Reporter’s Notebook: 13th annual Ice Cream Festival this weekend, Remembering Georgia journalist Bill Shipp, Big Boi headlines East Point’s 50th Anniversary Hip Hop Celebration 

Twenty-seven summers ago, all eyes were on Atlanta — the host of the 1996 Olympics. The opening ceremonies for the biggest event in Atlanta’s history were held on July 19, ‘96. 

For the first time, all invited nations sent athletes to the games, and more than 10,000 athletes from 197 nations competed in 271 events. Two million visitors flocked to the city for the games, putting Atlanta further on the map.

On to other local news:

Annual Ice Cream Festival this weekend

Summertime and ice cream are a match made in food heaven. Satisfy your sweet tooth this Saturday for the 13th annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival at Piedmont Park — with ice cream flavors, cones and toppings galore.

There will also be live music, a traditional bharatanatyam group dance and an ice cream eating contest.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and entry is free and open to the public. If you’re interested in discounts from the vendors, click here to register. 

— Hannah E. Jones

Remembering Georgia journalist Bill Shipp

The memorial service for Bill Shipp on July 14 brought together friends, family and colleagues — all honoring one of the most influential political journalists in Georgia. Shipp, 89, died on July 8, just a month shy of his 90th birthday.

Big Boi headlines East Point WednesdayWind Down’s 50th Anniversary Hip Hop Celebration 

Cox family scion says he gave $600K to ‘Cop City’ protest support groups

The Cox family scion, who recently broke from his brethren due to their support of Atlanta’s public safety training center, said he has donated $600,000 to two organizations prominent in the “Cop City” opposition.

One recipient, said Jim “Fergie” Chambers on Twitter on July 18, is the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which provides legal support to protesters. Three of its leaders were controversially arrested in May on charity fraud and money-laundering charges, while Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr publicly accused them, without providing evidence, of supporting terrorism or organized crime.

The other is Community Movement Builders, which has played a leading role in the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” and “Stop Cop City” protests and is supporting the “Vote to Stop Cop City” referendum effort. 

Neither organization responded to comment requests. Chambers said the donations are unrestricted in how they are spent.

Chambers this month announced he had become the first member of the powerful, billionaire Cox family — owners of Cox Enterprises and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among many other assets — to separate from its financial trusts. He says he now controls a fortune of more than $200 million and intends to spend it supporting leftist revolutionary causes and opposing the training center. Cox CEO Alex Taylor led the secret fundraising for the training center, and the AJC’s editorial board has written in support of it.

“The battle to #StopCopCity & move forward the United Front of organizing for the people of ATL has only just begun,” he wrote on Twitter. “…. I also hope that the symbolism of using @CoxEnterprises hoarded $ to #StopCopCity isn’t lost on anyone.” 

— John Ruch

Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth named executive director

In August, Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth will be taking on a new role at the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, stepping in as the executive director. He began as the Technical Programs Director in 2008 and has served as Riverkeeper since 2015.

In this position, he will continue to promote the organization’s mission to protect and restore the Chattahoochee River Basin through water quality monitoring, trash removal, legislative work, enforcement and more.

“Jason has demonstrated his strong leadership skills during the past 16 years and is deeply dedicated to the CRK mission,” Board of Directors Co-Chair David Kirkpatrick wrote in a recent statement. “The Board is thrilled that Jason will continue to lead the organization in providing the quality programs and stewardship of the river that our communities depend on.”  

The transition comes after current Executive Director Juliet Cohen announced her resignation and plans to work with Cox Enterprises. In her 15 years with the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and eight in her current role, Cohen supervised the growth of the organization’s membership, budget and staff by 50 percent.

“Under Juliet’s leadership, the river is cleaner than it has been in decades and communities throughout the basin are rediscovering the river,” Board of Directors Co-Chair Rutherford Seydel wrote. “We thank Juliet for her unwavering commitment and leadership of the organization for more than 15 years and wish her well on the next step of her professional journey.”  

— Hannah E. Jones

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta taps Kat Marran as interim CEO

Kathleen “Kat” Marran, a long-term board member of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, has been named interim CEO of the organization. Maran recently retired as vice president of marketing at UPS, where she worked for 29 years.

Marran is succeeding Amy Dosik, who resigned in May after serving in that role since 2014.

The organization is planning to conduct a nationwide search for a permanent CEO, but it’s possible Marran will be a candidate.

“Kat brings a wealth of professional experience and a commitment to community this role requires,” Sonnet Edmonds, the Girl Scouts’ board president, said in a statement. “We are confident she will offer steady and inspiring leadership during this time of transition.”

While on the board of the Girl Scouts, Marran has served as a director at large and on the Fund Development Committee. She also mentored girls at Camp CEO and participated in Mableton’s Camp Timber Ridge during volunteer clean-up days.

“I believe building girls of courage, confidence and character is as important now as it was when Girl Scouts was founded more than 100 years ago,” Marran said in a statement. “I’m honored to be entrusted with this vital mission and excited for what the upcoming Girl Scout year holds for our members.”

The Girl Scouts was founded in Savannah in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low with a troop of 18 girls. 

