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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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

News Briefs

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

News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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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News Briefs

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...

News Briefs

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

News Briefs

Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Cans of worms sometimes turn up in the most unlikely places, as Clair Muller was reminded recently.

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The veteran Atlanta councilwoman, who chairs the council's transportation committee, learned from city traffic engineers a few weeks back that one of the biggest impediments to maintaining safe and efficient traffic flow throughout the city comes from off-duty police officers hired to direct...

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News Briefs

Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:04 am EDT

$7,600:

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The purchase price of a Ten Commandments plaque pulled from a Barrow County courthouse and sold on eBay last week.

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$265,436.14:

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The ammount that the group Ten Commandments-Georgia, which auctioned the plaque, pledged to donate to Barrow County to cover legal expenses incurred in an unsuccessful legal battle with the ACLU to keep the plaque in place.

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$213,436.14:

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 28, 2005 12:04 am EDT
The city of Atlanta's Urban Design Commission will hold a special meeting Wed., Oct. 5, to discuss the controversial proposal to put a six-story, 800-space parking deck in Piedmont Park. The privately owned Atlanta Botanical Garden has offered to pay for the deck to be built on public park land, with deck proceeds going to the park. The meeting will include an opportunity for public comment,... | more...

News Briefs

Wednesday September 28, 2005 12:04 am EDT

The Beltline's about to take a big PR hit.

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A panel of transportation and planning experts is expected to issue a report Sept. 29 that offers the harshest criticism to date of the proposed 22-mile transit loop around the inner city. Atlanta officials want to turn the mostly unused train tracks into a bus or light-rail system flanked by greenspace and bike trails.

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A document described to...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 28, 2005 12:04 am EDT

The six-story parking deck that proponents want to build in the heart of Piedmont Park has received its first negative review from a government body.

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A Sept. 14 Atlanta Urban Design Commission staff report states that the proposed deck contradicts the vision of Piedmont Park's designer. The report comes after the Piedmont Park Conservancy's board and a mayoral task force approved the deck...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 21, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Georgia now can place a real-world price tag on keeping its country bumpkins happy: $20.6 million.

That's the amount in federal grants that state legislators knowingly forfeited earlier this year when they declined to do away with what's known in some quarters as the seat belt loophole. Like most states, Georgia mandates that seat belts be worn by all adult front-seat occupants of a moving...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 21, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Transportation | more...

News Briefs

Wednesday September 21, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood wants to tinker with Atlanta's controversial tree ordinance in hopes of getting it right this time.

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The ordinance, a stringent set of rules that regulates which and how many trees can be cut down by developers and homeowners, has been amended four times since it passed in 1993. It's viewed both as an aggressive protector of the environment and a...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 21, 2005 12:04 am EDT

Michael Tisserand is — or was — the editor of Gambit Weekly, New Orleans' alternative weekly. He's filing a weekly journal for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies about life as an evacuee in southern Louisiana. To read the complete installment, go to atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

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Lafayette, La. — She just stares at me, the Iowan volunteer. Silver and green Mardi...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 7, 2005 12:04 am EDT

For Glenn Powell, the Atlanta liquor license snafu of 2005 took its most absurd turn last week, when he was one of 37 restaurant, bar and convenience store operators forced to attend a six-hour licensing hearing at City Hall — the second such meeting for all concerned — because of a clerical error by city officials.

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Earlier this year, the owner of Agnes & Muriel's in Ansley Park...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 7, 2005 12:04 am EDT

An Athens chicken plant worker who died in August 2004 after a tractor-trailer backed into her and a Savannah forklift operator who fell off an elevated platform that same month are just two of the 231 fatalities compiled in a recent federal report showing Georgia had the nation's second-highest increase of on-the-job fatalities last year.

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The statistics, released by the Bureau of Labor...

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News Briefs

Wednesday September 7, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Politics | more...

News Briefs

Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:04 am EDT

An Atlanta Police Department internal memo sheds new light on an old problem: The department has trouble retaining officers.

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According to the Aug. 5 memo, written by Maj. Alex Keeney and Lt. Van Hobbs and obtained under the state Open Records Act, nearly 75 percent of Atlanta police officers have been hired within the last five years.

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"Once they come to Atlanta and are trained," the...

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News Briefs

Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:04 am EDT

When Gov. Sonny Perdue was preparing to sign House Bill 244, the League of Women Voters of Georgia was among the many groups that urged him to veto the bill, which requires that voters carry one of six forms of picture ID to the polls to be allowed to vote.

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A few months later, the governor sent the League a short letter explaining why he'd chosen to sign the legislation over the objections...

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News Briefs

Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:04 am EDT

The closing of Fort McPherson could mean intown Atlanta gets another walkable mini-city located right next to a MARTA line.

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With its 18-hole golf course, grocery stores, library, mini-mall, 102 housing units, and 2.2 million-square-feet of office, retail and residential space, the fated Army base off Langford Parkway in southwest Atlanta has all the makings of a mixed-use development...

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News Briefs

Wednesday August 31, 2005 12:04 am EDT
Environment | more...

News Briefs

Wednesday August 24, 2005 12:04 am EDT

The state Environmental Protection Division wants to relax one of the rules that governs the amount of pollution that can be dumped into the state's waterways.

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The proposed change will eliminate a phrase in Georgia's environmental regulations that calls for companies and municipalities to use the "highest and best" technologies to reduce water pollution. If approved, the change would allow...

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News Briefs

Wednesday August 24, 2005 12:04 am EDT

On Aug. 22, Mayor Shirley Franklin signed an ordinance making it illegal to beg for money in much of downtown. Now business owners in surrounding areas are worried that downtown's homeless problem will become their problem instead.

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Several business owners say they've already taken steps to combat potential problems with panhandlers, who could migrate north, east, south and west as a result...

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