‘Atlanta’ Category

 

That Virus Thingy

September 1, 2020, Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Six months have passed since we really started counting “that virus thingy.” I check the US stats on the Centers for Disease Control website every week; so far no US state or territory has had a week go by with NO new cases. Except for American Samoa, bless their peaceful, well-isolated hearts. Today I took a worldwide look – the World Health Organization has an excellent site and really good advice. It’s vitally important to track what is going on in our own neighborhood, but I believe it is equally important to track what is happening beyond our borders. Compare – how are they managing? How are we, in the US?

As of the beginning of September, 2020, the World Health Organization shows 25,541,380 cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide; 852,000 deaths. If we want to compare that death count with the population of cities of equal size – we could say that EVERYBODY in Indianapolis, Indiana is dead now. Or, Seattle, Washington. Dead. No living, breathing persons left in those cities. When you look at it THAT way, it seems like a lot of deaths, doesn’t it? Other cities in the US that have populations in the 800,000 range are Charlotte, North Carolina; San Francisco, California, Columbus, Ohio; Forth Worth, Texas.  Imagine them gone! Imagine a dystopian horror tale, such as Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars (2012); a world where the unexpected happened – a flu pandemic struck – and life on the planet had to adjust to “what is.” While I’m a believer in Positive Thinking, I’m also a believer in being well-informed. And approaching life in ways that are reasonable, and not based on impatience to “get back to normal, now!” Like, opening schools.  Sure, kids are getting a sucky education right now. Sure, parents are sick and tired of having to manage and monitor their children’s schooling from home.  Sure – well the issue is ablaze in arguments and accusations and vastly different proposals. Politics involved. What is the best solution? Start with facts.

Here are the numbers broken down by sections of the world, and then the US.

World Health Organization Statistics – Number of Cases Reported Worldwide as of September 1, 2020

  • Americas – 13,469,747
  • SE Asia – 4,318,281
  • Europe – 4,225,328
  • Eastern Mediterranean – 1,939,204
  • Africa – 1,056,120
  • Western Pacific – 501,959
  • TOTAL WORLDWIDE – 25,541,380

Of the Americas, that’s both North and South, let’s look at what is happening just in the United States. We’ve got the most cases of any American country — 6,004,443 COVID-19 cases reported to date; 183,050 deaths from the virus. That “death” total kills off everybody in Little Rock, just about! The US numbers are big, and continue to get bigger. Over the next month, I’ll be looking at what other countries in the world are doing to combat a pandemic that is “sure ‘nough” real, and how they are keeping their citizens safe.

Meanwhile, wash your hands, keep your chin up (with MASK intact!), and if you happen to live in any of the states below, get in touch with your governor because your state is leading the pack this week, an honor you don’t want.

US States With Highest Percent of Population Diagnosed With COVID-19 as of September 1

  1. Louisiana – 3.2%, Governor John Bel Edwards, Democrat
  2. Florida – 2.87%, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  3. Mississippi – 2.81%, Governor Jonathon Tate Reeves, Republican
  4. Arizona – 2.77%, Governor Douglas Anthony Ducey, Republican
  5. Alabama – 2.57%, Governor Kay Ellen Ivey, Republican

US States With Greatest  Numbers of COVID-19  Cases Diagnosed as of September 1

  1. California – 704,485, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom, Democrat
  2. Florida – 616,629, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  3. Texas – 612,969, Governor Gregory Wayne Abbott, Republican
  4. New York – 435,783, Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo, Democrat
  5. Georgia – 270,471, Governor Brian Porter Kemp, Republican

US States With Most New Cases Diagnosed in One Week as of September 1

  1. California – 40,416, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom, Democrat
  2. Texas – 35,432, Governor Gregory Wayne Abbott, Republican
  3. Florida – 22,342, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  4. Georgia – 16,522, Governor Brian Porter Kemp, Republican
  5. Illinois – 15,130, Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker, Democrat

John Bel Edwards, LA

Ron DeSantis, FL

Tate Reeves, MS

Doug Ducey, AZ

Kay Ivey, AL

Andrew Cuomo, NY

Brian Kemp, GA

Gavin Newsom, CA

Greg Abbott, TX

J B Pritzker, IL

 
 
 

Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmatic

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Do you know how many students attended public schools in the United States in the 2019-2020 school year? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/, about  50.8 million – 35.5 million in prekindergarten to grade 8, and 15.3 million in grades 9-12.

