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Best of Atlanta 2005 Cityscape

 

Best Of Atlanta 2005 Cityscape Large


Cityscape

Best Beach Retreat

Tybee Island
It may catch a lot of flack for its campy boardwalk and dated motels, but TYBEE ISLAND is a nostalgic alternative to the more highbrow St. Simons and Jekyll islands a little ways south. The three-mile-long barrier island sits 18 miles east of Savannah and 270 miles southeast of Atlanta and boasts Georgia’smore...

It may catch a lot of flack for its campy boardwalk and dated motels, but TYBEE ISLAND is a nostalgic alternative to the more highbrow St. Simons and Jekyll islands a little ways south. The three-mile-long barrier island sits 18 miles east of Savannah and 270 miles southeast of Atlanta and boasts Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse — as well as a fair dose of old-fashioned fun, including an annual water gun fight and beach bum parade. The tin-roofed, open-air, sandy-floored Crab Shack (motto: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”) is not to be missed.
www.tybeeisland.com.

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Best Bizarro Local News Story

"Runaway Bride"
Last spring, the world’s media focused itself like a laser beam on the saga of Jennifer Wilbanks, the ditzy, bug-eyed, Gwinnett County “RUNAWAY BRIDE” who bolted to avoid her mega-wedding. Wilbanks split on a bus, while everyone back home feared she had been kidnapped whilemore...
Last spring, the world’s media focused itself like a laser beam on the saga of Jennifer Wilbanks, the ditzy, bug-eyed, Gwinnett County “RUNAWAY BRIDE” who bolted to avoid her mega-wedding. Wilbanks split on a bus, while everyone back home feared she had been kidnapped while jogging. Turns out, she planned it. And now she’s got a deal for a book, which ought to be spellbinding, based on a false statement to New Mexico police in which she claimed one of her fictional abductors told her: “Now you can lick my pussy.” You go, girl! less...

Best Convention

Bronner Bros. International Hair Show
This year, Atlanta lost several trade shows, some of whose organizers blamed an economic slump for diminished interest in the events. Despite the losses, the BRONNER BROS. INTERNATIONAL HAIR SHOW, hosted by the Marietta-based hair product company and drawing 50,000 people to the Georgia World Congressmore...

This year, Atlanta lost several trade shows, some of whose organizers blamed an economic slump for diminished interest in the events. Despite the losses, the BRONNER BROS. INTERNATIONAL HAIR SHOW, hosted by the Marietta-based hair product company and drawing 50,000 people to the Georgia World Congress Center every August, is holding up Atlanta’s reputation as a convention town with the tenaciousness of a tub of African Royale Mink Oil Gel. From intense barber battles to outlandish hairstyles bobbing down the fashion runway, the convention is so iconic that Ludacris gives it props in his track “Pimpin’ All Over the World”: “But I drop you off and pay you no attention/If I make it to Atlanta’s Bronner Brothers convention.”
www.bronnerbros.com.

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Best Historic Downtown

Buford
As small-town main streets go, one of the most charming in these parts belongs to the city of BUFORD, nestled in the northern tip of Gwinnett County. Founded in 1872, the city was put on the map by industrialist Bona Allen, who ran the tannery and leather factory — now fully renovated as anmore...

As small-town main streets go, one of the most charming in these parts belongs to the city of BUFORD, nestled in the northern tip of Gwinnett County. Founded in 1872, the city was put on the map by industrialist Bona Allen, who ran the tannery and leather factory — now fully renovated as an antique mall — that served as the town’s economic engine. In 1912, Allen built a 17-room Italianate mansion, and the home and tannery bookend Main Street, which is now lined by boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries that double as working studios.
www.cityofbuford.com.

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Best Intown Festival

Inman Park Festival
Held the last weekend in April, the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL has all the offerings you’d expect from a such an event: a goofy parade, a street market, live music, and a tour of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes. But what sets the three-day festival apart is the people. Everyone, from everywheremore...

Held the last weekend in April, the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL has all the offerings you’d expect from a such an event: a goofy parade, a street market, live music, and a tour of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes. But what sets the three-day festival apart is the people. Everyone, from everywhere in town, goes. The festival marks one of the rare occasions when stroller-pushing Virginia-Highlanders and well-heeled Ansley Parkers brush shoulders with Little Five Points bohos and south-of-Ponce hipsters. One bit of advice: Parking can be an exercise in futility. Take MARTA.
www.inmanpark.org/festival.php.

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Best Lesson in Rock History

Stonehenge
You’re not going to hear the hits of the ’60s and ’70s on WREK’s classic rock show STONEHENGE, thank God, but you will learn about the less played-out side of rock’s psychedelic age. Like the ancient site of the same name, Stonehenge stands for timelessnessmore...

You’re not going to hear the hits of the ’60s and ’70s on WREK’s classic rock show STONEHENGE, thank God, but you will learn about the less played-out side of rock’s psychedelic age. Like the ancient site of the same name, Stonehenge stands for timelessness — of bands like Love, Humble Pie, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Roxy Music. And Stonehenge DJ Dr. Rock’s encyclopedic knowledge about such things as a band’s bitter breakup or song’s obscure genesis rivals that of the coolest dad. If you’re too busy to tune in on Fridays, you can hear the most recent episode on the website of the Georgia Tech-run station.
Fridays, 8 p.m.-midnight, WREK-FM (91.1). 404-894-2468. www.wrek.org.

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Best Local Do-Gooders

Riverwood High School
Senior proms are awkward, expensive, pretentious affairs. Isn’t there anything better to do with your time and money? That’s what RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL students asked before deciding to forgo the prom and donate prom funds to nonprofit group CARE’s tsunami relief efforts. Themore...

Senior proms are awkward, expensive, pretentious affairs. Isn’t there anything better to do with your time and money? That’s what RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL students asked before deciding to forgo the prom and donate prom funds to nonprofit group CARE’s tsunami relief efforts. The local community responded to the school’s gesture with a flood of donations. Nearly $10,000 ultimately was donated to CARE. The school received some donations as well — enough to go ahead with the prom after all.
5900 Heards Drive. 404-847-1980. www.riverwoodhs.org.

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Best Person You Love to Hate

Ralph Reed
Baby-faced super-Christian RALPH REED is running for lieutenant governor, and while the campaign is Reed’s first bid for public office, he’s said to have his eyes on the White House. Scary. Reed is a cutthroat behind-the-scenes political street fighter who’s claimed he putmore...

Baby-faced super-Christian RALPH REED is running for lieutenant governor, and while the campaign is Reed’s first bid for public office, he’s said to have his eyes on the White House. Scary. Reed is a cutthroat behind-the-scenes political street fighter who’s claimed he put enemies in “body bags” and led the Christian Coalition to national prominence. The former plagiarist — he was banned from UGA’s student newspaper for copying lines from an attack on Gandhi — returned to the state as a political consultant following claims that a company with close ties to him over-billed the coalition. Now Reed is up to his neck in allegations that he fought the development of Indian casinos with money provided by their competitors. How presidential.
www.ralphreed.com.

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Best PR Fiasco

Choicepoint
We have to hand it to CHOICEPOINT. The company spent years buying information on virtually every American while assuring privacy advocates that the information was safe. Yet all it took was a Nigerian crook posing as a legit business to compromise information on 145,000 Americans. Did ChoicePoint offermore...

We have to hand it to CHOICEPOINT. The company spent years buying information on virtually every American while assuring privacy advocates that the information was safe. Yet all it took was a Nigerian crook posing as a legit business to compromise information on 145,000 Americans. Did ChoicePoint offer a full accounting of the scandal? Yeah, right! The company waited months before ’fessing up to a security breach. Then, when CEO Derek Smith finally talked, he said, “We didn’t expect organized criminals would attack us with this sophistication.” Derek, they used a fax machine! ChoicePoint shares tumbled, but before the scandal went public, Smith managed to sell thousands of shares, netting $13 million.
www.choicepoint.com.

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Best Pseudonym

Ron Mexico
His friends call him Mike; his driver calls him Mr. Vick; and his doctor calls him RON MEXICO. At least that’s the name that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick allegedly used while getting treatment for a case of genital herpes, according to court documents filed in a Gwinnett County lawsuit.more...

His friends call him Mike; his driver calls him Mr. Vick; and his doctor calls him RON MEXICO. At least that’s the name that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick allegedly used while getting treatment for a case of genital herpes, according to court documents filed in a Gwinnett County lawsuit. In April, a 26-year-old alleged former girlfriend sued Vick for negligence and battery, claiming he gave her the STD after he once refused to wear a condom during sex. Vick denies the allegations, and the suit has yet to go to court. But here at CL, we’ve already reached our verdict: “Ron Mexico” is one kick-ass nickname!
www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0405051vick1.html.

