Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mayor Kasim Reed Delivers Convocation Address at Candler School of Theology

Urges Candler community to be “referees for public discourse”

Mayor Kasim Reed reflected on the vital role of people of faith and the clergy in helping the city, state and nation overcome partisan differences during a moving keynote address Thursday morning at the Opening Convocation of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

“It is vital that thoughtful, serious people – people like you who heeded God’s calling and seek to truly solve the problems of the world – make your voices heard above the din,” Mayor Reed said. “All too often, when I turn on the television or listen to the radio or pick up the newspaper, I do not believe you are being heard enough. I do not see or read about what I know about God or Jesus or about being a Christian. I hear a lot of noise – loud noise, shrill noise – and more often than not, it conveys one, short-sighted notion of God. The noise drowns out those who recognize a bigger and more inclusive vision of God.”

During the hour-long program in Cannon Chapel on the Emory University campus, Reed welcomed Candler’s diverse incoming class of 197 theology students, recognized the school’s commitment to community engagement, and urged students and faculty to continue their tradition of robust civic participation, especially educating, mentoring and nurturing children and young people.

Seventy percent of Candler’s graduates serve as pastors in churches; others minister in colleges, hospitals, the military and social service organizations. Candler is one of 13 United Methodist Church seminaries and has a total enrollment of 500 students representing 50 denominations.

Mayor Reed is an active United Methodist layperson and a member of the Cascade United Methodist Church. His maternal grandfather, Esau Anderson, was a United Methodist preacher in South Carolina. During his remarks, Mayor Reed acknowledged the importance of his grandparents; father, June Reed; and mother, Sylvia Reed, in the development of his faith.

“When God took clay and made Adam… He got dirty. When Jesus walked among the “great unwashed” and as a carpenter… He got dirty. When John Wesley in the 1730s visited Georgia and its infamous red clay and secured the vision of what would become the Methodist movement… he got dirty,” Mayor Reed said.

“…I challenge each and every one of you to take your studies and good works to another level. May you have the highest blessings for the new school year and the greatest of luck as you get your hands dirty.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mayor Kasim Reed, Wal-Mart and Sustainable Atlanta Announce Urban Farm Design Competition

$35k Wal-Mart investment to transform vacant lot across City Hall into a working farm

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Wal-Mart representatives and officials from the Office of Sustainability and Sustainable Atlanta announced today a competition to design an urban farm on a vacant lot across from City Hall. The Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Design Competition was launched to support the city’s effort in establishing an effective and inspirational model for urban agriculture and furthering the city’s pursuit of becoming a Top 10 sustainable city. In addition, as part of Wal-Mart’s initial funding, there is a $25,000 award to the winning submission.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to create a sustainable and accessible greenspace in the heart of downtown that will serve as a model and educational tool for similar projects in the future,” said Mayor Reed. “I want to thank our partners at Wal-Mart for their generous support of the urban farm and their commitment to bringing fresh produce to inner-city neighborhoods.”

Supported by Wal-Mart, the design competition will transform the site of the old traffic court building – vacant for several years – into a thriving demonstration farm. “We are honored to support this project which will ultimately promote local foods, create jobs and build community,” said Wal-Mart Regional General Manager Karen Brewer-Edwards.

With the ultimate goal of showcasing how fresh food can be grown locally and sustainably, the competition will promote creativity and innovation in the design of the farm, as well raise awareness of the farm itself. The Office of Sustainability is consulting on this multidisciplinary project with Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council, the University of Georgia School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Truly Living Well.

“By engaging a consortium of city leaders and experts from outside organizations, this cutting-edge demonstration project has the potential to inform a wide range of stakeholders on the benefits of local food programs,” said Sustainable Atlanta Director Suzanne Burnes.

The contest is open to students, educators and professionals across Georgia in fields related to urban agriculture and landscape architecture. Interested competitors must register online at by October 15 and submit proposals by November 1. Once the winning design is chosen, the preparation of the land and design installation will begin immediately, with the farm scheduled to open to the public by the spring of 2012. There will be a $25,000 grand prize awarded to the winning submission.

The demonstration project will support the City of Atlanta’s “Power to Change” sustainability plan and its commitment to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020. “The Trinity Avenue farm will be a living visual of the city’s dedication to sustainability,” said Office of Sustainability Communications Manager Aaron Bastian.

“Local, sustainable and organic food practices have numerous health and environmental benefits,” said UGA’s Director of Environmental Sciences Susan Varlamoff. “Local food is often fresher, eliminates negative externalities, such as carbon emissions, and supports our local economy. We applaud Mayor Reed and the city for joining the local food movement by showcasing urban agriculture right in the heart of downtown.”

