Stay Up To Date
To stay up to date with NPU-T related news please be sure to visit the NPU-T Google Group page where you will find an archive of NPU-T communications sent to the email list serve. You can also request to join the NPU-T Google Group email list serve via this link to receive notifications via email.
December 16, 2008: 2009 Solid Waste Pickup Schedule Changes
In accordance with the recently implemented citywide furlough plan, the Department of Public Works-Solid Waste Services has adjusted operating hours and service delivery.
Effective Monday, January 5, 2009 Solid Waste Services will implement the following schedule and service changes:
- Weekly garbage collection will continue, but on a four (4) day schedule, Monday through Thursday.
- Recycling and Yard Waste collection will change from weekly to every other week, on the customer's scheduled collection day, per the calendar.
- Friday pickups are being absorbed within the four (4) day schedule. There are approximately 20K customers who receive Friday pick up service. A separate notice will be delivered to these customers indicating their new pick up day.
- There are approximately 5K customers who receive back yard pick up service. Their pick up service may or may not change depending upon their address. These customers will receive a separate notice if there are any changes to their scheduled pick up service.
A copy of the recycling and yard trimming collection schedule can be downloaded. If you have questions or need additional information, the Customer Service Call Center can be reached Monday - Thursday, 8:15 am - 6:00 pm at (404) 330-6333 or via email to email@example.com.
December 3, 2008: Citizens Fire Academy Class
NPU-T Public Safety Chair Graham Jackson finished his Citizens Fire Academy classes and will graduate next week. NPU-T congratulates Graham!
Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge.
November 20, 2008: Photographs of the BeltLine 5k and Community Celebration
On October 18, 2008 the first section of the BeltLine trail system opened in Historic West End. Connecting Rose Circle Park to Brown Middle School and a completely renovated Gordon White Park, the trail is improving mobility for local residents. Phase II - to be completed early next year - will wind through the Westview neighborhood out to Westview Cemetery.
Photo courtesy by Christopher Martin.
Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge.
November 20, 2008: Bridge Beam Placement; Lane Closures/Pacing Southbound I-75/I-85
Georgia DOT contractors have made a great deal of progress on the 14th Street Improvement project over the last year. Several major milestones have been accomplished; utilities were relocated, lanes on Williams Street reduced, Techwood Drive closed, the 14th Street Bridge closed and who can forget "The Big Shift" over the Labor Day weekend? Well now, we have come to the bridge building phase and starting tomorrow night, crews will begin placing a total of 23 beams on the 14th Street Bridge.
The beam placement work will require night time lane closures and traffic pacings southbound on Interstate 75/85. Beginning Friday, November 21 at 8 p.m. three inside lanes (left) including the HOV lane will be closed between 17th and 10th streets. The work will take place over four nights and end at 5 a.m. Tuesday, November 25.
Additionally, crews are expected to place six beams each night which will require a maximum of 8 pacings. Southbound pacing will start on I-75 at Moores Mill Road and on I-85 from the entry point of Ga 400 at I-85 southbound. There will be an officer on site to hold traffic at the entrance ramps until traffic passes, then motorists will be allowed to merge onto the interstate.
The speed limit will be reduced in the work zone area while work is in progress. Fines are doubled in a work zone.
Georgia DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia's economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. For general information on the Georgia DOT, please visit our Web site (www.dot.ga.gov).
November 14, 2008: Georgia Voters Say 'Yes' To TADs
On November 4, the voters of Georgia affirmed tax allocation districts as a tool for local jurisdictions to attract economic development in the state of Georgia. In supporting Amendment 2 to the Georgia Constitution, which passed with 51.5 percent of the vote, Georgians moved forward in preserving a school district's option to participate in TADs in Georgia.
The next step in the process will be asking the Georgia General Assembly to re-enact the Georgia Redevelopment Powers Law in the next legislative session.
Support for the use of TADs in community redevelopment came from voters not just in metro Atlanta, but from all across the state, in places such as Albany, Valdosta, Savannah, Augusta, Columbus and Macon. This vote isn't the first time Georgia's voters have championed community redevelopment. Seventy-one percent of Georgians backed the use of TADs through their support of the Georgia Redevelopment Powers Law, enacted in 1985. This legislation was enacted with the intent of allowing cities, counties and schools to invest future tax revenue for redevelopment purposes.
TADs are a national best practice. Atlanta's first TAD was created in 1992 around what is now Centennial Olympic Park. This tool has since helped finance Atlantic Station and the renovation of the Ellis Hotel, and revitalized the areas around CNN Center, Georgia State University and Auburn Avenue. Camp Creek Marketplace, just west of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, would not have been possible without public financial support of new infrastructure for commercial development and residential subdivisions in Princeton Lakes.
It is expected that with the re-enactment of the Redevelopment Powers Law, TADs can be restored to their full effectiveness, as before the Georgia Supreme Court ruling in February 2008 that prohibited school district participation. Redevelopment in areas suffering from disinvestment will once again be within reach. Atlantans will experience the many benefits of TADs through the creation of more walkable urban places, more affordable housing options and an improved and sustainable quality of life in these areas. The local economy will receive a boost from the jobs created and investment attracted by the TADs. Perhaps most important, Atlanta Public Schools and families with school-age children will see the neighborhoods and schools within and near the tax districts improve and stabilize.
For more information about TADs in Atlanta, visit www.atlantada.com.
October 31, 2008: First BeltLine Bonds Sold
Today, the City Of Atlanta closed on a private placement of BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD) bonds worth $64.5 million, slightly more than half (54%) of the original bond authorization approved by City Council in August 2008. Two local institutions, Wachovia Bank and SunTrust Bank, each purchased $32.25 million in bonds.
Consistent with the City Council approved bond allocation, fifteen percent of the net proceeds, approximately $8.8 million, will capitalize the BeltLine Affordable Housing Trust Fund and another portion will be allocated to the Economic Development Fund. The remainder of the net proceeds will cover transit-related property acquisitions, including the full repayment of the debt on the Northeast Corridor property, working capital and bond issuance expenses.
"This is yet another milestone for the BeltLine which will preserve and add to the project's momentum," said Terri Y. Montague, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
"We are grateful that Wachovia and SunTrust, two longtime financial partners of the City of Atlanta, have demonstrated their confidence in the BeltLine by investing in these bonds. We are also thankful for the City Council's crucial and continued support for this historic and visionary project," said Valarie Wilson, Executive Director of the BeltLine Partnership.
The bond financing includes a provision to refinance the bonds on or after July 1, 2009. The City plans to issue the remainder of the $120 million bond authorization at the time of the subsequent bond refinancing or when market conditions become more favorable.