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Best Radio Station that Keeps on Getting Better

Album 88
It might be well into its 30s, but ALBUM 88 hasn’t lost a shred of edge. In what can be a somewhat despairing sea of radio bile, the student-run station broadcast out of Georgia State University is one of the most powerful (100,000 watts) and widely heard (with an estimated 150,000 listeners)more...

It might be well into its 30s, but ALBUM 88 hasn’t lost a shred of edge. In what can be a somewhat despairing sea of radio bile, the student-run station broadcast out of Georgia State University is one of the most powerful (100,000 watts) and widely heard (with an estimated 150,000 listeners) college radio stations in the country. That’s not by accident. Album 88 has more than 40 specialty shows, running the gamut from math rock to space rock, post-punk to Japanese, instrumental hip-hop to drum and bass, as well as live, in-studio performances by bands whose tours pass through Atlanta.
404-651-4488. www2.gsu.edu/~www885.

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Best Untrue Rumor

A Local Restaurant Was Serving Rats, Mice, Kittens, Puppies, and a Large Frozen Hawk
In January, an e-mail began popping up in inboxes claiming A LOCAL RESTAURANT WAS SERVING RATS, MICE, KITTENS, PUPPIES AND A LARGE FROZEN HAWK. While the restaurant wasn’t named, an early version of the e-mail included a map showing it to be a certain Chinese restaurant near Perimeter Mall.more...

In January, an e-mail began popping up in inboxes claiming A LOCAL RESTAURANT WAS SERVING RATS, MICE, KITTENS, PUPPIES AND A LARGE FROZEN HAWK. While the restaurant wasn’t named, an early version of the e-mail included a map showing it to be a certain Chinese restaurant near Perimeter Mall. Accompanying the e-mail were four pictures of skinned and shrink-wrapped rats and mice. Soon, though, the Fulton County Health and Wellness Department found that the e-mail was a hoax. (Incidentally, the restaurant in question had excellent health records.) The photos turned out to be pictures of prepackaged food for snakes.
www.snopes.com/food/tainted/rats.asp.

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Best impression of Marc el Duchamp on a piece of public art

The Vandalizing of "54 Columns"
In 1919, French artist Marcel Duchamp decorated a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee. For some reason, it became a famous work of art. We can only hope the same holds true for THE VANDALIZING OF “54 Columns.” The Sol LeWitt-designed series of gray cinder-block towersmore...
In 1919, French artist Marcel Duchamp decorated a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee. For some reason, it became a famous work of art. We can only hope the same holds true for THE VANDALIZING OF “54 Columns.” The Sol LeWitt-designed series of gray cinder-block towers in the Old Fourth Ward is supposed to evoke the Atlanta skyline, but the bland cinder-block structure mainly provokes derision. In August, someone (perhaps inspired by Duchamp?) painted one of the towers Pepto-Bismol-pink. Local arts officials stripped the paint off immediately, but not before the exhibit, dour and austere on its best day, had a dash of fun. Viva la public art! less...

Best Intown Jogging Path

Lullwater Park
Emory University’s 185-acre LULLWATER PARK, nestled between Clifton Road and Emory’s Clairmont Campus, is home to a scenic lake, mature trees, and well-developed paths. Venture on the dirt trail that circles the lake, or take advantage of the paved path that meanders through the entiremore...

Emory University’s 185-acre LULLWATER PARK, nestled between Clifton Road and Emory’s Clairmont Campus, is home to a scenic lake, mature trees, and well-developed paths. Venture on the dirt trail that circles the lake, or take advantage of the paved path that meanders through the entire park. Lullwater, which is popular with students and non-students, joggers, fishermen, and those seeking a quiet place to read, is also home to Emory University President James Wagner’s sprawling English Tudor-style home.
Entrance on Clifton Road, across from the medical school. www.emory.edu.

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Best Local Podcast

Skepicality
Of the growing number of local podcasts — an MP3 file that can be downloaded into an iPod — we’re particularly fond of SKEPTICALITY, the brainchild of Roswell roommates Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy. The duo offers commentary on urban legends and pseudoscience, such asmore...

Of the growing number of local podcasts — an MP3 file that can be downloaded into an iPod — we’re particularly fond of SKEPTICALITY, the brainchild of Roswell roommates Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy. The duo offers commentary on urban legends and pseudoscience, such as the phenomena of attributing human traits to lifeless objects (McCarthy humanizes her black Jetta) and of spreading the myth that Earth was flat (Colanduno says scientists put the theory in textbooks to make religious leaders look “scientifically stupid”). The podcast, which has 75,000 subscribers, is regularly one of the top 10 downloads on iTunes, right up there with “The Al Franken Show” and ESPN.
www.skepticality.com.

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Best Loft Project

Troy-Peerless Lofts
With so many lofts and loft-style developments going up these days, it’s possible to get picky. For those who are holding out for a reclaimed industrial space in a cool old building right where the action is, there are the recently renovated TROY-PEERLESS LOFTS. Part of the larger Glen Irismore...

With so many lofts and loft-style developments going up these days, it’s possible to get picky. For those who are holding out for a reclaimed industrial space in a cool old building right where the action is, there are the recently renovated TROY-PEERLESS LOFTS. Part of the larger Glen Iris Lofts complex across a side street from City Hall East (soon to be lofts itself), Troy-Peerless is a stand-alone, 1929, art-deco, former commercial laundry. Units have exposed brick, open floor plans and mezzanine bedrooms. And it’s only a short walk to a bookstore, grocery stores, restaurants, nightclubs — and the Atlanta police records room.
650 Glen Iris Drive. 404-685-9276. www.atlantaloftco.com.

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Best OTP Festival

Georgia Apple Festival
Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, applemore...

Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, apple butter, apple dumplings, and fried dill pickles — there are more than 300 vendors offering such mountain handicrafts as log furniture, birdhouses, blown glass and quilts your memaw would kill for. You’ll typically find local musicians a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’, and you might even find a peach, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Oct. 8-9, 15-16. Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds. 706-636-4500. www.georgiaapplefestival.org.

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Best OTP Neighborhood

Mountain Park
Sitting on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties, many of MOUNTAIN PARK’s 250 cottages were built in the early 20th century as summer retreats for Atlanta’s elite, who gave the homes names such as “Park-Ur-Carcass” and “Shack-Toe-In.” Designatedmore...

Sitting on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties, many of MOUNTAIN PARK’s 250 cottages were built in the early 20th century as summer retreats for Atlanta’s elite, who gave the homes names such as “Park-Ur-Carcass” and “Shack-Toe-In.” Designated as both a wildlife refuge and a waterfowl nesting area, Mountain Park sits 23 miles from downtown Atlanta and is framed by rolling hills and two lakes. Residents now are doing their best to maintain the neighborhood’s charm despite infringing subdivisions, and Mountain Park’s recycling program and anti-pollution projects set an eco-friendly example for its neighbors.
www.mountainparklife.com.

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Best Place to Get Over the Fact that Your Landlord Doesn’t Allow Dogs

Piedmont Park Dog Park
Located just north of where Park Drive crosses from Monroe Drive into Piedmont Park, the PIEDMONT PARK DOG PARK is where the city’s pooches, from Great Danes to Pekinese, run wild. The 2.5-acre doggie playground also has a separate fenced-in plot for small dogs and puppies. The place is paradisemore...

Located just north of where Park Drive crosses from Monroe Drive into Piedmont Park, the PIEDMONT PARK DOG PARK is where the city’s pooches, from Great Danes to Pekinese, run wild. The 2.5-acre doggie playground also has a separate fenced-in plot for small dogs and puppies. The place is paradise for dog-watchers — and perfect for Atlantans who don’t have a Fido of their own to scratch that dog-owning itch.
www.piedmontpark.org.

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Best Quick Thinking by a Newspaper Reporter in Peril

Don O'Briant
People often wonder how well they’ll perform in a life-and-death situation. On March 11, DON O’BRIANT, a reporter at the AJC, found out firsthand. With alleged courthouse killer Brian Nichols demanding at gunpoint that O’Briant climb into the trunk of the Honda Nichols wasmore...
People often wonder how well they’ll perform in a life-and-death situation. On March 11, DON O’BRIANT, a reporter at the AJC, found out firsthand. With alleged courthouse killer Brian Nichols demanding at gunpoint that O’Briant climb into the trunk of the Honda Nichols was carjacking, O’Briant said no. Nichols pistol-whipped him. O’Briant stumbled to his feet and ran. Asked later why he didn’t obey, O’Briant said, “You don’t do that. You’re giving up any control you have at the moment.” O’Briant’s quick thinking may have saved his life, and gave us a glimmer of good news on an otherwise dismal day. less...