About 3.7 million students graduated from high school this spring, in the strangest ending to a school year anyone can recall. I’ve heard stories from my parents of “depression years” and school schedules revolving around “cotton-picking time.” My Dad was double-promoted in high school during hard times and wound up graduating at age 16. “Daddy had been a school teacher, and he made sure I got my studies done first. So I’d go to classes in the morning and then put in a crop in the afternoon,” he told. My Mom was dealt a reverse blow – her father held her back for two of her school years; once due to a lengthy illness and once when she simply needed to help support the family. My grandfather was a carpenter, and she dug clay from the riverbank to make bricks. But both parents persevered. They made it, despite the odds.

This year’s high schoolers were hit with an unexpected, unpredictable crisis along about March. In a flurry of fears and fumbles, as the COVID-19 virus began to creep across the country, schools shifted to stay-at-home, online classes. The methods varied from state to state, even within school districts. “Let’s stay home till this passes,” was Plan 1.

It didn’t pass. Virus cases continued to go up and state governors were tasked with issuing mandates to protect their citizens. What a thoroughly depressing “rock and a hard place” to be between. We can’t let 3.5 million kids miss a senior year! But also, we can’t let 50.8 million kids sit side by side in a classroom when the danger of illness, or death, is entirely possible.

So what to do?

You know what happened, it’s past now. My two high-school-senior-grandchildren toughed it out, sitting at home with their laptops; certain hours for online classtime and individual study. Yes, you can STUDY at home (that’s normally called “homework”) but how the heck do you complete a welding class online? They missed the senior prom, the cross-country meets, the camaraderie with school chums. It all went flat.

I applaud the effort their school officials made to create “virtual graduation ceremonies” so they did get to WEAR those caps and gowns; they did get photographed with smiling faces and feted with “immediate-family-at-home parties.” And cake, of course, cake. I’ve heard stories from friends in different parts of the country that told of similar, and some very unusual, solutions for “how to make it SPECIAL for the Class of 2020.”

Life goes on, and the virus isn’t letting up as the fall “school year” fast approaches. The daily news is mostly daily arguments and accusations; we MUST do this; we CANNOT do that. The impact of school closures extends far beyond “educational concerns” or “health concerns.” Financial, emotional, practical, common-sense issues are topsy-turvy; our structured way of life is no longer certain of its footings.

I analyze COVID-19 cases every day on the CDC site; today’s totals are 2,982,900 with 145,663 deaths so far in our 50 states, the District of Columbia, and our US territories.

Top Ten List

Sometimes, I noted, it isn’t good to make the TOP TEN LIST. Today, the ten US states dealing with the highest sheer numbers of COVID-19 cases are:

  1. 399,925: New York. Capital City Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat
  2. 277,724: California. Capital City Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom, Democrat
  3. 210,594: Florida. Capital City Tallahassee, Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican
  4. 210,585: Texas. Capital City Austin, Governor Greg Abbott, Republican
  5. 173,878: New Jersey. Capital City Trenton, Governor Phil Murphy, Democrat
  6. 149,574: Illinois. Capital City Springfield, Governor J B Pritzker, Democrat
  7. 110,338: Massachusetts. Capital City Boston, Governor Charlie Baker, Republican
  8. 105,094: Arizona. Capital City Phoenix, Governor Doug Ducey, Republican
  9. 100,470: Georgia. Capital City Atlanta, Governor Brian Kemp, Republican
  10. 92,148: Pennsylvania. Capital City Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf, Democrat

Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Phil Murphy, J B Pritzker, Charlie Baker, Doug Ducey, Brian Kemp, and Tom Wolf, governors of these hardest-hit states, have some tough decisions ahead. So do the governors, and health departments, and school boards, of ALL our states and territories.

There are more than 50 million children out there whose future rocks, and rolls, on the decisions you make.

Tomorrow: Colleges

 

 
 
 

Song of the South

11.Sam Arriving AtlantaLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas –July was Sam Time. Sam is my youngest grandchild, born and growing up in the Pacific Northwest. He went to Juneau with me on the Journey back in 2012 (read all about it in Juneau) where we went whale-watching and dog-sledding and he got to know a capital city up and down. He flew into Little Rock last summer and spent three weeks with me in Arkansas, where we made a quick-trip into Oklahoma and Texas. But I figured it was time this boy had a bona fide real-time southern experience and learned about his roots. After all, he was teetering on the cusp of teenhood, and you know how fast that goes. I planned a full-fledged Journey through the south, worthy of a Fodor review.

