Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Smith’s Olde Bar extends lease, will keep hosting bands until end of year

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 5:51 PM

The Morningside venue has hosted musical acts, including Col. Bruce Hampton, for more than 20 years. - JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • The Morningside venue has hosted musical acts, including Col. Bruce Hampton, for more than 20 years.
Smith’s Olde Bar is staying put — at least until the end of the year. Owners of the popular and iconic Atlanta music venue say they have signed a lease extension that will keep Smith’s in its longtime home on Piedmont Avenue through Jan. 1, 2016.

After 23 years of calling the space home, Dan Nolen, owner and operator of Smith’s, was handed a 60-day eviction notice on April 23. Beverly Taylor, the original owner of Morningside Strip Center, which houses Smith’s along with an antique shop, died earlier this year. Her family who inherited the property decided to sell.

Nolen spent nearly six months in Fulton County Superior Court fighting his new landlords for the right to stay. But it wasn’t until last Friday that the Taylor family and Nolen agreed to extend the lease.

Nolen said when rumors began circulating that Smith’s was “closing,” his business took a hit. He said foot traffic in and out of the bar decreased and bands started looking elsewhere to book gigs.

The Morningside Strip Center where Smith’s is located is still being sold. The auction for potential buyers closed on Aug. 28, and Nolen says he expects a deal to be closed by November.

“I think at least more than half the people putting in bids to buy the building have approached me, or approached Smith's, saying they're buying it because they want to keep Smith’s there,” said Nolan. “[It may be] a bigger developer who doesn’t have us in their plans, but I’m hoping that whoever does buy it has Smith’s Olde Bar as part of their plans.”

The future of Smith’s is still uncertain, but Nolan remains confident. He is continuing to book shows into next year. Nolan hopes the lease extension will give him and the new owners, whoever they may be, time to work out a new lease agreement.

For the moment, Nolan is chalking this up as a victory.

“Feels good,” he said. “Feels real good.”

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Pop-up soccer coming to Downtown, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward throughout September

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 2:50 PM

Kids play during the rooftop pop-up soccer game in May - DRAGON GOAL USA/SONS OF PITCHES FC
  • Dragon Goal USA/Sons of Pitches FC
  • Kids play during the rooftop pop-up soccer game in May

Tired after a long day at work and in the mood to watch people kick round inflated objects? Or maybe even kick those objects yourself? Head Downtown today and elsewhere in the city during September to participate in a pop-up soccer  program.

Dragon Goal USA and Sons of Pitches FC are setting up a self-contained soccer field for a few hours  in Downtown, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, and Virginia-Highland throughout September and inviting the community to participate.

Nicola Vidali, managing director of Dragon Goal USA, says the pop-up program is aimed at "reclaiming underutilized space and making it active again. Atlanta ranks low compared to other urban areas when it comes to public parks. That's only getting worse with lop sided development that forgets to allocate active space."

Vidali says it is focusing on Downtown because the neighborhood's greenspaces can't always be used for active sports and the sport could help connect people. 

"What better sport than soccer to bring the communities together?" he says. "Young, old, blue- and white-collared, all that Downtown has to offer can connect around a sport that just needs a flat surface and round ball."

The next event is tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Woodruff Park. Future stops include Charlie Loudermilk Park in Buckhead, the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade, and Atlanta Streets Alive. The program will also host a daylong event on top of a Downtown parking deck on the weekend of Sept. 18. We've embedded program organizers' full schedule after the jump.

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Motorcycle co-op Brother Moto calls on Atlanta City Council for zoning help

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 11:10 AM

click image GASSED UP: Motorcycle enthusiasts and the "motocurious" can wrench gears and pound coffee at EAV's Brother Moto - BROTHER MOTO
  • Brother Moto
  • GASSED UP: Motorcycle enthusiasts and the "motocurious" can wrench gears and pound coffee at EAV's Brother Moto
Brother Moto, a co-op for motorcyclists on Flat Shoals Avenue, might be forced to shut down. The group that bills itself as Atlanta's "courteous and respectful" biker club could soon be forced to close up its East Atlanta Village shop due to a conflict with city zoning ordinances.

