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29 August 2016

Customer Complaints Mar Final Two Days of Imagine Music Festival

Organizers of the 2016 Imagine Music Festival promised three days of good music and great times. And while the music was good, the time was not so great.

As the three-day event came to a close at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sunday night, irate ticketholders flooded social media with complaints, horror stories, refund demands, and vows never to come back.

"We paid a total of $649.88 for two 'VIP Round 1 Full Weekend' tickets," Kristy Dye, a Johns Creek resident, tells Georgia Unfiltered.

Dye and her husband traveled an hour from their home to Hampton for the festival.

"Their own site says express festival entry, front row pit access area, elevated viewing, air conditioned chill lounge, access to exclusive champagne bars, access to exclusive VIP bars, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean air-conditioned bathrooms and free giveaways were included with VIP admission.

"We did not experience any of this," Dye continued.

The biggest complaint, by far, was the lack of directional signs pointing festival-goers to medical aid tents and water stations. Temperatures at the all-asphalt Atlanta Motor Speedway easily hit triple digits during the heat of the day. People needing assistance could not find it on their own. Questions to staff and security were met with shrugging shoulders and replies of "I don't know."

Wandering through the Imagine campgrounds, Georgia Unfiltered heard the same story time and again. The music was great. The DJs brought their "A" game. The festival planning needed much improvement.

"Please add roaming medics," Hailey Elizabeth pleaded on Imagine's Facebook page. "If anything, please do just that. [I] had a really horrible situation last night. No help was available for at least fifteen minutes.

"If you're not going to give us reliable water access, you need to make sure your medics are prepared for lots of dehydration cases."

Georgia Unfiltered is reaching out to Henry County emergency management services for an accurate count of people transported and treated for heat-related illnesses during Imagine Music Festival.

Imagine Festival organizers say the problems of their event are not unsual for any large outdoor gathering.

"The opportunities and challenges facing Imagine Music Festival are no different than those that face any outdoor festival," reads a stament from the Imagine communications team.

"The organizers have taken steps to ensure areas such as water stations, emergency services and amenities are more visible throughout the grounds and will continue to do so for the balance of the festival."

26 August 2016

Georgia Tech Grad Shane Kimbrough Returns to Orbit in September for Extended Stay Aboard ISS

(Astronaut Shane Kimbrough returns to space next month for a six-month stay on the International Space Station. Image courtesy NASA.)
Georgia Tech graduate Shane Kimbrough (pictured right) is making his final preparations for a return to space next month.

Kimbrough, along with Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov, are headed for a six month stay aboard the International Space Station.

Kimbrough, Borisenko and Ryzhikov will join Expedition 49 members NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi at the space station. While there, the six crew members will continue the several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science currently under way and scheduled to take place aboard humanity's only orbiting lab.

A retired Army colonel and native of Killeen, Texas, Kimbrough completed his first spaceflight in 2008 on space shuttle mission STS-126. During this mission, he worked to expand the living quarters of the space station to accommodate a six-member crew – an effort that included two spacewalks, during which he logged 12 hours and 52 minutes outside the orbiting laboratory.

Kimbrough is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Following his service in the Army, Kimbrough earned a Master of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Kimbrough entered the space program in 2004.

Kimbrough and his crewmates will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft at 2:17 p.m. Sept. 23 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

ZipCar Expands into East Point

ZipCar, an automobile sharing service that allows drivers to rent a car by the hour, expanded into East Point this week with an official launch featuring representatives from the company and other local officials.

(East Point and ZipCar officials cut the ribbon to officially launch the car-sharing service's foray into a new market. Photo Credit: Andre Walker/Georgia Unfiltered)
"It's truly a great day," East Point Mayor Jannquelle Peters said. "It marks a partnership as we take another step towards strengthening our efforts in East Point towards becoming a sustainable community.

"In East Point, we take sustainability very seriously. Sustainability is about creating a more conscious way of living."

Mayor Peters and ZipCar General Manager Vilaire Lazard both highlighted ZipCar's potential to positively impact East Point by reducing the numbers of cars on the road while also offering a low cost alternative to getting around town.

"Each ZipCar takes thirteen personally owned vehicles off the road," Lazard said. "When you think about a typical two car household, instead of owning two cars where that second car only gets used maybe a couple hours in the week, sell that car, save on the monthly payment, and whenever somebody wants to use a second car to run an errand, use a ZipCar."

ZipCar is not new to the metro Atlanta area. ZipCar first came to Atlanta in 2009. The company currently has several locations where customers can pick up a vehicle and pay between $8 and $10 an hour with a maximum of four hours rental time and 180 miles in a 24-hour period.

When asked why ZipCar chose East Point as its newest marker, Lazard said local officials were extremely ambitious about offering another mode of transport to the southside.

"East Point is a very successful city in reference to innovation," Lazard said. "The East Point transportation team are really excited to bring different options, and this will be a great option for the community."

