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Reporter’s Notebook: MLK Day events, city calls for resident input with “ATL Zoning 2.0,” B-52s bid farewell to Georgia

The week in local news.

Monday, Jan. 16 marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a celebration of King’s legacy and a reminder to help your neighbors and serve the greater community. To see what the King Center has planned, click here. If you’re wanting to volunteer, click here for a list of opportunities around the city and metro area.

On to other recent local news:

The City of Atlanta is offering four community workshops between now and April. (Courtesy of ATL City Planning.)

City of Atlanta calls for resident input for “ATL Zoning 2.0” 

Next week, the City of Atlanta is hosting a public meeting for resident input on “ATL Zoning 2.0,” a multi-year rewrite of the city’s Zoning Ordinance, which is currently 40 years old. An updated zoning plan is key for sustainable and equitable development.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs at 504 Fair St SW. Folks can also tune in via Zoom

Click here for additional information about “ATL Zoning 2.0.”

— Hannah E. Jones

A Pittman Park ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate refurbished amenities funded through Park Pride’s 2022 Grantmaking Program. (Photo courtesy of Park Pride.)

Park Pride provides $2.5 million grants for 25 local communities

Park Pride, a nonprofit working with communities to improve parks around Atlanta and DeKalb, recently announced $2.5 million in grants for 25 communities — the largest slate of awards in its 34-year history. Sixty-seven percent of the allocated funds will benefit parks in low-income neighborhoods.

Since the program’s inception in 2004, Park Pride has awarded over $14.9 million to local park projects, including new playgrounds, ADA-accessibility upgrades, trails, exercise equipment, multipurpose courts, green infrastructure and more. 

This round of park improvements includes a History Trail at Maddox Park, a mural at the West End Park basketball court and a new entrance and walking trail at English Park. 

“The awards made through Park Pride’s Grantmaking Program have a positive impact on Atlantans’ quality of life,” Executive Director Michael Halicki wrote in a press release. “Everyone deserves to live within walking distance of a great greenspace where they can benefit from the healing qualities parks have on our mental and physical wellbeing. Nothing gives me greater pride than knowing that as we improve local parks, we’re also improving people’s lives.”

Click here for a complete list of improvements funded by Park Pride’s January 2023 grant cycle.

— Hannah E. Jones

B-52s bid farewell to Atlanta and Athens

The B-52s, one of the biggest bands to emerge from Athens’ legendary music scene, bid farewell to Georgia this month in their final tour.

Known for dance-rock hits like “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack,” the B-52s formed in Athens in the 1970s, alongside other influential punk-era bands including Pylon. With several gay members and a camp-culture aesthetic, the band also became an LGBTQ icon. 

Outlasting other legends of that 1970s and ’80s scene, such as R.E.M., the B-52s concluded a final tour with a three-night stand at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre Jan. 6-8 and ended with a Jan. 10 show at Athens’ Classic Center. The Jan. 7 Atlanta show to a packed house, where many dressed in glamorous thrift-store and disco fashions, ended with a burst of confetti and a screen reading, “To our dear fans: We love you!”

The party’s not over, though. The band is heading to a Las Vegas residency as a legacy act and may hold occasional concerts elsewhere.

— John Ruch

The events will run all week. (Courtesy of Morehouse College.)

Morehouse plans week-long MLK celebration to honor Civil Rights alumnus

From Jan. 16 to 31, Morehouse College will host a series of events in honor of one of its most famous graduates, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Historically Black College says the celebration is designated to educate the world about the Civil Rights leader’s historical and contemporary impact and engage the global community on issues of equity. 

“The 2023 commemoration will tie King’s philosophy of the past to present-day issues and assess a path forward in our collective plight for social justice while using his foundational principles of non-violence, compassion, and equity,” said Dr. Vicki Crawford, director of the King Collection, housed at Morehouse and coordinator of King Week. 

This year’s commemoration features discussions, a film screening, and community service opportunities that the College encourages the metro Atlanta community and beyond to attend. 

All events are free and open to the public with registration here.  

The events include: 

Monday, Jan. 16 at 9 a.m.: Bonner Office of Community Service Day of Service

Join the Morehouse college community for a day of service to commemorate the national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Register here

Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Crown Forum. “Beyond the Superficial: Deep Calleth Unto Deep” 

Speaker: Rev. Samuel T. Ross-Lee ’88 

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel  

Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.: Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival Screening of “Unspoken.” 

Documentary filmmaker Stephanie Calabrese provides new perspectives on the historic Moore’s Ford lynching of four young African Americans in a 1946 Georgia town, shattering the silences that have distanced neighbor from neighbor for generations. 

