Michelle Hiskey

Forging a new future for GSU Holiday Iron Pour

The Iron Age of Atlanta ended Saturday night at 184 Edgewood Avenue. The 43rd annual Holiday Iron Pour, held at a makeshift foundry operated by Georgia State University sculpture students and professors, marked the end of an era and an uncertain future for this tradition of making one-of-a-kind items from molten metal.

The foundry is located in the Edgewood sculpture building, which in 1983 moved into an abandoned clothing store.
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Over time, over easy: Waffle House melts into memories

Unlike the Southern cult(ure) that it represents, the Waffle House Museum in Avondale Estates is only open twice a year. Saturday was one of those special days. I drive by the museum all the time but, like the chain itself, it’s so much part of our landscape that who pauses to consider what it’s accomplished?

This day—the 21,642nd day of continuous Waffle House service—I paused to celebrate the kitschy regional eatery that has inspired country songwriters and served as a backdrop for movies. Continue reading

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Getting a strategy to cope with holiday (diabetic) stress

Ding dong merrily on high. Welcome to my nightmare. For a Type 2 diabetic and compulsive overeater like me, visions of sugarplums, figgy pudding, gingerbread, wassail, eggnog, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding fill me more with dread than desire.

I am one of 29 million diabetics in the U.S. – 9.3 percent of the population – according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Happiness for free, courtesy of little ukulele

George Harrison once said the ukulele “is the one instrument you can’t play and not laugh.” No wonder he spent his last days on earth playing one together with close friends. As the days get longer and darker this time of year, laughter and lightness are harder for some of us to find. Enter the uke.

Before the weather recently turned cold, I heard a ukulele group perform live at Woodland Gardens in Decatur. It wasn’t just the tinkling sound of this small instrument that brought a smile.
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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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Incorporation pushes unwanted marriages on DeKalb neighborhoods

In north-central DeKalb County, my home is among thousands in the crosshairs of cityhood movements and proposed annexations. Count me among the otherwise sensible DeKalb County residents who rightly worry that a new city we’ve never heard of is going to take us over, or even worse, ignore us.

No one wants to be an unincorporated island surrounded by cities. But lots of us are in a pickle. Our zip code (30033) is Decatur, but we’re not in the city proper, and it doesn’t want us anyway. Continue reading

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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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If you parent a teen, listen to this expert on Georgia law

To celebrate turning 18, J. Tom Morgan walked into a tavern, purchased and downed a pitcher of beer and a pile of oysters. It was all legal back in 1972.

Today, an 18-year-old who did that in Georgia would face arrest, and if convicted, likely sentenced to six months probation—or 18 months if a fake ID was involved. There would be a fine, community service and drug and alcohol evaluation. The clerk who sold him the beer would likely get arrested too. Continue reading

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At Georgia Tech, a quiet start for bitcoin

Georgia Tech likes to say that its students are “equipped for success in a world where technology touches every aspect of our daily lives.”

At Tech’s football game last weekend, the question was how equipped they are for the latest revolution in financial technology: bitcoin, a controversial form of virtual currency used for electronic transfers. Continue reading

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How to find and hike Atlanta’s hidden forests

Jonah McDonald and his hiking shoes are reinventing our deep-rooted image of a traffic-choked city smothered in asphalt and concrete. He says it only takes a step into the woods beyond our backyards to begin a genuine pilgrimage into the natural world—yes, here in Atlanta, Georgia. 

He authored “Hiking Atlanta’s Hidden Forests: Intown and Out,” a reference guide to 60 close-to-home urban forests worthy of exploring. All are located within 30 miles of the Georgia Capitol.
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