Thursday, August 28, 2014

Natasha Trethewey places poetry archive at Emory

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Natasha Tretheway

Former two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey is placing her archive at Emory University, where she is an English professor and director of the Creative Writing Program.

Her archive is housed in the university's Manuscript Archives and Rare Book Library and includes her collection of drafts, early unpublished writings, and old computers, according to Kevin Young, Emory's curator of literary collections. The archive is "a revelation," Young says in a quote provided by Emory University. "It shows not only the origins, drafts and energy of her award-winning work, but also the untold history and profound questions we face."

Currently open to researchers, Tretheway's archive joins MARBL's vast literary collection which includes the papers of Alice Walker, James Dickey, W.B. Yeats, and Emory University Distinguished Professor Salman Rushdie.

"Emory has been for me an intellectual home," Trethewey says, "and I am delighted to join the community of writers included in MARBL's fine collections."

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Deal staffer: Governor will 'spend the next four years returning the favor' to lawmakers who donate to his campaign

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 2:47 PM

"Finally, I’m sure you noticed a major theme of the Governor’s speech: campaign contributions. We really do need and would greatly appreciate your support. As the Governor said, we plan to spend the next four years returning the favor for those that have been supportive of us."

David Werner, one of three senior aides of Gov. Nathan Deal who recently joined his re-election campaign, penned an email to Republican state lawmakers asking for campaign contributions. He also promised that the governor would help those legislators when they decided to run again for office. (via the AJC)

To save CL time from painstakingly documenting every comment people say, we've created 'Soundbites' to call attention to their remarks.

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Weekend Arts Agenda: 2014 AJC Decatur Book Festival

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM


It's an extra long weekend in this, what has become a vengefully long summer, and the AJC Decatur Book Festival promises a matching breadth: among other things, "actively engaging imaginations" through "stories, artist talks, installations, film, visual art, photography, and musical, dance, and theatrical performances," according to its official description. Oh, let's not forget the onsite cooking demonstrations and discussions. Leading the lineup is Joyce Carol Oates, one of the nation's leading literary figures both on the page and on Twitter. But she's one among hundreds of equals: The DBF's author list, in this ninth year, is serpentine. Dive in according to a genre — or even alphabetical — preference and you'd still never get from one end to the other. Start here. Keep going.

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City's affordable housing strategy slowed by Fulton development authority

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

It’s hard to develop Atlanta’s parking lots and vacant spaces into soaring high-rises where students, young professional, and families can live. The process is rife with red tape, expensive, and risky. If you’re a smart developer, you’ll try to have a safety net to minimize the financial risks.

Lucky for developers, two local government agencies are willing to help them avoid paying some property taxes. Sometimes you’ll get financial assistance just to build your project.

For years, the Development Authority of Fulton County and Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, co-existed in relative harmony. The latter primarily focused on residential while Fulton catered mostly to commercial and industries.

But as one muscles in on the other’s territory, they’ve started to butt heads. The fight is more than inter-agency squabbling or another dispute between Atlanta and the county. The latest standoff between the city and county could determine whether some teachers, police officers, and other people who want to live in the city but might not afford the rent. And as Invest Atlanta embarks on a comprehensive look at how to increase affordable housing in the city, Mayor Kasim Reed says the city might make business difficult for developers who try to make an end-run around the agency.

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Fuqua's revised Lindbergh development: Walmart out, Kroger in

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua is once again trying his hand at developing a Buckhead retail site nearly two years after the Atlanta City Council blocked his efforts to build a Walmart near the Lindbergh MARTA Station.

Fuqua's new mixed-use project - it's located east of Piedmont Road, north of Lindbergh Drive, and east of Morosgo Drive - would include an 82,000-square-foot Kroger Fresh Fare, 180 senior housing units, 137 detached single-family units, and a three-story parking deck. Land use and zoning changes would be required for the project to move forward.

Earlier this week, Fuqua Development asked Neighborhood Planning Unit-B to defer a vote on whether the land use should be changed for the mixed-use project. We're told that some residents have concerns because the revised project still lacks density, continues to have a big-box component, and contains too much surface parking.

"The big box is a little smaller, but it's not an urban development," one resident, who asked to be remain anonymous, tells CL. "It's a very suburban development. It's got surface parking, a minute deck, and a smattering of senior housing."

Fuqua plans to continue meeting with neighbors, perform a traffic study, and make minor adjustments to the site plans. Fuqua says the vast majority of residents support his current project, but a small group of opponents still has some "bad blood" over his stalled Walmart-anchored retailed center. This time around, he says, his revised plans call for high-density development that is half the size of his previous proposal.

"[Our original proposal] included a tenant people didn't like," Fuqua says. "People said, 'If you build a grocery store and a mixed-use project, we'd support it.' ... There's really no grocery store near that MARTA stop. [The new proposal] is different and better than anything we've proposed on the site."

Last month, Fuqua announced that Kroger would likely be the anchor tenant for his Glenwood Park development along the Atlanta Beltline. The 22-acre project's anchor tenant for months had widely been rumored to be a Walmart.

Fuqua hopes that the required changes will be considered by Council before the year's end. If there are no significant delays, he expects to break ground in Spring 2015.

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First Slice 8/28/14: Committee now SERIOUSLY considering medical marijuana law

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Taking their sweet time, the Joint Study Committee on Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions now appears to be seriously considering a medical marijuana law for Georgia as well as a law that would allow the cultivation of marijuana in Georgia for medical purposes. The focus of the talks revolves around allowing Georgians access to cannabis oil used to treat seizure disorders.

