1. The Book Club opens at Horizon Theatre
2. John Q presents The Campaign For Atlanta: An Essay On Queer Migration at the Cyclorama
3. The D.A.I.R. Project presents Shadows of Doubt
4. Wizard Smoke, Liverhearts, and Vincas at 529
5. Neil Asks Lecture at the Woodruff Arts Center
U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said the 30-count indictment accuses Brooks, who's served under the Gold Dome since 1993, of misappropriating nearly $1 million in donations he solicited for two charitable organizations. Brooks told CL today that the indictment is linked to his efforts to solve a decades-old lynching.
One of the charitable organizations mentioned in the indictment, Universal Humanities Inc., was aimed at combating illiteracy. Yates said the state lawmaker received nearly $800,000 in donations from such companies as Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, and individuals to spend on teaching programs and hiring tutors.
"In reality, there was no staff," Yates said. "There was no mentoring or tutoring going on. There were no literacy programs being conducted."
Brooks instead allegedly used the cash to pay personal expenses. home repairs, furniture, lawn service, health insurance, dry cleaning, electronic equipment, and other personal purchases.
Yates said the indictment also alleges the lawmaker diverted nearly $300,000 in donations that Brooks solicited for the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, which he operated, to an undisclosed account he opened in the mid-1990s. He also used those funds to pay for personal expenses, she said.
As the Atlanta City Council continues to vet the city's 2014 fiscal year budget, they'll take a break to field questions from concerned and curious Atlantans at tonight's joint public hearing and "virtual town hall meeting."
The meeting will take place at City Hall around 6 p.m. and will open the floor to residents to grill councilmembers about Mayor Kasim Reed's proposed $539 million spending plan. The budget currently under consideration would provide cash for, among other things, a 2,000-officer force for the Atlanta Police, the city's soon-to-be-launched 311 call center, and an "open data portal."
We've also embedded a widget that includes the #atlbudget Twitter feed and a copy of the mayor's intitial FY 2014 budget. Check both of those out after the jump:
1. Governor Nathan Deal said bibles will return "rather quickly" to bedsides in cabins and lodge rooms in Georgia state parks. Officials pulled the holy books earlier this year under fear of litigation.
2. The U.S. Senate has given two thumbs up to legislation that will allow the deepening of Savannah's port to move forward with a higher budget than Congress originally approved.
3. The free ride is over, folks. The AJC's 'MyAJC' pay wall is now in full effect. That means if you want to read hard-hitting features like this ditty you'll need to pony up the dough. There will still be content available for free at AJC.com, but will focus more on breaking news and entertainment coverage.
4. In Belize, a construction company has reportedly decimated a more than 2,300 year old Mayan pyramid and used the rock as road fill.
1. Margarita Wars at Park Tavern
2. Jamie Kennedy at the Atlanta Improv Comedy Club
3. Daniel Wallace at Ivy Hall
4. Rootbeerpallooza at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters
5. Lady Lay continues at 7 Stages Theatre
To be or not to be "Hollywood of the South"?
Probably a little late to be asking that question, especially since Georgia's film and TV industry has already declared itself such - and generated the state $3.1 billion in economic impact to prove it in fiscal year 2012. With a growing proliferation of production studios - including the recent announcement that Pinewood Studios, the British-based company known as the production home of the James Bond film franchise, will open its first U.S. studio on 288 acres in Fayette County - there's little real debate over Atlanta's "Hollywood of the South" alias.
But now and then the question emerges over how best to custom-fit that title, while carving out an alternate identity in the shadow of Hollywood. It made for some interesting dialogue during last Friday's first celebration of Atlanta's 2013 TV pilot season.
"We don't have to be better than Hollywood, we just have to be professional," said longtime actor Jeff Rose, who played host at the local industry awards event, which was a prelude to this fall's first Atlanta Television Festival. An Atlanta native, Rose's own acting career came full circle when a temporary hiatus from Hollywood turned permanent during his return home in the mid-'90s to take care of his ailing mother. When Georgia's tax incentive program gave the local industry a boost in 2008, Rose's acting career got a reboot. He's since appeared in over 20 productions, including such TV series as "Army Wives" and "Drop Dead Diva."
Joy Pervis, on the other hand, fully embraces the tag. As the CEO of JPervis Talent Agency, she's helped cast a slew of films and shows (Flight, Identity Thief, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and "The Vampire Diaries"). "I am going to say it's the Hollywood of the South because I believe it's the Hollywood of the South," Pervis said after Rose introduced her to the stage. "I get a minimum of five really strong resumes a week from actors that are working [in L.A.] but want to have representation here because they know this is where it's happening."
Our annual Summer Guide will hit the newsstands tomorrow. Look for our guide to budget road trips from Atlanta, profiles of our heroes of summer, a massive list of the summer's best events, and lots more more in the issue.
Until then, behold the glorious image above, an animated .gif of CL's editorial staff devouring a feast from Heirloom Market BBQ.
The proposed ordinance, citing the "best interest of the public safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Atlanta," would amend current city codes by requiring gun range owners to apply for a permit to operate in the same way that pawn shops and package stores must do every year. The ordinance would also ban shooting galleries from being located within 800 feet of homes, schools, parks, recreational facilities, libraries, places of religious worship, hospitals, and day cares.
Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean tells CL the new ordinance came about after she had heard about a proposed gun range in her district, the Westside neighborhood she represents. She was surprised about the lack of safety buffers in place and decided to revisit the current process because it "hasn't been looked at for decades."
Stoddard's Range and Guns co-owner Michael Halbriech, who last month revealed plans to open a new location on Bishop Street, questions the timing of ordinance. He thinks that it's a "classic 'Not In My Backyard' move" demanded by a small group of residents.
"For this to be raised immediately on the heels of us filing our [special administrative permit] with the city, we've reached the conclusion that while the proposed amendements affect the entire city, the impetus for it at this moment in time was to impact our property," Halbriech tells CL.
Halbriech thinks that instead of placing shooting ranges under the watch of the city's license review board, the changes should be handled through the zoning process. He says that the amendments place unfair restrictions on business owners already complying with city codes.
More than 20 students took to the streets with signs, formed a picket line and chanted, "Up, up with education! Down, down with segregation!" during the monthly Board of Regents meeting.
The group protested what's called Policy 4.1.6, which prohibits undocumented students from attending Georgia's top-tier schools, which includes the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University.
According to the policy, undocumented students cannot take another qualified - and documented - applicant's spot at one of the top-tier schools. Considering that the colleges and universities lack the capacity to admit even all qualified students, it's safe to say undocumented students won't be accepted.
Kimberly-Ballard Washington, USG legal counsel, says that Georgia law states that undocumented persons cannot receive public benefits. "There's a list that the Attorney General produces every year that says what is a public benefit and in-state tuition is on that list," she said.
Chancellor Hank Huckaby met with the protestors during the board's lunch recess to hear their concerns, including the state law that forces undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition rates, even if they live in Georgia.
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