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Reporter’s Notebook: Grady debuts new outpatient facility, Atlanta leaders selected for Harvard scholarships, Union City Mayor to lead Metro Atlanta Mayors Association

The week in local news.

Spring is just around the corner! 

The change in season also marks the start of the festival frenzy in Atlanta. Festival on Ponce will kick off the season, held on April 2 and 3 at Olmsted Linear Park. The two-day event includes 125-plus artist booths, live music and food trucks. Outside the city, Macon is holding its International Cherry Blossom Festival until March 26, and Sandy Springs is hosting Artsapalooza on April 8 and 9.

On to other local news:

Grady’s new Correll Pavilion. (Photo courtesy of the Grady Health System.)

Grady debuts new outpatient facility — the Correll Pavilion

Earlier this week, the Grady Health System celebrated the opening of Correll Pavilion, its new outpatient facility. Marking Grady’s largest investment in 30 years, the facility will allow the team to serve more patients at its main campus, with 45 percent more clinical capacity and 25 percent more space in operating rooms.

The 10-story, 600,000-square-foot facility sits adjacent to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta and houses several services like outpatient surgery, imaging, rehabilitation and three pharmacies. The new space also includes specialty clinics like ophthalmology, GI, ENT, oral surgery orthopedics and a cancer center.

“The opening of Correll Pavilion ushers in a new era of healthcare for Grady Health System and the entire city of Atlanta,” Grady President and CEO John Haupert wrote in a release. “During a time when other health systems are closing their doors, this state-of-the-art facility symbolizes Grady’s unwavering commitment to improving the health of our community by continuing to invest in the people we are privileged to serve.”

The Correll Pavilion was named in honor of A.D. “Pete” Correll, chairman emeritus of Georgia-Pacific and former chair of both the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation and Grady Health Foundation boards of directors, who passed away two years ago. He spearheaded the effort to raise $96 million in private funding, which was matched by DeKalb and Fulton counties.

— Hannah E. Jones 

Atlanta leaders selected for Harvard scholarships

The Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta announced the six local leaders who are the 2023 winners of its Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) Scholarships. The annual program grants local leaders access to executive education courses at Harvard Business School. 

Since its inception in 1997, the Club has awarded more than 100 outstanding nonprofit leaders in Georgia with the SEI Scholarship. The six leaders are: 

  • Nell Benn, Agape Youth & Family Center
  • Greg Cole, Emmaus House
  • Jennifer Dorian, WABE
  • Maryum Lewis, Jerusalem House, Inc.
  • Paula Moody, Families First
  • Brenda Smeeton, Georgia Justice Project

The scholarship recipients will attend one of two courses offered by the School, Driving Nonprofit Performance and Innovation or Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. The program provides leaders with tools to improve the effectiveness of their organizations by building an understanding of and applying core management concepts essential to leading a nonprofit organization.

Delta Air Lines has been a long-term partner of the Club in the Scholarship program, providing round-trip airfare from Atlanta to Boston for scholarship recipients.

— Maria Saporta

Union City Mayor Vince Williams. (Photo courtesy of MAMA.)

Union City Mayor elected to lead Metro Atlanta Mayors Association

Last week, Union City Mayor Vince Williams was selected as chair of the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association (MAMA) — a cooperative alliance of 70-plus mayors in the 10-county metro Atlanta region. 

Williams has a history of being highly involved in local civics, most recently serving as vice chair of MAMA. He is also the immediate past president of the National League of Cities and served as president of the Georgia Municipal Association from 2020 to 2021.

In 2017, Williams was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award by former President Barack Obama. The next year, he was awarded Mayor of the Year by The Georgia Minority Business Awards. He has also been chosen multiple times by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential and Notable Georgians.

The Executive Committee (L to R): Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson, Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons, Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell, Union City Mayor Vince Williams, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett and Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford. (Photo courtesy of MAMA.)

 “I look forward to the opportunity of leading the conversation around the many regional issues that are important to every city in the Metro Atlanta Region while bringing real solutions, progress and change,” Williams wrote in a press release. “Mayors not only understand firsthand the uphill challenges cities face, but they also provide wisdom, advice and best practices, to remedy these issues. From public safety, housing, economic development, broadband and infrastructure, mayors must get it done. I’m honored to have been selected by my peers to shepherd the collective strengths and message of cities in the metro Atlanta region!”

In this new position, Williams succeeds Town of Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul was elected as vice chair.

— Hannah E. Jones

Album raises funds for forest protesters’ legal fees

A local record label has released a massive compilation album as a fundraiser for “Defend the Atlanta Forest” protesters’ bail and lawyers.

The 68-song “Weelaunee Kaleidoscope” digital-only comp was released last month on the streaming service Bandcamp by Rope Bridge Records, a DIY label specializing in cassette-only albums. The proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Solidarity Fund

The bands are a mix of national acts and such locals as Dark Vaughn and Plastique. The first track, “Onca” by altoscliff, is a tribute to Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, also known as Tortuguita, the protester killed by police after allegedly shooting a state trooper.

On the Bandcamp page, label founder Ryan Myers says the comp was “organized on short notice to quickly raise funds to aid the stand against Cop City and police oppression & violence.” The title refers to an art installation set up in the forest – which protesters call the Weelaunee – that was “dismantled and literally beat down by a police raid” in December.

