Marietta Public Housing and the Section 8 Voucher System

Story by Annie Snead and Austin Smith

In the last decade, Marietta has seen major changes in its public housing system. Almost all major public housing projects have been demolished. So what happened to residents that lived there?

Check out this video to learn a little history about the projects, what the current housing is like, and what plans there are for former public housing residents.


Special thanks to the many people that helped make this project possible: Beth Sessoms, Raymond Buday, Orest Walker, Dawn Wilson, and Chiquita Board.

Cool Beans Coffee Roasters

Marietta Square: The servers behind the counter have full sleeve tattoos and gaged earrings.  Otis Redding is playing on the radio and is followed up by Mastodon’s new album Crack the Skye in its entirety.  The walls are decorated with landscape photographs, jewelry, and various postmodern art.  The western wall of windows feeds the room with sunlight, which permits a minimal amount of florescent pollution that is easy on the eyes.  Four people walk by with multi-colored hair and sit down at a tile covered, circular table and chat mildly for 30 minutes.  This place could double as a record store, but Cool Beans Coffee Roasters has a slightly different purpose: to serve the freshest coffee in Atlanta.

At Cool Beans Coffee Roasters, located at 31 Mill St. in Marietta Square, the people are as eclectic as the coffee beans. Your barista may look like your neighbor’s 19-year-old daughter or an ex-rock star’s roadie.  There is no dress code, and loitering is welcomed, but “attitude is everything………..we like to make this a chill atmosphere where you can just hang out, you know,” says Adam Cox, a 4-year veteran barista of Cool Beans.

Unlike most commercial coffee shops, this privately owned beanery roasts all of its coffee beans in-house in “Big Red,” a Sasa Samiac coffee roasting machine manufactured in France.  Beans are ordered raw from around the world and are roasted in the main area for all to see.  “We roast a new batch of beans two to three times a week, depending on the demand,” explains Jon Carp, a Cool Beans employee. “The process varies depending on the beans that we are cooking.  Different beans cook at different temperatures at different lengths of time.”

Another feature that separates Cool Beans from any other coffee shop is the coffee selection.  “The house blend changes daily, so the customer gets a different coffee experience every time they come in,” says Cox.  This means on Friday you could have the choice of Columbian, the decaf Ethiopian blend, or the iced coffee from Costa Rica; but on Saturday, the regular house blend would be Brazilian, the decaf from Peru, and the iced coffee from Kenya.

One of the biggest weekend draws for Cool Beans is that it hosts local musicians every Friday and Saturday night at 7pm.  “Anyone can sign up, but they have to do it way in advance because slots fill up quickly,” says Danielle Chapman, a newly hired employee.  In addition, all of the photographs, paintings and crafts made by local artists are priced and ready for purchase, without an expensive exhibit fee.

It seems that Cool Beans is one of the hottest spot on the Square.  With almost 20 years of experience, Cool Beans is one of the premier spots on Marietta Square.  Kevin George, a long-time customer, would vouch for that.  “I’ve been coming here for years, I love the environment and I love the people.”  As a customer-friendly environment that caters to people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds you can safely assume that Cool Beans Coffee Roasters will remain one of Marietta’s foremost attractions and gathering-spots in the future.


Marietta’s Nuclear Solution

Marietta, Ga. Marietta boasts one of the lowest tax rates of any town in Georgia.  At 6 percent, it is lower than the national average of 6.7 percent.  How are they able to do this?  It is partly due to their association with Municipality Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) Power.

Marietta, along with 48 other municipalities across Georgia, has invested in a low emission, cost effective power source-nuclear power.  In fact, according to Marietta city councilman Bill Bruton “the biggest [power supply] at this point is not coal but actually nuclear.” Currently, Georgia derives 24.7 percent of its electric power from nuclear sources, making nuclear power second to coal which provides 54.5 percent of the energy for the state.  With Georgia experiencing a 1.2 percent growth in gross state product over the past five years Steven M. Jackson, Vice President of Power Supply at MEAG Power stated, “We need the power.”

A city press release stated that Marietta will invest up to $405 million dollars over the next 40 years into the expansion of Plant Vogtle, located on the Georgia-South Carolina border in the town of Waynesborogh, Ga.  The project, approved in March of 2008, will be the first expansion in nuclear power approved and licensed in America since 1973.  In recent years, the two currently operating reactors have been operating at 90 percent capacity.  This next expansion will build 2 more reactors adjacent to the two currently operating reactors.  Both of the new reactors will be assembled in Japan and shipped to the United States.  But as the world watches the crisis at the Fukushimi plant due to unforeseen damage from a 8.9 scale earthquake off the mainland; and countries throughout Europe close down nuclear power operations, should America rethink its nuclear policy?

The residents of Marietta seem ambivalent to the further utilization of nuclear power and unlike the protests of the 1970s, people seem to be well settled at the thought of expanding our dependence on nuclear power. “We do not receive too many complaints about it on a local level,” according to Frank C. Crane, Director of Government and Corporate Affairs for MEAG Power.   Nicholas Parsons, a Marietta resident of 29 years said, “My thought is that whatever it is that they build now… going to be much safer, much more effective, and much more efficient than what they put in Japan in 1971.”  The questions that people seem to have concerned themselves with the most are concerning the financial impact the plant will have on their fellow residents.  Dewann Sturgis, a Marietta resident of 10 years wanted to know, “How many jobs will it produce?” These exact figures are unclear but will not likely provide noticeable employment in the Marietta community. What is certain is that Marietta citizens want the best financial deal possible.

MEAG is in complete agreement.  “We do what do for the economic benefit of our clients,” stated Crane. Residents like Parsons are worried that they will end up footing the bill for Plant Vogle’s expansion, although according to Georgia Power Company he already has.  As of Jan. 1, 2011 GPC raised its base rates 10 percent and added a $1.44 “nuclear rider” to pay for the Plant Vogtle Expansion.

Targeted in 2016 and 2017, industry leaders are looking forward to the new influx of emission-free, affordable power that Plant Vogtle’s reactor 3 & 4 will provide.