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Wednesday February 15, 2006 12:04 am EST

Who said Bill Campbell had no love for the Atlanta news media?

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Last week, jurors in the ex-mayor's federal corruption trial got a rare break from the numbing procession of spreadsheets and bank receipts in the form of Marion Brooks, a former WSB-TV/Channel 2 anchor who spent four years as a Campbell paramour.

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Juicy details were withheld, but a few tidbits came out: Brooks said she...

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Article

Wednesday February 8, 2006 12:04 am EST

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Rewa Collier gripped a long-haired brown wig in her left hand and shook it in front of her as she spoke.

"How do you make that up?" Collier asked the jury. "That he was wearing a wig, ... that he was wearing women's clothes? How do you make that up?"

Behind Collier, in the defendant's chair, sat Billy Gravitt, the suspect in a bizarre kidnapping and...

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Article

Wednesday February 8, 2006 12:04 am EST

So far this legislative session, the members of the state General Assembly have spent much of their time doing God's work — literally.

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Among the election-year revelations that have received "yea" votes: a House bill to prohibit schools from forbidding teachers and students from wishing each other "Merry Christmas"; a House measure to allow county courthouses to display the Ten...

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Article

Wednesday February 8, 2006 12:04 am EST

Not counting when he's arguing in court, ex-Gov. Roy Barnes has kept a relatively low and, for him anyway, quiet profile since his loss to Gov. Sonny Perdue more than three years ago.

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Lately, though, Barnes has started to speak out against the Perdue administration, especially when it comes to transportation and growth issues.

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On Jan. 3, during a Georgia State University College of Law...

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Article

Wednesday February 1, 2006 12:04 am EST

It was 4:10 a.m. and Carolyn Pratt was in bed when two Atlanta police officers knocked on her door and announced they had a warrant for her arrest.

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When they got inside, Pratt says the officers told her she was being charged with failing to appear at a Dec. 12 municipal court hearing. They put her in handcuffs and placed her in the back of a white van bound for the Atlanta Detention Center,...

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Article

Wednesday February 1, 2006 12:04 am EST

A conservative, faith-based organization that pushed for a controversial divorce bill is now joining forces with the state to help it play marriage counselor.

On Jan. 20, a week after the state House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report of a Senate bill that would quadruple the waiting period for some couples wishing to divorce, the Georgia Department of Human Services announced its own...

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Article

Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:04 am EST

On Dec. 14, Atlanta police officer R. Abrahams testified at a preliminary hearing that he had arrested the defendant, seated before him, for buying a hit of crack a month earlier, on the corner of Boulevard and North Avenue.

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There was just one problem: The man, Thomas Simpson, had been in jail at the time of the alleged drug deal.

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It turns out there were two Thomas Simpsons being held...

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Article

Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:04 am EST

At the start of each legislative session, environmental lobbyists give lawmakers a wish list of wannabe bills that would benefit human health and protect Earth. Most of the time, lawmakers take those lists and promptly throw them in the trash — and not the recycling bin.

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But election years are different. Most legislators want to be a friend of the environment on the campaign trail,...

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Article

Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:04 am EST

You are not allowed to sell vibrators or dildos in Georgia. But lots of stores do, anyway.

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Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta has several shops that offer AA-battery-powered fun. But in Cobb County, where evolution is just a theory and love of the Lord abounds, the sale of sex toys is strictly forbidden. But for how long?

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On Jan. 27, a 5-year-old lawsuit gets another chance to take down...

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Article

Wednesday January 25, 2006 12:04 am EST

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance has revoked the mortgage license of Carlos Kavanaugh, president of Georgia State Mortgage. CL wrote in 2004 about Kavanaugh and his company, which allegedly falsified Lithonia resident Shawntell Law-North's home loan application.

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As a result, Law-North almost lost her job at Georgia Federal Credit Union, where she worked as a bank teller. The...

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Article

Wednesday January 18, 2006 12:04 am EST

Five years ago, state lawmakers hailed the deregulation of natural gas as a surefire way to bring Georgia households some relief. After all, the logic that a competitive market would drive down costs and improve service seemed sound.

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But the logic was flawed.

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"Overall, the retail prices for residential and small-business customers are higher" than before deregulation, says Bobby Baker,...

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Article

Wednesday January 18, 2006 12:04 am EST

The race for chairman of the Fulton County Commission may soon be kick-started by the expected entry of former Atlanta City Councilman Lee Morris.

