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Reporter’s Notebook: Buckhead cityhood opposition group, Atlantan to chair American Medical Association, partnership to transform mental health in 40 HBCUs  

A week in news.

Attention all Georgia voters — next Tuesday is voting day for each party’s primary runoffs in the statewide races. To find out where to submit your ballot on Tuesday, click here. You must be registered 30 days in advance of an election, which means you’ll have to sit this one out if you haven’t registered yet. Don’t worry, though, there’s still plenty of time to register for the Nov. 8 election.

On to other recent local news:

Buckhead cityhood opposition group claims poll shows it is winning

A group opposing Buckhead cityhood claims a new poll shows a majority of local voters agree with them. But the results could not be confirmed, as the group refused to release the raw polling data, and cityhood supporters say it is invalid.

The Committee for a United Atlanta (CUA) announced the poll on June 9 in an email to supporters, saying it was conducted May 21-25 with 380 respondents. The CUA claims the poll showed 61 percent of Buckhead voters want the neighborhood to remain part of Atlanta and 30 percent support separate cityhood. The CUA says the poll also showed Mayor Andre Dickens – who has pledged to defeat the cityhood movement by better serving Buckhead – is rated “excellent” or “good” by 55 percent of voters.

However, the CUA would not release the raw data for the poll. CUA co-chair Edward Lindsey did not respond to requests for the information. CUA co-founder Billy Linville apologized for being “unable” to provide that information, but would not say whether it exists or is being withheld for some reason, calling that question a sign of “hostility.”

The pro-cityhood Buckhead City Committee (BCC) called the CUA claims “false and misleading.” The BCC criticized the 380 respondents as too small a sample. The amount of respondents is indeed the lowest among several polls conducted by both groups over the past year. 

The BCC made other criticisms that are themselves misleading. Those include the results of a BCC poll conducted eight months ago, a.k.a., a political lifetime; Dickens failing to win a majority of Buckhead votes in his December election, which is not the same as current job approval after he won and is in office; and non-binding questions on the Republican and Democratic primary ballots about support for cityhood and for citizen referendums, which at best emphasize cityhood is a GOP red-meat issue. 

The cityhood effort emerged in late 2020 in response to crime concerns. While local debate simmers, the necessary Georgia General Assembly legislation to move ahead is dormant amid controversial statements by the BCC and legislators’ improved relationship with Dickens.

— John Ruch

Sandra A. Fryhofer

Atlantan to chair the American Medical Association 

Sandra A. Fryhofer, an internal medicine physician, will serve as the 2022/2023 board chair of the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest physician organization.

“I’m honored to again be entrusted by my peers with a position on the AMA Board of Trustees,” Dr. Fryhofer said in a statement. “Physicians have faced immense challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while caring for patients, and through it all, the AMA has been the physician’s powerful ally in patient care.”

Dr. Fryhofer was first elected to the AMA’s board in 2018. She is the longtime AMA liaison to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also serves on that committee’s work group on COVID-19 Vaccines.

Dr. Fryhofer has been an active member of the AMA since 1983. She has served as chair of the AMA Council on Science and Public Health. She was selected as the Council’s representative to the Commission to End Health Care Disparities and to the National Influenza Summit.

As a medical correspondent for CNN Headline News from 2001 to 2005, Dr. Fryhofer reported on medical issues on-air and in-print for her weekly CNN web column, “Vital Signs by Dr. Sandy.” She was also the host of a medical segment series for Georgia Public Broadcasting called “Your Health Matters.”

At the local level, Dr. Fryhofer serves on the board of directors of the Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA), and she is an MAA delegate to the Medical Association of Georgia House of Delegates. 

Dr. Fryhofer received her Bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech and her M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine.

— Maria Saporta

UNCF, Steve Fund partners to transform mental health in 40 HBCUs

 Earlier this week the United Negro College Fund announced a two-year partnership with mental health nonprofit the Steve Fund to reconstruct student mental health and wellbeing outcomes with a focus on 40 campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and predominantly Black institutions. 

“Our students have shown tremendous resilience in the face of an unprecedented and unpredictable time. Together with the Steve Fund, we are ready to place the mental health of Black students and Black colleges and universities at the center of an initiative focused on their student success and excellence,” said Dr. Michale Lomax, president of UNCF. 

A recent study started by both organizations revealed that 70 percent of HBCU students expressed a desire to be informed about resources and events regarding emotional wellbeing. America’s racial and polarizing media and political debates, students of color are experiencing heightened levels of stress, re-lived trauma and mental health challenges.