While the Atlanta City Council initially approved a bond sale of $120 million for the BeltLine TAD in August 2008, the global financial crisis and the lack of activity in the municipal bond market delayed the City's ability to issue these bonds, along with several other bond sales. By proceeding with a smaller bond sale at this time, the project met the deadline of October 31 to finalize the acquisition of the Northeast Corridor property. It also satisfied a provision of the Fulton County Consent Resolution, which mandates that BeltLine TAD bonds must be issued before the end of 2008 to insure Fulton County's participation in the TAD.
The Atlanta BeltLine is a $2.8 billion redevelopment project that will shape the way Atlanta grows over the next 25 years and beyond. The project proposes a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other by streetcar or light rail. The BeltLine is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment currently underway in the United States.
For more information about the BeltLine, please visit www.beltline.org.
October 21, 2008: Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Contest
Dear West End Friends and Neighbors,
On behalf of the Rose Circle Community Garden, I am hereby announcing a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern contest for the West End.
Contest Rules: Your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern must be hand-carved from a real pumpkin. No transfers or templates may be used; all designs must be original "art" designed by the competitor. You must post a photo of the jack-o-lantern on the West End website at the following forum thread by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29: www.atlantawestend.com
The judges (that would be me and my son Ben) reserve the right to insist on seeing the original jack-o-lantern in person in the event of a tie or close call.
Two winners will be chosen, one child and one adult. For the purpose of this contest, "child" means anyone under the age of 18. "Adult" means anyone 18 or older.
Parents are encouraged to help their children design and create their jack-o-lanterns, but the design should be that of the child. The winner of the children's jack-o-lantern contest will receive a Halloween bag filled with tasty goodies, none of which will be healthy or good for his/her teeth. The winner's parents may dole out the winner's prize as appropriate. (Value: Not less than $10)
The adult winner of this competition will receive one free ticket to the October 30 performance of West End neighbor The Elliot Holden Group, and Porter Batiste Stolz, at Smith's Olde Bar - 1578 Piedmont Ave Atlanta, GA 30324. (Value: $15)
Please post or send your contact information to me along with your photo entry. The names of the winners will be posted on the West End website forum after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29, and prizes will be distributed to the winners that night or on Thursday, October 30. Please check the West End website Forum on the evening of October 29 to see whether you have won and call me as soon as you see that you are a winner, so that we can get together and I can give you your prize.
Get your pumpkins ready!!
Rose Circle Community Garden
October 20, 2008: Amendment 2 - New Ramp Meters on Downtown Connector
ATLANTA, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Transportation will sequentially activate 11 new meters on I-75/I-85 (Downtown Connector) entrance ramps between University Avenue and Freedom Parkway. The first three meters will be turned on during afternoon rush hour on Monday, October 20. The remaining eight will be activated over the next two days, with the entire corridor operational by Wednesday October 22.
Ramp meters are turned on just before heavy rush hour traffic begins, and stay on until traffic begins to subside at the end of the peak period. They resemble standard traffic lights, and are installed approximately two-thirds of the way down the entrance ramps. Every 3-5 seconds the meter cycles from red to green, allowing one vehicle at a time to merge onto the freeway. On two-lane ramps, the left and right lanes have alternating green lights, so the left lane goes while the right is stopped, and vice versa.
"Although motorists will spend a little extra time on the ramp, they should see a decrease in overall travel time," Georgia DOT Operations Director Steve Henry said. "We'll monitor these new ramp meters very carefully. If traffic starts to back up on the ramp, sensors will speed up the meters to allow more vehicles to move through. If our cameras show traffic spilling out onto the surface streets, we can turn them off completely."
Seventy-two ramp meters currently operate in metro Atlanta:
- 4 on I-75 northbound between Midtown and Cumberland Mall (operating since 1996)
- 4 on I-75/85 southbound (operating since 2005)
- 14 on I-285 (north side)
- 11 on I-85 (northeast)
- 11 on I-285 (east side)
- 8 on I-75 (south side)
- 20 on I-75 (northwest side)
They have collectively reduced average rush-hour commute times in these corridors by significant margins. Early studies show the strongest results to date on I-285 westbound between GA 400 and I-75. Other benefits include reductions in merging accidents and vehicle emissions.
"There will be a short learning curve period in the first few days as the public adjusts," Georgia DOT Atlanta Regional Media Coordinator Mark McKinnon said. "We realize that we may need to tweak specific meters. Please bear with us, and keep in mind that there is no one 'silver bullet' solution to eliminate congestion. Ramp meters are just one of several tools that can help fight it."
Ramp meters have been used for over 20 years in more than 20 cities across the country. They are placed on entrance ramps to help control the flow of traffic from the surface streets onto the freeway. Without metering, vehicles push their way all at once onto the interstate in a disorderly and potentially dangerous manner. Once these vehicles reach the merge point, they force their way into the travel lanes, causing additional congestion due to stop-and-go merging activity on the freeway. When this happens on already traffic-heavy freeways, there is a total breakdown of free-flow near the on-ramps, which has a ripple effect on traffic for many miles. Even with no stalls or accidents, heavy on-ramp traffic causes congestion that both extends and continues throughout the rush-hour.
The new ramps that will be operational during the week of October 20th are:
- University Avenue to I-75/I-85 north and southbound
- Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard to I-75/I-85 southbound
- Pulliam Street to I-75/I-85 southbound
- Fulton Street to I-75/I-85 northbound
- 10th Street to I-75/I-85 southbound
- MLK Drive to I-75/I-85 northbound
- J. W. Dobbs Avenue to I-75/I-85 northbound
- Spring Street / Linden Avenue to I-75/I-85 northbound
- Freedom Parkway to I-75/I-85 northbound (two meters)
The Georgia DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia's economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. For general information on the Georgia DOT, please visit our Web site (www.dot.ga.gov).
October 1, 2008: Amendment 2 - Vote YES For Georgia's Future on November 4th
What Is Amendment 2 All About?
In February 2008, a Georgia Supreme Court ruling took away the right of school districts statewide to invest future financial resources in redevelopment projects. This decision has severely handicapped a valuable redevelopment incentive: tax allocation districts, or TADs. Amendment 2 would restore to each school district the right to choose for itself and its community whether or not to contribute future property tax revenue to a TAD.
TADs have been around for 50 years. Midtown Atlanta's own Atlantic station, a 138-ace former brownfield, is a well known and nationally commended example of a successfully implemented TAD. Today, TADs are a national best practice, approved by the laws of 49 states. In fact, all but three of those 49 states permit the participation of local school districts.
