Friday, August 22, 2014

First Slice 8/22/14: Movie studios as far as the eye can see, forever and ever

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 8:02 AM

  • Jacoby
  • Atlanta Media Campus and Studios
Atlanta developer Jim Jacoby is partnering with MBS3, a Los Angeles-based production studio affiliated with filmmaker James Cameron, to help develop what he says will be the Southeast's largest movie studio along Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Gwinnett County. Worth discussing: can metro Atlanta develop a movie studio bubble?

The majority of members of influential state boards that decide student tuition, oversee one of the state's economic engines, and protect the environment have pumped more than $1 million into the political machines aimed at keeping Gov. Nathan Deal, who appointed them, in office.

Atlanta Police charged Christopher Ballard in the July killing of 22-year-old Anthony Hill at a music studio on Lakewood Avenue.

Kent Brantly, the doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia, credited the medical team that treated him at Emory University Hospital and God for saving his life. Brantly and Nancy Writebol, another aid worker, were released yesterday.

The next CEO of The Home Depot will be... you! Wait, no, it'll be Craig Menear. Your time will come, we promise.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Slice 8/21/14: Ebola patients expected to be released from Emory Hospital today

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM

American missionaries Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were both flown from Africa to Atlanta to receive treatment for Ebola, are expected to be released from Emory University Hospital this morning.

A property owner near the proposed Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County has filed a lawsuit that alleges county officials violated zoning procedures.

An alleged drunk driver has been arrested for rear-ending an Atlanta Police Department vehicle belonging to the force's DUI unit.

The names of more than a dozen of Atlanta's watershed department employees who last week were fired have been released. City spokespeople have repeatedly declined to comment on whether the firings were related to an ongoing internal investigation into potential mismanagement and theft.

Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane yesterday was sentenced to 39 months in prison, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, and will serve three years of supervised release following his time behind bars. He had previously pleaded guilty to federal gun charges.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce a record $17-billion settlement with Bank of America for failing to disclose the high-risks of mortgage-backed securities that helped trigger the economic crisis.

Help CL achieve immortality!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Atlanta students lead thousands in local protest over Ferguson

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Monday's march and rally brought out an estimated 5,000, many of whom stayed at the close for a moving speech from organizer Elle Lucier.
  • Eric Cash
  • Monday's march and rally brought out an estimated 5,000, many of whom stayed at the close for a moving speech from organizer Elle Lucier.

It started with one tweet. And it ended with thousands chanting, "It's bigger than you," outside Atlanta's CNN Center on Aug. 18.

A generation frequently criticized for its do-nothing, hashtag activism used social media to galvanize a large turnout of students and peaceful demonstrators of all ages to march and show solidarity with the protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"I just moved in the spirit of my frustration, and I had no idea," says Atlantan Elle Lucier, 19, who took to her frustration over her generation's lack of civic action to Twitter last week.

"I was tweeting my anger that we are so quick to post our thoughts but not act on our anger behind the thoughts," says Lucier, who posted her number on Twitter to see if anyone would dare follow up. "I said I just need 10 people and we'll go march on the steps of the CNN Center."

Seven people responded the first day. The next day, the number of respondents doubled to 15. A hastily organized town hall meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church to plan the rally brought out an unexpected 200 people on Aug. 13, she says. Lucier and other organizers had hoped for a turnout of 500 for their hashtag-billed march and campaign #ITSBIGGERTHANYOU on Aug. 18. According to the local Fox News affiliate, the rally drew an estimated 5,000.

State Representative "Able" Mable Thomas was there. So was celebrated Civil Rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. But five decades after the Atlanta Student Movement sit-ins began demonstrations that would integrate lunch counters formerly located only blocks away, Monday's grassroots and student-led march served as a reminder that the Civil Rights Movement had also been propelled by young people.

Continue reading »

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First Slice 8/20/14: Atlanta officials threaten to shut off water for businesses with unpaid bills

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless
Atlanta watershed officials are doubling down on efforts to get delinquent businesses to pay their water bills. If they don't settle their bills, the city is threatening to shut off their water. The highest unpaid bill belongs to the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which owes more than $400,000, according to the city. "There's some question about that amount, but I do not question we owe a large amount," Executive Director Anita Beaty told CBS Atlanta. "The city has participated with some of the business community, who we are in litigation with now, to block all our funding."

