Brookhaven breaks ground on downtown district

Rendering provided by the City of Brookhaven.

The City of Brookhaven will officially break ground on its City Centre project, a multi-purpose downtown district, on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 10:30 a.m.

“Brookhaven is all about uniting our vibrant and diverse community,” Mayor John Ernst said in a statement. “We’re designing our upcoming City Centre to do just that, and it will be a place where residents can live, work, and play together like never before.”

Brookhaven City Centre will serve as the anchor of the 11-year-old municipality. A City Hall will reside on an approximately one-acre site and be the project’s centerpiece, with government offices and extensive space for public meetings, gatherings and special events. The latter includes a catering kitchen and rooftop terrace. The City Hall project, which is expected to be completed by mid-2025, is funded via Brookhaven’s Special Services District, meaning that no residential property tax revenue is used to fund the construction. 

In addition to Brookhaven’s City Hall, master plans for the Brookhaven City Centre concepts will include mixed-use, retail, and residential development. Plans include a large public green space, a first-floor coffee shop, and adding paths and multi-use trails leading to the City Centre. 

Brookhaven City Hall will be located at the corner of North Druid Hills and Peachtree Roads, in close proximity to the Brookhaven MARTA rail station. 

— Derek Prall

State rep, library group to receive awards at Georgia First Amendment Foundation banquet

A state legislator and a library group will receive awards at the Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s (GFAF) annual banquet on Oct. 26.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) will receive the Charles L. Weltner Freedom of Information Award for her work “in furtherance of government transparency and accountability.” The Georgia Library Media Association will receive the Open Government Hero award for “pushing back against censorship in our schools.”

The banquet will be held at the Emory Conference Center. Tickets are $140 for non-members and $120 for members. For details, see the GFAF website.

— John Ruch

Photo provided by Morris Brown College.

Morris Brown, Walgreens offer free vaccines while supplies last

On Oct. 9 and 10, Morris Brown College, The Conference of National Black Churches and Walgreens are administering free COVID-19 and Flu vaccines. 

The vaccines will be available at the Gloria Anderson Multi-purpose Complex on Walnut St. for the insured, underinsured and uninsured for no charge. 

On Oct. 10, the first 50 vaccinated will receive a $50 gift card. 

— Allison Joyner

ArtsBridge Foundation Announces 2023-24 Education Programs

Registration is now open for K-12 schools across Georgia to participate in ArtsBridge Foundation’s 2023-24 arts education series, including field trips and professional development events.

The first 2023 educational event is a field trip to Georgia Symphony Orchestra’s GSO Jazz! Presents Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Kids” on Oct. 16, followed the next day with a field trip to Hot Peas ’n Butter. Both field trips take place at 11 a.m. with advance registration required. Other field trips include:

  • The Carp Who Would Not Quit, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. (pre-K to second grade)
  • The Jason Bishop Show, Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. (Kindergarten to grade 12)
  • The Nutcracker presented by Atlanta Ballet, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. (Kindergarten to grade 12); limited seating (1,500) available
  • Mayhem Poets, Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. (sixth to 12th grade)
  • ArtsKSU Revue, March 26 at 11 a.m. (sixth to 12th grade)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours, available school days from fall to spring (all ages – up to 30 students) $5

“We have seven field trips confirmed so far in 2023-24 to meet growing demand for these out-of-school performing arts experiences,” said Elizabeth Lenhart, director of arts education for ArtsBridge Foundation.

On the professional development front, for the second consecutive year, ArtsBridge Foundation will host “Theatre: Inside-n-Out” as part of its slate. The popular series is geared for high school students — grades nine through 12. The program exposes students to industry professionals who teach them specialized, technical and theatrical skills such as light and sound from the stage of the John A. Williams Theatre at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 

For more information or to register by phone, call ArtsBridge Foundation at 770-916-2805. The ArtsBridge Foundation may announce more offerings during the season, so visit the website for the most current schedule. 

— Derek Prall

Braves legend joins Georgia Oak Partners as Managing Director

Last month, Georgia investment firm Georgia Oak Partners announced Atlanta Braves icon Dale Murphy would join their team as Managing Partner. 

