October 18, 2021
Hey, Atlanta! It’s Monday ... again.
☀️ Today's weather: Sunny with a high of 72! It's finally feels like fall! Fall hath arrived! Fall, you ought-umn stick around for a while. 😎
Situational awareness: There's a Halloween Grinch on the loose in Midtown. Keep your pumpkins close.
Today's newsletter is 919 words — a 3.5-minute read
1 big thing: 🚍 The bus Atlanta needs
Late next year, MARTA will break ground on one of the most important projects the transportation agency will build in the coming decades: a $61.5 million bus rapid transit line connecting South Downtown to the southern arc of the Beltline, and all the neighborhoods, restaurants and shops in between.
Why it matters: The so-called Summerhill BRT is metro Atlanta's first foray into bus rapid transit, MARTA says. Think of them as extra special buses that run in dedicated lanes and free of car traffic.
- Done right, BRT can help move passengers just as efficiently as — and cheaper than — rail. And the 4.8-mile round-trip route will serve as a model for future BRT projects in other parts of Atlanta where light rail or a streetcar aren't justified.
- A big bonus: The buses will be able to trigger traffic signals at 28 intersections, guaranteeing a smoother and faster ride from start to finish.
Respect the lane: MARTA plans to launch a public-education campaign to prevent the BRT lane from becoming another lane for cars like the "bus only" lane on the 17th Street Bridge at Atlantic Station.
Our thought bubble: This is like a train with wheels. Learn to love the bus, Atlanta.
2. Ahmaud Arbery's accused killers go on trial
Today is the first day of the state trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. It's been nearly two years since the 25-year-old Black man was killed while running on a Brunswick street.
Why it matters: The news of Arbery's death was the first in what became known as last year's summer of racial reckoning over the shooting deaths of Black people by citizens and police.
Flashback: Months after the Feb. 23, 2020, fatal shooting, cellphone video of Arbery being chased and shot by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael was leaked and sparked a national uproar. (The third defendant, William Roddie Bryan, took the video.)
Context: Gregory McMichael was a retired investigator in the local district attorney's office and a one-time Glynn County police officer.
- Activists and lawyers for Arbery's family have argued bodycam video from the scene is further proof of unfair treatment by police. The video shows McMichael playing up his law enforcement experience, as officers calmly interact with him and his son, both of whom literally had Arbery's blood on their hands.
A long road ahead: The three defendants also face federal hate crimes charges. That trial is scheduled for early next year.
3. Critics bash Cobb resolution on anti-Semitism, racism
A month after swastikas were found drawn on bathroom walls at two of its high schools, the Cobb County Board of Education approved a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and racism.
Flashback: Bathrooms at Pope and Lassiter high schools were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti in September, an act the school district said stemmed from a social media prank, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The other side: The approval of the resolution was not unanimous. Two of the board's Black Democratic members, Jaha Howard and Leroy "Tre" Hutchins, voted against it because they felt the topic of anti-Semitism deserved its own resolution.
Howard said the original plan was for the board to consider a resolution denouncing anti-Semitism. Adding racism to the resolution "conjures up a lot of hard work and discussion we had back in 2020," he said.
- "Our Jewish and minority communities deserve thoroughness, thoughtfulness and a comprehensive and unanimous resolution," he said.
4. 🦒 Zoo Atlanta's oldest giraffe dies
Zoo Atlanta is mourning the loss of one of its beloved animals.
Abu, a 16-year-old giraffe, died Friday after experiencing a sharp decline in his health. Abu, the oldest in the zoo's herd, was considered geriatric, and the facility's team decided to euthanize him due to the poor prognosis of his recovery.
What they're saying: "Our animal care and veterinary teams have worked tirelessly in their efforts to care for Abu, always with his well-being foremost in our minds, and pursued every option available to us in terms of his treatment," said Dr. Sam Rivera, the zoo's senior director of animal health.
Flashback: Abu arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 2007, and by 2011, he fathered two calves. He was diagnosed with arthritis and in 2020 underwent a procedure to repair his hoof.
- In May, the medical team outfitted Abu with therapeutic shoes to help him get around. Abu underwent additional hoof treatment in August.
What's next: A necropsy will be performed by the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service. The results will be available in several weeks, Zoo Atlanta said.
5. Five-ish Points: Lights, cameras, everything's cool!
Hollywood producers and behind-the-scenes film workers struck a deal over the weekend, averting a nationwide strike. (New York Times)
Atlanta startups are on track to nearly double the fundraising record the industry set in 2019. (Atlanta Inno)
A long read from a longtime Atlanta journalist with Scottish heritage on the "troubled triangle of Scottish heritage, Southern racial politics, and Stone Mountain." (Atlanta Magazine)
Meet G's Pizza, a new takeout spot from chef Jamie Adams and Leonardo Moura of Sandy Spring's Il Giallo Osteria and Bar. (AJC)
Young Thug's "Punk," the Atlanta rapper's new album, gets the "All Songs Considered" treatment. (NPR)
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock reported raising $9.5 million this past quarter, much more than any challenger in his re-election race. (AJC)
Emma is coming to you from the Golden Isles this week. 😎
Kristal is enjoying the new additions to her houseplant collection. 🪴
Thomas has started bagging up small piles of leaves now to prevent bagging up a big pile of leaves later. 🍂