The purpose of the upcoming referendum, on the ballot on November 4, 2008, is to restore the ability of local boards of education to opt into a TAD. It's all about restoring local control to schools. Additionally, given the dire state of today's economy and capital markets, TADs will be even more of an asset in attracting investment and jobs to Georgia.
To date, Georgia school districts have chosen to participate in most TADs. School districts enter into a TAD not only by choice, but also based on their own negotiated terms. School boards recognize the positive impact that community revitalization can have on schools, students and their families. If they determine contributing to a TAD is not in their best interest, they can choose to opt out - but only if Amendment 2 is passed. Amendment 2 will restore local control and give school districts the power to choose.
How Does Passing Amendment 2 Help Georgia's Children?
A school in a blighted area is generally slow to improve, or may not at all, unless the area surrounding it improves first. TADs attract investment to areas that have high concentrations of poverty. They help bring life back to these communities. Children who live in redeveloped communities perform better in school because of several factors:
- a stronger mix of households of varying incomes
- increased diversity and cultural awareness
- more parental involvement in schools
- decreased crime in communities where kids live
- more positive role models in the community
- better nutrition from new retailers and food stores, which follow the increase in households and disposable income
TADs improve neighborhoods, and improved neighborhoods attract new residents, new jobs and new businesses - all of which help enrich schools. When you support Amendment 2, you are supporting schools and communities.
How Do TADs Help Public Housing Authorities Transform Blighted Projects Into Vibrant Communities?
TADs are helping to rid Atlanta of concentrated poverty. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jim Wooten summed up the mission of the Atlanta Housing Authority in a July 25, 2008 editorial titled "Atlanta's public housing revamp shows real hope for the future."
"One of America's great success stories is here in Atlanta...What the Atlanta Housing Authority has done, executive director Renee Glover specifically, is the road map for conservatives eager to reverse the inevitable slide to dependency. Essentially it involves razing the complexes that anchored generation after generation of vulnerable women for the convenience of the predators who passed through their lives. That was never the intent when the nation's first public housing project, Techwood Homes, was constructed here in 1936. Sadly, that is what large-scale public housing projects became.
With federal demolition permits now granted, Atlanta will become the first major city in America to rid itself of large public housing projects for families."
It's worth noting that this worthy cause is partially funded by TAD dollars.
Downtown Atlanta's Westside TAD was initially created to help facilitate the redevelopment of Techwood Homes, located just north of what is now Centennial Olympic Park. The high-crime area was an example of everything that was wrong with public housing and the resulting concentration of poverty in America. AHA demolished the project in 1995, and TAD dollars helped spark private re-investment in the area, although not in the project directly. Centennial Place Elementary, the elementary school that serves the students of the newly revitalized, mixed-income community, received $5 million of TAD funds and today is a top-performing school in the state.
TAD funds also contributed to the revitalization of two of Atlanta's most distressed public housing projects: Capitol Homes, in the Eastside TAD, and Perry Homes, in the Perry-Bolton TAD. AHA received $5.3 million for the redevelopment of Capitol Homes, which it transformed into the now vibrant Capitol Gateway mixed-income community on Metropolitan Parkway. AHA is also slated to receive over $10 million towards the development of West Highlands, on the former site of Perry Homes. The redevelopment of both of these housing projects has had an impact on the surrounding communities: the quality of life there has dramatically improved and new development abounds.
Other housing projects slated for demolition that may benefit from TAD dollars include Grady Homes in the Eastside TAD and Bankhead Courts and Bolton Homes in the D.L. Hollowell TAD.
How Can Passing This Amendment Help Parks, Trails And Transit In Georgia's Capital City?
The BeltLine project has extraordinary potential to transform the City of Atlanta. One of the most comprehensive economic development efforts ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta, and the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment currently underway in the U.S., the BeltLine will combine greenspace, trails, transit, and new development along 22 miles of historic rail segments that encircle the urban core of Atlanta.
Over the past 20 years, metro Atlanta's growth has occurred in widely spread and disconnected pockets of development which have strained the region's quality of life and economic growth. By attracting and organizing some of the region's future growth around parks, transit, and trails, the BeltLine will help change the pattern of regional sprawl in the coming decades and lead to a more vibrant and livable Atlanta with an enhanced quality of life.
To see the BeltLine for yourself, take a free bus tour offered by the BeltLine Partnership. Tours run every Friday and Saturday morning. For more information, visit www.beltline.org.
The BeltLine needs your vote in support of Amendment 2 this November!
September 26, 2008: Register To Vote
The last day to register to vote for the November 4th, 2008 Presidential Election is Monday, October 6th, 2008!
Voter registration forms are available at Hammonds House Museum, 503 Peeples Street, Atlanta, GA 30310, 404-621-0500, Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
Secretary of State
1104 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King Drive, S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1505
Or to our local county board of registrars' office:
Fulton County Election Supervisor
141 Pryor Street SW, Suite 4075
Atlanta, GA 30303-3444
September 24, 2008: Bulk Trash Amnesty Day
Commission Vice Chairman Edwards Sponsors September 27 Bulk Trash Amnesty Day
For the second time this year, Fulton County residents can dispose of bulk waste at no cost to ensure that neighborhoods remain free of large waste items such as old refrigerators, computers and furniture.
Fulton County Commission Vice Chairman William "Bill" Edwards, District 7 will sponsor Bulk Trash Amnesty Day on Saturday, September 27, 2008, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. with the exception of the Merk Road Transfer Station, which will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The event allows residents to dispose of large waste items at no cost. The first 2008 Bulk Waste Amnesty Day was held on Saturday, April 26, 2008.
"Keeping our neighborhoods safe and free of environmental and safety hazards remains a priority and Bulk Waste Amnesty Days allow convenient drop-off sites for the use of citizens, who want to keep their communities beautiful," said Vice Chairman Edwards.
Three drop-off sites for large items will be available at:
Merk Road Transfer
3225 Merk Road
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2775 Creel Road
8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
South Fulton Service Center Parking Lot
5600 Stonewall Tell Road
College Park, GA
8 a.m. - 2p.m.
Large items including electronics, televisions, keyboards, monitors, printers and tires (limit of four unmounted tires) will be accepted. The drop-off locations will not accept paints, household chemicals, batteries and waste from construction or demolition debris.
For more information about Bulk Trash Amnesty Day, contact Laurette Evora at 404-612-7437 or send an email to Laurette.Evora@fultoncountyga.gov.
September 22, 2008: Early Voting Has Started
Please spread the word! A few more locations will also be available in late October.
