Crushed car windows beautify C Glass Jewelry

Corinne Adams’ artistic vision saw past the shattered window of her VW Touareg and admired the nuggets of safety glass scattered like diamonds on the ground. Today the Buckhead photographer and mixed media artist creates cuffs, earrings, belt buckles and more from the glass remnants of car crimes and misadventures. C Glass accessories convey a message of hope and redemption, and often are given to mark a loss or difficult life event, as a message that what is broken can become something beautiful.

Mardi Gras vibe inspires survival for Cajun and zydeco dancers in Atlanta

Carolyn Barbay of Atlanta climbed out of the grief she had over losing her husband by re-discovering the music of her home state of Louisiana and learning the Cajun two-step and waltz.

Instead of driving eight hours, she only had to travel a few miles to the Knights of Columbus Hall at Buford Highway near Lenox Road, home of the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association’s monthly fais do do (parties) featuring a live band playing authentic swamp music.

She found a tribe bound not by blood, geography, language, culture, ethnicity or religion, but by a deep love of the forward-driving, accordion-centric sounds of Acadian music from Louisiana.

The future of the world — according to former Vice President Al Gore

By Maria Saporta

Trying to follow Al Gore as he speaks is like trying to drink water from a fire hose.

The former vice president is a fountain of knowledge and ideas, stimulating thought and concern as he weaves a tale of the future.

Gore was in Atlanta Friday evening at the Carter Center to talk about his most recent book: “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.”

Counting squirrels adds quirk to Inman Park

By Michelle Hiskey

In the 1880s, a dreamy question created the east Atlanta neighborhood of Inman Park: “What if… the streetcar connected downtown with a posh suburb?”

Today, a funky obsession has connected neighbors there: “What if all the squirrels came down from the trees and attacked us in an apocalyptic nightmare?”

From the imagination of local writer Jamie Allen came the acorn that grew into the Inman Park Squirrel Census. From this nutty (to some) idea unfolded a modern fable, a tale of harnessing curiosity and technology to transform how we see our surroundings.

Grounding their wildlife watch is some hard cash: through the social media incubator Kickstarter, the squirrel census recently raised $9,000 to form an LLC and print and sell vintage-style posters of where the squirrels are.

Jeff Galloway: For health and success, schedule frequent breaks — and there’s an app for that

Traffic alert: On Thursday at 7 pm, 16,000 people will run and walk 3.1 miles of closed streets in downtown Atlanta.

Jeff Galloway started this annual event — now called the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program — 30 years ago. Its growth paralleled that of Galloway’s path from elite runner to widely-traveled motivational speaker and corporate coach.

After the 1972 Olympics and winning the first Peachtree Road Races, Galloway’s reach and impact widened as he focused on the deceptively simple key to running and achieving any long-range goal.


Bob Gibeling

From a straight Young Republican to a gay Democrat delegate

In 1972, Georgia Tech student Bob Gibeling cheered Pat Nixon’s arrival at the Republican Convention in Miami. He gave interviews to national media about his generation’s support of the GOP’s progressive policies. He dreamed of becoming mayor of Atlanta, his hometown.

This week, Bob Gibeling will cheer Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. As a volunteer coordinator for a faith-based nonprofit in Atlanta, Gibeling is thrilled to be voting for a platform with a full marriage equality plank. His political career has been spent not in local politics, but working for change in his religious denomination.

Over 40 years, whose life and context doesn’t change? The constants in Gibeling’s story are a family-bred passion for politics, a lifelong commitment to the middle ground and a willingness to stand for change.

His arrival at the opposite political pole is one marker of discovering his true religious faith and sexual orientation – a secret that kept him from realizing his political dreams. As he found himself, he realized the ground he had always stood on no longer made room for people like him.

Broken cell phone, local lifeline and the powerful need to connect

The marimba beat from the iPhone woke me as usual, only the direction was very wrong. The sound came from the floor, where the phone had fallen.

My phone is my lifeline, stowing my schedule, contacts, reminders, lists, music, maps, photos, news and diversions in case of boredom. Just how emotional and deep that connection can be became more evident in the brief, illuminating adventure to turn a cracked screen clear again.

