Minutes – Board Meeting – December 10, 2012

Virginia Highland Civic Association Monthly Meeting
7:00 PM; Monday, December 10, 2012

Ponce de Leon Library

CALL TO ORDER

Unusual circumstances resulted in the customary library meeting room being unexpectedly inaccessible at the last moment. No suitable alternative space being available, the Board determined that it would be prudent to simply hear those planning matters that were most pressing and to defer all other agenda items.

Ms. Carlisle therefore called the meeting to order at 7 PM outside the meeting room.

The following Board members were present: John Becker, Peggy Berg, Lola Carlisle, Arturo Cruz-Tucker, Genny Ferrero, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Jennifer Keenan, Pamela Papner, and David Wolfson. Jack White was not far away, but he was not present.

PLANNING

The following planning items were addressed:

LRB-413: Applicant Nadir Noormohammed Pirana presented his application for a new license (beer and wine only) for ‘Welcome 8 Foodmart’ at 730 Barnett Street NE, Unit C. The applicant reported that he has successfully maintained retail establishments at other locations for over ten (10) years, has installed safety features at the site, has an alcohol serving training program in place, and has no record of alcohol violations in the past ten (10) years. Based on this information, the Planning Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval at its meeting on December 5, 2012. In response to a question from the Board, Mr. Pirana confirmed that single-size portions of alcohol would not be sold at the site. The Board voted unanimously to support the application.

V-12-172; 1029 Bellevue Drive NE

Applicant Roderick Cloud requests a varied to reduce the (west) side yard setback from 7’ (required) to 4’ to construct a new garage behind a new house currently permitted and already under construction at the location. The Planning Committee made a series of site visits on this matter; the original application was sited near the rear setback, was over 50% impervious and requested a variance therefrom, was 20’ high, and had a 2nd story with a window overlooking the neighbors to the rear. After hearing the Planning Committee was highly likely to oppose such a plan in its entirety, the applicant withdrew those requests and presented a plan that moved the garage forward and reduced its footprint (ending the >50% impervious content), removed the window, reduced the overall height to 16’, included 4 trees on the rear of the garage for absorption of water and screening, and provided 440 gallons of onsite stormwater retention in the form of rain barrels.

The Committee approved these aspects of the plan at its meeting on 11-7-12, at which point the neighbors to the rear indicated that their privacy and runoff objections had been addressed.

That notwithstanding, VHCA member John Jugovic (address) reiterated his belief that this house was too big, that such McMansions should not be allowed, and that they were ruing the neighborhood. Committee members noted yet again that they too had lots of varied of personal opinions about a number of aesthetic issues and trends in the neighborhood but knew very well that the BZA based its own decisions on code-based factors. Eventually Mr. Jugovic reasserted his belief that >50% of the conditioned space in the basement is above grade now and would be at completion and should therefore be included as floor area in the FAR computation. If Mr. Jugovic is accurate, the FAR would be over the allowable limit and would therefore not be legal and ineligible to receive a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).

VHCA Planning Committee members Mark Arnold and Chip Bullock (both registered architects with decades of experience and practice) independently visited the site as it stands under construction and disagreed with Mr. Jugovic’s assessment. The Board and the applicant had agreed to a 1-month deferral at the November BoD specifically to give Mr. Jugovic time to request an inspection by the city, notwithstanding that such matters are not typically ruled on by the Bureau of Buildings until a CO is requested after construction is substantially complete.

Mr. Jugovic appeared at the Planning Committee meeting on December 5th and said he had not been able to get the city to respond to his phone calls. Asked if he had made the request in writing at any point to any specific individual, he said he had not. Asked if he would like Planning Committee assistance, he declined and said he would continue to pursue this on his own.

Committee members pointed out repeatedly that the calculation of FAR is a code requirement issue independent of the variance request before it and therefore outside the purview of this variance, the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment, and the NPU. Mr. White pointed out that a 1-month deferral had already been granted without even a formal request in writing being submitted and asked again why Mr. Jugovic had made only anecdotal and undocumented attempts. The Planning Committee meeting ended with the committee still in support of the revised variance application.

These issues were discussed several more times in the Board meeting, after Mr. Jugovic insisted that a second deferral was appropriate. After several more iterations of the discussion, Ms. Carlisle made and Ms. Ferrero seconded a motion to approve the variance request conditioned the revised site plan date-stamped 11/08/12 that included the features noted above and added the standard garage conditions (16’ height, 60A electrical service, and hose bib only) and provision of all letters of notification. Ms. Papner, Ms. Ferrero, Ms. Keenan, Mr. Cruz-Tucker, Ms. Forschler Horn, Ms. Carlisle, and Mr. Becker all voted in favor. Mr. Wolfson abstained.

V-12-179; 1171 Rosedale Drive NE. Applicant and owner David Woodbury seeks a variance from zoning regulations to reduce the east side yard setback from 7 ft (required) to 4 ft and rear yard setback from 15’ (required) to 10’ and to reduce the lot coverage to 52.39% from its previous 50%. After several site visits and a one-month deferral, a revised plan was submitted that increased the side setback an additional foot, featured276 gallons of stormwater retention on site, a grassed median strip on the front half of the driveway that drains north toward Rosedale, additional planting at the rear of the garage, and a raised curb to prevent stormwater from exiting the property from the driveway to the rear (south). Mr. Woodbury received unanimous recommendation for approval from the VHCA Planning Committee, conditioned upon site plans (with those features) stamped and dated December 6, 2012 , with standard garage conditions (16’ high, 60A, hose bib only), and provision of all letters of notification.

Ms. Carlisle therefore moved and Ms. Forschler Horn seconded a motion to approve per the Planning committee conditions. The Board agreed unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:15 PM and most people went home. Mr. White did not.

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Education Committee Update: January 2, 2013

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Grady Debate Tournament, Traffic and Volunteering

Grady’s debate team The Jesters is getting ready to host their big debate tournament of the year, “The Quest for the Dream” regional tournament on January 11th and 12thThis tournament enhances the prestige of the Grady High School speech and debate team and is a major fundraiser for The Jesters.

What does the tournament mean for Virginia-Highland? The tournament is held at both Grady High School and Inman Middle School, using hundreds of classrooms and common facilities at both schools. Tournament preparation begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11. First rounds of the tournament start at 5:00 p.m. and conclude by around 10:00 p.m. Friday.  The tournament resumes on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. (with preparation starting at 6:30 a.m.) and lasts until about 9:00 p.m.

According to Grady, 500 debaters and 150 judges from Georgia and nearby states will participate in the tournament. The entire debate team and many parent and community volunteers will also participate. Expect heavier than normal vehicular and pedestrian traffic and overflowing parking lots at each school.

This is an amazing event for the Grady Jesters and a wonderful opportunity for students from across the country to experience the unique beauty of our neighborhoods and schools. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the tournament, contact Janet Kishbaugh at janetkishbaugh@gmail.com.

Books for SPARK Kids

If you have gently used books, appropriate for children in grades K-5 (especially 3-5), please consider donating them to Springdale Park Elementary. SPARK keeps several shelves of books in the cafeteria which students can enjoy each day during their lunch period. We are in need of a few more books, particularly for our older children. Both fiction and non-fiction books are needed. You can drop off any books you care to donate at the SPARK front office.

Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers Win Gold

Congratulations to the Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers for winning a trophy in the Gold category on November 11 in the Battle of Dance Line competition at the Georgia World Congress Center. The competition between Atlanta-area high schools judges stand routine, attire, technique, choreography and dance routine.

The Southerner – High School Journalism Hall of Fame

The staffs of the Grady publications and broadcast programs traveled to San Antonio November 15 – 18 to attend the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) fall convention. The Southerner was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame for receiving All-American ratings for 10 of the past 11 years. Additionally, the Southerner received its eight Pacemaker Award, widely considered the Pulitzer Price of high school journalism.

College & Career Connection Spotlighted

The Atlanta Intown newspaper featured the College & Career Connection  (CCC) in its December edition. It’s a great article on the history of the CCC and how the organization seeks to help all students at Grady High School. Check it out at www.atlantaintownpaper.com, page 39, for.

Grady Book Club

Join the Grady Book Club for discussions of recent and classic books. Meetings are on the third Monday of each month at 6:15 p.m. in the homes of members. See the Gradygram for meeting locations, or contact gradywritingcenter@gmail.com. Upcoming meeting include:

• January 21 – Everybody Was So Young:  Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

• February 18 – The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

 

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VaHi to Host Atlanta Christmas 5K Race

The Atlanta Christmas 5K road race will take place in Virginia-Highland from 8:00 – 9:30 AM on Saturday December 22. Registration is closed but you should be aware that traffic will be impacted during the race.

The race starts at Fire Station #19 on N. Highland Avenue, runs through VaHi and Morningside, and finishes up at Morningside Presbyterian Church.

Click here for a map showing the course route and streets effected. A street-by-street course route follows below:

• Race starts at Fire Station #19 (1063 N. Highland Ave)

• West on Los Angeles, Pass Crestridge Drive

• Turn Left on Elkmont Drive

• Turn Right on Park Drive

• Turn Right on Orme Circle

• Turn Right on Elkmont (Orme Circle merges to Elkmont)

• Turn Left on Brookridge Drive

• Turn Left on Amsterdam Ave – Amsterdam merges into Courtenay

• Turn Right on San Antonio Ave

• Turn Left on Amsterdam Ave

• Turn Left on Kings Court

• Bear Right on San Antonio – follow to Courtenay Ave

• Turn Right on Courtenay Ave

• Turn Left on Greenland Ave – stay right on Greenland – merges to Hillpine

• Turn Right on Wayne Ave

• Turn Left on Courtenay Ave

• Turn Left on North Highland Ave and proceed 90 yards to North Morningside Dr

• Turn Left on North Morningside Drive.

• Go 1/10th mile and turn Right into Morningside Presbyterian Church lot to the Finish Area.

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Local Blogger Shines Spotlight on 2012 Tour of Homes Entry

One of the things this year’s Tour of Homes committee focused on was using social media to help spread the word about our event. In addition to a robust website, we created a Facebook page and filled it with pictures of the homes and other relevant posts, blogged about the event on Virginia-Highland Patch, and took advantage of message boards like VHLIST and Next Door Virginia-Highland. We believe our efforts to promote through social media were a key part of the overall success of this year’s event.

We were pleased to have been ‘discovered’ this year by local home organizing consultant and blogger Tidy-Up Gal who stopped by and enjoyed this year’s tour. Tidy-Up Gal promoted our event prior to the Tour weekend and got access to take photos of VHCA board vice-president Lola Carlisle’s home. Photos from that tour were featured in a recent blog post. This type of exposure is a great adjunct to use of traditional media in promoting our event and we look forward to more such opportunities in 2013.

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2012 Tour of Homes Recap

And that’s a wrap!

Wow – what an incredible Tour of Homes weekend in Virginia Highland! I can’t begin to tell you how many personal emails I‘ve received about the homes, food tastings and neighborhood from last weekend. So many people praising our event from the pre-tour advertisement “buzz” and smooth transactions at ticket check-in to the amazing food samplings and hard working volunteers. Our streets were alive and the stores jam-packed. Tour goers enjoyed live, traditional holiday caroling as the Grady High School chorus entertained at the homes and at the North Highland/Virginia Ave. intersection.

And this year’s tour really delivered! The tour committee wants to sincerely thank the generous homeowners who allowed more than 1,600 tour-goers to view their incredible homes. The committee also wants to thank the fabulous restaurants, sponsors and the many volunteers for their hard work and support this year. There’s no way we could have made this tour happen without all of you.

One of my favorite sayings is “Go Big or Go Home” and this year’s tour did just that…we killed it!  By any measure, this year’s tour was a success. Close to 1,100 tickets were sold and, combined with sponsor revenue, the tour generated more than $36,000 for our neighborhood (a $3,000 increase over last year)! Pre-sale of tickets – both online and through our in-town locations – was strong, a direct result of promoting the event through our incredible website and Voice newsletter, the new banners we placed around the neighborhood and the local shops that displayed our signage, blogger support, promoting our event through Facebook and other social media, and, of course, the generous support of our sponsors and vendors.

As was the case with Summerfest in June, Mother Nature played a big role in ensuring our event’s success. With warm temperatures and no rain, attendance both days was very strong.

What does this really mean to us all? It means we raised money for the community we all take so much pride in – money that will directly impact each and every one of us. These funds go toward support of our parks, sidewalk repairs, safety, streetlights, landscaping and many other community projects that pop up throughout the year.

Let me share a quick story with you. On Saturday evening (after Day One of the tour) my hubby and I snuck in a quick dinner at Murphy’s. As always, the restaurant was packed. I talked to people at the tables around us, many of whom were from outlying areas and had come to VaHi to make a day of it. They “Toured, Ate and Shopped,” just as we had hoped they would. Most had had such a great time that they were ready to pack up and move to here! They loved our quaint village, the fact that everyone took pride in the community and that we can walk everywhere here and that the neighborhood seemed so health-conscious. My response to them was that these are precisely the reasons why most residents choose to call Virginia-Highland home.

In closing, I couldn’t be more proud of the many TOH committee members who went above and beyond to make this tour an incredible success. It was a pleasure working with everyone and we’ve already begun discussing next year’s tour while our energy level is high. If there’s any feedback about the tour that you’d like to share with us, please email it to tour@vahi.org.

Also, if you weren’t a sponsor for this year’s tour but would like to consider it for next year, please let us know.

Happy Holidays to everyone who attended this year’s tour or helped make it a success. I sincerely hope you enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.

– Angelika Taylor, 2012 Tour of Homes Chair

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Hot Holiday Cheer

By: Denise Romeo

The weather has finally turned colder making it feel like it really is December and the season for celebrating the holidays with friends and family. With everyone’s busy schedules it can be difficult to find a time when everyone can get together. And, let’s face it, while it is always wonderful to see everyone at holiday parties, the usual party fare can get a bit tiresome. If you have seen one cheese log, you’ve seen them all, right? So why not try something a bit different this year?  Perhaps an after-dinner party with desserts and warm drinks with everyone gathering around a fireplace?

With this idea in mind, I popped into Urban Cottage to peruse their collection of cookbooks and to find some festive serving pieces. After a wonderful stroll through their treasure trove of goodies which are an eclectic mix of vintage and well-placed new items, I found some sturdy goblets perfect for cold or hot drinks as well as napkin rings, and pretty linens. A few doors down at Festivity, I picked up a cheese tray and knives to complete the ensemble.

Now what to serve? Normally, we would start the evening with cocktails; a favorite being gin and tonic. So in an “Ah-Ha” moment, we decided on “Gin Toddies” a sophisticated spin on the seasonal Hot Toddy to go along with artisanal cheeses (from Alon’s Bakery) and spreads (from Bella Cucina Porta Via) and some homemade pizzelles, torrones and amaretti.

 

 

Hot Gin Toddy:

1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup boiling water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 ½ oz. favorite brand of gin

Put a teaspoon of sugar in a heat proof glass or mug and add boiling water. Stir briefly to dissolve sugar and then add gin and lemon juice. Stir to combine and garnish drinks with your choice of cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise, or lemon slices.

It is not too late to get your party supplies or pick up the ideal hostess gift at one of our wonderful neighborhood shops and remember to eat, drink and shop locally on Thursday, December 20th at “Holidays in Virginia-Highland” with special promotions at participating shops and restaurants. For more information about the event, contact Jessica at info@urbancottageatlanta.com.

Local food blogger Denise Romeo has lived in the Virginia-Highland area for 23 years. She and her husband Dom enjoy spending time together cooking and entertaining. They’ve tried to instill their love for cooking and culinary exploration in their two teenage sons. You can read more from Denise on her award winning blog at We Like To Cook!

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VaHi Business Owner Helps Decorate White House for Christmas


One of Virginia-Highland’s local business owners had the great honor of being selected as part of the team that decorated the White House for Christmas this year.

Laura Iarocci, owner of Faith Flowers on N. Virginia Avenue, was part of a team of 75 volunteers from all over the United Statues who arrived in the nation’s capital on Thanksgiving Day to begin their daunting task. The group spent the first two days sorting through and repacking ornaments and decorations from prior White House Christmases (many of the decorations are recycled and reused each year). The volunteers arrived on Sunday with truckloads of boxes and spent the next three days decorating every room in the White House. Mrs. Obama hosted a reception at the end to thank all the volunteers who participated.

Faith Flowers will hold an open studio day on Saturday December 15 featuring two local artists working in the studio. Photos from Holiday 2012 at the White House will be on display throughout the day.

Scroll down to view images from Iarocci’s trip.

Laura (right) and her daughter Allison at the White House visitor’s entrance. Laura created the wreaths on the windows.

Bauble Archway in the Lower Cross Hall connecting the East Room. Over 6000 ornaments were strung on these arches, all recycled from previous years.

The Armed Forces tree in the Blue Room.

 

The White House gingerbread house with pictures of the First Family and staff affixed to sugar glass windows. And yes, that's First Dog “Bo” front and center.

The Red Room Tree and mantel filled with fruit, all recycled from prior Christmases.

Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden recreated next to the gingerbread house.

Many of the ornaments were created by military families.

Hanging terrariums on the Green Room tree. Check out similar ones at the Faith Flowers studio.

Hanging terrariums on the Green Room tree. Check out similar ones at the Faith Flowers studio.

Laura’s favorite tree with hand blown glass ornaments in color bands around the tree.

 

Laura (left) and Chief White House Florist Laura Dowling

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CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools)

Upcoming CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools) Meetings

What: APS’ Human Resources – Hiring, Staffing, Leveling and Professional Development

When: December 12, 2012 – Noon

Where: Springdale Park Elementary School, 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306

What: 2013 Legislative Agenda for Education

When: January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Where: Centennial Place Elementary School, 531 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313

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Grady High Carolers Entertain at 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

Special thanks to the Grady High School carolers and instructor Kevin Hill for providing much-appreciated Christmas spirit during this year’s rather warm Tour of Homes. The group gathered Saturday at 1 PM at the triangle and entertained shoppers and tour-goers at several locations near the N. Highland/Virginia Avenue intersection before heading off to carol at several of the homes on the tour. The kids had fun and everyone enjoyed their wonderfully festive spirit.

Click on the album below to view images of the carolers as they made their rounds as well as a few other pictures from the tour. We’ll post more tour photos as they become available.

 

2012 Tour of Homes featuring the Grady High School Carolers
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Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: December 10, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

The Continuing Fulton County Jail Dilemma

December 5th saw yet another Fulton County Commissioner’s meeting where the funding for new Fulton County Jail cell locks went down the drain, and in the meantime the safety of both jail staff and inmates is in danger, due to old and shoddy cell locks now in use. This time the vote was 3 – 3 about funding the new lock system – voting against the funding proposal (about $5 million) was Emma Darnell, Rob Pitts and Bill Edwards. The person that could purportedly have passed the bill was Tom Lowe who was over 3 hours late for the meeting and did not vote. To her credit, our district 6 commissioner, Joan Garner, voted for the proposal. Commission Chair John Eaves was quoted in the AJC – stating “Even if it’s not a prerogative to get off the consent decree, it is a safety issue that’s important to protecting the lives of people. To me, when you know there’s a problem and you don’t do anything to correct the problem, we become the problem.” Fixing the lock problem is one of the main issues left that still leaves our county jail under a federal court consent decree, which has been on-going for years.  Unfortunately, this entire article does not have a link to it, so I can’t share it with you if you missed it.  http://www.ajc.com/photo/news/local-govt-politics/fulton-proposal-to-fix-jail-locks-fails/pmMK9/  E-mail addresses for all commissioners are at  http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/commissioners  by clicking on their pictures, if you would like to express your concern about coming to a solution on this jail consent decree problem and letting Sheriff Ted Jackson run the jail without a federal judge looking over his shoulder.

The Charles Echols Sentencing Hearing

This serial burglar that had VaHi, Morningside and Midtown on edge in August til his capture on 8/22 was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week. The story that has the narrative meticulously prepared by our own VaHi CourtWatcher David Berl is at  http://vahi.patch.com/articles/serial-criminal-put-away-for-15-years-462f2b1d   CourtWatch played an important part in this sentence with statements from many of the victims.

Piedmont Park Safety Alert!

The latest issue of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance has a story about a serious sexual incident in Piedmont Park.  Read it at http://www.midtownponce.org/p3848.html

Zone 6 Santa Claus Plans

Major Meadows and the men and women of APD Zone 6 would like to spread some holiday cheer to Zone 6 boys and girls in need. Bring new unwrapped toys to Zone 6 headquarters at 2025 Hosea Williams Drive, SE, ATL 30317 in Kirkwood before 12/18 between the weekday hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., or contact me and I’ll be glad to take them to Zone 6 for you.

A Couple of Interesting Videos

A MARTA safety video at  http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/11/20/marta-safety-video-is-arguably-the-most-realistic-depiction-of-riding-transit-ever-made.

And, a good seasonal video from Watershed Management http://youtu.be/5mKtjdAxG7M.  Love the truckfull of happy sewer guys at the end.

Our Safe Address Delivery Program

Once again, I will repeat that we have had for several years now a free safe address program for your intended UPS and FedEx packages. Just stop by Highland Wine and Crystal, Intown Hardware, CityStorage or Urban Body (PDL Place location) and sign up for this free program – then you can use their address to insure your package will be held for you until you pick it up. It is so easy to eliminate front porch package thefts.

The following reports have been gleaned from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 45, 46, and 47 (11/4 to 11/24) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the whole Zone as it applies to us.  Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault  –  There was quite a ruckus in the 800 block of Adair Avenue on 11/21 at 3 a.m. involving several folks who evidently all knew each other, with alcohol usage playing a major part in this scenario. One victim was sent to Atlanta Medical Center and at least 3 arrests were made for disorderly conduct, obstruction of EMT personnel and battery.

Nearby in Candler Park on Iverson Street at 1:45 p.m. a bicyclist was hit by a passing car whose driver was upset at not being able to pass the two-wheeler – the bicyclist refused medical attention.The law states a motorized must leave three feet between the cyclist and the vehicle.

Auto Theft  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601. This is the first time in a LONG time that I have not reported auto thefts. This is good!

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No such reports from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary  –  The China Dragon restaurant on PDL Avenue was entered via a broken front window.

Residential Burglary  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 60. However, nearby at the Pizza Hut on North Avenue @ Boulevard at 9:10 a.m. an employee was counting out cash for a bank deposit when he was robbed at gunpoint.  The robber entered and left via a secured door with a pass code entry system.  An inside job??  Time for a new staff?

Residential Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were violated on PDL Avenue (5), PDL Place (3), Rupley Drive, Briarcliff Road (2), North Highland Avenue (3), Amsterdam Avenue, Greenwood Avenue, and St. Charles Avenue.  Of these 17 incidents – two involved license plates being taken.

Larceny Other  –  A front porch package theft was reported from Drewry Street, a purse was stolen from a person serving food at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church,  Chow Baby! restaurant on PDL Avenue had a walk-out without payment and an unwatched cell phone was taken at a PDL Avenue bar.

Around the Zone – cell phone snatches abound – enough said???  And another craigslist story – the victimized buyer met a cell phone “seller” in the Edgewood Retail District parking lot at 8:30 p.m. and as soon as he showed his cash – it was grabbed and the perp ran.  A Glenwood Avenue gas station reported a loss of 5841 gallons of gas over a weekend as per inventory measurements.  It is suspected that gas was siphoned out of the underground tanks via the main entry point to these tanks, and no employees reported seeing anything!!  Then the next day this same gas station lost 195 gallons of gas that was stolen by prying open the cover of the pump and by- passing the monitoring valve.  Time for a whole new, more observant staff at this station??  Tis the season for shoplifting – our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 5, the Edgewood Target caught 7 and the Publix and Walgreens at Piedmont @ North Avenues caught 7 also.

Homicide  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

But across the street, the much publicized killing at Ford Factory Lofts on 11/12 at 5:07 p.m. This is still an active investigation.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  A lone female was robbed at gunpoint on Greenwood Avenue near the BeltLine of her cell phone at 6:10 p.m.  Two victims were robbed in a North Highland Avenue parking lot near Amsterdam Avenue just after midnite of the contents of their pockets.  The lone perp fled on foot after staring at them for a brief moment.

Nearby a lone pedestrian was attacked and robbed of his cellphone at gunpoint as he was entering a taxi at 2:26 a.m. in the Ford Factory parking lot.  Two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint on Flat Shoals Avenue in East Atlanta Village at 4 a.m.  Two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint in the Edgewood Kroger parking lot at 2:26 a.m.  There were two separate such incidents within a short period of time at around 11:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Piedmont Avenue apartment complex.

This past weekend I really enjoyed taking tickets at house # 6 on the VaHi Tour of Homes, and meeting many of you folks I have only met via e-mail before. I have not yet heard of any safety incidents this past weekend to tour-goers, which is good. The worst problem I know of was at the # 6 house on Kentucky Avenue where two pairs of similar women’s brown shoes got mixed up. If anyone got a pair of these shoes that are not the right size, I can connect you with the other shoe owner via her phone number. Both of these ladies had to walk the rest of the tour in shoes that did not fit. I also got a lot of good words about Street Captains and how well they kept their streets connected and informed.

