Guest Columns

Guest Columns

When dealing with addiction disorders on college campuses, we all benefit

By Guest Columnist TERESA WREN JOHNSTON, director of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery at Kennesaw State University and founding president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education

In a world where mental health and substance use disorders get top billing only when a tragedy occurs to a celebrity, a famous athlete or a music superstar, it is easy to overlook the millions of people suffering unnoticed.

When the headlines read heroin overdose, death by suicide or famous entertainer enters treatment, we stand up and take notice; in fact, we can’t get enough.
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Habitat homes in historic West End should follow designated guidelines

By Guest Columnist KATHI WOODCOCKa resident of the West End Historic District for five years and member of the West End Preservation Committee

The Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s website states: “It is the mission of the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance that any changes which occur to a designated property be in keeping with the historic character of the building or district.”

The West End Historic District, once known as White Hall, was established in 1835, and predates the City of Atlanta. West End is a vibrant community that takes pride in its 100-plus-year-old homes and designation on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Give Fulton board freedom to decide for itself – just like all Georgia counties

By Guest Columnist JOHN EAVESchairman of Fulton County’s Board of Commissioners since 2007.

Fayette. DeKalb. Cobb. Clayton. Gwinnett.

Each is one of Georgia’s 159 counties, and each one has been charged with making decisions on behalf of its citizens.  As such, each has a board of commissioners that have been asked by voters to provide government services ranging from public safety to libraries.

Each is responsible for managing emergency responses and gauging potential threats to public health.  Each has workers who take these tasks very seriously.
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Local leaders, weather experts seek to prepare Atlanta for climate change

By Guest Columnist GARRY HARRIS, president and CEO of HTS Enterprise Energy Solutions as well as president and CEO of Center for Sustainable Communities and the executive director of Emerald Cities Metro Atlanta.

Although we are now feeling the heat and humidity of summer, only a few months ago, Atlanta was brought to a virtual standstill by a rare snowstorm.

The storm was a glimpse of the challenges the region could see as a result of climate change causing extreme weather.
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Environmental justice offers a new way to engage Atlanta’s architects

By Guest Columnist GARFIELD L. PEART, an architect and sustainable business consultant, serves on AIA Atlanta’s board of directors

Architects have the power to take Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “outside the building envelop” to transform communities by leading diverse design teams and community stakeholders to combat some of our most pressing social and public health issues in the metro area.

Environmental justice presents a unique opportunity for community leaders and public officials to engage Atlanta architects to address these challenges.

Now with all the pressing economic issues facing communities in metro Atlanta, you may wonder why we should focus on environmental justice and how architects can possibly make an impact in an area traditionally addressed by city planners, community development corporations and policy makers.
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Court of Appeals’ ruling protects Georgia’s marshes; let’s hope state leaders will do the same next year

By Guest Columnist JOHN SIBLEY, former president of the Georgia Conservancy and a concerned citizen

Georgians have many joys in common, but is any greater than the moment when our coastal marshes break into view? The majesty and vastness of our marshes touch something essential for the human spirit, lifting it every time.

And that moment also reminds us of our shared history and joint obligation to be the best stewards we can be of the natural wonders with which our state is so greatly blessed.
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Atlanta University Center a pathway to increase diversity at technology firms

By Guest Columnist DARAKA E. SATCHERpartner and chief operating officer of the Pendleton Group consulting firm

Most of us have seen the news by now. A number of major tech firms recently reported dismally low diversity numbers. Only 2 percent of those who work at Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn are African-American.

If one accepts the widely held premise that these companies are representatives of the economy of the future, then this is a harbinger of a much greater problem.
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Are students learning? The second piece of the education puzzle

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, director of policy and research for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

On July 22 there is a primary run-off election in Georgia. One of the statewide offices voters can cast a ballot for in both the Republican and Democrat run-off is state school superintendent. Whoever is elected to this important post will be responsible for guiding the continued implementation of a broad education reform agenda.

Part of that holistic agenda involves the implementation of a new student assessment system.
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Fighting for women’s rights in Georgia – a state where women need it most

By Guest Columnist STEPHANIE DAVIS, recently retired (or as she says ‘rewired and re-inspired’) executive director of Georgia Women for a Change

To everyone who wonders how a feminist can survive—and thrive—in this state, how she can continue to persist, to overreach, to maintain an optimism in the face of so much hostility to women, I have this to say. I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

In the 30 years I have lived here, I have seen a creep towards more women’s leadership and the difference it has made.
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Society’s demand for ‘big data’ creating shortage of skilled workers

By Guest Columnist JENNIFER PRIESTLEY, professor of applied statistics and data science, and director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services, at Kennesaw State University

Big Data has created a big employment problem for metro Atlanta – there are simply too many jobs in data science and not enough people. And the gap between supply and demand is getting bigger. Universities in metro Atlanta are filling that void, helping both employers and those who want to obtain those jobs.

A day does not go by that we don’t hear of, or read a news story related to, the topic of data. It seems that everyone is collecting data – everything from our Facebook posts to our energy consumption to the books we read. The data we generate, which someone else collects, has become a pervasive characteristic of our society.
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