APS race results are in. District 7 At-Large going to runoff

Results from the Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) offseason school board elections favored all of the candidates who maintained their seats, with one seat going into a runoff. 

Incumbents Erika Yvette Mitchelle for District 5 and Jessica Johnson for At-Large District 9 will stay on the board. Former interim Fulton County Superintendent Ken Zeff defeated incumbent Michelle Olympiadis in the board race for District 3. 

School board District 7 will go into a runoff against incumbent Tamara Jones and high school teacher Alfred “Shivy” Brooks. 

The runoff election will be on Tues., Dec. 5. 

— Allison Joyner

Radon test kits available for free checkout at all libraries

Radon test kits are now available for free checkout at all Georgia public libraries as part of a new state program.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas produced by the radioactive decay of uranium in bedrock and soil. The gas can seep through soil and groundwater and enter homes, potentially building up inside, especially in basements. Breathing radon in significant quantities over time can cause lung cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new program allows library patrons to check out a digital radon monitoring device that will show if radon is inside a home and if the levels are potentially dangerous. If radon is at a potentially dangerous level, there are various mitigations, such as improved ventilation or sealing of cracks, according to the CDC.

The test kit program is a partnership of the University of Georgia Extension and the Georgia Public Library Service. The radon test kits include a link to an instructional video and to a website where patrons can choose to upload test results for the UGA Extension’s scientific research. 

— John Ruch

Atlanta History Center to Host Annual Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 12

In honor of Veterans Day, the Atlanta History Center will host a community gathering at its Buckhead campus on Sunday, Nov. 12, to support veterans of the armed forces. 

AHC will offer free admission for veterans, active service members and their families. The event will feature curator chats, walking tours of Veterans Park, a special line-up of veterans history project interviews and veterans-related short films, and a complimentary barbecue lunch for the first 250 guests. Free admission can be claimed at the door.

All active-duty service members, veterans, their families and grateful community members are invited to celebrate Veterans Day at Atlanta History Center this weekend.

— Derek Prall

Buckhead Heritage Society seeks nominations for annual historic preservation award

The Buckhead Heritage Society is accepting nominations for its annual historic preservation award.

Buckhead Heritage is a nonprofit preservation advocacy group. The Belle Turner Lynch Preservation Award is named for its late co-founder of Buckhead Heritage, an advocate for preservation in her Peachtree Heights West neighborhood. 

Nominees can include “distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of their architectural and cultural heritage,” according to Buckhead Heritage.

“These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation,” according to the group.

The 2022 award went to local residents English and Matt Norman for their preservation of the Meredith House at 417 Hillside Dr.

The nomination deadline is Nov. 14. Nominations can be sent to Executive Director Richard Waterhouse at RWaterhouse@BuckheadHeritage.com.

— John Ruch

Football legend Fran Tarkenton to talk business in Sandy Springs

Fran Tarkenton.

Football legend Fran Tarkenton will speak about business advice in a Nov. 15 Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce event.

Tarkenton was a University of Georgia Bulldogs star quarterback who went on to fame in the NFL in the 1960s and ’70s, including several Super Bowl appearances with the Minnesota Vikings. As an entrepreneur, he has created many companies in such fields as software and investment. 

His “fireside chat” about business is scheduled for Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m. at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Tickets are $55 for non-members of the Chamber and $40 for members, with registration required by 5 p.m. on Nov. 10. For more information, see the Chamber’s registration webpage

— John Ruch

SCAD opens backlot for students, film studios

Last month, the Savannah College of Art and Design opened its Hollywood backlot at its Savannah film studios.

The backlot completes the first of three phases of expanding their 11-acre complex, making it the largest, most comprehensive film studio at a university in the U.S. 

The phase also included the previously installed LED Volume for virtual productions located next to the backlot.

“Together, the backlot soundstages and LED Volume form the sought-after trinity of filmmaking opportunities, placing everything at a filmmaker’s fingertips,” said Paula Wallace, President and Founder of SCAD. 

The 4,500 sq. ft. backlot has pre-set facades, including a cafe, hardware/antique store, barber shop and historic Savannah homes. 

“When we designed the backlot, we wanted to give our students access to all the filming locations they either cannot access, like a hospital emergency room or common filming locations like a coffee shop, without requesting permits or competing for space with the studios who are filming in Savannah,” said Andra Reeve-Rabb, dean of SCAD’s School of Film and Acting. 

The backlot and LED Volume will be available to students in degree programs like acting, production design and visual effects, animation and immersive reality. 