Stay alert and aware all during this busy holiday season. Use common sense and keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times even when shopping. If you are going to more than one store from the same parking lot and want to stash bags from one store before going to another – leave the lot away from prying eyes, put packages in your trunk and then go back to resume shopping. Yeah – a little inconvenient – but so is a smashed window and no packages at all.

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Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes 2012

Happy Fall y’all! 

Virginia-Highland is on fire these days. Our neighborhood is all the buzz. Our restaurants are full for lunch and dinner, our shops are bustling, our nightlife is hopping, homes are selling with multiple offers and the BeltLine is becoming packed with people on any given day. We are so lucky to say we live and play here.

This year’s Summerfest was a record success and now everyone’s wondering what’s the next big event in the Highlands? It’s our neighborhood’s very own Tour of Homes and it’s guaranteed to be awesome. It’s a walking tour of some of the most inspiring homes in Virginia-Highland. Put it on your calendars NOW – you will not want to miss this one.

My name is Angelika Taylor and I am chairing this year’s Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes. I have the most amazing group of people that make up the TOH team. There are several committees that make up the TOH, including Home Selection, Restaurant, Sponsorship, Media/PR, Collateral and the Volunteer Committee. Everyone is working so hard to make this year’s tour a huge success and, so far, we are well on our way to doing so.

The dates for this year’s Tour of Homes are Saturday and Sunday Dec 8th and 9th. Tour hours will be Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 12pm – 4pm. Restaurant tastings on both days will be from 12pm – 4pm.

We have selected seven amazingly different homes as well as our first bed & breakfast ever on the tour. Each home will feature a local restaurant that will provide a special menu sampling to tour-goers. This year’s participating restaurants are Atkins Park, La Tavola, Osteria, Murphy’s, Noche, Pozole’, DBA BBQ and Genki.

This year’s tour theme is “Tour, Eat and Shop” a weekend in the Highlands. Tour-goers will be encouraged to linger in our neighborhood before or after they tour to get the “full experience” of our quaint little community.  Local businesses will offer specials to tour-goers and live entertainment will be provided by our local schools: Grady High School and Inman Middle School choirs will be caroling during Tour weekend to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

Tickets for the tour go on sale in November and will be available online via PayPal in advance for $25 each, or on the day of the tour at the YWCA on North Highland Avenue for $30 each. The Y will also provide free parking in their lot. Come help your community raise money to fund safety initiatives, sidewalks, lighting, parks, schools and many more neighborhood projects and improvements.

CAN YOU HELP?  YES!  We are looking for volunteers for tour weekend to help work in homes, sell tickets, hang banners and assist in other areas.  If you’re interested in helping, please contact our volunteer coordinator Eleanor Barrineau via email at vahitourofhomes@gmail.com

If you are a local business or individual that would like to advertise in our Tour of Homes ticket book, please contact our sponsorship committee as soon as possible.  There are definite print deadlines and one of our team can tell you sponsorship levels and ad cost.  Call Catherine Tabor at 404-434-9568 or Kris Smith at 404-226-7536.

We are all looking forward to a fun-filled neighborhood event. Tell all your friends and family and make it a weekend of “touring, eating and shopping”.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season.

Angelika Taylor

Chair, Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

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Save the Date – Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman Middle School’s annual Frosty 5K Fun Run is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race – which runs mostly along the BeltLine – and the post-race festivities. You can do it! Register now at www.InmanFrosty5K.com.

Thanks to Whole Foods on Ponce, Phidippides, Judi Weber Designs, Midtown Bowl, Silver Smiles Orthodontics, The Maxim Law Firm, Southwest Rink at Park Tavern, FIG Partners, Epps Aviation, Fifth Group Restaurants, Rapid Signs and FitWit for stepping up to sponsor this year’s Fun Run. If you or someone you know has a business that might be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Adrienne Maxim at adrienne.maxim@gmail.com or Beth Downes at bethdownes@msn.com. And please let our sponsors know we appreciate them by patronizing them when you can!

Interested in helping out with the run as a volunteer? Come help, have fun, and get a t-shirt without breaking a sweat! Sign up today at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409084AACAC292-inman.

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Local businesses publish Highland Corridor map

Local businesses in Virginia-Highland have worked together with others in Morningside, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park, and the Old Fourth Ward to produce a foldable, glossy, paper map of the “Highland Corridor”, which is now being distributed at local businesses.

Download the brochure as a PDF
Google map of businesses listed on the map – perfect for using on your smartphone or tablet.

“To The Trade Only” is the facilitator of producing these maps on behalf of the local businesses which make up the district. Barbara English of that company provided us with the story behind the maps:

Following on the heels of the very successful Virginia-Highland marketing pieces that were produced for the businesses as late as 2006, there was a void when the business association failed to maintain itself through organization of its members. The business leaders who were a part of it realized how much time and effort it took to market the area and run their own businesses too. To The Trade Only offered to collect a small amount of money from each of the business owners, organize the group into a workable marketing plan and get the maps printed and distributed to over 76 hotels, B&B’s, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, CNN Center, Peachtree Center, The Atlanta History Center and other points of public distribution in addition to the businesses on the maps.

A Facebook page has been launched, and regular newsletters to the business community are being sent to keep them informed of news that would be relevant to them. The maps are made available to any kind of event for gift bags or just to hand out. This includes weddings, realtors with open houses, etc.

As a marketing piece for the neighborhood association, part of the value of it is to make potential buyers and owners aware that the area is not only a desirable place to live, it is rich with resources which make the area attractive to residents as well as tourists.

It is To The Trade Only’s hope to continue to work with the local residents and businesses in marketing the area to everyone’s benefit. They organized a trade out with Atlanta Intown Magazine and will be seeking out anyone else who has a vested interest in making the Highland Corridor successful on many different levels.

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Education Committee Update: December 2, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at www.InmanFrosty5K.com. Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 PM. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at jrousso@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey through the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately.  If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711 or dcrumpler@atlanta.k12.ga.us. You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey

Upcoming CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools) Meetings

What: APS’ Human Resources – Hiring, Staffing, Leveling and Professional Development

When: December 12, 2012 – Noon

Where: Springdale Park Elementary School, 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306

What: 2013 Legislative Agenda for Education

When: January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Where: Centennial Place Elementary School, 531 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313

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European-Style Flower Studio/School Opens in VaHi

Faith Flowers, a European-style flower studio and school, has opened in the retail space at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rosedale Drive.

Faith Flowers is an “open flower studio” where visitors can see floral designers at work in a wonderfully vintage setting. Located in a residential part of Virginia-Highland, Faith Flowers takes visitors back to an older Atlanta, when people walked to their neighborhood store for groceries. The space has a natural feel to it – wood floors and a loft ceiling (the latter feature being quite important before the advent of air conditioning).

Laura Iarocci, an internationally known flower arranger and teacher, owns Faith Flowers. Her most recent work includes decoration of the White House for Christmas 2012 (more on that in a future Voice article).

“Human beings have an innate attraction to flowers,” says Iarocci. “Scientific studies consistently show that flowers make people happy. Faith Flowers offers a range of ways to experience the joy that comes from flowers – from picking up a beautiful bouquet to taking flower arranging classes. “

Faith Flowers creates arrangements for weddings, events or any occasion, their flowers having graced the ballrooms of premier venues all over Atlanta. Inside the studio, Faith Flowers sells European hand tied bouquets and unique, natural arrangements ready to take home. Custom orders can be filled as well. The studio also offers unique gift items, including potted plants, succulents and floral related gift items. Flower arrangers can purchase an array of products and tools of the trade. Christina Perry Design has recently begun displaying its floral-inspired jewelry pieces.

For those who want to go beyond just a floral purchase, the Faith Flowers school offers classes for beginners and experts alike – anyone who loves flowers and gardening will enjoy the classes. Classes include “Flowers 101,” “Flowers from Your Garden,” “Weddings, Grocery Store Flowers” and more. There are even classes for children. Special classes for groups of friends, birthday parties, or corporate team building are available and guest designers are invited to teach regularly.

Iarocci is eager to get involved in the neighborhood and has even donated flower arrangements for some of the homes on this year’s Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes. She invites VaHi residents to stop by the shop to explore how the flower magic happens, or just check out their inspired window displays on your walks around the neighborhood.

Scroll down to see a few photos from Faith Flowers!

Welcome to the Studio!

European designs on the sidewalk outside the studio.

Guest designer Gudrun Cotteniere with Flower Magazine editor Margot Shaw.

Antiques & orchids

European table design by Belgian guest designer Gudrun Cotteniere

Owner Laura Iarocci teaches a class.

Students working together on European table design

Students in guest designer Holly Chapple's class wear the flower girl crowns they created.

The studio tablescape

Open house table display

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Santa, Caroling Coming to Orme Park

SANTA’S COMING!

On Friday afternoon November 30 residents will gather at Orme Park from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. for a visit from Santa Claus! Skip the crowds at the mall and come on out to have your picture taken with Santa for a $5 donation to the Friends of Orme Park. Friends of Orme Park pays for new sand for the sandbox and general upkeep of the park and playground. Residents will also decorate the Critter Tree so come out and join in the holiday fun for kids of all ages.

6TH ANNUAL CAROLING EVENT

On Sunday evening December 2 residents will gather at 6:30 for a dessert pot-luck and caroling around the Critter Tree. Hot chocolate and song sheets will be provided!  Please bring a dessert to share with your neighbors.

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VaHi’s Newest Green Space Open for Business!

Have you stopped by and checked out New Highland Park lately (corner of N. Highland and St. Charles)? If not, you should. Park construction is almost complete and it’s a great place to stroll through, stop to read or have lunch, practice soccer with your child, or just sit and enjoy the beauty that is VaHi in the fall. Here’s a link to an online album showing how a pair of undeveloped lots became VaHi’s latest green space in only a few months.

The land is owned by the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, Inc. It was purchased as part of a long-term plan to create green space in the Atkins Park area and to help revitalize the Atkins Park business node. Funds for construction of the new park came from three years of local fundraising efforts, including the “buy a brick” program and a $50,000 grant from Park Pride. Park organizers are very grateful to Park Pride and all the neighbors and nearby businesses that have made generous contributions. Funding to cover the mortgage payments comes from VHCA events like Summerfest and the Tour of Homes, and the VHCL will be seeking additional grants in 2013 and beyond to help reduce the loan balance, which is currently about $660,000.  We appreciate your support in these efforts.

Work remaining on the new park includes:

–  Installation of three light poles, scheduled for week of December 3.

–  Installation of three benches and additional trash cans, scheduled for late December or early January

– Final connection of the water meter

– Completion of a few “punch-list” items and some additional plantings

Special note for those who purchased engraved bricks and for those who donated as “founders” ($1000 or more) for the new park:

The bricks will be integrated into the sidewalk area at the St. Charles entrance. Engraving has just completed, and the bricks will be installed probably within the next few weeks and certainly before the grand opening/ribbon cutting next year. The exact date for the grand opening/ribbon cutting is to be determined, but is likely to be in late February or March. The city has requested another drawing before permitting the install of the bricks. The founders plaque is “in process” and will be installed before the grand opening. Stay tuned for details on the grand opening/ribbon-cutting to be held in the first quarter of 2013!

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‘Tis Almost Time to Tour!

Tour of Homes 2012Let the count down begin! With only a few days left before this year’s Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes, there’s plenty of excitement and anticipation in the air for the weekend of December 8th and 9th.

Driving around the neighborhood you’ve probably noticed all the yard signs and banners. They’re brand new this year and are really helping get the word out. The Tour of Homes website is live and full of great content and online ticket sales are increasing daily. Please visit www.vahitourofhomes.org for a preview of this year’s tour homes. And if you’re on Facebook, find us and like us – there’s a lot of great information there, too.

This year’s tour features eight inspiring homes including several turn-of-the-century bungalows expertly renovated in designer style; a 1920’s Tudor Cottage reinvented for relaxed, luxe living; a contemporary masterpiece reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature prairie style; and a fully-restored, historic bed & breakfast.

In addition, nine local restaurants – La Tavola, Atkins Park, DBA Barbecue, Murphy’s, El Taco, Genki, Osteria 832, Pozole’, and Noche – will be hosting food samplings on both tour days. I’ve seen their menus and they’re all going out of their way to “show-off” their incredibly different offerings. The food is a serious bonus on this tour – you could easily consider it your appetizer and lunch for the day!

All our sponsors and home vendors are ready to market their goods and/or services as well. If you’re planning to renovate, update or just gather great ideas for your home there will be so much eye candy and information available to you in a real home setting, not a showroom. I have files from many past VaHi Home Tours that I still refer back to and have used on my home.

Tour, Eat and let’s not forget…SHOP!  All our local merchants are ready for tour goers as well. Stores are filled with new merchandise and shop owners are eager to help you with your holiday shopping. Several merchants are offering deals or coupons with your Tour Ticket Book. It will definitely be a great weekend to enjoy our “small town neighborhood” with a big city bustle and pace. It’s the very reason many of us chose to make Virginia-Highland our home in the first place.

And for the frosting on the cake, how incredible will it be to enjoy live holiday caroling throughout the neighborhood by some of the most amazingly talented students from Grady High School? The sound of children’s caroling always gets me during the holidays and I am so honored these kids will be sharing their gift with us this year.

OK – ‘nuff said.  Proceeds from the Tour of Homes go toward funding the many important initiatives of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association so GET YOUR TOUR TICKETS TODAY! Tickets are $25 each prior to Tour and $30 day of Tour. You can get them conveniently online at www.vahitourofhomes.org or, starting the weekend before the tour, get them locally at Intown Ace Hardware (VaHi location), Aurora Coffee Shop or San Francisco Coffee Shop. So, make it a date weekend, a girls day out, a new family tradition or buy tickets as gifts and hand them out to your friends, family, clients etc. This event is rated A for All Audiences!

Here’s to another successful event in our wonderful neighborhood!

Angelika Taylor – Chair, 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

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No Room for Second Blue Bin?

The City of Atlanta recently distributed sturdy new recycling bins to VaHi residents, many of whom already had one of the large blue containers. If you received a new bin and don’t need it or don’t have room for it, VHCA Streets/Sidewalks Committee Chair Peggy Berg says to call the city’s public works customer service folks at 404-330-6333. At your request, the city will come out and find a new home for the bin with a resident who needs it.

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Minutes: October 8, 2012 VHCA Board Meeting

Monday, October 8, 2012; the Church of Our Saviour 

CALL TO ORDER

Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7 PM.   The following board members were present:   John Becker, Lola Carlisle,  Arturo Cruz-Tucker, Genny Ferrero, Pamela Papner, David Rein, and Jack White.  Lauren Wilkes Fralick, Nicole Foerschler Horn,  Jennifer Keenan, and David Wolfson and were absent with notice.  Peggy Berg had provided notice of a conflict and arrived subsequently.

WELCOME FROM  FATHER JOHN BOLTON

Father John Bolton extended a warm welcome to the Association, guests, and community members.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Mr. White moved to approve the agenda, the motion was seconded by Ms. Carlisle, and the motion passed unanimously.

REPORTS FROM POLICE & FIRE REPRESENTATIVES

The evening shift commander for Zone 6, Neil Klotzer, spoke.   He noted that while he he did not have any statistical data available, the neighborhood’s crime statistics are available online.  He further welcomed any questions from the audience.

It was reported by an audience member that there were three robberies last month in the neighborhood, and that there is an unofficial discussion is ongoing as to whether the people who recently committed similar robberies in Midtown were the same.   Mr. Klotzer advised that he would look into the matter and invited further inquiries by providing his contact information ( NKlotzer@atlantaga.gov; 404-617-8157.    Following additional questioning, Mr. Klotzer further indicated that there were no reported incidents from the recent Streets Alive event.

Other elected officials & guests

None

VHCA Committee reports

Organizational Board Meeting.   Ms. Carlisle reported that the Board had its Organizational Board Meeting on September 23 and that Board officers were elected at that time as follows:   Jack White, President; Lola Carlisle, Vice President; Arturo Cruz-Tucker, Treasurer; Genny Ferrero, Secretary.   Ms. Carlise further commented on the appointment of committee chairs, all of which will be available on the VHCA website.

Planning

V-12-070;  1041 Greencove Ave. NE.   Applicant Mark Arnold spoke on behalf of owners Karrie Furman and Jeffrey Glover, who have requested a reduction in side yard setback from 7’ (required) to 3.5’.   Ms. Carlisle reported that during a site visit, no tree issue or runoff issues were observed and that the Planning Committee unanimously recommended approval.  Mr. White moved that the Board recommend approval to the NPU, conditioned upon the site plan dated 9/19/12 and proof of mailing to adjacent neighbors; the motion passed unanimously.

Parks

Mr. White spoke on behalf of Lauren Wilkes Fralick.  He reported that the application for a grant in support of the Association’s recently-approved John Howell Park Conceptual Plan had been submitted to Park Pride and that a decision was expected in the next month.  He further acknowledged and thanked all of the volunteers who made the October 7th Triangle Planting a success.   Ms. Papner spoke regarding New Highland Park, noting that construction of the park was proceeding  apace and should be substantially complete by the next meeting.   An audience member questioned whether Mr. Glancy has provided the funds raised from his race to the VHCA yet for the construction of New Highland Park.   He has not, Ms. Papner reported on behalf of VHCL.

Fundraising

Tour of Homes.   Angelika Taylor provided an update to the Board, stating that the TOH committee already has $10,000 in sponsorships. There will be six homes and one B&B on the Tour this year, and several magazines have also agreed to publish articles on the event.

Summerfest / New Highland Park.   Ms. Papner informed the Board that this was the best year ever – netting approximately $195,000 in Summerfest proceeds.

Safety/ Sidewalks  Ms. Berg spoke regarding ongoing and proposed sidewalk projects.   She noted that many crosswalks in the neighborhood have been recently improved at her request, and that she is investigating the possibility of adding ADA curbs on various sites.   She also presented a check to the Board for the amount received from the recycling and sale of pavers removed from old sidewalks during replacement.  She explained that the St. Charles bundle will be installed in the next couple of months and, moving forward, she moved for Board permission to investigate three possible bundles in the future and make necessary repairs that fall within the allotted budget.   Mr. White seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Communications.   Mr. Becker spoke regarding the communications committee, and noted that all communications projects are proceeding smoothly.

There was no new business.

Calendar Items

Lola Carlisle commented that the next board meeting will also be held at the Church of our Saviour on November 12.

John Wolfinger reported that there is a graffiti clean-up scheduled for Saturday, October 20, at 9:00 am, to address the remaining graffiti at the back of the Highland Theater.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 PM.

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Minutes: September 10, 2012 VHCA Board Meeting

7:00 PM;  Monday, September 10, 2012; Ponce de Leon Library

Call to Order

Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7:01. The following board members were present:  Peggy Berg, Lola Carlisle, Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Brian Gross, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Pamela Papner, Jack White, John Wolfinger, and David Wolfson.  Lauren Wilkes Fralick was absent with notice. Mr. Glancy did not attend.

Adoption of Agenda &  Approval of Minutes

Ms. Foerschler Horn made and Mr. White seconded a motion to adopt the attached agenda, which was approved without objection.

Reports from Police & Fire representatives

None.

City of Atlanta officials

None.

Other Elected officials & guests

None.

VHCA Committee reports

Planning

V-12-134 – 870 Adair Ave.   Applicant Charles Toti (architect Jeffrey Griffin) seeks variances to: (1) reduce the front yard setback from 35’ (required ) to 20’, and (2) reduce the half-depth front yard (along Barnett St.) from 17.5’ (required) to 7’ to allow a second story addition. Architect Jeffrey Griffin spoke on behalf of the applicant.   He noted that the application did not increase the existing lot coverage and only went upward.   He reported that letters of notification have been sent to all neighbors; no concerns have been expressed. Ms. Carlisle noted that the Planning Committee performed a site visit on August 17th and that no tree or runoff issues were observed.  The Planning Committee  unanimously recommends VHCA approval based on site plans dated and stamped August 8, 2012 and proof of mailing to notification of specified adjacent property owners.  Ms. Carlisle moved to approve per the Committee’s recommendations; Ms. Foerschler Horn seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

V-12-135 – 880 Virginia Circle. Ms. Carlisle reported that applicant Matt Perrine has requested deferral for one month, and this item was not heard.

V-12-138 – 1100 Rosewood Dr. Applicant Jason Douget seeks a variance to (1) reduce the required front yard setback from 35’ to 25’ feet (existing) and to (2) reduce the required side yard setback on the south from 7’ to 2.6’ (existing) to allow a 2nd-story addition.

Builder Tony Tripoli spoke on behalf of the applicant and stated that the existing roof line will remain virtually unchanged; proof of mailings to all neighbors have been supplied.  Mr. Tripoli noted that three of the neighbors have supplied written approval of the plans, and that a fourth neighbor has indicated verbal approval.

Ms. Carlisle noted that at the Planning Committee site visit of August 30, 2012, no apparent runoff or tree issues were noted. The Planning Committee therefore unanimously recommends approval conditioned on site plans stamped and dated August 21, 2012 and proof of appropriate notification of specified adjacent property owners. Mr. White moved to approve the Planning committee recommendations; Ms. Carlisle seconded, and it was unanimously approved.

V-12-140 – 700 Park Drive. Applicant Barry Wright seeks a variance to reduce the required half-depth front yard setback from 17.5’ to 8.3’ (existing) to allow for a 2nd-story addition and to construct a new driveway 23’ wide (20’ allowed.)  Mr. Wright presented the variance request.   He has three of eight signatures from the neighbors, and he is attempting to reach the remaining neighbors individually, but all proofs of mailing have been sent out.

A discussion ensued regarding the width of the driveway entancec and the slope of the lot upon which it sits. After a site visit on August 28, 2012, the Planning Committee asked for new stamped elevations attached to the site plan showing that the slope of the hill and height of the wall adjacent to the proposed new driveway  will conform to the existing grade in the half-depth front yard, to ensure proper visibility of and from cars backing from the driveway. Two public trees – one which was deemed hazardous by the Parks arborist – will be removed.  One public tree will be removed; the applicant will pay recompense as calculated. Ms. Carlisle requested that Mr. Wright provide an update on trees. Due to the removal of several trees on the site, the applicant is seeking to add four trees along their property at Elkmont, and four more at John Howell Park.

Ms. Carlisle reported that the Planning Committee unanimously recommended approval conditioned as amended and proof of appropriate notification of specified adjacent property owners. She therefore moved to approve the application based upon the site plans dated August 22, 2012, and the amended driveway sketches dated September 9, 2012 (which address the sight lines). Mr. White seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.

Nominating Committee and Annual General Meeting – Lola Carlisle

Ms. Carlisle spoke on behalf of the nominating committee and listed the individuals who have agreed to run as Board candidates on the upcoming Annual General Meeting – John Becker, Peggy Berg, Lola Carlisle, Arturo Cruz-Tucker, Genny Ferrero, Lauren Wilkes Fralick,  Nicole Foerschler Horn , Jenifer Keenan, Pamela Papner, David Rein,  Jack White, and David Wolfson – all of whom it recommended for election.

Mr. White thanked the Committee for its work and moved to approve the committee’s recommendations; Ms. Ferrero seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Mr. White further mentioned that a few members will be leaving the board and that we will take a moment to thank them for their service at the general meeting on September 13.

Other Committee Reports 

Mr. Wolfinger spoke regarding $171 that was previously supplied to the Association by the street captain on St. Charles for the removal of graffiti.  The intent was to use the money for the reimbursement of those community members who expended funds in removal efforts. However, because their reimbursement has been done in another fashion, the donor would like the funds returned. Mr. White asked Mr. Dworet if the Association can simply refund the money, and he affirmed that it can.

Ms. Foerschler Horn provided an update regarding school issues, noting that additional neighborhood children are using APS buses based on the extended routes. The City has a set up a meeting with GDOT to discuss better signage along Briarcliff road for children crossing on their way to school.

Mr. White discussed the Parks Committee’s preparation of an application to Park Pride for funding support for the renovations at John Howell Park outlined and specified in the Association’s recently-adopted conceptual plan. If successful, such an application will require support from the Association in a combination of in-kind and cash match on a dollar-for-dollar basis, predominantly cash.  He asked that the board approve and support such an application; Ms. Carlisle seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

New Business

None.

Calendar Items

None.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 PM.

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VaHi Safety Team Report: November 21, 2012

BeltLine Caution

The new eastside BeltLine trail that is attracting hundreds of joggers/walkers/bicyclists as a wonderful, scenic place to get out for exercise is also attracting those who prey on unsuspecting and unalert folks. There have been 3 recent incidents I need to make you aware of – on 11/19 there were two separate reports of joggers robbed in the area of the Highland Avenue bridge (no mention of weapons being used) and last week a jogger was robbed at gunpoint at the end of Greenwood Avenue at the BeltLine. These folks all lost their cellphones – so there was a delay in contacting 911. As you use the BeltLine, please keep electronics hidden under your clothing, and stay aware of your surroundings, just as you would on our city streets. As you traverse the BeltLine, keep note of where you are by noting landmarks and the dead-ends of city streets. Until such time when location signs are placed along the trail – assume responsibility for keeping track of your location, and your own safety. I hope that a decision-maker is reading this report and will act soon on BeltLine location ID signs and/or callboxes.

The Upcoming VaHi Tour of Homes

The annual VaHi Tour of Homes (an important community bonding project) is just around the corner on 12/8 and 12/9. The tour is a great way to explore the architecture and design of our neighborhood, as well as to meet your neighbors. The tour is also an important neighborhood fund-raiser.

