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UPDATE: Peachtree Corners Resident’s Jeopardy! Run Ends

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Danielle Maurer defeated 23-game winner Mattea Roach Friday on the nationally syndicated game show, but missed the Final Jeopardy! question on Tuesday and is now out.

The start of Tuesday’s Jeopardy! broadcast was looking a little rocky for Peachtree Corners resident Danielle Maurer. After faltering a bit, she moved ahead of the pack of all women. Although it didn’t offer much in the way of additional money, another Atlanta-based clue may have boosted her confidence.

But the Final Jeopardy! category “Live Music” proved too much for the cosplayer and self-proclaimed “foam-smith.”

Picking up both Daily Doubles in the first eight clues and keeping contestant Mallory Kass from scoring during the first 13 clues of the round, Maurer looked like she might be able to pull off another win. Maurer led going into Final Jeopardy! with $13,400. Kass had $9,100 and Cherry Ignacio who hadn’t made much of an impact was at $2,800.

Before the parting music played, Maurer ended up in second place with $8,599. She’ll go home with an additional $2,000 bringing her total Jeopardy! winnings to $29,999. Ignacio bet $2,100 placing third. Kass bet 5,000, had the correct question and took home a one-day total of $14,100.

Maurer will probably never forget that “two and a half months after Woodstock ’99 made headlines for the terrible behavior of its attendees, the Coachella festival debuted at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles.”

Read previous stories about Maurer’s run below:

Although she pretty much stayed ahead the entire show, Peachtree Corners resident Danielle Maurer finished triumphantly on her second Jeopardy! appearance. With no help from geography on the Final Jeopardy! question, she still defeated newcomers Kasim Oliver and Emily Levant.

Literature didn’t appear to be her strong suit in the early Jeopardy! rounds and Maurer missed the question in the category “Novel Titles” in Final. But smart wagering saved the day once again. At $14,600 going into Final Jeopardy!, Maurer was well ahead of Levant who had $8,400 and Oliver whose incorrect answers when he did ring in left him at $1,400.

A conservative wager of $2,201 left Maurer with $12,399 for the Monday and a two-day total of $27,999. Will she continue the streak? Check back Tuesday evening for another update.

The original story is published below:

Peachtree Corners resident Danielle Maurer is a two-day Jeopardy! winner.

A Final Jeopardy! question set in metro Atlanta may have been the catalyst that catapulted Peachtree Corners resident Danielle Maurer into game show history. She defeated a seemingly unstoppable contestant, 23-game winner Mattea Roach, on Friday and was crowned the new Jeopardy! champion. 

After placing a calculated wager of $4,200 and coming up with the correct response in Final Jeopardy!, the 31-year-old digital marketing manager from Peachtree Corners took down the long-running Canadian champion and won the game by $1 with a total of $15,600 in winnings. 

“I was just standing up there with my pen and paper thinking this is the most important math that I will ever do in my life,” Maurer said in an interview with Sony Pictures, producer of the highly-rated game show. “I knew Mattea would bet to defend. She will bet as if I’m going to bet everything. So, if she gets it right, I lose. There’s no win scenario there for me. So, I’m going to bet as if she gets it wrong because that’s the only chance realistically that I am going to have.”

Maurer’s intuition proved to be right in the end. Roach, who placed a wager of $3,601, was unable to provide the correct Final Jeopardy! response and finished in second place with a total of $15,599. 

“I did not expect to win going in there until they revealed her answer, and then I could just feel my heart start pounding,” Maurer said. “I’m from Atlanta, I’ve lived here for almost ten years. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the airport I fly out of constantly. So, I looked at that clue like surely it can’t be that easy, can it?”

(Reminder: Final Jeopardy! clues are written well in advance and selected randomly.)

Figuring out what to do with her prize money was also a no-brainer, the new Jeopardy! champion said in the interview. 

“I have a basement that needs finishing,” Maurer said. “I do cosplay work and the basement is supposed to become my craft room. So, that’s a pretty good payment to get it completed.”

As a lifelong Jeopardy! fan, who has been trying out to be a contestant since she was 13, Maurer said winning her first game while slaying a giant like Roach in the process was a monumental accomplishment.

