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Reporter’s Notebook: ATL mayor secures legacy cabinet office, despite concerns over timing

On rainy days, which have been plentiful this week, the city can be spotted peaking through the fog. (Photo Caleb Jones, Unsplash)

If you’re a music lover who’s been missing live shows, or you just want to take a stroll around the neighborhood, consider checking out Oakhurt’s Porchfest this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 9, local musicians will perform on the front porches of homes in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood. Click here to find out more about the annual event.

And in other local news:

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Finance Committee Chair Jennifer Ide

ATL mayor secures legacy cabinet office, despite concerns over timing

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has secured her legacy in human rights by creating a cabinet-level Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Objections raised by Finance Committee Chair Jennifer Ide focused on tying the hands of the incoming mayor.

The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to establish an office to oversee all matters related to LBGTQ+, immigrants, sustainability, youth and more – among city employees and all areas of the city’s jurisdiction. Bottoms had formed such an office, known as One Atlanta, in the first weeks of her term. The office now is embedded in the city code of ordinance.

Ide, who is not seeking reelection, said her concerns had nothing to do with content of the legislation. The issue is formation of any administrative office in the last 100 days of an outgoing mayor’s term, she said:

  • “A mayor should have a lot of discretion in how to organize the executive offices, and we are at the tail end of an administration with a new mayor coming in. I think 100 days left in a term is pretty short to be making codified change to the mayor’s staff, and I’d prefer not to see a new mayor be hamstrung on how he or she wants to organize the office.”

Ide voiced her opinion after abstaining from the vote in the Sept. 29 Finance Committee meeting. The committee passed the measure by a vote of 5-0-2, with abstentions from Ide and Councilmember Matt Westmoreland, who chairs the council’s Community Development Human Service Committee.

– David Pendered

Central Library reopens its doors

Fulton County’s Central Library has a new look thanks to a $50 million renovation. 

Central now boasts a new children’s section, classrooms, event space, kitchens, an atrium and — of course — more books.

The building was updated as part of a 2008 bond referendum.

The library serves as the headquarters for the county’s library system and has seen several famous visitors over the years, including Margaret Mitchell.

The “Gone With the Wind” author frequented the library and left some personal items to the institution upon her death, which can be found in their Margaret Mitchell Collection.

– Hannah E. Jones

The event will be held in-person and online on Tuesday, Oct 12. (Credit: Morehouse College)

TEDxMorehouseCollege will have alumni, faculty “pushing the envelope”

Morehouse College is set to present the TEDxMorehouseCollege lecture series Tuesday, Oct. 12 with dynamic talks from Atlanta University Center alums and faculty members. 

Some of the speakers scheduled to appear will be Clark Atlanta University alumn and founder of Slutty Vegan, Pinky Cole, Biology Chair at Spelman College, Dr. Tiffany Oliver, and urban gardener and Morehouse grad Shawn Walton. 

The event will be hosted at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Morehouse’s campus and live streaming is available for everyone to watch virtually.

Go to the TEDxMorehouseCollege official website for more details and to reserve tickets. 

– Allison Joyner

Walk Like MADD to support victims of drunk driving

In America, drunk driving is the top cause of car-related fatalities. Someone is involved in a drunk driving accident every two minutes, and every 51 minutes, someone is killed, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

On Saturday, Oct. 23, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Georgia will host its annual Walk Like MADD event to support and honor the victims of alcohol or substance-caused car crashes.

The money raised will fund the organization’s free-of-charge services and emotional support for survivors of intoxicated driving accidents. 

The walk will begin at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with check-in starting at 7 a.m.

Click here to register for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Georgia’s annual Walk Like MADD.

– Hannah E. Jones

Farah and Ralph Cook at the 2021 “A Timeless Affair” (Special: Fernbank Museum of Natural History)

Fernbank’s Timeless Affair

At long last, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History was able to hold its signature fundraising event in person on Oct. 2.

The 2021 “A Timeless Affair” took place primarily outdoors on Fernbank’s expanded natural campus – giving the museum an opportunity to leverage its Dinosaur Plaza, Terrace and WildWoods areas.

The evening raised about $750,000, which was on par with the event’s pre-pandemic fundraising levels.