There are still some volunteer opportunities – especially for the Sunday shifts. Each volunteer gets 2 complimentary tour tickets as a bonus. Details of the tour are at www.vahitourofhomes.org including how to sign up for volunteering. Those of us who are going to be house captains need to have enough staff volunteers to watch the houses.

The Jack Boys Sentencings

As another sentence was being handed down in this case – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/3rd-man-gang-spree-gets-7-life-sentences/nS9mQ/ I got a nice note from Lisa McGraw, the courageous lady who was with Charles Boyer at the time of his killing. She stated – “Thank you VaHi for your support. I truly hope you never have to deal with another incident like this. I, and Charles’ family are happy that justice has been served. We are hoping to move on with our lives now. It’s been a long haul for all of us, but I can say, for all of us, the Fulton County DA’s office and their victim assistance program were absolutely amazing. Thank you all! Happy holidays and peace to you all.”

We all owe a vote of thanx to Assistant District Attorney Lance Cross for his skillful handling of this entire case.

Other Court and Investigation News

I have been informed from Zone 6 that the homicide division investigators have strong leads in the recent Ford Factory Lofts slaying and in the Barnett Street murder last August. We wish them well in solving these two senseless killings.

Tiffany Harlow, the Zone 2 Community Prosecutor, announced Monday evening at our NPU “F” meeting that Charles Echols, the serial house burglar who was captured 8/22, is scheduled for a hearing 11/28 at 9 a.m. in courtroom 7F before Judge Doris Downs. I will be leaving VaHi at 8:30 a.m. that day and will be glad to have company for CourtWatching that day. Let me know if you can attend – there are lots of VaHi and Morningside victims who should want to be there.

New COPS Newsletter

Our APD COPS (Community Oriented Policing Section) has a great newsletter with lots of important holiday safety tips as well as news as to how they are working on the crime prevention front. http://www.atlantapd.org/files/cops/Nov-Dec-2012.pdf

Our former evening watch patrolman, Officer Ralph Woolfolk, is now part of COPS.

The following reports have been gleaned from the APD Zone6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 43 and 44 (10/21-11/3) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to alert you to what happens around us everyday and to raise your awareness.

Aggravated Assault – There was a domestic altercation at a Briarcliff Road apartment.

Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from PDL Avenue and Rosedale Road.

Auto Theft Recovery – No reported recoveries in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary – Entry to the China Dragon restaurant on PDL Avenue was gained by damaging a deadbolt lock and 2 padlocks. A small amount of cash was taken.

Residential Burglary – A Briarcliff Summit resident fell asleep with the apartment door unlocked and awoke to find 2 tv sets missing.

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Larceny from Vehicle – Vehicles were entered on Amsterdam Walk, Maiden Lane, North Highland Avenue (3) and PDL Place. In this two week time period there were 96 of these reports from all over Zone 6. Near the Peachtree-Pine shelter on Pine Street a bus from the suburban Woodstock Baptist Church was broken into and a lot of purses were taken. I would assume that these unaware suburbanites were at this location to bring food to the shelter. A good example of biting the hand that is feeding you. As we enter the holiday season – remember the Clean Car Campaign – and make sure ALL parked cars are cleaned out at ALL times. And – don’t wait til you get to a busy parking lot to stash stealables in your trunk – think ahead.

Larceny Other – A locked bicycle was taken from a Greenwood Avenue apartment building stairwell. Take those bicycles inside when not in use! Also on Greenwood Avenue, a front doorstep package theft was reported from someone who did not know to use Intown Hardware, CityStorage or Highland Wine and Crystal as a safe delivery address. Check with these friendly merchants to sign up for this free program and help to stamp out front porch package thefts.

Around the Zone elsewhere cellphone snatch and grabs still persist from unalert and unaware victims. Also – is it wise to use a cellphone case as a holding place for debit and credit cards? An incident at the shopping area at Piedmont Avenue @ North Avenue, an attempted snatch grab resulted in the victim’s debit card falling out of the case which was taken by the thief.

Electronics were taken from the sanctuary (a misnomer in this case) of the Druid Hills Baptist Church on PDL Avenue. A chained to a tree piece of Art on the BeltLine was stolen.

Pedestrian Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601 but a warning about meeting people on social media sites. On Boulevard at 5:30 p.m. the male victim was at the location to meet a female he “met” on facebook. He was jumped by 2 males who put him in a choke hold, punched, kicked and bit him and then took his property. They fled along with his intended “date”.

Stay alert and aware out there during this holiday season.

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Education Committee Update: November 19, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Inman Recognized as a “Highest Performing” Title 1 School

Inman Middle School is among the top 5% of Title I schools in the State of Georgia according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Inman Middle School is also one of only two schools in Atlanta Public Schools with the Highest-Performing School distinction.

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at http://inmanfrosty5k.blogspot.com/. Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at jrousso@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

Inman Transition Meeting for Parents of Rising 6th Graders

Inman will be hosting a series of meetings for parents and students of rising 6th graders. The first meeting will be on November 29th at 7 p.m. in the media center at Inman. This is a meeting for parents only.

Also, parents of rising 6th graders, zoned for Inman Middle School, should have received in the mail the 2012-2013 Inman “Transition In” material. Included in that material is a special welcome from Ms. Herrema, this year’s “Transition In” schedule, a list of documents required for registration and other important information just for rising 6th grade families. If you live in an area zoned to attend Inman Middle School and have not received your transition mailing, please contact Inman’s 6th Grade Counselor, Ms. Tina Blevins, at tblevins2@atlanta.k12.ga.us or 404.802.3215. Parents of all 5th grade students zoned to Inman, but who are not currently enrolled in one of Inman’s feeder elementary schools listed above, should also contact Ms. Blevins if they plan to attend Inman next year so that you can receive future in-zone mailings.

Grady 101 – For Parents

Thursday, November 29, 2012, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Inman auditorium, Inman will host for parents the first of three “Grady 101” presentations. This presentation is titled “Program of Study” and the presenters will be Grady staff members Ms. Blankenship, Lead Counselor; Ms. MacBrien, Transition Liaison; and Ms. Sabb, AP Coordinator/Instructional Coach. In addition, forms relevant to the presentation and a FAQ document will be distributed. The second presentation, “Student Support,” is scheduled to take place in January, and the third, focusing on clubs, teams and other aspects of student life at Grady, will be held in March. While there will not be a formal Q&A session as part of the presentation, questions can be submitted to Grady101series@gmail.com.  A response will be sent to all emails. The presentation will be recorded and posted on both Grady’s and Inman’s websites. In addition, the forms distributed, including the FAQ, will be posted on both websites. Finally, a list of Grady parents willing to discuss their experience(s) at Grady will be distributed.

SPARK Teacher Wins Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education

Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at SPARK, was one of eight educators in Atlanta honored with the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education.

Superintendent Erroll Davis, Atlanta Falcons football players and Homer, the Braves mascot, were among those who surprised teachers in their classrooms with the news that each would receive a $7,500 grant. Each award includes $3,500 for a school project of the winner’s choice, $1,500 for a professional development opportunity to boost the educator’s effectiveness and a personal stipend of $2,500.

The award is designed to retain excellent teachers and school leaders, inspire other educators, and raise public awareness about the work of high-performing educators. Since 2005, Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education has recognized outstanding teachers and school leaders for their commitment to excellence.

The aim of Ms. Beaumont’s project is to build strong foundational writing skills in students and give them the tools they will need to be lifelong writers. Through the implementation of this project, a writing culture will be established in the classroom that integrates writing skills into all subject areas. Students will be provided with needed resources and challenged to apply a variety of skills and strategies that will increase the quality and effectiveness of their writing. They will also make use of technology resources as they work to digitally publish their writing. The project will culminate with a writing festival where students will celebrate the art of writing and will showcase their best work to invitees: parents, administrators, community members, and local authors

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected as an AFAEE winner,” Ms. Beaumont says. “I’m really looking forward to implementing my writing initiative project and helping my students to become writers for life. I also look forward to sharing my experiences and resources with other teachers and students.”

The organization has raised more than $1 million for the awards program. For more information or to nominate a teacher for the 2013 awards, visit www.atlantafamilies.org.

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey via the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately. If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711 ordcrumpler@atlanta.k12.ga.us.  You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days.  Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey

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Barefoot Mountain Farms: A Neighborhood Tradition Benefitting Inman Middle School

Where are you going to go to find the most beautiful, long-lasting Christmas tree in town? To Inman Middle School, of course!

Hal and Tina Hollcroft, owners of Barefoot Mountain Farms, have been Inman fundraising partners for fourteen years (since Don Doran was principal at Inman). The Hollcroft’s love of farming and support of children in education has been a driving force in the relationship. Barefoot Mountain’s Fraser Fir Christmas trees are grown with care near Laurel Springs, NC in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This season’s sales will be in honor of Hal who lost his battle with cancer on February 2, 2012.

Tree sales begin November 23rd and the lot – located at the corner of Virginia and Greencove avenues – will be open Monday through Friday, 10AM to 9PM; Saturday & Sunday, 9AM to 9PM. Delivery and set up services are available.

Check out the Barefoot Mountain website at www.barefootmountain.com for a breathtaking view of the farm.

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Market Saturday & Curried Mustard Greens

By: Denise Romeo

The sidewalks come to life each Saturday as neighbors scuttle by with empty shopping bags headed toward the Morningside Farmer’s Market located in the parking lot adjacent to Rosebud on N. Highland Avenue. The brainchild of culinary icon Guenter Seeger and former AJC “In-Season” columnist Cynthia Hizer, the MFM began in 1997 with a station wagon loaded with Georgia-grown vegetables, has grown to become Atlanta’s most popular organic market and is at the heart of the city’s farm-to-table movement.

The most recent Saturday offerings included a variety of seasonal greens (arugula, kale, mustard, chard and collards), sweet potatoes, red onions, fresh ginger, squashes, eggs and fresh meat products from MFM regulars Crystal Organic Farm, D & A Farm, Little Red Hen Farm, Riverview Farm and Woodland Gardens. Pure Bliss Organics sampled their newest granola flavor, while Magnolia Bread had a nice selection of fresh breads on hand including pumpkin sourdough, seeded country and blueberry bran muffins. Our perennial favorite, Hazelbrand Farm, featured their amazingly fragrant handmade soaps along with a few seasonal scents like “Winter Solstice” and “Frankincense & Myrrh.”

The sun was high in the sky as 2009 Top Chef Finalist Kevin Gillespie from Woodfire Grill began his cooking demonstration featuring fresh mustard greens chosen from Crystal Organic Farms just moments before. The chef was on hand earlier signing his new cookbook, “Fire In My Belly.”

Chef Kevin was in high spirits as he described the recipe he was preparing. Obviously comfortable in front of an audience, he casually chatted with the crowd as he worked, explaining how to peel ginger with the bowl of a spoon and describing the nuances of various types of greens. As he added the various ingredients, wonderful aromas wafted through the patio of Rosebud (graciously lent for chef demonstrations each week) culminating in a large pot of curried mustard greens and sweet potatoes.

As Chef Kevin dished about his cookbook and his new restaurant, Gunshow, scheduled to open in Glenwood Park in February, each audience member was passed a small portion on a plate. The pungent taste of the mustard greens and the sweetness of the sweet potatoes combined to make a vegetarian dish that was colorful and boasted a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

Chef Kevin was obviously so familiar with this dish that he needed no recipe, adding spices and elements without specific measurement. We did our best to enumerate the ingredients and the procedures followed by Chef Kevin in hopes that you might try this recipe at home:

2 tablespoons clarified butter (or extra virgin olive oil)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and diced

1 ½ teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 to 2 cups vegetable broth as needed

2 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½”-slices (about 2 cups)

1 15-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed

3-4 bunches mustard greens, stems removed, torn or roughly chopped

2 teaspoons light brown sugar (to taste)

1 tablespoon Tamarind paste (or lemon juice)

Salt and white pepper to taste

Chili paste to taste (optional)

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Slice sweet potatoes into ¼”- ½” slices so they will cook more quickly. Parboil the sweet potatoes for 5 to 7 minutes until slices are tender, but not mushy.

While parboiling the sweet potatoes, remove stems from greens (these can be roughly chopped and parboiled with the sweet potatoes) and tear leaves into pieces. It will seem like an enormous amount of greens, but they shrink dramatically when cooked!

Drain sweet potatoes and set aside. Slice onion, jalapeno, ginger and garlic. Heat clarified butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add onion and jalapeno and cook until onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger to pan along with mustard and cumin seeds, and curry powder. Stir to coat and then add sweet potatoes, again stirring to coat. Continue cooking until vegetables begin to caramelize. If the vegetables are too dry or start sticking to the pan, add some broth or water.

Once the vegetables are tender and fragrant, add the crushed tomatoes and mix together well. Once the tomatoes have been fully incorporated and heated through, begin adding mustard greens in batches, folding the greens under the sauce. The greens will wilt and shrink as they cook. Keep adding and folding until all greens have been added to the pan.

Again, add more broth if the mixture seems to dry or sticks to the pan. The amount of time the greens need to cook depends on their tenderness. Add sugar and tamarind paste (or lemon juice) stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like your curry to be on the spicy side, you can add chili paste to fit your taste. Serve immediately. If the greens are particularly piquant, chopped cilantro added as garnish provides a nice contrast. Chef also recommends that if you want to add a protein to the dish, chickpeas or lentils work well.

While the MFM runs year round, hours are abbreviated January-March and chef demonstrations run only through November. The next demo will be this Saturday, November 17th with Ron Eyster from Rosebud and The Family Dog working with cabbage from Woodland Gardens Organics. The demo will begin at 9:30 a.m.

For more information about the Morningside Farmer’s Market or for a calendar of upcoming events, visit their website at http://www.morningsidemarket.com.

Local food blogger Denise Romeo has lived in the Virginia-Highland area for 23 years. She and her husband Dom enjoy spending time together cooking and entertaining. They’ve tried to instill their love for cooking and culinary exploration in their two teenage sons. You can read more from Denise on her award winning blog at We Like To Cook!

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Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes Recognizes 2012 Sponsors

On behalf of the entire neighborhood, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association extends a special thank you to our 2012 Tour of Homes sponsors. The generous support of these sponsors helps ensure a successful event and provides important funding for neighborhood projects including park improvements, safety, sidewalk and traffic concerns, planning and preservation efforts, graffiti removal, communication and ongoing support of our neighborhood schools.

This is the 18th anniversary of our tour and this year we feature an impressive line up of seven beautiful homes plus a bed & breakfast, each home paired with delicious menu samplings from local restaurants.

Our local sponsors help make the Tour of Homes an outstanding success year after year. Please support them with your patronage.

Presenting Sponsor

Muffley and Associates Real Estate

Major Sponsors

Jim Ellis

Sparkfly

The Intowners Real Estate

Abraham Properties

Jones Pierce Architects

New Highland Design-Build

Weidmann Remodeling

Karen Hott Designs

Tailfin Marketing

Benefactor Sponsors

Stanton Home Furnishings

Renovation Design Atlanta

The Great Frame Up

Supporting Sponsors

Copper Sky Renovation

Nonie’s Garden

Meringue Boutique

Intown Ace Hardware

Dog Gone Handy

Aurora Coffee

Massage Envy

Ansley Eye Care

Natural Body Spa and Shop

Mark Arnold Architect

New York Butcher Shoppe

Front Porch Homes and Renovations

Neighborhood Sponsor

Sig Samuels Dry Cleaners

Ben Northrup Architectural Renovations

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Safety Team Report: November 12, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

APD In Mourning

The tragic helicopter crash on November 3 that took the lives of two APD air patrolmen, Richard Halford and Shawn Smiley, has left their surviving fellow officers realizing how fragile human life is and of the dangers they face every time they report for duty in service to us – the citizens of Atlanta. On behalf of the VaHi Safety Team neighborhood watch participants, I extend sincere condolences to these officers’ families and all of APD.  As Major Robert Browning stated “When a police officer dies in the line of duty, a piece of all officers goes with them.”

http://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPolice/posts/510631515614382

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/hundreds-bid-farewell-fallen-apd-officer/nS3qB/

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/family-friends-prepare-honor-fallen-apd-officers/nS2xs/

Thought Provoking AJC Op-Ed Article

The interesting and insightful article about crime stats that features my Inman Park partner-in-crime Greg Scott is at http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2012/11/08/going-beyond-crime-stats/

Safe Delivery Addresses for Package Delivery

For those of you who are new to VaHi and nearby neighborhoods – we have a terrific free service from local businesses to insure that packages sent to you actually reach you.  You can have deliveries sent to Intown Ace Hardware, Morningside Wine and Crystal, CityStorage or Urban Body, so they will not sit unattended on your front porch – visit any of these friendly community-minded merchants to sign up for this program. Most of them also call you when you have a package to be picked up. Then, just remember to alert the folks who will be sending you holiday gifts that you have a safe address for them to send packages to. We have virtually eliminated front doorstep thefts in VaHi thanx to this program. Don’t risk losing the fruitcake from Aunt Ruth by not using this safe address program.

Fall Leaf Removal Practices

Good article about fall leaf removal at https://vahi.org/reminder-to-bag-fall-leaves-for-removal/. If you spot neighbors or lawn service guys bagging leaves in black plastic trash bags – please remind them to use paper bags instead – using a plastic bag defeats the whole purpose of composting the leaves. Also remind thoughtless folks you see blowing leaves and grass clippings into the street that we are spending 3 billion dollars to update our storm sewer system and those leaves will eventually end up clogging a storm drain.

BeltLine Pedestrian Crossing at Monroe Drive/Virginia Avenue

Long-awaited pedestrian crossing improvements are being made at this dangerous intersection. http://vahi.patch.com/articles/eastside-trail

The following reports have been gleaned from the APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx)  crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 41 and 42 (10-7 to 10-20) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.  Again, I state that these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday, and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

But across PDL Avenue at the Clermont Lounge at 1:45 a.m., when a female patron knocked drinks from a pregnant waitresses’ hands, the victim told patron she would have to pay for the drinks – the patron became irate and attacked, punching and kicking the waitress.  She was taken to Emory Midtown Hospital.  No word as to her injuries.

Auto Theft  –  A vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of a Virginia apartment building.

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No reported recoveries in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  –  Ten Thousand Villages store on St. Charles Avenue was entered via a pried-open front door – $100 in cash was stolen from under a counter.

Residential Burglary  –  A Greenwood Avenue apartment was entered via forced entry of the front door.  A PDL Place apartment was entered via a pried-open front door.

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were entered on Greenwood Avenue, North Highland Avenue (3), PDL Avenue (3), PDL Place, and Hudson Drive (2).

All around Zone 6 in this time period there were 78 such incidents reported.  Imagine how much more time our officers could have spent patrolling if they had not been tied up writing reports with these easily preventable incidents.  Remind your friends and neighbors of the Clean Car Campaign!!

Larceny Other  –  A victim stated he loaned a cell phone to a fellow patron at a PDL Avenue club and it was never returned.  A bicycle was taken from a Brookridge Drive back porch.  The CVS store on North Highland Avenue caught a shoplifter in the act.

Nearby at Smith’s Olde Bar on Piedmont Avenue in Zone 2 an I-phone was stolen and the responding officer used a search app and kept tracking the phone thru VaHi and Midtown streets – finally turning the chase over to GA State Patrol who eventually caught the perp on I-85 @ Beaver Ruin Road!!!  At the Walgreen’s store on Piedmont Avenue @ North Avenue a “customer” entered not wearing sunglasses, but attempted to leave wearing a pair with the price tag still hanging from them and was caught – duh!  An entire PARKatlanta parking meter was dug up behind the Plaza shopping center in Poncey Highland.  A shoplifter was caught at Green’s Liquors on PDL Avenue.  A South Carolina Craigslist camera seller drove down to the Grant Park CVS parking lot on Boulevard to meet a prospective “buyer” at 2:30 p.m.  The “buyer” snatched the camera and fled on foot.  A good warning about the folks you may encounter on Craigslist. Do not meet them alone in an unprotected venue.   At the Abbadabba’s shoe store in L5P, a group knocked on the locked door at closing time and were let in to shop – when they left, empty shoe boxes were found by employees instead of a purchase.  Consider this as a warning to our local merchants about accommodating after-hours “customers”.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

But nearby, cell phones were snatched from pedestrians on North Avenue at 11:30 p.m. and on Ralph McGill Boulevard at 3:50 p.m.

Please remember the “See Something – Say Something” campaign.  If you witness something or someone that gives you the gut feeling that all is not right – make a 911 call report and possibly save someone else (or you) from becoming a victim.  Don’t just assume that someone else will make a report to 911.

Stay Alert and enjoy Fall!!

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Kidical Mass Comes to VaHi

The 4th Kidical Mass Atlanta, sponsored by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Sopo Bicycle Coop, is coming to John Howell Park on Saturday, November 10th at 10:00 a.m.

Kidical Mass is a family-friendly, law-abiding bike ride. The purpose is to teach kids, parents and caregivers safety skills and provide a ride in which to practice them. Organizers from the Sopo Bicycle Co-op and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition hope to build awareness of the growing presence of kids and families on bikes, as well as the need for all road users to respect others. Kidical Mass brings together families who bike to build a supportive bicycling community. Kidical Mass rides are comfortable for families just starting out and biking on city streets for the first time but don’t completely avoid traffic.  There is safety in numbers, not just on a group ride like this but also in the day to day world of riding in the city.  This ride helps families experience that comfort, and hopes participants will grow to incorporate biking into their transportation menus in the future.

The first ride in May 2011 was a hit, with 60 children and family members biking about 2 miles from Oakhurst to Downtown Decatur. Neighborhood residents on their porches fired up cell phones to photograph and film the “kidical” riders, who ranged widely in age, from toddlers on their parents’ bikes to older children and teens.

The Virginia-Highland neighborhood Kidical Mass will start at 10:00 a.m. at John Howell Park, at the corner of Virginia Ave and Barnett St. The ride will be a 1 to 2 mile slow-paced, family-friendly social ride. The route will combine residential and connector streets to raise awareness. No road closures are planned for the event.

This is a very slow-paced ride (avg. 1-10 mph). Riders are encouraged to share the fun by ringing bells, bringing noise makers, and waving to all. All types of bikes, trailers, trail-a-bikes, Xtracycles, longtails, bakfiets, long johns, tandems, folders, trikes, and whatever rolls are welcome. Organizers will give away Kidical Mass spoke cards andstickers  at the ride start location at  9:30 a.m as the group gathers.

By law in Georgia, all children 16 and under must wear a helmet.  Parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to model that behavior as well as safe riding practices. The ride will stop as many times as necessary to make sure the group stays together. Streets will not be closed. Riders can join or leave the group at any point.

Guidelines for participants include personal responsibility (obey traffic laws and no group movements through stop signs and traffic lights), and parental responsibility for their own children by being aware of their location at all times.

Additional volunteers are welcome – to get involved, volunteer, or ask questions email corny@sopobikes.org.

Kidical Mass Atlanta information is available at atlantabike.org/kidical and sopobikes.org, or visit kidicalmass.org to learn more about this national initiative.

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Minutes – August 13, 2012

MINUTES

Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board Meeting

August 13, 2012; Ponce de Leon Library

CALL TO ORDER

Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7 PM.

The following board members were present: Lola Carlisle, Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Lauren Wilkes Fralick, Jack White, John Wolfinger, and David Wolfson. Pamela Papner arrived subsequently. Peggy Berg, Rob Glancy, and Brian Gross were absent with notice.

* * *

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

Ms. Carlisle moved to adopt the agenda. The motion was seconded by Ms. Ferrero and passed unanimously (with a slight amendment as to the order, for the purpose of accommodating visitors). The attached agenda (“Addendum 1”), as revised, was approved without objection.

* * *

POLICE AND FIRE

Officer Moore from Zone 6 spoke on behalf of APD. He noted that there have been 146 arrests for the week, 684 arrests for the month, and over 4,000 arrests for the year. He further cautioned that people should be aware of leaving valuables in their car, and providing cell phones to youth (who subsequently steal them). An audience member also expressed concern about the parking of taxi cabs at the corner of Greenwood and N. Highland; Mr. Wolfinger promised a follow-up with APD on the issue.

* * *
CITY OF ATLANTA OFFICIALS

None were present.

* * *

OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS & GUESTS

Rebecca Serna of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition spoke with regard to the Streets Alive event this past May and reported that the group has applied to repeat it on October 7, with a route revision that forms a loop down Virginia Avenue to the Atlanta BeltLine, which will be open by that point. Some residents who live southwest of the Virginia/Highland intersection voiced concerns about being closed in; Ms. Serna said the route would be permeable and allow crossings and that residents who wanted to use their cars would have the option of being walked by police officers to their homes, as was the case in May. Mr. Wolfinger asked if any business owners had expressed opposition; Ms. Serna noted that only one antique shop owner in Inman Park had and that others had supported it. She introduced Matt Garbett, a resident of the Old Fourth Ward, who will be the event coordinator and offered to provide additional information at our AGM.
* * *
VHCA COMMITTEE REPORTS

Planning

V-12-119, 988 Lanier Boulevard. Ms. Ferrero explained that owner Jack Zampell contemplates adding a second story within the footprint of the exiting home and replacing a one-car garage with a two-car garage with increased setbacks, though still needing a variance. Mark Arnold appeared for the applicant, who was ill. Several nearby neighbors expressed concern regarding the process, reporting that they had not received adequate or timely notice and documentation on the variance requests. Mr. Arnold had no knowledge of these aspects, which were the purview of the applicant himself. Mr. White moved to defer for one month to allow neighbors to receive and review information relating to the variances and invited everyone to attend the planning meeting on September 5th. Ms. Ferrero seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Amendments to Bylaws. Ms. Ferrero explained the history behind the amendments to the bylaws and noted that they and comments from her and Mr. White had been posted on the web for a month. No questions have been received from the membership; she invited comments and questions from the audience. There were none, and she moved to approve the amendments for presentation and adoption at the AGM. Mr. Dworet seconded, and the motion passed unanimously. Ms. Papner and Mr. Wolfinger did not vote.