Dozens of people are facing domestic terrorism charges in relation to protests on the site of Atlanta’s public safety training center and Downtown. While some protesters have destroyed property and thrown firebombs or rocks toward officers and civilians, there is controversy over the involvement of those actually arrested and a chilling-effect intent.

The comp is one indication of how the protest movement is becoming a cultural phenomenon as well. A review in the music magazine Record Plug likened it to “socio-political hardcore comps from the ’80s,” an era that produced such left-wing punk mega-albums as the “International P.E.A.C.E. Benefit Compilation.”

— John Ruch

CareSource launches program to improve outcomes for high-risk youth

CareSource, a Medicaid plan serving more than 500,000 Georgians, recently launched Stronger Together, a program that identifies and supports children with significant mental health conditions. The initiative is now available for families in Atlanta with plans to expand to other Georgia communities.

Through Stronger Together, the team will develop individual care plans to connect patients with counseling, medication management, peer support, planned respite care and other services. 

The pilot program proved successful. Among a group of 173 children, CareSource was able to decrease acute patient admissions by 59 percent and ER visits by 19 percent.

“In Georgia, many of our most vulnerable children are falling through cracks in the system,” CareSource Georgia President Jason Bearden wrote in a release. “Children diagnosed with mental or behavioral health conditions who do not have the proper resources often make multiple visits to the ER, which can potentially lead to long-term adverse health outcomes. We developed Stronger Together to not only identify these children but to also provide a proactive solution that coordinates their care and provides full, wraparound support to keep children safe, healthy and at home with their families.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Atlanta Rotary President Stephanie Blank asks questions of Home Depot executives Ted Decker and Ann-Marie Campbell. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

Home Depot leaders at Atlanta Rotary

The economy is full of mixed signals and complicated trends, according to Ted Decker, CEO of The Home Depot.

“When is this recession going to come? It’s like the “Waiting for Godot” recession,” Decker told the Rotary Club of Atlanta during a program on March 13. “The consumer is healthy. There’s a lot of money in bank accounts.

At the same time, Decker said inflation continues to put a damper on the economy.

Decker and his colleague Ann-Marie Campbell spoke about how well Home Depot fared during the pandemic with many people making investments in their homes. 

Also, the do-it-yourself retailer had fortuitously launched investments in its supply management and online business before the pandemic hit. That helped it continue to grow its business while many other companies suffered.

Campbell, Home Depot’s executive vice president of U.S. stores and international operations, said the true mark of leadership is “the decisions you make in a moment of crisis.”

The two credited previous executives for creating a culture where customers come first, and where the company values the role of its frontline employees.

Take Campbell for example. She began her career with the company in 1985 as a cashier in South Florida making just over $4 an hour. Now she oversees 450,000 of the company’s 500,000 employees.

Campbell described Home Depot as a democracy when it comes to retail where associates earned their education in retail by working in the stores, saying: “Our founders, Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus, said you have to have a Ph.D. in retail for the customers.”

— Maria Saporta

Dunwoody Nature Center hosts annual Monarchs & Margaritas 

The Dunwoody Nature Center is hosting its annual Monarch & Margaritas fundraising event on Saturday, April 29. The night will include a farm-to-table meal, local artwork, live music, raffles and an auction.

The Dunwoody Nature Center, a nonprofit situated on 22 acres of forest, works to inspire a love of nature while cultivating environmental stewardship within the community.

Guests will enjoy live jazz music from local band The Bourbon Brothers, dinner by Avalon Catering and a tasting with Don Cosme Tequila. Visitors can also check out a gallery of nature-themed paintings by Dunwoody artists, and the works will be available for purchase.

All funds raised from the event will go to the Nature Center, supporting community programs, conservation efforts and environmental education initiatives.

Click here for additional event and ticketing information.

— Hannah E. Jones

A snapshot of a previous Illumine at Oakland. (Photo courtesy of Historic Oakland Foundation.)

Historic Oakland Foundation prepares for Illumine, an after-dark event

The Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) is gearing up for Illumine, its after-dark arts event. With a combination of unique lighting and artistic displays, visitors will be able to see the historic cemetery through a new lens. This year’s focus is Oakland’s arboretum.

The 2023 Illumine event will explore how trees relate to the identity, history and landscape of the iconic cemetery. Oakland’s trees — ranging from oaks to magnolias — are embedded with cultural and burial significance.

HOF also recently announced the artists selected for Illumine. The artists’ works will be installed throughout the cemetery and will relate to Oakland’s arboretum. The 2023 artists include:

  • Dorothy O’Connor, an Atlanta native. O’Connor has crafted a flock of five wooden Phoenix to represent transformation and rebirth.
  • Gavin Bernard, a British artist, designer, educator, and performer living in Atlanta. He will create a large-scale sculpture that explores the life journey of one of Oakland’s trees.  
  • Brooks Garcia, an Atlanta native, landscape architect and former gardener at Oakland. His installation focuses on the Victorian fascination with the veil between the living and the afterlife.
  • Ricardo Martinez, a photographer, amateur ornithologist and naturalist. He will prepare a photo series highlighting specific trees at Oakland and their relationships with several local, threatened bird species.

“We’re excited that this year’s artists are showcasing a variety of media and contributing their unique perspective on the role that trees play in our lives and at Oakland Cemetery,” wrote Sandy White, director of adult programs and volunteers for Historic Oakland Foundation. 

Illumine will run for eight nights, from April 27 to April 30 and May 4 to May 7. To secure a ticket, click here.

— 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.


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