Life with Gracie

This Life with Gracie: When is ‘routine’ really just an excuse for denying dignity of others?

This Life with Gracie: When is ‘routine’ really just an excuse for denying dignity of others?

The calendar hasn’t yet declared it so, but summer is officially over. School bells are ringing and bumper-to-bumper traffic is upon us once more. Depending on how you look at it, that alone makes this a dreadful time of year. The 45 minutes it takes to make my 19-mile commute to work has nearly doubled. Again. And yet, even in the dead of traffic, I find solace in this routine. It’s what...
This Life with Gracie: Morehouse president wants tuition to play smaller role in who can go

This Life with Gracie: Morehouse president wants tuition to play smaller role in who can go

Two nights in a dorm room is by no means a long stay, but Morehouse President David A. Thomas is hoping it is enough to begin to understand his newest customers — freshmen — and what they need, expect from their experience. And so there he was last week in Room 116 of Graves Hall, a five-story brick building that once housed all that was and is Morehouse College, getting a glimpse of a...
This Life with Gracie: Living while black

This Life with Gracie: Living while black

By now, much of the world knows Oumou Kanoute, the Smith College sophomore who looked suspicious eating in a common area on the western Massachusetts campus. An employee of the school, the story goes, saw her and called police, saying Kanoute, who is black, “seems to be out of place.” Police responded quickly and just as quickly discerned the young woman was a student “relaxing in...
This Life with Gracie: Women redefining retirement

This Life with Gracie: Women redefining retirement

Sometime in 2009, Rhoda Margolis was sitting at her desk, working on a retirement program when up popped an invitation to a webinar on the same subject. She logged on. By then Margolis, who celebrated her 73rd birthday early this week, had been contemplating what her own life might look like after retirement. Without a job, what would give it meaning? How would she make new social connections? What...
This Life with Gracie: Morehouse trauma team rewriting medical history

This Life with Gracie: Morehouse trauma team rewriting medical history

Dr. Alvin Blount was the first African-American to serve in an integrated MASH unit during the Korean War. Dr. Clinton Battle was just 29 when he delivered conjoined twins without the use of anesthesia at a rural Mississippi home. And Dr. Vance Marchbanks designed an oxygen mask that became standard equipment in aviation and aerospace. If you haven’t heard of them, there’s a reason for...
This Life with Gracie: Getting older and loving it. How about you?

This Life with Gracie: Getting older and loving it. How about you?

Reading about Lyn Slater, the Fordham University professor and Instagram idol the other day, I couldn’t help thinking, “You go, girl.” If you missed it, Slater, 64, was featured in a New York Times piece about a certain group of women — all on Instagram — who are determined not to age. Not that she’s out and about in hot pants or Botoxing to fend against the natural...
Who, besides the CDC, didn’t know black gay men needed HIV outreach?

Who, besides the CDC, didn’t know black gay men needed HIV outreach?

On any given day, the health staff with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are out making the rounds to nightclubs, community festivals, concerts, and area colleges and universities, any place black gay men are known to congregate. They and AID Atlanta have been doing this work via Mobile Testing Units for years in an effort to reach those most at-risk of HIV-infections, and thus attempt to lower transmission...
Caregivers: What you won’t see in Robin Williams documentary

Caregivers: What you won’t see in Robin Williams documentary

It’s hard to imagine how anyone seeing the premiere of “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind” on HBO could have walked away from the documentary the same. While I can’t say the film’s title does what it promises — gets us anywhere near what’s inside the comedian’s mind — his struggles with addiction and depression, with family life, with handling...
This Life with Gracie: For this doctor, reducing prescription painkillers is personal

This Life with Gracie: For this doctor, reducing prescription painkillers is personal

Dr. Scott P. Rose was in his final year of a surgical residency at the University of Florida, on the way to the hospital to make rounds when he learned his brother suffered an overdose. He doesn’t remember exactly when Steven plunged into his addiction, but he figures it must have been around the time he had his wisdom teeth removed. At first, it was to relieve the pain, but then he needed the...
This Life with Gracie: He’s on autism spectrum but manages to write a comic book

This Life with Gracie: He’s on autism spectrum but manages to write a comic book

All too often people with autism are stymied by life’s disappointments, unable to move past the frustrations of being let down. Dr. Tyler Whitney, an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine with an active practice in Alpharetta, knows how that happens. “With most of the people who are on the autism spectrum and are past high...
This Life with Gracie: One man’s home becomes another man’s Restaurant Holmes