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Morris, who represented Buckhead from 1994 to 2001, is fondly remembered by many north side residents as a capable, businesslike councilman who was the most vocal critic of corruption during Bill Campbell's term as mayor, memorably dubbing the...

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Article

Wednesday January 18, 2006 12:04 am EST
Sources tell us Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, a popular Democrat who's twice nabbed a statewide election, is expected to announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor any minute. It's a packed race already; two Dems and two Republicans - all with broad name recognition - also are vying for the state's No. 2 post. Of course, the most famous (or, should we say, "infamous") of the... | more...

Article

Wednesday January 11, 2006 12:04 am EST

In 1996, Jeff Batton opened Sacred Grounds, a coffee shop that helped pave the way for East Atlanta Village's revitalization.

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Now, Batton is hoping a new coffee shop will help turn around the lives of homeless Atlantans.

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"It's all nonprofit, yet you don't want it to have that air of a thrift store," Batton says of his latest project, a cafe to be operated by residents of a nearby...

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Article

Wednesday January 11, 2006 12:04 am EST

One of the nasty side effects of Mayor Shirley Franklin's $3.2 billion plan to overhaul the city's aging sewage infrastructure is its impact on Atlanta's trees.

Most of the time, work crews can lay sewer pipes under streets or sidewalks. But occasionally, sewage lines must veer off the asphalt, forcing crews onto land covered by towering pines, poplars, sycamores and oaks.

What's more, the...

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Article

Wednesday January 4, 2006 12:04 am EST

The grassy hill behind a row of two-story, cottage-style homes looks like the perfect spot for a family picnic or a game of Frisbee with a pet dog.

But just beneath the surface are the remnants of an old municipal landfill, and decomposition of the buried trash is causing leaks of toxins and flammable gases at unsafe levels, according to the state Environmental Protection Division....

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Article

Wednesday January 4, 2006 12:04 am EST

For years, the Fulton County government siphoned tax money out of Sandy Springs, leaving the community of 85,000 with pennies on the dollar. Now, Georgia's newest city may find that its first initiative — ridding itself of adult-entertainment venues — is undercut by a legacy of bad decisions by the very county officials it imagined itself rid of.

That's the theory, anyway, by an...

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Article

Wednesday December 28, 2005 12:04 am EST

Just as traffic-choked metro Atlanta appears poised to wean itself off its automobile addiction, a task force created by Gov. Sonny Perdue threatens to focus future transportation funds on projects tailor-made for the car.

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In addition, the task force's recommendations would make it harder for walkable, mixed-use developments and new mass transit projects to become a reality.

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The...

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Article

Wednesday December 21, 2005 12:04 am EST

Not everyone sees Maria Garcia as a godsend to her community.

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Garcia, who runs a community center serving immigrant workers, is among the growing number of watchdogs trying to ease the sometimes rocky relationship between illegal aliens and their employers. Her role as operator of the center is similar to volunteers handing out condoms to prostitutes or providing clean needles for drug...

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Article

Wednesday December 14, 2005 12:04 am EST
A pattern of alleged attacks on young prostitutes led California authorities to file murder charges last week in the death of Hanna Montessori. The case of the Georgia runaway, who was the great-great-granddaughter of the founder of the Montessori teaching method, exposed holes in the way Georgia's child welfare agency handles runaways. It was the subject of a two-part story, "Losing Hanna,"... | more...

Article

Wednesday December 14, 2005 12:04 am EST

Gov. Sonny Perdue's press staff has been clear: The governor is a Christian with a Christmas tree, for Christ's sake! Any e-mails that suggest otherwise are bogus.

Yet on Dec. 2, Perdue's staff e-mailed a news release to reporters announcing that the governor and his wife would light Georgia's "holiday tree" at the Governor's Mansion that following Sunday.

Dan McLagan, the governor's...

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Article

Wednesday December 7, 2005 12:04 am EST

The state of Georgia is in the process of buying 2,545 acres in northwest Georgia that are home to two endangered species of salamanders and one endangered plant species in order to set the property aside as a wildlife management area.

The move by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to purchase the land's mining rights, which currently belong to Vulcan Materials Co., will prevent...

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Article

Wednesday December 7, 2005 12:04 am EST

On Nov. 30, Ryan Snodgrass sat in a wooden chair in a small courtroom and tapped his right foot. When U.S. Immigration Judge William Cassidy — one of the toughest immigration judges in the country — called Snodgrass to testify, the hazel-eyed 19-year-old ambled to the stand.

