Author Archives: Michelle Hiskey

About Michelle Hiskey

Michelle Hiskey is a freelance writer and writing coach based in Decatur, and her day job is senior editor on Emory University's development communications team. Michelle worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 22 years as a sports reporter, columnist and Sunday feature writer, and her stories of recovery and redemption bridge unexpected places and people across Atlanta. She lives in Decatur with her husband Ben Smith, also a journalist, and their two awesome daughters. She can be reached at michelle.hiskey@gmail.com.

From CHOA to the White House, via NASCAR

Andrew Childers nearly died playing high school football in Atlanta in 2002 and appeared far removed from the sports fame that earns the highest national accolades. And yet this year he and his team were guests at the White House, where President Obama complimented his team’s athleticism.

Childers got to the White House using his strength and speed from football to help change tires as the jack man for 2013 NASCAR champion driver Jimmie Johnson.
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The Ray Barreras era ends in Atlanta

When Renaissance man Ray Barreras recently departed Atlanta, the city’s fabric lost a stabilizing force.

For 50 years here, he made the complex look easy, from teaching organic chemistry at the Atlanta University Center and Morehouse School of Medicine, to manning the WABE pledge drive for decades, to a gender-busting, prolific hobby of quilt making. That list only scratches the surface of his service, mostly behind the scenes and without pay, that helped Atlanta diversify.
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Life savings gone, Wow! Food truck owner rolls on

Wendy Cross bought one of the first food trucks in Atlanta in 2011 and taught herself the grueling work of operating and marketing a mobile restaurant. If it didn’t work out, she had her life savings of $400,000 to fall back on.

But when she was defrauded by Aubrey Lee Price, the Buckhead money manager who tried to fake his death, her food truck went from fun to fundamental to her survival. As she rolls into Suwanee’s Food Truck Friday this week, through the small sliding windows, Cross is rebuilding her belief in the goodness of others. A big part of her support network is her brother, “Arrested Development” star David Cross. The siblings grew up in a sketchy apartment in Sandy Springs.
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As ground breaks for new Braves park, risk rises for men of iron

Shovels were a sign of excitement at last week’s groundbreaking for the new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County, but they also recalled the grave dug for Jack Falls, who died in a construction accident on the old stadium.

He was killed in 1995 when a light tower he was working on collapsed at the Olympic Stadium, which became Turner Field. An engineer had miscalculated the load that the tower could bear. His family recently recovered a stone plaque from Turner Field that marks his legacy.
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To journalists on front line, Atlanta chaplain offers lifeline

The beheading of James Foley troubled Dorie Griggs of Roswell on a level that most of us cannot relate to. For the last 12 years she has followed an unpaid calling as a chaplain to journalists, especially those in combat zones.

It would be hard to find anyone in metro Atlanta who understands and supports the news gatherers who rush to danger without the benefit of trauma training. And sometimes don’t come back.
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Obscure inventor, quirky museum plow roots of television

Rigby, Idaho—Life before television lies in stark relief here in this small high desert town (pop. 4000) in southeastern Idaho. Its claim to fame is the birthplace of TV, where a teenaged farm boy first thought up the technology to carry images through the air into our homes.

The story is told at the quirky Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, which itself could be a destination for the Travel Channel. In this converted hotel, amid the animal trophies, retro beauty shop mannequins and collections of barbed wire, you can find his quintessentially American hard-luck inventor story. Philo Farnsworth believed he could invent a device to transmit pictures and sound over long distance, and he did it without getting much credit or fortune.
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At 78, my healthy mom’s guide to dying well

My parents both turned 78 last week, and they remain so fit that I am unsure, at 51, if I can keep up. I know that they won’t always be alive, but picturing them gone is hard to wrap my mind around. It’s too painful. So I rarely dwell on that reality.

One surprising Sunday afternoon late last month cleared the hard-packed sand around my ostrich head, and helped me start accepting the fact of their eventual deaths. Especially if you’re in the sandwich generation and put off dealing with this reality….
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At 72, Chuck Wolf still developing a photo legacy

At 72, Chuck Wolf has reinvented himself from the owner of a national chain of camera stores to a single boutique storefront in Sandy Springs. Chuck Wolf’s Photo Bar points to how phones and social media make it easy to document our lives, but in the fast pace of digital life, how many of us take a longer view of what we want most to leave behind?

Wolf’s knack has always been to understand that photos aren’t about people and places and moments; they are about our identities and values. The Photo Bar serves those customers, some of whom want to curate and manipulate the selves they show to the world.
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Color Runs: The Peachtree Road Race’s millennial offspring

The Peachtree Road Race on July 4 is rooted in a time when running wasn’t popular. Out on the multicolored, millennial fringes of outdoor recreation for young adults, the clenched-teeth grind is passé.

By turning up the party, color runs have become a popular mixing zone for socializing, sweating, and social media. If anything was tailor made for the selfie and the “unique shareable experiences” craved by the millennial generation, it’s a color run.
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Atlanta men, man up for girls. Period.

Without men, you can’t spell menstruation. And that’s as far as most men want to read about this subject. But local men like Nathan Hilkert are manning up to encourage other men to pitch in for Days for Girls, a volunteer effort that targets a big barrier to educating girls in developing countries. When they have their periods, they miss school. Days for Girls prepares and delivers reusable feminine hygiene kits.

Men and boys play an incredibly important role in tackling the taboos around menstruation that isolate and weaken girls and help lead to sexual exploitation and violence.
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