This week, the nation remembered lives lost on that day back in 2001. In Atlanta, the Metro Area, several cities, including Stockbridge, Roswell, Norcross, Johns Creek and Avondale, all held remembrance ceremonies at municipal sites, while the City of Atlanta itself held a First Responder Appreciation Day with an award ceremony on Monday.

On to local news:

Georgia Power named top utility for economic development for 25th year in a row

Georgia Power has been named a top utility for economic development by Site Selection Magazine for the 25th consecutive year.

The distinction was to recognize Georgia Power’s efforts in helping the state grow and prosper. In the last 10 years, the company has helped bring nearly 206,000 jobs to Georgia, the utility reports.

“At Georgia Power, we are committed to supporting the state to bring businesses and opportunities that will enhance the lives of all its citizens,” said Meredith Lackey, executive vice president of External Affairs and Nuclear Development for Georgia Power, which includes leadership of the company’s economic development initiatives. “This milestone is an incredible achievement and a testament to our team’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to growing Georgia.”

The most recent mid-year growth report shows more capital investment and job creation, the utility said. The 2023 Q3 will be released early this fall with more details.

— Derek Prall

Drew Charter School selects two new board members

The Drew Charter School recently announced the addition of two parents, Teaniese “Tina” Davis and Nicole McClendon, to its Board of Directors. The appointments were officially confirmed during the board’s meeting early last month.

The school said Davis and McClendon both bring a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to Drew’s mission and values, and their involvement on the board of directors will play a significant role in continuing to foster a collaborative relationship between the school administration, faculty, parents, and the entire Drew Community. 

“We believe that our Board of Directors should reflect the diverse voices of our Drew Community,” said Drew’s Head of School, Peter McKnight. “Adding Teaniese Davis, Nicole McClendon, and our two Board Student Ambassadors undoubtedly enriches our discussions and decisions.”

In addition to the parent appointments, Drew Charter School introduced two student ambassador roles to the board last year. The Board Student Ambassadors bring an invaluable student perspective to the decision-making process.  

— Derek Prall

CARE USA’s 30th Atlanta anniversary bash

When CARE USA moved its headquarters to Atlanta in 1993, it was one of several national nonprofits that found greener pastures in Georgia’s capital city.

“I think it’s been a great thing for Atlanta that CARE is in Atlanta,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, during a Sept. 13 reception celebrating the last three decades at its building on Ellis Street downtown. “A constellation of Atlantans had the foresight to bring CARE to Atlanta.”

Former CARE CEO Helene Gayle stands with Woodruff Foundation CEO Russ Hardin, CARE CEO Michelle Nunn and Valerie Montgomery Rice, president of the Morehouse School of Medicine at the the Sept. 13 celebration of 30 years that the international relief nonprofit has called Atlanta home. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

A pivotal player in the move was the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. 

“CARE seemed like a perfect fit (for Atlanta),” said Russ Hardin, president and CEO of the Woodruff Foundation. “We know CARE is good for Atlanta.”

Nunn used the occasion to mark the growth of CARE since it’s been in Atlanta. In 1993, the international nonprofit had revenues of $451 million, operated in 53 countries and served about 30 million people. Today, CARE’s annual revenue is $890 million. It operates in 111 countries and it serves about 174 million people annually.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens marked the occasion by giving Nunn the city’s highest honor — the Phoenix Award.

Also present was Helene Gayle, a past CEO of CARE, who recently returned to Atlanta to become president of Spelman College.

“It seems like only 10 years ago we were celebrating the 20th year anniversary,” joked Gayle, who complimented Nunn on her leadership of the organization. “I feel like a proud mother.”

— Maria Saporta

DeKalb government may consider a four-day workweek

DeKalb County government may consider a four-day work week for its employees that could also extend service hours to Saturdays.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners Aug. 22 approved a resolution calling on DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond to conduct a study of the idea and report its pros and cons. 

DeKalb District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry, author of the resolution, said the idea involves a staggered work schedule that could improve employee morale and efficiency while also expanding government office hours for the public.

“We are committed to exploring innovative ways to provide the best services to our residents and business owners while ensuring our employees have a healthy work-life balance,” said Terry in a press release.

— John Ruch

‘People’s RICO’ parody mocks’ Cop City’ protest charges

Controversial racketeering charges against “Cop City” protesters are the target of a parody video where mock officials reveal that the Atlanta public safety training center plan is a “criminal conspiracy.”

“After an extensive investigation, we’ve determined that there is an active criminal enterprise with clear intentions to extort and conspire to destroy our treasured South River Forest,” says the anonymously run “People’s RICO” website that hosts the video.

A screenshopt from the “People’s RICO” parody.