Education Committee

Ms. Foerschler Horn provided an update regarding various education issues. Among other things, she noted that VHCA’s previously-approved funding had been sent to the Inman Technology Foundation for the provision of computers. (In this context, she recognized the condition of several Old Fourth Ward groups, an action coordinated by Mr. Garbett, whose actions she recognized.)

Additionally, she noted that the committee will be working with parents to address a new crosswalk zone for Springdale Park students at the corner of Briarcliff Road and Briarcliff Place. The recently expanded walk zone has increased usage of this crossing on very busy Briarcliff Road; at the Ed Committee’s request, APS was now providing a crossing guard and the committee was suing for a new crosswalk. Finally, Ms. Foerschler Horn explained that the Inman Task Force continues to meet to address middle school capacity for our cluster. The superintendent’s goal is to identify a solution by the end of this calendar year; in these meetings, his staff has indicated that the superintendent will not recommend a second middle school with discrete elementary feeders.

Budget Committee

Mr. Dworet noted that the budget report is posted on the VHCA website. Mr. Dworet stated that last month he received two ‘lost’ invoices originally dated June 2010 from Trees Atlanta in the amount of $1,073 for a replacement tree and grasses installed in the streetscapes in that time period. Trees Atlanta reported that they had submitted the bills in a timely way after the work but had not been paid despite renewing the request several times with the Parks chairman of that period. Mr. Dworet’s requests to that person for additional background yielded no new information. Mr. Dworet concluded that the work had been done and that Trees Atlanta deserved to be paid for it. He therefore moved to amend the budget to allocate the $1,073 from the current unallocated funds to the Parks Committee budget to pay the invoice. Ms. Carlisle seconded the motion; it passed unanimously.

Finally, Mr. Dworet moved to amend the budget to allocate $4200 from unallocated funds for real estate taxes and waste services for NHP to the Budget Committee. Ms. Foerschler Horn seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Safety Committee

Mr. Wolfinger spoke regarding the Briarcliff Summit building. He is pleased that new ownership will likely address many deferred maintenance items. Evergreen Associates, a management company, has concluded the purchase of the building and is scheduling staggered renovations to allow occupants to remain in residence during construction. It will remain a Section 8 property, but he hopes that the new work will improve the quality of the neighborhood.

Fundraising Committee

Ms. Papner announced that 2012 Summerfest revenue will likely exceed $180,000, which would be a new high. She further noted that the New Highland Park construction will commence next week (with completion scheduled for within a few months). In connection with the funding of New Highland Park, an audience member questioned whether Ms. Papner has received the donations (promised at the February meeting by Rob Glancy), who had managed the Intown Ten road race held on March 4th of this year. Ms. Papner noted that she has not. Mr. White explained that the VHCA did not hold the run and could not provide a financial summary, and that at the July meeting the individual who held the run has promised to provide a report in August.

Nominating Committee and AGM

Ms. Carlisle stated that the annual meeting will be held September 13 at Inman Cafeteria from 6:30 – 9:00. The Nominating committee is working hard on candidates for next year’s board; four members have announced they are leaving: Mr. Dworet, Mr. Gross, Mr. Glancy, and Mr. Wolfinger have announced they will not be candidates. She again invited everyone to suggest any individual that he/she believes will make a good contribution to the VHCA.

Communications Committee
Ms. Carlisle spoke at the specific request of Mr. Gross, who was absent. Due to the success of the electronic Voice, Mr. Gross has requested that we permanently end the regular publication of the printed version. Mr. White reported that Mr. Gross estimated savings of approximately $7,000 per written issue. Ms. Carlisle therefore moved that the Board discontinue the written edition of the Voice and continue the use of publishing an electronic version of the Voice. Several audience members were opposed to doing so, fearing new residents and those without computers would not see it and that the move had not been sufficiently publicized. Several Board members responded that the Board has over several months made repeated invitations to the residents of the neighborhood to request written copies of the Voice, and that no such requests have been received to date. Ms. Papner and audience member (and former Voice editor) John Becker pointed out that a printed Voice was hugely burdensome and time-consuming to volunteers, contained information that was often outdated after the time needed for printing and distribution, and that the responsibilities fell on a few small number of increasingly unwilling volunteer board members The motion passed 6-1; in favor were Ms. Carlisle, Mr. Dworet, Ms. Ferrero, Ms. Foerschler Horn, Mr. White, and Mr. Wolfson; Mr. Wolfinger opposed without comment.

Parks

A. John Howell Park. Ms. Wilkes Fralick discussed the conceptual plan for the recent improvements to the park. The plan has been posted on the website, and the Parks Committee wrote a very detailed article about the plan and process in the Voice and solicited comments and input from citizens on four scheduled tours (two with the Landscape Architect) on varying hours and days of the week. The plan has been widely supported. She moved to adopt the conceptual plan as presented in the Voice and online (minus the contemplated new sandbox, which the Parks Department asked be removed out of concern for the longevity of the adjacent rubberized safety surface). Mr. White seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Wilkes-Fralick explained that an additional $1,330 was required to finalize the plans to obtain bids from contractors for the actual costs of the improvements. Such plans will be required to apply for grant funds. Ms. Fralick moved that the funds be allocated for the final plans. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dworet and passed unanimously.

Ms. Wilkes Fralick also notified the Board that the cost of the re-grassing effort in September at JHP was going to be less than previously thought.

New Business

None.

Calendar Items

None.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 8:53 PM.

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Minutes – July 9, 2012

MINUTES

Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board Meeting

July 9, 2012; Ponce de Leon Library

CALL TO ORDER / ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7 PM.

The following board members were present: Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Jack White, John Wolfinger, Rob Glancy, Lola Carlisle, David Wolfson, and Lauren Wilkes Fralick. Peggy Berg arrived subsequently. Pamela Papner and Brian Goss were absent with notice.

Mr. White moved to adopt the agenda, amended to include planning application LRB-328. Ms. Carlise seconded the motion. The attached agenda (“Addendum 1”), as revised, was approved without objection.

* * *

GUESTS

RJ Morris introduced himself and explained that he will be running against Arthur Ferdinand for Fulton County tax commissioner on July 31.

Jenn Graham of Streets Alive also spoke. She noted that approximately 13,000 people attended the event, which was a success. A future Streets Alive event is currently planned for the fall, although the dates have not yet bet set.

Madigan McGillicuddy, the new youth services librarian at the Ponce de Leon branch, introduced herself and discussed upcoming initiatives at the library.

* * *

CITY OF ATLANTA OFFICIALS

Ms. Pat Gardner invited questions about the upcoming vote on the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (“T-SPLOST, and encouraged everyone to vote on July 31. She also thanked everyone for the continued opportunity to represent District 57.

Representative Ralph Long from District 58 spoke as well. He also invited questions regarding the T-SPLOST as well. He stated that he will have a town hall on July 12, at 7:00 pm., at Atlanta Metropolitan College, Conference Room 1A.

Mr. White noted that there will be a forum on Tuesday, July 24 at Inman Middle School for the candidates in the 57th and 58th district.

VHCA COMMITTEE REPORTS

Fundraising.

Ms. Carlisle moved to appoint Angelika Taylor chair of the Tour of Homes committee, together with all of the members. Mr. White seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Taylor spoke about the status of the Tour of Homes. The event is currently scheduled for December 11-12, 2012. She noted that there are currently several homeowners that have volunteered their homes for the tour. There is already a restaurant that has volunteered, and she noted that work now needs to focus on obtaining sponsorships. She also invited the audience to make any suggestions regarding proposed performers for the event.

Planning.

LRB-328. 758 Ponce de Leon. Change of agent on the liquor license for Rudy’s Inc., d/b/a The Local. Attorney Lisa Morehower presented on behalf of the application. She explained that their accountant has advised them to make some changes to their organizational setup for tax purposes. Mr. Hatcher is currently the named agent, but his partner, Charles E. Kerns, will be responsible for the continuing operation of the business. In-house training program, no liquor violation, and has not had a liquor license violation in 28 years. In response to questions, Mr. Kerns noted that they have never had a citation for any type of violation. Ms. Carlisle moved to approve change of agent, and Mr. White seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Ferrero and Mr. White also spoke regarding proposed changes to the bylaws, and invited comments. If the bylaws are to be amended, the revisions will be voted on at the September meeting.

Budget.

Frazier Dworet provided an updated budget report. He noted that the numbers reflected with regard to Summerfest are not final.

Education.

Nicole Forschler Horn spoke regarding the recent Grady cross-cluster meeting. She noted that more than 60 people attended, and that Kimberly Douglas acted as facilitator. The minutes from the meeting are now posted on the VHCA website. Ms. Forschler Horn also moved to approve the committee members nominated by the nominating committee. Ms. Berg seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Additionally, Ms. Forschler Horn explained that additional funds are required to assist Inman Middle School with the temporary trailers currently being used on site. To equip the trailers with the necessary computer equipment, the school requires $17,000. The PTA will provide $5,000, and has approached VHCA for assistance. Ms. Forschler Horn expressed that she has reached out to the other neighborhood associations within the cluster to ensure that all neighborhoods contribute. Ms. Forschler Horn moved that the VHCA allocate up to $1,500 from the budget allocated to discretionary board grants, to help purchase such computer equipment for the trailers. Rob Glancy seconded the motion. Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Jack White, Rob Glancy, Lola Carlisle, and David Wolfson all voted in favor; Mr. Wolfinger opposed. The motion passed.

Safety.

Ms. Berg spoke regarding the sidewalks. She is continuing to work on finalizing the sidewalk cluster. At the Board’s request, she recently re-approached the city regarding whether various trees causing damage were within the realm of the city’s responsibility. Ms. Berg noted that the city officials were very gracious, and the City has reduced our costs for sidewalk replacement as a result. She is optimistic that they can begin working in three weeks. Ms. Berg also apprised the Board that her recent request to the City regarding streets issues in the neighborhood was met graciously, and that many of the items have already been installed and/or addressed by the City.

Mr. Wolfinger noted that he went to Fire Station 19 to discuss respirator and air tank equipment for firefighters. There are no problems with ours (unlike DeKalb County). He also noted that he recently received a grant for $3,500 for supplies to address graffiti in the neighborhood. Because he feels that we have so much, he has agreed to share our resources with other neighboring communities.

Mr. Wolfinger further noted that he met with the safety committee recently (Eleanor Barrineau, Kay Stevenson, Juliette White, Brian Gross, and David Wolfson) regarding a new project. They are working on a “welcome to the neighborhood” for new residents. He also would like to work on some additional street lighting, but feels that it will probably be deferred until next year, as there is little time left in the year.

Parks.

Mr. White provided an update regarding John Howell Park. He noted the Parks Committee recently wrote an article in the Voice to provide a complete report of what they are contemplating. Mr. White further discussed the next phase of the park rehabilitation: seeding the grassy areas of the park with fescue. He explained that it will cost $3,500, and it will require temporary park closure, aeration, fertilization, liming, and removal of weeds. Mr. White noted further that the $3,500 includes watering of the lawn and will require cooperation from the community to avoid interfering with the lawn.

Mr. Dworet raised the issue of whether or not we should allocate more significant fencing to prevent people from walking over the newly-seeded areas. Mr. White expressed that the issue really is one of aesthetics and funding.

In that same vein, an audience member questioned Mr. Glancy as to whether any of the funds from the Intown Ten (10K) road race would be made available to assist with these improvements to the park. After some discussion, Mr. Glancy eventually said he would make the report and donation in August, and then he departed.

Mr. White moved that the VHCA allocate $4,000 from the parks budget (with $500 to be allocated to the fence) to address these items. Mr. Wolfinger seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

On behalf of Ms. Papner, Mr. Dworet noted that CoA Parks has given them a certificate of appropriateness on New Highland Park, and that construction is moving forward.

Mr. White discussed recent damage that occurred at Orme Park when a city truck damaged some pervious concrete pavers, damaged a tot swing, and destroyed a water meter cover. Repairs are being scheduled.

NEW BUSINESS

An audience member noted that the Clairmont Lounge will be closing in connection with redevelopment efforts.

Mr. White asked the board to appoint Genny, John, Nicole and Lola to be members of the nominating committee. Peggy seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

RECESS

The Board went into recess for an executive session.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.

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Minutes – June 11, 2012

MINUTES

Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board Meeting

Monday, June 11, 2012; Ponce de Leon Library

CALL TO ORDER

Mr. White called the meeting to order at 7 PM. The following Board members were present: Peggy Berg, Lola Carlisle, Frazier Dworet, Genny Ferrero, Lauren Wilkes Fralick, Brain Gross, Nicole Foerschler Horn, Pamela Papner, and Jack White. Rob Glancy and John Wolfinger arrived subsequently. David Wolfson was absent with notice.

* * *

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA / APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Ms. Foerschler Horn moved and Ms. Berg seconded a motion to adopt the agenda. The attached agenda (“Addendum 1”) was approved without objection.

Ms. Foerschler Horn moved and Mr. Dworet seconded a motion to adopt minutes for the May Board meeting. The minutes from the May 2012 Board meeting were likewise approved without objection.

* * *

POLICE AND FIRE

Two sergeants were present and reported that over the past couple of weeks, there has been an increase in armed robberies in the area generally surrounding Little Five Points. The officers noted that these robberies are partly attributed to the fact that schools were recently let out for the summer break. Nevertheless, the officers advised citizens to remove valuables from parked cars, and advised that more unmarked police cars will be patrolling the neighborhood to increase police visibility. Major Meadows also spoke and invited residents to discuss any issues with him.

Ms. Carlisle further questioned the officers with regard to whether any issues associated with the recent Soapbox Derby event. No issues were reported.

* * *
Bill Munro, AFPL

Bill Munro, director of the Ponce de Leon library, thanked the Board for the support provided by VHCA to the library. Mr. Munro further reported that $2,000 donated by the VHCA to the library this year was used to great benefit. Among other things, he explained that the Ponce de Leon branch was able to convert its VHS movie collection to DVDs, and as a result now has the largest DVD collection in the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. He further noted that the donated VHCA funds are also being used to assist the library with the fulfillment of its children and young-adult summer reading programs.

Mr. White thanked Mr. Munro for his continued support of the VHCA and noted that Mr. Munro goes above and beyond to ensure that the library is available to the VHCA for Board and committee meetings.

* * *

CITY OF ATLANTA OFFICIALS

None were present.

* * *

OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS & GUESTS

Tom McWilliams from Sylvan Hills attended on behalf of State Representative Ralph Long, a candidate for House District 57. He reminded everyone of the upcoming July 31 election, which will, among other things, call for a vote on the T-SPLOST transportation initiative

Mr. Earl Cooper introduced himself to the Board and to the audience. He is the current PTA president at Grady High School and is running as a Republican from House District 58.

* * *

VHCA COMMITTEE REPORTS

Budget Committee

Mr. Dworet reported that Melissa Kriest is the new bookkeeper for the Association, and that she has been instrumental in the further organization and streamlining of VHCA financial activities. After questioning from audience members, Mr. Dworet confirmed that all check-signing authority remains within the control of the Board.

Planning Committee

A. LRB-318; 1006 N. Highland Avenue (Taco Mac). The application relates to the change in ownership and resulting change of the designated liquor agent. Michael Sard from Sard & Leff spoke on behalf of the applicant. The new agent will be Susan Oddo. She explained that the application emanated solely from the change in ownership; with a new legal entity as owner, a new alcohol license is required. Ms. Carlisle noted that there have been no issues with Taco Mac in the past, that the Planning Committee unanimously approved the application at its previous meeting. Ms. Carlisle moved to approve the application, Mr. Glancy seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

B. V-12-070; 907 Highland View; Application for reduction of various setbacks. Mr. Mark Arnold appeared on behalf of the applicant, and explained that in connection with a second story addition within the existing footprint, the application involves the following setback reductions:

reduction of rear yard setback from 15’ (required) to 10’;
reduction in north side yard setback from 7’ (required) to 3’2”;
reduction of south side yard setback from 7’ (required) to 2’10”; and
reduction of front yard setback from 35‘ (required) to 19’.

Mr. Arnold further explained that he previously examined all original two-story homes in the neighborhood to determine why they are aesthetically appealing, and he attempted to implement many of these characteristics in the plans for the current home. Mr. Arnold stated that the owner is doing all this it can to preserve trees, but that two dogwoods will be removed in the front. He confirmed that the submitted plans otherwise comply with all other requirements and that they are actually reducing existing lot coverage to 48%, because they are removing an existing swimming pool. Ms. Carlisle noted that some of the neighbors (911 Highland View, to the east) had expressed concern about the height of the house. Mr. Arnold’s client met with this neighbor and offered to revise the plans to address their concerns. The neighbors have now approved the plans, and the plans received unanimous recommendation for approval from Planning. Ms. Carlisle therefore moved to approve the application, conditioned on the revised site plan dated 5/31/12. Ms. Ferrero seconded the motion. The motion was approved 9-1, with all in favor except Mr. Glancy, who opposed it without comment.

C. SAP 12-0060; Special Administrative Permit to Operate Food Trucks at 841 N. Highland. The application was presented by Victoria Meadows. She noted that all trash and restrooms will be provided by Mr. Landau. Ms. Carlisle moved and Ms. Foerschler Horn seconded a motion to approve SAP120060. The motion passed unanimously.

Parks Committee

A. John Howell Park. Mr. White reported that the committee is moving forward with the work and repairs discussed last month; all work is on schedule. The committee has met with the Parks Department and Park Pride. The park’s original landscape architect, Peter Frawley, has led discussions about potential modifications around the volleyball court and on connecting the two levels of the park. Ms. Wilkes has met extensively with representatives from Volleyball Atlanta, who are partners in this process. The committee will prepare an article for the Voice and will schedule public walk-throughs to solicit public comments.

B. VHCL & New Highland Park. Pamela Papner provided an update, citing July 1 as the target construction start date. She further noted that $150,000 has been raised thus far for New Highland. On the topic of fundraising, Ms. Papner asked Mr. Glancy when the proceeds promised to the VHCL from the road race he directed on March 4th “benefitting John Howell Park” would arrive. Mr. Glancy stated that he was unable to provide the financial data at this time; “one or two checks remain to be written.” Ms. Papner indicated that the topic could be on the next agenda.

Fundraising Committee

Pamela Papner spoke regarding Summerfest. Relying upon information received to date, she believes this is going to be the best year ever with regard to financial receipts. Although she does not have the final numbers in with regard to beverage revenue or operations costs, and her estimate for earnings is in excess of $150,000.

Education Committee

Ms. Foerschler Horn spoke regarding the progress of the new education committee, which among other things, have declared the following goals: (a) to inform the neighborhood on issues that impact local neighborhood schools; (b) to collaborate with schools to solve problems and support positive change; and (c) to work with other neighborhoods within the Grady cluster. Ms. Foerschler Horn moved to approve the stated committee goals, which was seconded by Mr. White. The motion passed unanimously.

Safety Committee

A. Sidewalks. Ms. Berg provided an update with respect to the proposed sidewalk improvements and the contribution required by the VHCA in this regard.
Ms. Papner expressed concerns regarding the expending of Board funds for, among other things, commercial owners of residential properties. Mr. Glancy suggested that we have a cap on the amount funded for each property, which Ms. Berg said was part of her concept . Several members expressed concerns as to whether the Board should spend funds on sidewalks when city law makes homeowners legally responsible for the tasks.

After extensive discussion, Mr. White moved to approve a maximum total allocation of $15,000, with the following limits and conditions: $500 per segment; total of $800 per property; but in no event ever greater than 50% of the property owners’ cost. Messrs. Gross and Glancy seconded the motion.

After further discussion, the motion was amended to state that Ms. Berg will make a good faith effort to offer participation in the bundle without financial incentive.

The motion was approved 7-2; Mr. Wolfinger, Ms. Berg, Mr. Dworet, Mr. Glancy, Ms. Foerschler Horn, and Ms. Carlisle voted in favor and Ms. Papner and Ms. Ferrero voted against. Both argue that it was unwise to spend association funds on what the law deems a private landowner’s responsibility, particularly when a structure is a commercial investment for a non-resident. Mr. White, who was moderating the discussion, did not vote on his own motion and provided no reason.

B. Mid-year Report on Goals. Mr. Wolfinger deferred the report to next meeting with regard to committee goals. However, he noted that there will be a meeting regarding cleanup proposals for the intersection of Virginia and Highland Avenues on Wednesday, June 13, to bridge the gap between VHCA and the business association. The meeting will be at 6:30 at Aurora. VHCA is trying to encourage the business owners to better maintain the area surrounding their businesses.

Communications Committee

Mr. Gross stated that the VHCA has a new website, a new system for emailing residents, and a good support team. He reminded Board members to provide content for the Voice. While our previous decision was to publish one more printed edition of the Voice in paper format (prior to this fall’s Tour), Mr. Gross noted that substantial cost savings would be available to us from switching permanently to electronic editions. Mr. White and Mr. Dworet agreed with that perspective. Mr. White requested that Mr. Gross agree to lead a thorough discussion of this point at next month’s meeting regarding the pros and cons of maintaining a paper version of the Voice.

NEW BUSINESS

To comply with technical requirements of the bylaws, Mr. White moved to confirm all current Budget, Parks, Planning, Safety, and Summerfest committee members. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Gross will bring a list of Communication Committee members next month.

CALENDAR ITEMS

Mr. White noted that the general meeting this year will be on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 9:34 PM.

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Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: November 1, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

Roy Latimore Found Guilty!!

Thanks to David Berl for taking the time to spend several days sitting on the hard benches of Fulton County courthouse courtroom 4-B to watch as the trial of Roy Latimore took place. Latimore is the one who was plaguing this part of the city a year ago with a series of armed pedestrian robberies. Thanx also to Paul Arena-Camarillo, our Zone 6 Community Prosecutor, for his meticulous research into these incidents, so he could present a good case to the jury.

The City Crime Rate is Down

Amazingly enough, our crime rate in the city still continues to abate.  The story at: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/crimes-still-falling-in-metro-atlanta-us/nSr4j/  Another way to check our VaHi crime rate is to simply go to vahi.org and read the Safety Team Reports in the safety section from 2 or 3 years ago. Thanx to Brian Gross for making these reports easily available for comparison.

The following reports have been gleaned from the APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 39 and 40 (9/23-10/6) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.  Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday, and to raise your level of alertness and awareness.

Aggravated Assault  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Auto Theft  –  Vehicles were stolen from Virginia Avenue, North Highland Avenue (this vehicle found abandoned in SW Atlanta) and a botched attempt on North Highland Avenue resulting in the ignition assembly being removed.

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No such finds reported here in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Nearby on Elizabeth Street in Inman Park, the King of Pops office was entered with the cash box and safe taken – this is a cash business and a substantial amount of cash was lost.

Residential Burglary  –  An Elmwood Drive residence was entered with no signs of forced entry.

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were entered on PDL Avenue, Monroe Drive, and on Park Drive, a landscaper’s pickup truck had equipment stolen from the open truck bed.  Please warn your lawn guys of the dangers of not having all of their equipment not locked down in the truck or trailer.

Larceny Other  –  A bicycle and lawnmower chained together were both taken from a St. Charles Avenue backyard.  Locked bicycles were taken from North Highland and Virginia Avenues in separate incidents.  I know that it is a pain – but consider taking the seat or a wheel off the bike when it has to be left and locked in a public space.  Then when not in use at home – hide the bike and just don’t assume that a front porch or apartment balcony is a safe parking space.

Elsewhere in the Zone – yet another iPhone was snatched from a sidewalk restaurant table, this time at Pure Tacqueria on Elizabeth Street in Inman Park.  These thefts have decreased lately – but don’t assume that you can now leave your electronics laying on a table and not risk losing them.  A whole ATM machine was taken from Angier Avenue at 5 a.m. in the Old 4th Ward.  And, on Ralph McGill Boulevard at 2:20 p.m. a buyer was waiting on a vehicle seller to arrive when she was approached by 2 males who snatched her purse with $4500 in cash within, and fled on foot.  Now – the victim still does not have a car or cash to buy another one probably.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  On 9/25 at 6:50 a.m. a Drewry Street morning walker was approached by 3 males (one with a handgun) who demanded his house keys – the victim threw the keys over their heads and into the grass with the perps grabbing the keys and fleeing.  No injuries reported.