This Life with Gracie: One man’s home becomes another man’s Restaurant Holmes

The last time George Jones stepped foot into this old Southern bungalow, someone had bought it and transformed it into a real estate office, and before that, it was a school for children. A few days ago, he returned and it was bustling with men and women eating plates of coal-roasted beets, seafood crudo, hand-cut pasta, and wood-fired fish entrees executed by owner and chef Taylor Neary on opening...
This Life with Gracie: FDA-approved drug holds first promise for kids with genetic disease

This Life with Gracie: FDA-approved drug holds first promise for kids with genetic disease

In the nearly five decades since Mucolipidosis Type IV, or ML4, was first identified, children with the disease have had little promise of ever having a “normal” life. ML4 generally strikes their nervous system early and hard. Most never learn to walk or talk and have a maximum mental capacity of about 18 months. By their teen years, the disease steals their eyesight, and by their 20s...
This Life with Gracie: Young mother loses battle with cancer but her memory lives on

This Life with Gracie: Young mother loses battle with cancer but her memory lives on

Sometime in the fall of 2016, during yet another hospital visit, an ultrasound revealed Emily Moore’s pancreas was inflamed, she had spots on her liver and it was as if her appendix had disappeared altogether. Doctors weren’t worried. It was common among women who’d used contraception to have spots on the liver, but Emily hadn’t taken contraception in eight years. If only it...
This Life with Gracie: Nothing could stop this Dunwoody girl

This Life with Gracie: Nothing could stop this Dunwoody girl

The past three years have been a blur, but suffice it to say Emily and Kurt Moore essentially grew up together. They met during their freshman year at the University of Alabama and except for one summer when she was back here working at camp and he was back home in New Orleans doing the same thing, the two rarely ever parted ways. In short order, they were like an old married couple — committed...
This Life with Gracie: Surprise! Daddy, you’re walking the Peachtree

This Life with Gracie: Surprise! Daddy, you’re walking the Peachtree

Rick Shimandle just about fainted when his daughter jumped from behind the parked car on Oak Valley Road, just beyond the starting point for the final wave of the 49th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race. It was exactly 8:33 a.m. Wednesday. Tears stained Rick’s face as he realized he was about to walk the 6.2-mile trek with his daughters and two sons-in-law. They and their mother, Adie, had been...
This Life with Gracie: What makes you an American patriot?

This Life with Gracie: What makes you an American patriot?

If you’re among those astonished by the cheers and applause of folks elated at the suggestion that NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem be fired, if you could never quite understand why they saw that as somehow unpatriotic, let’s talk about that. With the Fourth of July this week, the time just seems right. The argument has been made over and over that the protests were...
This Life with Gracie: Another kid falls victim to drug epidemic, but is he in danger?

This Life with Gracie: Another kid falls victim to drug epidemic, but is he in danger?

It’s been nearly two years since I last saw Chase Howard, the little boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. No one thought he’d even see his 10th birthday then. As Sept. 19 approached, his aunt, Michelle McClain issued a Facebook appeal to make his day extra special. “He won’t be able to have a normal birthday like most kids,” she wrote. “No Chuck E. Cheese as he...
This Life with Gracie: You won’t believe how these Redan students won stock market challenge

This Life with Gracie: You won’t believe how these Redan students won stock market challenge

Back in February, William Roth walked into his British literature class at Redan High School in Stone Mountain and instead of beginning a reading of, say, “Wuthering Heights” or “The Canterbury Tales,” he announced to his students they’d be entering the annual Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge. He was serious. If there’s anything Roth has learned in his four...
This Life with Gracie: Does an apology for slavery matter to you?

This Life with Gracie: Does an apology for slavery matter to you?

On the day set aside to celebrate Juneteenth last week, the Charleston City Council formally apologized for the city’s role in the slave trade, its support of slavery and for enforcing Jim Crow-era laws. For hundreds of years, the city was the entry point for at least 100,000 slaves who were captured from West Africa and shipped into the United States. Given how far we’ve come, it&rsquo...
This Life with Gracie: Cultivating deeper learning through silence

This Life with Gracie: Cultivating deeper learning through silence

The education of Patricia Owen-Smith’s students begins with moments of silence at the start of every class. Instead of whipping out their cellphones and pencils, they wait until the professor retrieves her singing bowl, pings it three times and altogether they settle into the silence — one of several contemplative practices Owen-Smith believes helps facilitate deep learning. Those who...
This Life with Gracie: Of cakes, children and Christ: Moral dilemmas abound