Best Radio Station For Boomin’ Bass and 26-inch Spinners

WHTA-FM
For all your crunk desires, you can’t beat Hot 107.9. Riding in your old-school Olds, listening to everything from the Ying Yang Twins to T.I., Ludacris to Trap Boiz, the hotness factor is not so much boom-bip as it is beats to bump. WHTA-FM is probably the best place to hear tracks fresh offmore...

For all your crunk desires, you can’t beat Hot 107.9. Riding in your old-school Olds, listening to everything from the Ying Yang Twins to T.I., Ludacris to Trap Boiz, the hotness factor is not so much boom-bip as it is beats to bump. WHTA-FM is probably the best place to hear tracks fresh off the latest mix tapes, which makes sense since the station employs at least four for-real DJs. Although the somewhat contrived diversity in the station’s billboards for its “A” Team morning show may throw you for a loop, you’d be loopy not to have your radio pre-set to the all-the-way-to-the-right station.
404-741-1079. www.hot1079atl.com.

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Best Reason To Live In Atlanta

Gentrification
Flash back 15 years ago. The words “East Atlanta” described little more than the swath of land on the far side of Moreland Avenue. Freedom Parkway was nothing but a concept. Decent grocery stores were sequestered OTP — or at least way north of Ponce. Is the G-word really suchmore...
Flash back 15 years ago. The words “East Atlanta” described little more than the swath of land on the far side of Moreland Avenue. Freedom Parkway was nothing but a concept. Decent grocery stores were sequestered OTP — or at least way north of Ponce. Is the G-word really such a bad thing? GENTRIFICATION has brought Atlanta better nightlife, better shopping, better housing and a better approximation to a living, breathing city. With more planning — particularly regarding public transportation and pedestrian-friendly streets — and a little loosening up (we’re talking about the city’s un-city-like crackdown on nightlife), the next 15 years could bring an even more vibrant Atlanta. less...

Best Silly Class To Change Your Life

Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop
During the past 15 years, nearly 1,400 Atlantans have learned the rudiments of stand-up comedy in Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop. Justice teaches students how to write and perform jokes and then sends the fledglings on stage in front of a packed house at the Punchline comedy club. The key tomore...

During the past 15 years, nearly 1,400 Atlantans have learned the rudiments of stand-up comedy in Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop. Justice teaches students how to write and perform jokes and then sends the fledglings on stage in front of a packed house at the Punchline comedy club. The key to comedy is being yourself, Justice insists, which sets some students on a mini-metaphysical quest. Graduates include Ron Lester, who starred in Varsity Blues, and our own columnist extraordinaire Hollis Gillespie.
404-262-7406. www.jeffjustice.com.

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Best Street Character

Baton Bob
That’s street “character,” not street person. Bob Jamerson, 53, may work as a florist, but he spends his free time trying to cheer up his fellow Atlantans as BATON BOB, marching around Midtown sidewalks in eye-catching costumes — wedding gown, prom queen dress, superheromore...
That’s street “character,” not street person. Bob Jamerson, 53, may work as a florist, but he spends his free time trying to cheer up his fellow Atlantans as BATON BOB, marching around Midtown sidewalks in eye-catching costumes — wedding gown, prom queen dress, superhero outfit — and twirling a baton with all the enthusiasm of a varsity majorette. Bob, who acts as Atlanta’s volunteer cheerleader by walking several miles every day, calls his character the “Ambassador of Mirth” and says he moved here last summer after realizing that the people of St. Louis didn’t really get his infectiously joyous shtick. Their loss. less...

Best Vestige of the Old South

Cabbagetown
In the 1880s, CABBAGETOWN was built to accommodate Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill workers. In the ensuing century, the neighborhood developed into an enclave of brightly colored bungalows and shotgun-style shanties — many with lopsided porches and junkyard art. Located east of Oakland Cemetery andmore...

In the 1880s, CABBAGETOWN was built to accommodate Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill workers. In the ensuing century, the neighborhood developed into an enclave of brightly colored bungalows and shotgun-style shanties — many with lopsided porches and junkyard art. Located east of Oakland Cemetery and north of Memorial Drive, Cabbagetown was home to folk artist Panorama Ray, who photographed the neighborhood’s barefoot and potbellied children, and avant-rocker Benjamin of the band Smoke, who dressed in drag and developed a beatnik mix of blues punk. Despite the recent razing of a historic building that housed the gallery and music venue Art Farm, Cabbagetown’s charm has survived infringing gentrification — and is still home to approximately 75 descendants of the original mill workers.
www.cabbagetown.org.

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Best Local Hero

Rosalynn Carter The Carter Center
It’s hard to stand in the shadow of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But ROSALYNN CARTER has been a leader in her own right since her days as first lady of Georgia. Rarely has she been fully credited for her work, particularly in the mental health field. Rosalynn co-founded themore...
It’s hard to stand in the shadow of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But ROSALYNN CARTER has been a leader in her own right since her days as first lady of Georgia. Rarely has she been fully credited for her work, particularly in the mental health field. Rosalynn co-founded the Carter Center and launched its mental health programs, which she still directs at age 74. She lobbies Congress for more mental health funding each year, and isn’t afraid to scold lawmakers for cutting funds for social programs. less...

Best Local Politico

Bobby Baker
Few politicians have stood up for the little guy better than Public Service Commissioner BOBBY BAKER. The Public Service Commission sets rates for utility companies that operate in Georgia, making decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for residents and small businesses —more...

Few politicians have stood up for the little guy better than Public Service Commissioner BOBBY BAKER. The Public Service Commission sets rates for utility companies that operate in Georgia, making decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for residents and small businesses — or in profits for big utilities. Over the years, Baker, a conservative Republican, has earned a reputation for opposing unnecessary rate hikes. He also has encouraged the commission to conduct its business in full view of the public. In short, he’s looked out for the average Georgian — and has refused to play party politics.
www.psc.state.ga.us/pscinfo/baker.htm.

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Best New Building

1180 Peachtree
The 41-story glass tower rising on the corner of Peachtree and 14th streets marks the tallest construction in Atlanta in more than a dozen years. But 1180 PEACHTREE, designed by the prestigious Connecticut firm Pickard Chilton, has more than height going for it. The building’s swooping linesmore...

The 41-story glass tower rising on the corner of Peachtree and 14th streets marks the tallest construction in Atlanta in more than a dozen years. But 1180 PEACHTREE, designed by the prestigious Connecticut firm Pickard Chilton, has more than height going for it. The building’s swooping lines evoke the contours of a gigantic, shimmering cell phone. Or is it a neo-gothic cathedral? Either way, it’s also the largest structure in Atlanta to attain “green” status; developer Hines Interests is constructing the tower using at least 10 percent recycled materials, and it will be outfitted with water-saver toilets and faucets. The high-rise, informally known as Symphony Tower, is scheduled to open next year, when mega-firm King & Spalding sets up shop on 17 floors.
www.1180peachtree.com.

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Best Person You Hate to Love

Ty Pennington
Ooh, look at TY PENNINGTON take off his shirt and swing a hammer for the cameras on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Isn’t he dreamy? Well, maybe cheesy is more like it. And it’s a little sanctimonious when he yells into that bullhorn, “Come on, team —more...

Ooh, look at TY PENNINGTON take off his shirt and swing a hammer for the cameras on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Isn’t he dreamy? Well, maybe cheesy is more like it. And it’s a little sanctimonious when he yells into that bullhorn, “Come on, team — let’s make this family’s dream come true!” But so what? Pennington, who was raised in Atlanta, broke into showbiz as the token hot-guy carpenter on “Trading Spaces.” Now he actually helps families in need. Among other things, he and his crew have enlarged the home of a couple expecting triplets, and remodeled a house so a wheelchair-bound teenager could get around more easily. Watch out, Oprah.
www.tythehandyguy.com.

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Best Place to Bike

Arabia Mountain Trail
A few years back it was the poor man’s Stone Mountain, but thanks to DeKalb’s much-touted greenspace program, ARABIA MOUNTAIN TRAIL has come into its own. The county is completing an ambitious trail network through the 2,000-acre nature preserve that includes elevated boardwalks throughmore...

A few years back it was the poor man’s Stone Mountain, but thanks to DeKalb’s much-touted greenspace program, ARABIA MOUNTAIN TRAIL has come into its own. The county is completing an ambitious trail network through the 2,000-acre nature preserve that includes elevated boardwalks through forest wetlands, well-marked paths across huge expanses of open granite, and a picturesque covered bridge. The concrete trails, open to hikers and bikers, extend north to Stonecrest Mall and downtown Lithonia and, eventually, south to Panola Mountain. Once in the park, mountain bikers can go off-road to find some challenging rock-hopping.
www.arabiaalliance.org. www.pathfoundation.org/trails/arabia.cfm.