September 22 - October 31
Fulton County Government Center, Suite 4064:
141 Pryor Street, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-612-7072
M-F 8:00am - 5:00pm
September 22 - October 31
Fulton County Government South Service Center Room 105:
5600 Stonewall Tell Road, College Park, GA 404-612-7072
M-F 8:00am - 5:00pm
September 22 - October 31
North Service Center, Suite 209:
7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350 404-612-7072
M-F 8:00am - 5:00pm
September 17, 2008: BeltLine Corridor Environmental Study Comment Form
Q: What is the BeltLine Project, and what is being studied?
A: The BeltLine Project includes a continuous 22-mile loop corridor of rail transit and pedestrian/bicycle (multi-use) trails, primarily using underutilized railroad rights-of-way that encircle the Downtown, Midtown, West End/Atlanta University Center, Westside and Grant Park areas and other Atlanta communities.
MARTA and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. are studying the impacts of the project and its alternative alignments and modes (light rail, modern streetcar) on the natural, built and human environment.
You can help "make the case" for the BeltLine Project, and help identify significant issues to study, by responding to the questions on this comment form. Give your input on the BeltLine Corridor Environmental Study by Monday, September 22nd!
Copy the questions below, insert your replies, and email it back to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively mail it to: MARTA, Office of Transit Systems Planning, 2424 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-3330 or Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., 86 Pryor Street SW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30303
- Why are Transit and Trails needed in the Beltline Corridor?
Some of the reasons cited so far are shown below. Please add your own reasons.
- Improve Mobility (local and regional)
- Improve Accessibility (to transit, to recreational opportunities and activity centers, between communities)
- Enhance Transit Connectivity (especially with the existing regional transit system)
- Support Community and Regional Redevelopment, Recreational, and Greenspace plans and Growth Management strategies
- What are the Goals for the BeltLine Project?
Please let us know what you think about the project goals listed below, and ways we might use these goals to evaluate mode and alignment alternatives in this study. Please feel free to add and delete.
- Contribute to an integrated, regional, multi-modal transportation network that promotes seamless intermodal connectivity; increases community access to the existing transit and trails network; and improves reliability for personal travel.
- Support local and regional land-use development initiatives and fulfill demands for emerging transit-supportive land uses.
- Provide a cost-effective and efficient transportation investment.
- Provide a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly environment.
- Provide connectivity between communities and existing and planned recreational opportunities through an expansive trails network.
- Minimize adverse impacts to the natural environment and foster positive environmental impacts.
- Do you have concerns about possible harm that the BeltLine project could cause to the natural, built and human environment? If yes, please describe them in the space below.
- Your Contact Information (Optional)
September 16, 2008: Area Students and Parents Encouraged to take part in College Prep Series
City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell teams up with Kaplan Test Prep and Admission to offer FREE ACT and SAT Prep Sessions
ATLANTA – As a child of an Atlanta public school teacher and graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Georgia School of Law, City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell can personally attest to the power of education.
"My parents instilled a passion for learning within my brother and I. We realized early in life that the only limitations we have are the ones we set for ourselves. The children of Atlanta deserve the same opportunity," said Mitchell.
To provide the best opportunities to our youth and to encourage them to properly prepare for the all important college admission exams, Councilman Mitchell and Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions has again teamed up to offer a free ACT and SAT Prep Day for area high school and middle school youth.
Georgia's average score for the SAT fell to 1466 from last year's 1472. The national average on the college admission test —- in which a perfect score is now 2400 —- was 1511.
"When it comes to college admissions exams, practice makes perfect," Mitchell said. "We as parents, community leaders and elected officials can't leave it solely up to our teachers to adequately prepare our students. We all have a responsibility in the education of our youth. Success on the college admissions test does play a factor in determining what college or university a student chooses and what college chooses them."
College Prep Series has served over 1,300 students since its inception.
The Sixth Semi-Annual College Prep Series will take place on the following dates and locations:
- Saturday, October 11th, 2008
What: SAT/PSAT Preparation
Where: Benjamin E. Mays High School
3450 Benjamin E. Mays Dr. SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30331
To register call 1-800-KAPTEST (527-8378) or visit www.kaptest.com and give the following code: SKAT8123 or for *PSAT test: PKAT8031 - (*PSAT test start time will be at 9:30 AM)
- Saturday, October 18th, 2008
What: ACT Preparation
Where: Henry W. Grady High School
929 Charles Allen Drive NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
To register call 1-800-KAPTEST (527-8378) or visit www.kaptest.com and give the appropriate code: AKAT8067
September 11, 2008: Tax Relief for Businesses in Atlanta's Renewal Community
The Atlanta Renewal Community is hosting Commercial Revitalization Deduction (CRD) Technical Assistance Workshops for business owners and developers of property located in Atlanta Renewal Community neighborhoods looking to reduce their federal tax obligations. The CRD tax credit allows business owners or developers who build new construction or substantially rehabilitate dilapidated buildings to reduce their federal income tax liability by writing off qualifying expenses related to their construction costs.
Specifically, the Commercial Revitalization Deduction allows a business owner or developer to either deduct half of eligible building expenses during the year that a building is placed in service or prorate deductions for eligible building expenses over a ten-year period. The tax deduction can be carried forward for 20 years.
The Atlanta Renewal Community encompasses 100 in-town neighborhoods, many with a history of economic challenges. The Atlanta Renewal Community Coordinating Responsible Authority (ACoRA) helps to promote commercial revitalization of these distressed neighborhoods with the CRD and several other special tax incentives. (To determine if a business or property is in the Renewal Community visit www.hud.gov/crlocator.)
The workshops will guide owners and developers in completing a CRD application that will be reviewed and forwarded to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for approval. To be considered for the special tax deduction, business owners and developers must complete an application before October 31, 2008.
The CRD Technical Assistance Workshops will take place at 2 p.m. on September 18, October 2 and October 16 at the Atlanta Renewal Community office, located at 34 Peachtree St., Suite 2360, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Complimentary parking is available at the SunTrust Plaza Parking deck located on Auburn Avenue. Attendees must bring their SunTrust parking ticket to the session for validation. To reserve a seat, call 404-522-3970.
For more information about the Commercial Revitalization Deductions, contact Lisa Hawkins, senior program director for the Atlanta Renewal Community, at (404) 522-3970 or email@example.com.
September 9, 2008: F. L. Stanton Elementary named a 'high-performing' National Blue Ribbon School for 2008
U. S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings named F. L. Stanton Elementary School Tuesday as a "high-performing" National Blue Ribbon School, and congratulated its students, faculty and staff for a "great job." Read the entire press release.
September 3, 2008: City Council Establishes Public Vending Management Program Aimed at Enhancing City's Image
Download the press release in PDF format.
ATLANTA – The Atlanta City Council approved the establishment of a public vending management program designed to promote economic opportunities and increase the variety and quality of goods and services sold to pedestrians along public sidewalks.
