Thursday, July 31, 2008

Affordable health care — for Fido

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:59 PM

To all those people who are giving up their dogs and cats due to economic hardship, fear not. An animal hospital for indigent pets and financially challenged owners opens next week in Chamblee.

The nonprofit WellPet Humane is a full-service clinic. Your dog or cat can get affordable vaccinations, wellness exams, dental care and flea/tick prevention, among other services, at a decent price. Now if only there was a comparable clinic for indigent humans ...

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Beltline spending plans advance to city council

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Terri Montague looked disappointed.

The CEO of Atlanta Beltline Inc., the nonprofit agency tasked with planning and building the 22-mile project, stood before the Atlanta City Council's finance committee on Wednesday to present how the group planned to spend an estimated $117 million that was to be generated from the first round of TAD bonds. Councilmember Felicia Moore asked Montague what was the rush -- council was about to go on recess and the Beltline has until Oct. 31 to settle an outstanding debt for a key piece of property near Piedmont Park. Moore was planning on tabling the item, she said.

What's the rush? Well, to put it simply, Beltline leaders are against the slow-moving bureaucracy that is modern-day government. Council returns from its summer sojourn in mid-August and the Beltline has investors coming to scope out the project the following week. Montague said the investors need to have a sense that the city is truly committed to the project. It needs the money.

Continue reading »

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Maria Saporta takes AJC buyout

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 7:43 PM

Longtime business columnist Maria Saporta is taking the AJC buyout, according to the Atlanta Press Club.

To my mind, this is a big blow to the paper. Saporta, who's cultivated links with the business community for more than two decades and who's dad was a well-known and well-liked Atlanta architect, understands the business, civic and political circles of this community like no one else at the AJC.

As I understand it, the AJC doesn't have to accept her application for the buyout, but I suspect it will let her go.

Today's the last day for employees who've worked at the paper for at least five years to apply for the buyout, as the AJC tries to reduce its edit and sales work force by 185 people. If there aren't enough buyouts, the paper will likely resort to layoffs.

I'll try to get more on this.

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APN responds to Andre Walker

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Just an update: Matthew Cardinale, who broke the story about blogger Andre Walker's payments from U.S. Rep. David Scott, responded late last night to my inquiry about Walker's own response to his story.

Walker argued yesterday that Atlanta Progressive News, where Cardinale is news editor, was being hypocritical because APN took campaign ad money from three candidates it endorsed.

Here's Cardinale's response:

Dear Ken,

... These were all ad purchases. Creative Loafing sells ads too, right?

The difference is our readers can see exactly who is advertising when the ads run and if they feel ads affect content they can take that into consideration.

To insinuate ads affect endorsements, our recent slate of endorsements laid out a number of principled issue positions with which we made our decisions.

Also, Atlanta Housing Authority can advertise on our website if they want to (really, we'll take their money), but we're not going to all of a sudden stop investigating them. David Scott can advertise too and he's still a corporate centrist.

(He's referring to AHA and Scott because APN's written critically about both of them.)

I pretty much agree with Cardinale — though you could accuse me (as one commenter to my last post basically did) of saying so because we take ads. Just as Matthew said about APN, ads don't affect what we write in our articles — though what we report has occasionally affected advertising. Around this whole conflict of interest standpoint, ads at least have the benefit of being right out there for everyone to see, so they can judge for themselves if they feel as if a story matches a special interest; payments from political candidates might be disclosed on campaign reports, but how many people pour over them?

'NOTHER UPDATE: Andre Walker posted a mea culpa of sorts on Georgia Politics Unfiltered this morning. I apologize that this is coming so late. As noted elsewhere, we had awful Internet problems today in the office, which kinda hampered things.

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Our tubes are clogged

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 7:00 PM

We’ve been having server problems at the massive Creative Loafing MSM complex. Angry bloggers cut our thingamajig cable and ... goodbye to the Internets. Or else it was construction workers. Or terrorists.

But the hamsters are carrying our posts through the electronic tubes from remote locations. The usual errant missives should be arriving fast and furious throughout the day — now that I have my baton out and am flogging the writers.

