Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beauty’s in the house

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 1:25 PM

WORK IT: Beauty's mom shows the way around a beauty parlor as well as her side gig making hype workout videos. - KATHRYN KOLB
  • Kathryn Kolb
  • WORK IT: Beauty's mom shows the way around a beauty parlor as well as her side gig making hype workout videos.

Parents who feel like Portlandia’s parenting sketches sometimes hit a bit too close to home should take their kale-eating, free-range darlings to see Beauty and the Beast at the Center for Puppetry Arts post haste. Local shopping, no batteries playing, feminist, and multicultural riffing — this puppet show has it all.

Fairy tales pass down culture and societal norms. They teach children moral lessons and common sense: Little Red Riding Hood gives kids a healthy dose of stranger-danger 101, Pinocchio outlines the dangers of lying, and Sleeping Beauty, well, maybe parents should skip that one unless they are ready to explain that “YES” means consent. Beauty and the Beast is no exception, and the mores the puppet version celebrates are more hip than aristocratic.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Backyard to big world: Exploring Eric Carle’s Art at the High

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 12:14 PM

“I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle” is organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. - ILLUSTRATION FROM “THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR” © 1969 AND 1987 BY ERIC  CARLE.
  • Illustration from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” © 1969 and 1987 by Eric Carle.
  • “I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle” is organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.

A red and green lacewing in the skylight of the plaza elevator greets visitors, and friendly employees sporting caterpillar tattoos welcome adults and children into the immersive environment of its new show I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle.

Carle, author of the childhood staple The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has created more than 70 picture books and is well known for his vibrant palate and cheerful characters from the natural world and bizarre remnants of childhood memories, Sunday pancakes and lost elementary school love. “Eric Carle has created some of the most recognizable and enjoyable books ever written for young children,” says Virginia Shearer, the Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education at the High. “We are honored to feature his work and celebrate the profound impact his books have had on the lives and learning of children for generations.”

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Creatures of Light illuminates nature, not pixels

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 9:37 AM

OH, GLOW ON: The exhibition features a recreation of New Zealand’s Waitomo cave system, complete with bioluminescent gnat larvae to trap prey. - ©AMNH\D. FINNIN
  • ©AMNH\D. Finnin
  • OH, GLOW ON: The exhibition features a recreation of New Zealand’s Waitomo cave system, complete with bioluminescent gnat larvae to trap prey.

As warm weather settles in around the south, fireflies emerge among the honeysuckle, blinking a siren song. Children occasionally put down iPads and Xbox remotes, grab Mason jars and run into backyards, ready to capture and marvel at something other than the new gun options on Battlefront. The Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence exhibit at Fernbank Natural History Museum delves into the science behind this backyard magic as well as the workings of other bioluminescent animals.

From glowing mushrooms called foxfire — of which some are edible and some are definitely not —to luminous cockroaches (the horrors!), the exhibit explores the language of light. A hands-on simulator even allows visitors to try “talking” to fireflies, an especially exciting treat for little explorers.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Snoop Dreams: Tinder, the Hawks, and the death of dating in ATL

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Your Atlanta Hawks aimed to hone in on their millennial fan base by hosting Swipe Right Night Wednesday in conjunction with the dating app Tinder. The app presents you with a few photos and quickie profile of another user of the gender you selected to "discover" in another tab. From there, you swipe left ("nope") or right ("hollaaa"). The idea was to invite all folks with Tinder to drop their eligible pool of potential dating companions to a one-mile proximity. Steve Koonin, the Hawks' new CEO, thought up the plan to incorporate the app as a way to get more fans at the game. Chief Creative Officer Peter Sorckoff says the Hawks were just trying to "make sense as an entertainment source."

In the name of journalism and as a by-definition millennial, I downloaded the app and played along.

How would I KNOW my future husband was also at SRN? The answer revealed itself.

As a relative newcomer to sports, I wasn't confident in differentiating between sports lingo and sexual innuendo.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Police arrest teen after overnight robbing spree in southeast Atlanta

Posted By on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Atlanta Police have arrested one teen and are still looking for another after a string of three armed robberies last night around Grant Park.

The spree started around 10 p.m. when, police say, two black males parked a scooter near the intersections of Woodland and Eden avenues. The passenger hopped off the bike and, while pointing a silver revolver, approached a pedestrian and demanded his cell phone and cash.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Suspended DJJ investigators return to work as number of unresolved cases grow

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles
  • Courtesy DJJ
  • Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles
Nearly 20 Department of Juvenile Justice investigators suspended over a glut of unresolved abuse reports returned to work this morning after a month-long internal investigation, state officials announced over the weekend.

