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Thursday things 

November 17 — Stay strong, the weekend is almost here. 


🌞 Sunny and cold today with morning lows of 31° and a high of 46°. Expect the same through the weekend. 

🗳️ Republicans will maintain a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, with Rep. Kevin McCarthy poised to become speaker. 

📍 A groundbreaking ceremony is set for today at 1 p.m. to officially mark construction on the massive Centennial Yards mixed-use development in Downtown.

🏳️‍🌈 Legislation to enshrine same-sex and interracial marriage cleared a key U.S. Senate vote on Thursday.

🤔 GPB News reporter Riley Bunch looks at what happens now after a judge overturned Georgia's strict abortion ban


🚨 Atlanta police arrested a man wanted in the murder of a 7-year-old girl at a family gathering at an apartment in the Old Fourth Ward in August.

🚒 Sandy Springs has replaced the contractor slated to build a new fire station due to rising costs.

🎨 Eight new art sculptures have been installed in Freedom Park

📚 Imani Perry's "South to America" and Tess Gunty's "The Rabbit Hutch" took top honors at last night's National Book Awards. Art Spiegelman, the author of “Maus,” was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.


⏱ Today's newsletter is  stories.

• Remembering Speaker David Ralston
• 100 years of worship 
• Goodbye to Tara

AND 
• Quick Bites

Have a good day,
Collin + Sammie
🚀 Do you use Slack at work? Tell your local colleagues about Rough Draft and share your personal referral link by cutting and pasting it into your company's #culture, #watercooler, or #atlanta channel! Your link is <<RH_REFLINK>> 
Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder
1. House Speaker David Ralston dies

🎗️ David Ralston, who served as speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives for more than 20 years, has died.

Ralston, 68, a Republican from Blue Ridge, announced earlier this month he was not seeking another term as speaker to deal with a “health challenge which has arisen recently.” State Rep. Jon Burns of Newington was nominated by state House Republicans on Nov. 14 to become the next House speaker.

Ralston played a critical role in the last legislative session in killing legislation to allow Buckhead residents to vote on whether or not they wanted to break off from Atlanta and create their own city.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in a statement.

“We were aligned on many issues that affected the lives of Atlantans. And when we were not, I could always count on the Speaker to be open to differing points of view,” Dickens said.

“He and I shared a commitment to drawing circles of inclusion, rather than lines of exclusion, even when it meant crossing party lines,” Dickens added. “Speaker Ralston was a wise and fair leader, whose love for Georgia was immense. He was a valued and vocal partner for us as we fought to keep Atlanta whole. And he is leaving some mighty big shoes to fill under the Gold Dome.

“On behalf of the City of Atlanta, I offer my condolences to his loved ones. Rest easy, my friend.”

➡ Read Dyana Bagby's full story here.
2. Virginia-Highland Church celebrates 100 years


The exterior walls of Virginia-Highland Church hold messages that immediately separate this place of worship from most of its Atlanta peers. One sign beautifully draped in the colors of the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag reads “A Just World For All,” while another reads in part, “At This Church, We Believe Black Lives Matter.”

Between those signs, sits a multi-colored piano with a popular quote from civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” The piano is casually played by neighborhood children and adults throughout the day, said Jeff Ayers, director of worship for the church since 1995. “They drop by and play it all the time.” 

In the sanctuary, there is another sign: “Virginia-Highland Church, an Inclusive Community of Faith.”  And that is how Ayers, Pastor Matt Laney, and the church leaders want it.

“One hundred years means we’ve survived change,” Ayers said with a broad smile. “We have lost a lot of intown churches in the last decade.”


➡️ Read more about this milestone here. 

📚 Rough Draft is a proud sponsor of tonight's Book Festival of the MJCCA. Deb Perelman, author of "Smitten Kitchen Keepers" is in conversation with Cynthia Graubart, James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Author. Tickets are sold out but may be available at the door. Contact the MJCCA for more information
PARTNER MESSAGE
3. Remembering the Tara Theatre


📽️ With the closing of Atlanta’s Tara Theatre on Nov. 10, an era has come to an end. 

After more than 50 years, a Regal Cinemas spokesperson confirmed the closure of the Tara, which was first opened in 1968 by Loew’s Theatres, and named after the fictional plantation from “Gone With the Wind” (Loew’s also operated long-gone Twelve Oaks Theatre in what is now Plaza Fiesta).

Years later, Atlanta arthouse legend George LeFont bought the theater, and the cinema transferred ownership many times over the years before landing with Regal. 

Now, members of Atlanta’s independent theater community are in mourning. From AJFF Executive and Artistic Director Kenny Blank to Plaza Theatre owner Christopher Escobar, to members of a local film group who met at the Tara every Tuesday – everyone has a story. 

“We tried to keep this theater alive,” said Carol Wien, who created a film group from members of 
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Emory, who used the Tara as their meeting ground. “I guess we were naive in thinking that we alone could save it.” 


➡️ To read more about Tara, click here. 

4. Quick Bites

🍻 Head over to Red’s Beer Garden next Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 22 and 23) to taste special holiday beers from self-serve coolers.

🇵🇭 Estrellita (pictured), the only full-service Filipino restaurant in Atlanta, is launching a last-ditch effort to remain at its Grant Park location after having been denied pandemic relief.

🍷 Atlantans voted for the city to begin selling alcohol at 11 a.m. rather than the current 12:30 p.m., a measure which will take effect in 2023.

🍾 Old Fourth Ward’s Venkman’s is closing on Nov. 28, but there are plans for it to return as part of a new development by New City Properties.

🌯 Chipotle is opening another location in Dunwoody, this one featuring a “Chipotlane,” a drive-thru pickup lane for digital orders.

🍖 On Tuesday, Marietta welcomed Cozy Coop, a new fast-food, fried chicken restaurant that emphasizes affordability, fresh ingredients, and re-imagined Southern staples.

🍗 Raising Cane’s, a restaurant specializing in chicken fingers, is planning ten locations in the metro Atlanta area, with the first Georgia location opening in Dacula.

🇮🇳 The fast-casual Indian restaurant Sankranti Indian Kitchen has filed a permit to open a location in Midtown’s Tech Square.

🧆 Bibi, the Persian grab-and-go concept from Delbar, is set to open at Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall later this month.

🍦 Next year, Aiskrimu, an ice cream shop including vegan options, will open at The Point at Cascade in Cascade Heights.

🍣 Omakase Table, a new restaurant serving multiple-course sushi meals, is opening on West Marietta Street in Atlanta's westside. Fresh fish is flown in from Japan weekly. 
😋 Hungry for more food news? Side Dish is our weekly dining newsletter that comes out every Thursday at 4 p.m. Subscribe here. 
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