The previously reported armed robbery of 9/23 on PDL Terrace where the victim lost her cell phone – she has reported to me that the perps in this incident were the same ones arrested for Midtown incidents per her Zone 6 investigator.  http://midtown.patch.com/articles/phone-tracking-device-aids-in-arrests-of-midtown-armed-robbery-suspects

On 10/5 at 12:50 a.m. on North Highland Avenue near the YWCA, the victim advised that she and her roommate were walking home when she was grabbed from behind by 2 females who physically assaulted her and took her purse with the contents.  No serious injuries reported.

Residential Robbery News from Morningside  –  There were two messages on 10/30 on the vhmpa message board about Morningside incidents.

The first message stated – ” Yesterday (10/29) at 10:18 a.m., our home in Johnson Estates was broken into.  We were not home.  Our surveillance cameras showed that one man approached the house on foot from the sidewalk.  He knocked on the front door several times the proceeded to look in all of the front windows.  He walked back down the front steps and moments later a car backed into the driveway.  Three men got out ( a fourth stayed in the car) and they went to the back of the house.  They were all wearing green hoodie sweatshirts and green sweat pants – we assume to try to look like a landscaping crew.  They kicked in the back door (despite signs stating the house was under surveillance).  They went through the house looking for small items they could grab and sell.  They got away with lap tops, an IPad, a tv, credit cards and all my jewelry.

The police were able to locate the laptop with an app that is on my iPhone and use the video surveillance to apprehend the men.”

The other message stated – “Someone attempted to enter our house on Cumberland Road at 4 am this morning through a basement door.  Alarm went off and police were called.”  Evidently these guys escaped before the police arrived.

Please stay alert, enjoy this wonderful fall weather and remember “See Something – Say Something” – meaning that if you see something where your gut feeling tells you something is wrong – call 911 immediately with a report!  Don’t just assume someone else will call the police.

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Education Committee Update

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Morningside Town Hall Meeting with APS Executives Set For November 14

John O’ Connor, APS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Vickie Cleveland, Executive Director for Special Education, will be on hand for a town hall meeting to be held Wednesday November 14th at 8:30 am in the Morningside Elementary Media Center. The event is open to all families in the Grady Cluster.

The Office of Student Programs and Services (OSPS) is composed of the following units: Department of Special Education – Counseling Services – Nursing Services – Psychological Services – Parent Involvement Program – Social Work Services – Homeless Education – Truancy Intervention – Student Support Team – Student Placement – Student Tribunal and Alternative Placement – Student Records.

Your are invited to come and learn about the Office of Student Programs and Services which provides comprehensive, collaborative and coordinated services to students, staff, parents and communities. OSPS ensures that all efforts focus on student success and the goals central to APS’ strategic plan. Additionally, OSPS supports acquisition of the skills essential to academic achievement, career and educational decision-making, and personal/social development. These programs are fundamental to providing wrap-around services.

Furthermore, the Office of Student Programs and Services develops and coordinates early intervention strategies to ensure that curriculum, instruction and behavioral practices best meet the educational needs of all students; provides parenting education opportunities; enhances family-school partnerships; develops community outreach; and establishes partnerships with businesses and human services agencies.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to the Special Education Committee Chairs, Michelle Constantinides at michelle.constantinides@gmail.com or Kim Martin at kcmartin6@comcast.net.

Support SPARK’s All-Star Book Fair

Springdale Park Elementary’s ALL-STAR BOOK FAIR continues online until November 10th. Buy books as holiday presents, to enhance your child’s library, or to donate to your favorite teacher’s classroom. This is a great way to support our neighborhood elementary school because a portion of the proceeds goes back to SPARK.

Visit http://onlinebookfairs.scholastic.com/default.aspx?f=3032128 to shop until November 10th. If you do not have a student at SPARK, please put VHCA in the “Classroom Teacher” box during the checkout process. All books are shipped to SPARK and we will deliver the books to your home.

Books will be shipped within three days of the close of the online fair.

Questions?  Contact Lynne Kushner at lynnek@me.com.

SPARK Teacher Wins Outstanding Educator of the Year Award

Click here to read a great story on Patch about Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at Springdale Park Elementary who was one of eight educators honored recently with an Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education.

Inman Middle School Named One of State’s Top Performing Title 1 Schools

Click here to read an AJC.com story about Inman Middle School being one of 46 metro Atlanta schools named to the state’s list of top performing Title 1 schools.

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Improvements Coming Soon to Monroe/10th Intersection

According to the beltline.org website, significant pedestrian safety improvements will be made soon at the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive. The improvements are designed to support the recent opening of the Eastside BeltLine trail which currently terminates a few feet from the east side of Monroe, just across from Park Tavern and Piedmont Park.

Here’s the pertinent text from the article on the BeltLine website and a drawing of what the intersection will look like after the improvements are made:

“The improved section of Eastside Trail ends at Monroe Dr. adjacent to Park Tavern and Piedmont Park. The City of Atlanta Public Works Dept. approved the design for traffic signal and pavement striping improvements for the intersection. Eastside trail users will be able to cross Monroe Dr. to Piedmont Park more easily with new pedestrian signals and a 28’ wide striped pedestrian crossing with new curbramps built into the sidewalks on either side of Monroe Dr. The traffic signals for the Virginia and 10thStreet intersections with Monroe will be re-timed and coordinated in anticipation of heavier pedestrian and bicyclist activity through the area. Construction on the improvement is slated to begin in early November and be completed by mid-December (weather permitting). While improvements will occur on all four “corners” of the intersection, we have requested that the contractor prioritize the interface between the Park Tavern corner and the Eastside Trail.”

 

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Amateur Soccer Team Calls VaHi Home

Did you know there’s an amateur soccer team that wears our neighborhood’s name proudly on its jerseys? Well, there is – and it looks like they’re pretty darn good, too!

In the spirit of world-class soccer teams that got their start in “cool” neighborhoods – think Chelsea in London or La Boca in Buenos Aires – VaHi ATLetic FC was established last summer and the team has adopted Virginia-Highland as its host city. Many of the VaHi ATLetic FC players live in the VaHi/Midtown area and are originally from ten different countries, including the U.S.

According to team manager Felipe Lobelo, the idea behind the team is to represent the vibrant VaHi community, add to the growing list of activities residents can enjoy (i.e., Atlanta Streets Alive, festivals, etc.) and to use soccer as a vehicle to further promote integration, community pride, healthy and active lifestyles and other causes.

From October to April the team plays in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League (ADASL), widely considered the best amateur league in the southeastern U.S. Many future and former professional and college players compete in this highly organized league.

Check out the team’s webpage at www.vahifc.com for team news, season schedules and game reports, as well as pictures and videos of the team’s goals (including the players’ wives and kids cheering on those occasions when they score)! You’ll also find links there to the team’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel.

VaHi ATLetic FC has gotten off to a great start on the current season, winning their first four matches! The team would appreciate any support from VaHi residents interested in soccer. Home games are played at Boulevard Crossing Park (close to Grant Park and the zoo) and admission is free for everyone so take some time to enjoy some good soccer and support your neighborhood team!

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Presenting the 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

By: Angelika Taylor, 2012 Tour of Homes Chair

The 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is right around the corner and the TOH committee has been working hard to make sure this year’s event is a fun and successful one. In addition to nine outstanding restaurants, there are eight spectacular homes on the tour and we just can’t keep it a secret any longer so here’s a sneak peak at this year’s lineup.

Each home is different and has its own personality, character and style. As you browse through the brief descriptions, start planning your Tour of Homes weekend. Tickets go on sale in November and this would be the perfect event to kick off the holidays with your friends, family and out of town guests. And remember – tour tickets make excellent gifts as well.

For more information on this year’s Tour of Homes – including how you can get involved by volunteering – don’t forget to visit our recently updated website at www.vahitourofhomes.org.

1 - 957 Rosedale Road: The oldest home on the tour, built in 1910, the homeowners kept the original floors on the main level along with a few rooms and then they took it down to the studs. In the crawl space below they added 18 steel pillars to support the house. Their extensive renovation reveals a comfy, spacious cottage style home with serious “wow” factor influencing the owners’ passion for art and entertaining.

2 - 1089 Rosedale Road: An art enthusiast's dream home. The homeowners’ impressive collection of local and internationally known artists has been carefully displayed in every room of this house. An open airy kitchen and family rooms lead you outside where the art continues. Lush landscaping surrounds a Palm Springs-esque swimming pool and garden.

3 - 1109 Los Angeles Drive: A gorgeous renovation of an original 1926 Tudor/Bungalow home, its rumored that at one time a member of Margret Mitchell’s family lived there. During recent renovations the current owners found a signature on the inside of one of the original door frames signed “Mr. Mitchell”. This home has one of our favorite kitchens on the tour.

4 - 1030 N. Virginia Avenue: Built in 1929, this cute frame white house is a true little gem. While the current owners walked into a perfectly well preserved home, in 1996 they renovated the upstairs for a teen suite and in 2011 they took on their kitchen. One of the highlights, the kitchen is a throwback vintage/modern feel complete with 50’s style Big Chill appliances. You will find this little unassuming home is chock full of the past but makes use of every inch of space for a small family.

5 - 1139 Lanier Boulevard: This Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Prairie-style home was custom designed and is entirely new construction. Built by the homeowner himself, this home features extensive millwork/trim of tulip poplar, which was locally harvested. You don’t want to miss this one.

6 - 1029 Kentucky Avenue: Once a small 2 bedroom- 1 bath Tudor cottage in 1928, now a 5 bedroom – 4 bath home with three finished floors and a fantastic layout perfect for entertaining. This home features a wine cellar, bar and spectacular outdoor living. The back yard boasts a serene setting centered around a beautiful lighted spa and waterfall.

7 - 760 Elkmont Drive: A 1930’s original bungalow floor plan, this home is an inspiring example of casual yet luxe renovations. The floors, doors and built-ins remain originals and the color scheme both inside and out aspire to evoke a coastal California beach cottage feel. The master bedroom and retreat spa bath are one of a kind and a must see.

8 - 630 Orme Circle: After a 1995 fire, this 1920 Craftsman Bungalow was fully restored to its original charm and opened as a Bed & Breakfast in 1996 in time to host international guests to the Summer Olympics. This B&B has 5 bedrooms and 5 baths all distinctively decorated with an eclectic collection of turn of the 20th century antiques and mid century modern collectables. The owner, a master gardener, designed the extensive gardens which are part of the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries and the Worldwide Labyrinth Project. Open year round, this Bed and Breakfast is a special place to stay.

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It’s Halloween in VaHi!

The holiday’s come and gone but we thought we’d share a few images of some of the more creative decorations from around Virginia-Highland. This is just a sampling from driving up and down a few VaHi streets – by no means a complete review. Be sure to scroll to the end for several pictures of a home on Amsterdam that gets our Editor’s Choice award for Best Decorations. Not that there aren’t some other very impressive displays of creativity, but those folks on Amsterdam really know how to do Halloween.

Before we share some of your neighbor’s decorations with you, here are some photos from a fun Halloween event held this past Saturday October 27 along the retail area adjacent to Blabla at Virginia Ave. and Rosedale Dr. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the holiday spirit and the last day of warm weather before the temps turned cooler.

And now some photos of Halloween decorations around the neighborhood:

731 Greenwood

 

731 Greenwood

 

731 Greenwood

 

731 Greenwood

 

975 Drewry

959 Drewry

846 Drewry

846 Drewry

792/798 Drewry

792/798 Drewry

1132 St. Charles Pl.

1102 St. Charles Pl.

908 N. Highland

908 N. Highland

612 Cumberland

597 Cumberland

624 Cumberland

1141 Hudson

1141 Hudson

1045 Hudson

Corner of Chalmette and Briarwood

1170 Lanier

1084 Lanier

1073 Lanier

1073 Lanier

1098 Lanier

1128 Stillwood

1025 Virginia

1025 Virginia

901 Virginia

750 Virginia Circle

759-771 Adair

759-771 Adair

Across from 759/771 Adair

817 Adair

852 Adair

865 Adair

951 Adair

847 Virginia Circle

965 Todd Road

895 Adair

107 Maryland

772 Amsterdam

1117 N. Virginia

The pictures below show decorations at 1045 Amsterdam where the home owner has put together quite a display of Halloween spirit. It gets interactive on Halloween night with ghosts, witches, zombies, etc. so if you’re looking for a great place to take the kids for some scary trick-or-treating, this is your place.

 

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Kanuga looking spectacular with new trees

Kanuga was already looking better than usual after a recent cleanup by the city (thanks to Jenifer Keenan for bird-dogging Atlanta Public Works). But now the Atlanta BeltLine Corridor Project has planted trees along the entire length! The trees are a test plot underplanted with buffalo grass, which should provide a drought-tolerant ground cover.

Looking up the full length of Kanuga from Monroe

Looking downhill from the middle of Kanuga

Looking uphill from the middle of Kanuga

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Keep VaHi Beautiful Volunteers Have Successful Clean-Up Day

By: Kay Stephenson

As the sky slowly lightened on a recent crisp fall morning in Virginia-Highland, volunteers assembled in the parking lots at the south end of the neighborhood. Tools were unloaded, bags and gloves donated by Keep Atlanta Beautiful were distributed, and, to the sounds of a leaf blower doing its thing outside Neighbor’s Pub, we were off.

From the MARTA stop on the north side of Ponce De Leon Avenue to the triangle at N. Highland and Virginia avenues, volunteers picked up bag after bag of bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and the assorted detritus that accumulates every day in our neighborhood. We whacked, raked, and sprayed weeds, and scraped off stickers while saying a big thank you to Intown Ace Hardware for donating scrapers.

Graffiti Task Force volunteers worked for hours to remove tags on three sides of the Hilan Theater building, and to repaint metal doors and dumpsters.  Kudos once more to Intown Ace for providing supplies and to Atkins Park and Surin for the use of their water.

Both the streetscape and the parking lots received much attention, including a few spots that haven’t seen any love for a very long time. Wellspring Treasures coordinated the participation of a youth group from Peachtree Presbyterian Church, and the kids were a bundle of energy making short work of the alley that runs between St. Charles and Greenwood. The pictures tell the clean-up tale better than any words can (see below).

When we were finished (for this day, as this is an on-going effort), Surin of Thailand had a delicious hot lunch waiting for us, and we all tucked in upstairs at the Indie-pendent. The best part is the knowledge that many business owners have made the commitment to keep their part of the neighborhood looking great. Some that could not join us for Saturday’s event still made an extra effort to get their own property ship shape for our clean-up day.

The Graffiti Task Force and the Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful team want to thank our volunteers and contributors for such a fun and productive event. We look forward to continued improvements to both commercial and residential areas of Virginia-Highland, and hope that the next time we plan an event the whole neighborhood can join in!

Here are pictures of the walls of the Hilan Theatre prior to graffiti removal:

And here are pictures of the same walls, after graffiti removal:

Graffiti Task Force chair Laura Voisinet works on a dumpster in the area behind the Hilan Theatre.

Volunteer David Berl scrubs down a wall of the Hilan Theatre building.

Volunteer Jimmy Lee needs a ladder to reach an especially bad section of graffiti on one of the Hilan Theatre walls.

Graffiti fighters John Wolfinger and Jimmy Lee take a break for some fun with the sprayer.

Here are some pictures of the trash-strewn areas around the St. Charles commercial node prior to clean-up:

And here are the same areas post clean-up:

Weed abatement specialist Bob Coomes – decked out in his best Louisville Cardinal red and with a jug of Roundup in hand – did his best to eradicate invasives along N. Highland from Ponce to the triangle at Virginia Avenue. Here are shots of Bob in action:

Volunteer Roger Harris cleans-up under a bench at the triangle while Bob Coomes chases down more pesky weeds.

No piece of trash escapes volunteer Roger Harris' discerning eye.

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What I learned about VaHi from old Voice newsletters

by Brian Gross, Communications Committee

Voice logos through the years. Click to enlarge image.

I recently helped scan and uploaded more than 60 past issues of the Virginia-Highland Voice, the VHCA’s long-standing paper newsletter, which continues today in electronic form. The issues ranged from the very first Voice in 1972 through 1976, then a large gap, and then other issues dating from 1988-2012.

By scanning headlines I was able to create online tables of contents for each issue. In doing so I read many articles and I thought I’d share with you the most interesting articles I found. Keep in mind I’m a relative newcomer (3 years) – and I know that others might find other topics more interesting than I do. Also, I know there is always more to the story than what I found. I speak for myself here and not for the VHCA. With those disclaimers, here’s what I found interesting:

Neighborhood Empowerment and Fighting I-485

Planned route of I-485 through VaHi

The Voices from the 70s don’t actually give the full background and context of the battle that raged at the time against the building of the I-485 freeway north-south through Virginia-Highland and other neighborhoods.

Nor do they discuss the fact that this was the first time neighborhoods actually had a voice – “the third leg of the stool” in the city, next to business and the black community.

But it is interesting to catch these glimpses of that time, once I was educated on the context and history.

One article also explained the very real problem of redlining at that time – something that until recently I only thought happened in minority areas. (Voices from 19721973197419751976)

Sidewalks

The most intractable problem in VaHi?

Virginia-Highland’s broken sidewalks? “Always and forever” an issue… examples:

Zoning

Almost a 2000-person mega-entertainment complex?

The VHCA battled some projects that would have been disastrous and might have led us to become a second Buckhead village (where violence from partygoers got so bad they tore the place down!):

But, the association lost the battle to save dozens of majestic oak trees at 830 Ponce, the site today of The Carlton on Ponce condominiums.

Ponce de Leon Avenue

In 1990 a “Ponce Taskforce” was formed, and the Fall 1990 issue was dedicated to Ponce, inventorying the help organizations there, the transient hotels, and the problems. In 1992 there was a spirited letter to the editor against a potential expansion of Grady Hospital onto Ponce.

Ponce has improved substantially since then I am sure, but is still a problem. I feel that as a  community we “face” north, west and east, but turn our back to Ponce. Is the community too exhausted to try and improve it?

Summerfest and Tour of Homes

Summerfest is present in nearly every issue, Tour of Homes almost as often, and every year the plans were announced and the ever-greater successes described. Some articles that stood out:

Safety

Of course, John Wolfinger’s Safety Reports are legendary, but were not included in the hard copy Voice because of John’s desire to have the reports distributed by street captains, thereby strengthening that program.

As the person who drove the 2010 expansion of FBAC (member supported security patrol) to cover the entire neighborhood, I found it interesting to read about a spirited, but unsuccessful effort to do so in 1994, as well as to track how FBAC came to be.

Parks and Trees

John Howell Park 1988 original plan

Some standout articles:

His work was to grace VaHi

The tireless efforts of Stephanie Coffin to save trees and plant more are a red thread throughout almost all Voice issues.

Retail

Superior Foods closes, 1994

  • In 1994, residents were shocked by the sudden closing of Superior Foods grocery, where CVS is today on N. Highland.
  • Recently a friend from Vinings asked me if I enjoyed all the galleries in VaHi. I was baffled – what galleries? Now I understand – she hadn’t been to VaHi for a long time! In 1993, VaHi was famous for art galleries – I enjoyed this overview of them.
  • In 1994 VaHi was coffee and dessert-obsessed – I enjoyed the comparison of seven locations. Why are there no dedicated dessert places today!?

People

Portraits of exceptional neighborhood volunteers and organizers:

And honorable mention to indefatigable columnists:

  • Nan Hunter’s recycling columns in the 1990s when recycling was a new idea
  • The Highland Ho-er (gardening tips by today’s safety guru John Wolfinger)
  • Colonel Mustard (restaurant reviews)

PS – Some of the ads were very entertaining too, such as this 1990 Murphy’s ad:

Ad for Murphy's, Virginia-Highland Voice, August 1990

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More Voice past issues available online

We have scanned more past issues of the Virginia-Highland Voice — the following additional issues are available online.

See also the full archive at vahi.org/voice-print.

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Boo! VOICE Wants Pictures of Your Favorite VaHi Halloween Decorations

Halloween is fast approaching and some wonderfully creative displays of decorating talent are cropping up around the neighborhood. VOICE wants to share photos of the best decorations our neighborhood has to offer with other VaHi residents and the rest of the digital world.

If you or someone you know has done an awesome job getting ready for the trick-or-treaters, either send us a photo of the decorations, or just send us the street address and one of our crack photographers will stop by and take a picture. We’ll also be out and about ourselves scouting for well-decorated homes. Next week we’ll post the photos online for everyone to see. We’re giving some thought to turning this into a contest where residents can vote on the best decorations – more on that later this week. But, at the very least, we’ll have a great online album that everyone can view to see the incredible creativity of VaHi residents. Only requirement is that the home you’re suggesting be located within the boundaries of Virginia-Highland so please include the address of homes shown with any photos you send in.

Send your suggestions in as soon as possible (photos or addresses) to jnbecker@me.com.

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Forum Scheduled to Discuss Georgia Charter School Amendment

Do you know how you’ll vote on the Georgia charter school amendment?

This November, you will be asked whether the state of Georgia should be allowed to authorize new charter schools (as opposed to school districts only). The AJC’s latest poll shows voters are split, and people on both sides of the issue agree this vote will determine the path of K-12 education reform in Georgia for years to come.

You are invited to attend a public forum with prominent speakers on both sides of the debate, to learn more about the issue. The forum will be held Monday, October 22, 6:00 p.m. at the Inman Middle School auditorium.

Young Professionals for Education Equity (YPEE) and Teach For America are co-sponsoring this nonpartisan event. Amir Farokhi of GeorgiaForward will moderate the discussion.

Panel speakers include:

Jason Carter, Georgia State Senator

Mike Dudgeon, Georgia State Representative

Herb Garrett, Executive Director, Georgia School Superintendents Association

Mark Peevy, Executive Director, Georgia Charter Schools Commission

Click here to read an October 12 AJC article on this topic.

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YWCA Gets Much Needed Makeover

Last Friday October 19, close to 200 volunteers descended on the YWCA on N. Highland Avenue to give the 88-year old building a much needed makeover.

Workers inside ripped out and replaced carpet, repainted walls and power-cleaned fixtures. Outside crews focused on pressure washing hard sufaces, trimming branches from trees, replacing rotten timbers in the playground and generally sprucing up the landscaping. Dignitaries were on hand for a dedication and morning photo session.

The volunteers were provided by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia (BOMA) as part of their annual community service project. Scroll down to view photos of the clean-up as it happened. Click on any of the photos for a larger image.

Exterior shot before clean-up.

Volunteers were treated to coffee and pastries before getting to work.

Friendly staff greeted volunteers at the registration table.

These generous businesses sponsored the makeover.

BOMA staff and local elected officials posed for photographs before work began.

Work gets underway in the playground area along Hudson Drive.

Volunteers replaced rotten timbers in the playground area.

Out with the old carpet...

...and in with the new carpet.

Volunteers prep the inside for painting.

New paint going on the walls.

Volunteers had assistance reaching hard-to-get-to places.

Progress was made quickly with so many folks on hand to help.

Volunteers had to reach some tough to get to places.

All the old carpet was removed and new carpet was installed throughout.

Interior fixtures received a deep cleaning.

Stairwells were gutted and cleaned.

The lift was indispensable in reaching the tall ceiling.

Here comes the new carpet.

Pressure washing the front steps.

Trimming limbs from a large tree in the property's front yard.

Volunteers doing some repair work at the entranceway.

More playground work.

Landscaping and timber replacement near the corner of N. Highland Ave. and Hudson Dr.

Pressure washing front sidewalk.

Inside looking newer and cleaner.

 

'After' shot of front of building, pressure washed and with some spruced-up landscaping.

 

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Volunteers Needed for Keep VaHi Beautiful Clean-Up Event

The recently-formed Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful group is planning a Business Resident Clean Up Day for this Saturday October 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The group is seeking volunteers to assist with the clean-up effort.

The event is planned as part of a major cleanup of the neighborhood before the kick-off of the holiday season. A collaborative effort between residents and property and business owners, the group will work together to clear weeds, pick up litter, and remove graffiti from around commercial buildings in Virginia-Highland. About 30 teen volunteers from a youth group are already committed to help on Satruday, but the group desperately needs adult volunteers to help coordinate the activities of the young people.

Please visit the group’s Facebook page to sign up to participate. Click on Events, Business/Resident Clean Up Day, and Going. If you can help with coordinating youth volunteers by leading a group of 4-5, please contact Kay Stephenson directly at KeepVirginiaHighlandBeautiful@gmail.com.

Volunteers should meet in the Neighbor’s Pub parking lot at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday October 20. Please bring work gloves, rakes, clippers, and scrapers (for removing stickers from signs). If you own a gas powered weed whacker or leaf blower, this would be a real plus.

Keep Atlanta Beautiful is donating trash bags and latex gloves.

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Reminder to Bag Fall Leaves for Removal

By: Peggy Berg

With the onset of fall, VaHi residents will once again be treated to the beauty of the seasonal color change – and the challenge of dealing with all those lovely little leaves when they finally fall from their branches.

As you implement your leaf removal plan this year, we’d like to remind you that it’s not only discourteous to your neighbors and bad for our ancient and over-burdened sewer system to blow leaves into the street instead of bagging them for city pick-up, but it’s illegal as well.

In a nutshell, the city requires that all property owners bag their leaves in biodegradable paper bags for pick up. There are penalties – including fines – for failure to bag leaves for removal appropriately. If you do your own leaf clean-up, please bag your leaves for city removal. If a yard service does it for you, please require them to bag the yard waste.