Location: Ray Charles Performing Arts Center 

Sunday, Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday Vesper Hour: “Downward Mobility: The Slippery Slope from Service to Status” 

Speaker: Rev. William K. Gravely ‘07, founder and lead pastor for Refuge Community Church 

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel 

Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m.: Movement, Memory, and Justice Book Discussion: “His Name is George Floyd” 

Join Toluse Olornnipa and Robert Samuels, two prize-winning Washington Post reporters, in a discussion of their book, “His Name is George Floyd.” This event is sponsored by a generous gift from the Mellon Foundation. 

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel  

Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture and Conversation – “Now is the Time: Perspectives on the Continuing Struggle for Justice and Peace.” 

Join in on a lively discussion on the modern-day struggle for justice and peace with guest speakers Bakari T. Sellers, former S.C. State Representative and national political commentator, and Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, moderated by Dr. David Wall Rice ‘95, professor of psychology at Morehouse College. Special music provided by the Uzee Brown Society of Choraliers and the Morehouse College Glee Club Quartet. 

Location: Ray Charles Performing Arts Center 

Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.: Virtual Book Talk – “The Arc of Truth: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr.” 

Join Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, professor emeritus of religious studies at Vanderbilt University, as he discusses his recent book on Martin Luther King Jr. Watch here.

— Allison Joyner

Georgia Tech launches program for student athlete marketing rights

Georgia Tech has launched a program to assist student athletes during a sea change in college sports in favor of letting them profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights.

There has long been political and legal pressure for “amateur” student athletes to get a share of the enormous sums that colleges and universities make from their games and related merchandise. A California law passed in 2019 ensuring such rights sparked changes elsewhere, including in Georgia, and an interim National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) policy went into effect last year allowing such deals as getting paid for autographs, endorsements and appearances in videogames.

The University of Georgia, home to the hugely profitable football champions the Bulldogs, last year launched an NIL assistance program called “LeGAcy.”

Georgia Tech’s “The Tech Way” program, which debuted this month, follows suit. The program website says it seeks “to help student-athletes maximize their NIL opportunities the right way, without ever compromising the values of the Institute and the legacy of all those who have donned the White and Gold in the past.” It includes aid with promotional deals as well as soliciting contributions to distribute among all student athletes, with a statement that 85 percent to 90 percent of the money will go to them. For details, see thetechway.com.

— John Ruch

Claire Lewis “Yum “ Arnold.

Yum Arnold and the Atlanta Fed 

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has a new chair – Claire Lewis “Yum” Arnold, CEO of Leapfrog Services, which she co-founded in 1998.

“It’s a huge honor,” Arnold said. “But it’s like drinking from a firehose.”

Arnold, who is in her fifth year serving on the board – most recently as deputy chair, is succeeding Liz Smith, former executive chair of Bloomin’ Brands, who is from St. Petersburg, Fla. 

Gregory Haile, president of Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, was named the 2023 vice chair of the Atlanta Fed.

Also, Cynthia Day, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Citizens Trust Bank, was elected to the nine-member board.

— Maria Saporta

Georgia’s Arrested Development will play at the 10th annual festival. (Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Music Fest.)

Tenth annual Alzheimer’s Music Fest at Buckhead Theater next month

On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Alzheimer’s Music Fest is partnering with Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) to host the 10th Annual Alzheimer’s Music Fest (AMF) at the Buckhead Theater.

Singer and songwriter Vince Albert Zangaro founded AMF to help spread awareness about the disease after serving as a caregiver for his father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. FODAC provides equipment and services to enhance the quality of life for those with disabilities, providing low to no-cost home medical equipment that improves mobility and independence. 

This year’s lineup includes Georgia’s Arrested Development, Cowboy Mouth and Cracker.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between isolation and independence by increasing access to recycled Home Medical Equipment,” Zangaro wrote in a press release. “With this concert and sponsorships, we get to help clients to participate in school, work, and community activities, to be self-sufficient in their home and personal care, and to lead full and productive lives while managing their disabilities. This benefit concert will help us serve those in need.” 

Click here to get tickets.

— Hannah E. Jones

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic in conversation with his predecessor, Dennis Lockhart, at the Jan. 9 Rotary Club of Atlanta. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

Raphael Bostic at Rotary 

The economy likely will grow slowly during 2023 at a rate of 1 percent gross domestic product, but that would mean the U.S. economy would avoid going into a recession. 

That was the analysis that Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve of Atlanta, gave to the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Jan. 9, during his annual talk.

“I think we can get through this with less pain than in the past,” Bostic said. “The worst case scenario is that the contraction will be shallow, and it’s going to be short.” 

Bostic spoke about the economy, inflation and the labor market during a conversation with his predecessor, Dennis Lockhart.

Inflation is now between 5 and 6 percent, far higher than the Fed’s target of 2 percent, Bostic said. But that’s below the highs of last year.

Plus, Bostic said that seven out of the Fed’s nine indicators show that inflation is headed down.

“My goal for inflation is to get to a place where people aren’t thinking about it,” said Bostic, who added that the economy enjoyed nine years of growth with low inflation. “Inflation hurts everybody, and it particularly hurts those with the least.”

