Surprise deaths, suspicious deaths and deaths that at least seemed like they could have been avoided dominated the Atlanta news scene this past year – and that doesn’t even include the pall that was cast over downtown-based Braves fans when they learned the beloved baseball franchise planned to move a few miles up I-75.
Let’s take a look back:
1. The death of Kendrick Johnson – the Valdosta 17-year-old who reportedly died of suffocation when he tried to retrieve his tennis shoes from a wrestling mat – is protested on the steps of the state capitol; and is currently being investigated by federal authorities.
2. The Atlanta Falcons receive approval to leave the Georgia Dome, and relocate into a new $1 billion stadium…
3. Meanwhile local historic churches – Friendship Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church – accept millions in payment to make way for the Falcons’ new home.
4. Some three months later, the Atlanta Braves announce (surprisingly) that it is leaving its downtown Atlanta Turner Field home for a new Cobb County location.
5. In March a grand jury indicts the Atlanta Public School‘s onetime superintendent and 34 other educators in the CRCT cheating scandal, and the trials begin.
6. Evelyn Lowery passes away in September after the 88-year-old wife of Presidential Medal of Honor Recipient Joseph Lowery – and civil rights force in her own right – suffered a stroke.
7. Bishop and broadcast trailblazer W. Ron Sailor, Sr. dies in October, at 61.
8. Chris Kelly – one half of the pioneering Atlanta rap duo Kris Kross –
is found dead, at 34, of a drug overdose in May.
9. Nearby Savannah’s own Paula Deen admits to using “the N word” in the past, and endures public and economic backlash.