Maria’s Metro

My tribute to Herman Russell – lessons in business, race, friends, family, love

Update: Herman Russell’s wake will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Friday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22 at St. Philip AME Church at 240 Candler Rd SE.

When I got a call Saturday telling me that the larger-than-life Herman Russell had passed away, it was hard to believe.

Even though he was just a month shy of his 84th birthday, Russell seemed to be one of those people who would defy the passage of time and be with us for years to come.
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Celestine Sibley – a wise and beautiful writer and woman with a warm heart

I had never appreciated the reporting chops of Celestine Sibley until I became her target.

As a budding journalist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I had long admired the homespun writing talents of Sibley – her ability to tell heartfelt tales of the ordinary man or woman, bringing them alive with extraordinary stories bridging our humanity.

The Atlanta Press Club inducted the late Celestine Sibley into its Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 7 along with NBC’s Tom Brokaw, WXIA’s Brenda Wood and Claude Sitton, who covered the civil rights movement for the New York Times out of Atlanta.
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By ignoring public funding for the arts, Georgia’s innovation economy suffers

The amazing arts disconnect.

Georgia has endured endless months of repetitive campaign ads and messages spotlighting our weaknesses or strengths in education and the economy depending from a candidate’s point of view.

But what speaks volumes is what has been left unsaid.

We have heard repeatedly that we have the highest rate of unemployment. We already know we have among the lowest average SAT scores in the nation and rank low in high school graduation rates.
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Fort McPherson – secret treasure can spark rebirth of Atlanta’s southside

The second in a two-part series about the economic opportunity on metro Atlanta’s southside. Last week: significance of Clayton’s vote on Nov. 4 to join MARTA.

Behind the walls surrounding Fort McPherson, a secret Atlanta treasure remains hidden from public view.

The 488-acre property – larger than three Atlantic Stations – currently includes an historic row of officers’ housing, a golf course, beautiful historic buildings, a parade ground, lakes and numerous amenities that helped Fort McPherson become its own self-contained community.
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Clayton’s Nov. 4 MARTA vote could shift metro growth to the south side

The first in a two-part series about the economic opportunity on the southside of metro Atlanta. Next week: unlocking the secret treasure of Fort McPherson.

For decades, metro Atlanta’s center of gravity has grown to the north – creating a lopsided region.

But one vote on Nov. 4 could reverse that trend.
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GEEARS makes sure early childhood education wins at the polls on Nov. 4

Early childhood education advocates in Georgia showed their political chops Monday when they invited candidates for Governor, U.S. Senate and State School Superintendent to a forum at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

It was a strategic way to get exposure, and even commitments, from the elected leaders in Georgia three weeks before the General Election on Nov. 4. The three candidates for governor showed up in person — Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, Democrat Jason Carter and Libertarian Andrew Hunt.
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Author Andrew Winston makes a business case for saving the earth – evoking the memory of Ray Anderson

Corporate environmentalist Andrew Winston, the speaker at Southface’s Visionary Dinner on Oct. 1, quoted from Georgia’s own legend — the late Ray Anderson.

“What’s the business case for ending life on earth?” Winston asked, quoting Anderson.

Winston is the author of “The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World;” as well as the best-selling “Green to Gold” books.

Though he didn’t say it explicitly, Winston would probably rephrase Anderson’s question and ask: “What is the business case for saving life on earth?”
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2014 Music Midtown – saved by fabulous weather; park issues remain

If 2013 was the worst of years for Music Midtown in Piedmont Park, 2014 had to be the best of years.

The weather could not have been more perfect. There was not a drop of rain. The days were warm, and the evenings were cool. As Stephan Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, observed between songs, it was the autumnal equinox – the last day of summer – a magical time of year.

For LiveNation Atlanta and promoter Peter Conlon, 2014 was the magical yin to last year’s yang – when Music Midtown was a rain-soaked event that turned the park’s meadow and grass fields into a mud pit several inches deep.
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Park Pride has been advocating for Atlanta’s parks for 25 years

For 25 years, Park Pride has been providing a voice for the voiceless – the parks in Atlanta and DeKalb County.

Parks and green space – although they are often underappreciated – contribute to a community’s quality of life, providing a respite for people to go experience a patch of nature in the city.

Park Pride is celebrating its 25-year anniversary with a series of events that has included Pops in Parks and a fund-raising event on Sept. 18 called: “Picnic for Parks.”
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Saying good-bye to Truett Cathy while knowing his extended family lives on

Few family-owned companies make it to the third generation.

But S. Truett Cathy can rest peacefully in his grave knowing that the famous chicken sandwich chain that he started is alive and well in the loving hands of children and grandchildren.

The love and devotion among the Cathys and their extended family members is undeniable. It was in full display on Wednesday, Sept. 10 during Truett Cathy’s Memorial Service at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro.

The bond that exists extends much farther than just among those who enjoy the same bloodlines. The Cathys – carrying forth a practice set by Truett himself – have embraced people from all walks of life facing any number of challenges – and made them part of their family.
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