A lot was to be decided that day. The judge could take away the only home Snodgrass has known for the past...

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Article

Wednesday November 30, 2005 12:04 am EST

As the number of intown live music venues dwindles — one of the biggest losses being East Atlanta's Echo Lounge at the beginning of the year — the pressure on some local clubs to absorb the rock audience might be showing.

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It doesn't help that, at the same time the city is cracking down on code violations, club owners seem to be making avoidable mistakes.

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A recent Friday...

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Article

Wednesday November 30, 2005 12:04 am EST

A perceived decrease in business in Little Five Points has store owners wondering whether to blame a downtown panhandling ban, a slackening economy — or the behemoth shopping center recently built just blocks away.

At a time when big-box shopping in Atlanta is on an upswing, some independent retailers, such as those in Little Five Points' quirky shopping district, say they're struggling...

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Article

Wednesday November 23, 2005 12:04 am EST

A proposed 12-mile streetcar system for intown Atlanta edged one step closer to reality this week, thanks to Mayor Shirley Franklin and Atlanta's business community.

Modeled after the streetcar system in Portland, Ore., Atlanta's light-rail trolley would travel up and down Peachtree, roughly between West End and Lenox Square.

On Nov. 21, Franklin tapped two CEOs to look into financing and...

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Article

Wednesday November 23, 2005 12:04 am EST

In May, Paul* was holed up in a hotel room injecting as much as $225 of drugs daily. Now, he works lights full-time and spends 12 hours a week at Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings.

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Two months after kicking meth, he hovers in the delicate balance between recovery and relapse.

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Paul was one of three men whose experiences with meth were the subject of a July CL story, "Faces of Meth." The...

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Article

Wednesday November 23, 2005 12:04 am EST
With the approach of the holidays, do your part to improve your community and assist those less fortunate. To find hundreds of volunteer opportunities around metro Atlanta, contact United Way (www.unitedwayatlanta.org), Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless (www.hoseafeedthehungry.com), the Atlanta Community Food Bank (www.acfb.org), the Empty Stocking Fund (www.emptystockingfund.org), and Hands... | more...

Article

Wednesday November 16, 2005 12:04 am EST

In the past month, three federal investigations into alleged human traffickers operating in Georgia reflect what may be a growing trend: the importation and exploitation of cheap labor in some of the state's most successful industries, from food service to home renovation to the sex trade.

Two years ago, Johannes Du Preez, president of Newton Granite & Marble Inc., was one of Home's Depot's...

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Article

Wednesday November 16, 2005 12:04 am EST

This past weekend, in a conference room at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport, the publisher of an anti-taxation newsletter told a room of about 60 people that the real war — not the one waged against terrorism but, rather, the one against taxes — won't end until the Lord comes down and barbecues the enemies.

"There are numerous people running the government who are positively...

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Article

Wednesday November 16, 2005 12:04 am EST
The Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club will hold Sierra Club 101, a meeting for Sierra Club newcomers, on Sat., Nov. 19. The Sierra Club is a national organization that works to protect the environment, and the event will feature activism training and instruct participants on what they can do to make Atlanta a cleaner, safer, healthier community. Learn exactly what the Sierra Club does and how... | more...

Article

Wednesday November 16, 2005 12:04 am EST

In the days before the Nov. 8 elections, campaign ads showing a cheerful, relaxed Shirley Franklin touting her achievements as mayor began popping up on local TV. Since Franklin wasn't in a competitive race, it would appear to some that she was simply burning off her more than $1.3 million in campaign contributions.

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But the mayor's political strategists saw the TV spots as necessary to...

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Article

Wednesday November 9, 2005 12:04 am EST

For several weeks, neighborhood activists grumbled that the city was putting the cart before the horse while deciding whether to fund the Beltline, a proposed 22-mile loop of transit, greenways, and paths that circle intown Atlanta.

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But on Nov. 7, just before Atlanta City Council voted 12-3 to approve the funding mechanism for the Beltline, Cary Aiken of the Beltline Neighbors Coalition...

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Article

Wednesday November 9, 2005 12:04 am EST

An Oct. 23 fire that damaged a three-story house under construction is the latest in a suspected string of arsons resembling the work of an eco-terrorist.

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State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine has attributed the fire to an arsonist (or arsonists) who for two years has been torching houses under construction in northern Coweta County, just south of Fulton.

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Neither...

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Article

Wednesday November 9, 2005 12:04 am EST
Public Safety | more...

