Michelle Hiskey

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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Between faith and facts, ‘Zealot’ author Reza Aslan zeroes in

What do you most ardently believe in, and what discoveries might change your mind? Reza Aslan’s strong clear voice at the intersection of belief and facts came to metro Atlanta last week, drawing more than 470 people to the First Baptist Church in Decatur.

The author of the bestseller “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Aslan drew my attention after his July 2013 viral Fox News interview. You may have seen how the interviewer repeatedly questioned why Aslan, a Muslim who serves as a scholar of religions and professor of creative writing at the University of California Riverside, would write a book about Jesus.
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With 18,000 films and corner storefront, Videodrome survives era of movie streaming

Year after year, Videodrome won Creative Loafing’s top rating as the best video store in Atlanta. Its deep stock of movie titles was matched by the staff’s deep appreciation for film history and genres. Then came online streaming and a recession that erased the competition—and the video store category from the Best of Atlanta competition. Now Videodrome is alone.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Redbox have not killed this video store at the corner of North and Highland Avenues, which continues to rent its 18,000 DVD titles to customers who want an experience not offered by the grocery store movie box and the online streaming service.
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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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HVAC family finds knack for giving back

In the tiny Iowa farming community where Matthew Holtkamp grew up, folks tended to their own crops. When illness or catastrophe struck any of the 100 residents of St. Paul everyone rallied to help. Today he and his wife Suzanne, who is from Ohio, are trying to pitch in on a much larger scale in Gwinnett County (population nearly 850,000).

The Holtkamps own a Suwanee-based heating and air-conditioning company, so they know how important basic systems are to family comfort and stability. In their county, many families lacked basic needs—even food. So the Holtkamps decided during the depths of the Great Recession to create a charity through their company.
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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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Political silence not always golden

The two-month political campaign cone of silence finally broke Sunday.  Since the May 20th Georgia primary, I have not received a single flier, heard one obnoxious robocall or discovered any earnest campaign volunteers hanging on my doorbell.

But two days before the July 22nd Georgia primary runoff election a friend sent me an e-mail telling me how to vote. “Please know how important it is to vote in the runoff Tuesday,” wrote Margaret Hylton Jones. “I am often asked by many friends who I am supporting for public office because of my lifelong experience in Georgia politics. So I am reaching out to many friends to offer a couple of very important recommendations for critical offices.” So how effective is neighbor-to-neighbor voter outreach?
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