“Murph has been a personal mentor for hundreds of people on and off the ball field, as well as a role model for thousands of ‘TBS kids’ like me,” said Mike Lonergan, Managing Partner of Georgia Oak Partners. 

The five-time Gold Glove winner will coach the firm’s portfolio companies on leadership, teamwork, resilience, success and culture. 

“I’ve always believed that the foundation of any great endeavor, whether on the field or in the boardroom, lies in genuine partnership and a shared vision,” said Murphy. “Joining Georgia Oak feels like stepping up to the plate with a team that values integrity, lasting impact, and the power of community. I’m excited to be part of this journey, connecting with businesses and individuals who share our dedication to responsible growth and preserving founders’ legacies.”

— Allison Joyner

Chamblee announces new police chief

Michael Dieppa. Photo Provided by the City of Chamblee.

Last week, the City of Chamblee announced hiring Michael Dieppa as the city’s new police chief. 

Dieppa serves as Police Major for the Miami-Dade Police Department and has been there for over 27 years. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Chamblee Police Department and honored to serve our community,” said Dieppa. “I look forward to getting started and building on the agency’s tradition of excellence.”

He also says that his goals for the department are to ensure public safety while finding innovative ways to address quality of life concerns for Chamblee residents and visitors.

No word when Dieppa is set to begin his new role.

— Allison Joyner

Accrediting body seeks public comment for GBI review

An organization reviewing the accreditation of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is seeking public comment.

GBI is seeking renewal of its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The CALEA review rates police agencies in the areas of policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. 

Public input can be submitted on the CALEA website.

— John Ruch

ABL honors Spelman organist during Super Tuesday Conference

Earlier this week, the Atlanta Business League hosted its 39th annual Super Tuesday Conference, highlighting economic growth, diversity and innovation within the Atlanta metro area. 

“One Great Day: Unlocking Opportunity” was this year’s theme for attendees to explore new opportunities, connect with visionary leaders and chart new paths toward success. 

During the conference’s signature Women of Vision Breakfast, the ABL honored Dr. Joyce Johnson, Professor Emerita and Organist for Spelman College, as this year’s inductee into the Women’s Hall of Fame.

Johnson has been teaching and playing the organ at the all-female school for over 30 years and has been featured as one of the “Four Best Organists in Atlanta.” 

The breakfast honored 100 women as the top “Women of Influence,” honoring African-American female business owners and professionals in Atlanta. 

“I was thrilled and delighted to be recognized as one of the ABL’s top 100 Women of Influence. It was a wonderful day full of excellent conversations and panel discussions,” said Cheryl McAfee, Charman and CEO of McAfee3 Architects. 

— Allison Joyner

Morehouse School of Medicine hosts annual Community Engagement Day with health screenings, entertainment

Photo provided by the Morehouse School of Medicine.

On Sat., Oct. 7, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) will host its annual Community Engagement Day at Antioch Urban Ministries on North Ave. 

This year’s theme is “Creating Community of Care for All,” the event will highlight some of MSM’s partnerships and collaborations with neighborhood residents and other external stakeholders in service, research, patient care and training. 

The student-run MSM Health Equity for All Lives (HEAL) Clinic will administer free flu shots and health screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. 

The celebration will also include giveaways, food trucks and a performance from R&B recording artist and member of the group Xscape, LaTocha. 

To register for this free event, click here

— Allison Joyner

CAU fires head football coach, appoints interim coach

With the Clark Atlanta University (CAU) football team having a 0-5 start, the athletic department immediately relieved Coach Willie Slater as head football coach. 

The school said in a statement that the decision was not made lightly and much time was spent in thought and discussion with students, faculty, alums and leadership.

Yesterday, Dr. Jerel Drew, Athletic Director for CAU Athletics, named Richard Moncrief, Interim Head Coach and Richard Shelton, Interim Defensive Coordinator. 

The department also announced that a national search for a new head coach is underway. 

The CAU football team will play Allen University in S.C. on Oct. 7. 

— Allison Joyner

Bigfoot monster truck exhibit comes to Savoy Automobile Museum

Photo via the Savoy Automobile Museum.

