Famed rock musician Dave Matthews came to Cobb to perform a free solo acoustic set in support of Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock at the Coca-Cola Roxy Monday night, eight days out from the Senate runoff election.
“Talk to somebody you know who’s like ‘I don’t care’ and tell them: vote. Unless they’re going to vote for that guy from Texas,” Matthews said between songs.
That was a reference to Warnock’s opponent, Republican Herschel Walker, who lived in the Lone Star State for many years after his Georgia upbringing, before moving back to run for Senate.
Staff at the venue, located in the Battery Atlanta, said the headcount was around 1,200 people.
The crowd sang along to songs such as “So Damn Lucky” and “Ants Marching.”
Before the music kicked off, Cobb Commissioner Jerica Richardson, whose district includes Cumberland, spoke alongside Raymond Goslow, the Kennesaw State University graduate who was runner up in the most recent “Jeopardy!” College National Championship.
“Just like Raphael Warnock made a second place finisher of his opponent two years ago, he’s going to do it again next Tuesday,” Goslow said to cheers from the crowd.
Warnock walked onstage alongside his well-known “campaign volunteer” Alvin the beagle, who has appeared in campaign ads.
In conversation with Matthews, Warnock discussed his stances on abortion, voting rights, and taxes.
Around Town chatted with a few attendees, such as Alison Nieporent of Cumming, a longtime Dave Matthews fan. She planned to vote for Warnock later in the week. Nieporent said she didn’t vote last weekend because she didn’t want to add to already long lines for the people who only have time to vote then.
“It angers me that people try to suppress voting,” Nieporent said.
DeAnna Lewis is a marketing strategist from Marietta and a Dave Matthews super-fan. She arrived more than five hours early, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of her and Matthews, taken when she met him once after a concert.
Lewis had already voted for Warnock that morning. She said she’s voted for Republican candidates in the past, but that Walker lacked the competence for the job. Lewis also said she was concerned, as a Black woman, about racist rhetoric on the right.
“After Trump got in it was the first time in my life I was scared to open my door,” Lewis said.
After the show, Lewis was part of a small crowd waiting outside the venue to catch a glimpse of Matthews and members of his crew. She recognized Matthews’ vocal coach, running up to him to show off her shirt.
Later this week, on Thursday, Warnock is bringing another big name to the state, holding a rally in Atlanta with Barack Obama.
HELP CATCH THE GRINCH: The Grinch stole Smyrna’s Christmas lights.
That’s according to the Smyrna Police Department, which on Monday posted to social media to report a theft that occurred sometime between Thanksgiving and Monday morning.
“The Grinch and his thieving friends stole several thousand dollars worth of the City of Smyrna light displays,” police wrote in a Facebook post.
Police said the lights stolen were located around the Smyrna Community Center pond, and they included reindeer, Christmas trees and a pair of elves wrapping a present.
Smyrna police are asking anyone who may have seen suspicious activity around the pond or witnessed the theft of the lights to call the department at 770-434-6666. Tips can be reported anonymously.
“Like you, we are extremely upset at the incredible thievery of the individuals who committed this crime and would like to locate them to have a serious discussion about their actions,” police wrote.
IKE’S OK: Around Town was concerned when we were told that MUST Ministries CEO and President Ike Reighard had a bit of an incident at the MDJ Gobble Jog on Thanksgiving morning.
After hearing reports of a fall that caused cracked ribs, we reached out to MUST to learn the facts of the matter. The headline — Reighard is fine, no ribs were cracked.
Reighard was apparently climbing a ladder to get onto a MUST bus, said MUST spokeswoman Katy Ruth Camp. The bus has a platform on top from which announcements are made.
Reighard slipped on the ladder, which was a bit slick, and had a minor cut to his finger, Camp told us. Some people on the ground reached up to spot him, but Reighard didn’t fall so far as to be caught by them.
So, no biggie then. Reighard is “very thankful to the medics who wrapped his fingers in Band-Aids,” Camp added.
UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT WHAT? Cobb County is advertising an event where residents can learn about the Unified Development Code project.
“We’re looking for your input at public meetings in December and on the newly launched website. The goal of the UDC project is to produce a document that encourages and enables development and redevelopment in identified centers while preserving the unique character of the county’s rural areas. This will update development regulations which currently date back to the 70s,” the county said in an announcement. “The project also aims to protect existing neighborhoods, conserve natural and historic resources, support economic development and provide an opportunity for various housing types.”
The code reform effort has generated plenty of controversy, particularly earlier this year during the run-up to Cobb’s three failed cityhood efforts. Critics — who leaned conservative — argued the project was a Trojan Horse designed to undermine the county’s single-family residential neighborhoods.
State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-west Cobb, said the UDC “would allow, basically, anything anywhere if you got three votes of the commission,” as he argued for passage of the bill creating a new city of Lost Mountain.
Those charges were vigorously denied by county officials, who said the UDC was a good-faith effort to clean up a litany of outdated ordinances and development standards. A $500,000 contract with Clarion Associated was approved over the summer by county commissioners, along party lines.
A flyer for the two meetings read “UDC Cobb County: What is it? Why do we need it? Public feedback.”
Two meetings about the UDC are scheduled for early next week. The first is Monday, Dec. 5, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at North Cobb Regional Library, 3535 Old Highway 41 Northwest, Kennesaw. The second is Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Switzer Library, 266 Roswell Street, Marietta.
WEIGH IN: The county also wants residents’ input as it works on Cobb’s comprehensive five-year strategic plan, which will help shape the future of county government.
There are two ways to lend one’s voice. The first is to attend and share ideas at upcoming community listening sessions.
A meeting in District 1 is scheduled for Dec. 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Kemp Memorial Library, 4029 Due West Road in west Cobb.
A District 2 meeting has been rescheduled for Dec. 15, and will be held before Commissioner Jerica Richardson’s District 2 Quarterly Town Hall. Both will take place at the Boy Scouts of America Area Council, 1800 Circle 75 Parkway in Cumberland. The Strategic Plan Listening Session will be at 5:30 p.m. and the town hall at 6:30 p.m.
The second way to weigh in is to take an online survey, which takes about 10 minutes. The county hopes to use the feedback to prioritize community needs and deliver improved services. To find the survey link, visit www.cobbcounty.org/StrategicPlan.