He subsequently confessed to other residential burglaries on Bellevue Drive and on 6th Street in Midtown. These burglary victims owe a debt of thanx to the alert neighbor who called 911 to nab this suspected thief. This was a classic example of “See Something – Say Something” and showed our neighborhood watch system at work. Nosey and aware neighbors are still one of our best lines of defense.

Our Continuing Fulton County Jail Problem

As we enter the umpteenth year of the Rice Street Jail being under federal court order to reduce the number of prisoners – the county commission is still working on solutions (is the end in sight?).

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/price-tag-for-fulton-jail-staffing-20-million/nhZKB/

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/fulton-hopes-to-jail-fewer-offenders/nhdMc/

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for 2014 week 39 (9/21-9/27). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

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: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on Crestridge Drive (laptop, backpack and contents), Bellevue Drive (laptop and backpack), and Virginia Avenue (laptop, hard drive and binder).   Three more vehicle owners learned the hard way about the Clean Car Campaign which states ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times.

Larceny Other: No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, at the nearby Edgewood Retail District, there were 6 shoplifting incidents reported with 6 arrests (but I always wonder as to how many such incidents go unnoticed by store security, as I am sure you do too).

Enjoy Fall safely, everyone.

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Let’s Bring Some Fall Color to The Triangle Island Park

DSC_0151Please join us at the Virginia-Highland triangle island park (in front of Taco Mac) on Saturday morning, October 11 to help with light weeding and fall planting. We will start at 10 AM, but feel free to come by any time before noon. We will have some tools on hand, but please bring gloves and spades if you have them. Bottled water will be provided.

Questions or comments? Contact Nonie Daniel at info@noniesgarden.com.

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15th Annual Trees Atlanta Tree Sale Set for This Saturday October 4

image001This year, Trees Atlanta’s Annual Tree Sale—its fifteenth!—will be held at the nearby Carter Center. This new venue offers more space for the 1,500+ plants available for sale, as well as much more available parking.

The Tree Sale & Jamboree, held rain or shine, will offer trees, shrubs, perennials, and tree-safe vines for sale. It’s the best selection in town, including over 200 native and exotic species.

Click on the link below for more information.

15th Annual Tree Sale & Jamboree!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Freedom Farmers’ Market at The Carter Center

453 Freedom Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

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VaHi Safety Report: September 29, 2014

By: John Wolfinger

A Flasher Among Us

There have been two different reports of a flasher in the neighborhood. The first report on the 9/27 NextDoor and VHLIST message boards from Brookridge Drive at Orme Park describes the suspect vehicle as a gold Honda Odyssey minivan that drove back and forth until he exposed himself in front of a female jogger, who was reported as having called 911 with the license plate number.

The second report was on the parent’s VHMPA message board on 9/29 reporting a similar vehicle where the driver exposed himself to a male and his children on Lanier Boulevard. This report thought he was maybe a w/m, but does not state as to whether 911 was called.

Does anyone know the female jogger victim at Orme Park who supposedly called 911 with a license plate number, so we can share this info with everyone? Let me know, so we can have a complete description of what to be looking for. In the meantime though, if you spot a similar vehicle with the similar behavior – please call 911 with as much descriptive info as you can provide.

For those of you (like me) who would not know what a Honda Odyssey looks like – check this link.  http://www.thecarconnection.com/cars/honda_odyssey

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 36, 37 and 38 (8/3 – 9/20). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday, so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Auto Theft: A 1996 Honda Accord was taken from Greenwood Avenue.  A 2001 Volkswagen Passat was stolen from Maiden Lane. A 2005 Mitsubishi Galant was taken from Highland Terrace with a suspect, but no word of an arrest.

Commercial Burglary: A rental unit at Extra Space Storage on Kanuga Street was broken into via the door shattered by a brick.

Residential Burglary: A home on Bellevue Drive was entered via a broken rear window, with several items taken.