An exhibit about the pioneering monster truck Bigfoot is on display at the Savoy Automobile Museum in Cartersville.

“Evolution of Bigfoot” follows the history of the heavily modified Ford F-250 pickup truck from its creation by Bob Chandler in 1975 to an all-electric version today. The exhibit includes three versions of Bigfoot, plus a fourth on display on Oct. 17 only. 

The exhibit runs through Feb. 24. For tickets and more information, see the museum website.

— John Ruch

Local nonprofit hosting event to empower girls

PXG Atlanta will be hosting Inspiring Greatness In You, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to creating a supportive and inclusive community that empowers girls to pursue their interests in STEM and golf on Saturday, October 7, at 9:30 a.m. 

 The Conyers-based Inspiring Greatness in You organization works to cultivate environments where girls can unleash their potential, build confidence and develop critical skills that will propel them towards successful futures. While in the store, the girls will learn about PXG’s unique technology and performance analysis from PXG engineers and fitters, enhancing their understanding of STEM principles.

For more information, visit the Inspiring Greatness In You website.

— Derek Prall

Big Brothers Big Sisters names new board members

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA) has named four new board members.

The new members include:

  • Jewanna Gaither, vice president of marketing and communications for Fifth Third Bank Georgia
  • Matt Gonsalves, vice president at the staffing firm Insight Global 
  • Thomas Hamlin, commercial relationship manager at First Horizon Bank)
  • Susan Starnes, vice president of emerging markets for NAPA Auto Parts

BBBSMA provides mentoring services to youths. For more information, visit the BBBSMA website.

— John Ruch

Greater Atlanta Heart Association raises over $2.5 million for research 

Photo provided by the Greater Atlanta Heart Association.

The American Heart Association, a leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health, hosted the 2023 Greater Atlanta Heart Walk at Atlantic Station on Saturday, Sept. 30 and raised over $2.5 million to help fund innovative research that will save more lives. This year, 71 companies, 697 teams and nearly 7,000 participants came together to walk for longer and healthier lives in metro Atlanta.

Funds raised for the Heart Walk ensure that more cardiovascular research is funded, more hospitals administer the highest standards of care, and more lives are saved.

“The Heart Walk is about getting people moving, celebrating life and caring for all of the hearts we love,” said Scott Webb, board chairman of the American Heart Association in metro Atlanta and vice president of account services, Pointnext Technology Services at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Thank you to our walkers, sponsors, and incredible volunteers who took a step towards better health and made this year’s Walk a great success.”

Donations in support of the Greater Atlanta Heart Walk can be made through the end of 2023 at

— Derek Prall

ARCHI Opens Community Resource Hub in Chamblee

The Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) officially opened its third Community Resource Hub (CRH) at Mercy Care Chamblee on Friday, Sept. 29. 

The new CRH will provide a real-time rapid referral network that addresses barriers to care by placing patients with unmanaged chronic illnesses and unmet social needs at the center of a system that coordinates care around them. The Chamblee location will have a particular focus on pediatric and bilingual patients.

“We understand how difficult it is to navigate the many programs and agencies around the metro area to find the services you need, especially as a parent. And if English is your second language, that can add another layer to a difficult system that poses many questions and eligibility challenges,” said Jeff Smythe, executive director of ARCHI. “Our goal for the Chamblee location is to provide a one-stop shop to make life easier on working parents, taking care of kids and balancing the many other responsibilities of daily life while trying to keep their families healthy.” 

CRHs are the first cross-sector collaboration in Atlanta committed to improving health by addressing social determinants of health such as jobs and housing support, transportation, food and nutrition and legal assistance. The hubs were established in 2018, led by ARCHI, TechBridge and InTelegy, with multi-year funding from the DeKalb County Board of Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health. ARCHI provides project management, oversight, and evaluation of the CRHs.

— Derek Prall

Girl Scout Mural to be Unveiled 

Photo by Drew Perlmutter, courtesy of Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate.