The department's entire investigative unit, including its supervisor, was suspended with pay last month after a federal survey found that a number of Georgia's juvenile detention facilities ranked among the worst in the nation for instances of sexual abuse. At the time DJJ found evidence that at least 20 cases - some dating back to 2012 - had not been investigated in a timely manner.

Since then the number of still open investigations under the DJJ's jurisdiction has grown to roughly 700 covering the past 18 months, DJJ Communications Director Jim Shuler said in a statement (PDF). Department policy dictates all cases be closed within a 45-day period. Of the 700 unresolved cases, 275 included "some sexual connotation" in the original report.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Georgia struggles to maintain gains in child well-being

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Screen Shot/Kids Count Data Book 2013
  • Screen Shot/Kids Count Data Book 2013

One out of every four kids in Georgia lives in poverty, though the state's children have shown some improvements in health and education in recent years, according to a new report measuring the well-being of our nation's youth.

Georgia continues to struggle with ensuring positive outcomes for kids when compared with many other parts of the nation. According to the latest Kids Count Data Book - an annual report released by Annie E. Casey Foundation - Georgia dropped behind six other states since 2012, ranking 43 out of 50 and essentially erasing a boon in performance seen last year.

"We've actually improved or held steady in most indicators within our state," Georgia Family Connection Partnership executive director Gaye Smith said in a statement. The GAFCP helped the Casey Foundation collect Georgia-specific data for the report.

"So we are making gains - just not as quickly as the rest of the nation," Smith said.

Compared with 2005, more kids are graduating high school on time, preschool enrollment is up, and overall kids are living healthier lives - though the state did see a slight increase in the number of low birth weights.

A sluggish economy continues to have the biggest negative impact. Compared with four years ago, nearly 25 percent more kids have parents that lack full-time employment. That has contributed to a rise in the number of kids living in poverty, some 26 percent in 2011 - or about 647,000 kids - up from 20 percent just six years earlier.

Nationwide, about 23 percent of kids were living in poverty in 2011, the year for which the latest data is available.

Georgia's ranking is comparable with much of the South. Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi are also among the 10 worst performing states. New Mexico showed the worst results, while New Hampshire topped the list.


The report looks at 16 performance areas including economic well-being, education, family and community, and health to calculate the annual rankings. You can dig through all the national and state-level data online if you so choose, or check out Georgia's profile here.

  • Screen Shot/Kids Count Data Book 2013

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Nearly 20 Department of Juvenile Justice investigators suspended over unfinished sex abuse cases

Posted By on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 9:18 AM

HQ: Department of Juvenile Justice central office in Decatur
  • Courtesy GA DJJ
  • HQ: Department of Juvenile Justice central office in Decatur

Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice late yesterday suspended 19 investigators and the unit's former chief after it revealed that more than 20 unfinished cases of sexual abuse allegations were not investigated in a timely manner.

"It is a disturbing breach of confidence and fundamentally unacceptable," Commissioner Avery Niles said in a release (PDF). "These investigators have a duty to protect our youth and employees and to uphold the most basic standards of professional behavior."

The move came barely a week after a federal report showed that four Georgia juvenile detention facilities ranked among the worst in the nation for instances of sexual abuse. Paulding County's short-term lockup topped the list. The department launched a special advisory committee in response to the report. Its findings led to yesterday's suspensions.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Senate approves juvenile justice reform bill

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM

For the second year in a row, Georgia lawmakers have come together to hold hands around a package of reforms for the state's justice system. If the research holds true, the changes promise to save Georgia wads of money, decrease the number of reoffending criminals, and move our collective psyche further away from a decades-long "tough on crime" approach that often erroneously equated longer prison sentences with crime reduction.

Yesterday, state senators followed in the steps of the Georgia House of Representatives, unanimously voting to approve House Bill 242, a piece of legislation that's considered the first large-scale revision to Georgia's juvenile justice system in more than four decades.

Once signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, the revisions would give judges more discretion in sentencing young criminals, provide more than $5 million to fund community-based programs for some low-level offenders, and cut juvenile incarceration costs by a projected $88 million over the next five years, among other things.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Atlanta foster system improves adoption rates, struggles with other benchmarks

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Metro Atlanta's child welfare system has steadily boosted adoption rates in recent months, a federal monitoring report released earlier this week says, but continues to struggle with meeting several federal benchmarks set to ensure that kids in foster care grow up in safe environments and result in positive outcomes.

While adoption rates have improved, Georgia's Department of Human Services - which oversees the Division of Children and Family Services (DFCS) and the state's child welfare system - made little to no overall progress in improving Fulton and DeKalb counties' foster system in the first six months of 2012.

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