Sunday, July 24, 2016

First Slice 7/24/16: Buckhead condo hi-rise skirts water and sewer bills, resident says

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 10:56 AM

A resident of a Buckhead condo hi-rise says the building's homeowners' association has managed to avoid paying for water and sewer service for more than a decade. That's gotta make for an awkward elevator ride.

A Kirkwood apartment complex that's been in the works for going on two years finally has a name

A Texas woman named Taylor Hayden was shot and killed outside a Buckhead bar when two groups of men started exchanging gunfire. Minnesota media outlets report that Hayden was the sister of a Minnesota state senator.

"It says something profound about the state of our nation — and our fair city of Atlanta — that no one trusted actual residents and community members to ask questions. The event was so tightly scripted that no one — including us — was allowed to ask questions."

German officials say the man who killed nine people after opening fire on a Munich shopping mall planned his attack for a year.

Is the Donald Trump campaign even more of a terrible blockbuster film than we thought?

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Is a soccer field — yes, we said a soccer field — coming to MARTA Five Points station?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Mini-pitch would be installed in what's currently a fenced-off area on Five Points plaza - SOCCER IN THE STREETS
  • Soccer in the Streets
  • Mini-pitch would be installed in what's currently a fenced-off area on Five Points plaza

MARTA’s Five Points station might become the first transit station in the world — that we know of, at least — to have a soccer field. Yes, a soccer field.

The transit agency is partnering with Soccer in the Streets, a nonprofit that works to connect youth with what is inarguably the world’s most exciting game, to build a small soccer field at Five Points’ moribund plaza. The field suited for 5-on-5 and futsal games — it's roughly 66 feet wide and 99 feet long — would occupy a fenced-off area on the transit hub’s western side.

Sanjay Patel, a member of the nonprofit's board, says the idea was hatched roughly two-and-a-half years ago after he approached Amanda Rhein, the head of MARTA's transit-oriented development program, about building small fields at stations with the long-term of starting a "Station Soccer League." Patel envisioned that Soccer in the Streets could host after-school programs and adult leagues would take place in the evening.

This summer, MARTA agreed to a run a pilot program at Five Points. It's a good location. The plaza has plenty of underused space. And the station is accessible. It's in the heart of Downtown and the only spot where MARTA's east-west and north-south rail lines intersect. Plus, the area has terraced seating where people could watch the action.  

Patel says Soccer in the Streets will "work with local partners to develop and create a healthy soccer environment that is fun and accessible to all." It's not immediately clear how much the project might cost. 

Want to get involved? Patel says folks should send him a line. After the jump, more images of the proposed pitch.

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A3C is looking for hip-hop heads about that action

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 2:43 PM

ChopArt Founder Malika Whitley gives her winning pitch at the 2015 A3C Action compettion. - SELINA MARTINEZ/COURTESY A3C ACTION
  • Selina Martinez/Courtesy A3C Action
  • ChopArt Founder Malika Whitley gives her winning pitch at the 2015 A3C Action compettion.

Call it a cypher for social justice.

One year ago, Malika Whitley was a young hopeful in the inaugural A3C Action pitch competition. After grabbing a mic and telling her story to a roomful of judges, she went on to use more than $5,000 in winnings to help fund her nonprofit ChopArt's 2016 summer arts camp for 100 homeless Atlanta youth.

Another 2015 winner among 65 applicants, the Philadelphia-based Media in Neighborhoods Group (MING), put its second-place earnings of $2,500 toward programming that allows former prisoners and law enforcers to turn an insightful lens on one another — instead of guns — through the medium of film. 

This year the winner could be you — if you have the vision, that is, to use art, music, and hip-hop culture as a vehicle to address issues of social justice. For the second year in a row, Atlanta's homegrown hip-hop fest, A3C Festival & Conference, is seeking applicants from around the country, and inside the city, who are about that action. In partnership with the Center for Civic Innovation, the pitch competition will invite finalists to compete during A3C in October for more than $10,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Social justice has been under a spotlight all year with the tension between police and communities of colors rising as more high-profile, and seemingly unjustified, killings have come to light. Atlanta's not immune. For the third year in a row, the city ranks No. 1 in income inequality capital. While public policy plays a major role, the solutions tend to start with change agents working from the underground up.

“There has never been a social movement in history that has not had creative people engaged and involved,” as Rohit Malhotra, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation, said last year. “Hip hop, especially, has a historic place in social change."

If you want to apply for the 2016 A3C Action pitch competition, the time is now. The application deadline is Sunday, July 24. 

 For more information, visit

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My Parents’ Basement welcomes famed 'Betty and Veronica' comic book writer and artist

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 1:37 PM

click image GIRL FIGHT: Most of the Betty and Veronica storylines involve the girls competing to win over character Archie. - COURTESY TOM VINCENT /FLICKR
  • courtesy Tom Vincent /Flickr
  • GIRL FIGHT: Most of the Betty and Veronica storylines involve the girls competing to win over character Archie.
Anticipation has already begun to build at Avondale Estates comic book store and taproom My Parents’ Basement for their upcoming signing with Betty and Veronica writer and artist Adam Hughes, along with variant cover artist Andy Price, happening July 29. (Those in the comic book scene may recognize Price’s name as the artist behind the My Little Pony comic as well.)