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Best Place to Commune With Nature

Ignatius House
Standing on the grounds of IGNATIUS HOUSE, one can’t help but evoke the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” With 20 acres to explore, including a natural waterfall and an outdoor chapel, it’s hard not to quiet yourself at the Sandymore...

Standing on the grounds of IGNATIUS HOUSE, one can’t help but evoke the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” With 20 acres to explore, including a natural waterfall and an outdoor chapel, it’s hard not to quiet yourself at the Sandy Springs prayer and meditation center run by Jesuit priests. If you’re really stressed out, try partaking in a silent weekend retreat. No talking is allowed for two days, so bring all those unresolved issues.
6700 Riverside Drive. 404-255-0503. www.ignatiushouse.org.

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Best Big Company To Work For

United Parcel Service
When United Parcel Service went public in 1999, its generous employee stock option made millionaires out of longtime employees, from managers to delivery truck drivers. And UPS keeps on giving. Even part-time employees get full benefits, including forgivable student loans of $2,000 per year for fourmore...

When United Parcel Service went public in 1999, its generous employee stock option made millionaires out of longtime employees, from managers to delivery truck drivers. And UPS keeps on giving. Even part-time employees get full benefits, including forgivable student loans of $2,000 per year for four years. The company was ranked eighth in the U.S. for employee benefits by MONEY magazine. And Fortune ranked UPS No. 23 out of 1,000 companies for minority employment.
55 Glenlake Parkway. 800-742-5877. www.ups.com.

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Best Campsite You Can Drive To

Black Rock Mountain State Park
Named for its sheer, dark-hued cliffs, BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK sits in the far northeast corner of the state, where Georgia meets the Carolinas. With an altitude topping out at 3,640 feet, it also boasts the highest point in a Georgia state park, offering 80-mile views of the southern Appalachians.more...

Named for its sheer, dark-hued cliffs, BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK sits in the far northeast corner of the state, where Georgia meets the Carolinas. With an altitude topping out at 3,640 feet, it also boasts the highest point in a Georgia state park, offering 80-mile views of the southern Appalachians. The 1,740-acre park also is home to fields of wildflowers; 11 miles of trails; a 17-acre lake for catching bass, bream, catfish, perch and trout; and 64 campsites, ranging from $3-$21 per night.
800-864-7275. gastateparks.org/info/blackrock.

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Best Compromise With a Big Box

Underwood Hills Neighborhood Association
It takes a tenacious neighborhood group to get Wal-Mart to listen. But UNDERWOOD HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION did just that, making sure the store’s developers heard residents’ concerns about the Wal-Mart superstore that will anchor a mixed-use project off Howell Mill Road near I-75more...

It takes a tenacious neighborhood group to get Wal-Mart to listen. But UNDERWOOD HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION did just that, making sure the store’s developers heard residents’ concerns about the Wal-Mart superstore that will anchor a mixed-use project off Howell Mill Road near I-75 (formerly the site of the Tudor-style Castlegate Hotel). The association played an active role in the decision to build the store — and most of its parking — underground, reducing the big box eyesore. And although the association did run off a Home Depot, its treaty with Wal-Mart represents a compromise other neighborhood groups have been unwilling to make.
www.underwoodhills.org.

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Best Local Blog

There were, at press time, about 14.9 jillion gazillion blogs on the Internet, most of them indulgences in mental masturbation. One that is not is www.extremecraft.com, the creation of local artist and graphic designer Garth Johnson. Begun as a way to highlight cool examples of craft, both low-brow andmore...

There were, at press time, about 14.9 jillion gazillion blogs on the Internet, most of them indulgences in mental masturbation. One that is not is www.extremecraft.com, the creation of local artist and graphic designer Garth Johnson. Begun as a way to highlight cool examples of craft, both low-brow and high, the blog has become a forum for Johnson’s irreverent and literate approach to art and art criticism. In March, he highlighted a taxidermist who will turn the fur of your departed pet into a pillow. Remarked Johnson: “I wonder what she could do for my goldfish.” But it’s his occasional lapses into the profane that keep the blog fresh. To wit: “Ceramics Monthly magazine can suck my nuts.”
www.extremecraft.com.

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Best Local Celebrity

Vernon Jones
He’s known for his police-escort posse, designer-label suits and a jet-setting lifestyle that included a secret junket to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It’s alleged that he once threatened a woman with a firearm and has been involved in other unpleasant run-ins with female electedmore...

He’s known for his police-escort posse, designer-label suits and a jet-setting lifestyle that included a secret junket to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It’s alleged that he once threatened a woman with a firearm and has been involved in other unpleasant run-ins with female elected officials. He’s been accused of rape, but his lawyer dismisses the incident as a threesome that ended with hurt feelings. No, we’re not talking about a rock star or professional athlete, but DeKalb County’s head honcho, VERNON JONES. In addressing the rape accusation, Jones’ attorney described the CEO as a “political celebrity.” Who are we to argue?
www.co.dekalb.ga.us.

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Best Local Columnist

Bill Shipp
Seventy-two-year-old BILL SHIPP has been kicking ass for more than five decades. His column is syndicated in 85 Georgia newspapers and regularly beats the AJC on important statewide stories. He started his career at UGA in 1952 by exposing a local whorehouse and the school’s rundown veteran’smore...
Seventy-two-year-old BILL SHIPP has been kicking ass for more than five decades. His column is syndicated in 85 Georgia newspapers and regularly beats the AJC on important statewide stories. He started his career at UGA in 1952 by exposing a local whorehouse and the school’s rundown veteran’s housing. Shipp then got booted from the school paper for advocating in favor of law school integration. After four decades with the Atlanta Constitution, he started his own political newsletter, put it online, and then sold it. And even now, he’s still so aggressive that Gov. Sonny Perdue’s staff won’t speak to him. www.onlineathens.com/staff/shipp.shtml. less...

Best Local Intellectual

Deborah Lipstadt
DEBORAH LIPSTADT, a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies, is one of the most popular faculty members at Emory. But what really sets her apart is a book written a dozen years ago in which she lambastes one of the world’s most infamous Holocaust deniers, David Irving. Irving turnedmore...

DEBORAH LIPSTADT, a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies, is one of the most popular faculty members at Emory. But what really sets her apart is a book written a dozen years ago in which she lambastes one of the world’s most infamous Holocaust deniers, David Irving. Irving turned around and sued Lipstadt for libel in British court, but the judge found in favor of Lipstadt, calling Irving a racist and anti-Semite. Sweet. Lipstadt was back in the news last spring when she refused to allow C-Span to tape a lecture she was giving. Why? The network wanted to air it back-to-back with one by Irving. Seems the battle against Holocaust deniers isn’t over yet.
www.lipstadt.blogspot.com. www.hdot.org.

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Best Local Magazine

Atlanta Jewish Life
You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE. The magazine, which first published in the spring of 2001, comes out every other month and features short, sharply written articles on topics ranging from a Jewish girl’s journey to learn more about her infamous mobstermore...

You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE. The magazine, which first published in the spring of 2001, comes out every other month and features short, sharply written articles on topics ranging from a Jewish girl’s journey to learn more about her infamous mobster uncle to a profile on Jewish comedian (and former Atlantan) David Cross. Editor Benyamin Cohen hasn’t missed a beat as he’s vested the publication with a young, hip sensibility. The July-August issue’s cover, “Jewish Radio Mafia: A Photo Essay,” is a brilliant, “Sopranos”-esque photo lineup of 12 of Atlanta’s Jewish radio personalities, including 99X’s Jimmy Baron and NPR’s Lois Reitzes.
www.atlantajewish.com.

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Best Local Troublemaker

Carl Roland
Forty-one-year-old CARL ROLAND performed a Flying Wallenda act last May, when he sat atop a 25-story crane in Buckhead for 57 hours to avoid an arrest on murder charges. The scene on the ground was almost as entertaining as Roland’s derring-do in the sky. There was the bystander who played Vanmore...
Forty-one-year-old CARL ROLAND performed a Flying Wallenda act last May, when he sat atop a 25-story crane in Buckhead for 57 hours to avoid an arrest on murder charges. The scene on the ground was almost as entertaining as Roland’s derring-do in the sky. There was the bystander who played Van Halen’s “Jump” from his boom box. Then, there was Roland’s sister, Tawana, whom the AJC reported as screaming skyward: “Sugarfoot, it’s your baby sister, please come down!” Of course, the entertainment had its limits. Business in Buckhead took a hit, and before officers finally Tasered him, police spent 5,000 man-hours trying to make sure Roland’s stunt ended peacefully. less...

