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A wet Wednesday

December 29 — A little more than two days away from a new calendar year, we are almost two years into a global pandemic. There are more Covid cases than ever, which has prompted Emory University to announce that spring semester classes will start virtually, and Governor Brian Kemp to enlist the National Guard at testing sites and hospitals.

➡ More on Omicron's impact on New Year's Eve events below.  

🌧️ Warm temperatures with a pretty good chance of storms today. The high will be 68°. It will be a very wet end to 2021.

🌡️ Weather whiplash: Kodiak, Alaska was 67° on Monday, shattering records by 20 degrees. Oregon and Washington are experiencing extreme cold and snow.    

📈 You know what else is dizzying? Housing prices.

Yesterday's S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index shows that prices increased 19% nationally in a single year. Atlanta outpaced the national average with a 21.3% increase, which reflects slowing growth, although that is little solace to first-time home buyers.

This morning, we have reporting on how local real estate folks see the Intown Atlanta market faring. Amy will have her real estate forecast on other metro markets in the coming days. 

➡ All of our 2022 prediction pieces are compiled on this page.
📸 Our last IG shout out of 2021 goes to John Madden via Jermaine Dupri.

Madden, the legendary NFL coach and broadcaster, died yesterday. He was 85. As Dupri points out in his post, Madden's eponymous video game was a boost for fellow Atlanta music royalty Ludacris in 2000.


🕖 Today's Rough Draft is  stories 

• New Year's plans? (Emphasis on the question mark)
• Women + Wine: Make your new year sparkle

AND
• Dunwoody: Year in Review
• Brookhaven: Year in Review

Have a great day and we'll see you on Friday!
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1. Where to ring in the New Year. Or not.

The Omicron variant has ruined the Peach Drop, the ASO at City Springs, Panic at the Fox, and the Indigo Girls at Symphony Hall. In fact, at this point, most of Atlanta's New Year's Eve events have been called off.

🎉 If going out on NYE is a non-negotiable for you, here are some spots that are (as of Wednesday morning) open:

🏈 Illuminarium (above) is hosting Atlanta's premier New Year’s Eve party. Georgia v. Michigan will be on the biggest screens in town, and you can enjoy food and drinks, watch the Times Square ball drop, and dance the night away with a live DJ, and a midnight champagne toast.

🎛️ Kashii & DJ Smiles keep MJQ’s Main Room moving with an eclectic mix of forward-thinking rhythms, while Taradactyl spins her blend of classic pop music from throughout the decades for another round of her popular Heartbeeps
.

🌀 Electronic dance music innovator MERSIVE kicks off a three-night stand at Terminal West (Dec. 31 - Jan. 2).

🎸 Sevendust w/ Plush @ Masquerade (Heaven).

💋 New Year, Who Dis? Feat. DJ sets by Elise, Leonce, Jsport, and Zaida with drag performances by TAYLOR ALXNDR, JayBella, Bankz, Dotte Com, and SZN ALXNDR @ Masquerade (Hell).


🔊 Theory feat. Thrice Groove, Cleotrvppv, Brixla, Allurr, Devinci the Great, and Empress Rah @ Aisle 5.

ALSO 🏈

🍑 Tomorrow at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Pittsburgh faces off against Michigan State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.
2. Make it sparkling wine time

🍾 Effervescent wines bring about joy, whether you’re at a wedding, celebrating New Year's Eve, or just have a night off — bubbles evoke a sense of fun and festivity.

In their most recent column, our Women + Wine colleagues Sarah Pierre and Katie Rice sat down with two wildly knowledgeable wine professionals – Karen Ulrich, Director of National Sales for T. Edwards Imports, and Emily Towe, co-owner and co-winemaker at J. Brix winery in California.

Karen summed up the love for sparkling perfectly: “It’s zippy! It dances on the tongue, and sends a shimmer through my body. It’s an all-encompassing experience. Texture, evolving aromas, and a lingering pallete. It’s transcendent.”

From prosecco to Champagne, there are many types of sparkling wines, and it can get confusing. In this month’s column, Pierre and Rice offer their insights.
3. What made news in Dunwoody this year

🛹 This year, Dunwoody readers were interested in burgers, new restaurants, and skateboarders, to name a few. Sammie Purcell compiled the most popular stories from our #Dunwoody coverage:

 Food & Wine magazine named Dunwoody NFA Burger the "Best in Georgia."

 Bar(n), a new craft wine, beer, and whiskey bar opened in the new entertainment complex in Dunwoody Village this year. Friend of the Draft David Abes is at the helm.

Dunwoody got two new open-container districts in 2021, one at the existing Ashford Lane Shopping Center and one at the future High Street development.

 “Skateboard Girl Army” (above), a club for girl skateboarders, took over Brook Run Skate Park.

Construction for Dunwoody’s new $2 billion mixed-use High Street project.


Click here to check out more of the top stories of the year.
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4. And in Brookhaven

🗞️ Throughout 2021, #Brookhaven readers gravitated toward social justice, parks, and a loose cat. 🐾

Here are five of the most read stories this year, as compiled by Sammie.


 A wildcat escape made headlines in Brookhaven this year, with officials saying that a lack of following protocol delayed the eventual capture of the illegally owned animal.

Some members of Brookhaven’s Social Justice, Race, and Equity Commission said they believed Brookhaven had a racial caste system, and talked about how the city can address it.

The Brookhaven City Council approved a conceptual design for a new pedestrian bridge over North Druid Hills Rd. near the intersection with Tullie Dr.

Brookhaven parents worried that a new playground at Murphey Candler Park would not be safe enough for very young children.

Arthur Blank (above), owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, first opened a stuttering center at the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 with a $20 million gift. Now, he has expanded the reach of the operation with a new stuttering center in Executive Park.

➡ Check out more of the top stories of the year over on our Brookhaven Reporter site.
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