“Black students face very real mental health stressors and challenges today that must be addressed. This collaboration with UNCF will focus attention on mental health on campus and foster communities of action that break down stigma and promote mental health information, tools and resources on HBCU campuses– like those in the Atlanta University Center and serve as foundational work in the Steve Fund’s growing HBCU portfolio,” said Dr. Tia Dole, executive director of the Steve Fund.

The partnership was announced during the college fund’s UNITE 2022 summit. 

— Allison Joyner

Lisa Cupid. (Photo by Karl L. Moore/Mooreshots LLC)

Lisa Cupid talks equity at Cobb’s State of the County

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce featured Cobb Commission Chair Lisa Cupid at its Marque Monday breakfast at the Coca-Cola Roxy on June 13.

During the talk, Cupid mentioned that Cobb is the third most populous county in Georgia after Fulton and Gwinnett counties. The most recent figures from World Population Review show Cobb and DeKalb counties are virtually tied for third — both with slightly more than 772,000 residents.

“People are choosing Cobb and people are choosing Georgia,” Cupid told the gathering. “We are one of the nation’s most affluent counties. This year, we’re experiencing growth in our digest.”

But Cupid added that not everyone in Cobb enjoys prosperity. The county has a goal of creating greater equity among its residents. It already has moved forward with an initiative within the Cobb County government.

“All of our employees will finally be brought up to market wages,” she said. “Our employees will make a minimum of $17 an hour.”

Cupid added: “It’s not always been easy to talk about race and equity. Building bridges at the end of the day and the beginning of the day is about relationships.”

The issues are complex. There’s a high demand for housing, especially affordable housing.

“Those who work here should be able to live here,” Cupid said. “Over 60 percent of our residents travel to work outside of the county and 60 percent of the people who work in Cobb live outside of Cobb.”

That means there are increased transportation costs for those who have to commute inside and outside the county. The commuting patterns show that Cobb’s issues are interwoven with regional issues.

 “We are region,” she said. “We are strengthened by the City of Atlanta.”

Shari Martin. (Photo by Karl L. Moore/Mooreshots LLC)

The Cobb Chamber also honored Shari Martin, president and CEO of the Cobb Community Foundation. She received the 2022 Women of Distinction Award from the Chamber’s Cobb Executive Women program.

— Maria Saporta

Five Atlanta artists to perform at WABE’s annual MixTape LIVE

Next week, local Atlanta artists will take the stage for WABE’s MixTape LIVE, an annual live music festival. 

On Sunday, June 26, head over to Monday Night Garage for live performances from R&B artists Andy Z6 and Josh Waters, hip-hop musician Feel Jas, punk-rock duo Dead Cassettes and pop artist Amelia

The performers were selected from NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. Algebra Blessett will host the festival sponsored by United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Click here for more information and to secure your ticket.

— Hannah E. Jones

Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation elects seven new trustees

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has elected seven new trustees.

The Atlanta-based preservation nonprofit has a large Board of Trustees that guides its decisions. The trustees serve three-year terms. 

The new members include the following, with biographical information from the Georgia Trust.

  • Joseph “Joey” Charles of Decatur. He is the hydro compliance coordinator for Georgia Power Company, where he manages archaeological sites and historic buildings associated with the company’s many dams and reservoirs.
  • Tom Gay of Atlanta. He is the chairman of Gay Construction Company, which has performed work on a host of historic buildings including Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and Greystone at Piedmont Park and has earned awards from the Associated General Contractors of Georgia, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 
  • Heather King of Covington. She is the billing coordinator at Burge Club, a historic estate in Newton County, and serves on the City of Covington Historic Preservation Commission. 
  • Mary Lowell Pettit of Atlanta. She is a wealth advisor for Truist Wealth and previously served on the Inherit GA Board of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. 
  • Brian Rhodes of Augusta. He is the CEO of Workful, a subsidiary of TaxSlayer, which received an Excellence in Rehabilitation Award from the Georgia Trust in 2019 after investing millions in the former 1923 YMCA building located in downtown Augusta. 
  • Carrie Robinson of Macon. She is the founder of Robinson Home, a full-service interior design firm. Before opening her own firm with her husband Will, Robinson spearheaded the restoration and development of numerous historic properties as the lead preservation designer for Historic Macon Foundation, attracting national attention for her innovative approach to historic property development. 
  • Milan Savic of Marietta. He is the owner of several businesses, including Martin’s Restaurants Systems, The Canopy Restaurant, LLC and MS Realty, LLC. He is currently rehabilitating the 1813 Adam Strain Building in Darien, one of the oldest commercial structures in the state. And also contributed to the preservation of Needwood Baptist Church and School in Brunswick, one of the oldest African American churches in the state and a former Georgia Trust “Places in Peril” site.
  • Lisa White of Savannah. She is an assistant district counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She is the president of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the state of Georgia, an honorary regent for the Savannah chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and past chair of the Georgia Historical Society and the Savannah Historic Site and Monument Commission.