“It was absolutely wonderful to see the response to support our programming through A Timeless Affair,” Jennifer Grant Warner, Fernbank’s president and CEO, wrote in an email. “The funds raised support the educational programming we offer, including Fernbank’s exhibitions, movies, family enrichment, STEAM programs, outreach initiatives and more.”

The event chairs for the event were Farah and Ralph Cook. Farah is a trustee on Fernbank’s board serving as its secretary. She also is of counsel with Kilpatrick Townsend. Ralph is founder and managing partner of Handprint Group.

The special honorees at the event were Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis, and his wife Cathy, who received the Wild at Heart Award. The event, attended by about 250 patrons, featured live music, a chef-inspired menu, live and silent auctions, science demonstrations and a sneak peek of the new “Fernbank on the Go” mobile museum as well as a twilight viewing of the seasonal outdoor exhibit: “Woodland Spirits.”

– Maria Saporta

Dan Cathy and Shirley Franklin

Ga Historical Society to induct Dan Cathy and Shirley Franklin

The Georgia Historical Society is continuing its tradition of honoring top state leaders by inducting them as trustees.

The next two leaders who will be inducted are: Dan Cathy, chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A, and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. The Georgia Historical Society and Gov. Brian Kemp will induct them on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at the annual gala in Savannah.

“Shirley Franklin and Dan Cathy truly represent the Georgia Trustee’s motto of ‘Not for Self, But for Others,’” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “They are models of selfless leadership and of what can be accomplished when you live a life that puts others first. Their impact on Georgia and the City of Atlanta has been and will continue to be transformative in the history of our state.”

Georgia Historical Society, working with the governor’s office, reestablished the Georgia Trustees in 2008 as a way of recognizing Georgians whose accomplishments and community service reflect the highest ideals of the society. The original Georgia Trustees were a governing body chartered and appointed by His Majesty King George II of England in 1732 to establish a new colony in North America.

– Maria Saporta

A surface mine is proposed outside the southeastern border of the Okefenokee Swamp. (Map courtesy of Georgia River Network)

New video: ‘Sacred Waters: The Okefenokee in Peril’

The interior scenery of the Okefenokee Swamp, which is difficult to see in person, is to be made available to armchair travelers in a new video to be presented Oct. 20 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The scenery of the swamp is to be presented from the viewpoint of environmental advocates who oppose a surface mine that’s proposed outside the swamp, along its southeastern border. The presentation is to include a discussion of the current state of the wilderness area and the mining proposal submitted by Twin Pines, Inc. The application is pending before the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The video, “Sacred Waters: The Okefenokee in Peril,” is presented by the Okefenokee Protection Alliance, with support from the National Parks Conservation Association. 

For information, and to pre-register to view the video, click here.

– David Pendered

(L to R) Nicolia Robinson, Dots Colley and Katherine Stone

Cooper Carry supports working parents

Local design firm Cooper Carry announced the expansion of its leadership team with the promotion of three female employees. Nicolia Robinson is now the director of urban planning and design, Dots Colley has been named the director of programming and Katherine Stone is promoted to vice president of marketing. 

The move supports the firm’s mission to build a team of diverse leaders. 

Of the women around the world who lost their jobs in 2020, almost 90 percent left the workforce altogether, compared to around 70 percent of men, according to the Washington Post. This gap highlights the need to support employees and offer flexibility to balance work and home life, the firm noted. 

“I’m here for you, job and company, and I’m going to give you my best, and I’m also here for my kids,” Stone said in a press release. “Often, that means multitasking, doing the best I can with 15 different things going on at once. Cooper Carry knows that’s what I’m up against and promoted me anyway. I’m really happy about that and about their recognition that diverse voices matter to the success of our firm.”

– Hannah E. Jones

Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk Young Debate Series: On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the Atlanta Press Club will host a day of debates between candidates running for mayor, City Council President and City Council Post 3 At-Large. Folks can livestream the debates beginning at 11 a.m. on the APC Facebook page. Click here for the candidate debate schedule

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native who recently graduated from Georgia State University, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah is excited about the opportunity to serve the City of Atlanta and its people. Hannah can be reached at [email protected]

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