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, these such robberies are continuing elsewhere in the Zone – with cell phones still being grabbed, or taken at gunpoint.

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on Lanier Boulevard (briefcase), St. Charles Avenue (textbook and laptop), Virginia Avenue (laptop and miscellaneous papers – a witness saw this incident, but the suspect escaped on foot). St. Charles Avenue (3 guitars), Los Angeles Avenue ( 2 I-pads, 2 cameras and a backpack), PDL Place (bicycle), Virginia Avenue (dash ripped out – but nothing taken), and PDL Avenue (2 Ohio license plates taken).  Keep checking behind your car to make sure you still have a license plate.

All around the Zone in this time period there were 105 such theft incidents reported – who knows how many such thefts were NOT reported.  Nearby at the corner of Somerset and North Avenue, $5000 in cash was taken from the console of a pickup truck.  The owner had locked the doors, but left a side window open. Just sayin’ that if I ever had $5000 in cash – I sure as heck would not leave it in my vehicle.

Larceny Other: At the MJQ Club on PDL Avenue, a patron felt someone’s hand in her handbag – they took her cell phone. At the Intown Hardware a male in an old SUV pulled up to the outdoor grill display and loaded one up in the back of his vehicle. An employee asked if he had paid, he answered “yes” and while the employee went inside to check – the suspect drove off with the grill. I hate to see such a nice business being taken advantage of.

There were two front porch package thefts reported – one on Frederica Street and the other on St. Augustine Place. PLEASE, PLEASE take advantage of the free and safe delivery service offered by Intown Hardware on North Highland and Morningstar Storage and Urban Body on PDL Place. All you have to do is go by one of these friendly local merchants and sign up to use their safe address for your intended packages to be delivered to. They will even call you when you have a package to pick up. If you have friends or neighbors who are not aware of this service – please let them know – and insure that their packages are safely received. We can so easily stop this kind of theft and not give these thieves a reason to roam our streets looking for packages to steal.

Nearby at the Edgewood Retail District, a Lowe’s customer put down her wallet and (you guessed it) when she returned it was gone. Also at Edgewood at the Kroger store, a male took a bottle of wine to the men’s room and was found slumped on a commode. At all of the Edgewood stores in this time period there were 18 cases of shoplifting with several arrests made, especially at Target and Kroger. One of the Kroger thieves put a gallon of ice cream in his pants, but was caught. That would be a chilling experience to say the least. There is evidently an opening at the Best Buy for a new employee – one rang up a $749.99 item for $79.99 and was caught.

Lawn care companies continue to lose equipment from unwatched trucks and trailers. Please warn your lawn care guys of this danger.

Remember the Clean Car Campaign – ALL parked cars are to be cleaned out at ALL times.

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Druid Hills Child Development Center Celebrates 45th Anniversary

Passing along the following from our friends at the Druid Hills Child Development Center…

The mission of the Druid Hills Child Development Center is to develop children socially, emotionally and cognitively, to encourage their curiosity, and to help them realize their full potential. We define quality as an environment that inspires children’s natural curiosity and believe children learn best through doing. We partner with families to support them in their role as their child’s first and most important teachers and believe that through this partnership we create a foundation for a child’s future success.

Join us to celebrate Druid Hills Child Development Center’s 45th anniversary of meeting the needs of working families in the midtown Atlanta community! The evening will consist of a center tour, curriculum displays by our educational staff, and time to visit with new and old friends. We are proud of our history and want an opportunity to show you how the center has grown and developed over the years and to connect with current and past families as well as community members.

For further information please contact us at info@dhcdc.com. Visit us at www.dhcdc.com for a snapshot of our center.

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VaHi Celebrates Atlanta Streets Alive

Kudos to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for putting on another outstanding Atlanta Streets Alive event yesterday. Four hours of un-motorized bliss and plenty of fun activities and events for people on foot, bicycle, rollerblades, etc. to participate in.