Running for more than 10 minutes, the video is a fake press conference aired on the fictional “Weelaunee Forest Network” as various people watch at home. The parody prosecutors name as conspirators Gov. Brian Kemp, Mayor Andre Dickens, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, the Atlanta Police Department, the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol. A mock flowchart ties them together with funding and collaboration with various corporations and such other government groups as the training center’s official advisory committee.

The fake prosecutors declare various real-life official acts to be “political violence” and “domestic terrorism.” They include the state police killing of the protester known as Tortuguita, mass arrests of people at a music festival, and the destruction of “infrastructure” in the form of the training center’s waterways and the adjacent Intrenchment Creek Park’s amenities.

Carr earlier this month announced the use of the state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law against the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” protest movement, alleging it is an “anti-police” anarchist conspiracy. Those charges followed his also controversial use of domestic terrorism charges against some of the same “Cop City” protest defendants. The RICO charges drew condemnation from local organizations and national free-speech advocates.

— John Ruch

Emerge Georgia announces 2023 cohortEmerge Georgia, which helps recruit and train Democratic women and nonbinary people to run for office, announced it has accepted 21 new class members into the organization’s Class of 2023. This cohort of trailblazing women come from communities across the state and have already proven themselves as leaders and trailblazers with the unique backgrounds, experiences, and identities that make up Georgia. Upon completion of Emerge’s six-month signature program, they will join a powerful sisterhood of 75 Emerge Georgia alums and over 5,500 alums nationwide.Emerge Georgia Class of 2023 includes:

  • Tashé Allen, HamptonCassandra Brown, MabletonHabiba Diab-Njie, LawrencevilleCatherine Frederiksen, AdrianSusan Greenberg, AtlantaBentley Hudgins, DecaturCathy Kott, CohuttaVicki Lucas, MariettaNakia Mattis, AlpharettaMekyah McQueen, SmyrnaDr. Jayne Morgan, Kennesaw Elaine Padgett, CummingDaaiyah Salaam, AlbanyDebra Shigley, AlpharettaChristie Stewart, MartinezMadeline Summerville, AtlantaSimaya Turner, DecaturKristy Walker, DouglasvilleNicole Wiesen, AtlantaVanessa Windham, DecaturCarolyn Wynn, Palmetto

“The Emerge Georgia community is excited to welcome our Class of 2023 and our second Signature class,” said Maggie Chambers, Executive Director of Emerge Georgia. “Every member of this class brings their unique backgrounds, identities, and experiences across Georgia to a group of candidates who are eager to learn how to take their next step into public office and bring these tools and skills back to their communities.”The Class of 2023 represents one of the most diverse classes in Emerge Georgia history, with 80 percent of the cohort being women of the New American Majority–Black, Brown and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as LGBTQ+, young, and unmarried women. 

Hope Beckham Espinosa celebrates new name, CEO

It was a night to celebrate new beginnings for Hope Beckham Espinosa.

Bob Hope and Gina Espinosa-Meltzer at a Sept. 13 party celebrating the public relations firm’s new name and leadership. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

The Hope Beckham public relations firm has been rebranded to reflect Gina Espinosa-Meltzer as an owner as well as the company’s new CEO. She succeeds veteran Atlanta public relations leader Bob Hope, who is now the chairman of the firm.

To celebrate the occasion, the firm invited close friends and clients to a reception on the evening of Sept. 13 at the Buckhead offices of Greenberg Traurig law firm. Ted Blum, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office, served as the host of the evening celebration.

Attendees included a broad cross-section of Atlanta leaders with a definite Latina flavor. Espinosa-Meltzer has been a longtime leader in Atlanta’s Hispanic community.

— Maria Saporta

Gas South announces $2.2 million donation to local nonprofits

Gas South, a regional natural gas provider, recently donated more than $2.2 million to 10 nonprofits in Georgia and Florida that are a part of their Fuel For Good Allies program.

“The strongest communities believe in lending a hand to help the next generation maximize their potential, so we are honored to partner with these 10 organizations and share in this important work,” said Kevin Greiner, president and CEO of Gas South. “This funding will assist in accomplishing a variety of exciting new efforts for each organization, and we look forward to seeing their impact grow.”  

Each organization selected aligns with Gas South’s goal to help families establish strong foundations, meet basic needs and provide positive pathways for students.  

The organizations receiving donations in varying amounts include:  

  • 100 Black Men 
  • Bert’s Big Adventure 
  • City of Refuge 
  • Covenant House 
  • Gwinnett County Schools and Sol System 
  • Junior Achievement of Georgia and Florida 
  • Ser Familia 
  • Shepherd Center 
  • St. Vincent de Paul 
  • YMCA of Atlanta and North Florida 

The nonprofits will use the funding to amplify and expand efforts to support critical needs in their communities. 

— Derek Prall

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.