The measure (Legislative Reference No. 08-O-1220) was adopted on substitute as amended by Full Council on Tuesday night by a vote of 13-1.
Councilmembers indicate the program will allow the City to have a financially self-sustaining vending program that promotes economic opportunities, increases the variety and quality of goods and services for sale and contributes to the vitality, safety and quality of public spaces.
"I would like to commend members of the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee for their hard work in reviewing the design of a vendor management program that will be in the best interest of our City," said Council President Lisa M. Borders. "Atlanta is poised to see program in place that offers more opportunities for local vendors and one that enhances the City's sidewalk shopping experience for tourists that will be consistent with great cities across the country like San Francisco and Chicago."
The measure was approved after months of due diligence by members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee and the administration.
"We are pleased that we were able to gain the City Council's support on a vending program that will take our City to the next level in terms of the variety and quality of retail items sold on our streets," said City Councilmember Ceasar C. Mitchell, a sponsor of the legislation creating the new management program. Mitchell initiated the effort to revamp the city's vending program through a comprehensive vending plan five years ago with the assistance of the Vending Policy and Advisory Committee.
"We must offer the best experience, particularly for downtown shoppers and for the millions of tourists who visit our city each year," Mitchell said.
The City also developed a public vending program to enhance the overall appearance and environment along public streets, pedestrian ways and other properties in the manner that will enhance the city's international image.
An evaluation of the current vending program and associated laws was conducted by the City Council through the Vending Technical Advisory Group (VTAG) and that group recommended that the City secure a third party vending management company to manage public vending in the City. The Council also approved amended legislation by a vote of 9-5 authorizing the Mayor to hire General Growth Properties, Inc. to manage the program. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1209)
Chicago-based General Growth Properties has experience in the management of shopping malls and downtown urban marketplaces throughout the world including Brazil and Turkey.
"Other great cities, such as Atlanta, have proven that well-managed sidewalk vending programs, with attention to product mix and display for the customer, can actually enhance the sidewalk experience. We believe it is Atlanta's time to move forward and the vote Tuesday by City Council exhibited that leadership and vision," said A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. "General Growth Properties is a proven leader in the retail industry. We think everyone will benefit greatly from this new contract with the City and the look of the 'pedestrian experience' of our community will be enhanced."
The Atlanta Development Authority will assist with transition services for existing vendors under the new vending program. The legislation also allows for discounted rental rates for disabled veterans.
City Council Overrides Veto of Legislation 08-0-1540
By a vote of 11-3, the City Council overrode the Mayor's veto of legislation designed to re-open and maintain Atlanta Fire Station No. 7 by transferring $1.12 million in
appropriations from various consulting, supply, travel and other non-personnel accounts to the Department of Fire and Rescue Budget Fund.
At the City Council's regularly scheduled meeting held August 18, 2008, Councilmembers adopted substitute ordinance 08-O-1540 by a roll call vote of 13 yeas; 1 nay. However, Mayor Shirley Franklin returned the item with a veto on August 26, 2008.
The legislation now goes back to the Mayor's desk.
City Council Honors Commitment to Improve Green Space
With the scheduled ground breaking of Atlanta's newest intown park set for the fall, members of the City Council approved, by a vote of 14-0, naming the proposed site located along the southside of North Avenue near City Hall East, the "Historic Fourth Ward Park."” (Legislative Reference No. 08-0-1690)
The city currently owns 9.2 acres of what will ultimately be a 35 acres park. The City intends to procure the additional land for the park in phases.
The first component of the park will be an innovative lake that will capture storm water runoff. The lake will include a pedestrian boardwalk and natural vegetation.
The storm water detention feature and the park have been designed over the past year through a unique community partnership between residents and business stakeholders, the City's Department of Watershed Management and Atlanta Beltline, Inc. The need to provide storm water runoff in an area slated for redevelopment has allowed several departments in the City to work together, creating a solution that addresses quality of life, environmental sustainability and economic efficiency. The east side of the property abuts the proposed BeltLine, a 22-mile transit loop under development.
Also on Tuesday, the City Council approved by a vote of 14-0 the acceptance of the 2008 Woodruff Park Master Plan which was prepared by the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Inc. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1578)
Central Atlanta Progress, through a $3.5 million fundraising effort, is seeking to make improvements at Woodruff Park by adding a fast-food stand, a playground, a dine-in restaurant and a coffee shop.
Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall, the representative for the area, said downtown residents, businesses and visitors welcome the new improvements.
"Peachtree meets Auburn at Woodruff Park. As we prepare to break ground on the new Center for Civil and Human Rights, these plans bring us one step closer to connecting Centennial Olympic Park with the rich civil rights heritage of Sweet Auburn and the King Historic District," Hall said.
"Robert Woodruff, that great Atlantan and philanthropist, envisioned this greenspace as a unique Downtown oasis. The master plan includes a mix of programs and amenities capable of attracting students, residents, businesses, office workers, and tourists to this unique place in our city where Peachtree meets Sweet Auburn."
Named after the late Coca-Cola executive and city philanthropist, Robert W. Woodruff, the park is one of downtown Atlanta's most significant green spaces and is located at the heart of the city's entertainment and academic districts.
Recent improvements include increasing electrical power in the park, repairing drainage systems and removing overgrown shrubbery.
The original acres between Peachtree, Edgewood, Pryor (now Park Place) and the Candler Building were purchased anonymously by Mr. Woodruff then donated to the city in 1971 and the first incarnation of the park opened in 1973.
In other news, the following pieces of legislation were adopted by a vote of 14-0 respectively:
- A resolution requesting and authorizing the City Auditor through the Audit Committee to conduct an independent audit of the Arborist Division of the Bureau of Buildings, Department of Planning and Community Development. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1695)
- An ordinance requiring notification of the affected Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU's) and the City Council when any police zone facility, precinct or mini-precinct, or fire station is to be decommissioned or closed. (Legislative Reference No. 08-0-1687)
- A resolution expressing the intent of the Atlanta City Council to continue to provide financial incentives in order to achieve the objectives of the Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) Redevelopment Plan; to issue an additional series of Westside Tax Allocation District Bonds in 2009; to confer with the Fulton County Commission regarding the extension of the County's increment pledge to the Westside TAD. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1691)
- A resolution expressing the intent of the Atlanta City Council to continue to provide financial incentives in order to achieve the objectives of the Eastside Tax Allocation District Redevelopment Plan; to use Tax Allocation Bonds and Tax Allocation Increment as needed and appropriate to accomplish these goals. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1692)
- A resolution authorizing the Mayor or her designee to enter into a Intergovernmental Agreement with the Atlanta Development Authority in an amount not to exceed $300,000 under the 2007 Budget of the Westside Tax Allocation District Fund for an In Rem Condemnation/Demolition for the purpose of funding the demolition of structures within the English Avenue Neighborhood identified as abandoned and dilapidated by the Bureau of Housing Code Compliance. (Legislative Reference No. 08-R-1694)
The above legislation and a complete list of other items on the council's agenda can be viewed in their entirety on the Web at: http://apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/2008/fca0902.htm
All adopted legislative items and any amendments to those items or substitute papers can be viewed at: http://apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/captions/
City council minutes can be viewed at: http://apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/minutes2.htm
Video of the Atlanta City Council meetings can be viewed at: http://apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/video.htm
August 19, 2008: Atlanta Council Defies Mayor, Votes to Reopen Fire Station 7
By ERIC STIRGUS, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to shift $1.1 million in the budget to reopen what was the city's oldest fire station, despite Mayor Shirley Franklin's vow to veto the legislation.