— John Ruch

Atlanta Food Bank names new board members 

The Atlanta Community Food Bank recently announced the addition of six new members to its board of directors.  

The new board members include: 

  • Janine Anthony Bowen, southeast office leader of the Digital Asset and Data Management Group at the national law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP.
  • Shawn Cole, vice president of global sales for Delta Air Lines.
  • Jacqueline Flake, who, after a 20-year career on Wall Street, has used her expertise to invest in volunteer and philanthropic efforts in the arts and education sphere.
  • Jennifer McKeehan, senior vice president and global head of supply chain for Peloton Interactive.
  • Camye Mackey, executive vice president and chief people, diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena.
  • Claire E. Sterk, president emerita of Emory University. 

“We are honored to welcome our new Board Members who each have demonstrated incredible commitment to the communities they serve and excellence in their respective professions,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO. “Their leadership will be vital as our organization faces new challenges and increased demand that were driven by the pandemic. We look forward to working alongside our Board to continue to explore innovative approaches for providing our critical programs and resources for the food insecure in our 29-country service area.” 

The Food Bank combats food insecurity in the state by working with around 700 nonprofit agencies to distribute food across 29 counties. In Georgia, one in eight residents are food insecure and the Food Bank distributed over 96 million meals last year.

— Hannah E. Jones

(L to R) Horizons Atlanta Chair Kevin Glass, awardee Eric Koonce and Executive Director Alex Wan. (Photo courtesy of Horizons Atlanta.)

Horizons Atlanta honors exceptional partners and educators 

Horizons Atlanta, a local education nonprofit, recently held its third annual Impact Awards and Breakfast to recognize the efforts of its stand-out educators and partners. 

 The nonprofit team and partners gathered at Piedmont Park’s Magnolia Hall on June 8 to celebrate those who help make Horizons Atlanta’s six-week summer learning experience, geared towards underserved communities, possible.

This year’s awardees include:

  • Woodward Academy, the second Horizons program to launch in Atlanta which serves 135 students in College Park. The Academy is a key partner, according to the nonprofit, consistently providing high-quality and innovative programming and spearheading a Horizons alumni engagement program. 
  • Zeist Foundation, which helped Horizons expand its program from one to its current 10 regional program sites across Atlanta and Athens. 
  • Eric Koonce, a Horizons Atlanta educator who is also a teacher at Price Middle School during the school year. Koonce has spent the last five summers at the Horizon’s Georgia Tech program site, and this year he is working with the Purpose Built Schools program. 

“We are fortunate to have many community and philanthropic stakeholders, partners, and educators who believe in Horizons’ mission and enable us to make significant changes in the lives of the scholars who attend one of our programs,” said Alex Wan, the organizations executive directior. “This year’s Impact Award honorees constantly go above and beyond to ensure that our scholars’ needs are met.”

— Hannah E. Jones

$1,000 signing bonus for bus drivers, crossing guards at next APS job fair 

This Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, the Atlanta Public School district will continue its series of job fairs for the upcoming school year. 

The “get on the bus” job fairs target potential applicants for full-time positions like school bus drivers, bus monitors, transportation supervisors and crossing guards with a $1,000 signing bonus for eligible people. 

Exceptional wages with flexible hours and state benefits are available. 

The fair will be held on Saturday June 18 at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School on Hill Street. 

For more information, log onto the district’s website.

— Allison Joyner

(L to R) Jolie Weber, Erica Hoholick and Laurel Hurd. (Photos courtesy of OnBoard.)

OnBoard recognizes three female leaders with Excellence Award

OnBoard, an Atlanta-based organization that advocates for women in leadership positions, recently recognized three local leaders with its annual Excellence Awards. 

The female leaders serve on a corporate board or are in the pipeline for corporate board membership and provide advocacy and mentorship for other women in their field. 

The 2022 awardees include:

  • Erica Hoholick, CEO of 22Squared. Under Hoholick’s leadership, the Agency was named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative Companies in 2021 by Fast Company.
  • Laurel Hurd, president and CEO of Interface, Inc. She is also on the board of directors for THOR Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.
  • Jolie Weber, CEO of Lenny & Larry’s. She also currently serves on the board of directors for Wyandot Snacks and OC Flavors.