Article

Wednesday November 9, 2005 12:04 am EST

A decades-old gay bar is in danger of losing its liquor license after a patron was caught, quite literally, with his pants down.

On April 12, undercover detectives visiting the Phoenix found a man sitting on a bar stool, his pants around his ankles, on the receiving end of a blowjob, according to an Atlanta police report.

That incident is one of three that the Atlanta Police Department cites...

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Article

Wednesday November 2, 2005 12:04 am EST
Environment | more...

Article

Wednesday November 2, 2005 12:04 am EST

Facing financial constraints and competition from the soon-to-open Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta is seeking shelter — including debt relief and, possibly, a change of scenery.

"When the pandas first arrived in 1999, things were looking pretty good," says Zoo Atlanta President Dennis Kelly. "But 9/11 hurt us. We went into a recession. We have struggled, and for the past three years we...

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Article

Wednesday November 2, 2005 12:04 am EST

On Nov. 1, the Atlanta City Council's Community Development Human Resources Committee unanimously passed legislation to establish a tax allocation district to fund the Beltline, a proposed 22-mile loop of transit, bike trails and greenspace.

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The legislation is now cleared for a Nov. 7 vote by the full Council.

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The funding mechanism for the Beltline, called a "TAD," would generate future...

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Article

Wednesday October 26, 2005 12:04 am EDT
One of the tightest races in the upcoming Atlanta City Council elections will be in District 6, which covers Virginia-Highland, Midtown, Ansley Park, Morningside, Lenox Park and Druid Hills. Incumbent Anne Fauver is squaring off against investor and political newcomer Steve Brodie. The Lindridge-Martin Manor Neighborhood Association will host a candidate forum on Wed., Nov. 2, during which... | more...

Article

Wednesday October 19, 2005 12:04 am EDT

The letter from the landlord of Candler-Smith Warehouses to his 300 or so tenants seemed sufficiently clear: You've got until Oct. 21 to move out.

The statement from the city of Atlanta looked to be equally cut and dry. Earlier this month, the city's Law Department wrote: "The residential units must be vacant until the warehouse owner meets the necessary permit requirements for a certificate...

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Article

Wednesday October 19, 2005 12:04 am EDT

While campaigning to be mayor, Shirley Franklin made the arguably impossible promise to fill any pothole reported to the city within 72 hours. But she didn't explain to her future constituents the fine print:

The city must first determine whether the alleged pothole is in fact a pothole as defined by the Atlanta Department of Public Works.

That's where things get tricky. According to...

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Article

Wednesday October 19, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Have you ever been stuck in gridlock on the Downtown Connector and thought to yourself, "Traffic couldn't possibly get any worse?" Well, it can. A panel of experts, including Fulton County Commission Chairwoman Karen Handel, Clean Air Campaign Director Ellen Macht and Gov. Sonny Perdue, will discuss Atlanta's traffic problems at a town hall meeting Mon., Oct. 24. Share your thoughts on how to... | more...

Article

Wednesday October 12, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Transportation | more...

Article

Wednesday October 12, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Atlanta turns to surveillance cameras to help police its streets | more...

Article

Wednesday October 12, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Judy McMillon called caterer after caterer before settling on one who promised lobster, prime rib and a white chocolate fountain for her 150 wedding guests.

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The 26-year-old bride-to-be paid half the $8,000 bill up front and expected the best. That's not exactly what she got.

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On Sept. 10, Judy and her new husband, Jim, were posing for pictures at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in...

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Article

Wednesday October 12, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Two years ago, Dennis Chase, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who's been unable to put down his nets and waders, found something scary in the part of the Flint River just south of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

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Armed with collecting dishes and magnifying lenses, Chase set out to document the abundance of life, or lack thereof, in the Flint. Though he suspected...

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Article

Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Ashley Smith is getting more than her share of 15 minutes of fame. The 27-year-old overnight hero who was held hostage for seven hours by alleged Fulton County Courthouse killer Brian Nichols just released a book, Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero, detailing her captivity.

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The book describes Smith as quite the negotiator. After she was unable to meet Nichols'...

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Article

Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Worried about walking through Midtown at night? The Midtown Alliance will sponsor a public safety forum Wed., Oct. 12. The event will offer neighborhood residents and business owners the opportunity to discuss concerns with representatives of the Atlanta Police Department and Midtown Blue, a privately funded security force made up of off-duty and retired Atlanta cops who patrol Midtown. One of... | more...

Article

Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Music News | more...