The quest led to a small, thriving universe that exists to reconnect us, and how one young man in Atlanta, Shahzad Pirani, re-made himself through repairing phones.

Restoration after rats requires Melton’s strong will

Aaron and Staci Melton, sitting at a bar table amid a decent weekday dinner crowd, still live with the damage – financial and emotional — from a rat infestation that closed their doors in late 2011.

Every day, they think about their lawsuit against their neighbor, Pet Supermarket, which is in the discovery phase in DeKalb County Superior Judge Daniel M. Coursey Jr. If a resolution comes at all, it will take a while. At stake for the Meltons is $250,000 – their lost revenue and debt for repairs.

Take away the litigation, and the Meltons still represent the psychological struggle for so many of us in middle-class Atlanta and America. Despite hard work and diligence amid economic distress, our standard of living and hope in the future have gone from security to struggle. We come face-to-face daily with this reality: forces beyond our control can quickly shut us down.

Ron Brown, shuttle driver in north Georgia

For deliverance on Appalachian Trail, hikers rely on folks like Ron Brown

On July 20, Atlanta’s Fox Theatre will celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Deliverance,” the startling and brutal film about city dwellers venturing into Georgia’s devilish Appalachian country.

A walk in the north Georgia woods today has its hazards, too – but luckily our recent group of hikers got help from a trail angel named Ron Brown.

Unlike the predatory locals in the movie, Brown is part of an super-friendly mountain hospitality corps who serve visitors to Springer Mountain — the southern terminus of the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail — and beyond.

Thousands of outsiders show up every year to experience the “AT,” the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, which next month celebrates its 75th anniversary.

It was a hellish 100 degrees plus when we cinched up our backpacks for a long-planned overnight trip around Springer…

Allison Tilly.

For a Roswell girl, Hawaii is a positive state of mind

Allison Tilly wanted to go to Hawaii.

No was her mom’s answer. She hoped Allison would just drop the idea. She and Allison’s dad were divorcing, and they were moving. A fancy vacation wasn’t in the budget.

Allison, 8 years old, is the baby of the family — imaginative, stubborn and persuasive. She rounds up her older brother and sister to play games she’s made up.

Hawaii obsessed her. Her mother relented a bit.

After you graduate from high school, Melissa Tilly said.

For 8-year-old Allison, that meant paradise was 10 years. For her mom, it seemed even farther than 4500 miles.

For prolific Atlanta artist “Mr. Imagination,” sleep was rare

The northwest Atlanta home of Gregory Warmack, better known in modern art circles as “Mr. Imagination,” was indeed a portal to a spiritual realm. This was no airy studio with someone dressed all in black. As a self-taught “visionary” artist, Mr. Imagination sculpted his own organic world where even circadian rhythms bowed.

In thick borders around each room and hallway, his layered, meticulously encrusted creations resembled masks, animals and common items like musical instruments. With a collection of things that had already lived once as common objects, he had wired, hammered, plastered and placed them into an extraordinary new life.

A few miles from the headquarters of the world’s most iconic brand – Coca-Cola – Warmack had compelled leading museums to carve out space for the lowly bottle cap.

Photo of Grace Campbell, a protester with Good Growth DeKalb, opposing Walmart expanding into Suburban Plaza in Decatur.

For Decatur’s Intown Hardware, family and creativity will survive Wal-Mart

When big-box Wal-Mart announced plans to move into indie-minded Decatur, neighbors mobilized protests.

A legal campaign began. Anti-Wal-Mart yard signs popped up. Across the road from the planned development, Tony Powers keeps the keen eye and taste that has made his family business – Intown Ace Hardware – survive and succeed.

As the world gets more homogeneous, his answer is a more diverse identity. His store’s evolving eclecticism mirrors the funky flowering of Decatur itself.

Episcopal priest Mary Wetzel and deacon Carole Maddux lead Palm Sunday service in Woodruff Park for homeless and others.

Common ground with the homeless raised as Easter approaches

Regardless of religion, we all are equaled through humbling moments.

The Palm Sunday service at the Church of the Common Ground in Woodruff Park repeatedly chipped at the gap between the homeless worshippers and those who were much better .

Staring into a street person’s face to see the face of Christ is a stark discovery of one’s own neediness – for status, approval and fleeting comforts.