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Atlanta blogs today

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 5:43 PM

— The Georgia blogosphere is still trying to sort through the ramifications that blogger Andre Walker's failure to disclose that he was working for state Rep. David Scott, even as he posted on Scott's campaign. There's been a lively discussion here on Fresh Loaf. And besides posting comments here, Driftgrift is spitting tacks here and also here. And Sara discusses it also at Going Through The Motions.

— A WGCL-TV news reporter was duped by a guy who claimed to have invented a way to convert tap water in fuel. Live Apartment Fire says it wasn't the first time the scam has made its way onto a news broadcast and asks the right question: Why didn't the reporter contact a scientist at Georgia Tech to see if water can actually be converted to fuel?

— The Daly Briefing follows the adventures of a former Atlanta news photographer in Iraq. Today, he's off for a trip to Umm Qasr, the lone port in Iraq. He writes about dealing with the heat in the desert and his unfortunate choice of a seat in a ride on a Blackhawk helicopter.

— A transplant from Long Island writes about the joys of homegrown tomatoes in Atlanta on Voted Off The Island.

— Edwin at Chicken Fat riffs on a question that's always puzzled me as well: Why do we talk to our pets as if they're going to respond?

— And, finally, Stephen Colbert has issued an apology for using the term "crappy Canton" to describe one of our fair cities. Reporter-cub has the link.

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Morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 3:47 PM

WELL-TO-DO: Former Loafer Alyssa Abkowitz writes in the WSJ how affluent Atlantans such as Tyler Perry and Tom Glavine are getting around watering restrictions by installing wells.

MATTER OF PRINCIPAL: Cobb County school board members say they hadn't heard a middle school principal was under investigation for sexual harassment when they promoted him to principal of North Cobb High School last month.

TRIAL BY FIRE: Cherokee County firefighters are the latest in metro Atlanta to invest in thermal-imaging cameras that allow them to find hidden hot spots and victims through smoke.

CLAYTON: The school system hires 400 new teachers despite the looming accreditation crisis.

CHASE CLOSED: A North Carolina man leads police on a chase through several Atlanta and DeKalb County neighborhoods Wednesday morning, eventually being caught after trying to flee his car.

FIGHTING DOGFIGHTING: The Humane Society has been blitzing Georgia the last few months with ads promoting a $5,000 reward for information leading to dogfighting arrests and convictions.

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Beltline takes heat

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 3:00 PM

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Before the Beltline can unite and connect Atlanta, it first has to experience Atlanta's tale of two cities.

Visit a study group north of I-20, say near Buckhead and Tanyard Creek, and residents fume about bike-trail paths. Venture down to Metropolitan Parkway and in southwest Atlanta, and you hear pleas for economic development, jobs and, most importantly, attention.

Which is why last week's decision by Beltline leaders to spend almost half of the $98 million in initial bond proceeds to pay for a sliver of land in northeast Atlanta has many concerned that all the benefits of the Beltline are going to be felt north of I-20.

Even the advisory committee formed to oversee Atlanta Beltline Inc. is critical of the decision.

"Based on our assessment of what the Beltline wants to do, there is no equitability in the allocation of those dollars when you're going to use 80 percent of it in the northeast quadrant," says Eugene Bowens, chairman of Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee.

At issue is a 4.5-mile stretch of land owned by Gwinnett County developer Wayne Mason and his son, Keith. The Masons purchased the land near Monroe Drive and Piedmont Road for $26.5 million in 2004, and announced plans to build two high-rise towers. The Masons also promised to donate their railroad right-of-way to the Beltline project.

Read the rest of this article here.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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What's bugging James E. McWillliams?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Find out tonight when McWilliams appears at Wordsmiths Books for a reading/signing for American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT (Columbia University Press). The book appears to argue that the war on insects has been about as counter-productive as the war on terrorism. The event starts at 7:30 p.m., and is free to the public. Here's McWilliams talking about his book …

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/C2SKNkrDn2M " width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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5 things to do: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 4:45 AM

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1) Talib Kweli, Nas and Jay Electronica perform at Center Stage.

2) Beep Beep Gallery hosts Another Evening with the Garbageman, a night of supershort stories with CL's very own Chad Radford.

3) "Flight of the Conchords'" Arj Barker begins a four-day stint at the Funny Farm.

4) James McWilliams signs and discusses American Pests at Wordsmiths Books.

5) Georgia Shakespeare hold its penultimate performance of As You Like It.

(Photo courtesy Bros. Records)

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