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Turns out Atlanta is leaking like a sieve… and there’s no end in sight.

As someone with personal experience with this issue, I know full well that water leaks are not given priority within the City of Atlanta’s Watershed Management. My street meter has been broken for 6 months and can’t get anyone out to fix it. What’s more, when I walk Triscuit I see myriad other leaks of a similar type around Midtown Atlanta.

While I was dealing with my own issue, 11Alive has been out front in reporting on a staggering level of water loss within the city of Atlanta. From 2013-2014, the city lost 9.7 billion gallons of water, and last year that figure rose to 10 billion. That’s the equivalent of Atlantans filling their tubs 200,000 times and then just letting the water run out. What gives?

Like other cities and municipalities, our infrastructure is old and crumbling. Despite a full-bore effort by former Mayor Shirley Franklin to upgrade the city’s crumbling water and sewer system to the tune of $3 billion. Franklin asked the EPA under W. Bush for assistance and the agency said “meh, not important enough.”

So after much of the Clean Water Atlanta program has been completed, here we are. And Atlanta isn’t the only city experiencing leakage either. Major metros across the country are working with crumbling-water infrastructure and dealing with private-public agreements that simply don’t work.

We need a national overhaul of our water-management laws. As shown by this Wall Street Journal graphic, very few states require comprehensive audits or reporting on water usage.

With a h/t to Andy Pierrotti, watch the entire segment on 11Alive’s website. And this graphic via WSJ from American Water Works Association tells the story about how we need a national reporting standard.

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[ via Wall Street Journal/American Water Works Association ]

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ON THE RISE: OLIVIA CELLA

Teen pop singer, actress and role model Olivia Cella has accomplished a great many things at the ripe young age of 15. Cella started her career on YouTube doing cover songs with slickly produced videos, including a version of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” which has notched more than 500k views.

Cella popped on my radar about 10 months ago with a cover and video of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry“—a version that blows the original out of the water. And not just because Bieber is a douchenozzle—because Olivia is that good.

When approached by her vocal coach, Estani Frizzell, to record an original song, Cella’s first original tune was officially done. “Battle Scars” is a nuanced and mature pop song, and when Cella heard it the first time she immediately realized it was the right fit.

“The minute I heard it I knew,” she says. “It’s so deep and meaningful and she put so much hard work into it.”

With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, I asked Cella about her experiences with bullying and her volunteer work to make sure it’s ended for good. “I was bullied countless times throughout my life,” she says. “Bullying is cruel people being cruel. You just have to brush it off your shoulders.”

She’s used her platform for other causes, too, including Muscular Dystrophy and others. Listen:

Check out these never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes images from the “Battle Scars” video shoot (big h/t and TYSM to Jennifer Cella for providing them):

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She is a talent on the rise, so watch this space for news on Olivia’s career! Meantime, check out Olivia Cella on: YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | iTunes

 

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Working on an exclusive story on a Democratic pundit and military veteran who’s been bullied and harassed for speaking out against Donald Trump. I’m going to break that out in to its own post because the stuff this guy has experienced is astounding, even by the low bar Trump sets for his minions.

During National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s important to bring these dangerous comments and actions to light. Watch this space.

Meantime, two other quick stories have hit my dashboard: the Clinton campaign manager asked Fl. Governor Scott to extend voter-registration days due to Hurricane Matthew; he said “meh, no thanks.” Irony: the hardest hit areas in Florida are GOP strongholds, so any extension would’ve benefitted them.

Also in political news: Keith Olbermann came out with an edition of The Closer for GQ that is, quite simply, the best repudiation of Trump I’ve ever seen. “Enough” is here:

 

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We were lucky enough to have use of a Camp Chef pizza oven donated to our 2nd Annual Pizza for Good Extravaganza in San Diego, and let me tell you: it effin rocks. I’m going to see about using it for our New Year’s Eve event in Atlanta.

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We earned $1,500 for the San Diego Humane Society and made some exciting new pies. For more, go to my full recap on the PFG website.

 

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The bullets flew again last night, this time in my city, my neighborhood. What’s amazing is that nobody was hurt—despite the use of a military grade AK-47 assault gun. WTF someone is doing with that weapon is beyond me (11Alive)… Down a bit to Atlanta’s south, our Georgia coast and much of Florida is dealing with the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, a Cat 4 monster storm (Twitter).

 

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Full update on my #AwesomeIs campaign coming soon!

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