Georgia's public service commission has approved nearly $400 million in extra funding to help pay for Plant Vogtle's recent cost overruns.

The Georgia Aquarium today is continuing its legal fight to bring 18 beluga whales from Russia into the United States.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has unveiled potential changes to the Ga. 400 and I-285 interchange. The project could start sometime in 2016.

Don't worry, watchdog-minded Georgia residents, the state's ethics commission is "back on track," its executive director says. (Yes, that's the same leader who had been pressured by the governor in a threatening memo.)

Amnesty International is now in Ferguson, Mo., marking the first time that the global rights organization has sent its staffers on an American mission.

A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has reportedly beheaded American freelance photojournalist James Wright Foley, who was captured in Syria in November 2012, and has threatened to execute a second reporter. ISIS wants President Barack Obama to stop airstrikes in Iraq.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Slice 8/19/14: Investigation demanded over controversial 'hardship' payouts to police chief, Reed staffers

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner
Members of Atlanta City Council, city employees, and public safety unions are all demanding an investigation into controversial payouts to Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner and members of Mayor Kasim Reed's office. “You’re seeing big lump sum payouts of vacation and sick time for a supposed hardship policy, when we have people who lost their houses in foreclosure because their spouses lost their jobs in the economic downfall,” said Ken Allen, Atlanta's police union chief.

In a conference call yesterday, Jason Carter went on the offensive against Gov. Nathan Deal by criticizing economic policies that had resulted in Georgia having the second-highest unemployment rate in the country. “Georgia has every ingredient to be a powerhouse but we’re not putting them together in a way that makes sense. The governor doesn’t get it,” he said. “He’s still declaring victory. That's unacceptable.”

Remember the Fort McPherson lawsuit Mayor Kasim Reed called "garbage?" The studio taking legal action says it had been working with the base's redevelopment authority on a land deal as far back as 2011.

The shooting death of a woman in Helen, Ga., has sparked further debate about Georgia's gun law: “Maybe the shooting was accidental. But what was the guy doing drawing a gun in the middle of a crowd?”

As the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial gets underway, NPR looks at why the city's massive testing scandal matters.

ICYMI: The Atlanta City Council calls for increased police surveillance after Michael Brown shooting.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Rallies scheduled for tonight, Wednesday to show solidarity with Ferguson protesters

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 11:38 AM

If you're tired of sitting at home and watching on TV what's happening in Ferguson, Mo., you can go out and voice your frustration with other Atlantans.

Two rallies to show solidarity with nonviolent protesters and voice opposition to excessive police tactics are scheduled this week, including one tonight.

Supporters plan to meet tonight outside CNN's Downtown headquarters starting around 6:30 p.m. CL could not immediately confirm what group is organizing the event.

On Wednesday, the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee are organizing a protest at West End Park starting at 7 p.m. The group helped organize last July's massive rally and march in protest of the killing of Martin by George Zimmerman.

"The structure is loose," says Taryn Jordan, one of the event's organizers. "It's going to be a speakout so however who wants to speak, can... And we'll go from there, like last year."

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First Slice 8/18/14: Georgia teens launch app to rate police

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 7:48 AM

How are we doing?
What did you do for fun during your teenage years? Were you, like Parkview High School student Ima Christian and her siblings, making apps that allow people to rate interactions with police officers? The beta version of the app, named Five-0, goes live today.

Atlanta's sky-high water rates are likely to remain stable at least until 2016, says Moody's Investor Services. So know your bills will stay high but maybe not go too much higher.

Noise from a nearby firing range has caused at least one resident of a Gwinnett County subdivision to wear earplugs while at home to muffle the soothing sound of repeat gunfire.

Michael Brown, the unarmed Missouri teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer, sparking days of protest and a militarized response by local police, was shot at least six times, according to an autopsy requested by his family.

Ready for some Atlanta Braves stadium news? OK, well, the owner of a property located near the proposed Cobb County ballpark has filed a lawsuit over the project. And Cobb Chairman Tim Lee, who orchestrated the behind-closed-doors deal, might have some explaining to do. The AJC has learned that Lee hired an attorney off the books to help negotiate the deal early on with the Braves. Here's a rundown of the negotiations.