The ordinance prohibits more than two service-providing repair shops in EAV and Brother Moto's presence, in the city's eyes, is one too many. But Brother Moto doesn't consider itself a repair shop at all. The co-op merely seeks to unite motorcyclists through a do-it-yourself oriented community. Plus, it has a coffee shop in the garage. 

To keep the organization from closing its doors, founders Bobby Russell and Jared Erickson have filed a petition to rouse support from the Atlanta City Council. Three weeks after the change.org link hit the web, Brother Moto has garnered well over 5,000 signatures. The group is striving for 7,500.

And their cry for help has already reached the ears of Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong, who visited the shop on Friday to discuss the co-op's future. 

Russell says Archibong has been nothing but helpful as Brother Moto's organizers work to redefine Brother Moto as something besides a service repair shop.

"We don't claim any fees for repairs," he says. "It's more of a community garage... with retail sales and an espresso bar."

With Archibong's assistance, Russell and Erickson hope to get a zoning variance written to designate their co-op as something other than a service-providing repair shop. Otherwise, they may need to scale back the square footage of their tinkering space. 

While the bikers await city council action, they remain vigilant in asserting themselves as respectful neighbors.

"We're not the ones revving our engines rolling down the street or racing down residential roads at 90 miles per hour," Russell says. "Some complain they don't like our super-loud bikes riding around town. But just because it's a motorcycle doesn't mean it's us."

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First Slice 9/2/2015: Final teacher in APS scandal sentenced

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Judge Jerry Baxter, pictured in April during the first sentencing phase, delivered his sentence yesterday to the final defendant in the APS cheating trial. - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, KENT D. JOHNSON, POOL
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson, Pool
  • Judge Jerry Baxter, pictured in April during the first sentencing phase, delivered his sentence yesterday to the final defendant in the APS cheating trial.
Shani Robinson, the final defendant in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial, was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison with four years probation. Robinson is the last of the group to be sentenced because she was pregnant during previous hearings. But she declined to admit she had cheated.
 
Georgia Tech is warning motorists of the chaos to be seen on the interstate later this week. On Thursday, Atlanta will host travelers going to and from the Tech football game, the Atlanta Falcons game, or Vice President Joe Biden's presentation in Buckhead. Luckily for DragonCon attendees and other weekend shenaniganizers, MARTA will offer free rides for Labor Day weekend.

Atlanta is showing an increasing interest in allowing residents stuff themselves into tiny houses. But before that can happen, city hall needs to write up some legislation to allow the building of micro-housing.

WABE's morning host Steve Goss will be retiring his "Velvet Voice" after over three decades on the air. The long time radio show personality says he's finishing on a high note but plans to return occasionally as a contributor.

Locomotion heavy Norfolk Southern unveiled Tuesday its new "Eco-locomotives," a line of trains that the company says will have a much cleaner, greener emission. 

Some Atlantans are wondering how and why the city keeps closing down sidewalks

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mother of Alexia Christian confronts APD Chief Turner, demands transparency in police shooting investigation

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 2:39 PM

Felecia Christian, the mother of Alexia Christian who was killed by Atlanta Police, reads a list of demands to APD Chief George Turner outside of the International House of Pancakes in Greenbriar Mall. - JOEFF DAVIS
  • Joeff Davis
  • Felecia Christian, the mother of Alexia Christian who was killed by Atlanta Police, reads a list of demands to APD Chief George Turner outside of the International House of Pancakes in Greenbriar Mall.
What began as a neighborhood “Coffee with a Cop” event at a IHOP in Greenbriar Mall ended with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner being forced to meet face-to-face with family members of a woman who was shot and killed by officers more than four months ago.

“Let’s have a dialogue,” Turner said to a room packed with concerned residents, police, and local politicians, kicking off the event.

During the question-and-answer period, the chief was met with an onslaught of questions. An elderly women said the police were following her. One community member asked for more meetings with police. Others complained of drug dealers taking over their streets and kids not having enough opportunities to succeed.

Turner said the drug problem needed to be looked at “holistically.” He said “we have to do this together. We have to find a way together.”

While the Chief was speaking inside the restaurant, a crowd of protesters gathered outside loudly chanting “What are you hiding APD?” They wanted more information about the death of Alexia Christian, the 26-year-old woman who was shot 10 times while sitting in the back of a police car four months ago in Downtown.

