By C. Julia Nelson

Sandy Springs City Council conducted a brief meeting Feb. 5 as they heard presentations on upcoming activites and gave a proclamation to a local business owner for supporting the city in a time of need.

Council member Dianne Fries presented a resolution to adopt both the 2008 Sandy Springs Festival and the Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge as official city events. The adoption of both met unanimous approval, pursuant to an existing contract between the city and CH2MHill which specifies the city will sponsor two major events a year.

Scheduled on Sunday May 4, the Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge is the first of its kind in the city and will align itself with the Taste of Sandy Springs on the same date.

“People visiting the Taste of Sandy Springs will have something to watch and those coming for the Cycling Challenge will have something to eat,” Fries said. “It’s a perfect marriage.”

The Cycling Challenge is a spin-off event of a long-standing cycling race held over seven days in seven cities throughout Georgia, which begins with the 29th Annual Athens Twilight Criterium on April 25. This year’s event will feature a finale race in Sandy Springs, Fries said. In addition to that race, the Sandy Springs Challenge, a nonprofit organization, will introduce the Cycling Challenge as an add-on, fun race for amateur cyclists to enjoy.

The 23rd annual Sandy Springs Festival is scheduled on Saturday and Sunday September 20 and 21.

Council also heard a presentation from Art Schultz, a board member of the Sandy Springs Tennis Association, Inc. relative to the association’s Junior International Tennis Invitational tournament (JITI), to be held in Sandy Springs this fall.

“The purpose of JITI is to make Sandy Springs a destination city to visit,” Schultz said.

Set the week of October 19 – 26, JITI will be held at the Sandy Springs Tennis Center and will feature tennis players ages 14 and under from six countries. Among those scheduled to attend are from the United States, England, Canada, Mexico, Israel and Serbia.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the development of a media center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Rounding out the council meeting, Sandy Springs Fire Chief Jack McElfish along with Assistant Fire Chief Pat Wilson and Mayor Eva Galambos presented awards to representatives of Pull-A-Part, a car recycling facility in the city for their civic duty for the city.

Steve Levetan, owner and Marty Kogon, partner, of Pull-A-Part offered the use of their facility at 4473 Tilly Mill Rd. in Gwinnett County to the Sandy Springs Fire Rescue Department for the purpose of training fire fighters on vehicular excavation procedures.

Chief McElfish said without the use of the Pull-A-Part facility, there would have been no place for the department to get the necessary training to hone their skills. Already, he said, the ability of the department to use the facility to train has made a tremendous impact on recent emergency situations.

“Ironically today we had a very serious incident where a person was very trapped in (her car); all of our tools were needed and our (responders) all did a very good job as a result of the training we were able to have,” Chief McElfish said.

In other business, council members:

Re-appointed Roger Rupnow, Lee Duncan and Wayne Thatcher to the Planning Commission.

Re-appointed Al Pond, Ron Carpinella and Oswald Hill to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Appointed Robert Donner, Lonnie Mimms, Bradley Hicks, Patrick Dennis, Lawrence Frank, Jim Lynch, Toni Simon, Michael Toner, Mike Chavez and Marcia Koch to the Sandy Springs Stormwater Advisory Team.

Amended an ordinance relative to the possession of weapons in city parks. Pursuant to the change, it is unlawful to possess or discharge any firearm in a city park, including fireworks, without authorization from council and the mayor.

Adopted a resolution requiring a five percent franchise fee of gross revenues for any cable or video state franchise.

Approved a 17-month facility use agreement with the Sandy Springs Youth Sports organization for its use of Morgan Falls Park with Council member Tibby DeJulio abstaining from the vote.