Articles by Maria Saporta

ARC hires two new directors – Susan Chana and Sam Shenbaga

The Atlanta Regional Commission has hired two new members to its executive team – Susan Chana and Samyukth Shenbaga.

Effective March 13, Chana will become the regional planning agency’s director of its Center for Strategic Relations, succeeding Julie Ralston, who has just retired after 31 years with the organization.

Shenbaga has been named manager of the agency’s Community Development Division, succeeding Dan Reuter, who recently left the ARC.

Atlanta Regional Commission’s Julie Ralston retires after 32 years with the agency

For more than 31 years, Julie Ralston has been the communications voice for the Atlanta Regional Commission.

On Feb. 21, she retired as ARC’s director of the Center for Strategic Relations – complete with a state proclamation, slide show of Ralston through the years as well as video, a reception following the organization’s board meeting and a party at Manuel’s.

MGM Resorts’ Bill Hornbuckle makes pitch for a casino resort at DeKalb Chamber lunch

The 79th annual meeting of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce featured Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, as its keynote speaker.

It was a bit unusual because the state legislature is considering bills that would permit voters to allow casino gaming with a resort – but it is virtually predetermined that the main location would be in Fulton County, state’s most populous county located just west of DeKalb. Of course, the lunch was held at the Georgia Aquarium, which also is in Fulton County.

Climate & Health meeting takes place at Carter Center after canceled by the CDC

Nearly 350 people attended the Climate & Health Meeting at the Carter Center – led by former Vice President Al Gore – to learn of the public health impacts of climate change.

Originally, the meeting was supposed to have been a three-day session held at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the CDC cancelled the event on the eve of Donald Trump being inaugurated into office, likely for pre-emptive political reasons.


Column: Kelly Dolan leaving Atlanta Women’s Foundation as Kari Brown Love to step up July 1

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 10, 2017

Kelly Dolan, a veteran nonprofit leader in Atlanta who has been executive director of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation for the past four years, is moving back to Chicago to be near her aging parents.

The foundation’s board has named Kari Brown Love, vice president of development and communications, as Dolan’s successor. The transition of leadership will occur at the beginning of the nonprofit’s fiscal year on July 1.

Atlanta to allocate $4.5 million to improve Proctor Creek, build trails

The City of Atlanta will allocate $3 million of a $4.5 million Proctor Creek initiative to build a seven-mile bicycle and pedestrian and bicycle trail, according to an announcement by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Stephanie Stuckey, the city’s chief resilience officer at a Climate & Health meeting being held at the Carter Center Thursday, said the additional $1.5 million will be invested in a study to improve water quality in the Proctor Creek Corridor.

Bill Gates to keynote Rotary International meet in June in Atlanta

Atlanta is preparing to host Rotary’s 108th annual international convention from June 10 to 14 – with at least one super-star keynote speaker.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be one among a lineup of world-class speakers. The Gates Foundation and Rotary International have an ongoing match of 2:1 to support polio eradication efforts up to $35 million a year.


Houston set high bar for Atlanta’s Super Bowl

By Maria Saporta and Amy Wenk
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 10, 2017

The pressure is on — not only on the Atlanta Falcons to make a return trip to the Super Bowl — next time bringing home a win.

The pressure also is on Atlanta — to deliver a successful 2019 Super Bowl — one at least as good as the one that Houston hosted the first weekend in February.


Column: CAP to honor Andrew Young, George Turner at March meeting

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 3, 2017

Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business organization, will pay tribute to two distinguished Atlantans at its annual breakfast meeting on March 14 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young will receive the prestigious Dan Sweat Award.

And retired Atlanta Police Chief George Turner will receive the annual Turner Downtown Community Leadership Award.

APD Chief Erika Shields to Jerome and Stephanie Russell: ‘Atlanta is not going to be a city of hate’

Stephanie and Jerome Russell were enjoying themselves at a Super Bowl party in Houston Saturday night when their 16-year-old daughter reached out to them.

Someone had vandalized one of her friend’s car parked in front of the Russell’s Ansley Park home by writing racist slurs – including “nigger”, “faggot”, “kyke”, “hollacauct” (sic) meaning holocaust, and “fag.”


Reed looks to secure his legacy in final year as mayor

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 3, 2017

As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed faces his last year in office, he looks to continue the city’s growth by completing several deals and also hopes to secure his legacy as a fiscally-responsible city leader.

Reed sat down with the editorial staff of Atlanta Business Chronicle on Jan. 31 to preview his State of the City address scheduled for Feb. 2.

City of Atlanta releases 1.476 million pages on E.R. Mitchell bribery case

The old City Council Chambers at Atlanta City Hall were filled with 406 boxes containing 1.476 million documents related to the federal bribery investigation involving contractor E.R. Mitchell.

With a huge stack of boxes as a backdrop, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the city was making the documents available to the media in an effort to be transparent. Information in the files had been redacted to protect the release of social security numbers and other personal data of people not directly related to the case.

Bernice King calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren the ‘soul of the Senate’

The words of Coretta Scott King are breathing new life after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) was silenced by her colleagues Tuesday night while reading a 1986 letter from the civil rights leader objecting to Jeff Sessions becoming a federal judge.

For Warren, the words were especially meaningful at this moment in time when the U.S. Senate was preparing to vote on whether Sen. Sessions should become the nation’s next Attorney General.


Column: John Moeller named CEO of Lutheran Services of Georgia

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Jan. 27, 2017

Nonprofit leader John Moeller will be the new CEO of Lutheran Services of Georgia, a statewide organization serving vulnerable populations, beginning Feb. 15.

Moeller has been president and CEO of Action Ministries since 2011, and his last day with the Atlanta nonprofit will be Feb. 14.