Feature Story: New Renaissance Era

Didn’t the Renaissance Era end in the 1700’s? Well according to Cyrus Speaks, the Renaissance Age is just beginning. The Renaissance Atlanta is a fresh, upbeat, contemporary yet modernistic event inviting all talents and gifts. “The Ren” is Christian based, but it welcomes anyone who is a follower or performer of the arts and is seeking to mingle with individuals who would rather listen to poetry than go partying on a Friday night. The different flairs staged are singers, actors/actresses, spoken-word artists, inspirational speakers, instrumentalists and acoustics. The Renaissance Atlanta occurs the second Friday of each month on the second level of the Epicenter in Austell, Georgia. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and close at 10:30 p.m., giving the audience more than enough time to enjoy each performance while meeting fellow originators. Since this event is Christian based, they require each person to donate a can good, blanket, or coat prior to entrance, yet the more donations the less the ticket cost. The regular fee is a seven-dollar cover charge at the door or a five-dollar cover charge including a donation listed above. Cyrus Speaks is the founder and creator of this event along with co-founder Winston Mayo and huge supportive team behind them.

When asked why they both decided to generate The Renaissance of Atlanta, Mr. Speaks conveys about the enormous amount of talent there is in the city of Atlanta and wanted to give a platform that would showcase each artist’s skills and gifts. Mr. Mayo added how this event is another alternative for Christians and others who still want to have fun and enjoy themselves on a Friday night have the opportunity and the pleasure of doing so without resorting to activities such as drinking, club-hopping, or an environment where they feel uncomfortable around. Cyrus says he is shocked by the turnout of the event and is amazed at how they are able to afford the rental space of the Epi Center where it is held. He says the donation each customer makes goes toward different charities, food banks and shelters, but the cover charge fees paid to get into “The Ren” goes toward the rental costs. One of the main reasons they are able to afford the necessities sustaining the event and making The Renaissance Atlanta possible.

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What makes “The Ren” stands out among other artistic events are their different approaches and techniques to emphasize the importance of the event and the productions of their artists. The first performer who blessed the stage concurs with this statement. Waneisha Spencer, 31 years old, an alumni of the University of South Florida performed for the first time at The Renaissance Atlanta stirring a big applause from the audience with her immaculate voice and powerful words. She also attends other creative events such as Poetic Collage, but says “The Ren” is different because she is allowed to share her poetry for ministry having an impact on the crowd and not for selfish gain. Another spoken-word artist who received a big uproar from the crowd is Nehemiah Grant, 26 years old, a regular attendee of “The Ren” says, “I love attending these events because of the good vibe and good energy.”

What all of these artists have in common are the love of God. Many of these gifted performers share the messages and the testimonies of Jesus Christ, helping others by sharing their life experiences, trials and tribulations giving all attribution to God and their Savior Christ. Yet, all people with different beliefs are still welcomed and will not be turned away. Their principle they live by is that everyone in the world is connected some way some how.

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Feature Story: Rezoning in Cobb County

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Photo Credited To: Lisa George / WABE News

 February 10th, 2016 a city council meeting was held in Marietta City Hall at 7p.m. Wednesday evening. The meeting was lead by a prayer from Mayor Tumlin following The Pledge of Allegiance. During this meeting, a discussion of rezoning the property of First Christian Church and the property of Cary Mccallum were examined. After the council sympathized with 1st lady Pamela Commorato about not having enough funds to pay for fixtures at the church, a heated debate broke out between councilman Coleman and Fleming. Before the boil burst, a proposal introduced by council for the renaming of Franklin Road was acquiesced.

The motion approved to rename Franklin Road in Marietta, Ga to Franklin Gateway was finalized by Mayor Tumlin the other 7 councilman. However, Blair Oaks, co-director of a boys soccer team of Marquis Place Apartments, opposed to this decision. He quoted, “ The apartment complexes on Franklin Road were demolished before a public hearing was held and the city in my opinion also failed to advertise the availability of these apartments for redevelopment and a R.A.P before they ended the lease agreement with the soccer club as required by law.” City Councilman Anthony Coleman looked confused and asked Mayor Tumlin if this was indeed required by law and Mayor Tumlin replied, “ No, it is not required by law. The fact it might take me 20 minutes to point out incorrect facts made in this statement.” The entire room let out an outburst of laughter. A denial of claim was filed of Mr. Oaks and the motion was denied.

Next up to the podium was Attorney Lee Culler, representing First Lady Pamela Commorato of First Christian Church. He explained the affliction to the public and there was no agreement reached between the two parties of the church and the elderly neighbors. His opening statement began with, “ This a church trying to do the right thing.” After he made his opening statement Mrs. Commorato was called up to the podium to speak in front of all 12 council members and the mayor. She stated,” We are here to request that you do approve our resummoning with all the stipulations except one.” The sixth stipulation is: Outside freezer shall be enclosed by a wooden structure. Since the last zoning meeting on January 13th, 2016, the church has followed the stipulations and remained in code, however the fence required to be placed between the two properties comes to the price of $1500 and the replacement of the roof which comes to $1200. Mrs. Commorato asked for a total of two years to pay for these expenses, explaining that the church and pantry they own are a non-profit and receive majority of their donations from the community. Her husband intervened, Pastor Smith, quoting, “ We have been here for 20 years. We started off with 120 members and now only have 40 members. We are willing to meet all the stipulations but our funds are limited. We try to be a good neighbor, but we try to help the community also.” Drayton Baker, who represents his in-laws living beside the church states he is not here to fight, but to compromise. He quotes, “ I’m tired of beating a dead horse.” He and his in-laws are asking that an 8-foot fence is built, First Christian Church repair their roof in one year and for the hours of operations to be pushed to a later time around 11a.m. Mrs. Commorato told the council, “We can’t afford to fix the roof in a year. We use the money out of our pockets to feed the community, we can’t afford it.” One of the women in the room shook her head in an agreeing manner and the council sympathized with Mrs. Commorato. They decided to extend her time for two years in order to fix the roof. Councilman Chalfant stated, “ I wish we could come up with a solution to make both parties happy.” After hearing both sides, the councilman approved 7-0-0 to remove #6 stipulation of the agenda and seven votes agreeing to motion zoning for the church.

The last public hearing was Carry Mccallum who owns a niche business particularly in the grass department and is requesting a rezoning of his property. He tells the court about himself and how small his company is a seasonal business, therefore his income is very limited. When speaking in front of the council, his wife had to come up and translate to him what they were saying due to Mr. Mccallum’s tinnitus. After his statement councilman Coleman asked him to explain why he has been operating a business out of a residential property without a license. Mccallum claimed a councilman said he was fine and did not need a license and councilman Coleman was upset that Mr. Mccallum was not cited. Councilman Stuart Fleming decided to motion for the rezoning of Mccallum’s property reaching for the button until councilman Coleman yelled, “No!” startling everyone in the room. The two councilmen were debating back for a total of three minutes, ending with Fleming saying, “ Don’t tell me what to do.” with a condescending sneer on his face. Coleman pounded his hand on the table then filed a substitute motion to deny, failing at a vote of 1-5-1, therefore Mr. Mccallum’s property request was approved for rezoning. Councilman Fleming looked at councilman Coleman and the room with a smug on his face. After the city council meeting was over, Mr. Mccallum was asked how he felt about the two councilmen going at it. He laughed it off by saying,” It was nerving, but I’m glad councilman Fleming took my word for it.”

Officer Ramirez was interviewed on what he thought about the issue of rezoning one’s property. He replied, “Rezoning in Marietta is more of a city council’s headache than issue.”