Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time Lapse: HENSE painting a mural in Orlando

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Atlanta-based artist Alex Brewer aka HENSE continues on his path to world domination. With recent or current work appearing in Chicago, Peru, the High Museum, and Sandler Hudson Gallery, now comes this time lapse video of a recent commission in Orlando, FL.

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Sierra Club: One year after TSPLOST's defeat, there has been progress

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM

No funding for penny farthing lanes!
Last April, the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club surprised some members by opposing the T-SPLOST, the transportation sales tax that voters ultimately rejected exactly one year ago. Following the ballot measure's defeat, the environmental group proposed general ideas for improving transit. Today, in a column adapted from an article that will appear in the Sierra Club's upcoming newsletter, its Regional Action to Improve Livability Committee - or RAIL - writes that there has been progress on that front.

One year has passed since the July 2012 election in which voters weighed in on series of 12 regional transportation sales tax referenda - known commonly as the T-SPLOST - voting down the proposal in nine of the state's twelve regions, including metro Atlanta.

The Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club made a difficult decision to oppose the referendum, determining that, despite some merits, it was ultimately not in the best interest of sustainable transportation policy in Georgia. While not all of our members agreed with the Chapter's T-SPLOST position, we all share a common interest in moving forward on the larger issue of sustainable transportation policy.

Thankfully, the potential for such progress is still very real. We tend to view the failure of the T-SPLOST not as a blanket rejection of new transportation investment in general, but rather as a rejection of an institutional status quo that was increasingly seen as ineffective by the voting public, and as an opportunity to chart a new course forward based on improved accountability and responsiveness to our actual 21st-century transportation needs. Following the July election, the Chapter promoted a framework for transportation progress centered on three major themes:

* "Put the House in Order." Ensure an equitable, accountable, and trustworthy transportation governance framework prior to investing billions of new taxpayer dollars.
* "Pursue Funding that Makes Sense." Focus on maintaining and effectively utilizing our existing revenue streams and assets. Tie new transportation funding sources to use and travel behavior to the greatest extent possible.
* "Give Georgians Transportation Choices for the 21st Century." Focus on natural, results-oriented progress that responds to the needs and desires of Georgians rather than a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach.

Fortunately, there has been significant activity on all of these fronts in the year since the referendum. Below, we discuss some of the highlights from these eventful past twelve months.

Continue reading »

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'White Student Union' coming to Georgia State University

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:02 AM

The website banner for Georgia State Universitys White Student Union features a map of Europe
  • The website banner for Georgia State University's White Student Union features a map of Europe

It seems the white man's burden has become increasingly burdensome in 2013. Especially for college students. The result: a small but growing contingent of "white student unions" sprouting on a handful of college campuses across the country with members eager to reignite their racial pride in an increasingly diverse world.

The latest such student group to take shape is located at Atlanta's own Georgia State University, which arguably has the most ethnically diverse student population in the state.

GSU's White Student Union is still in the early stages of development, organizer Patrick Sharp writes to CL in an email, stating that he "and a few partners" have been leading the charge until the upcoming fall semester when they "expect things to kick into gear" once an influx of students hits the campus. In the meantime, the organization has started a website. The first official post, dated July 14, features a silhouetted map of Europe with the title "It's Time" and reads:

Black Student Alliance? Check.

Latino Student Union? Check.

White Student Union?

Every Panther here at GSU comes from a unique heritage. The WSU intends to give white students a place to unite and celebrate their own.

According to Sharp, the idea behind GSU's WSU came from Towson University, the Maryland public institution where student Matthew Heimbach founded the school's WSU. In a 21-minute documentary (titled White Student Union), Vice highlights the tension Heimbach's group has brought to the campus since its creation in 2012.

White students make up 68 percent of Towson's student body while black students compose only 13 percent. In a scene from the doc that feels like a buildup to the violent climax of John Singleton's 1995 college flick Higher Learning, a black man on Towson's campus likens Heimbach's cause to the 1915 silent film often cited with rebirthing the Ku Klux Klan:

"You ever seen Birth of a Nation? he asks.

"I have seen Birth of a Nation," Heimbach admits.

"You trying to rebirth some bullshit," the man says.

On its website, GSU's WSU says it will provide "a place for like-minded White students to come together and not only celebrate their common European/Euro-American cultures, but to discuss issues that affect white people in the world today." What are those issues? Sharp writes via email:

Continue reading »

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First Slice 7/31/13: Georgia threatens to sue website for publishing legal code

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Got to go? TOO BAD!

A coalition of advocates has been protesting their prostates off with the hopes that MARTA will reopen restrooms in a number of - if not all of - its stations. Since July 2 protestors have gathered twice each day at different MARTA stations to denounce the closures. The transit authority shuttered all but nine back in 2010 due to budget cuts, and contends all except the lavatories at the Five Points stations were built for staff use and not the public's.

Cecil Alexander - a renowned architect that shaped Atlanta's skyline with the likes of the Coca-Cola headquarters, what once was the BellSouth tower, the Fulton County Stadium, and other iconic landmarks - passed away Tuesday at the age of 95 [MyAJC (not yours) pay wall alert].