The famed ongoing comic series from Archie Comics revolves around frenemies Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge who reductively complete for the affections of a freckly ginger named Archie. During the first hour of the two-hour event, guests are invited to snag a copy of the comic, and can also bring along up to four other comic book copies to be signed. For the second hour, Hughes and Price will be creating personalized sketches from blank sketch covers for $40 a pop.

“We are super excited for the event because it’s a big deal to have Adam Hughes doing a signing in general,” MPB owner and beer manager Timothy Ensor says. “The fact that he wanted to do it at our shop is super rad, especially since we are not even a year old — it’s big for us.”

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Pricey Atlanta state House race attracts more than $400k

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 1:21 PM

The race to represent Atlanta's state House District 59, which stretches from Poncey-Highland through southeast Atlanta and toward the airport, will end on Tuesday with a runoff election. It's probably the priciest district race in Georgia this year, with donations to all candidates totaling more than $400,000. 

That’s a lot of money when you consider the salary is about $17,300 a year. And that Democrats — the only kind of viable candidate in the deep blue House District 59 — are such a minority in the GOP-dominated statehouse that their power is pretty limited.

Both Janine Brown and David Dreyer have said they want to see more school funding, better transit and more jobs in their district, though they rank the issues a little differently. Voters ranked the two pretty close together in the first round of voting: Brown took 1,650 votes to Dreyer's 1,610. Third-place finisher Josh Noblitt was knocked out of the race with 896 votes.

Brown's professional history — she spent years as a union rep — is reflected in her labor-heavy list of top donors, as added up by Atlanta Unfiltered. She had raised about $140,000 through June 30. Dreyer, an attorney, has also attracted cash from fellow legal eagles. His donations totaled up to around $200,000 through June 30.

The three campaigns — Brown, Dreyer, and Noblitt — raised in total more than $419,000 through the first half of this year. Atlanta Unfiltered, which spends a lot of time counting this kind of stuff, contends the contest might be the priciest state House race this year.

Oh, and the Democrat-on-Democrat race is getting testy too.

Candidate David Dreyer says he’s disappointed in an ad from Janine Brown that claims he took money from Georgia Power after promising not to take money from the utility. The ad cites a $500 donation from a man who works for Georgia Power. (FWIW, donors have to disclose their employer whether they are a CEO or on their first day of a new job.) Dreyer said it bothered him that the name of his neighbor and colleague in the leadership of the Grant Park Conservancy was put in the ad.

“We have not gone negative and we are not going to go negative. This is a Democratic primary,” said Dreyer. 

Casie Yoder, Brown’s campaign manager, said the piece was definitely “tough,” but they contend the employee is fairly high up in the company.

Voting closes on July 26. Voters who live in the district should doublecheck their registration status, as well. During the primary, Fulton County gave the wrong ballots to as many as 60 voters on the south end of the district, and lately sent erroneous new voter registration cards to a handful of voters in Summerhill. It’s not a lot of votes, but enough to cause a stink if the runoff is close.

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Candler Park gallery cools off

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 10:01 AM

Atlanta is charming year-round for various seasonal reasons. Between May and, like, October, though, that charming seasonal appeal is the oppressive heat and humidity. Atlantans get a solid half-year to practice what it'd be like to walk around in a human mouth and oh boy, it's an experience. Who knew hair could melt exactly like cotton candy? ATLiens, that's who.

Twee AF venue Paper Ghost Studio wants to offer an opportunity to return to non-mouth living. The gallery preps to throw another installment of its summer-themed show, Frosty Treats, featuring works from folks like killamari, Mike Lowery, Jade Nellans, Barry Lee, Melanie Ponchot, and Josh Thompson, among others. 

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First Slice 7/22/16: Ex-Atlanta officer charged with murder to be released on bond

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 8:46 AM

James R. Burns, the former Atlanta police officer charged with shooting and killing unarmed 22-year-old Deravis Caine Rogers, is scheduled to be released on a $240,000 bond. “Burns is not the first murderer to get a bond. He won't be the last murderer to get a bond," says the victim's father, Deravis Thomas. "I understand this is part of the judicial process — on to the next phase." For the victim's mother, Melva Rogers, the next step is a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Atlanta for fostering the systemic corruption she believes led to her son's death.

Charcia Nichols was accused of ethics violations while serving as principal of Washington High School’s School of Banking, Finance and Investment - MARYLANDSTATER/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Marylandstater/Wikimedia Commons
  • Charcia Nichols was accused of ethics violations while serving as principal of Washington High School’s School of Banking, Finance and Investment

A former Atlanta Public Schools principal who district investigators say broke ethics rules has been hired to run an Atlanta charter school. Despite Charcia Nichols' history of preferential treatment and grade inflation, she will take the helm at Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood School for Girls for the 2016-17 school year.

The Atlanta Beltline Partnership — that's the private sector nonprofit that helps to raise funds for Atlanta Beltline Inc. — has named a new leader. Rob Brawner will replace Chuck Meadows as the new executive director.

Chick-fil-A's famous cows may be put out to pasture. In a surprising move, the fast food chain fired the ad agency responsible for the successful campaign, which started in 1995 and is featured in the Smithsonian. The future of the ubiquitous painting bovine is uncertain.

A Washington man admits he posed as the chief of staff for Congressman John Lewis to get perks such as tickets to a Washington Redskins game. He pleaded guilty to impersonation charges in federal court on Wednesday.

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