Best Park for a Romantic Picnic

Springvale Park
SPRINGVALE PARK is small, and therein lies its charm. The peaceful atmosphere is unlikely to be disturbed by a pickup game of any sort, because there aren’t any sports-sized fields at the 116-year-old park, located just two blocks off busy DeKalb Avenue. Instead of the usual shrieks and whoops,more...

SPRINGVALE PARK is small, and therein lies its charm. The peaceful atmosphere is unlikely to be disturbed by a pickup game of any sort, because there aren’t any sports-sized fields at the 116-year-old park, located just two blocks off busy DeKalb Avenue. Instead of the usual shrieks and whoops, the park’s fountains gurgle soothingly. Landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1903, the park also boasts an original, 1889 stone wall and a Victorian-era vibe — all of which forms the perfect backdrop for a quiet lunch for two.
Bounded by Euclid Avenue, Waverly Way and Elizabeth Street. www.inmanpark.org.

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Best Reason To Leave Atlanta

Gentrification
No, this isn’t a misprint. In the midst of intown’s renaissance, GENTRIFICATION has wreaked severe side effects. Rampant development has burdened Atlanta’s already strained sewage system. An overabundance of condos and strip malls has created architectural homogeny. An influxmore...
No, this isn’t a misprint. In the midst of intown’s renaissance, GENTRIFICATION has wreaked severe side effects. Rampant development has burdened Atlanta’s already strained sewage system. An overabundance of condos and strip malls has created architectural homogeny. An influx of people — and a dearth of public transit — has made getting around town a real pain. And skyrocketing property values and taxes are changing the face of the city, literally. Homeowners who’ve been forced out by rising taxes are predominantly longtime, low-income, African-Americans. And it’s now become difficult for first-time homebuyers to afford even the most modest digs. less...

Best Trashy Festival

Corndogorama
Screw the face-painting and arts and crafts booths. Each summer, the Earl’s CORNDOGORAMA mixes hot bands and white trash for the perfect indie-rocker brouhaha. During Corndogorama, which celebrated its 11th anniversary this year, the club’s sidewalk and parking lot are literally floodedmore...

Screw the face-painting and arts and crafts booths. Each summer, the Earl’s CORNDOGORAMA mixes hot bands and white trash for the perfect indie-rocker brouhaha. During Corndogorama, which celebrated its 11th anniversary this year, the club’s sidewalk and parking lot are literally flooded from the afternoon to the wee hours of the morning with gawkers and participants partaking in such distinguished events as corndog-eating contests. Inside, nearly 40 bands, most of them local, perform over four days. Yuppies, be warned: Festival-goers have been known to strip to their skivvies and ride a stationary four-wheeler like a mechanical bull.
488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.

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Best Intown Neighborhood

Whittier Mill Village
After the textile boom hit Atlanta in the 1870s, villages started cropping up around the city’s cotton mills. When the mills closed, many of the mill towns disappeared. But not WHITTIER MILL VILLAGE. Located in the northwest corner of the city, about three miles off I-75, Whittier Mill is amore...

After the textile boom hit Atlanta in the 1870s, villages started cropping up around the city’s cotton mills. When the mills closed, many of the mill towns disappeared. But not WHITTIER MILL VILLAGE. Located in the northwest corner of the city, about three miles off I-75, Whittier Mill is a 110-home neighborhood boasting homes built in the 19th century. An adjacent park is home to the mill’s original brick tower, where neighbors gather for picnics. And many of the houses — which sell for around $225,000 — include original heart-pine floors, bead-board walls, and an overall feeling of having traveled back in time.
www.atlantaga.gov/government/urbandesign_whittiermill.aspx.

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Best Local Professional Athlete

Andruw Jones
The man who defies a traditional spelling of his first name finally is having the kind of year that shows off his natural talents. ANDRUW JONES’ near-perfect fielding percentage and highlight-reel catches have been the norm in center field since he was promoted to the big leagues a decade ago.more...

The man who defies a traditional spelling of his first name finally is having the kind of year that shows off his natural talents. ANDRUW JONES’ near-perfect fielding percentage and highlight-reel catches have been the norm in center field since he was promoted to the big leagues a decade ago. But Jones’ hitting — 50 homers as of mid-September, more than any player this season — elevates him to godlike status. And get this: The 28-year-old four-time all-star is now paced to top 600 dingers before he reaches the ripe old age of 40.
www.atlantabraves.com.

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Best New Radio Station Format

Dave FM
People laughed when Infinity Broadcasting dumped its tired classic rock formula on Z-93 and created something called “DAVE FM” at 92.9, promising “rock without rules.” But the format works. A typically unpredictable set can include the Kinks, Better than Ezra and Jane’smore...

People laughed when Infinity Broadcasting dumped its tired classic rock formula on Z-93 and created something called “DAVE FM” at 92.9, promising “rock without rules.” But the format works. A typically unpredictable set can include the Kinks, Better than Ezra and Jane’s Addiction, with a refreshing emphasis on B-sides and lesser-known tracks. And for its morning show, the station brought back former 99X jock Steve Barnes, who in turn enlisted ubiquitous CNN personality Holly Firfer to create a morning team offering a welcome alternative to the usual noise.
404-741-9393. www.929davefm.com.

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Best Sign of the New South

IKEA
As if people making pilgrimages here from hundreds of miles away wasn’t enough evidence that Atlanta has reached a new milestone, how about $19.99 for a sleek dining room chair? We now have proof that Atlanta has come of age, and that proof occupies 366,000 square feet inside a blue and yellowmore...
As if people making pilgrimages here from hundreds of miles away wasn’t enough evidence that Atlanta has reached a new milestone, how about $19.99 for a sleek dining room chair? We now have proof that Atlanta has come of age, and that proof occupies 366,000 square feet inside a blue and yellow building emblazoned “IKEA.” The mostly modern offerings at the home-furnishing Mecca that opened in June are certain to do wonders for interior decor in metro Atlanta and beyond. When your friends’ formally frumpy homes suddenly take on the refined glow of the pages of Real Simple, you know something big has happened. less...

Best Tourist Spot

Georgia Aquarium
Although it doesn’t open until Nov. 23, we’re pretty sure the GEORGIA AQUARIUM deserves this honor — not least of all because the facility will move roughly 8 million gallons of water into downtown Atlanta. Bernie Marcus’ intown improvement project has the Home Depot’smore...

Although it doesn’t open until Nov. 23, we’re pretty sure the GEORGIA AQUARIUM deserves this honor — not least of all because the facility will move roughly 8 million gallons of water into downtown Atlanta. Bernie Marcus’ intown improvement project has the Home Depot’s name written all over it. No surprise there: The facility wouldn’t have been possible without Marcus’ ridiculously generous $200 million donation. In its first year, the giant fish tank is expected to attract more than 2 million visitors to see more than 100,000 animals representing 500 species.
www.georgiaaquarium.org.

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Best Bizarre Local News Story

Jennifer Wilbanks: The Runaway Bride

Best Local TV Anchor

Monica Kaufman
WSB/Channel 2 Weeknights, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. www.wsbtv.com

Best OTP Park

Stone Mountain Park Stone Mountain Park

Best Climbing Wall

Atlanta Rocks!
1019 Collier Road 404-351-3009 www.atlantarocks.com

Best Local Do-Gooder

Clark Howard
WSB-AM (750) Weekdays, 1-4 p.m. www.clarkhoward.com

Best Local TV Reporter

Dale Russell
WAGA/Channel 5 Weeknights, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. www.fox5atlanta.com

Best Overall Radio Station

DAVE FM
WZGC-FM (92.9) 404-741-9393 www.929davefm.com

Best Person You Love to Hate

Neal Boortz
WSB-AM (750) www.boortz.com

Best Place to Spot Celebrities

Lenox Square Mall

Best Campsite

Red Top Mountain State Park
653 Red Top Mountain Road Cartersville, Ga. 770-975-0055 www.ngeorgia.com/parks/red.html

Best Country Music Radio Station

Kicks 101.5
WKHX-FM (101.5) 404-741-1015 www.wkhx.com

Best Jazz Radio Station

Jazz 91.9
WCLK-FM (91.9) 404-880-8284 www.wclk.com

Best Local Columnist

Andisheh Nouraee
Creative Loafing

Best Morning Drive-Time Radio Show

“The Bert Show” (Bert Weiss)
Q-100 WWWQ-FM (100.5) Weekdays, 5:30-10 a.m. 404-741-1005 www.q100atlanta.com

