First Slice 1-21-14: Blank Family Foundation names new leader of stadium neighborhood developments efforts

Plus, Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor urges Deal to expand Medicaid to honor MLK


  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • The community-benefits plan will bring at least $30 million into Castleberry Hill, English Avenue, and Vine City in the coming years.

A new state law could ban teenagers under the age of 18 from purchasing electronic cigarettes or "any other product that consists of or contains nicotine that can be ingested into the body by chewing, smoking, absorbing, inhaling, or any other means."

The Arthur Blank Family Foundation has named Austin nonprofit executive Frank Fernandez as its new vice president of community development. He'll be tasked with overseeing the Atlanta organization's efforts to revitalize English Avenue, Vine City, and other neighborhoods surrounding the new Falcons stadium. "My plan is to walk every square foot of the neighborhoods," he told Saporta Report. "The thing that struck me was that this is a pretty blighted area with half of the neighborhood being vacant. One of the first things that needs to be addressed is all the vacant property."

Will Georgia's Republican leadership recast a Democratic civil rights activist's proposal to install a Martin Luther King Jr. statue on the Gold Dome's grounds? Maybe. Gov. Nathan Deal yesterday announced that he'd find a way to bring a MLK memorial to the Georgia State Capitol. But he didn't delve into specifics about what kind of tribute would be considered.

Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, urged Deal in his MLK Day speech that the best way to honor the civil rights icon would be to expand Medicaid. "Glad we are going to honor Dr. King," he said. "Let's build a monument, but the monument ought to inspire us to build a better world ... If you really want to believe in Dr. King, we have got to help poor people." But the governor had already left the building after making earlier remarks.

Vice has just discovered the town of Cumming, Ga., 180 years following its incorporation. Watch out!

The Center for Puppetry Arts' proposed expansion has upset some people, including Atlanta journalist Maria Saporta, over how its design could shield Spring Street Elementary School from Spring Street.

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