This Life with Gracie: Of cakes, children and Christ: Moral dilemmas abound

It’s understandable, given what’s happening at our nation’s borders, if you’ve forgotten the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. News these days seems to come in torrents with many important issues arising every day only to be forgotten because of new outrages. We’d barely been able to digest the Supreme Court decision from earlier this month, when news of immigrant children...
This Life with Gracie: YWCA helps achieve a win for domestic violence victims in Georgia

This Life with Gracie: YWCA helps achieve a win for domestic violence victims in Georgia

In the winter of 2009, Melissa Waller was nearly five months pregnant and in a relationship that was becoming increasingly hostile. When her boyfriend’s anger finally exploded into violence, Waller knew it was time to leave. That should’ve been simple enough, but when Waller spoke to the property manager at her apartment complex, she was given two options. She could either break her lease...
This Life with Gracie: Are suicides really preventable?

This Life with Gracie: Are suicides really preventable?

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in this country, and yet we still talk about it in whispers — if we talk about it at all. Time, though, has a way of demanding us to say something, do something. That time came in quick heartbreaking succession last week when fashion designer Kate Spade and author/chef Anthony Bourdain had both died from apparent suicide, and well, we had a reference...
National Guardsman solicits prayers for injured daughter

National Guardsman solicits prayers for injured daughter

Longboarding was still a relatively new sport to Kali Shultz, but she loved it. Heck, she loved anything that got her outdoors. Softball. Hunting with her dad. You name it. An athlete at heart, she was good at them all, including her newest love, longboarding. If the sport is new to you, catch up. Unlike a decade ago when mentioning the word longboard to anyone unfamiliar with skate culture produced...
This Life with Gracie: Grown kids back home? It could be you

This Life with Gracie: Grown kids back home? It could be you

My daughters, ages 27 and 29, flew the coop years ago. It happened long enough ago, in fact, that I’ve finally started to feel giddy when they return for visits. As happy as I am they’re gone, it’s a good guess that they are much happier than me and their dad. Well, maybe not their dad, but I doubt even he would want to see them move back in for good. Which gets me to Michael Rotondo...
This Life with Gracie: Honoring those who give hope, direction to foster kids

This Life with Gracie: Honoring those who give hope, direction to foster kids

At any given time, there are more than 13,000 Georgia children in foster care because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned. That number spiked recently to over 15,000, the most the state has ever seen. If you have to ask why, you’ve somehow missed the fact that we’re in the midst of a deadly opioid epidemic that’s leaving children without someone to care for them. But that&rsquo...
This Life with Gracie: Women’s gains at ballot box are part of a movement

This Life with Gracie: Women’s gains at ballot box are part of a movement

At the end of Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe acceptance speech early this year, the media mogul declared to rousing applause that “a new day” is on the horizon. That night, she acknowledged the significance of becoming the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. I couldn’t help remembering that moment a couple of weeks ago when Stacey Abrams...
This Life with Gracie: WWII vet gets surprise help raising funds for Camp Corral

This Life with Gracie: WWII vet gets surprise help raising funds for Camp Corral

Just days before the Memorial Day weekend, Francis Turner headed to the local Golden Corral off Ga. 20 in Buford, where he has been a regular for nearly a decade. The popular buffet has been a favorite of his, but that’s not why the World War II vet keeps coming. Supporting Camp Corral, having the chance to pass out replicas of Old Glory, to teach children proper flag etiquette and share a story...
This Life with Gracie: R&B singer Ronnie DeVoe, wife Shamari promote Married 4 Life

This Life with Gracie: R&B singer Ronnie DeVoe, wife Shamari promote Married 4 Life

Late last month, Ronnie and Shamari DeVoe took a walk, hand in hand, with some 300 other couples to Kennesaw Mountain National Park. The 2-mile Married 4 Life Walk, the brainchild of Martez and Woodrina Layton, from Grace Community Church in Marietta was both symbolic and sincere. Married couples willing to prayerfully stand together will be stronger for it. Not only will their ability to communicate...
This Life with Gracie: Villa Rica teen’s got sport stacking skills

This Life with Gracie: Villa Rica teen’s got sport stacking skills

Fans of the Whistle Sports’ “No Days Off” met P.J. Ball weeks ago when he was featured in the second episode of the short form docuseries airing on YouTube and Facebook Watch. I had the pleasure just days ago when he and his parents joined me for a chat about sport stacking. If you’ve never heard of such a thing until now, join the club, but sport stacking, the art of stacking...
This Life with Gracie: Morehouse valedictorian headed to Harvard Law School