Best Non-Commercial Radio Station

Album 88
WRAS-FM (88.5) 404-651-4488 www.gsu.edu

Best Urban Radio Station

V-103
WVEE-FM (103.3) 404-741-9833 www.v-103.com

Best Golf Course

East Lake Golf Club East Lake Golf Club
2575 Alston Drive 404-373-5722 www.eastlakegolfclub.com

Best Intown Jogging Path

Freedom Park Jogging Path Freedom Park

Best Local Hero

Mayor Shirley Franklin

Best Local Troublemakers

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown

Best New Building

1180 Peachtree

Best OTP Festival

Dunwoody Beer Festival

Best Intown Festival

Inman Park Festival

Best Local Professional Athlete

Michael Vick
Atlanta Falcons Quarterback www.atlantafalcons.com

Best Local TV Sports Anchor

Fred Kalil
WXIA/Channel 11 Weeknights, 6 and 11 p.m. www.11alive.com

Best Radio DJ

“The Bert Show” (Bert Weiss)
Q-100 WWWQ-FM (100.5) Weekdays, 5:30-10 a.m. 404-741-1005 www.q100atlanta.com

Best Rock Radio Station

99x
WNNX-FM (99.7) 404-741-0997 www.99x.com

Best Beach Retreat

Tybee Island
It may catch a lot of flack for its campy boardwalk and dated motels, but TYBEE ISLAND is a nostalgic alternative to the more highbrow St. Simons and Jekyll islands a little ways south. The three-mile-long barrier island sits 18 miles east of Savannah and 270 miles southeast of Atlanta and boasts Georgia’smore...

It may catch a lot of flack for its campy boardwalk and dated motels, but TYBEE ISLAND is a nostalgic alternative to the more highbrow St. Simons and Jekyll islands a little ways south. The three-mile-long barrier island sits 18 miles east of Savannah and 270 miles southeast of Atlanta and boasts Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse — as well as a fair dose of old-fashioned fun, including an annual water gun fight and beach bum parade. The tin-roofed, open-air, sandy-floored Crab Shack (motto: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”) is not to be missed.
www.tybeeisland.com.

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Best Bizarre Local News Story

Jennifer Wilbanks: The Runaway Bride

Best Bizarro Local News Story

"Runaway Bride"
Last spring, the world’s media focused itself like a laser beam on the saga of Jennifer Wilbanks, the ditzy, bug-eyed, Gwinnett County “RUNAWAY BRIDE” who bolted to avoid her mega-wedding. Wilbanks split on a bus, while everyone back home feared she had been kidnapped whilemore...
Last spring, the world’s media focused itself like a laser beam on the saga of Jennifer Wilbanks, the ditzy, bug-eyed, Gwinnett County “RUNAWAY BRIDE” who bolted to avoid her mega-wedding. Wilbanks split on a bus, while everyone back home feared she had been kidnapped while jogging. Turns out, she planned it. And now she’s got a deal for a book, which ought to be spellbinding, based on a false statement to New Mexico police in which she claimed one of her fictional abductors told her: “Now you can lick my pussy.” You go, girl! less...

Best Convention

Bronner Bros. International Hair Show
This year, Atlanta lost several trade shows, some of whose organizers blamed an economic slump for diminished interest in the events. Despite the losses, the BRONNER BROS. INTERNATIONAL HAIR SHOW, hosted by the Marietta-based hair product company and drawing 50,000 people to the Georgia World Congressmore...

This year, Atlanta lost several trade shows, some of whose organizers blamed an economic slump for diminished interest in the events. Despite the losses, the BRONNER BROS. INTERNATIONAL HAIR SHOW, hosted by the Marietta-based hair product company and drawing 50,000 people to the Georgia World Congress Center every August, is holding up Atlanta’s reputation as a convention town with the tenaciousness of a tub of African Royale Mink Oil Gel. From intense barber battles to outlandish hairstyles bobbing down the fashion runway, the convention is so iconic that Ludacris gives it props in his track “Pimpin’ All Over the World”: “But I drop you off and pay you no attention/If I make it to Atlanta’s Bronner Brothers convention.”
www.bronnerbros.com.

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Best Historic Downtown

Buford
As small-town main streets go, one of the most charming in these parts belongs to the city of BUFORD, nestled in the northern tip of Gwinnett County. Founded in 1872, the city was put on the map by industrialist Bona Allen, who ran the tannery and leather factory — now fully renovated as anmore...

As small-town main streets go, one of the most charming in these parts belongs to the city of BUFORD, nestled in the northern tip of Gwinnett County. Founded in 1872, the city was put on the map by industrialist Bona Allen, who ran the tannery and leather factory — now fully renovated as an antique mall — that served as the town’s economic engine. In 1912, Allen built a 17-room Italianate mansion, and the home and tannery bookend Main Street, which is now lined by boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries that double as working studios.
www.cityofbuford.com.

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Best Intown Festival

Inman Park Festival
Held the last weekend in April, the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL has all the offerings you’d expect from a such an event: a goofy parade, a street market, live music, and a tour of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes. But what sets the three-day festival apart is the people. Everyone, from everywheremore...

Held the last weekend in April, the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL has all the offerings you’d expect from a such an event: a goofy parade, a street market, live music, and a tour of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes. But what sets the three-day festival apart is the people. Everyone, from everywhere in town, goes. The festival marks one of the rare occasions when stroller-pushing Virginia-Highlanders and well-heeled Ansley Parkers brush shoulders with Little Five Points bohos and south-of-Ponce hipsters. One bit of advice: Parking can be an exercise in futility. Take MARTA.
www.inmanpark.org/festival.php.

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Best Lesson in Rock History

Stonehenge
You’re not going to hear the hits of the ’60s and ’70s on WREK’s classic rock show STONEHENGE, thank God, but you will learn about the less played-out side of rock’s psychedelic age. Like the ancient site of the same name, Stonehenge stands for timelessnessmore...

You’re not going to hear the hits of the ’60s and ’70s on WREK’s classic rock show STONEHENGE, thank God, but you will learn about the less played-out side of rock’s psychedelic age. Like the ancient site of the same name, Stonehenge stands for timelessness — of bands like Love, Humble Pie, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Roxy Music. And Stonehenge DJ Dr. Rock’s encyclopedic knowledge about such things as a band’s bitter breakup or song’s obscure genesis rivals that of the coolest dad. If you’re too busy to tune in on Fridays, you can hear the most recent episode on the website of the Georgia Tech-run station.
Fridays, 8 p.m.-midnight, WREK-FM (91.1). 404-894-2468. www.wrek.org.

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Best Local Do-Gooders

Riverwood High School
Senior proms are awkward, expensive, pretentious affairs. Isn’t there anything better to do with your time and money? That’s what RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL students asked before deciding to forgo the prom and donate prom funds to nonprofit group CARE’s tsunami relief efforts. Themore...

Senior proms are awkward, expensive, pretentious affairs. Isn’t there anything better to do with your time and money? That’s what RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL students asked before deciding to forgo the prom and donate prom funds to nonprofit group CARE’s tsunami relief efforts. The local community responded to the school’s gesture with a flood of donations. Nearly $10,000 ultimately was donated to CARE. The school received some donations as well — enough to go ahead with the prom after all.
5900 Heards Drive. 404-847-1980. www.riverwoodhs.org.

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Best Local TV Anchor

Monica Kaufman
WSB/Channel 2 Weeknights, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. www.wsbtv.com

Best OTP Park

Stone Mountain Park Stone Mountain Park

Best Person You Love to Hate

Ralph Reed
Baby-faced super-Christian RALPH REED is running for lieutenant governor, and while the campaign is Reed’s first bid for public office, he’s said to have his eyes on the White House. Scary. Reed is a cutthroat behind-the-scenes political street fighter who’s claimed he putmore...

Baby-faced super-Christian RALPH REED is running for lieutenant governor, and while the campaign is Reed’s first bid for public office, he’s said to have his eyes on the White House. Scary. Reed is a cutthroat behind-the-scenes political street fighter who’s claimed he put enemies in “body bags” and led the Christian Coalition to national prominence. The former plagiarist — he was banned from UGA’s student newspaper for copying lines from an attack on Gandhi — returned to the state as a political consultant following claims that a company with close ties to him over-billed the coalition. Now Reed is up to his neck in allegations that he fought the development of Indian casinos with money provided by their competitors. How presidential.
www.ralphreed.com.

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Best PR Fiasco

Choicepoint
We have to hand it to CHOICEPOINT. The company spent years buying information on virtually every American while assuring privacy advocates that the information was safe. Yet all it took was a Nigerian crook posing as a legit business to compromise information on 145,000 Americans. Did ChoicePoint offermore...