Some council members said they may have to pursue legal means to determine whether they or the mayor have the authority to decide the future of Fire Station 7.
"The only place this ends up getting resolved is in [Fulton County] Superior Court," said Councilman H. Lamar Willis, an attorney. "The question then becomes are we prepared to spend citizen funds to fight that battle?"
Faced with a $14.6 million budget gap, Franklin last month ordered the closing of the station near West End Mall and the Atlanta University Center. The mayor ultimately cut the budget by $21.6 million, citing concerns from finance officials that the city's sales tax revenue will fall below expectations.
Council members have argued Fire Station 7 should be reopened because they fear slower response times to fires and medical emergencies. The station, which opened in 1910, had the sixth-highest call volume of the city's 32 fire stations.
The mayor and fire department officials have said the concerns are unwarranted because there are four other fire stations within three miles of the station. Fire officials also noted Fire Station 7 was the costliest station house to operate.
"In today's world it is simply not possible to justify the expenditure of funds that have no impact on the delivery of city services," Franklin said in a letter sent to the council last week.
The station's closing sparked widespread community outrage. More than two dozen Atlantans spoke Monday in favor of reopening the station.
"You must keep Fire Station 7 open," said Juanita Gardner, who said she's lived in the city for 48 years.
Council members debated the issue for about 90 minutes Monday. They approved a plan to take a portion of money from nearly every city agency to come up with the $1.1 million to reopen the station and staff it. Council members did not specify how the cuts should be made. Councilwoman Felicia Moore said her colleagues should specify how to make the cuts.
Anne Fauver was the lone council member who voted against reopening the station, saying she wasn't sure the numbers used to determine the funding plan are accurate. Fauver said she is also worried how the changes will affect city operations.
August 18, 2008: Connector Labor Day Lane Closures
Georgia DOT will continue work on the 14th Street Bridge Improvement project during the Labor Day holiday weekend. Multiple lane closures will be in place; anticipate significant delays on I-75/I-85 (the Downtown Connector) southbound throughout the weekend. North of the Brookwood Split, I-85 SB will be reduced to two lanes and I-75 SB to one lane. Six lanes will be open south of 10th Street.
Normally, Georgia DOT suspends holiday weekend work; however, this complex phase can be completed in 72 continuous work hours. The alternative is to have these same lane closures for six consecutive two-day weekends. (In the event of inclement weather on Labor Day weekend, the lane reductions will take place the following six weekends.)
Georgia DOT encourages north-to-sound end travelers to utilize I-285. Area residents heading for events Downtown are encouraged to use I-285 and I-20, or take MARTA. Visit www.dot.ga.gov for more project information. Dial 511 from your cellular phones for traffic updates.
July 30, 2008: Fire Station 7 Response Analysis & Impacts
View Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran's Fire Station 7 Response Analysis and Impacts report.
July 22, 2008: Information for Absentee Voting and Advance Voting in Person
- Print out the application.
- Fill it in.
- Fax it to your County:
Or contact your county election office.
- They will send you a ballot to mail back!
July 28 - August 1
8:30am to 5:00pm
July 16, 2008: Save #7 Coalition
Which fire stations cover NPU-T?
The Save #7 Coalition is a group of community leaders, residents, faith based organizations, and other allied groups whose goal is to re-open Fire Station #7 in the West End. This coalition currently includes the following organizations and is expanding hourly:
- Civic groups
- West End Neighborhood Development, Inc (W.E.N.D) President Carl Nes
- CollegeTown Community Association (CCA) President Laurisa Claytor
- Rose Circle Community Garden C-Founder Debbie Zimmerman
- Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) S Chair Lev Sterling
- Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) T Chair Kwabena Nkromo
- Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) V Body & Chair LaShawn Hoffman
- Faith Communities
- Good Shepherd Community Church (GSCC) Pastor Richard Wright
- Pan African Orthodox Christian Church (Shrine of the Black Madonna) Pastor Randy "Mwenda" Brown
- Organized labor & affiliated groups
- Georgia STAND-UP
- Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council
- Local business organizations
- West End Merchants Coalition (WEMC) member Myrna Anderson Fuller
- Elected officials
- District 4 City Council Rep. Cleta Winslow
- At-Large City Council Rep. (Post 1) Ceasar Mitchell
- State Representative "Able" Mable Thomas
- Save #7 Coalition Concerns:
The closing of the fire station will have a large impact on the community and public safety in both the Historic West End, as well as surrounding neighborhoods through:
- Increased response times to fire emergencies
- Increases in Home and Rental Insurance Rates to residents
- Loss of a Major Community Asset
- That the City of Atlanta must re-open the historic Fire Station immediately and develop a budget plan that does not disproportionately impact public safety for the residents of the West End, NPU-T, City Council District 4, and the Southwest Atlanta region in general.
- That Fire Station #7 should be preserved as a historic landmark and community asset, in keeping with the culture, civic tradition, and values of the West End neighborhood.
- That the principle of accountable and transparent community engagement, which is embodied in the NPU system of the City of Atlanta, should be defended from this attack and all others stemming from illegitimate Mayoral authority and negligent City Council leadership.
July 14, 2008: Save Fire Station #7
Download the "Save Fire Station #7" Press Release: New “Save #7 Coalition” emerges to fight Mayor Franklin’s decision to close a historic fire station providing essential services to Southwest Atlanta residents
- AJC story: Residents protest closure of Atlanta's oldest fire station
- 11 Alive video: Historic Fire Station Closing
- Fox 5 Atlanta: Protestors Rally for Atlanta Fire Station to Remain Open
- 46 News: Mayor Accosted At Fire Station 7 Closing
July 13, 2008: Save Fire Station #7
On Friday, Mayor Franklin announced that Fire Station #7, which serves the West End, the AUC and surrounding neighborhoods, would be closed as soon as Monday. This is a serious threat to public safety in neighborhoods which, once again, are the first victims of city policy. Please join us as we rally to let the mayor know how we feel!
