Author Archives: David Pendered

About David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with nearly 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

Jay-Z, Beethoven and EarSketch: Tech remixes masters to engage students in computer science

Even Beethoven and Jay-Z may be impressed by a Georgia Tech program that just won another federal grant to expand a program that teaches computer science through music.

The idea is to intrigue high school students who haven’t shown much interest in computer science by showing its application in music and the recording industry. Minorities and women are a primary focus.

Tech announced Thursday it had won a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to further the work of EarSketch. The award extends a $2 million grant NSF awarded EarSketch in 2011. Continue reading

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A final frontier in Atlanta: West End could grow new homes, shops, while sheltering current residents

West End may be an ideal candidate for redevelopment in this unusual era of the economy.

The newly released study of West End by Georgia Tech students sees opportunities in situations that would have been clear threats to redevelopment before the great recession. The report suggests that West End is ripe for new investments in retail and residential.

These ventures could both stabilize and benefit from the redevelopment of a stretch of Northside Drive, an historic industrial corridor that begins at the tip of Buckhead, passes Atlantic Station and the future Falcons stadium, and ends in the vicinity of West End and Fort McPherson.
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A final frontier in Atlanta: Northside Drive plans complete – Buckhead to Falcons stadium area, to West End

The final piece is in place of a framework plan by Georgia Tech students that could guide development along the frontier of an historic Atlanta industrial corridor.

Just like Buckhead, the West End neigbhorhood that’s at the heart of the newly released plan developed around a tavern – Charner Humphrie’s two-story White Hall Tavern. West End’s beginnings as a travelers’ rest stop date to 1835, three years before Buckhead was established.

The latest plan provides a method to link the shops, homes, parks and places of worship of West End with the Atlanta University Center – the nation’s largest concentration of historically black colleges and universities.
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Atlanta’s airport to get ads pasted on windows, hung from roof, and more

Atlanta’s airport could soon have advertising pasted on windows, hung from rooftop banners, and streamed across a screen above the central atrium.

The airport intends to open these areas, and more, as part of its upcoming contract with a company to sell and manage commercial advertising. The airport’s ad business now grosses more than $10 million a year, city records show.

It’s all part of the airport’s effort to reach its No. 1 goal with the new ad contract: “To increase Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s advertising revenue.” The airport could use the money, according to the city budget.
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Ga. 400 tolls: Gov. Deal reminds that tolls are history, closure wins awards

The issue of tolls on Ga. 400 may not be a hot button issue in this fall’s race for governor, but a recent media release reminds voters that tollbooths came down during the term of Gov. Nathan Deal.

The State Road and Tollway Authority, which the governor chairs, issued a statement about SRTA winning a national award related to the toll closure. The release was dated Sept. 5 and referenced an award bestowed Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, the Ga. 400 tolls are featured on Deal’s campaign website. They’re listed in the section titled, “The Results,” where the website states without elaboration: “Promise Kept, End of GA 400 Toll.”
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GRTA considers options to keep its bus fleet safe, reliable, tidy

Repair or replace? That’s the question facing GRTA as it considers its fleet of aging buses. The answer isn’t obvious.

Repair is cheaper for the next six years. But after that, replacement is the less expensive option, according to a consultant’s report presented Wednesday to GRTA’s board.

GRTA officials have presented the figures to Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff, and to the governor’s budget writing agency, the Office of Planning and Budget. The timing suggests GRTA may seek some level of funding in the state’s upcoming FY 2016 budget, which the next governor will present to the Legislature in January.
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Memorial Drive planners face mash-up of serene homes, scenes compared to ‘Ukrainian civil war’

Memorial Drive was buzzing a decade ago as homebuyers picked up units located close to Downtown Atlanta and Midtown, but at prices that reflected the street’s gritty urban texture.

These days, humming may be a better word to describe the pace of development. Another difference? Now there’s a bona fide effort to plan for the future of the corridor along a 5.5-mile stretch from I-75/85 to Candler Road.

A group of Georgia Tech graduate students, working under the guidance of Mike Dobbins, a Tech professor of practice, are devising a framework plan for the Memorial Drive corridor. Consider just this one fact the students already have unearthed:
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Bio-pharm research company expands plasma facility in Norcross, bolsters Innovation Crescent

A New Jersey-based company involved in the high stakes world of biopharmaceutical research has just expanded an important subsidiary in Norcross – a blood plasma collection center.

The parent company conducts research with plasma. If the research is successful, the resulting product could help countless suffers of chronic diseases and provide enormous revenues to ADMA Biologics, Inc.

The expansion of ADMA BioCenters, in Norcross, represents another step in the growth of metro Atlanta’s bioscience industry. The region’s economic developers are focused on bringing bioscience and health IT businesses to the corridor that connects Atlanta’s airport and Athens.
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New report on education funding provides context for claims by Deal, Carter in campaign for governor

A new report on Georgia’s education funding, from an Atlanta think tank, offers more fodder for the gubernatorial battle between Gov. Nathan Deal and challenger Sen. Jason Carter.

The report by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute finds little improvement since GBPI’s similar report last year – which determined that cutbacks in funding for K-12 education were causing local districts to trim days from the school year and assign more students to each teacher.

The GBPI report, “The Schoolhouse Squeeze 2014,” provides context for Carter’s claims that Deal has, “slashed billions of dollars from public education,” and for Deal’s claims that he has “prioritized education and child safety funding as state revenues rebound from the Great Recession.”
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Mottled ducks in Georgia to be tracked with futuristic technology that’s now commonplace

Tremendous scientific advances in the tracking of birds are now so commonplace that they were barely mentioned in a recent release from the state Department of Natural Resources about a new tracking program.

It was just in 1984 that a bald eagle in the U.S. became the first bird to be outfitted with a satellite tracking device. That was a huge advance from the piece of string that James Audubon tied a string on the leg of a bird in 1803 to see if it would return after the autumn migration. (It did.)

These days, satellite telemetry is so common that mottled ducks along Georgia’s coast are being outfitted this fall with transmitters. The solar-power devices will gather GPS location information from Air Force satellites and transmit it back to researchers.
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