We have to hand it to CHOICEPOINT. The company spent years buying information on virtually every American while assuring privacy advocates that the information was safe. Yet all it took was a Nigerian crook posing as a legit business to compromise information on 145,000 Americans. Did ChoicePoint offer a full accounting of the scandal? Yeah, right! The company waited months before ’fessing up to a security breach. Then, when CEO Derek Smith finally talked, he said, “We didn’t expect organized criminals would attack us with this sophistication.” Derek, they used a fax machine! ChoicePoint shares tumbled, but before the scandal went public, Smith managed to sell thousands of shares, netting $13 million.
www.choicepoint.com.

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Best Pseudonym

Ron Mexico
His friends call him Mike; his driver calls him Mr. Vick; and his doctor calls him RON MEXICO. At least that’s the name that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick allegedly used while getting treatment for a case of genital herpes, according to court documents filed in a Gwinnett County lawsuit.more...

His friends call him Mike; his driver calls him Mr. Vick; and his doctor calls him RON MEXICO. At least that’s the name that Falcons quarterback Michael Vick allegedly used while getting treatment for a case of genital herpes, according to court documents filed in a Gwinnett County lawsuit. In April, a 26-year-old alleged former girlfriend sued Vick for negligence and battery, claiming he gave her the STD after he once refused to wear a condom during sex. Vick denies the allegations, and the suit has yet to go to court. But here at CL, we’ve already reached our verdict: “Ron Mexico” is one kick-ass nickname!
www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0405051vick1.html.

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Best Radio Station that Keeps on Getting Better

Album 88
It might be well into its 30s, but ALBUM 88 hasn’t lost a shred of edge. In what can be a somewhat despairing sea of radio bile, the student-run station broadcast out of Georgia State University is one of the most powerful (100,000 watts) and widely heard (with an estimated 150,000 listeners)more...

It might be well into its 30s, but ALBUM 88 hasn’t lost a shred of edge. In what can be a somewhat despairing sea of radio bile, the student-run station broadcast out of Georgia State University is one of the most powerful (100,000 watts) and widely heard (with an estimated 150,000 listeners) college radio stations in the country. That’s not by accident. Album 88 has more than 40 specialty shows, running the gamut from math rock to space rock, post-punk to Japanese, instrumental hip-hop to drum and bass, as well as live, in-studio performances by bands whose tours pass through Atlanta.
404-651-4488. www2.gsu.edu/~www885.

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Best Untrue Rumor

A Local Restaurant Was Serving Rats, Mice, Kittens, Puppies, and a Large Frozen Hawk
In January, an e-mail began popping up in inboxes claiming A LOCAL RESTAURANT WAS SERVING RATS, MICE, KITTENS, PUPPIES AND A LARGE FROZEN HAWK. While the restaurant wasn’t named, an early version of the e-mail included a map showing it to be a certain Chinese restaurant near Perimeter Mall.more...

In January, an e-mail began popping up in inboxes claiming A LOCAL RESTAURANT WAS SERVING RATS, MICE, KITTENS, PUPPIES AND A LARGE FROZEN HAWK. While the restaurant wasn’t named, an early version of the e-mail included a map showing it to be a certain Chinese restaurant near Perimeter Mall. Accompanying the e-mail were four pictures of skinned and shrink-wrapped rats and mice. Soon, though, the Fulton County Health and Wellness Department found that the e-mail was a hoax. (Incidentally, the restaurant in question had excellent health records.) The photos turned out to be pictures of prepackaged food for snakes.
www.snopes.com/food/tainted/rats.asp.

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Best Climbing Wall

Atlanta Rocks!
1019 Collier Road 404-351-3009 www.atlantarocks.com

Best impression of Marc el Duchamp on a piece of public art

The Vandalizing of "54 Columns"
In 1919, French artist Marcel Duchamp decorated a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee. For some reason, it became a famous work of art. We can only hope the same holds true for THE VANDALIZING OF “54 Columns.” The Sol LeWitt-designed series of gray cinder-block towersmore...
In 1919, French artist Marcel Duchamp decorated a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee. For some reason, it became a famous work of art. We can only hope the same holds true for THE VANDALIZING OF “54 Columns.” The Sol LeWitt-designed series of gray cinder-block towers in the Old Fourth Ward is supposed to evoke the Atlanta skyline, but the bland cinder-block structure mainly provokes derision. In August, someone (perhaps inspired by Duchamp?) painted one of the towers Pepto-Bismol-pink. Local arts officials stripped the paint off immediately, but not before the exhibit, dour and austere on its best day, had a dash of fun. Viva la public art! less...

Best Intown Jogging Path

Lullwater Park
Emory University’s 185-acre LULLWATER PARK, nestled between Clifton Road and Emory’s Clairmont Campus, is home to a scenic lake, mature trees, and well-developed paths. Venture on the dirt trail that circles the lake, or take advantage of the paved path that meanders through the entiremore...

Emory University’s 185-acre LULLWATER PARK, nestled between Clifton Road and Emory’s Clairmont Campus, is home to a scenic lake, mature trees, and well-developed paths. Venture on the dirt trail that circles the lake, or take advantage of the paved path that meanders through the entire park. Lullwater, which is popular with students and non-students, joggers, fishermen, and those seeking a quiet place to read, is also home to Emory University President James Wagner’s sprawling English Tudor-style home.
Entrance on Clifton Road, across from the medical school. www.emory.edu.

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Best Local Do-Gooder

Clark Howard
WSB-AM (750) Weekdays, 1-4 p.m. www.clarkhoward.com

Best Local Podcast

Skepicality
Of the growing number of local podcasts — an MP3 file that can be downloaded into an iPod — we’re particularly fond of SKEPTICALITY, the brainchild of Roswell roommates Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy. The duo offers commentary on urban legends and pseudoscience, such asmore...

Of the growing number of local podcasts — an MP3 file that can be downloaded into an iPod — we’re particularly fond of SKEPTICALITY, the brainchild of Roswell roommates Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy. The duo offers commentary on urban legends and pseudoscience, such as the phenomena of attributing human traits to lifeless objects (McCarthy humanizes her black Jetta) and of spreading the myth that Earth was flat (Colanduno says scientists put the theory in textbooks to make religious leaders look “scientifically stupid”). The podcast, which has 75,000 subscribers, is regularly one of the top 10 downloads on iTunes, right up there with “The Al Franken Show” and ESPN.
www.skepticality.com.

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Best Local TV Reporter

Dale Russell
WAGA/Channel 5 Weeknights, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. www.fox5atlanta.com

Best Loft Project

Troy-Peerless Lofts
With so many lofts and loft-style developments going up these days, it’s possible to get picky. For those who are holding out for a reclaimed industrial space in a cool old building right where the action is, there are the recently renovated TROY-PEERLESS LOFTS. Part of the larger Glen Irismore...

With so many lofts and loft-style developments going up these days, it’s possible to get picky. For those who are holding out for a reclaimed industrial space in a cool old building right where the action is, there are the recently renovated TROY-PEERLESS LOFTS. Part of the larger Glen Iris Lofts complex across a side street from City Hall East (soon to be lofts itself), Troy-Peerless is a stand-alone, 1929, art-deco, former commercial laundry. Units have exposed brick, open floor plans and mezzanine bedrooms. And it’s only a short walk to a bookstore, grocery stores, restaurants, nightclubs — and the Atlanta police records room.
650 Glen Iris Drive. 404-685-9276. www.atlantaloftco.com.

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Best OTP Festival

Georgia Apple Festival
Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, applemore...

Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th year, spans two weekends at the height of October’s harvest season. In addition to the obligatory regional dishes — apple pie, apple butter, apple dumplings, and fried dill pickles — there are more than 300 vendors offering such mountain handicrafts as log furniture, birdhouses, blown glass and quilts your memaw would kill for. You’ll typically find local musicians a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’, and you might even find a peach, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Oct. 8-9, 15-16. Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds. 706-636-4500. www.georgiaapplefestival.org.

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Best OTP Neighborhood

Mountain Park
Sitting on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties, many of MOUNTAIN PARK’s 250 cottages were built in the early 20th century as summer retreats for Atlanta’s elite, who gave the homes names such as “Park-Ur-Carcass” and “Shack-Toe-In.” Designatedmore...

Sitting on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties, many of MOUNTAIN PARK’s 250 cottages were built in the early 20th century as summer retreats for Atlanta’s elite, who gave the homes names such as “Park-Ur-Carcass” and “Shack-Toe-In.” Designated as both a wildlife refuge and a waterfowl nesting area, Mountain Park sits 23 miles from downtown Atlanta and is framed by rolling hills and two lakes. Residents now are doing their best to maintain the neighborhood’s charm despite infringing subdivisions, and Mountain Park’s recycling program and anti-pollution projects set an eco-friendly example for its neighbors.
www.mountainparklife.com.