This Life with Gracie: Morehouse valedictorian headed to Harvard Law School

Two years ago this summer, Derrick Parker was hunkered down studying for the LSAT in a room at the Harvard Law School. Having been invited to participate in the prestigious Harvard/NYU TRIALS program (Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools), he felt good. His dream of graduating from college and going to law school was so close he could taste it. As he sat there alone...
This Life with Gracie: Jewish program manager’s personal story informs work in opioid crisis

This Life with Gracie: Jewish program manager’s personal story informs work in opioid crisis

For years now, we’ve been hearing about the opioid epidemic and the devastation it has wrought here and across the country. No race, no religion, no age group, no community has been untouched. If you ever talked to anyone in the Jewish community, though, you might have missed that fact. Drug addiction is still a taboo topic fraught with shame, said Mandy Wright, program manager of HAMSA...
This Life: DACA student: ‘We just want to better ourselves’

This Life: DACA student: ‘We just want to better ourselves’

The Georgia Supreme Court decided last week not to hear a case in favor of allowing immigrants with temporary permission to stay in the U.S. to pay in-state tuition to attend college. It was yet another blow to Sergio Blanco, who’d held out hope that instead of working full time and attending Georgia Highlands College part time, he could finally make education his top priority. “We pay...
This Life with Gracie: Half of women with PCOS don’t know they have it

This Life with Gracie: Half of women with PCOS don’t know they have it

In some ways, Sasha Ottey was lucky. For many women with polycystic ovary syndrome like her, it can take years and untold doctor visits before they get a correct diagnosis. All too often, doctors end up treating the vast array of symptoms caused by the hormonal disorder. Severe acne. Sleep apnea. Obesity. Or thinning hair and excess hair growth on the face or body. But Ottey’s OB-GYN pinpointed...
This Life with Gracie: How these siblings are honoring moms everywhere

This Life with Gracie: How these siblings are honoring moms everywhere

She had hopes of surprising her mom, but knowing Carrie Salone isn’t likely to sit still long, Alleah Salone let her mom in on her secret. To celebrate her love for Carrie, she’d be arriving home from Boston sometime Saturday in time to attend church with her, enjoy pampering at a local spa and then a late dinner. “If I hadn’t told her, she would’ve planned a day full...
This Life with Gracie: Sometimes, even good students need push in right direction

This Life with Gracie: Sometimes, even good students need push in right direction

Come Saturday, Indigo Gill will be a college graduate, holder of a bachelor of science degree in biology from Xavier University, and in a year, on her way to medical school. Gill always knew she’d attend college. She excelled at Lithonia’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School — in academics and extracurriculars. On paper, she shined. Then in the winter of 2011, she wore a beanie to...
This Life with Gracie: What you should know before choosing a summer camp

This Life with Gracie: What you should know before choosing a summer camp

Few of us will soon forget Benjamin “Kamau” Hosch III, the 5-year-old who drowned last summer during an outing with his day camp at Cochran Mill Park in Chattahoochee Hills. Kamau, officials said, went missing sometime during a lunch break on one of the park’s nature trails. His little body was found a short time later in a pool of water near a creek, where he and the rest of the...
This Life with Gracie: Was Chaplain Conroy really canned for praying for the poor?

This Life with Gracie: Was Chaplain Conroy really canned for praying for the poor?

It goes without saying that not all Christians think alike. Still, I couldn’t help wondering what in the world Speaker Paul Ryan could’ve been thinking recently when he forced the Rev. Patrick Conroy to resign. As recently as a few days ago, it wasn’t immediately clear why the House chaplain was dismissed. Some said it was because of lawmaker complaints that the priest wasn&rsquo...
This Life with Gracie: Grady’s chief nursing officer straight outta Compton

This Life with Gracie: Grady’s chief nursing officer straight outta Compton

In a fifth-floor conference room at Grady Memorial, away from the constant sound of medical devices, doors slamming and whispered conversations, the hospital’s chief nursing officer indulges a visitor’s question. What makes you special? Without hesitation, Jacqueline Herd insists she isn’t special at all. “I just think I’m blessed,” she said. There’s no doubt...
This life with Gracie: Sandy Springs artist’s creative longings find a target

This life with Gracie: Sandy Springs artist’s creative longings find a target

Imelda Marcos had her shoes. Eve Mannes has her handbags. Lots of them. There are “gambling” bags. Butterfly ones. And some made of Japanese floral designed papers. No matter the design, all of them have Mannes’ signature trademark — chopsticks, upholstery cords, and imported paper. But unlike Marcos, who was known for her extravagant and opulent lifestyle, including her special...
Life with Gracie: What United Way is doing to improve children’s well-being