Three Zipcars—a Honda Civic named “Slotnick,” a Honda Civic named “Streep” and a Honda CR-V named “Jannquell” (after East Point’s very own Mayor Jannquell Peters)—are now available by the hour or by the day. The vehicles are parked in designated spots at the East Point MARTA station and the East Point fire station for convenient pick-up and drop-off and can be reserved in seconds on Zipcar’s mobile app, online or over the phone.

Gas is included with every ZipCar rental.

For more information, visit www.zipcar.com

25 August 2016

Creflo Dollar May Not Have Voted Trump, But The Mega Church Pastor Did Vote in the GOP Primary

(Is Creflo Dollar [shown left] supporting Donald Trump?Public records indicate Dollar did participate in the GOP primary, but Dollar says he did not vote Trump. Image courtesy Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Creflo Dollar, founder and pastor of World Changers Church International, is back in the spotlight.

People are questioning who Dollar supports for President, and one website says Dollar backs Trump.

CentricTV.com reports Creflo Dollar declared that God told him to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States.

Creflo Dollar immediately denied the story, saying in a statement, "Any reports stating that I have endorsed Donald Trump for President are false. I have not endorsed any candidate and do not plan to. This rumor originated on a satirical website and is 100% untrue."

Public records (pictured below), however, show that Creflo Dollar did vote in Georgia's Republican presidential primary this year. Dollar also voted in the 2008 GOP presidential primary.


Dollar lives on a sprawling estate in Fayetteville, Georgia. Fayetteville is located about thirty minutes south of Atlanta in Fayette County.

World Changers Church International was founded by Creflo Dollar in 1986. World Changers once boasted a 35,000-member congregation. Church services are held in a 8,500-seat chapel called the World Dome. World Changers Church International is based in College Park. College Park is a majority black community located near Atlanta's airport.

Most elected officials in College Park are Democrats, and the area usually votes overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential and gubernatorial elections.

22 August 2016

Republicans Leading Effort to Create New City of South Fulton

A pair of prominent Georgia Republicans are leading the campaign to create a new city called South Fulton in metro Atlanta.

Camilla Johnson Moore and Teri Sasseville, both veteran GOP activists, are advocating a “Yes” vote for cityhood this November.

State legislators authorized a referendum on creating a new city of South Fulton earlier this year. If approved by voters in the affected area, South Fulton would become Georgia’s newest municipality at the end of 2016. The first mayor and city council elections would be held in March, 2017.

Moore, a former Georgia GOP executive committee member, spent the spring organizing meetings and recruiting volunteers to help secure the cityhood referendum’s passage. Moore has also been a fixture at Fulton County Commission meetings, urging Commissioners to oppose any annexation that removes land from the proposed city’s boundaries.

Teri Sasseville, who was an alternate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, is currently peppering social media sites with posts supporting the proposed city of South Fulton. Before joining the South Fulton campaign, Sasseville was named the Georgia Social Media Director for the failed presidential bid of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R – Texas).

State Senator Vincent Fort isn’t surprised to see Republicans take an interest in South Fulton.

“The City of South Fulton is designed by Republicans to help further segregate the metropolitan Atlanta area,” Fort said in a telephone interview.

Demographics show that the proposed city of South Fulton would be different from other cities created around Atlanta in the past decade. Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and Chattahoochee Hills all have majority white populations. South Fulton’s population is majority black.

Fort went on to accuse South Fulton cityhood advocates of using “Trumpian” tactics to scare voters into supporting the new city.

It’s been said, frequently at cityhood meetings organized and attended by Camilla Johnson Moore, that if residents do not create this new city of South Fulton, the Georgia General Assembly will divide their communities up among existing municipalities like College Park or East Point without public input.

Fort says no such proposal exists at the State Capitol.

“That’s a scare tactic without any basis in fact,” Fort said. “It’s really Trumpian. It’s as if they’re taking lessons from Donald Trump. It doesn’t have to be the least bit true, but it’s being promulgated by some people who should know better.”

18 August 2016

Commissioners Ignore Staff Recommendations, Vote to Keep South Fulton Millage Rate the Same

At their 17 August 2016 meeting, Fulton County Commissioners voted to keep south Fulton's tax rate the same for another year.

This action came after Fulton County Finance Department staff recommended increasing the millage rate for unincorporated south Fulton County from 11.579 to 12.009.

Commissioners ignored the staff recommendations.

Tax revenue from south Fulton pays for services like police, fire, zoning and planning, parks and recreation, environment and community development, and public works.

Property owners across Fulton County may see additional savings on their tax bills this fall.

Commissioners also voted to reduce the General Fund millage rate from 10.5 to 10.45.

“Today's decision to reduce the millage rate is a direct result of the good work of Fulton County's management team," said Vice Chairman Liz Hausmann. “We are moving in the right direction in offering relief for Fulton County taxpayers.”