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Best Overall Radio Station

DAVE FM
WZGC-FM (92.9) 404-741-9393 www.929davefm.com

Best Person You Love to Hate

Neal Boortz
WSB-AM (750) www.boortz.com

Best Place to Get Over the Fact that Your Landlord Doesn’t Allow Dogs

Piedmont Park Dog Park
Located just north of where Park Drive crosses from Monroe Drive into Piedmont Park, the PIEDMONT PARK DOG PARK is where the city’s pooches, from Great Danes to Pekinese, run wild. The 2.5-acre doggie playground also has a separate fenced-in plot for small dogs and puppies. The place is paradisemore...

Located just north of where Park Drive crosses from Monroe Drive into Piedmont Park, the PIEDMONT PARK DOG PARK is where the city’s pooches, from Great Danes to Pekinese, run wild. The 2.5-acre doggie playground also has a separate fenced-in plot for small dogs and puppies. The place is paradise for dog-watchers — and perfect for Atlantans who don’t have a Fido of their own to scratch that dog-owning itch.
www.piedmontpark.org.

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Best Place to Spot Celebrities

Lenox Square Mall

Best Quick Thinking by a Newspaper Reporter in Peril

Don O'Briant
People often wonder how well they’ll perform in a life-and-death situation. On March 11, DON O’BRIANT, a reporter at the AJC, found out firsthand. With alleged courthouse killer Brian Nichols demanding at gunpoint that O’Briant climb into the trunk of the Honda Nichols wasmore...
People often wonder how well they’ll perform in a life-and-death situation. On March 11, DON O’BRIANT, a reporter at the AJC, found out firsthand. With alleged courthouse killer Brian Nichols demanding at gunpoint that O’Briant climb into the trunk of the Honda Nichols was carjacking, O’Briant said no. Nichols pistol-whipped him. O’Briant stumbled to his feet and ran. Asked later why he didn’t obey, O’Briant said, “You don’t do that. You’re giving up any control you have at the moment.” O’Briant’s quick thinking may have saved his life, and gave us a glimmer of good news on an otherwise dismal day. less...

Best Radio Station For Boomin’ Bass and 26-inch Spinners

WHTA-FM
For all your crunk desires, you can’t beat Hot 107.9. Riding in your old-school Olds, listening to everything from the Ying Yang Twins to T.I., Ludacris to Trap Boiz, the hotness factor is not so much boom-bip as it is beats to bump. WHTA-FM is probably the best place to hear tracks fresh offmore...

For all your crunk desires, you can’t beat Hot 107.9. Riding in your old-school Olds, listening to everything from the Ying Yang Twins to T.I., Ludacris to Trap Boiz, the hotness factor is not so much boom-bip as it is beats to bump. WHTA-FM is probably the best place to hear tracks fresh off the latest mix tapes, which makes sense since the station employs at least four for-real DJs. Although the somewhat contrived diversity in the station’s billboards for its “A” Team morning show may throw you for a loop, you’d be loopy not to have your radio pre-set to the all-the-way-to-the-right station.
404-741-1079. www.hot1079atl.com.

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Best Reason To Live In Atlanta

Gentrification
Flash back 15 years ago. The words “East Atlanta” described little more than the swath of land on the far side of Moreland Avenue. Freedom Parkway was nothing but a concept. Decent grocery stores were sequestered OTP — or at least way north of Ponce. Is the G-word really suchmore...
Flash back 15 years ago. The words “East Atlanta” described little more than the swath of land on the far side of Moreland Avenue. Freedom Parkway was nothing but a concept. Decent grocery stores were sequestered OTP — or at least way north of Ponce. Is the G-word really such a bad thing? GENTRIFICATION has brought Atlanta better nightlife, better shopping, better housing and a better approximation to a living, breathing city. With more planning — particularly regarding public transportation and pedestrian-friendly streets — and a little loosening up (we’re talking about the city’s un-city-like crackdown on nightlife), the next 15 years could bring an even more vibrant Atlanta. less...

Best Silly Class To Change Your Life

Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop
During the past 15 years, nearly 1,400 Atlantans have learned the rudiments of stand-up comedy in Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop. Justice teaches students how to write and perform jokes and then sends the fledglings on stage in front of a packed house at the Punchline comedy club. The key tomore...

During the past 15 years, nearly 1,400 Atlantans have learned the rudiments of stand-up comedy in Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop. Justice teaches students how to write and perform jokes and then sends the fledglings on stage in front of a packed house at the Punchline comedy club. The key to comedy is being yourself, Justice insists, which sets some students on a mini-metaphysical quest. Graduates include Ron Lester, who starred in Varsity Blues, and our own columnist extraordinaire Hollis Gillespie.
404-262-7406. www.jeffjustice.com.

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Best Street Character

Baton Bob
That’s street “character,” not street person. Bob Jamerson, 53, may work as a florist, but he spends his free time trying to cheer up his fellow Atlantans as BATON BOB, marching around Midtown sidewalks in eye-catching costumes — wedding gown, prom queen dress, superheromore...
That’s street “character,” not street person. Bob Jamerson, 53, may work as a florist, but he spends his free time trying to cheer up his fellow Atlantans as BATON BOB, marching around Midtown sidewalks in eye-catching costumes — wedding gown, prom queen dress, superhero outfit — and twirling a baton with all the enthusiasm of a varsity majorette. Bob, who acts as Atlanta’s volunteer cheerleader by walking several miles every day, calls his character the “Ambassador of Mirth” and says he moved here last summer after realizing that the people of St. Louis didn’t really get his infectiously joyous shtick. Their loss. less...

Best Vestige of the Old South

Cabbagetown
In the 1880s, CABBAGETOWN was built to accommodate Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill workers. In the ensuing century, the neighborhood developed into an enclave of brightly colored bungalows and shotgun-style shanties — many with lopsided porches and junkyard art. Located east of Oakland Cemetery andmore...

In the 1880s, CABBAGETOWN was built to accommodate Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill workers. In the ensuing century, the neighborhood developed into an enclave of brightly colored bungalows and shotgun-style shanties — many with lopsided porches and junkyard art. Located east of Oakland Cemetery and north of Memorial Drive, Cabbagetown was home to folk artist Panorama Ray, who photographed the neighborhood’s barefoot and potbellied children, and avant-rocker Benjamin of the band Smoke, who dressed in drag and developed a beatnik mix of blues punk. Despite the recent razing of a historic building that housed the gallery and music venue Art Farm, Cabbagetown’s charm has survived infringing gentrification — and is still home to approximately 75 descendants of the original mill workers.
www.cabbagetown.org.

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Best Campsite

Red Top Mountain State Park
653 Red Top Mountain Road Cartersville, Ga. 770-975-0055 www.ngeorgia.com/parks/red.html

Best Country Music Radio Station

Kicks 101.5
WKHX-FM (101.5) 404-741-1015 www.wkhx.com

Best Jazz Radio Station

Jazz 91.9
WCLK-FM (91.9) 404-880-8284 www.wclk.com

Best Local Columnist

Andisheh Nouraee
Creative Loafing

Best Local Hero

Rosalynn Carter The Carter Center
It’s hard to stand in the shadow of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But ROSALYNN CARTER has been a leader in her own right since her days as first lady of Georgia. Rarely has she been fully credited for her work, particularly in the mental health field. Rosalynn co-founded themore...
It’s hard to stand in the shadow of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But ROSALYNN CARTER has been a leader in her own right since her days as first lady of Georgia. Rarely has she been fully credited for her work, particularly in the mental health field. Rosalynn co-founded the Carter Center and launched its mental health programs, which she still directs at age 74. She lobbies Congress for more mental health funding each year, and isn’t afraid to scold lawmakers for cutting funds for social programs. less...

Best Local Politico

Bobby Baker
Few politicians have stood up for the little guy better than Public Service Commissioner BOBBY BAKER. The Public Service Commission sets rates for utility companies that operate in Georgia, making decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for residents and small businesses —more...

Few politicians have stood up for the little guy better than Public Service Commissioner BOBBY BAKER. The Public Service Commission sets rates for utility companies that operate in Georgia, making decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for residents and small businesses — or in profits for big utilities. Over the years, Baker, a conservative Republican, has earned a reputation for opposing unnecessary rate hikes. He also has encouraged the commission to conduct its business in full view of the public. In short, he’s looked out for the average Georgian — and has refused to play party politics.
www.psc.state.ga.us/pscinfo/baker.htm.

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