“I have been trying to get on the show for more than 15 years,” Maurer said. “This is something that I’m going to carry with me the rest of my life. It means more to me than I can say.”

When Maurer found out she was going to be a contestant, she said she knew there was a “strong possibility” that she may have to face off against a super-champion and she wanted to be prepared.

“I had been following the season. I knew about Matt (Amodio). I knew about Amy (Schneider),” Maurer said. “In fact, Amy’s episodes were airing when I got the call. So, we sort of practiced as if I was playing against Amy.”

Maurer spent countless evenings playing Jeopardy! with her husband and best friend using clues from previous games.

“We would check my results against Amy’s, like ‘Oh well, Amy missed the Final, but you got it,’” Maurer said. “‘So, you might have had a chance to take her there.’”

Amy Schneider’s run had come to an end before Maurer taped her first game, but she said she knew all of her practice against the 40-game champ would come in handy when it was her turn to play against Roach. 

“When I walked into the studio, and they were like, ‘Our current 19-day champion Mattea Roach,’ I could just see the color draining out of everyone’s faces around me,” Maurer said. “For me, I’m sitting there like — yeah that’s about what I expected.”

While Maurer admits it is intimidating to go up against Jeopardy! giant, she said she wants future contestants to know one thing: “It doesn’t matter how well you do the day that you’re on the show. Just getting there is such an achievement within itself.”

Jeopardy! airs at 7:30 p.m. on WXIA, Channel 11 in the metro Atlanta area.

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City Government

Community forum to address crime, safety issues in Peachtree Corners

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UPCCA hosts annual COPS program to allow face-to-face dialogue among residents, stakeholders and law enforcement.

Overnight car break-ins and vandalism, ruffians blocking key intersections and putting lives in danger with reckless stunts, bullying and name-calling at schools escalating to terrorist threats and violence – none of those scenarios are what Peachtree Corners residents want to see in their community. To inform residents and stakeholders of law enforcement actions to curb and eliminate this type of lawlessness, United Peachtree Corners Civic Association invites everyone to its annual C.O.P.S. Program. Set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway government officials and police agencies will discuss crime prevention and present local Peachtree Corners crime statistics.

Among invited presenters are Mayor Mike Mason, the new Gwinnett County Chief of Police J.D. McClure, Major Edward Restrepo, commander of the West Gwinnett Precinct, MPO Andres Camacho, District 1 Community Oriented Police Service, a Gwinnett County Schools resource officer and other community leaders who will be available for questions and answers.

“With all that’s going on in the world now, we are thankful to have our lovely pocket of relative peace here in Peachtree Corners,” said Matt Lombardi, president of UPCCA. “But there’s a perception that it’s gotten worse for crime in the last few years.”

Like many suburban areas of the country, Peachtree Corners has been victim of so called “takeovers” where groups of teens and young adults converge on a usually busy intersection and  show off stunt driving like doing “donuts” and “drifting.” With no regard to traffic or vehicular safety, there are often fireworks and sometimes weapons discharged as well as kids hanging recklessly out of cars.

Recently, a combined effort from several local law enforcement agencies took down one weekend gathering, but with school out and summer almost in full swing, it’s inevitable that more will come.

That’s one of the major topics that will be discussed at the meeting, said Lombardi, along with a look at license plate readers, the effects of crime on property values and other issues.

One topic that has been on the minds of some, said Lombardi, is the question of whether it’s time for Peachtree Corners to have its own police force. As it is now, Gwinnett County police provide protection as well as the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s office.

Instead of leaving the question lingering, this is an opportunity for residents to speak their minds.

“UPCCA is one of the few organizations in metro Atlanta that brings people to face-to-face with the law enforcement community,” said Lombardi. “It’s important to know who’s protecting you and your property and how it’s being handled.”

Information: upcca.org

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Business

PCBA Panel Gives Insights into City’s Growth, Development

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Visionaries see smart expansion for Peachtree Corners.

In a city that’s a hotbed of economic development, technological advancement and residential properties, it’s important for residents and stakeholders to keep informed about what’s going on today and what’s planned. To aid with that undertaking, Peachtree Corners Business Association convened a panel of local influencers at its April Business After Hours Speaker Series at Atlanta Marriott Peachtree Corners.