If you’re interested in perusing the applicable city code, follow this link. Enter the section of code you’re looking for in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page. The applicable sections are:

Section 130-36: Removal of yard trimmings

Section 74-601 through 74-611: Unlawful disposal of litter

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200 Volunteers to Give YWCA Much Needed Makeover

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia (BOMA) is proud to assist one of Atlanta’s oldest institutions, the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, whose mission is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women.  BOMA will bring 200 volunteers to the YWCA on Friday, October 19, 2012 to provide a face-lift of the renovated church from the inside and out. The project will be completed in a single day.

Volunteers are scheduled to arrive at the YWCA around 7:00 a.m. Friday. Elected officials are scheduled to arrive between 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. for photographs. Confirmed elected officials that will be present include City of Atlanta Councilmember Alex Wan, Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner,  State Representative Simone Bell, State Representative Pat Gardner and State Senator Nan Grogan-Orrock.

Built in 1924, the building was originally the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The two-story, Neo-Classical, Revival-style brick building has Doric pilasters and a large pediment on the front facade, a large entablature and round-arched windows on the second floor. The YWCA has occupied the building since 1988.

Check back for a look at the spruced-up ‘Y’ after the project’s complete.

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Komen 3-Day Walk Begins Friday, Will Pass Through Virginia-Highland

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure kicks off a 60-mile walk Friday that will start in Stone Mountain and, over the course of the weekend, take participants through Decatur, Virginia-Highland, Midtown, Candler Park and eventually to Turner Field.

Walkers will pass through VaHi on Sunday morning and early afternoon. From 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. John Howell Park will be the site of an official cheering station where residents can gather as a group to support the walkers. We’ve received no notice of any road closures in connection with this event.

Click here to read a Patch article about the 3-day walk or here to visit the event’s website.

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BeltLine Master Plan for Sub-area 6

The BeltLine Master Plan for “sub-area 6” includes the western edge of Virginia-Highland along Piedmont Park and Monroe Drive. These include proposals for improvements to the intersections of Monroe and 8th; Monroe and 10th/Virginia/Kanuga; and for converting Monroe to two lanes with a median/turn lane. Diagrams cover proposed bike access and transit.

The download can take a while as it’s 45 MB large: download main document here; there are also appendices (72 MB).

BeltLine master planning homepage

Here are some pictures from the document:




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Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: October 16, 2012

Jack Boys Guilty!!!!

Just in case there is someone who does not yet know that this loose-knit gang that terrorized the east side of Atlanta in the fall of 2010, culminating in the murder of Charles Boyer on Virginia Avenue on 11/22/2010, has gone through a trial and was found guilty of many, many charges – this will serve as notice. Thanx to Fulton County ADA Lance Cross for presenting an excellent case to the jurors – all of Atlanta owes him a resounding round of applause. The final story at http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/trio-convicted-gang-crime-spree/nSbGD/. A nice positive tv report on Fox5 followed the guilty verdict at http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/19800704/jack-boys-conviction-brings-relief-to-neighborhood.  The sentencing hearing will be within the next 30 days and I will announce this as soon as I am told of the date and time on the neighborhood message boards.

A Neighborhood Cleanup on Saturday 10/20

Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful has announced a cleanup session for the St. Charles/North Highland Avenues business node for this day. Meet at the parking lot at this corner at 8 a.m. for a four hour session and then be treated to a Surin lunch at noon.  We could still use some more adults to supervise the teenaged volunteers. Sign up at  www.facebook.com/KeepVirginiaHighlandBeautiful. This is an excellent example of the “broken window” theory of crime prevention – a clean, neat and orderly neighborhood signifies that folks who live and work there do care.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

Two Nice Neighborhood Stories

A nice AJC Real Estate section story about new home-owner residents on Glen Arden Way, who mention the neighborly feel of this street. This is due in part to the leadership of Glen Arden Street Captain Laurie Harris.  http://www.ajc.com/news/classifieds/real-estate/the-search-charmed-by-virginia-highland/nSRb7/

The second tale is about Clemont Drive Street Captain Lisa Keyes finding a pile of papers along her street and instead of just ignoring them – Lisa took the time to do an internet search for the owner. The owner stated to Lisa that her car had been stolen in Decatur and evidently the thieves had dumped the glove box contents on Clemont.

The following reports have been gleaned from the APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx)  crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 37 and 38 (9/9 – 9/22) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.  Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness and awareness.

Aggravate Assault  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Auto Theft  –  A motorcycle was stolen from Barnett Street.  Cars were stolen from Monroe Drive and Virginia Avenue, and a botched attempt was reported from PDL Avenue.

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No such reported findings in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Burglary  –  A Virginia Avenue apartment was entered via a 2nd floor porch and prescription medications were taken.

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery  –  A female Greenwood Avenue apartment resident reported that 3 males with a handgun pushed their way in demanding money – but she had none.  No physical injuries reported.

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were entered on Greenwood Avenue, North Highland Avenue, PDL Avenue, St. Charles Avenue, and Virginia Avenue (2).

Larceny Other  –  The tip jar was taken from Yogli Mogli on North Highland Avenue.  A laptop left at a Virginia Avenue neighbor’s house was taken after the neighbor left home.  (OK – I did not understand this narrative report either).

Elsewhere in the Zone – at the El Azteca restaurant on PDL Avenue a patron paid a $145 bill with a stolen credit card and fled.  Our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 4 shoplifters.  The Edgewood Retail District Target store caught 3 non-payers.  An unwatched cell phone was taken from a Masquerade concert goer, an unwatched purse was taken at a Carroll Street restaurant in Cabbagetown, and a cell phone was snatched from a victim at a Kirkwood park.

And yet another story of this oft-used ruse – at an unnamed Edgewood Avenue store 2 young b/m came in posing as Grady High School students asking for a donation for school uniforms and while the unsuspecting victim was in the process of getting some money for them the “students” fled with his I-phone.  Do not fall for this story – Grady does not send out kids asking for “donations” so I have been told.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  On 9/19 at about 7:30 p.m. a PDL Terrace resident was standing in her driveway when she noticed a white sedan with 3 b/m inside driving back and forth on the street, then the car stopped and one male exited and asked to use her phone.  The victim stated “no” and he pointed a handgun at her, grabbed the phone and they all fled in the car.  Major Meadows told me that as of 10/16 this investigation is still ongoing.

Nearby, at the Ford Factory Square parking lot on PDL Avenue on 9/22 at 7:30 a.m. a female pedestrian passed two males who then turned behind her striking her to the ground – they kicked her, grabbed her purse and fled on foot.  The victim was taken to ATL Medical Center – no report as to her injuries.

Stay alert. keep your parked cars cleaned out of all items and enjoy this fabulous fall weather while it is here.

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Atlanta Marathon Coming Through VaHi; Expect Road Closures

This year’s Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay will be held October 28 and the course will bring runners right through the heart of Virginia-Highland.

Mile 14 brings runners up N. Highland Avenue from Poncey-Highland where they will eventually turn left on Virginia Avenue. Runners will then turn right on Park Drive where Mile 15 continues on into Piedmont Park. Click here to view the complete route map.

Expect full or partial road closures. The right hand side only of northbound N. Highland Avenue will be closed from approx. 7:50 a.m. until approx. 10:45 a.m. The right hand side only of westbound Virginia Avenue will be closed from approx. 8:00 a.m. until approx. 10:50 a.m. All of Park Drive will be closed from approx. 8:05 a.m. until approx. 11:00 a.m. Click here for a complete list of road closures.

For more information on the Atlanta Marathon, visit http://atlantamarathon.org/marathon.

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Trees Atlanta Tree Sale & Festival

From Trees Atlanta we have the following:

Trees Atlanta Announces 13th Annual Trees Atlanta Tree Sale & Festival

More Than 1,000 Trees and Plants Offered at Annual Non-Profit Fundraiser

Looking for trees and plants to add beauty and shade to your yard? You won’t find a better deal than at the 13th Annual Trees Atlanta Tree Sale & Festival. The local non-profit has added more than 88,000 trees to metro Atlanta since its inception in 1985, and each October, Trees Atlanta has a sale that offers more than 1,000 plants – including 200 species of trees, shrubs, native perennials, and tree-friendly vines – for purchase by the public. All proceeds benefit weekly neighborhood tree planting projects, helping Trees Atlanta volunteers plant approximately 2,000 trees each year all around metro Atlanta.

The sale, sponsored by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., will take place at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center, located at 225 Chester Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30316 on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trees Atlanta donors of $500 or more are invited to attend a preview shopping night the evening before the sale.

The Trees Atlanta Tree Sale gives plant lovers a chance to talk with experts about why each tree is unique, so that making the decision on which tree to buy becomes easy and enjoyable, for both the avid planter and the first-time buyer. Shoppers will find oaks, ginkgos, hickories, hollies, dogwoods, redbuds, azaleas, hydrangeas, blueberries, and many more species and varieties, including selections that attract wildlife and pollinators such as birds, butterflies, and bees.

One variety that is making its first appearance at the tree sale this year is Sheri’s Cloud blackgum, which is a variegated blackgum that was discovered in Arkansas. Another great plant that is always very popular is the paw paw. It’s a small tree with beautiful leaves and delicious fruit. Also available will be Devil’s Walking Stick, which has the largest leaves of any native tree (they’re compound and can be up to 5 feet long!). And if you’re looking for beautiful vines for a trellis or fence, we’ll have several great native options like coral honeysuckle, passion vine, native wisteria, and trumpetcreeper.

In addition to purchasing trees and plants, visitors are invited to spend time at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center by enjoying the festival component. There will be features such as planting and pruning demonstrations, live music, a small sheep petting zoo, a dynamic speaker, partner booths, kid’s crafts, raffles, and food trucks. There will also be opportunities to learn about the components of Trees Atlanta’s Platinum LEED-certified headquarters.

A complete list of trees and plants for sale will be available on www.treesatlanta.org. And if a shopper wants a big tree but has a small car, Trees Atlanta can provide delivery, as well as planting assistance, within a limited area for a small fee. Go tree shopping on October 13th with Trees Atlanta!

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Streets Alive: Part II

Streets Alive returned to Virginia-Highland on Sunday October 7 for another four hours of closed streets and pedestrian-related activities. This time around not only was N. Highland Avenue closed to motorized traffic during the vent, but so, too, was Virginia Avenue.

A highlight of the event this time was the opening of the Eastside BeltLine trail to pedestrians and cyclists. For many, it was a chance to experience firsthand a part of what has been concept only for so long, but is now becoming reality. For more information on the trail’s official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for October 15, click here.

Here are some photos taken in and around VaHi during what most seemed to consider a very successful second installment of Streets Alive.

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The Story of The Little Public Library on Hudson Drive

A few weeks ago we posted a photo of a small white box filled with books that had suddenly sprung up in the front yard of a home on Hudson Drive.

The Saporta Report’s Michellle Hiskey ran with the idea and a few days later Hiskey published this article on the fascinating proliferation of these “little libraries” in communities around the world.

Now, you can read about how the little library on Hudson Drive came about – in the words of the homeowner herself. Here’s a link to the digital version of this month’s Atlanta INtown magazine. Megan Jean Sovern’s article about The Little Public Library on Hudson is on p. 39.

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Streets Alive! Virginia, N. Highland closed to traffic

From Atlanta Streets Alive! this information:

On Sunday October 7th, 2012, Atlanta Streets Alive will return to North Highland Avenue for four hours — from 2pm-6pm.

Two miles of North Highland plus one mile of Virginia Avenue plus just about two miles of the brand new Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail means we will have almost FIVE miles of car-free community space to ride, walk, play, dance and rock and roll.

Look for activities all along the route including local acoustic musicians, a capella groups, marching bands, alongside classes such as salsa dancing, yoga, zumba and thousands of people out riding their bikes.

Read more at the Atlanta Streets Alive! website

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VaHi, Local Businesses Need Your Vote for ‘Best of Atlanta’

If trying to figure out whom to vote for in the upcoming Presidential election’s got you stressed out, kick back for a few minutes and practice your decision making with something a tad less important.

Atlanta Magazine’s annual ‘Best of Atlanta’ campaign is underway and a number of local businesses – as well as Virginia-Highland itself – would appreciate your support. VaHi’s in the running for best in-town neighborhood and some of your favorite local shops and restaurants are included in their respective categories. You’ll have to write in your vote for Summerfest as the city’s favorite neighborhood festival, though, as our annual fundraiser was for some strange reason left off the list of candidates (what’s up with that?).

Voting began September 28 and wraps up October 15. Winners will be announced in the magazine’s December ‘Best of Atlanta’ issue.

Click here to take the survey. Let’s rock the vote, VaHi!!

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Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: October 2, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

A busy couple of weeks ahead with special events, so make your driving plans accordingly.  First of all is the Breast Cancer Walk with 800 walking ladies in pink costumes on 10/ 6 and 7.  They have a good time walking for a serious cause, and would like to have cheering throngs along the walk route, which John Becker of the VOICE has meticulously detailed at https://vahi.org/10th-anniversary-breast-cancer-walk-coming-to-vahi-seeks-supporters  Thank you John for having more patience than I do for listing all the streets involved.  This does not involve any street closings.

Then also on 10/7 is a repeat of last spring’s very successful Streets Alive here in VaHi and other neighborhoods along North Highland south of us.  Details at http://www.atlantastreetsalive.com/   This does involve the closing of North Highland and Virginia Avenues for this day only.

The Atlanta Pride festival will be 10/13 and 10/14 in Piedmont Park.  Their website at www.atlantapride.org/ does little if anything to address traffic/parking for this event – other than to warn participants not to drive to the festival, and we all know how little this means.  Tenth Street will have one lane closing next to the park for Friday, Saturday and Sunday – but this street will still have other lanes for traffic except on Sunday when the parade arrives at the park.  The festival organizers have told me to advise using 911 to report traffic/parking problems as usual, and these reports will be forwarded to the off-duty police working the area on motorcycles.  They will be posting the usual cardboard “No Parking ” signs on the usual streets for this time period.

I don’t think that most of the neighborhood, except for the areas abutting Piedmont Park, realize what folks near the park have to endure with the continual schedule of special events/festivals in Piedmont Park.  I went to the open house event at Fort Mac a couple of Saturdays ago hoping to learn more about the proposed dedicated festival grounds at this massive facility, but this project still seems to be years away from becoming reality.  In the meantime Piedmont Park will be over-used and abused.

Also on 10/14 is the Morningside Mile Run http://www.morningsidemile.com/ , but this is early in the morning and only affects North Highland Avenue, so should not be a big traffic problem.  This also is for a very good cause – our AFR Station # 19 renovation.

Officer Woolfolk on the News

I’m sure many of you remember Officer Ralph Woolfolk who succeded Officer Joe Cooper on the evening watch  (3 to 11 p.m.) here.  After he left us he was assigned to the Boulevard Strike Force, but has now moved on to the COPS division (http://www.atlantapd.org/c.o.p.s.aspx ).  Thanx to Kay Stephenson for alerting me to a channel 11 news clip – http://www.11alive.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1865452639001 featuring Woolfolk at Turner Field last week – he’s a natural on TV, and represented APD well.

October St. Charles/Highland Business Area Cleanup

Go to https://www.facebook.com/KeepVirginiaHighlandBeautiful  for details on this newly formed group dedicated to making our business districts cleaner and more inviting both to residents and to our many, many visitors.  Sign up on this Facebook page to help with this ambitious project on 10/20 – especially erasing the rest of the graffiti vandalism on the back sides of the old Hilan Theater.  This would be a good way for high school kids to get some of their community service hours.  Jimmy Lee and I would welcome some younger and more agile help with the graffiti

Fulton County Court improvements

A court improvement task force has been meeting and working on suggested court improvements for a year and their results were released just last week. Their report is at http://www.georgiacourts.gov/index.php/?option=com_content&view=article&id=159.  A recap is at http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/task-force-issues-recommandation-for-improvments-o/nSQMF/. Keeping our court system functioning smoothly is as vital to our total safety program as having a safe jail, and good law enforcement agencies in the county.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 35 and 36 (8/26 to 9/8) and are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.  The emphasis is on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.

Aggravated Assault  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft  –  One vehicle taken from a parking lot on North Highland Avenue.

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No reported recoveries from Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary  –  A condo was entered at the Carlton on Highland Lane via a damaged front door.  A residential room at the Open Door on PDL Avenue was entered via an unlocked door (residents are not allowed to lock these doors).

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Robbery  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were entered on Adair Avenue, Rosedale Drive, Barnett Street, Briarcliff Road, Kanuga Street (2), North Highland Avenue and Virginia Avenue.  This category of crime continues to be a black eye on the neighborhood – if we could only get all of our neighbors and visitors to be aware of the Clean Car Campaign and clean out ALL parked cars at ALL times – this crime could be erased from our neighborhood stats.  This is such an easy crime to prevent – yet every week we have such incidents.

Larceny Other  –  Tools and building supplies were taken from a Greenwood Avenue carport.  The seat and rear wheel of a chained bicycle were taken from in front of a North Highland Avenue building.  Another chained bicycle was stolen by cutting the chain on a St. Charles Avenue apartment deck.  Hide those bicycles when not in use.

Unwatched cell phones and purses continue to be stolen around the Zone.  An unwatched wallet was taken from an under-the-chair purse at Pure restaurant on North Highland Avenue in Inman Park.  A cell phone was snatched from the table of an unnamed North Highland Avenue restaurant in Inman Park – the perp was caught but without the phone. At 10:40 a.m. at the traffic lite at Parkway and North Avenue – a thief reached into a car and stole a cell phone.

A concertgoer at the Masquerade on North Avenue had his I-pad stolen – the victim traced it via a cell phone and the perp was arrested by MARTA police.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  At 1:40 a.m. on PDL Avenue near PDL Place a lone male was approached by 2 males – one put a gun to his head and the other went thru his pockets taking the usual wallet, cell phone, etc.  The perps fled on foot northward on PDL Place.

Yes – since the time period of this report we have had 3 other pedestrian robberies on residential streets (Drewry Street, Greenwood Avenue and PDL Terrace), but I do not have the reports on two of the incidents yet, so will wait til I can report them all in detail at once.  In the meantime, be alert, aware, and report to 911 any and all suspicious persons or vehicles (See Something – Say Something) .  Keep cell phones hidden from view and especially do NOT walk and talk or text at the same time – this activity is just asking for trouble (unfortunately).

Enjoy all of the upcoming festivals and special events in this wonderful fall weather, by staying alert.

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Storms Damage Elm Trees Along N. Highland Avenue

This week’s storm caused some limb damage among the elm trees along the northwest corner of the Virginia-Highland street scape. The Parks Department promptly trimmed the fallen limbs, and Parks Arborist Paul Lewkowtiz will evaluate their health and recommend further pruning or replacement in the next couple of weeks.

The trees are young and were heavy from the rain and their load of fall fruit; in those respects this should not be considered a rare phenomenon. This is a species generally considered to be well-suited for the location. We’ll update with Paul’s observations when we hear them.

Thanks to VaHi resident (and retired city arborist) Tom Coffin for his general comments and background info on this topic.

 

 

 

 

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Opening Ceremony for BeltLine Eastside Trail Set for October 15

 

The long-awaited BeltLine Eastside Trail will be officially dedicated in an October 15 ceremony recognizing the generous donors who made the trail possible.

The ceremony will take place on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail next to the Historic Fourth Ward skate park (830 Willoughby Ln., Atlanta, 30312). Parking locations are TBD.  Organizers are encouraging attendees to walk or bike to the event.

Click here for more information as it becomes available.

 

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10th Anniversary Breast Cancer Walk Coming to VaHi, Seeks Supporters

Get ready – the streets of Virginia-Highland are going to be very, very busy this weekend.

Not only do we have the second Streets Alive event taking place on Sunday, but participants in a two-day breast cancer walk will be passing through VaHi on both Saturday and Sunday. Event organizers are hoping residents will line the route and show support for the walkers as they pass through the neighborhood.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer sponsored by It’s The Journey, Inc.  Streets aren’t closed for the event – participants use sidewalks or coned areas where there aren’t sidewalks. Here are the routes walkers will take as they move through VaHi on both days and the approximate times they’ll be here (route maps also below):

Saturday October 6: 7:40 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Exit BeltLine, turn right onto Greenwood Ave. (walkers will begin to arrive around 7:40 a.m.)

Turn left onto Ponce de Leon Pl.

Turn right onto Virginia Ave.

Stay on Virginia Ave. until Briarcliff Rd.

Turn left onto Briarcliff Rd.

Sunday October 7: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Exit 10th St., turn left onto Monroe Dr. (walkers will begin to arrive around 9:00 a.m.)

Turn right onto Park Dr.

Turn left onto Elkmont Dr.

Turn right onto Crestridge Dr.

Turn right onto Brookridge Dr.

Turn left (stay on Brookridge Dr.)

Turn left (stay on Brookridge Dr.)

Turn left onto Amsterdam Ave.

Turn left (stay on Amsterdam Ave.)

Turn right onto Monroe Dr. (walkers will begin to arrive around 10:00 a.m.)

On Saturday, Tailfin Marketing located on the north side of Virginia Ave. just west of Briarcliff, will be the site of an unofficial rest station and VaHi residents are invited to join in the fun of supporting participating walkers. Walkers should begin to arrive at Tailfin around 9:00 a.m. with final walkers passing by somewhere around 10:30 a.m.. Tailfin has limited parking so please plan to walk to join the support team there.

Come on out Saturday and Sunday and cheer on the walkers and other volunteers supporting this worthy cause!

For more information on the walk, visit the event’s website.

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Casting Call for Foodies, Cooks, Etc.

Are your friends and family constantly begging you to make that special dish? Do you have a special recipe no one can touch? Have you invented a completely new food item? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be destined for stardom on a new reality TV show.

A California-based casting company is looking for creative home cooks, foodies and food entrepreneurs for an upcoming new reality competition series from the creators of Undercover Boss and Project Runway. Culinary innovators will compete for the chance to get their dish/culinary product on supermarket shelves with one of the biggest chains in the world today.

Here are the particulars if you’re interested:

What: Casting call for home cooks, foodies and food entrepreneurs

When: Sunday, October 14, 10 AM – 2 PM

Where: W Atlanta Midtown, 188 14th St. NE, Atlanta, 30361

How: For more information, see the flyer below or visit www.supermarketcasting.com.

 

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Volunteers Needed This Weekend to Help with VaHi Triangle Planting

Grab your garden gloves and a water bottle and come join your neighbors for some fall planting this weekend at the VaHi triangle park at the corner of Virginia and N. Highland avenues (in front of Taco Mac and Murphy’s).

The group will be planting some colorful fall annuals Sunday, October 7th starting at 1 p.m., but drop by any time – even as Streets Alive gets going – and contribute whatever time you care to donate. No gardening knowledge is necessary and it’s a great way to help keep Virginia-Highland beautiful and vibrant. Who knows? You might even meet some new neighbors!

Contact Nonie Daniel at info@noniesgarden.com with questions or comments.

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Sidewalk Committee Report

  By: Peggy Berg, Traffic/Transportation and Sidewalks Chair

With repair work set to begin soon on the neighborhood’s first identified sidewalk bundle, the Sidewalk Committee is looking for more sections of VaHi sidewalk in need of repair.

If there’s a section of sidewalk in the neighborhood you’d like to see fixed, email the location information to pegberg1111@gmail.com. The committee will select sections of sidewalk based on pre-defined criteria and neighbor interest is a significant factor. As sections of sidewalk are selected, the committee will contact homeowners to request participation in the repair work per the terms of the VHCA’s sidewalk repair and funding program.

The VHCA’s sidewalk repair program handles all interaction with the City for the property owner. In case of financial need, the funding program contributes up to half the property owner’s cost of replacing a sidewalk, as part of a bundle, up to $500 for a segment. If a property has two segments (corner properties have a segment in front and one on the side) the program will contribute fully for the first segment and up to $300 or 50% for the second segment, if there is a financial need. Click here for more information on the VHCA’s sidewalk program.

Areas already on the list as needing repairs are: Cresthill Ave.; Briarcliff Pl. between N. Highland and Briarcliff; Amsterdam Ave. east of Monroe and around the corner to Brookridge; Brookridge Dr. after the bridge; Drewry St.; and Greenwood Ave. from N. Highland to Ponce Pl. Please submit any suggestion you have for sidewalks in need of repair not already on this list.

The first bundle of sidewalk for which repairs are currently scheduled is along St. Charles Avenue. As of late September, that work was scheduled for completion within 4-6 weeks.

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Phone Numbers to Report Music Midtown Problems Announced

The PARKatlanta phone numbers for reporting parking/traffic problems related to the Music Midtown festival are 404-201-5086 and 404-201-5396.

The phone number for Whitten Management for reporting trash/litter problems is 770-655-7281. Whitten will have crews out all weekend picking up trash/litter and emptying trash cans – but if there are still problems on Monday morning this is the number to call for trash/litter that’s left behind.

All other emergency problems should be reported to the APD as usual via 911.

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News (and movies) from VHCA Annual Meeting and 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Board of Directors for the 2012 (October) through 2013 (September) period has been elected.

