(photo by Joeff Davis)
Jim Martinâs recent leap into the U.S. Senate race against Saxby Chambliss suddenly gives Democrats what theyâve long been pining for: a viable challenger for a winnable Senate seat against a vulnerable Republican incumbent. Martin, a former state legislator from Atlanta, is best known to many Georgians as the nice-guy candidate for lieutenant governor who ended up losing a respectful race to Casey Cagle. But Martinâs status as a Vietnam veteran is likely to serve him well against Chambliss, who avoided the war through deferments. Although Martin is a latecomer to a race crowded with Democrats â including DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones and ex-WSB-TV reporter Dale Cardwell â heâs expected to receive the blessing of the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which recruited Martin to oust Chambliss. Martinâs immediate challenge will be in raising funds against an incumbent who already has more than $4 million in his war chest.
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From the Fulton County Sheriff's office:
Hello. Sheriff Myron E. Freeman would like to invite you to a special reception he is hosting this week to introduce the new Chief Jailer to the community. Mr. Edward McNeil was sworn in as Chief Jailer in early March.
Earth Hour, Saturday night's voluntary power-down that covered cities around the world for 60 minutes of darkness, did reduce electricity usage. But only by a bit.
Georgia Power says:
ATLANTA - Georgia Power customers in Atlanta decreased their electricity usage by nearly 4 percent during Earth Hour on Saturday night, March 29. The average reduction during the hour was 7.05 megawatt-hours, or enough electricity to serve 1,750 homes.
The downtown Atlanta grid saw the 4 percent reduction at the midpoint of the 8-9 p.m. ET hour, when the majority of interior and external building lights were off.
The results were based on usage data from previous similar time frames.
That's far less than the 10 percent reduction Sydney boasted during last year's event. And this year, there's an angry Aussie chap awesomely named "Andrew Bolt" who says the event was unsuccessful.
But hey, even if we didn't have 60 minutes of energy-free bliss, the occasion gave many celebratory drinkers and people looking for a reason to party to turn off the lights and play beer pong by candlelight. And that, my friends, is what counts.
At a symposium organized by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce several months ago, the president of Charlotte, N.C.'s chamber said that his city, which is one-sixth the size of metro Atlanta but still a fierce competitor in attracting businesses and residents, enjoyed a distinct advantage over Georgia: Charlotte is more nimble, he said, and learns from the metro region's mistakes.
Our more-nimble competitor last week showcased one of the perks such an advantage allows and hosted members of the Transit Planning Board, a multi-agency effort that includes some of the bigger noodles in Georgia's transportation-planning alphabet soup â MARTA, GRTA, ARC and DOT. The centerpiece of the visit was LYNX, Charlotte's upstart light-rail line. The project began service earlier this year, has seen ridership numbers exceed initial estimates, and was brought to life partly by a funding strategy that allowed a region to levy a local option sales tax on itself. Transit advocates in metro Atlanta hope a similar version currently navigating its way through the General Assembly will jumpstart the region's lackluster and antiquated transportation situation. The resolution passed the House last week and now awaits tinkering in a conference committee.
The TPB recently unveiled Concept 3, its own multi-year vision for metro Atlanta's transportation future which also includes light-rail. To view the agency's plan, click here. Below are upcoming public meetings about the plan:
TPB Chairman Eldrin Bell and MARTA General Manager Bev Scott, who both attended the Charlotte visit, found out about the House's vote on Friday via BlackBerry. After the jump, view how they reacted to the news.
House Speaker Glenn Richardson has been criticized for having his divorce decree sealed from public view, but that censure is somewhat misplaced. That's because the speaker is not actually divorced â or at least wasn't when the court documents were sealed.
The explanation we heard from a knowledgeable House member is that the documents in question do, indeed, relate to divorce proceedings. But the Richardsons' divorce has not yet been finalized.