Moderated by Amanda Pearch, the CEO and principal of Forsyth Business RadioX, a community focused company that produces, promotes, distributes and markets online radio shows and podcasts for businesses, the panelists were a diverse mix of local movers and shakers which included:

  • Joe Sawyer, Peachtree Corners City Councilman at Large, a resident of Peachtree Corners since 1994. He recently became the first person of color elected to the City Council. Sawyer has owned Alpha & Omega Carpet Cleaning in Peachtree Corners since 2001 and has been a preacher since 1998.
  • Sue Storck, with North American Properties, the general manager for the Forum on Peachtree Parkway. She has been in property management since 2007 in Florida and Georgia.
  • James Winston, the director of construction at AHS Residential, a company that develops, builds and manages multifamily housing in metro Atlanta. He has 17 years of experience in real estate development.
  • Michael Pugh, a partner at the law firm of Thompson, O’Brien, Kappler & Nasuti, P.C. He concentrates his legal practice on the representation of businesses, banks, credit unions and commercial finance companies in secured transactions, financial workouts, asset recovery and liquidation and lender liability defense in both state and federal court, including federal bankruptcy court.
  • Louis Svehla, communications director for the city of Peachtree Corners.He has years of experience in journalism and public relations.
  • Rico Figliolini, a longtime Peachtree Corners resident and the publisher and executive editor of Peachtree Corners Magazine. He is also a creative director and social media strategist, three-time magazine publisher and podcast host.

Growth opportunities

The group started off discussing some identifiable opportunities for growth in Peachtree Corners. With so much emphasis on what’s happening in the northern part of the city, Sawyer said developers need to start looking to the city’s south side.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for growth on the south side,” he said. “You see the townhomes going up and you haven’t seen houses going up for a long time. That’s where the next wave of growth will come.”

Svehla agreed. “I think redevelopment is really the big thing. Joe got it completely right. Housing is probably not going to happen unless it’s redevelopment of older neighborhoods,” he said. “Just like what’s happening with The Forum, the future is multi-use type facilities.”

Pearch parlayed that response into a question for the home builder. “Well, the prediction is we’re going to find very efficient and innovative ways of finding solutions for this housing problem that we have,” Winston responded. “We know everybody is looking for…  housing that’s reasonably priced. We have a way of building and approaching our projects that I think is going to fit into the fabric of what this whole community is looking for. They’re trying to be innovative, looking for something that’s going to have an impact to the community. And we’re doing just that by rehabbing, basically, an existing property.”

Storck expanded on that concept with what’s happening right now with The Forum. “On our side, it’s experiential. …This is probably a very overused phrase, but ‘live, work and play’ is a trend that works,” she said. “With our tenants, we have a built-in customer base. The restaurants have built-in patrons, but it’s about an experience. Shopping is not… what it used to be. You don’t go window shopping anymore; you have a destination. So, our plan and our goal are to bring that opportunity to the property, to be able to host larger events and gatherings, whether it’s a tailgate party… or the Christmas tree lighting or concert series or a fitness series.”

Talking about developers dove-tailed into Pugh’s business. “One of the biggest advantages for Peachtree Corners is that it’s close enough to the city [of Atlanta] so that people inside the perimeter are comfortable coming here, and since it’s not in downtown Atlanta, we get people who don’t want to fight traffic in town,” he said.

All those factors feed into each other, said Figliolini. Having a publication that’s focused on the lifestyle of a community that fulfills the demand for a high quality of life with entertainment, retail and employment opportunities nearby allows him to put more emphasis on the message than the medium.

“Print is sort of a dying business. I can say this because I’ve been in the business for a long time,” Figliolini said. “We curate news in the community and people consume it in a variety of ways. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, it doesn’t matter. …Advertising is a long game. …Companies come to us. We have several corporate sponsors that are supporting local journalism, for example, so they’re not necessarily buying advertising as much as supporting news.”

Accolades and suggestions for the city

The panelists gave their perspective on what Peachtree Corners is doing right and what the city should do more of. Among the top recommendations is preparing the area for changes that have already been indicated. For example, the uptick in highly skilled jobs is affecting employment rates. Supply chain issues are challenging consumerism and access to technology is making a difference on how people live their lives.