Mayor Kasim Reed continues to defend the high dollar payouts to top city officials. Reed maintains that the compensation was legal and did not violate city code. But, according to Reed, the practice of trading in unused vacation, sick or compensatory time for cash raised fairness issues among other city employees. “We acknowledge this was an error,” Reed said. “We’ve said we’re not going to continue the practice going forward.”

A plain clothes GSU police officer was allegedly stabbed in the back by a man with an 8-inch butcher knife yesterday near Woodruff Park. An APD officer that was close to the scene immediately responded. The suspect was shot in the lower torso. Both the wounded officer and the suspect are currently recovering at Grady.

Tahreem Zeus Rana, an Atlanta police officer, is the top suspect in the death of 26-year-old Vernicia Woodard. The victim's body was found by a Hapeville city worker. The body had been set on fire in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence. Still on the loose, Rana is considered armed and dangerous.

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5 things to do: #SaveWRAS

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. #SaveWRAS Protest at Hurt Park

2. Shabazz Palaces, Al Lover, and more at the Basement

3. Syd Mead at the High Museum

4. LOVESEXY - A Journey Through the World of Prince at the Sound Table

5. Rizzudo, the Liverhearts, and more at the Earl

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Andre 3000's 'NY Times' Q&A is a frustratingly brilliant read

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Andre 3000 as Hendrix in the biopic <i>Jimi: All Is by My Side</i>, opening Sept. 26.
  • Patrick Redmond for XLrator Media
  • Andre 3000 as Hendrix in the biopic Jimi: All Is by My Side, opening Sept. 26.

The word "reclusive" has never felt right when used to describe Andre 3000.

J.D. Salinger was a recluse, before his 2010 death following more than 50 years out of the public eye. Phil Spector was a recluse, before a 2009 murder conviction sent him to a California prison. Sly Stone is still a recluse, even after that startling appearance at his Grammy Awards tribute in 2006.

Despite the geniuses who've been characterized by the word, it's always sounded like a curse. An adjective reserved for tormented souls who wilt away in silence leaving an adoring following in their wake. OK, so maybe that does fit Andre 3000 to an extent. But he's also consistently come across in interviews as "un-self-conscious." Which sort of contradicts what one would expect from a typical recluse.

New York Times music writer Jon Caramanica uses both words — "reclusive" and "un-self-conscious" — to describe Andre Benjamin in a new interview that went live on the Times' site today. The Sept. 26 theatrical debut of Andre portraying Jimi Hendrix in the biopic Jimi: All Is by My Side serves as the basis for their excerpted conversation. But they talk about a little bit of everything in between.

All in all, 3000 appears to be aging gracefully, even if he admits to often being in the dumps creatively, on the fence with rap, and over the OutKast nostalgia. Some of his revelations may be frustrating if you're a longtime fan of the band, but those who favor the kind of frankness associated with reclusive, un-self-conscious artists will understand why it's quite possibly the best Andre 3000 interview ever.

Here are some highlights, below, and a link to the whole thing at the bottom.

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Demolition of 20 Hilliard St. put on hold

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 2:54 PM

What a difference a protest makes. Maria Saporta reports that Atlanta Housing Authority Chairman Dan Halpern says the demolition of 20 Hilliard St., a two-story circa 1910 building in the Old Fourth Ward, is on hold to address community concerns. Writes Saporta:

“We are halting demolition until we do further review on both the structural integrity of the building and the environmental remediation requirements,” Halpern said. “We want to be responsive to the concerns of the preservation community.” [...]

Several issues need to be reviewed — the contamination of the soil underneath the building, what legal options AHA has regarding future use of that property, and whether the building can be saved.

“We want to work collaboratively with the preservation community to find a solution,” said Halpern, president and CEO of Jackmont Hospitality, a company founded by the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, members of his family and Halpern.

Read Saporta's full report here. Preservationists in recent days have protested the AHA's decision to raze the former laundry building - and the process it followed.

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APS gives West End urban farm one more year to operate on school property (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Patchwork City Farms, shown above at Brown Middle School, was prepared to find a new home if APS didnt renew lease
  • Patchwork City Farms
  • Patchwork City Farms, shown above at Brown Middle School, was prepared to find a new home if APS didn't renew lease
A well-regarded urban farm will continue operating at Brown Middle School after Atlanta Public Schools last week backed off a surprise decision not to renew its lease.

Patchwork City Farms - which supplies some top restaurants and also offers community gardening space - says unfounded complaints from West End Neighborhood Development were behind a nonrenewal announcement two weeks ago. Patchwork City’s founders say they were unaware of WEND’s complaints to the Board of Education.

“We were about to have a heart attack when they told us, ‘We’re potentially not renewing the lease,’” says Jamila Norman, who runs Patchwork City with partner Cecilia Gatungo. “Pick up and move a farm - are you crazy?”

APS considered the nonrenewal announcement merely a formality as part of "evaluating" the farm-school relationship, says APS spokesman James Malone.

"I think the process proved itself out," Malone told CL. "We're in a good place."

But the newly approved lease is only a one-year extension, and Malone he can't speculate on APS's long-term interest in keeping the farm. The farm aims to build more community support to stay long-term.

WEND members were unavailable for comment.

For four years, Patchwork City has farmed a one-acre plot at the Peeples Street school. A small, for-profit LLC, Patchwork City took over the spot from a now-defunct nonprofit farm. It pays $200 a month in rent and installed its own water and power, using no school resources.

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