It's not uncommon for parents to ask a judge to seal divorce proceedings in order to protect their children, as may have been the Speaker's objective. But rather than take his chances at persuading a randomly assigned judge â as you or I would have to do â Richardson apparently used his clout to steer his case to a former law partner who was inclined to give him a friendly ruling.
In legal circles, that's called "judge shopping" and while it may not be, strictly speaking, illegal, it would certainly be considered an ethical violation on the part of both the shopper (Richardson) and the shoppee (Paulding Superior Court Judge Jim Osborne).
It will be interesting to see the result of a motion filed by ethics watchdog George Anderson claiming that the Richardsons' file was improperly sealed. Even if a court sides with Anderson â and, to us, this seems a no-brainer â the case would likely be reassigned to a new judge who could well decide to keep the documents under seal.
Inquiring minds may have to wait a while longer to inspect the Speaker's dirty laundry.
Two men have filed suit in federal court in Hawaii to stop a giant particle accelerator in Switzerland from starting up this summer. They're concerned the accelerator might create a black hole that will swallow up Earth.
The science discussed in the story is beyond my grasp, but I do know that the following sentence doesn't reassure me at all:
Lisa Randall, a Harvard physicist whose work helped fuel the speculation about black holes at the collider, pointed out in a paper last year that black holes would probably not be produced at the collider after all, although other effects of so-called quantum gravity might appear.
Goddess Garden Atlanta is an acre of wilderness near North Avenue and Freedom Parkway thatâs open to the public. Using native plants, minimal tools, and no pesticides or herbicides, Shasta Zaring has created what she calls a sacred, healing space.
âWe work with the natural earth currents that run through here. I brought my spirituality into practice by creating this sacred space.â
âA lot of gardeners donât like chaos. They try to make everything neat and tidy. I leave areas completely in chaos. I know how to manage them.â
âKudzu is a wonderful habitat and it gets the most beautiful purple flowers on it. Itâs also one of the most powerful healing herbs on the planet. The whole plant is edible. People in China during times of severe drought can survive for years at a time on kudzu.â
âI was initiated as a priestess in 1982. Iâm a priestess of Isis and Sekhmet of Egypt and Quanyin of the Asian and Buddhists cultures. Iâm working with Changing Woman of the Navajo and Apache.â
(photo by Alex Gibbs)
Artists arenât typically people with a lot of cash on hand, but when their friends and neighbors are in need, they always seem to step up.
Cabbagetown Relief, a benefit concert and silent art auction at Studio 900 in Inman Park, raised $5,500 dollars Saturday for victims of the March 14 tornado that pummeled several intown neighborhoods.
Cabbagetown was among the âhoods hardest hit by the storm, with several homes destroyed and the top floor of one the buildings at the iconic Fulton Cotton Mill lofts ripped off. Since Cabbagetown has long been an enclave for creative people, it wasnât surprising that artful photos of tornado damage in Cabbagetown comprised the bulk of art being auctioned.
According to event co-organizer Michael Pisarri, Cabbagetown Relief will continue to raise money by auctioning art online.
Additionally, the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association will try to raise money for tornado victims with the Dine-Out for Tornado Victims event on April 14.
TRAILING OFF: Alabama footpath now connects to southern terminus of Appalachian Trail in Dawson County; Congress could officially designate it as the new ending point of the 2,500-mile trail.
COYOTES: Two caught in DeKalb after killing cats.
ISAIAH RIDER: Former Hawk charged with car theft.
R.E.M.: Has new album, midlife crisis.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Former DA challenges constitutionality of judicial review panels, which reconsider and sometimes reduce prison sentences.
SINO THE TIMES: Perdue takes inaugural Atlanta-to-Shanghai flight to promote Georgia in China.
NOW MUSEUM: Now you don't. Georgia Museum of Natural History is given a 44-acre archaeological site, which includes Indian mounds and artifacts, but the nine-year-old museum still doesn't have an exhibition space. Its collections are stored in various buildings around Athens, where it's based.
WRESTLEMANIA: Simulated mania becomes genuine mania for fans in Orlando.
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