Atlanta’s Patron Saint of Pit Bulls

Jason Flatt’s animal rescue operation, Friends to the Forlorn, has saved 600 dogs and counting since 2009 and specializes in rescuing pit bills.

Published: Dec 13, 2018
Length: 13 minutes (3,266 words)

Bill and Doug Got Married

What a difference 10 years makes: Justin Heckert’s 2005 Atlanta magazine feature about two men in Georgia whose marriage was not recognized by the state.

Published: Jun 30, 2015
Length: 8 minutes (2,100 words)

Swamps Élysées

Meet Christy Plott Redd, the self-proclaimed queen of “Queen of Gator”. As creative director and co-owner of her family’s alligator tannery (the largest and oldest in the country), she holds court from the bayous of Louisiana to the posh boutiques of Paris.

Published: Apr 21, 2015
Length: 21 minutes (5,400 words)

Held to Account

“If you don’t reach a child by seventh grade, they won’t make it to tenth.” An upstart charter school is hoping to turn things around for students in Clayton County, Georgia, where dysfunction had caused the entire school system to lose its accreditation a few years ago.

Published: Jan 6, 2015
Length: 26 minutes (6,694 words)

Foul Territory

On foul baseballs and fan injuries: “How fast was it going? We don’t know for sure, but a line drive from a major league batter can easily exceed 100 miles per hour. We know some other things. We know that a baseball weighs five ounces. We know that force equals mass times acceleration. We know that Fred Fletcher’s six-year-old daughter, whom he will identify only as “A,” was sitting precisely 144 feet from home plate. The laces on her sneakers were knotted in neat bows. And she—well, not just she, but everyone around her—had less than one second to react to Cabrera’s line drive.”

Published: Jul 14, 2014
Length: 17 minutes (4,298 words)

Interview: Bernice King

An interview with Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child, Bernice King, on her family’s legacy:

In the popular history of your father, people remember “Dream” and his crusade for civil rights. But his other platforms—fighting poverty, antimilitarism—seem to get lost. Was that part of the reason behind your 50 Days of Nonviolence campaign?

You have to take this part in stages and steps. Baby steps. Whether we want it or not, we live in a violent culture. And I don’t mean only video games or people on the streets. I mean in our discourse. We scream and holler, make disparaging comments. It’s a violent culture. If you are going to shift it, you have to spoon-feed it like a little baby. So 50 Days was really about buzz, to get the notion of nonviolence out in the culture. This has been a tough 365 days in our nation.

Published: Aug 1, 2013
Length: 18 minutes (4,723 words)

Fruit of Labor

A look at the Pearson family peach farm in Georgia, and the labor issues the farm faces every season when it needs workers:

“The man’s Spanish is limited, but it doesn’t matter. Many of these men were here last summer, and the summer before, and the summer before. A few have made the thirty-six-hour bus ride from Mexico every year for a decade. All of them are part of the federal H-2A agricultural guest worker program. One hundred men on a six-and-a-half-month work visa, hand-picked through interviews and background checks, a costly bureaucratic headache for the farm owners to ensure their crops are picked.”

Published: Oct 1, 2013
Length: 13 minutes (3,300 words)

Mind’s Eye

A look at how a cofounder of the Home Depot started the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Ga., which has been named an autism center of excellence by the National Institutes of Health. The center has hired a scientist from Yale who is looking at how eye-tracking technology can revolutionize autism treatment:

“Within ten months of arriving, Klin and his team competed with fifty-five other autism centers around the country for a National Institutes of Health award. Only three, including Marcus, won. Named an autism center of excellence, Marcus received an $8.3 million grant, much of which will be put toward continuing to research differences in ‘social-visual and vocal engagement’ among autistic infants. The center has built four eye-tracking labs in the last two years, where babies like Ansley Brane—who is low risk—can be tested for signs of autism. (The center’s fiscal health has improved too, though it still needs patrons: Since Children’s took over, operating losses have dropped from $3.2 million to $1.3 million per year.)

“‘It’s a very simple equation,’ says Klin. ‘You identify early, you treat early, you help these children fulfill their promise. It’s good for everybody. If you don’t do that, then we are stuck with the kinds of incredible treatment programs we have in the center, which I hope to put out of business one day.'”

Published: Aug 30, 2013
Length: 25 minutes (6,358 words)

Wreckage

After their teenage daughter is killed in a tragic accident, two grieving parents grapple with the events leading up to her death:

“Inside, Jason realizes he’s been thrown into the backseat. He looks up at Taylor still strapped into the front, hair and shorts splashed with blood. Dustin is still buckled in the backseat.

“The girls are missing.

“Neighbors rush to the wreck as the boys climb out of the Blazer. Dustin starts breaking bottles, mumbling about getting in trouble, before eventually running off. Jason and Taylor find Jamie lying on the ground beneath the U-Haul, groaning.

“One of the witnesses tries to reassure them: ‘The four of you are okay.’

“‘No,’ says Taylor. ‘We had five.'”

Published: Aug 15, 2013
Length: 20 minutes (5,200 words)

Paradise Regained

Restoring Howard Finster’s visual art site in Summerville, Ga. Finster died in 2001 at the age of 84 and left behind more than 46,000 pieces of artwork and a garden of attractions:

“Fueled by Coca-Cola, spoonfuls of instant coffee granules, and King B Sweet Twist tobacco, Finster started feverishly creating what would become 46,991 numbered works of art. He perfected an iconography of angels, demons, animals, spaceships, inventors, presidents, Marilyn, and Elvis—mostly painted on wooden cutouts covered over with Bible verses and sermons rendered in urgent all caps.

“Tipped off by Esquire, UGA art professor Andy Nasisse asked Finster to give a talk about his work. The Georgia State Botanical Garden in Athens also invited him to do a show. ‘He blew everyone’s mind at the university,’ recalls Nasisse. ‘Some described that one lecture as a year’s worth of education.’ Other university professors were soon visiting Pennville, from schools like Wake Forest, Lehigh, and Virginia Tech.”

Published: Jun 21, 2013
Length: 15 minutes (3,947 words)