“Roughly 65% of the existing labor force is almost set to retire,” said Winston. “So, we have to replenish that, and we also have to find ways to manage that and to find innovative ways of doing construction. We know we’re going to have challenges with the labor, in addition to all the materials. …Everybody is reading the articles about how prices are going up.”

Sawyer pointed out that Peachtree Corners is growing in smart ways and every new development is people centered. “I think we are probably one of the smartest cities, as far as technology. …What other city in the South has an app that, when you sit at a red light, the app on your phone tells you when the light is changing?” he said.

“A couple of months ago, we had Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg here to study our transportation sector,” added Svehla. “Everybody wants to come to Peachtree Corners because of all the innovative things that are going on here. I’m working to try to give Raphael Warnock an opportunity to see Curiosity Lab. …We don’t really have to reach out to anyone anymore because the word is out that we’re the most diverse city in the state.”

Perspectives on the future

In looking ahead, all the panelists agreed that Peachtree Corners has a solid future outlook and growth strategies. Pearch asked the panelists where Peachtree Corners, in general — and their industry, specifically — will be in three years, five years and 10 years.

Storck said, “The retail world is different, because some ways, the retail world hasn’t changed. We still have the brick and mortar as well as Amazon, so there are parts that will stay the same. But I think in three years, we are we are going to be fully redeveloped and we are going to be moving at a very fast pace. [The Forum] is going to be hosting 200-plus events a year and we are going to have opened quite a few new retailers. In five and 10 years, we’ll still continue that course. Because everything is cyclical and we go through changes, we have to adapt as well.”

Pugh added, “The legal industry is the dinosaur of all industries. If the legal world has adopted something, it’s been adopted across the board. I think that law firms’ sizes are going to shrink. I think that office space is going to shrink, and I think more and more attorneys and more and more businesses are going to go paperless. …I think that more and more are going to start incorporating the use of [artificial intelligence] in their in their work, where typically you would have a new associate coming out of law school doing research eight hours a day. You now have a computer program that does it for you.”

Winston noted, “Nowadays, with an age of social media, [job seekers] are able to see so many other options more easily, and people are able to tailor it to make it more marketable. That’s not always what you see in the construction industry. …You could start off learning mechanical, HVAC work, plumbing or electrical and branch off into a completely different sector of that same industry, or branch off more into real estate, because it really is part of the same pie at the end of the day.”

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Community

UPCCA Extends Deadline For Annual Scholarship

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UPCCA Scholarship

The United Peachtree Corners Civic Association is back this year with its annual Community Service Scholarship. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organization to make changes in the process, the organization is back to the original award of $1,000 each for two high school seniors who reside in Peachtree Corners and have made the commitment to volunteer outside of school hours during their high school years. 

“Every year, the committee weighs several factors, community service, extracurricular activities and things like that,” said UPPCA President Matt Lombardi. “We’re looking for students who personify our community values.”

Last year’s winner used the scholarship money to purchase a 3D printer and made mask clips that helped secure masks that had to be worn during the nationwide mask mandate, said Lombari adding that it’s that kind of selfless act that makes the awardee stand out.

“And it doesn’t matter what kind of secondary education they’re pursuing,” said Lombardi. “It can be a four-year university, a vocational school or whatever works for the recipient.”

The deadline this year has been extended to May 31 to give students an opportunity to “get back to normal.”

Last year UPCCA awarded three $1,000 scholarships and has toyed with the idea of increasing the amount.

“But we don’t want to be competitive with other non-profits in the area,” said Lombardi.

While the pandemic made it necessary for the award presentation to be held outdoors, this year it will be a Peachtree Corners Baptist Church.

Any high school senior who resides in the 30092 ZIP code is eligible to apply, regardless of where they attend school.

Scholarship application process:

• Complete the Online Scholarship Application. The online application includes areas to upload your documentation for the essay and service activities. 

• Write and/or video a 300-word essay about community service work that had the greatest influence and why. 

• Include a listing of all community service activities participated in while in high school.

The winners will be chosen strictly on their participation in community service.

For more information: In order to qualify for one of the two UPCCA scholarship, you must live within Peachtree Corners and/or be a member of the UPCCA. Click here for information on becoming a member of UPCCA  or contact UPCCA President Matt Lombardi at 770-548-2989.

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