Minutes of the meeting are forthcoming; however you can watch videos of the meeting, including the many special events such as:

  • SPARK choir performing (watch video)
  • Joe Drolet‘s educational address about the formation of the VHCA to fight construction of an interstate highway through our neighborhood (watch video)
  • Addresses by Pat Gardner, Ceasar Mitchell and Alex Wan (watch video)
  • Remembrance of Warren Bruno and and address by his wife Sandra (watch video)
  • Recognition of former and exiting Board members (watch video)
  • Discussion and voting on amendments to the VHCA by-laws (watch video)
  • Grants to community organizations (watch video)

See a slideshow of the achievements of VHCA and its volunteers below. You can also download it as a PDF file.

Finally, here is the new history video which premiered at the meeting, based upon the book Images of America: Virginia-Highland by Karri Hobson-Pape and Lola Carlisle. It was first shown at the 40th anniversary celebration (2012 annual meeting) of the VHCA. You can watch it full-screen by clicking the square icon in the bottom right of the video.

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Photo Essay: New Highland Park Construction

After nearly four years of fund-raising, designing, permit applications and contractor selection, construction began in mid-September on the new park at N. Highland Ave. and St. Charles Place. Read more about plans for the new park here.

For those not able to stop by and see the progress as its made, we thought we’d publish a few photos so you can see how things are shaping up. Construction activity continued last week with the installation of custom concrete caps on top of the granite columns along N. Highland, the laying of sod throughout the park’s interior, and installation of native plants along the new pathway, on top of the bio-retention pond and in the area to the east of the granite seating wall. Two picnic tables have been installed near the sidewalk along N. Highland. Our tremendous new green space is actually becoming reality.

We’ve posted a few recent photos below. Click here to view an album of all pictures taken since park construction began. We’ll provide additional updates as progress continues.

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TLC Reality Show Looking for Unique Atlanta Area Homes

Are you crazy about your beautiful, amazing, and unique home? Think you have the coolest house on the block?  Is it cool enough to win a $10,000 grand prize???

If you’d like the chance to show your home off to the world and possibly have it featured in a national magazine, the folks at Pitman Casting in California want to hear from you.

Pitman’s seeking homes to feature in the second season of TLC’s hit show Four Houses. They’re looking for sociable, competitive, and expressive homeowners who are passionate about their home and want to showcase their unique style because they have the best house on the block. And yes…you could win $10,000!

If interested, you’ll need to use the release form below to submit your name, location and contact information along with photos of four different rooms in your home to lauren@pitmancasting.com no later than October 5th.

See flyer and link to release form below. For more information, call 816-666-3606.

Good luck and we hope to see your home on TLC soon!

Four Houses- Personal Release

 

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Mark Your Calendars Now for the 18th Annual Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

News Release

Contact: Sally Clark 404-805-6363

PR Committee Co-Chair, Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

18th Annual Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

December 8th and December 9th 2012

Mark your calendars now for the 18th Annual 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes! Get in the holiday spirit with friends and family as you tour one of Atlanta’s most charming neighborhoods.  Enjoy a festive weekend of beautiful architecture, local restaurant tastings, caroling by local school choirs and discount specials at popular retailers.

Presented by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, this year’s event will take place on Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, December 9th from noon to 4 pm. Presented by a neighborhood known for its historic residences, unique shops and fabulous restaurants, the Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is the perfect way to spend the day and welcome in the holiday season!

This year’s exclusive selection of homes promises something for everyone from a historic bungalow by award-winning designer Karen Hott to a contemporary home reminiscent of designs by Frank Lloyd Wright to a rare peek inside a charming Bed & Breakfast – and more!

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 weekend of the tour.

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VHCA Annual Meeting and Elections and VHCA 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association will hold its Annual Meeting and Election at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria on September 13 from 6:30 – 9:00PM.

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association will hold its Annual Meeting and Election at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria on September 13 from 6:30 – 9:00PM. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the VHCA, and we have some special events planned. 

Celebration, song, coffee and dessert

Inman Middle School and Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK's) Advanced Choruses will perform. We've invited past board members to attend and be recognized, and we'll give out grants as we do every year. San Francisco Coffee will have coffee and dessert available for purchase.

All residents of Virginia-Highland are encouraged to attend and – if you're not already – become involved in your Neighborhood Association.

Past Board members please note

Please contact us at if you are a past board member planning to attend so that we can be sure to recognize you. Look for a more detailed agenda and reminder next week, and please plan to attend.

Election of the 2012-2013 Board

The nominating committee of the VHCA has presented a list of candidates, all of whom have declared their candidacy.

Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the meeting. In order to vote, please bring a copy of a valid ID (GA driver’s license, e.g.) or a utility bill issued within 60 days of the meeting and showing your name and address.

Absentee ballots

Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot along with a copy of one of the forms of identification mentioned above may be delivered to the offices of Tailfin Marketing (1246 Virginia Ave) by noon on Thursday, September 13th or to the Annual Meeting by its start time at 6:30 PM. Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope with the identification documents separately sealed inside or stapled to the outside. (Please cross out specific account or driver license numbers.) After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed. Your ballot will remain anonymous.

Proposed bylaw revisions

Revisions to VHCA bylaws are proposed for the membership's consideration (and potential adoption) at the meeting. Here (again) are links to:

  1. the existing bylaws;
  2. the proposed new bylaws, for the membership's consideration (and potential adoption) at our Annual General Meeting on September 13th at Inman Middle School; and
  3. some explanations and commentary on the changes by their primary authors, board members Genny Ferrero and Jack White.

Full Agenda

  • Call to Order and Welcome
  • Intro of Choirs
    • Inman Middle School Chorus – Chorus Director, Stacey Tanner
    • SPARK Advanced Chorus –– Chorus Director, Brianne Turgeon – accompanied by Jenna Mobley on the banjo
  • 40th Anniversary Opening Remarks
  • History of Virginia-Highland Video
  • Intro and Recognition of Past Board Members
    • Remarks by Joseph Drolet
  • Recognition of Guests
  • Community Service Recognition
  • Nomination Committee
  • Bylaws Committee
  • Grant Awards
  • New Business
  • Closing & Adjournment

Thanks to:

  • Jenna Mobley – Photography
  • Twelve – Flowers
  • San Francisco Coffee
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VHCA Board Elections

VHCA Board Elections
To be held at the VHCA Annual Meeting – September 13th – Inman Middle School Cafeteria – 6:30 – 9:00PM

The nominating committee of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association presents the following list of candidates, all of whom have declared their candidacy:

Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the Annual General Meeting on September 13, 2012 at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria, which begins at 6:30 PM. In order to vote, please bring a copy of a valid ID (GA driver’s license, e.g.) or a utility bill issued within 60 days of the meeting and showing your name and address.

Absentee ballot

Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot along with a copy of one of the forms of identification mentioned above may be delivered to the offices of Tailfin Marketing (1246 Virginia Ave) by noon on Thursday, September 13th or to the Annual Meeting by its start time at 6:30 PM. Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope with the identification documents separately sealed inside or stapled to the outside. (Please cross out specific account or driver license numbers.) After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed. Your ballot will remain anonymous.

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BeltLine Lantern Parade

From the Atlanta BeltLine, info about the following event:

The long-awaited Eastside Trail is a marvelous accomplishment that will connect our communities – and that calls for a community parade!

Absolutely everyone is invited to participate in this Art on the BeltLine project by the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons. We will follow the Seed & Feed Marching Abominables from Irwin Street all the way to Park Tavern!

The Lantern Parade is a big fun free good time for the community. Together, we will magically illuminate and celebrate our new public space! Participation in playful creative events fosters enduring bonds between people and place. The Lantern Parade is active creative placemaking. Come play and hold up a light for the Atlanta BeltLine! Make your own lantern or take one of our free workshops or grab that old Coleman!

Time: 7:30 pm-10:00 pm
Location: Intersection of Lake Avenue and Irwin Street, Inman Park

Details here: www.GratefulGluttons.com
Share on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/bto6vzq

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Crime Reports

APD’s August Report

APD has a good recap of some good things that have happened at http://www.atlantapd.org/files/GreatestHitsAugust.pdf Especially note our own Deputy Chief Propes’ report about our Smart 911 System. Please sign up if you have not yet done so. VaHi was mentioned in this report with the Creative Loafing story about the capture of residential burglar Charles Echols here. Again – thanx to everyone who helped with this community project.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 32,33, and 34 (8/5 to 8/25). Note that this is a compilation of 3 weeks, instead of the usual 2 weeks. Again, I state that these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your alertness and awareness. The emphasis is on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.

Aggravated Assault – A male reported being shot outside of a Bonaventure Avenue apartment, but waited some time before calling in a 911 report. No physical evidence was found outside of a shooting, but such evidence was spotted inside the apartment – indicating to responding officers that it may have been a self-inflicted accidental shooting – the victim was taken to Grady with non-life-threatening wounds.
On 8/21 at 8 p.m. at the Open Door Community on PDL Avenue a combative arrestee under the influence of either drugs or alcohol attacked 3 different victims – one being struck with a board with a protruding nail. No one was seriously hurt and the arrestee was taken to Grady.
Nearby at 4 a.m. on northbound Moreland Avenue a motorist and passenger was fired at from a vehicle beside them – they suffered only superficial wounds and refused treatment. Road rage??

Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from Bellevue Drive, Briarcliff Place, North Highland Avenue, Lanier Boulevard, Greenwood Avenue (2), St. Charles Avenue and two botched attempts were reported from Virginia Avenue.

Auto Theft Recovery – No such reports from Beat 601

Commercial Burglary – No reports from Beat 601

Residential Burglary – Residences were broken into on Monroe Drive via a broken door window, North Highland Avenue via an unlocked back door (their dog was locked in the bathroom), Briarcliff Road via a pried open front door – the victim found the perp inside when she came home, asked for her laptop back, he returned it and fled on a bicycle, Orme Circle entered via a broken back window and cut himself on the glass (tsk!), evidently the alarm scared him off as nothing was reported taken.

Hopefully now that Charles Echols is behind bars – this rash of residential burglaries is over. BUT – if you still do not have double locks on your doors, make this change quickly. Just because your door is locked with a single lock – all someone has to do is break the window glass and reach in for entry.

Commercial Robbery – No such reports from Beat 601

Residential Robbery – No such reports from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were entered into on Bellevue Drive, Kentucky Avenue (2), North Highland Avenue (3), PDL Avenue (2), Amsterdam Walk, St. Charles Avenue, Greenwood Avenue, Drewry Street and hubcaps were taken off on PDL Place.

Homicide – On 8/16 at 10:15 p.m. a “person shot” call was made with the Barnett Street convenience store owner, “Mike” Moloo, being the victim, after an apparent robbery attempt. He was taken to Grady where he died. This investigation still continues. Please, if anyone happens to remember seeing or hearing anything that nite that could be of help in solving this case – e-mail Detective K. Otts at kotts@atlantaga.gov Homicide needs more help in solving this horrific murder.

A memorial facebook page is at htttp://www.facebook.com/RememberMikeMoloo

Larceny Other – Shoplifting was reported at Intown Hardware. An unwatched cellphone was taken from the DJ at the MJQ Club. A potential “customer” at ATL Motorcycles on PDL Avenue took a scooter for a test drive and never returned. An unwatched cellphone was taken from the front desk at Enyata Salon on North Highland Avenue – 2 teenage b/m had been in soliciting “funds for Grady High School football team” before the phone was discovered as missing. The CVS store caught a shoplifter. There were front porch package thefts on Virginia Avenue.

Nearby snatch and grabs continue to be a problem. A cellphone was snatched from a texting passenger of a car stopped at a traffic lite on North Avenue at 8 p.m. – a similar incident happened on this street at 3:15 a.m. A GBI employee had his phone snatched while he was pumping gas at 6:15 p.m. at a Boulevard gas station. At 1:15 p.m. a phone was snatched from a talking Merritts Avenue pedestrian and the same sort of thing happened to a PDL Avenue pedestrian near Parkway at 7:30 p.m. In EAV on Brownwood Avenue at 2 a.m. the victim stuck his phone out the door for a better signal and had it snatched. A group of teens asked an Eastlake pedestrian near Publix to borrow his phone and fled. An unwatched phone was taken from a table at Bessie Branham rec center in Kirkwood. I may have missed some of these reports – but hope you get the idea that cellphones need to be watched at all times, are not to be loaned to strangers wanting to borrow them and walking and texting/talking are verboten and keep your car windows rolled up while talking/texting at a traffic lite. “Used” cellphones can be easily sold for cash and quite obviously there is a good market for them. I would assume that those of you reading this report are taking steps to protect your cellphone – but PLEASE warn your friends and neighbors who are careless in protecting their cellphones.

Pedestrian Robbery – No reports from Beat 601

However, across the street at the PDL Avenue Publix store parking lot on 8/9 at 1:30 p.m. there was a purse snatching. The passing female who tried to intervene had a knife drawn on her and the perp fled on foot. He dumped the purse in a Cleburne Terrace backyard and kept running. He was spotted briefly on Linwood Avenue and led officers on a chase thru a section of Freedom Park and was finally captured in a Bonaventure Avenue backyard. The perp was on both Federal and Georgia parole. You can send a thank you to Officers Trombley, Larosa and Fisher for slogging thru the heavy rain that day on foot to make this capture at http://www.atlantapd.org/officercomment.aspx I’m sure they needed the rest of the day off to recover from all of that chasing!

Also nearby a Glen Iris apartment building resident was robbed of her car at gunpoint in the building’s parking garage at 1:30 p.m. – the perps were driving yet another stolen car to steal this one. A Ralph McGill Boulevard pedestrian was robbed of her purse by intimidation at 10:50 p.m. and also on this same street at 6:15 p.m. a pedestrian was robbed of her purse and cellphone at gunpoint.

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

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2012-3 Board Bios

Below are the bios of the candidates elected to the 2012-2013 Board of Directors of the VHCA. The Board was elected by residents on September 13, 2012 at the VHCA Annual Meeting. Following are the bios that they submitted prior to their election.

John Becker

I own a home on Rosedale Road where I’ve lived for 11 years. I’m currently a freelance writer but am looking to return to my old field of pharmacy automation as soon as I find the right sales position.

I have a strong belief in local volunteerism and have been involved in my community in one way or another everywhere I’ve lived. In VaHi I started by volunteering for Summerfest, working a few shifts per festival for several years until being asked to coordinate all volunteers for last year’s festival. We were fortunate to be very successful with volunteer recruitment in 2012, securing our quota of volunteers well ahead of schedule and experiencing very few cancellations and no-shows. Things went very smoothly. I’ve agreed to serve in this capacity again for the 2013 festival.

In 2006 I started serving as editor of the print Voice newsletter and continued in that role until stepping down in 2011. I still write occasional articles for the fantastic new electronic Voice. I’m also an avid digital photographer and have enjoyed serving as the neighborhood’s “unofficial photographer” since starting as Voice editor in 2006.

A few years ago I took an interest in the neighborhood’s parks and became involved with small groups that took on maintenance of areas like the Triangle and John Howell Park. I currently serve informally on the parks committee with Jack White, Lauren Fralick and Laura Voisinet. One of my most gratifying volunteer duties is keeping the doggie waste bag dispensers in John Howell Park full.

I’m a sports fan, racquetball player, and dog lover. If you’re looking for me and I’m not at home, there’s a good chance my dog Dakota and I are on the patio at Taco Mac enjoying something cold to drink.

I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue my service to our neighborhood as a member of the VHCA board. If fortunate enough to be elected, I’d like to continue my focus on Summerfest, communications and parks. I’d appreciate your support.

Peggy Berg

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

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

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

Lola Carlisle

I am currently on the VHCA board. I have volunteered with various organizations in Virginia-Highland since 1997. My husband, Tom Beisel, and I have lived in Virginia-Highland at 1030 N. Virginia Ave. since 1993, being the second family to live at this address! We have a daughter who is 16 years old.

Over the years I’ve volunteered with VHMPA, VHCA History & Preservation efforts, PLAN – reporting to the City of Atlanta from Virginia-Highland as the zoning code was revised, the VHCA Planning Committee and various fundraising efforts of the VHCA. Karri Hobson-Pape and I co-authored the Images of America – Virginia–Highland history book.

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

Arturo Cruz-Tucker

I was born in Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas. I graduated from New Mexico Military Institute, where I received a commission as a 2LT in the US Army Infantry. My wife Dominique and I moved into Virginia-Highland in 2004 to raise our son Triston, who attends Springdale Park Elementary. I have been a small business owner and now work in Sales for Starwood Hotels.

Most recently, I chaired the Virginia-Highland Summerfest Kidfest and have committed to another year in 2013. I also joined the ToH committee under Kris Smith. I sit on the Board for The Carlton Homeowner’s Association and was able to bring FBAC into this community.

Atlanta has been my home for 14 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. My family and I have reaped the benefits of this community’s hard work for many years and feel it is now time to return the favor. We not only want to live in this great neighborhood, we want to be woven into the fabric that holds it together. The people I’ve met and friends we’ve made on the other committees and board only reinforce my desire to be involved and run for the Association. Kidfest was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve been a part of in a long time, and I can’t wait to have many more just like it.

Lauren Wilkes Fralick

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

Lauren enjoyed her last year of service on the VaHi board and looks forward to another year serving the neighborhood.

Genny Ferrero

Genny is a returning Board member of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, having served as Board secretary in 2011-2012. She is a member of the Planning Committee and the Tour of Homes. By way of background, Genny and her husband purchased their home in Virginia Highland in 2011. She is relatively new to Atlanta, having relocated to Atlanta from Chicago with her family in 2009. In Chicago, Genny was a commercial real estate and finance attorney with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. She also devoted time to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She is now a stay-at-home mother to her three-year-old son and devotes her time to the community.

Nicole Foerschler Horn

Nicole Foerschler Horn is a business owner, a mom, and an active community volunteer. She has served on the VHCA board the last year and the Planning committee for the past year and a half. Over the past 10 months, Nicole led the Association’s response to the Atlanta Public Schools’ redistricting efforts. This summer she organized a cross-cluster meeting to discuss middle school capacity issues and became the first chair of the new VHCA Education Committee. Nicole looks forward to working closely with this committee to more fully engage the civic association in education issues.

In addition to her work with VHCA, Nicole has served on the Springdale Park Elementary PTO board for two terms, this year as co-president. She was an organizing member of Step Up for Public Schools (formerly Step Up or Step Down), which monitors the Atlanta Public School’s board. Nicole is also a graduate of United Way’s VIP board training program.

Nicole is co-owner of JMH Consulting, a firm that works with universities across the country to launch certificate programs for adult students and enhance online marketing efforts for continuing education departments. Nicole is married to Jon Horn and is the mom of two amazing kids: Gavin (age 6) and Hayden Grace (age 4).

Jenifer Keenan

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

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

I am currently on the VHCA Education Committee and would like to become a member of the Board. If elected, I would like to focus on education, parks, zoning, and the BeltLine. I appreciate your vote and would be honored to serve on the VHCA Board.

Pamela Papner

Colin and I have lived in Virginia-Highland for over 10 years. In my first year on the Board, I served as VHCA Secretary, PR Chair for Home Tour, and Co-Chair for recruiting Summerfest volunteers.

From 2007 to present, I served as VHCA President (2007-2011), co-chaired the successful Neighborhood Commercial Zoning initiative (2007-2008), have been Summerfest Co-Chair or Director since 2007. (Net revenues exceeded $110K in 2007 and grew to estimated $170K in 2012). I also led the initiative to purchase additional green space for New Highland Park, which closed in late 2008. I focused on fundraising to construct that new green space, and our fundraising activities resulted in ~$150K to build that project, which began construction last month. With a group of neighbors, I also worked to successfully raise ~$240K for the recent Orme Park renovation. In the years prior to 2012, I played an active role collecting and writing content for the Va-Hi Voice quarterly newsletter.

Next year, if elected, I would like to focus on securing capital grants for New Highland Park. I am also willing to work with the stellar committee we put in place this year (including Co-Chair Ann Guy) to deliver another successful Summerfest. I like fundraising and am proud that our efforts have achieved such tangible results. I enjoy “giving back” to the community and working with so many talented residents who are willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute. It’s what makes our neighborhood special!

David Rein (alternate)

David Rein rented in Virginia Highland from 1997 to 2001, briefly moved to Midtown, and returned to Virginia Highland as a homeowner in 2005. He and his wife Maria have two children that attend (or soon will) Springdale Park Elementary (Spark). David has served as the PTO President, Vice-President, and Fundraising Chair of Spark. David works as a Research Scientist in the Atlanta office of the National Opinion Research Center, a research affiliate of the University of Chicago. David currently serves on the VHCA Education Committee. On the board, he plans to pursue his interests in education and public safety.

Jack White

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

I’m grateful for the association and appreciate its role in shaping the history of the community. If the residents of the late 60’s and early 70’s hadn’t organized and stood together with their allies to the north and south, it’s very likely that most of us wouldn’t be living in – and might not even recognize – this neighborhood today. The idea of a huge interstate highway cleaving the Old Fourth Ward, clipping the Inman School lot, splitting Orme Park, and blasting through Morningside seems even more preposterous in retrospect than it did then, but I believe it’s accurate to say that preventing its construction represented the first defeat of its scope for the Georgia Highway Department. (Thankfully, there would be more, the Presidential Parkway among them.) It took endless energy and an almost illogical faith in the potential of citizen movements to pull it off.

The tradition of openness and belief in the power of organization that were so critical then are still with us and still very important. The challenges of the moment are not as dramatic – thank goodness – but the need for a strong and democratic community organization that capably advocates for the neighborhood remains very clear.

I’ve enjoyed serving on the board this year. Serving as President gave me a lot of insight into the Association’s wide range of activities and the volume of effort that our volunteers expend. It’s been a rewarding experience. The challenges and occasional frustrations have been more than counterbalanced by the chance to work with large numbers of energetic, humorous, and hardworking optimists who like to get things done. I’d be pleased to serve another year.

David Wolfson will serve as the Board member appointed by Atkins Park.

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Virginia-Highland’s Littlest Library

If your morning/evening walk has taken you down Hudson Drive recently, you’ve probably noticed the house with a small white box planted in the front yard filled with books. Voice contributor John Becker noticed the box – labeled “The Little Public Library on Hudson” – a few weeks ago while walking his dog and posted about it on Facebook. Freelance writer and former AJC staffer Michelle Hiskey saw the post and ran with it. Here’s a link to Hiskey’s Saporta Report article on these fascinating little libraries.

The Little Library on Hudson Drive is open for business - no card required!

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Volunteers Fight Graffiti on Maiden Lane

By Laura Voisinet, VaHi Graffiti Task Force – graffiti@vahi.org

Friday afternoon when most of us were gearing up for the Labor Day holiday, a small but mighty group of neighbors came together to clean up an eyesore along Maiden Lane.

Led by St Charles Ave. west end Street Captain Mike Boyle, and joined by Safety Chair John Wolfinger, power washer extraordinaire Jimmy Lee and highly capable volunteers David Berl, David Binkney, and Todd Matthews, the 755 Apartment Building got its much-needed makeover. With a fence soon to be erected by the owner, this property should remain clean and no longer be a magnet for taggers on the alley.

Thanks around to all, but especially to Mike for spearheading this effort on behalf of his block and our entire neighborhood. We think you’ll agree that Street Captains in Virginia-Highland are a tremendous asset in a myriad of ways!

Speaking of Maiden Lane, here’s an AJC article from 2008 by Voice contributor John Becker that provides insight as to how some involved VaHi residents and then-City Councilperson Anne Fauver were able to bring some much needed improvements to this forgotten VaHi street.

Before

After

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Have You Checked Your Storm Drain Lately?

by Peggy Berg, Traffic/Transportation & Sidewalks chair

We live on hills and are shaded by trees. Which means rainwater runs past our homes, picking up leaves and debris, and goes down our many many storm drains, clogging the drains as it flows. I met Riley, from Atlanta’s Watershed Department, at the storm drain on Bellevue because I thought it needed a grate. He brought his shovel and in minutes dug through composted leaves to show me the existing grate, which was completely blocked. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, I’ve seen the drain on Briarcliff Terrace blocked by everything from leaf bags to old fence parts to basketballs.

Storm drains that are not maintained fill with debris and allow flooding, which can be severe. Although the City has emergency crews to deal with blocked drains and pays special attention to catch basins that flood regularly, they can neither keep ahead of random blockages nor predict where they will occur. Once the drain is blocked and floods, surrounding property owners have an expensive and messy problem.

As a prudent part of maintaining your home, look for your storm drain, check it regularly, and keep it clear. A storm drain should have a clear and visible grate (catch basin cover) which is a metal grill. The grates sit on the drain and are held in place by gravity. They get clogged with leaves, other debris, toys, and other trash up to and including full yard waste bags. Sometimes the grates get dislodged or shifted and need to be pushed back in place.

To clear a storm drain, dig it out with a rake and shovel. You will be working mostly with leaves and compost suitable for a yard bag or to use as mulch. It is not difficult to rake the grates and put the debris in a yard bag. If the grate is missing or is beyond your ability to clear, call the City Watershed Department for assistance at 404.330.6340.

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In memoriam — Mike Moloo

The night of Thursday, August 16 Mike Moloo, owner of the ATL Food Mart at 730 Barnett Street between St. Charles and Ponce de Leon Avenues, was shot and killed outside the store during an apparent robbery.
 
The VHCA joins the many residents and friends of Mr. Moloo in their shock and sadness at this  tragedy. Memorial vigil at the store (at 730 Barnett) at 8 PM on Sunday, August 19th.
 