A Douglasville man was denied bond for stealing $56.55 worth of merchandise from Walmart largely due to his felony criminal record dating back to 1969. Albert Eason, 68, was already on the docket for a court appearance in August for allegedly stealing mail out of a mailbox.

Speaking of wacky crimes, though this one is a little more gruesome, a Warner Robbins man reportedly sped up and drove his truck into a flock of geese feeding outside a Stevie B's restaurant. William Cook, 52, was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and is free on a $1,100 bond.

The state of Georgia is threatening to sue Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.org for publishing the state's annotated legal code. As this TechDirt article explains, the guv'ment may actually be on firm legal grounds for the suite, but when it comes to common sense and people being able to easily access the laws they're expected to obey ... well.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Falcons turn attention away from 'south site' - and proximity to MARTA - for new stadium (Update)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Behold the Pantheon, the proposed design of the estimated $1 billion complex
  • GWCCA
  • Behold the 'Pantheon,' the proposed design of the estimated $1 billion complex
It appears that the so-called south site that's currently home to two historic churches might no longer be an option for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

Maria Saporta, quoting Lloyd Hawk, the chairman of Friendship Baptist Church's board of trustees, says the Falcons are now concentrating solely on an alternate chunk of land located along Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard.

The board of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which owns the "north site," gave the Falcons the OK to begin due diligence work on the property. The "north site," which currently serves as the convention center's marshaling yards, is several blocks from MARTA's Georgia Dome and Vine City stations. That detail is sure to spark some opposition to the change of plans. In addition, as Saporta notes, nearby neighborhoods might also push against the move.

Falcons executives gave themselves until Aug. 1 to cut a deal with Friendship Baptist and Mount Vernon Baptist Church, which currently sit on land the team considered ideal for building the new stadium.

We emailed a spokeswoman for Falcons owner Arthur Blank on Tuesday and will update if we hear back.

UPDATE: Saporta and Atlanta Business Chronicle colleague Amy Wenk reported yesterday that negotiations with Friendship Baptist Church and Mount Vernon Baptist Church were continuing.

NOTE: This post has been updated to include new information.

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Wanna talk sidewalks? You know you do!

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM

If you want to help do something about the sad state of the city's sidewalks, you should consider dropping by City Hall tonight. From PEDS, Atlanta's pedestrian advocacy organization:

A Sidewalk Task Force co-chaired by Atlanta City Council members Natalyn Archibong and Carla Smith held its last meeting in May. Participants recommended changes needed to enable the City to repair more broken sidewalks.

Please join us on July 30 to learn more about Atlanta's current sidewalk maintenance program and changes recommended by Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza and PEDS CEO Sally Flocks. Recommendations differ, so each will give brief presentations. Following that, Councilmembers Archibong and Aaron Watson will join Mendoza and Flocks for a question and answer session with the audience.

PEDS and the City of Atlanta want to hear from people who live, work or play in Atlanta, so the forum will provide plenty of time for comments or questions from the audience.

If you're a Facebook kind of person, here's the event page. The fun starts at 6 p.m. in the Old City Council chambers.

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Living Walls announces artists for 2013 street art conference

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Agostino Iacurci
  • Agostino Iacurci
  • Agostino Iacurci

The lineup of artists participating in the 2013 Living Walls street art conference has been announced. Last year's all-female lineup generated no shortage of attention, including favorable coverage in the New York Times and controversies discussed near and far.

This year's artists come from five continents and eight countries, including a number of Atlanta-based artists. We've heard about one more very high-profile artist that's unconfirmed and not included in this list, but that'll have to wait for another day.

3ttman (France)
Agostino Iacurci (Italy)
Axel Void (Spain)
Brandon Sadler (Atlanta)
Christopher Derek Bruno (Atlanta)
Elian (Argentina)
Freddy Sam (South Africa)
Gyun Hur (Atlanta)
Inti (Chile)
Jaz (Argentina)
Joshua Ray Stephens (Atlanta)
Know Hope (Israel)
Marcy Starz (Atlanta)
Matt Haffner (Atlanta)
Laura Bell (Atlanta)
Never 2501 (Italy)
Pastel (Argentina)
Roti (France)
Sam Parker (Atlanta)
Trek Matthews (Atlanta)

Continue reading »

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First Slice 7/30/13: Half of Atlanta's interstate lights don't work

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Nearly half of the lights lining the interstates that run through Atlanta don't work, according to a recent audit. Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza says the city will work on correcting the problem. How about the Georgia Department of Transportation calls it even, considering we have to live every day with that damn 300-lane highway running through the heart of the city?

The manager of the iLounge hookah bar in East Atlanta was issued an iCitation (here all week, folks!) on early Sunday morning for allegedly serving alcohol after last call.

Jury selection in the Andrea Sneiderman trial got underway yesterday in DeKalb County and is expected to continue over the next few days.

Will the owner of the 11 pounds of marijuana and 1,000 ecstasy pills left in a van that was ditched on I-20 during a traffic stop please come forward?

Signs of the end o' times: Humans and pigs might be related, a University of Georgia researcher says. Bird collisions at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are up 60 percent since 2005. [11Alive autoplay warning] And a Georgia family found a 7-foot-tall (empty) bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in their driveway.

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