A broken foot prevented your fearless reporter from cycling the event this time, but I was able to walk the area between Virginia Ave. and Freedom Pkwy. and took pictures along the way – including many from the start of the Bicycle Parade. Here are 15 of my favorites. Click here to view a Google album with more photos. Enjoy!

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Horizon Theatre Invites VaHi Residents to Check Out Their Current Production

detroit regular

Passing along the following from our friends at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points…

Just down the street in neighboring Little Five Points, Horizon Theatre has been producing plays for Atlanta audiences for 30 years. Committed to connecting people and their communities, we are consistently on the front end, helping to carve out the local artistic scene. Horizon invites audiences to experience a wide variety of ideas and points of view with seasons full of regional and world premieres from playwrights both local and national.

Currently running at Horizon Theatre is Lisa D’Amour’s Pulitzer Prize finalist play, Detroit. In a suburb of a mid-sized American city, Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life at the long empty house next door and invite their young, hip new neighbors Sharon and Kenny over for a cookout. Upwardly mobile Ben and Mary are drawn to these live-in-the-moment recovering party animals like moths to a flame. As they bond over backyard barbecues, the neighborly connection they find threatens to unravel the lives they’ve built and change them forever. Ecstatic and dangerously funny, Detroit rips up the floorboards to reveal the racing heart under the suburban dream.

D’Amour writes, “What if two very different couples suddenly became neighbors, and decided to open themselves up to each other? Detroit, even with all its strange and startling turns, is ultimately a play about the potential within people to imagine, discover, and continually unearth secrets about each other and the world.”

We would love to have our neighbors from Virginia-Highland come down the street to enjoy an evening at our theater! Detroit runs until October 19th with performances Wednesday through Sunday. Please visit www.horizontheatre.com or contact Tim Harland at groups@horizontheatre.com for more information. Tickets may be purchased online or through our box office by calling (404) 584-7450.

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Streets Alive Returns to VaHi September 28

Save the date for the next Atlanta Streets Alive: Sunday, September 28 from 2-6 pm.

The route (see map below) is a 4.5 mile loop on N. Highland + Highland + Boulevard + North Avenue — similar to the one that drew over 83,000 Atlantans to run, walk, dance and play in the streets last year! Five amazing Atlanta neighborhoods, connected by open streets for all.

Click here for more information on this great event organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. 

Click here for a list of road closures and locations where vehicles can cross the event route.

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Get Your Tickets Now for the 2nd Annual BeltLine Wine Stroll

logo-4Oenophiles and food lovers rejoice as the second annual BeltLine Wine Stroll will be held Saturday September 27. The mile-long wine tasting event will take place along the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine from 1 – 5 p.m. Attendees will visit twenty restaurants and businesses, from Poncey-Highland through Inman Park to the Old Fourth Ward, while enjoying sips of various vinos and discovering new venues along the iconic BeltLine.

Proceeds from the event will benefit phase two improvement projects at Springvale Park as well as the Inman Park Security Patrol.

The following venues will feature a selected wine and light appetizers:

Tickets for the event are $40 and can be purchased online. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit https://beltlinewinestroll.eventbrite.com/ and like us on Facebook.

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Eclectic Music Announces Free, Live VaHi Performance

EclecticKidsAnybody up for some ‘busking’ late Friday afternoon?

A group of advanced students from VaHi’s own music school Eclectic Music will be busking – performing, in this case, music in a public place – from 5:00 – 6:30 PM at the intersection of Virginia and N. Highland Avenues. Look for them at the triangle island in front of Taco Mac.

Eclectic’s event coordinator Emma Gies explains how the busking is a win-win for the students and the neighborhood.

“We want to give our higher-level students the experience of playing in public, and playing on the corner is a fun, relaxed way to do that,” Gies says. “Most of the students live in or near the neighborhood, so by busking in VaHi they can work on their performance skills in a familiar setting, and at the same time contribute to the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.”

Busk on, Eclectic Music performers!

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