I met Sam’s plane in Atlanta. His “unaccompanied minor” status required a direct flight, and we were headed for Gatlinburg anyhow, so that made sense. Did you know that Hartsfield International in Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world? 95 million passengers annually, coming into 7 terminals, exiting through 201 gates. Sam emerged through Alaska’s Gate D3 (at the far end of nowhere), a little taller than last year and wearing a Seattle Seahawks shirt. “Welcome to Atlanta, home of the Braves!” I grinned. And so began Sam’s Song of the South, Scott1stSteps66subtitled “Where Your Dad Grew Up.” I’d filled a notebook with pictures of family members he’d meet, and details about each stop we’d make. “First stop tomorrow is South Carolina,” I explained in our Atlanta motel room that night, “Ware Shoals, where we were living when your Dad was born.” I had a picture of his Dad taking his first steps, in our kitchen there on Dairy Street. My plan was to drive by and show him the house. You won’t believe how that turned out. » read more

 
 
 

An Invite From DAR

1 DAR Presentation ArkadelphiaLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – I was invited by Charlotte Jeffers, Regent of the Arkadelphia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, to speak at their April 14 meeting. “Do you want me to talk about the history of the capital cities, or my travel experiences?” I asked. “What will everyone be most interested in?” “We are interested in everything,” was the reply, so I decided to focus on our likeminded objectives, which sent me to the DAR national website.

I learned that DAR was founded October 11, 1890 and incorporated in 1896 by an Act of Congress. Objectives are listed as Historical, Educational, and Patriotic, so I honed in on the “educational” factor, since that is a primary objective of Capital Cities USA. For DAR, “to promote…institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion.” For Capital Cities USA, “to build community, character and citizenship through humanities education.” From Objectives to Methodology explains the Journey Across America: Item 1 – to assess civic, community and historic resources in the 50 capital cities of the United States and their capitol buildings by gathering data through on-site visits to each capitol and capital city. In a nutshell!

I began my talk with bottom-line statistics – departed February 28, 2012 and concluded December 18, 2013 for a total of 659 days. Traveled 31,710 miles and spent time in 50 state capitols and the national capitol in DC. Shared neighborhoods with 12,947,450 people as I lived two weeks in each capital city. (With my two cats, no less.) I shared a map showing the 75 overnight stops I made before settling down in Arkadelphia, and then moved into story telling.

“What learning opportunities did I find in the capitols?” I focused on five that were exceptional:
• Austin, Texas – Most Extensive Visitor Services
• Boise, Idaho – Most Inspiring Kids Tour
• Atlanta, Georgia – Tie With Springfield, Illinois as Most Welcoming
• Springfield, Illinois – Tie with Atlanta, Georgia as Most Welcoming
• Montpelier, Vermont – Most Intimate & Inviting, Best Volunteer Program, Most Meticulous Restoration

» read more

 
 
 

Atlanta Fried And Pied

10 Dalai Lama smilingLinda Burton posting from Atlanta, Georgia – Fried chicken! When I spotted the picture of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet smiling down at me from the foyer walls in Mary Mac’s Tea Room, I had to ask, “What did he eat for lunch?” “Marian waited on him that day,” was the answer, “and she says he ordered fried chicken.” Turns out the Dalai Lama comes to Atlanta often; he is a Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University; and it also turns out he isn’t a vegetarian, as many Buddhists are. He grew up in a meat-eating family but converted to vegetarianism while in India; his doctors however ordered him to eat meat on alternating days after he became weak. “Richard Gere did stick to vegetables that day,” my informer continued. “But I don’t know which ones.” Richard had plenty of choices; I counted 44 items under Fresh Vegetables and Sides on the menu, from Applesauce to Whipped Potatoes; 25 of them were starred as Vegetarian Friendly. Mary Mac’s Tea Room, dubbed Atlanta’s Dining Room, has been feeding Atlantans and world-famous visitors since Mary MacKenzie opened back in 1945. It served classic southern food back then, and that’s what it serves today; every morning somebody is back there in the kitchen shucking bushels of corn, and hand snapping the green beans. If it’s your first visit to 10 pot likkerMary Mac’s, you are offered a complimentary bowl of pot likker with cracklin’ cornbread on the side; pot likker, in case you’ve never heard of it, is the juice you get when you cook up a mess of collard greens; it’s soupy and salty with just a taste of ham. If you don’t know about collard greens, and fried green tomatoes, and Red Mule grits, and sweet potato pie, well, let me fill you in. Mary Mac’s may be the oldest southern-cooking spot in town, but those items are standard fare almost anywhere you go around here, with or without a twist. » read more