About the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm
The City of Atlanta intends for the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm to be a productive, crop-producing plot of land and a designated space for innovative projects. Visible to anyone who visits City Hall, the project aims to inspire community awareness and interest in local, sustainable food systems and to encourage citizens to take these practices home. Through this demonstration project, urban agriculture initiatives in local communities can become more widespread, effectively working to support and maintain healthier lifestyles in every neighborhood while saving money on families’ grocery bills. For more information and to enter the design competition, please visit

About the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is focused on instituting environmental protection practices into Atlanta city government. It aims to do so by improving the city’s environmental programs and policies such as water and energy conservation, solid waste and emissions reduction and recycling. To fully expand its commitment to sustainability, Mayor Kasim Reed has pledged that the City of Atlanta will become one of the Top 10 most sustainable cities in the United States. To that end, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability utilizes Recovery Act funding across 16 different programs. These programs are designed to motivate and support community efforts that aim to enhance environmental quality, while supporting jobs and long-term economic growth. For more information about Atlanta’s efforts to create a more sustainable city, please visit the Office of Sustainability’s page within the Mayor’s Office tab at (

Monday, August 15, 2011

Metro Atlanta UASI Region Completes First Test of Atlanta Regional Evacuation Coordination Plan

State, city and county leaders undergo critical response training for terrorism, catastrophes

More than 100 public safety and health workers on Thursday completed the first test of a major evacuation plan for metropolitan Atlanta in the event the region faces a major natural catastrophe or act of terrorism.

The test, administered by the Metro Atlanta Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and conducted at the Atlanta Regional Commission, focused on emergency operations, communications, traffic management, mass care and shelter and involved plans of evacuation for each of the participating jurisdictions.

“A catastrophe might initially and immediately affect a single locality. But in due course, it often affects a broader range of people and thus requires a regional…sometimes national… response,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “I am pleased that everyone involved in this endeavor has joined with the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, with the recognition that it requires many different hands at many different levels of government and across the public-private spectra.”

Mayor Reed serves as the chairman of Metro Atlanta UASI’s Senior Policy Group. The Metro Atlanta UASI region includes the City of Atlanta, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. For this test, the region members also worked with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Cherokee, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and Rockdale counties.

“We appreciate all of the hard work and collaboration that all the partners have contributed to the success of this table top exercise,” said Rodney Rancifer, Director of Public Safety Compliance for Metro Atlanta UASI. “However, there is still much to do. We will have a functional exercise in November 2011 that will involve the simulated activation of 10 emergency operation centers. We are planning tabletop exercises for our elected leadership, more exercises, and we are developing a citizen evacuation information packet.”

UASI was developed in 2003 as a result of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2002. The program was established to provide grants to assist high-risk urban areas in preventing, protecting, responding and recovering from acts of terrorism.

Since then, the Metro Atlanta UASI has been actively engaged in strategic planning efforts with local, state and federal partners to ensure effective communications within the region in the event of an incident. In 2006, the program also began to concentrate on more regional collaborative efforts in the areas of fire, police, medical and citizen preparedness. In June, the program completed a draft of its Regional Evacuation Coordinating Plan.

Mayor Kasim Reed, who addressed the participants Thursday, said Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and Louisiana in 2005, proved that “emergency efforts take more than a village. It takes a lot of villages, hundreds of villages.”

For more information about Metro Atlanta UASI, visit

Mayor Kasim Reed Announces Atlanta’s Participation in Fashion’s Night Out

Retailers around the city to host events from Sept. 8 to 12 for the second year in a row

Surrounded by local retailers, hoteliers and creative talent, Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that Atlanta will once again participate in Fashion’s Night Out on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, an unprecedented global initiative originally created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence and boost the industry’s economy during the recession.

“I am proud that Atlanta once again is participating in this event for it not only showcases the thriving fashion industry within our own city, it also celebrates the entrepreneurial, creative and artistic talents that make Atlanta an exciting place to live, visit and shop,” Mayor Reed said. “Last year, I hit the shops, and I plan to again this year. Those who know me know that I appreciate fashion, and I am thrilled that Atlanta is a fashion-conscious city.”

Fashion’s Night Out debuted in Atlanta last fall. This year’s Fashion’s Night Out committee, co-chaired by Judy Mauldin and Don Purcell, includes leaders from the fashion and retail community including Jeffrey, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Atlantic Station, Midtown Alliance, AmericasMart and Deka, as well as the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

From Sept. 8 to 12, the city will celebrate fashion and design and welcome special guests through unique events, exclusive pop-up shops and the “FNO Freeway” that will take visitors there. Shuttles will take shoppers between Midtown, Westside and Atlantic Station, and hotels are offering special packages and gifts to consumers.

