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The sum of its parts

It is natural for any city to brag a little about itself … but in Atlanta, boosterism is a way of life. That, however, does not change the fact that there are many things about Atlanta that are worth bragging about. I guess we were just in a little bit of a reflective mood this […]

Hank Aaron statue

Commentary: Hank Aaron statue dispute getting ‘absurd’

Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

Update: The Braves back down and say the Hank Aaron statue will stay in Atlanta. Read Maria’s report HERE



 

Absurd. That’s how I’d describe the custody battle over the statue of Hank Aaron hitting his 715th home run.

Hank Aaron means so much to Atlanta and the Braves. The dispute over the location of the statue has become as emotional as the baseball team’s decision to leave its 50-year-old Atlanta home for a new stadium in Cobb County. Read more

Arthur Blank reflects on cancer: ‘Live life to its fullest’

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 12, 2016

Arthur Blank is approaching cancer the same way he has approached his business, sports and philanthropic career — methodically, strategically and heart-felt.

Blank is the high-profile owner of the Atlanta Falcons, a team he bought after leaving The Home Depot Inc., which he co-founded with Bernie Marcus and others.

In a deeply personal Feb. 9 interview given exclusively to Atlanta Business Chronicle, Blank spoke about being diagnosed with cancer and its prognosis; advice he would give other men; and how it has helped him adjust his priorities.

Column: College Football Hall of Fame CEO search takes unexpected turn

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 5, 2016

John Christie, interim CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame who was considered to have the inside track to the permanent job, has taken his name out of the running.

Christie has been the longest-serving executive at the Hall, starting with the project five-and-a-half years ago. He was the Hall’s chief operating officer when John Stephenson Jr. was the CEO. When Stephenson joined Chick-fil-A, Christie was a natural candidate for the top job.

But then Christie had an epiphany in mid-December, and he realized that he didn’t have as much passion running the hall day-to-day as he did during the challenging five years it took to develop and open the Hall.

Hank Aaron statue

Keisha Lance Bottoms: Hank Aaron Statue to stay in Atlanta

The iconic Hank Aaron Statue of the homerun legend’s hitting No. 715 to break Babe Ruth’s record will stay in the City of Atlanta, according to Keisha Lance Bottoms, executive director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority.

The statue will remain at Turner Field, and it will not be moved to Cobb County to become part of the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium.

It’s unlikely that this record will ever be broken

When asked to name something that is quintessentially American, right after apple pie people usually will say…baseball. It is a long-held belief that baseball is, in fact, America’s national pastime. And while there are many who maintain that football has eclipsed baseball in American popularity, it is hard to argue with the facts of baseball’s […]

Hopefully, soccer team can help unite fractured DeKalb County

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The Atlanta United soccer franchise plans to build its headquarters and $35 million training facility in DeKalb County. The DeKalb County Commission voted to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC. It would involve a $12 million investment by the county. Credit Atlanta United

The Atlanta United soccer franchise plans to build its headquarters and $35 million training facility in DeKalb County. The DeKalb County Commission voted to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC. It would involve a $12 million investment by the county.
Credit Atlanta United

The new Atlanta United soccer franchise announced Tuesday that it had chosen DeKalb County for its headquarters and $35 million training facility. The DeKalb Commission voted earlier that day to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would involve a $12 million investment by the county.

“Finally, something good is happening in DeKalb County.”

That’s what someone told me after the 4-3 vote by the DeKalb County Commission, approving an agreement with Atlanta United to locate its headquarters near the intersection of Memorial Drive and I-285.

That joy was short-lived.

A day later, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, who had been hired by DeKalb’s CEO Lee May to investigate possible corruption in the county, proclaimed that DeKalb was “rotten to the core.”

What a juxtaposition of highs and lows for Georgia’s fourth-largest county.

In recent years, several of DeKalb’s top officials have been indicted and found guilty of various ethical and legal breeches. It is a far cry from the DeKalb that existed 20 and 30 years ago when it was run by Manuel Maloof and Liane Levetan, both respected and powerful leaders in the region.

DeKalb leaders had hoped that the county’s tides were turning by winning the highly competitive Atlanta United headquarters.

On the day of the press briefing announcing the deal, the mood was uplifting, and team owner Arthur Blank, a co-founder of Home Depot, even became nostalgic about the decision. It was June 22, 1979, when Home Depot opened its very first store across the street from where Atlanta United plans to develop a 3,500-seat stadium and three additional soccer fields.

“It has come full circle,” Blank said, reflecting over his career. You see, for Blank, his investment in Atlanta’s Major League Soccer franchise is personal and close to his heart. He attended the event with his son, Joshua, an avid soccer fan and talented player.

Perhaps Atlanta United’s decision will improve the perception of a fractured DeKalb County and spark economic development in the Memorial Drive corridor.

But that may be too much to ask.

The county continues to be divided between North and South. Even the vote on the soccer facility was split, with the white commissioners voting against it, and the black commissioners voting for it.

It is too bad that the Atlanta United soccer franchise, located in “Central” DeKalb, has not yet united the county.

But as Blank said, the decision to base the soccer team at that location, felt like a spiritual journey for him, a coming home.

Let’s hope DeKalb’s journey will fuse a divided county into a united DeKalb.