 
 
 

But I Tell You What

06 shiny domeLinda Burton posting from Atlanta, Georgia – The paint is peeling and the steps are worn. Aside from the numerous oil portraits propped on handsome brass supports, it’s rather plain inside, confusing expectations. After all, the Georgia State Capitol has a dome of shimmering gold, and sits in the middle of high-rise urban glitterati and international trade. But I tell you what, there was nothing plain about what was going on inside today. This old house was alive with people; the Georgia Assembly was hot and heavy into its 40-day session; school buses from all over the state provided a steady stream of students ready for a first-hand look at government in action; side rooms and hallways housed various-agenda groups; cables and cameras were strung all over 06 posing girlsthe place, recording events of the day; and everywhere, cell-phone photos captured the moment. Everyone but me was wearing a badge or a bit of apparel stating purpose – I rode the elevator with Senator Gloria Butler, according to her badge, and chatted in the halls with award-winning students from Skills USA. I was greeted in the Governor’s Office by friendly staff, who invited me to sign the guest book and explained that the artwork is changed frequently 06 governor officeto give exposure to as many Georgia artists as possible. Yes, the Governor’s Office, and that of the Secretary of State, are right by the front door, with glass hallway windows giving everyone who enters the building a glimpse inside. This 1889 building was constructed to highlight the democratic ideal of “transparency in government;” its upper floors are a surround-space of clear glass windows that flood the building with light; glass tiles in the rotunda floor originally allowed light to continue down to the basement area. » read more

 
 
 

Pass And Go

03 atlanta citypassLinda Burton posting from Atlanta, Georgia – Buy a pass that’s good for nine days. Go to five of Atlanta’s top seven favorite spots. You can do that with Atlanta CityPass, a “bundle” of things to do; the same thing is offered in the capital city of Boston, and in other large cities around the country such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. It’s nice to get the seriously discounted ticket prices, and it’s nice, if you’re a quick-stop tourist, to have suggestions that lead you to places unique to a city, like the Statue of Liberty, or the Space Needle. In Atlanta, CityPass choices include Atlanta History Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Georgia Aquarium, High Museum of Art, Inside CNN Tours, World of Coca-Cola, and Zoo Atlanta. I’ve been to these fabulous places on previous visits to Atlanta, and I whole-heartedly vouch for their high-interest factor, but seeing them “bundled” got me thinking about why they are so popular, how they impact the everyday lives of Atlanta residents, and who was responsible for their creation. Behind every great thing is somebody’s gem of an idea. And behind every thriving community lies the support of the people who live there, and love it. » read more

 
 
 

Roswell Roots

01 roots logoLinda Burton posting from Atlanta, Georgia – February is Black History Month. A check of city calendars across the country reveals concerts, lectures, and special events scheduled from Annapolis, Maryland to Salem, Oregon, and all points between. I’m in Atlanta now, so I decided to head for Roswell, a community 20 miles to the north, to learn about Roswell Roots, the largest and most comprehensive celebration of African American history and culture in the state of Georgia. Roswell is known for its focus on history; it is an outstanding example of what a city can do for preservation, with the now-city-owned “Trilogy” of Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, and Smith Plantation open to the public year-round. Barrington Hall (1842) sits on 7 acres in downtown Historic Roswell; known as one of metro Atlanta’s “Most Beautiful Homes” it offers visitors a glimpse of the only antebellum garden in the area, and numerous original outbuildings. At Smith Plantation (1845) visitors can see the original 01 Bulloch Hall Cfarmhouse and ten original outbuildings, once part of a 300-acre cotton farm. Bulloch Hall (1839) has a unique claim to fame – it was the childhood home of Martha “Mittie” Bulloch, whose wedding to Theodore Roosevelt Sr took place in the front parlor in 1853; Mittie became mother to Teddy Roosevelt (26th President, 1901-1909) and grandmother to Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady 1933-1945). This month, however, the emphasis at Bulloch (photo right), and elsewhere in Roswell, is Roswell Roots. » read more