Monday, July 14
11:00am - 12:30pm
Historic Fire Station #7, 535 W. Whitehall Street
(Corner of W. Whitehall Street and Oak Street)
If you can make it to the rally and would like to add you organization to the Save #7 Coalition, please call us at 404-581-0061 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can't make it to the rally then please do the following:
- Flood the mayor's office with phone calls Monday morning at 404-330-6570. TELL HER TO SAVE #7!!
- Send support letters to the mayor at email@example.com. For sample text, you can click here. The sample text is in a pdf, but you should still be able to copy the text and paste in an e-mail. Or please feel free to use your own!
- AJC story: Historic fire station to be shut down Monday
- Fox 5 Video: West End Residents Protest Mayor's Plan to Close Fire Station 7
- AJC story: West End fire station to close; 27 firefighter recruits won't be hired
- AJC photo story: Fire station closing protest
- Fox 5 Video: Mayor's Budget Cuts Hit Atlanta Police, Fire Hard
July 1, 2008: Community Food Project Updates
Hello neighbors and friends,
I wish you all could taste what I've been tasting lately. Fresh cherry tomatoes from my family's Rose Circle Community Garden bed, liberally sliced on top of pizza for dinner last night. From the same garden, succulent Zucchini squash sauteed as a side was served with baked chicken and rice recently at my house. Collard greens cole slaw made from the last spring stalks of Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms was a nice addition to a company cook out on last Friday. Banana and jalapeno peppers from CVC Urban Farms have been a great addition to hoagies I've made during extended lunch hours from work. And I enjoyed the most delicious homemade raspberry/blueberry pie made as a gift by my neighbor and fellow gardener Debbie Zimmerman from bushes in her front yard.
Beside being good living, these summer culinary delights are what the NPU-T Community Food Project is all about. Fresh, delicious produce grown locally and purchased or consumed by residents of our neighborhoods is the vision that is being fulfilled even now. This organic food is affordable, with even Georgia WIC vouchers being accepted at CVC Urban Farms. Vegetables grown by yourself are inherently safer, avoiding the tragedy of illness from things like salmonella tainted tomotoes. Gardens where residents interact and build healthier bodies and relationships are precious community assets that strengthen our neighborhoods.
Georgia Organics is a member supported non-profit organization working to integrate healthy, sustainable and locally grown food into the lives of all Georgians. We are honored to have the NPU-T Community Food Project featured in an article written by Suzanne Welander for the Summer 2008 issue of their newsletter, The Dirt. The purpose and vision of our initiative is wonderfully reported and explained in this favorable piece. Please take the time to read "A Tale of Two Cities". Many thanks to you, Suzanne!
I am told by the manager at CVC Urban Farms that peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, yellow and Zucchini squash, okra, cucumbers, string beans, and watermelon will soon be available to its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers and customers. The first harvest day for farm-side sales and CSA pickup will be July 13th from 2pm-6pm at 779 Atwood Street SW 30310. Information on purchasing a CSA share or half-share is attached. Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to participate in our own local food economy.
Have a safe holiday. - Cubby (NPU-T Chair)
June 26, 2008: New Neighborhood Organizations Have Formed
One of the big stories this month within our community is the organization of new or revitalized neighborhood associations within areas of NPU-T that have been absent from our formal civic life for some time. The Beecher-Donnelly Community Association (BDCA) represents an area of the greater West End neighborhood (according to the official revised city map) that had lost its civic formation some years ago and is experiencing renewed energy due to its determined residents and projects like the CVC Urban Farm. A brand new group, the CollegeTown Community Association (CTCA), will be taking its place along with its peer groups within NPU-T by holding its inaugral meeting on June 26th to provide a civic voice for the residents in this new development. We congratulate the members of these two neighborhoods for making the commitment to get involved in the community building process.
May 10, 2008: Westview Street Topper Unveiling
Westview joined the remaining Atlanta neighborhood's on May 10th as they unveiled their street topper. Neighbors sponsored street toppers at intersections close to their house; most streets can now be seen with a Westview street topper.
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May 10, 2008: CVC Urban Farm
Volunteers came together on Saturday May 10th at CVC Urban Farm's property at 779 Atwood Street SW Atlanta, GA 30310 in the Beecher-Donnelly neighborhood to get the grounds ready for planting. This plan is part of NPU-T Community Food Project. The first shift of volunteers was put in charge of laying out garden bed outlines with wooden stacks and strings, laying down newspaper within beds for weed suppression, and brush removal and general landscaping around the site. The second shift was assigned to construct the mounded garden beds, cement block raised beds, and filling with blended topsoil mix, as well as adding beginning organic fertilizer amendments (chicken pellets or fish emulsion).
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May 2, 2008: West End May Day Concert
On the first weekend in May West End reintroduced an old custom: the May Day celebration and Tour of Homes. The weekend was started with a concert at the Wren's Nest featuring West End native Theresa Hightower. Guests brought their own food and beverages and enjoyed music by Theresa and her band. Saturday and Sunday visitors were able to view some of West End's gorgeous homes through the Tour of Homes.
Watch a video of Theresa performing one of her songs.
Please click on a thumbnail to enlarge.
April 12, 2008: "Model Mile" BeltLine Tree Planting
On Saturday, April 12, 2008 volunteers met at the Rose Circle Park Plaza for the 1st tree planting in the Atlanta Beltline Arboretum. In addition to numerous tree species being planted and mulched the PATH Foundation cleared some of the underbrush at the Brown Middle School's request.
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April 1, 2008: In Defense of Food
Please check out the latest email update from Rashid Nuri below. We are very close to successfully recruiting this urban agriculture entrepreneur to our area as part of the NPU-T Community Food Project. The Atlanta INtown Paper's "Green Issue" recently honored Rashid (view page #7 thumbnail) for his selection as an Innovative Mind in the upcoming 2008 Bioneers Southeast Forum to be held at the Atlanta University Center's Interdenominational Center (ITC). Please enjoy. - Kwabena
In Defense of Food
Greetings!! I recently finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It is a great book that I recommend for all those interested in quality food. This week's newsletter includes a summary of its contents.
The recent rains have been very good for growing food. Everything we planted at the last moon is coming along quite well.
This week we are offering subscribers collard greens, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, garlic and cabbage from our winter crop. Lettuce and arugula should be ready for harvest next week. Pickup is Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. at 3353 Washington Road, East Point.