The organization celebrated the recipients with a breakfast on June 9. OnBoard, established in 1993, advocates for women in leadership positions and connects them with career opportunities to bolster the number of women on corporate boards in Georgia companies.

— Hannah E. Jones

ARC announces 2022 Regional Leadership Institute class

The Atlanta Regional Commission has announced its 2022 class for the annual Regional Leadership Institute, a program where leaders discuss regional solutions to various governmental and economic issues.

This year’s program will be held Sept. 18-23 in Savannah. The leaders were chosen through a competitive application process and pay a “tuition” of $3,250 or $3,650. 

The leaders include the following:

  • Michelle Alexander, Director, Planning & Development Department, City of Chamblee
  • Rebekah Babovic Anderson, Director of Membership & Programs, Council for Quality Growth
  • Alex Battle, Program Coordinator, North Fulton Community Improvement District
  • LaSandra Boykin, Director, Corporate Giving & Community Engagement, Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Malik Brown, Director of LGBTQ Affairs, City of Atlanta
  • Robert Buckley, Director, Office of Financial Management & Program Oversight, Federal Transit Administration Region IV
  • Anne Chen, Senior Sales Manager, Explore Gwinnett
  • Nathaniel Clark, Chief of Police, Forest Park Police Department
  • Ollie Clemens Jr., Mayor of Austell
  • Brittany Collins, Executive Director, Betty Davis Fitzgerald Foundation
  • Jessica Corbitt, Director of External Affairs, Fulton County
  • Natasha Difiore, Director of Legal Affairs, Metro Atlanta Chamber
  • Misty Fernandez, Regional Director, Georgia Power Company
  • Marlene Fosque, District 4 Commissioner, Gwinnett County
  • Stacy Garmon, Vice President, Greater North Fulton Chamber
  • Ray Gibson, City Manager of Fayetteville
  • Sabrina Gomez, Founder and Principal Consultant, STEM Higher LLC
  • Quinn Green, Real Estate Advisor/Broker, Century 21 Connect Realty
  • Deva Hirsch, Executive Director, The Rich Foundation
  • Michele Howard, Executive Vice President, Programs & Leadership Development, Cobb Chamber
  • William Johnston, Executive Director, MicroLife Institute
  • Nachae Jones, Founder and CEO, Rhema Word Enterprises, LLC
  • Natallie Keiser, Senior Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Soumaya Khalifa, Executive Director and Founder, Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta
  • Jennifer King, Executive Director, Georgia CASA
  • Kim Learnard, Mayor of Peachtree City
  • Saba Long, Executive Director, Atlanta Civic Circle
  • Jeffrey Martín, Founder & Managing Partner, ENROOT Agricultural Management, LLC co-op
  • Randi Mason, Vice President of Economic Development, Decide DeKalb
  • Juan Mejia, Senior Brokerage Partner, DT Spade, SRE
  • Michelle Middlebrooks, Assistant Fire Chief, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Melissa Mims, Community Relations Manager, Rockdale County Board of Commissioners
  • Aprille Moore, Captain and Unit Commander, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tami Morris, CEO, Association of Village PRIDE
  • Trent North, Superintendent, Douglas County School System
  • Talia Nurse, Assistant Judge, Juvenile Court of Douglas County
  • Adam Parker, Vice President, Carter
  • Christopher Perlera, Owner, Critical Point Consulting, LLC
  • Lynnette Reid, Director of Planning, Atlanta Beltline Inc.
  • Tyler Reinagel, Associate Vice President of Economic Development, Kennesaw State University
  • Patrice Ruffin, Assistant City Manager, City of Brookhaven
  • Korynn Schooley, Vice President, College Access, Achieve Atlanta
  • Margaret Stallings, Planning & Zoning Director, Cherokee County Planning and Zoning
  • Charles Stephens, Executive Director, The Counter Narrative Project
  • Jamilah Stephens, Director of Budget & Performance, Mayor’s Office of Innovation & Performance, City of Atlanta
  • Sean Suarez, Head of Strategy & Planning, Uber Transit, Uber
  • Richard Taylor, Managing Partner, ARRC Capital Partners, LLC
  • Rosalind Tucker, Managing Director, Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Kelly Walsh, Decatur City Commissioner
  • Matt Westmoreland – Atlanta City Council member
  • Gyimah Whitaker, Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Fulton County School System
  • Sherry B. Williams, Transit Equity Special Projects, Georgia Stand Up
  • Jennifer Zeller, Strategic Solutions Manager, Community & Economic Development, Georgia Power

— John Ruch

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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 hannah@saportareport.com.

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