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Reporter’s Notebook: Highly-anticipated Atlanta Pride festival canceled

A view of the Atlanta skyline from Jackson St. Bridge. (Photo by Marianna Smiley, Unsplash)

On Tuesday, Aug. 24, the City Schools of Decatur board discussed the possibility of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for staff and students. No vote is needed to require staff to get the shot, but the board would need to vote on a policy requiring student vaccinations. A drafted policy regarding staff vaccination will be ready for the board meeting on Sept. 17, according to WABE. Atlanta Public Schools will require two COVID-19 tests a week for staff members after Labor Day weekend.

On to other local news:

In recent years, the Atlanta Pride festival and parade has attracted over 300,000 visitors. (Credit: Mercedes Mehling, Unsplash)

Highly-anticipated Atlanta Pride festival canceled

In years past, the Atlanta Pride Festival and Parade weekend filled Midtown’s streets with members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies, celebration and glitter. 

Atlanta and metro residents were hoping for a similar scene this year, but due to the city’s continued increase in COVID-19 cases, the Atlanta Pride Committee has canceled all in-person events.

Past festivals have attracted over 300,000 visitors, according to Atlanta Pride, but the city prohibits any outdoor events with over 50,000 people.

“We are so deeply saddened by this decision, but we know in our hearts it is the right one,” the Atlanta Pride Committee wrote in an email blast. “Part of our mission is to advance wellness in our community, and we take that commitment very seriously.”

Check back to their website in the coming weeks for more information regarding virtual events.

– Hannah E. Jones

The incoming freshman class of 2025 line up in front of MLK Chapel to head to New Student Orientation activities. (Photo by Philip McCollum, courtesy of Morehouse College)

Morehouse welcomes largest new class to date

Last week, Morehouse College welcomed its largest group of new students for the fall 2021 semester. The historically Black college enrolled close to 1,000 new, traditional and online students, an increase of 70 percent from last year. 

This group includes the inaugural class of 272 non-traditional men enrolled in the institution’s new online degree program, where the average age is 39 years old. 

“Morehouse continues to find new ways to extend our uniquely transformative experience to more talented students,” Morehouse College president. David Thomas said in a statement. 

The school also had a 17 percent spike in first-year enrollment student applications, which included impressive standardized test scores. 

This semester’s average grade point average (GPA) was 3.51 compared to 3.33 in fall 2020. ACT scores also rose with a composite score of 23 from 21 at the same time last year, a higher score for Black students who average 16.7.

“This past year posed many unprecedented opportunities and challenges in recruiting the best and brightest students to become the next class of Morehouse,” Morehouse vice president for strategic marketing, communications and admissions José Mallabo said in a statement. 

Applications are now being accepted for the spring 2022 and fall 2022 semesters and submitting SAT and ACT scores are optional for fall 2022. To find out more, log onto their website

– Allison Joyner

John Rhodes (left) was awarded Game Warden of the Year. Tyler Lewis (right) received the James R. Darnell Award, which honors the runner-up to the top award.

Game warden awards recognize public safety in Great Outdoors

Awards to two game wardens speak to the number of folks who go into the Great Outdoors, as well as to the state’s efforts to enforce laws and protect public safety.

Georgia’s top award for Game Warden of the Year went to Game Warden First Class John Rhodes, according to a statement from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Rhodes is based in Hancock County, which is located south of I-20 about mid-way between Atlanta and Augusta. Lake Oconee is a major attraction in the area.

Rhodes made his presence known in a vast rural landscape by stopping 260 hunters to check for their hunting license; 523 fishermen to check for fishing licenses; and 400 boaters to check vessels for safety equipment including life jackets. Rhodes also was deployed to Stone Mountain and Atlanta during the demonstrations of 2020.

Game Warden First Class Tyler Lewis received the James R. Darnell Award, which honors the runner-up to the top award. Lewis is based in Cobb County, where Red Top Mountain is a major attraction.

Lewis checked 330 hunters for licenses; apprehended 17 individuals for hunting without permission; apprehended a suspected poacher who’d eluded game wardens for more than a decade; checked 791 individuals for fishing licenses; charged seven boaters with operating the vessel while under the influence; and handed six boating incidents.

– David Pendered

Krystal and Butter.ATL’s Atlanta-themed restaurant opens

When swinging by your favorite fast-food restaurant, it’s usually a pretty quick trip, and you might not even get out of your car. At Krystal’s on 14th St. NW, it’s a different story.

Krystal and Butter.ATL, an Atlanta culture channel that has a strong social media following and offers some city-related news, have teamed up to create an Atlanta-themed restaurant. 

The location features Atlanta-themed murals on the exterior of the building, drive-thru lanes designed to resemble the city’s highway systems, a timeline of important moments in history and a jukebox filled with hit songs from famous, local artists.

“This project is, in essence, our love letter to one of the places we call home, and we hope all our neighbors join us in celebration of this great city,” Krystal Restaurants LLC’s President Thomas Stager in a Butter.ATL piece.

The location debuted on Aug. 20, so it’s open for orders and curious visitors. Visit the location at 626 14th St. NW.

– Hannah E. Jones

Dennis Bowman

Nicholas House grieves the passing of Executive Director Dennis Bowman

Nicholas House, an Atlanta homeless shelter for families, announced that Executive Director Dennis Bowman passed away suddenly on Sunday, Aug. 22. 

Bowman served as executive director for 14 years. 

He was also involved in community efforts to combat homelessness, serving on the City of Atlanta’s Strategic Planning Committee to Address Homelessness and the DeKalb County Continuum of Care Planning Committee.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my friend and colleague Dennis Bowman,” Board President Michael Jones said in a press release. “Dennis has made an indelible mark on our organization, and we will keep his legacy of great service and outstanding stewardship alive and well.”

– Hannah E. Jones

Aaron Abramovitz is Georgia Power’s new CFO, executive vice president and treasurer.

Plant Vogtle executive promoted to CFO at Georgia Power

A top executive overseeing the Plant Vogtle nuclear construction project has been promoted to a major position in Georgia Power and will continue to have oversight of Vogtle’s construction.

Aaron Abramovitz takes over Sept. 1 as Georgia Power’s CFO, executive vice president and treasurer. A Georgia Power statement described his duties in regards to Vogtle:

  • “As CFO, he will continue to collaborate closely with Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle 3 & 4 project leadership team, Georgia Power’s Nuclear Development group, and the project’s co-owners to ensure communication for the project meets the needs of all stakeholders.”

At Southern Nuclear, an affiliate of Southern Co. that’s leading the Vogtle project, Abramovitz has overseen “project controls, risk management, budgeting and reporting, and commercial analysis & controls for Vogtle 3 & 4,” according to the statement. At Georgia Power, Abramovitz is to oversee “accounting and financial functions,” in addition to the duties related to Vogtle.

Plant Vogtle’s two reactors are the only ones being built in the United States. The latest report from an independent monitor stated the two units won’t come online until mid 2022, at the earliest, because of “poor productivity and production” in the construction process. 

Abramovitz is to succeed Dan Tucker, who’s been tapped to succeed Andrew Evans as Southern’s executive vice president and CFO.

– David Pendered

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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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