The week kicks off when Tyson Beckford, Kenny Lattimore and Judy Mauldin launch Fashion’s Night Out Atlanta with A Night to Remember on Tuesday, Sept. 6. To honor those who paved the way for African Americans on the catwalk and in the ateliers, they will welcome and recognize the legendary Bethann Hardison as well as celebrate the late fashion designer Willi Smith. Nationally renowned designer (and soon-to-be HGTV star of Design Wars) Michael Habachy is lending his considerable talent to transform the Atlantic Station venue into a luxurious space filled with celebrities and trendsetters. Tickets are available at

Following the event, the space, along with other locales in Midtown, will turn into pop-up stores for the weekend. Designers include Frank Tell, Bowens Bergeron, Lisa Jill, Pieces of Me, Olive and Streetala, as well as an exclusive shop designed by Modern Luxury that will include Striver's Row, The Clique, Emerlyn & Ester, Lola Rose Boutique, Gallerie Boutique, Emly Benham and Urban Active/Under Armour.

As of today, participating retailers include (in alphabetical order) Anne Fontaine, Anne Taylor, Bare Escentuals, BCBG Max Azria, Bebe, Belk, Betsey Johnson, Beth-Ann Boutique, Bottega Veneta, Cole Haan, Crocs, Deka, Dominique Nicole Designs, Ed Hardy, Ellie Tahari, Fab’rik, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Guess, Herve Leger, Intimacy, Intermix, Italia Furniture, Jedal Italian Fashion, Jeffrey, Juicy Couture, Just the Thing!, Karen Millen, Kate Spade, Lacoste, L’Occitane, L.K. Bennett, Michael Stars, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Oakley, Palas Jewelers, Pella, Perimeter Mall, Phipps Plaza, Poor Little Rich Girl, Potpourri, Rangoni Shoes, Razzle Dazzle, ReMixx, Sage, Sabot, Salle Opticians, Sandpiper, Saks Fifth Avenue, Swarovski, Tory Burch, True Religion Brand Jeans, The Bilthouse, The Avenue Forsyth/Peachtree City/East Cobb/West Cobb, Tootsies, Tulipano, Vera Bradley, Vince, White House Black Market, Woo Skincare and Cosmetics, Wolford.

For more information, event details and hotel information, click on and follow and @FNOatl on Twitter.

About Fashion’s Night Out
Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) is an unprecedented global initiative originally created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy during the recession. On Sept. 8, 2011, in response to overwhelming demand, Fashion’s Night Out will return to New York City and over 100 cities nationwide to highlight fashion and support retail with exciting events that include designer appearances, celebrity guests, fashion shows and musical performances. In the United States, the program is a collaboration among American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company, and the City of New York. For more information visit, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@fnonyc, #FNO).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mayor Kasim Reed, Governor Nathan Deal, Congressman John Lewis and Comcast Unveil Ambitious and Comprehensive Broadband Adoption Experiment

‘Internet Essentials’ to Provide Families with Children Eligible for a Free Lunch Under the National School Lunch Program with Low-Cost Internet Service, Affordable Computers and Digital Literacy Training
Mayor Kasim Reed, Governor Nathan Deal, Congressman John Lewis, and Comcast executives today launched Internet Essentials, an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption program. This program is available to 317,000 low-income families who have children eligible to receive free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in 28 metro-Atlanta area school districts. The goal of Internet Essentials is to help close the digital divide among Americans.

“While America has increasingly become a digital nation, many metro-Atlanta families are at a disadvantage because they can’t afford Internet service at home. Comcast is leading the charge in making broadband adoption a reality for more families,” said Mayor Reed. “The city of Atlanta is proud to pledge our support, but we can’t do this alone. We need parents, educators, community leaders and other government officials to join in this effort, spread the word and help increase broadband adoption in our community.”

“The state of Georgia remains committed to supporting our educational system in every way possible, and this new program is an excellent example of such an effort,” said Governor Deal. “The Internet is no longer a dispensable item – it’s ‘essential’ in almost every aspect of our lives from our education to our careers. It’s imperative that Georgia businesses follow in the footsteps of Comcast and continue to find new and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for our state’s future leaders.”

According to David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, “The Internet has the potential to be a great equalizer and a life-changing technology. Internet Essentials will help level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their school’s educational resources as well as enabling parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live.”

Service Details:

Internet Essentials participants will receive:
Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month plus applicable taxes;
No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax;
Access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person.

Additional benefits include the Norton™ Security Suite ($160 value), which provides comprehensive online security protection at no additional charge.


A household is eligible to participate in the Internet Essentials program if it meets all of the following criteria:
Is located where Comcast offers Internet service;
Has at least one child who is eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP;
(As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income);
Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Eligible families can sign up for the program up until the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Any household that qualifies during this three-year period will remain eligible for Internet Essentials provided they continue to meet the original qualifications.

For general information about Internet Essentials, please visit for English and visit for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376, or for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

The Internet Essentials program addresses three primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified – 1) a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful; 2) the cost of a home computer, and 3) the cost of Internet service.

About Comcast Corporation:
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ( is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.