Life with Gracie: What United Way is doing to improve children’s well-being

A year ago, United Way of Greater Atlanta invited community residents and leaders to join a campaign to improve the lives of metro Atlanta children. At the time, a Child Well-Being Index the agency commissioned revealed that nearly 500,000 youths across its service area lived in neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest rates of economic mobility of any region in the country...
This Life: Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition

This Life: Atlanta a hot spot for sugar daddies willing to pay college tuition

We’ve known for some time that Atlanta is considered a hub for sex trafficking. But who knew metro Atlanta is also known for having an abundant number of, ahem, sugar daddies — older men seeking the companionship of college-age women? According to SeekingArrangement.com, Georgia ranks sixth in the country, behind places like Arizona, Philadelphia and New York. Over the past few years,...
When hate strikes in North Fulton, a community comes bearing gifts

When hate strikes in North Fulton, a community comes bearing gifts

Last Friday, not far from the place where six teens allegedly scrawled anti-Semitic drawings on Hilary Karp’s driveway, Erik Schefstad, his wife, Carson, and one of their two children came hoping to communicate a decidedly different message, and it blew Karp away. Actually, they came bearing many messages, about two dozen total that, taken together, simply said, “We love you.” &ldquo...
This Life with Gracie: How you can help this campaign to feed the hungry

This Life with Gracie: How you can help this campaign to feed the hungry

The fifth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign has been up and running for two weeks now, but there’s still time to get in on the action. You can either make a donation during checkout at any Walmart store, participate through social media or log onto walmart.com/fighthunger and give that way. If you’re lucky enough to not have to worry about where...
Life with Gracie: Why Taylor Swift and Gucci Mane are wrong about the haters

Life with Gracie: Why Taylor Swift and Gucci Mane are wrong about the haters

There’s a lot of stuff bothering us. Politics. Social issues. Societal changes. You name it, there’s someone or something to loathe. It’s safe to say that we’ve always been this way, but for Wes Parham, an organizational analyst with WEEW consulting and author of “Be a Hater: A Polemic on the Hater Mindset,” our refusal to engage with our dissenters dates back...
Life with Gracie: In fighting ‘summer slide,’ Horizons Atlanta giving kids better future

Life with Gracie: In fighting ‘summer slide,’ Horizons Atlanta giving kids better future

The gap between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next can wreak havoc on student learning, erasing as much as three months of academic achievement. Summer slide, experts call it. But for nearly 825 metro Atlanta students from three school districts, that won’t likely happen. Instead of kids falling behind, children fortunate enough to participate in Horizons Atlanta are...
This Life with Gracie: Boomers leaving suburbs for fun in the city

This Life with Gracie: Boomers leaving suburbs for fun in the city

Twenty years ago, it seemed everyone was moving out into the suburbs. And now, depending on who you talk to, everyone is moving back to the city. That’s especially true among baby boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964. Why? Their nests are empty. They are over the big houses, with big lawns and swimming pools in constant need of maintenance. And when you happen to be one of the largest...
This Life with Gracie: Dunwoody resident remembers night 1998 tornado destroyed her home

This Life with Gracie: Dunwoody resident remembers night 1998 tornado destroyed her home

On Monday, the 20th anniversary of a deadly tornado that destroyed her home and the Dunwoody neighborhood she’d called family since the 1970s, Laurel Sybilrud, 69, will be 250 miles away somewhere on the Satilla River. That isn’t to say she won’t be thinking of her daughter Libby, Fontainebleau Forest and the families who live there. She most certainly will. But 1998 hit Sybilrud...
This Life: Bobby Dodd, AADD merge to better serve developmentally disabled

This Life: Bobby Dodd, AADD merge to better serve developmentally disabled

Late in March one morning, Jeff Piazza bounded upon the stage in the Cobb Galleria ballroom and offered a hearty thanks for having been selected Employee of the Year. That was it. Thank you, he said with a big smile. And then, nattily dressed in a gray suit, Piazza turned and walked away. If anyone was sitting after that, it was hard to tell. It seemed everyone, about 550, was standing. Applauding...
This Life: Motivated by love, millennial-fueled nonprofit takes action

This Life: Motivated by love, millennial-fueled nonprofit takes action

Taos Wynn sat on a Haitian rooftop, surveying the damage to the impoverished Caribbean nation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thinking. In just seven days on the island, he’d seen more poverty, more suffering than he cared to remember. As he recorded his thoughts on the pages of his journal that hot summer day in 2013, he thought of his hometown. He’d seen the twin challenges of poverty...
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