Metro news for Friday

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed faced off in a brief televised debate Wednesday night with William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a watchdog group that has criticized the city's handling of lucrative airport concessions contracts.

Allowing airport contractors to donate to political campaigns is "legal, ethical and appropriate," Reed said, adding that no governing body in Georgia had instituted so-called "pay-to-play" reforms. He accused Perry of trying to damage Atlanta's reputation.

"If there's a backdoor deal, show it," Reed said.

Perry said it "creates an incredibly bad perception" when people doing business with the city contribute tens of thousands of dollars to public officials, including Reed. "We look to him (Reed) to be a leader," Perry said. JEREMIAH MCWILLIAMS


It’s Girl Scout cookie season. Well, almost. In the Greater Atlanta area, cookie sales can officially begin today.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting this year, a new cookie, Savannah Smiles, will be included in the list of sweet treats. The cookie is named after the birthplace of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low and is described in the sales guide as “bite-sized, lemon-wedge cookies dusted in powdered sugar and bursting with zesty lemon flavor.”

While pre-orders begin today, you won’t get your fix until mid-February when the orders come in.  JENNY TURKNETT FOR THE AJC


Former President Jimmy Carter will lead a delegation from The Carter Center to Egypt next week  to monitor the elections.

Carter and the center's team will meet with representatives of the political parties, independent candidates, civil society organizations and members. It will evaluate election administration, campaigning, voting and counting procedures and other issues related to the elections. Some members of the Carter Center's delegation has been in Egypt since November. SHELIA POOLE


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Someone in your neighborhood deserves a pat on the back. Find out who. B5

Best in Class

Find out who deserves a gold star at school. B4