In response to Creative Loafing's request for an update on the case, APD Spokesperson Suzanne Forte said the department has turned over the investigation to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. 

Aside from police releasing details about the victim’s past arrest record and claiming that the woman shot at police after escaping from handcuffs, no additional information has been released. Midway through the “Coffee with a cop,” Alexia’s grandfather, Lucius Christian, approached Turner.  He asked the chief to meet with Alexia’s mother, Felecia Christian, who was leading protesters outside.

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First Slice 9/1/15: State rep says he had Ashley Madison account more than two years ago

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 9:26 AM

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon - GEORGIA HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS
  • Georgia House Communications
  • State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon
State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, says he had an account on Ashley Madison, the cheating website whose member information was recently leaked after being hacked, during a difficult time in his marriage. Peake says he told his wife about the account and the two have worked through problems in their relationship. 

You can soon pay top dollar to live in a shoebox. Micro-apartments are coming to Atlanta! The Emory Point mixed-use development near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will offer 390-square-foot units starting at... $1,110 a month. 

Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman inmate who sued the Georgia Department of Corrections after it refused to give her hormone therapy and placed her in a men's facility, has been released on parole.

Cobb County Police are not thrilled about a hospital prohibiting law enforcement from performing blood tests on "non-compliant" DUI suspects to screen for alcohol or drugs.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and DeKalb County Police are looking into what led to an officer and homeowner getting shot — and a dog killed — when police visited the wrong address last night.

A group of undocumented immigrants is suing the state for denying them driver's licenses. The immigrants, who are not named in the lawsuit, say the Georgia Department of Driver Services is violating their constitutional rights. 

"China." Or is it Shine-uh?

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Coming soon to MARTA stations: bike-repair kiosks

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 1:27 PM

MARTA CEO Keith Parker at the ribbon-cutting for the Lindbergh Center station's bike repair kiosk on Aug. 25. - MARTA
  • MARTA
  • MARTA CEO Keith Parker at the ribbon-cutting for the Lindbergh Center station's bike repair kiosk on Aug. 25.

That new pole-looking thing you might have recently noticed outside the Lindbergh Center MARTA station is a new bike repair kiosk. And more kiosks are coming, making it easier to pedal through Atlanta.

MARTA is installing a total of seven kiosks in its rail stations. Chamblee, East Point, Edgewood/Candler, Five Points, North Avenue and West End stations will also get the kiosks, though the installation schedule isn’t settled yet.

“This is a small but important step in making MARTA stations multi-modal which will result in encouraging alternative transportation options,” said Glenn Kurtz, Board Chairman of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, in a written statement after the ribbon-cutting at the Lindbergh kiosk this week. He’s also an executive vice president at Lanier Parking, which donated $1,200 for a kiosk.

A choice of screwdrivers, wrenches and other tools are lashed to each kiosk, so riders can pump up a tire, tighten handlebars, and perform other maintenance and repairs on their two-wheelers.

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Scenes from the Atlanta Contemporary's Art Party

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Busts from artist Christina West's studio. Throughout the night guests were allowed to roam into artists studios to see their work. - BRANDON ENGLISH
  • Brandon English
  • Busts from artist Christina West's studio. Throughout the night guests were allowed to roam into artists studios to see their work.

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center held its annual Art Party on Sat., Aug. 29. Living up to it's name, the Atlanta Contemporary provided a night filled with artistic festivities for its patrons. From the opening of exhibitions from John Rippenhoff, Marlon Mullen, and Aleksandra Domanovic to the eleven studio artists in residence, the grounds were rife with a myriad of art forms and styles. On the party side of things, Ree De La Vega, Narcy, Sandhill and Soulspin provided the music for the night.

The Atlanta Contemporary has plenty to celebrate as this was the first Art Party under the tenure of their new curator, Daniel Fuller. Additional cause for celebration includes the fact that starting Sep. 1, the Atlanta Contemporary will kickoff free admission for all guests.

Exhibiting artist, John Ripenhoff's installation seen through a massive ripped canvas. - BRANDON ENGLISH
  • Brandon English
  • Exhibiting artist, John Ripenhoff's installation seen through a massive ripped canvas.

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