Eighty years ago, the first Black Girl Scout troops in Atlanta were formed by a small group of Black female educators and early civil rights trailblazers. Their leadership helped shape a generation of women committed to social justice. These women are now honored on a mural on the exterior of the historic Atlanta Daily World newspaper building, where the troop’s headquarters were located.

“By elevating the often-untold stories of women, especially Black women, we bring a diversity of voice to the histories we may think we know and a more positive view of a unified future,” said Kat Marran, Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

Stewarded by cultural developer and building owner Gene Kansas and Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, the mural salutes the women of “District V,” specifically recognizing Roslyn Pope. She went on to write An Appeal for Human Rights, the declaration credited with launching the 1960 student sit-in campaigns across the South.

Pope and other Girl Scouts, including Madelyn Nix, one of the first students to integrate Atlanta public schools, Vivian Welch Brinson, and the late Celestine Bray Bottoms, were often overlooked and uncredited for their roles in the Civil Rights Movement.

The mural was designed by Brian Simons and painted by The Loss Prevention, the creative team behind the iconic John Lewis mural, also located in Sweet Auburn. It was funded through a combination of corporate and individual donors, including a grant from the City of Atlanta’s Invest Atlanta. The mural will serve as a catalyst for historical awareness and community discussion.

A public unveiling is scheduled for early 2024 to compliment a Girl Scout exhibit at the Atlanta History Center.

— Derek Prall

Peach State Health Plan and the Centene Foundation Announce a $1.5 million commitment to City of Refuge

Peach State Health Plan, a care management organization, and the Centene Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Centene Corporation focused on investing in economically challenged communities, recently announced a $1.5 million commitment to City of Refuge, an Atlanta-based nonprofit. The investment will support the development of a community health and wellness center as well as an innovation hub that supports unemployed members seeking employment.

“Peach State Health Plan and the Centene Foundation are proud to partner with City of Refuge to help break down barriers of inequality and provide supportive services to drive critical change and positive impact in one of Atlanta’s most at-risk neighborhoods,” said Peach State Health Plan President and CEO, Wade Rakes. “City of Refuge has served Atlanta’s westside for more than 25 years, and, together, we will continue with this vital work of creating the next phase of social transformation where it is needed most.”

The commitment from Peach State Health Plan and the Centene Foundation will support two components: A health and wellness center and a workforce innovation hub. 

“Together with Peach State Health Plan and the Centene Foundation, City of Refuge is laying the groundwork for expanded health and wellness services to support the wellbeing of all who seek us out for help – from local veterans to those returning from incarceration to women escaping crisis,” said City of Refuge founder and CEO, Bruce Deel.

“The new clinic at the Transformation Center will be the physical manifestation of our goal to provide 24/7, high-quality care in our 30314 neighborhood for those coming out of domestic violence and trafficking. We look forward to breaking ground on the next phase of our campus with the Transformation Center.”

— Derek Prall

Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts legacy awards, raises $450,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA) held its 29th Annual Legacy Awards on Sept. 14 at The St. Regis Atlanta. The event raised over $450,000 through sponsorship, fundraising, and a live and silent auction.

“The Legacy Awards give us the opportunity to recognize some truly remarkable people each year,” said Kwame Johnson, President and CEO of BBBSMA. “This year, in particular, our honorees have demonstrated the power of mentorship not only in the lives of our Bigs and Littles — but also its lasting impact on our communities.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens welcomed guests by recognizing Big Brothers Big Sisters for the critical service provided to the families and communities of Greater Atlanta. “I declared 2023 the ‘Year of the Youth…’ It’s my goal to one day make Atlanta the best place in the United States to raise a child,” Mayor Dickens said. “I thank Big Brothers Big Sisters for their role in offering guidance and direction to our young people.”

The V. Thomas Murray Founder’s Award recipient was Paul Shenk. The 2023 Outstanding Graduate Award recipients were Sharon Ajayi (presented by Tiffany Burns, McKinsey & Company) and Eric White Jr. (presented by David Duncan, Georgia-Pacific). The Legacy Award honoree was Steven Cayton (presented by Malcolm Berkley, UPS). The Defender of Potential Award recipient was the late Perry Bell (presented by Carol Waddy, Chick-fil-A).

— Derek Prall

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