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Bill Torpy at Large

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Dystopia reconsidered: What I meant to say was …
Priscilla Smith, left, the owner of Eyedrum, a series of art spaces in south downtown, checks out the opening of Murmur on Broad Street. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

4:49 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Every now and again, I try to be fair when writing these dispatches. A couple weeks back, I wrote a column headlined: “Memo to Underground developer: Bring a flak jacket.” In it I described Atlanta’s south downtown as a virtual wasteland, an area where “Walking Dead” episodes could be shot ...
For college prez, a crash course in Life 101
Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall (right) has been driving for Uber this summer to see life from a different vantage point. Here, he drops off passenger Mikael Pierre, a truck driver heading to a long haul. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

4:40 p.m. Sunday, July 19, 2015

The young guy with dreadlocks emerged from the apartment building in Brookhaven dragging a rolling suitcase. I figured he was headed to the airport. The Uber driver, however, focused on the pillows he carried: His girlfriend might have kicked him out. We were both wrong. The passenger wanted to be ...
A sidewalk nobody wants, paid for with money nobody has
Casey Behravesh (left) and Brea Robinson walk along the proposed Sidewalk to Nowhere on Evans Dale Drive in DeKalb County. PHOTO By BILL TORPY

6:12 a.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2015

You’re pushing back from the table, not really hungry, but there’s some pizza left. So, what should you do? That’s easy — you stuff down a couple pieces so no one else gets the rest. Recently, DeKalb County commissioners were asked whether the county should return $120,000 in federal money ...
The garbage Klan: spreading trash, picking it up
Members of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan on Ga. 515 in north Georgia where they want to pick up trash. State officials turned them down because they don’t want to erect signs noting the Klan “adopted” that portion. AP Photo

5:53 p.m. Sunday, July 12, 2015

First thing, the Black Panthers need to hustle up to north Georgia and get themselves a stretch of highway to tidy. Some folks might flinch at the notion of a group that once called for vigorous self-defense and even armed insurrection. But they also had a social services program in ...
Memo to Underground developer: Bring a flak jacket
Robyn Jackson, left, and Stuart Jackson have tried to stem the tide of bad behavior outside their south downtown loft for years. Good luck with that. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

6:23 a.m. Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Early on — actually, it was before I even moved here — I learned a key lesson about exploring downtown Atlanta’s south side: Don’t bother. My wife and I took MARTA downtown, exited at Five Points and headed south on Broad Street beside the former Rich’s department store. A group ...
Torpy at Large: Dial 911! I just saw someone I don’t know!
You can’t say Medlock Park resident Tony DeAngelo wasn’t warned: The area is thick with Neighborhood Watch signs. Someone called the cops on DeAngelo when he and some friends went into the local nature preserve to shoot a video. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

12:53 p.m. Sunday, July 5, 2015

Community Facebook sites are a great way for neighbors to instantly exchange information, trade unwanted junk and advertise yard sales. They are knowledge purveyors, gossip mills, safety promoters or paranoia generators, depending on the day and subject. I was perusing the Medlock Park neighborhood site last Monday (I joined it ...
Atlanta’s not a bad place to live — for a year or two
The Chicago transplant sits outside the old AJC building on Marietta Street in January, 1991, waiting to attend an MLK Day parade. It would prove a momentous day.

6:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I came here to Atlanta for two years 25 years ago. My hometown newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, was having nothing to do with me, so I figured two or three years of seasoning on a far away metro daily might strengthen my resume. Funny how these things work out. Just ...
Die-hard Rebels are just whistlin’ Dixie
Confederate flags jump off the shelves whenever politicians move to restrict their public display. Recent days have been no exception. In this photo, taken Wednesday, a woman buys an old-style Georgia state flag at Wildman’s in Kennesaw. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

6:00 a.m. Friday, June 26, 2015

Somewhere in China, teams of low-paid workers are busily stitching together Confederate flags.In recent days, it has become clear that modern America is finally overtaking the Old South’s symbols. But while the Confederate battle flag as an official symbol is being swept into the dustbin of history, thousands of folks ...
Torpy at Large: Will black churches join the arms race?