— Maria Saporta

The grant awardees represent a wide range of art disciplines. (Photo via Unsplash.)

Community Foundation Greater Atlanta doles out $1 million in grants to arts orgs

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has awarded just over $1 million to 35 small and midsize arts organizations. Grants range from $1,000 to $125,000 and organizations can use the funds at their discretion to support their programming and operations.

The awardees include organizations like Girls Rock Camp ATL, the African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta and DanceATL

“Our focus on arts, culture and creative industries seeks to address historic inequities and allow our region’s smaller arts organizations, artists and creative businesses to thrive,” Ayana Gabriel, vice president of community impact, wrote in a press release. “We are formalizing this vision within our TogetherATL framework by taking a long-term perspective to ensure that our arts ecosystem amplifies and activates community voices, strengthens our economy and fosters learning through the arts at all stages of life.”

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta works toward equity and prosperity in the Atlanta region through financial grants to nonprofit organizations in a 23-county metro area. To see a complete list of the recent grantees, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

East Point offers ticket amnesty and record restriction on unpaid fines, fees

From Jan. 17 to March 31, the City of East Point in conjunction with the annual MLK Day of Service is offering ticket amnesty and record restrictions to their residents. 

This amnesty period allows them to resolve unpaid fines and fees, like failure to appear in court, with little to no penalties. 

The city is also offering residents to apply to request restriction of an arrest record for non-violent crimes committed, which will be reviewed by Solicitor Antavius Weems.  

Visit East Point’s website for the application and additional information. 

— Allison Joyner

Nominations open for Atlanta’s 2023 Design Awards

Nominations are open for the City of Atlanta’s 2023 Design Awards, which honor people and projects that improve the built environment and community life.

There are two categories of awards whose nominees are voted on by different groups, as described by the City Office of Design:

The Awards of Excellence, chosen by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. These awards honor “physical projects, programs, and sometimes people located in the city of Atlanta that have improved the city’s physical character.” This is the 45th edition of the Awards of Excellence.

The Community Design Awards are voted on by Neighborhood Planning Units. They honor “projects, programs, or people who have worked to make the city or a neighborhood a better place to live.” This is the sixth edition of the Community Design Awards.

The public can make nominations in both categories. The nomination deadline for the Community Design Awards is Feb. 27 and the deadline for Awards of Excellence is March 6. For details, see the Design Awards website.

The awards ceremony will be held sometime in the spring.

— John Ruch

The nursing shortage is felt nationwide. (Photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute, Unsplash.)

Kaiser Permanente provides grants to four metro Atlanta nursing programs

In light of a particularly grueling past few years in the healthcare field and a subsequent nationwide nursing shortage, Kaiser Permanente recently announced a round of grants to nursing programs at four Georgia universities to strengthen their education to workforce pipeline.

A total of $100,000 in grants will go to Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Clayton State University and Georgia Gwinnett College, with each institution receiving a $25,000 grant for its nursing program.

“Nurses are the cornerstone of providing excellent care to the communities we serve,” said Charmaine Ward-Millner, vice president of Marketing, Communications, and Community Relations for Kaiser Permanente’s Georgia market. “These grants reinforce Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to help shape the future of healthcare and meet our state’s need for skilled nurses.”

Nursing shortages are felt around the city, state and beyond. And after a particularly grueling past few years in the healthcare field, a recent survey of nurses showed that 34 percent of participants were very likely to quit their job by the end of 2022. 

— Hannah E. Jones

Two Georgia organizations selected for Chick-fil-A grant

This week, Chick-fil-A announced the 46 awardees for its True Inspiration Awards, including two Georgia-based nonprofits — Peachtree City’s Midwest Food Bank and Douglasville’s S.H.A.R.E. House.

The organizations will receive a total of $5 million in grants, with individual amounts ranging from $30,000 to $350,000. Each awardee addresses key issues that Chick-fil-A has identified as its corporate social responsibility priorities, including caring for people, our communities, our people and others through food. 

Midwest Food Bank is a faith-based organization that distributes nearly $36 million worth of food to over 2,100 non-profit organizations each month. The Food Bank has 12 locations around the nation, East Africa and Haiti. S.H.A.R.E. House is a nonprofit that provides crisis intervention and wrap-around care for survivors of family violence.

“Through our True Inspiration Awards grant program, Chick-fil-A helps empower local nonprofits that are leading positive change and creating tangible impact throughout the communities they serve,” wrote Brent Fielder, senior director of corporate social responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc. “This year, we added a new grant category – Caring for our Planet – to help support additional nonprofits that act as good stewards of the planet we share. It is our pleasure to invest in the growth and legacy of all our 2023 recipient organizations throughout the U.S.” 

— Hannah E. Jones

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, 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 can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.


1 Comment

  1. Here4beer January 13, 2023 12:22 pm

    B-52s – End of an era. So much fun. A true party band. where’s your icebox? where’s the punch? Pass the tanning butter!Report


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