Oh, and speaking of the Braves: Here's a NSFW photo, courtesy of /r/Atlanta, of the man who showed off his incredible tan during the sixth inning of Saturday's game against the Oakland Athletics. Have a great Monday!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

First Slice 8/17/14: Massive steel transit beast spotted on Downtown streets

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Did you and your loved ones venture Downtown and watch the Atlanta Streetcar get "tow-tested" on the tracks linking Centennial Olympic Park and the King Center early on Saturday morning?

Congressman Doug Collins, R-Georgia, says an atheist group that's raised concerns about a Hall County high school football team's pre-game banners and promotions is a bunch of bullies. “It’s utterly disgusting that while innocent lives are being lost in Iraq and other places at the hands of radical religious terrorists," Collins said, "a bunch of Washington lawyers are finding the time to pick on kids in Northeast Georgia.” Damn lawyers.

Soren the Truth Owl, the winged guardian of justice that recently escaped from its confines at Zoo Atlanta, was discovered less than one mile away and returned to the Grant Park attraction.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is trying to find out who killed Afolabi Odifa while he was driving his taxi over the weekend. Odifa came to the United States six years ago and leaves behind a wife and 8-month-old son.

One person was shot and seven arrested during an overnight curfew in Ferguson, Mo., where residents are protesting the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer.

ICYMI: Luke O'Donovan, a student who says he was defending himself when he stabbed several people during an altercation at a Reynoldstown party, was sentenced to 10 years - eight of which he'll be on probation and banished from all but one county in Georgia.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

U.S. Rep. John Lewis on Michael Brown, Ferguson police: 'This is not 1940 or 1950 in America, but today it is hard to see the difference'

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Congressman John Lewis, D-Atlanta
Says Congressman John Lewis, D-Atlanta, in a statement about the killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent police tactics in Ferguson, Mo.:

"The death of Michael Brown is a grave tragedy the community of Ferguson, Missouri should not have to bear. How many more young men of color will be killed before we realize that we have a problem in America? We are permitting the incarceration and shooting of thousands of black and brown boys in their formative years who might have become great artists, leaders, scientists, or lawyers if we had offered them our support instead of our suspicion.

"It is a shame and a disgrace that a city with a significant African American population has only three representatives from that community on the police force. What kind of a police department is it that would refer to the people it should be trying to protect as animals? It is unbelievable that these ideas could run rampant in 2014. This is not 1940 or 1950 in America, but today it is hard to see the difference.

"This is not China or Russia or Syria. This is America, and in this country we have a right to protest in a peaceful, orderly non-violent fashion, and the press should be free to cover these protests without fear. The police should not interfere in the exercise of these constitutional rights. If people are not allowed to express their dissatisfaction through peaceful protest, they will find other means to make their voices heard.

"This is a good time to consider the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said that "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice." I am glad the federal government will make an independent investigation of these matters.

"I urge every agency, every department, every community, every official and every person involved in this conflict to allow the whole truth to emerge so that peace - true peace and real justice will be the result.

"My prayers are with the family of Michael Brown who lost their hope for a better future, with the city of Ferguson which has become the crucible of this conflict, and my prayers are for this nation still struggling with the scars and stains of racial discrimination, wanton violence, and flagrant injustice."

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Slice 8/13/14: Reed supports police chief, senior officials over controversial cash payouts

Posted By on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Mayor Kasim Reed has defended cash payments handed out to some of his senior officials and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner that some Atlanta City Councilmembers say violated city laws. “I don’t buy this argument that what was done was illegal or improper,” Reed told WABE.

Atlanta Police are on the lookout for a man who allegedly attacked a runner jogging on the Freedom Park Trail last Monday.

The Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association voted against a rezoning effort that would have allowed "park-for-hire" lots near the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. “Surface parking lots effectively destroy the neighborhoods surrounding sports arenas by isolating them behind seas of asphalt,” Attorney Everett Lee Morris, IV, told Saporta Report. “This is what occurred with Turner Field, which negatively impacted the neighborhoods of Summer Hill and Mechanicsville severely.”

One of Atlanta's top watershed department officials was terminated late last week. On the heels of that firing, up to 19 more department employees could be axed following an investigation into internal theft and mismanagement.

Will Jamestown Properties, Ponce City Market's developer, continue its gentrifying ways in Old Fourth Ward? Fast Company outlines how the company's business practices have impacted New York.

Lyft has accused employees of Uber, one of its main ridesharing competitors, of ordering and canceling more than 5,000 rides.

ICYMI: Occupy Our Homes Atlanta activists walk free - for now - after mistrial.

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