— Allison Joyner

Free Community Health Care Event This Saturday in Decatur

A free community healthcare event is set to take place on Georgia State’s Decatur Campus this Saturday, Nov. 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be in the college gymnasium, building SC, 3251 Panthersville Road. All are welcome.

Among the services provided will be oral health care screenings and fluoride treatments, testing for chronic health conditions including diabetes and vision and hearing screenings. Referrals will be given to partner healthcare providers based on patient insurance status and health needs, when appropriate.  Several community healthcare nonprofits also will be present to offer services.

The free healthcare event is provided thanks to a three-year Community Innovation Project Access to Care grant from the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority.

Students in Georgia State University Perimeter College’s dental hygiene and nursing programs, along with students in the college’s kinesiology and health programs, will provide the screenings with oversight from their clinical professors. Students also will assist patients with navigating the complex process of intake, financial qualification, appointments and referrals.

“Dental health and chronic health conditions continue to be some of the most unaddressed health concerns in the underserved communities of South DeKalb County,” said Dr. Mary Helen O’Connor, project director for the initiative. “By helping community residents get connected to care, our health professions students will be addressing critical health disparities and improving the overall health and well-being of the community.”

— Derek Prall

Atlanta is top-ranked for best places to go for Thanksgiving by WalletHub

With consumers spending hundreds of dollars on Thanksgiving travel and celebrations, personal finance website WalletHub released a report having Atlanta on their list of this year’s “Best Places to Go for Thanksgiving.”

The capital city ranked sixth overall and first in holiday decoration shops per capita. 

“The average person spends a few hundred dollars over the long Thanksgiving weekend between food for family feasts and the mad dash to score Black Friday deals,” said Cassandra Happe, analyst for WalletHub. 

The website also gave tips for saving money during the November holiday, including setting a budget, planning affordable meals for Thanksgiving dinner, comparing in-store and online prices, and planning portion sizes to avoid wasting leftovers. 

“It is important for consumers to keep an eye on their bank accounts throughout the holiday shopping season to ensure that spreading holiday cheer doesn’t spread them too thin as they head into the new year,” Happe said. 

— Allison Joyner

Atlanta Companies Named to Deloitte Technology Fast 500

For the first time, Georgia broke into the top five rankings this year, with 23 Atlanta-area companies on this year’s list. More than half  of these companies are in the software and services sector. Award winners were selected based on fiscal year revenue growth from 2019 to 2022. In Atlanta, PrizePicks took the highest-ranking spot with 12,078 percent growth.  

Overall, the 2023 Technology Fast 500 companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 201 percent to 222,189 percent over the three-year time frame from 2019 to 2022, with an average growth rate of 1,934 percent and a median growth rate of 497 percent.

“It was another successful year of growth in Atlanta’s technology industry, especially in the software and services sector, as evidenced by the results of this year’s Fast 500. This growth puts Georgia in the top 5 US states on this year’s list, which is a major accomplishment in the Atlanta community,” said Robert Kerr, Atlanta Emerging Growth Company Leader, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “We look forward to seeing these companies continuing to grow, igniting innovation, and disrupting their industries.”

— Derek Prall

Carroll County Announces Acquisition of McIntosh Reserve

Carroll County announces the acquisition of 429 acres of undeveloped land, nearly doubling the size of its largest park, McIntosh Reserve, and creating a contiguous 3,000-acre greenspace at the southern terminus of the Chattahoochee RiverLands.

“We are excited the acquisition is completed and now we can focus on expanding access to the site and the river for all of our residents,” said Michelle Morgan, chair of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.

Current plans for McIntosh Reserve include building a comfort station, trails and environmental restoration. The acquisition area will protect about 2,000 feet of riverfront and riparian lands along a portion of the Chattahoochee River and about 8,000 feet of streambank and riparian lands along a portion of Acorn Creek, a tributary to the Chattahoochee River.

“We are grateful to collaborate with Carroll County on this project, which is a significant win for our Chattahoochee RiverLands program,” said George Dusenbury, Georgia State Director at Trust for Public Land. “McIntosh Reserve also will serve as the last take-out point for the 48-mile RiverLands Camp+Paddle Trail, which will open in 2024.”

The Camp+Paddle Trail will connect the City of Atlanta to Carroll County, with a three-night, four-day itinerary. McIntosh Reserve already features a boat ramp perfect for those canoeing or kayaking the river.

— Derek Prall

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