The farm sites are sown with as many varieties and types of spring crops that we can manage. This year we have planted collards, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, carrots, broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, sweet peas, beets, turnips, mustards, lettuce, arugula, garlic, chard, rutabaga and fava beans. I have probably forgotten a few items, but you can always check to see what is growing and being harvested on our website: http://www.trulylivingwell.com/growing.html. In addition to reading this email, it is a good idea to check regularly with the website to keep up to date with what is growing.
In Defense of Food
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
This is how Michael Pollan begins his latest book, In Defense of Food, an Eaters Manifesto. His previous book, The Omnivores Dilemma, gave a comprehensive overview of food production in America. This new book brings food from the field to the table. Mr. Pollan elegantly explains why Americans are so confused about what to eat. He offers simple rules that will help us unravel what, until the past hundred years or so, was a very simple process of obtaining and consuming healthful, life sustaining food.
Part I - The Age of Nutritionism. Pollan defines the fundamental food problem as "nutritionism". We have been trained to believe foods are essentially the sum of their nutrient parts. Nutrients, as compared with food, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious. It falls to scientists and journalists to explain the hidden reality of food to us. In 1842 Justus von Liebig proposed a theory of metabolism that explained life strictly in terms of a small handful of chemical nutrients. Science and industry followed suit and have led us to the conditions we find today.
To a large extent, most Americans have stopped eating real food. Instead, most of us consume chemical soup. Food scientists believe they can create higher quality food than nature. They take individual nutrients and combine them into a compound and call it food, when it truly is only a combination of chemical elements. Soon we will be able to purchase an organic Twinkie proclaimed for its antioxidant properties and health benefits to those who eat one, because of the nutrient additives the scientists provide.
Part II - The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization. Case studies ad infinitum have proven that societies adhering to the so-called Western Diet (McDonald's, microwave dinners, canned and processed food) face an inevitable increase in heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes and many other ailments. One of the key features of the modern diet is a shift toward increasingly refined foods, especially carbohydrates and sugar. We have come to accept disease as one of life's givens. We expect modern allopathic medicine to intervene and minimize the inconvenience of disease and thus prolong our lives. Meanwhile, Americans no longer top the list of the world's healthiest peoples; most industrial nations have better health statistics than Americans.
The same nutritionism that has defiled food also defiles the soil. Utilizing Liebig's concepts, farmer's no longer concern themselves with improving the quality of the soil. They only provide the minimal nutrient required to grow a plant. The maxims of organic agriculture are ignored. The quality of the soil determines the quality of the plants. The quality of food determines the quality of an individual's health. There is a direct correlation between this health decline and the quality of food production. It stands to reason that chemically simplified soil would produce chemically simplified plants and poor health.
Part III - Getting Over Nutritionism. Some of Michael Pollan's rules in defense of food:
- Stop eating a western diet
- Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are
- More than five in number, or that include
- High-Fructose corn syrup
- Avoid food products that make health claims
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
- Get out of the supermarket whenever possible
- Shake the hand of the farmer that feeds you
- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
- You are what you eat eats too
- Eat well-grown food from healthy soils
- Eat wild foods when you can
- Eat meals
- Do all your eating at a table
- Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does
- Try not to eat alone
- Eat slowly
- Cook and, if you can, plant a garden
"The work of growing food contributes to health long before you sit down to eat. There is something particularly fitting about enlisting your body in its own sustenance. Much of what we call recreation or exercise consists of pointless physical labor, so it is especially satisfying when we can give that labor a point. Gardening consists of mental work as well: learning about the different varieties; figuring out which do best under the conditions of your garden; acquainting yourself with the various microclimates---the subtle differences in light, moisture and soil quality across even the tiniest patch of earth; and devising ways to outwit pests without resorting to chemicals."
"When the basket of produce lands on the kitchen counter there are no ingredients labels, no health claims, nothing to read except maybe a recipe. As cook in your kitchen you enjoy an omniscience about your food that no amount of supermarket study or label reading could hope to match. Having retaken control of the meal from food scientists and processors, you know exactly what is and is not in it: There are no questions about high-fructose corn syrup, or ethoxylated diglycerides, or partially hydrogenated soy oil because you did none of these things to your food."
"To reclaim this much control over one's food, to take it back from industry and science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts."
Purchase Your CSA Subscription Now
The gardens will be in full production within the next few weeks. We have room to enroll new subscribers. Spring CSA subscriptions are selling fast. Get yours now!
A full share sells for $400 and a half share is $250. This entitles you to pickup food from TLW thirteen times at your convenience. You can obtain a registration form at the farm. You can also download a form at our website: http://www.trulylivingwell.com/subscribe.html
Once we get rolling, you can expect to receive different food items every two to four weeks throughout the season. We also offer a delivery option at an additional cost.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch. We welcome your feedback.
K. Rashid Nuri
March 26, 2008: Wire Hunt
What: Win Cash Prizes for Reporting Hazardous Utility Wires
Where: Sidewalks in all parts of the City of Atlanta
When: March 29 - April 4, 2008
Why: John Lamb, age 40, sustained fatal injuries when his bicycle became entangled with loose utility wires hanging from a pole at Peachtree Road and Peachtree Battle Avenue. Witnesses said the loose wires were hanging for several months, blocking most of the sidewalk. Investigators determined that many other sidewalks on Peachtree and nearby streets were also obstructed by loose wires hanging dangerously from utility poles.
In 2007, the Lamb family settled the wrongful death suit they filed against Georgia Power, Bell South, and the City of Atlanta. In hopes that something positive can emerge from the tragic loss, attorneys at Finch McCranie, LLP, who represented the family, donated $10,000 to PEDS to raise awareness of dangling utility wires and strengthen our online hazard reporting tool.
Join us in honoring John Lamb's memory by helping us prevent future injuries. Cash prizes will be awarded to volunteers who locate and report the most utility wires or cables in the pedestrian path by 12:00 noon on Friday, April 4, 2008.
Details and Sign-up: www.peds.org
Questions: Call 404-522-3666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26, 2008: Pothole Watch
Jerry "Tacuma" Brown, the NPU-T Community Ambassador, requests information regarding potholes anywhere on NPU-T streets be forwarded to him for the purposes of a comprehensive report to the Mayor's office to get them fixed. You may also make a report directly to the city here and copy a notice of your submission to Mr. Brown at email@example.com or 404.753.4247.
February 23, 2008: "Model Mile" BeltLine Groundbreaking
On Saturday, February 23, 2008 the "Model Mile" BeltLine Groundbreaking took place at Rose Circle Park on White Street in West End. Despite cold weather there was a good turn-out of supporters. Attendees included Mayor Shirley Franklin, various organizations responsible for making the project happen, as well as many members of the community.
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