Surveillance image of the person of interest sought in arson of Las Margaritas.

A fire that gutted Las Margaritas restaurant on Cheshire Bridge Road is a case of arson, according to the Atlanta Fire Department. A surveillance photo of a “person of interest” in the case was released to the media on Aug. 17. The restaurant, a favorite of the LGBTQ+ community, has been in business for two decades. Anyone with information about the fire should call Georgia Arson Control at 1-800-282-5804. There’s a $10,000 reward on offer.

The Lion of the Confederacy monument at Oakland Cemetery.

The Atlanta City Council voted Aug. 16 to remove the controversial “Lion of the Confederacy” monument from Oakland Cemetery and place it in temporary storage. The monument by T.M. Brady was erected in 1894 to honor the unknown Confederate dead buried at the cemetery. The lion has been repeatedly vandalized, including being doused in red latex paint. The removal of the monument is the latest effort by the city to remove or re-contextualize monuments that glorify the “lost cause” of the Confederacy now considered to be racist relics of the Jim Crow era. The council will spend $33,156 to remove the sculpture, but when and if it will return is unknown.

The City of Atlanta has released an updated version of its COVID response plan based upon the importance and effectiveness of the COVID vaccines. The COVID-19 Resilience Plan will elevate its focus on vaccination rates and will inform the public about COVID-19 using a color-coded zone system. Atlanta’s COVID Resilience Plan will now track the current pandemic status by referring to red, yellow, green and blue zones. In addition to community vaccination rates, the metrics that inform these zones continue to be the seven-day averages for new COVID-19 cases, the percent positive rate for COVID-19 tests, and COVID-19 hospitalizations. Currently, Atlanta is in the yellow zone with key indicators having crossed into the red zone.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.