— Maria Saporta

Christian City expands offerings for unhoused young adults

Metro Atlanta nonprofit Christian City recently opened the doors to its new housing for young men, ages 18 to 24, who are currently unhoused. The new residences are on the organization’s 500-acre campus just fifteen minutes south of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and were established to house homeless young men and those who have aged out of the foster care system.

Established in 1965, Christian City helps connect children and families in crisis with critical resources, including housing, food and medical care. 

The residents each get their own bedrooms and share the common areas. They are also assigned a case manager who helps them document their goals and stay on track. The participants are also required to be employed or enrolled in college or vocational school. 

To help teach best practices for financial budgeting, they will pay a small percentage of their earnings toward rent, and that money will be given back after graduating from the program and used for the first month’s rent in a new apartment. The payment portion of the program begins after six months, allowing the residents time to get on their feet.

“Imagine being 18 and all on your own facing a myriad of challenges that can be difficult for even the most established person to navigate,” CEO Keith Horton wrote in a recent statement. “There’s a lot to learn about being an adult and many good habits to acquire, and the fact is, these young people can’t do it on their own. If they have no family support, then someone needs to step up, and that’s what we’re doing with THRIVE.” 

— Hannah E. Jones

Morehouse School of Medicine students join NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative

Yesterday, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) announced its participation in this year’s NFL Diversity in Sports Medicine Pipeline Initiative. 

Six students will conduct one-month clinical rotation to observe and participate in the care of NFL players, working directly with the orthopedic team and primary care physicians to gain medical knowledge and exposure to patient care in sports medicine.

“Mentorship is a critical component of recruiting students into our field, so we’re thrilled to immerse more talented medical students with diverse backgrounds into

the NFL clubs’ medical communities. We’re all looking forward to watching this program grow and impact more medical students in years to come,” said Dr. Timothy McAdams, NFL Physicians Society president and team physician for the San Francisco 49ers.

The students will begin their clinical rotations when training camps open for the upcoming football season. 

Here is the list of MSM medical students participating in the program and the teams they are working with: 

  • Temitope Elutilo-Ayoola, Arizona Cardinals
  • Brandon Chiedo, Atlanta Falcons
  • Alexandria Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Adam Munoz, Indianapolis Colts
  • Valdemar Wany, New York Giants
  • Jamie Maignan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

— Allison Joyner

Report highlights Georgia’s ongoing childcare staffing shortage

Quality Care for Children (QCC) recently released the responses from an annual survey sent to childcare providers in Georgia. A total of 430 providers responded, representing 103 of Georgia’s 159 counties. The report, Provider Pulse Check, reveals that many of Georgia’s childcare providers are struggling to fully staff their programs. 

For example, the report states that more than 70 percent of childcare centers experienced teacher shortages in the past three months. Additionally, over 35 percent of programs had to close classrooms due to teacher shortages.

This is partially attributed to the industry’s low wages. Georgia’s childcare workforce is one of the lowest paid in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor, earning an average of $12.58/hour in 2022. 

“Unfortunately, we were not surprised by the survey’s results, which mirrors the child care crisis happening throughout the U.S.,” QCC President and CEO Ellyn Cochran wrote in a release. “Georgia’s early learning and care workers were struggling with low margins pre-pandemic and are concerned that the end of the federal relief dollars in September will increase their current staffing and wage challenges.”

QCC aims to create a system that equips families and providers with the knowledge and tools needed to educate Georgia’s babies and children. To support those struggling with the business side of child care, a new program called QCCworks provides business coaching and budgeting tools to help providers offer salary increases and sustain their businesses.

— Hannah E. Jones

APS Police Chief returns from training in Israel

Earlier this month, Atlanta Public School Police Chief Roland Applin returned home after completing an executive training program with the Israel Police. 

The Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange had a 20-member delegation that partnered with the law enforcement agency, where they were shown best practices and the latest technologies in policing and public safety. 

“It was powerful to be immersed into the Israeli culture and experience firsthand the positive impact of community engagement by the police,” Applin said. 

Classes for APS students will resume on Aug. 1.

— Allison Joyner

Norfolk Southern awards scholarships to 24 Georgia students, 100 nationally

This summer, the Norfolk Southern Corporation awarded 100 of their employees’ children with college scholarships. Ninety percent of the funds were reserved for children of frontline workers like conductors, mechanics and engineers.

Through its Thoroughbred Scholars program, which launched last July, students receive scholarships for up to $10,000 over four years, in addition to three scholarships for distinguished students who will receive up to $40,000.

This year’s recipients come from 16 states, and Georgia has 24 — more than any other state. Atlantan Alana Gulley, an incoming student at Howard University, was selected as the HBCU Scholar, which is one of the three distinguished scholarships.

“Supporting our people means supporting their families, and this scholarship program is one of the ways we’re doing that,” President and CEO Alan H. Shaw wrote. “It’s part of Norfolk Southern’s commitment to making decisions in the best long-term interests of our colleagues and the communities we serve. Investing in these bright, young minds now is an investment in our country’s future.”

— Hannah E. Jones