3:57 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2015

When the mob came to drag Jesus off to a certain and bloody end, he did not draw a sword and stand his ground. Instead he reattached a man’s ear that Peter had detached with his sword and then went to his fate. That kind of turn-the-other-cheek Christianity has fallen ...
Hate, pray, shoot. Now what?
Bill Torpy

3:01 p.m. Thursday, June 18, 2015

It’s easy to say that Dylann Storm Roof’s eyes have that scary, hollow look. They do, but that’s only with hindsight. Now we can say he was evil or nuts or whatever. Before, it seems the 21-year-old who stands accused of mowing down nine people in their own church was ...
Think you’re safe from the war on drugs? Read this
Teresa Hooks, second from left, stands with family members at the Laurens County courthouse as former deputy Tom McCain talks about police overreach. Hooks’ husband, David, was killed in his home during an abortive drug raid. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

5:57 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, 2015

DUBLIN, Ga. — Teresa Hooks was terrified. In the darkness outside her rural house, six or eight armed men in black hoods were rushing her home. She yelled to her sleeping husband, David. Just two days earlier, they had been burglarized, with the thief or thieves taking guns and an ...
Torpy at Large: Georgia bids farewell to its last Rebel son
H.V. Booth, pictured in 2010 at his father’s grave near Elberton, was Georgia’s last surviving son of a Confederate veteran. AJC FILE PHOTO

2:20 p.m. Sunday, June 14, 2015

This time, H.V. Booth, the last known son of a Confederate veteran in Georgia, is actually gone. There was a premature passing three years ago, when the state’s chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans announced that its last known Real Son had died. The organization was actually noting the ...
Torpy at Large: And God said: ‘Let there be a Gulfstream G650’
In this 2007 photo, the Rev. Creflo Dollar presides over a Wednesday night service at World Changers Church International.

5:46 p.m. Sunday, June 7, 2015

Many of us occasionally ponder cosmic questions like how God fits into All This and what He really wants for us. There are times when humankind’s chronic inhumanity leaves us with doubts. So it’s a good thing that someone like the Rev. Creflo Dollar is around to reassure us that ...
Torpy at Large: For Atlanta cops, traffic stops are just the ticket
Atlanta Police officers run drivers through a traffic safety checkpoint set up at Boulevard SE and Englewood Ave SE in 2010. Since Mayor Kasim Reed took office that year, APD has doubled the number of traffic tickets it writes. HYOSUB SHIN, HSHIN@AJC.COM

6:07 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If you've seen blue lights in the rear view mirror in Atlanta, you're not alone. Atlanta cops are writing twice as many tickets as they did before Mayor Kasim Reed came to office in January, 2010. A projected 215,000 will be issued this year, compared to about 108,000 in 2009. ...
A slum too far?
This abandoned house at 479 James P. Brawley Drive is one of several derelict homes whose condition prompted the city to haul the owner, Rick Warren, into court. BILL TORPY / BTORPY@AJC.COM

5:02 p.m. Sunday, May 31, 2015

If I belonged to the family of Dr. James P. Brawley, I’d ask the city of Atlanta to remove his name from the stretch of urban rot that bears it. Sure, the closed road cutting through the Atlanta University Center is a tribute befitting the former Clark College president. But ...
Slum lords beware! Mr. Mayor is on the case
This week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed showed up for the second time at the trial of Rick Warren, a Buckhead investor the city has targeted as Slum Lord No. 1. KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

6:10 a.m. Friday, May 29, 2015

It’s not every day that the mayor of Atlanta spends an entire afternoon sitting in a municipal courtroom to demonstrate that the city is serious about something. But this week Kasim Reed did that — and not for the first time. (You can see by the expression on his face ...
What has a shorter lifespan than a Braves' winning streak?
In 2011 the Atlanta City Council voted to rename Harris Street in downtown Atlanta to honor developer John Portman, who had gotten Ivy Street renamed to match the name of a development he put there: Peachtree Center. AJC FILE PHOTO

6:23 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ted Turner is getting a downtown street renamed for him and it has led to a familiar Atlanta discussion: Are we The City Too Busy To Remember Our History? If it seems the city continually changes street names, it’s because it has. We are a city built on commerce and ...
Turner Field is kaput, and all Ted gets is this?
From his 8th-story office above Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Atlanta, Ted Turner can look down on the stretch of parking lots along the stretch of Spring Street that will be renamed Ted Turner Drive. AJC FILE PHOTO

6:07 a.m. Friday, May 22, 2015

One might think Ted Turner would warrant something more to honor him than an endless strip of parking lots downtown. But his supporters, and even his family, will take what they can get. Changing a street name in Atlanta — once a city tradition — has become an emotionally charged ...
Playing ball, Kasim’s way
Hizzoner says it’s happenstance that a key ally got the job of managing the redevelopment of the soon-to-be-defunct Turner Field. If you believe that, I’ve got a gently used ballpark to sell you. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM EDNOTE: Photo shot with a selective focus lens

6:03 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2013 was a good year for the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority — that is, according to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. The website for the quasi-government entity that runs Turner Field, Philips Arena and Zoo Atlanta boasts that each venue “achieved success and provided entertainment and excitement for ...
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