We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife and three children.   A memorial fund has been established to help them. There is also a memorial page on Facebook.

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New Highland Park construction

After nearly four years of fund-raising, designing, permit applications, and contractor selection, the Virginia Highland Civic Association and the Virginia Highland Conservation League are proud to announce that construction will soon begin on the long awaited New Park at the corner of N. Highland Avenue and St. Charles Place!

Until the mid-1980s a public library was located on this site, which included a parking lot for the library. The library was demolished, but parts of the old foundation and parking lot are still evident. The property was then sold to a private owner and was in private hands for many years.

Purchased in December, 2008, with a loan from the State of Georgia’s Land Conservation Program, by the Virginia Highland Civic Association, (VHCA) the 0.4 acre property became a privately owned (By VHCA) park for the enjoyment of the entire neighborhood.

View the landscape plan in detail (click to open in new tab/window)

The plan is to create a Bio-retention demonstration project, where a very slight slope will be created to capture storm-water on the site and to re-direct this stormwater to the north edge of the property and away from the storm drains. The center of the site will be excavated to remove ground level concrete, old parking lot materials and debris that would inhibit the ability of water to stay on the site. A rain garden will be built on the center of the site, by scooping out a large area and then backfilling it with amended soils. Rain water will then flow to the graded down area at the north end of the property. Native Georgia plants will be placed on the periphery of the property. The large center of the park will be covered with local zoysia spreading grasses that are drought tolerant, requiring no additional watering, other that rain water, and no chemical fertilization will be done. So, the main area of the park will be used much as it is today for a variety of recreational and community activities. A granite seatwall will line the eastern boundary of the park and a granite dust pathway will follow from the southeast corner of the park from St. Charles Place all the way over to the alley entrance off of N. HIghland Avenue.

A 4 foot tall iron fence will extend the west side of the park from the Gateway at St. Charles Place to the alley entrance, with intermittent short granite columns mimicking the Gateways. Three decorative light poles will also be placed on the border of the park for added security. There will benches and picnic tables and no trees will be removed from the site.

The firm of Escape Outdoor Lifescaping, Inc, owned by Ryan Tracy, has been selected through a competitve process to construct the new park. The VHCA has signed a contract with Escape Outdoor Lifescaping and construction should commence on August 23, pending the city inspector go-ahead.

Many people in our neighborhood have done a great deal to make this park a reality.

First, the VHCA, under the leadership of President Pamela Papner made the decision in 2008 to purchase the park, and now under the leadership of President Jack White is moving forward with construction. Much has been done in the way of fundraising, led by Pamela Papner through the sale of engraved bricks (approximately 400 so far, and more can still be ordered), large donations by businessess and homeowners, and a very generous grant from Park Pride Atlanta of $50,000. Also, we have received pro bono assistance from our neighbors in park design. Civil Engineer Peter Hughes donated his time to provide the initial site engineering and Peter Frawley, of Frawley Associates, Landscape Architecture, has spent the past 3 years designing the park and modifying the design to meet the needs of the neighborhood as well as assisting us through the lengthy city permit process.

While money has been raised for the park construction, there is a continuing need to pay off the initial purchase price, as well as have some money in the bank for park maintenance and lighting costs. The Virginia Highland Conservation League was established as a IRS tax-exempt 501(C) 3 in 2009, for the purpose of accepting tax deductible contributions for each of the parks in our neighborhood-New Park, John Howell Park, and Orme Park. Also, as mentioned above, engraved bricks may still be purchased for $100 each. Continued donations are needed and we ask any and all to continue to contribute to our parks. Just make your check out to the “Virginia Highland Conservation League”, and send it to 1143 Saint Charles Place, Atlanta, GA 30306!

If all goes well, the park should be completed in 4-6 weeks from the start date. So, take a walk down to the corner of St. Charles Place and N. Highland and watch a park being made. And by the way, as you may have noticed, the park has no name. For anyone who donates enough money to pay off our loan, we will be happy to name the park for you!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Paul Burks, President of the Virginia Highland Conservation League, paulrburks@gmail.com

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VOICE to go all digital

In the August 2012 VHCA Board meeting, the Board voted to immediately discontinue publication of the VOICE as a printed magazine, although special editions may be published in the future as warranted. This decision came after audience discussion as well as a notice on the cover of May's printed edition of the VOICE. VHCA will realize cost savings of over $10,000 a year, money that will now be available to benefit the community in other ways. Since moving to our new e-newsletter format in December 2011, we have received much positive feedback about them, which provide residents more timely information.  Remember to tell your neighbors to sign up for the e-newsletters on this site and to look for the red box. If you have neighbors without email access that would like to receive printouts of the e-newsletters, please let us know at communications@vahi.org.

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PDF copies of VOICE 1990-1995

Thanks to Nan Hunter for providing us with most back issues of the VOICE from 1990 through 1995. We've scanned them and uploaded them to this website. You can find them by going to News/Events and selecting VOICE (Print Edition) Archive, or by following this direct link. We have provided a summary listing of most articles in each VOICE. You can also use the topic index on the right side of the page to find editions with articles on topics of interest to you.  Nan Hunter worked on the newsletter and for the VHCA for many years, and you can find her recycling and environmental columns in these issues.

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The Barnett Street Slaying

Thursday night, August 16th, saw a tragic snuffing out of a human life here in VaHi at the ATL FoodMart on Barnett Street. Rather than retyping the details – I’ll give links to the media stories about the senseless killing of Mushtaq “Mike” Moloo.

CBS AtlantaWSBAJCand this follow-up story from channel 46
Going along with this last story is a link I forgot to put into the last Safety Report about our additional police coverage

That same evening also saw another very similar tragedy in northwest Atlanta, when yet another well-liked businessperson’s, Vanessa Thrasher, life was ended.

There was a very well thought-out essay posted on the VaHi nextdoor message board, that I would like for the entire community to see and think about, written by Robert.

“Perhaps it’s time that we, as citizens, begin to accept our part of the blame for the surge of vagrants and thugs in the southern VaHi area. The police have noticeably increased marked patrols, but we are doing little to assist them in cleaning our own streets by believing we are helpless and too afraid to stop it ourselves. Our complete reliance on uniformed police and undercover patrols is proving to be destructive. Anyone that lives on St. Charles Avenue can sit outside for an hour and see the evidence.
There was an instance earlier this week of inappropriate, sexually-based activity in a supermarket where many of us go. A police officer, the store manager, and the entire neighborhood were all notified (via the vhlist), but nothing was ever said to the man causing the problem. I guarantee that loudly asking the man what he was doing, would have stopped him immediately, gotten more attention from the officer in the store, turned the heads of a few of the husbands and boyfriends whose partners were being openly disrespected. I don’t mean to bash the person involved in that instance, it’s just an example of what seems to be the overall neighborhood mentality of reliance on others to keep our lives orderly for us.
Two days ago a man that had no business in our neighborhood was rifling through a truck bed parked on St. Charles Avenue. Simply asking him what he was doing stopped him and sent him on his way. If he had a gun, would he have started shooting because someone noticed him? Possibly, but probably not. If no one had said anything would he have stolen something and continued coming to the neighborhood, escalating his activity with time? Almost certainly. Hopefully he will now know that the neighborhood is not an open field of frozen and frightened deer for the hunting, and he will take his activity elsewhere. The criminals interested in robberies and random violence are only here in the first place because we are perceived as easy targets.
Assuming that we’re helpless victims will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but if we speak up as people that are responsible for what happens around us then we may start carrying our weight in our own lives.”

This neighborhood came together and was stronger than ever, after the December 2010 slaying on Virginia Avenue, and I expect the same outcome after this tragedy. Being more alert and aware is one way we can honor the life of Moloo.

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Crime Reports

The following reports are gleaned from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/zone6.aspx ) crime stats for the 2012 weeks 30 and 31 (7/22 to 8/4). Again, I state that these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday, and to raise your level of awareness and alertness. The emphasis is on our Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Most of us are mobile and do not stay here in VaHi every day.

Aggravated Assault – There was a scary incident on 7/28 that I am surprised did not receive some attention, There were 3 pedestrians crossing North Highland Avenue @ Briarcliff Place at 9:40 p.m. when 2 were struck by a passenger car. After the collision, the passenger in the car got out and struck the male pedestrian victim in the face, the vehicle then drove on northward. The victims were not seriously hurt and refused treatment or a ride to Grady.

Auto Theft – No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft Recovery – No reported recoveries from Beat 601

Commercial Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary – A rental house on Elkmont Drive was entered via a rear sliding glass door that evidently had been left unlocked. No signs of forced entry. A Monroe Drive home was entered via a broken window next to a door, with APD response due to an alarm. A Park Drive home was entered via an unlocked front door – no signs of forced entry. A Virginia Avenue home was entered by using an axe taken from the backyard tool shed to break a side window. All of these break-ins reported only small items being taken (or nothing at all at Monroe Drive) – no electronics or flatscreen tv sets. A report about the Virginia Avenue break-in at http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/19157160/atlanta-police-release-suspect-photo-in-virginia-ave-burglary
Morningside has also had several recent residential break-ins and a backyard security camera captured this pic of one of the intruders at –
http://xa.yimg/kq/groups/13292409/1724708672/name/BackYard_01.jpg Call 911 immediately if you see this guy wandering any of our neighborhoods with a physical description and which way he is traveling.

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were entered on Amsterdam Walk (2), Greenwood Avenue (3), North Highland Avenue (3), PDL Place, Virginia Avenue (this perp was caught via a 911 suspicious person call – thanx to this caller!), PDL Avenue (a license plate taken at the Open Door Community), and Maiden Lane (2) – one of these incidents was a bait operation in which officers placed a city-owned bicycle in the back of a city-owned pick-up truck. An arrest was made as the perp rode away on the bike – he also was on active probation.

Larceny Other – A chained bicycle was taken from a Drewry Street front porch. Small items (jewelry and collectables) were taken from homes on Virginia Circle and Rupley Drive, with workpersons suspected.
Elsewhere in the Zone – lots of activity. A male walked out of Green’s Liquor Store with 28 cartons of cigarettes (I can’t understand how that could have happened). A person was arrested at the check cashing store at PDL Avenue @ Boulevard for trying to cash a fraudulent check.

The following is a list of unwatched cell phones and wallets taken elsewhere in the Zone – a wallet and cell phone taken from the men’s room sink at Dad’s Garage on Elizabeth Street, a wallet from a JavaJive coffee shop table in L5P, a parking lot valet’s cellphone in L5P, a cell phone from a North Avenue laundromat, and a cell phone taken at a Boulevard Community Center.

Pedestrian Robbery – A female pedestrian on North Highland @ St. Charles Avenue had her purse snatched at 11:30 a.m. A witness alerted APD as the perp fled in his car. The car broke down on PDL Avenue @ Moreland Avenue and as he pushed it into the Exxon station – he was spotted by APD. The perp fled on foot, but was caught behind apartment buildings on Briarcliff Road with the stolen wallet on his person, which was returned to the victim. The victim was on her way to Van Michael Salon, so after this frightening incident, they did not charge her for her visit. We have kind and caring merchants in VaHi. There was another purse snatching on PDL Avenue at 12:30 a.m.

Elsewhere in the Zone – snatch and grabs of purses, wallets and cell phones continue. Stay alert when walking and no texting or talking on cell phones when walking. A Euclid Avenue pedestrian talking on her phone had it snatched by force at 9 a.m. A texting Poncey Highland pedestrian had his cell phone snatched on North Highland Avenue at 12:30 a.m. Another Poncey Highland pedestrian had her phone snatched at 6:30 p.m. A phone was snatched from the hand of a passenger in a Jeep Wrangler waiting for a traffic lite on Boulevard at 10 p.m. A baby sitter lost her phone in Coen Park at 4:30 p.m.
Do not loan your phone to someone who asks to make a call!!! This ruse was used to take phones on Edgewood Avenue at 3:20 p.m., inside Candler Park at 1:15 p.m., and on McLendon Avenue at 3:30 p.m. A cellphone was taken from a baby buggy in Candler Park – but these perps were caught. http://eastatlanta.patch.com/articles/police-arrest-youth-in-candler-park-mobile-phone-snatch-and-run
A pedestrian had her wallet snatched on Euclid Avenue as she was feeding a parking meter at 2 p.m.. Also on Euclid Avenue at 7:40 a.m. a purse was snatched and later found in Reynoldstown via a posting on their yahoo message board. A purse was taken by force on Flat Shoals Avenue in EAV at 11:30 p.m. Two females were robbed at gunpoint at 1:00 a.m. on North Highland Avenue in Inman Park and two females had their purses snatched on PDL Avenue in front of the Rite-Aid store at 12:30 a.m.

Slow down and stay alert while driving on our neighborhood streets now that school is back in session

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The Briarcliff Summit Building Is Sold!!!

Finally – after 4 years of negotiating and arranging financing – this beleaguered building is in the hands of Evergreen Housing Associates of Scarborough, Maine – a national leader in senior citizen’s housing. The deal was just inked last week and it is still too soon for a lot of details about the changes, but this signals a lot of positive karma on their corner of PDL and North Highland Avenues. The current manager of the building will be retained to help with the transition from one owner to another.

The story with as many details that are available now is at – http://vahi.patch.com/articles/renovations-to-historic-ponce-apartments-set-for-september

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Run – Hide – Fight

These are the main suggestions for you to follow if you are ever in active gunfire from a sniper in a public place. This short film from the City of Houston, Texas is a very informative and eye-opening watch. Thanx to Midtown’s MPSA for alerting me to this safety piece. Take a short time to watch –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0
Going along with this same subject – an interesting read in the op-ed page of the AJC on 8/3 about the pros and cons of gun ownership.
http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2012/08/03/firearms-evil-in-the-wrong-hands-good-in-others/

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The Bamboo Grove Alongside The BeltLine

Sunday morning, August 5th, saw a small, but dedicated group tackle and begin to remove the bamboo grove north of Park Drive along the BeltLine. This has been a long-time hiding place and urban campground, and its removal has a positive public safety aspect. Most of the energetic volunteers were from Concentric Restaurants led by Shereen Herrington, general manager of Two Urban Licks. There will have to be several more such removal sessions to clean out this grove – look for the next one sometime in mid September. I’ll be letting you know and hope that we will have more community participation the next time (especially from the parkside section of VaHi).

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Crime Report

The following reports are gleaned from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 28 and 29 (7/8 thru 7/21). Again, I state that these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of awareness and alertness. The emphasis is on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.

Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Auto Theft – One vehicle stolen from Frederica Street

Auto Theft Recovery – No reported recoveries from Beat 601

Residential Burglary – No reported incidents in Beat 601
However there were at least 3 such incidents in the next week not on this report. These were daytime break-ins. Lock ALL doors and windows at your house before going to work in the daytime.

Commercial Burglary – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601
However at the SunTrust Bank in East Atlanta on Flat Shoals Avenue a would-be robber gave the teller a note stating “Give me yo money $500” – the teller requested he fill out a withdrawal slip for that amount from his account. The wannabe robber left the bank with a withdrawal slip in his hand. No weapon reportedly shown.

Larceny From Vehicle – OK – here is where we have a BIG problem, not only here but all over Zone 6. Vehicles here were entered on Frederica Street, PDL Avenue, PDL Place, North Highland Avenue (4) and Greenwood Avenue (3). When filing a report for a break-in at the North Highland Avenue parking lot behind the American Roadhouse, Officer Bowser noted that out-of-the-area license plates are being singled out as opposed to local license plates, as these are more likely to have things to steal.

To give you an idea as to how BIG this problem is – in the two weeks of this report Zone 6 investigated 125 such break-ins!!! I would venture to guess that 75% (and probably more) of these incidents could have been prevented if there were no visible items left for stealing from these vehicles. If anyone has a fantastic idea as to how to curb these thefts by making more drivers aware – let me know. Yeah, we could have big signs all over the neighborhood stating that you have to park at your own risk since you are in a high crime area – but there has to be a better way to reach careless and unthinking drivers. The break-in incidents seem to be fewer in the parking lot behind the Post Office since owner Scott Stern let me put up a Clean Car Campaign banner at the back of that lot. Don’t know whether it is just luck or if folks really are reading that banner. These banners are about $100 if anyone else wants one for their off-street parking area – let me know.

Larceny Other – Two bicycles were stolen from a common area at a Greenwood Avenue apartment complex. Bikes need to be HIDDEN when not in use – not just propped up alongside the house. Yeah – your backyard or common area at condo/apartment complexes should be off-limits to unwanted visitors, but that is not the case anymore.
An unwatched purse was taken at a North Highland Avenue bar by another patron – with an arrest made. Another unwatched open-top purse at Noche had the billfold taken out.

Pedestrian Robbery – Two male pedestrians were walking away from Piedmont Park on Park Drive (west of Monroe) at 3 p.m. when another male pedestrian tried to take the backpack from one. A scuffle ensued as the victim fought back and he was cut on the wrist with a broken beer bottle. The perp fled on foot and the victims sought aid from a Monroe Drive resident who administered first aid and then called 911. The victim was taken to Grady for treatment. Thanks to the Monroe Drive resident who took care of these victims.

Nearby in L5P a purse was snatched at 5:30 a.m. in front of the Moreland Avenue Starbucks – the perp escaped in the darkness. An iPad was stolen from a bench-sitter at the Carter Center, and another purse was snatched from a Glen Iris Drive resident as she was walking to her apartment at 6:30 p.m. Two Masquerade patrons were robbed at gunpoint at 11:30 p.m. behind the PDL Avenue Kroger store.

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The Triangle, Then and Now

By: John Becker

This photo was taken in June 2009. This was during the latter phase of street scape improvement and this picture shows how that project impacted the triangle island before anything was replanted.

This photo was taken in February 2010. I think this was after the last phase of street scape improvement had been completed. A few trees had been replanted.

This picture and the next two were taken in March of this year and they show the impact of our initial planting session and some of the volunteers who were involved.

This picture and the next two were taken in April 2012 and they show the impact of our second planting session and the volunteers involved in that.

I took this picture Aug. 7 (2012) - and I think it really shows how much the area has improved. Look how all of the wonderful plants Nonie selected have taken hold and grown thanks to the rain we’ve had and some volunteers filling in during the dry periods.

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Voice – August 2012 – Volunteers Needed to Help Boot the ‘Boo from the BeltLine

By: John Becker

If laying waste to a pesky patch of bamboo sounds like your idea of fun on a Sunday morning, we have one heck of an opportunity for you.

A major BeltLine clean-up effort – with emphasis on removal of an existing bamboo grove – is scheduled for Sunday August 5 from 9 AM until Noon. Efforts will be focused on the area from Park Drive northward to Evelyn Street. The area has long been a hiding place for urban campers and was the site last winter of an out-of-control campfire. As such, clean up of the area is considered a top priority for neighborhood security and safety.

Volunteers are needed to make this three-hour project a success and anyone who can help is encouraged to show up Sunday morning at 9 AM. The work area can be accessed from behind the Park Drive Bridge or from the Amsterdam Walk parking lot. If you park at Amsterdam Walk, please advise the security folks by putting a note on your windshield stating you are at the BeltLine cleanup.

Volunteers should wear long pants; loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts; heavy shoes; and gloves and bring along a water bottle. If you have a pair of sturdy hedge trimmers, please bring them. The Atlanta Community ToolBank will provide other tools and supplies.

Anyone who can help with this important community project is asked to RSVP to organizer Shireen Herrington at sherrington@ctrxhs.com. Please RSVP so that organizers know how many tools to have on hand.

While this project represents a good chance for high school students to earn community service hours, the venue is not suitable for younger children.

On-going clean-up efforts such as this – sponsored by community groups who have signed up to be stewards of sections of the BeltLine through the Adopt-the-Atlanta BeltLine program – are an essential part of the ongoing progress of the BeltLine trail system, and contribute significantly to the safety of the trail’s users.

Adopt-the-Atlanta BeltLine is a partnership between Park Pride, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

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Voice – August 2012 – City Installs New Signage Along North Highland Avenue

By: John Becker

Thanks to the efforts of VHCA Graffiti Task Force chair Laura Voisinet, city workers recently installed ten shiny new traffic signs along North Highland Avenue. A new speed limit sign and new fluorescent signs warning motorists to look for pedestrians in the crosswalk replace ones that were damaged and plastered with stickers and graffiti. Several mid-crosswalk pedestrian warning signs were also replaced or repaired, and signage was added alerting motorists to the possible presence of senior pedestrians.

“The new signage is the result of a fruitful exchange between our task force, the city of Atlanta’s graffiti task force, and the city’s public works department,” says Voisinet.

“We want to especially thank Officer Brad Etterle, the Atlanta Police Department’s designated graffiti abatement officer, and Keith Fleming, chair of the city’s graffiti task force, for helping get these signs installed and for their ongoing help fighting graffiti in our neighborhood,” Voisinet adds.

Voisinet encourages all residents to help keep the new signs looking good by removing any stickers that are applied, and contacting the task force at graffiti@vahi.org to report any tagging that needs to be removed.

Way to go Laura and task force!

City of Atlanta workers recently replaced damaged and tagged street signs like the two above on North Highland Avenue…

…with brand new fluorescent signs like the ones in the photos below.

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Voice – August 2012 – The VH/Morningside Parent Association: A Valuable Community Resource

The Virginia-Highland Morningside Parent Association (VHMPA) provides a link between the parents of these respective neighborhoods for the sharing of parental interests and concerns and to provide information, activities and support that enhance the members’ child-rearing efforts. The VHMPA communicates to its membership by publishing a monthly newsletter and operates an email network to facilitate information sharing among members. Currently, the VHMPA has more than 900  members.

Among the many VHMPA services are:

  • supports local events with volunteers;
  • provides a sales platform for household goods and other items;
  • facilitates the exchange of information on community services and resources;
  • organizes social events;
  • partners with local businesses (restaurants, etc.);
  • financially supports local schools;
  • organizes playgroups;
  • serves as a neighborhood security exchange.

Participation in the VHMPA requires residence in the Virginia-Highland or Morningside/Lenox Park neighborhoods. Dues for participation are $20 annually. For further information go to www.vhmpa.com.

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Voice – August 2012 – A New Garbage Can Today; A More Beautiful Neighborhood Tomorrow

New Volunteer Group To Focus on Upkeep of VaHi’s Commercial Areas

By: John Becker
A shiny new garbage can made its debut last week on the southwest corner of North Highland and St. Charles avenues. The new receptacle – provided by Keep Atlanta Beautiful and paid for by Atlanta-based UPS – is the first tangible byproduct of the efforts of a new neighborhood group that seeks to spruce up VaHi’s commercial nodes.

According to its mission statement, Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful is an informal group of volunteers committed to keeping VaHi an inviting and well-maintained neighborhood that residents, business associates and visitors enjoy – and criminals avoid. Specifically, the group plans to make sustainable improvements to litter control and weed removal around the neighborhood’s commercial districts.

Peggy Denby, Executive Director of Keep Atlanta Beautiful, (l) and John Wolfinger, Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful member, apply a decal to the new garbage can at N. Highland and St. Charles avenues.

While it’s working loosely with the VHCA’s Public Safety Committee chaired by John Wolfinger, the group currently has no formal ties to the civic association. Wolfinger explains why the group formed.

“Many of the businesses and property owners in the commercial areas along North Highland do an excellent job of maintaining their property – not just the storefront, but all the way to the street. They keep litter picked up, sweep their sidewalks and curbs, maintain plantings, remove illegal handbills from poles, and more. Sadly, some owners do not share this focus.”

Wolfinger says the inconsistency creates a poor public image and contributes to the “broken window” theory that says poorly maintained properties send an inviting message to criminals. Wolfinger points out that, while a few dedicated residents have taken it upon themselves to periodically clean up problem areas to supplement the efforts of many business owners, a more sustainable solution is needed.

“Our goal is to expand the regularly scheduled clean-up services that occur in certain commercial areas to include all commercial properties in the neighborhood, including those where upkeep is lacking,” says committee member Kay Stephenson. “We plan to hold special resident and merchant cleanup days and will be contacting property owners – including owners of a few foreclosed storefronts that have become unsightly – to request help. We also hope to develop a kit of resources so that each property or business owner can easily maintain their part of the streetscape.”

Stephenson points out that the group is just getting started and cautions not to expect dramatic change overnight.

“Informally we’re looking first at the St. Charles node,” Stephenson says, “but over time we intend to address all the commercial areas throughout the neighborhood.”

Anyone who shares the committee’s vision of creating a more sustainably beautiful Virginia-Highland is encouraged to get involved. Send an email to Stephenson at kay.stephenson@gmail.com or committee member Tim Langan at t_langan@hotmail.com and you’ll be kept up to date on group activities. If you have thoughts about how the committee can accomplish its goals, Stephenson says, include them in your email.

VOICE tips its hat to the committee for checking the first item off its to-do list with placement of the new garbage can at N. Highland and St. Charles. We look forward to seeing more improvements in the weeks and months ahead.

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Ga. House Electoral Forum 7/24

The VHCA will host a moderated non-partisan forum for candidates running for the two Georgia House of Representative seats – Districts 57 and 58 – that serve our neighborhood (and many others). All the candidiates have been invited, and most have confirmed their attendance. We’re hoping that all of them will be there to speak to and take questions from citizens.

Date: Tuesday, July 24
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Location: Inman Middle School auditorium

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