6:06 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Stakeholders React To Underground Atlanta Deal

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed this week announced a buyer for Underground Atlanta.

For many, it’s an opportunity to breathe new life into a struggling area of downtown and unload a drain on the city's finances.

“To get anyone to come there has been a huge challenge so I’m thankful to have a deal on the table with a serious investor who’s putting up real capital that helps us change our bottom line,” said City Councilman Kwanza Hall.  

The deal, however, has its critics.

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4:48 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Reed Promises Development Near New Falcons Stadium

Reed announces members of the Westside Future Fund board.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Since the Atlanta Falcons first unveiled their plans for a new $1.4 million billion dollar stadium, nearby neighborhoods have questioned whether they would see any benefit. On Friday, Mayor Kasim Reed had an answer. Reed and the Atlanta Committee for Progress appointed members of a new nonprofit board to oversee redevelopment in the Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill Neighborhoods.

When the Georgia Dome was built in the 90s, residents who lived nearby were promised their communities would see revitalization. But most of that redevelopment never took place.

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Black Santa
3:42 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Black Santas In High Demand For The Holidays

Skip Osborne is Kente Claus, he's been working at the West End Mall for 12 years.
Credit Candace Wheeler / WABE

It's 7 p.m. on a weeknight and Juanita Mickens is at the mall.

She’s not here shopping for last minute gifts - she’s looking for Santa Claus.

“I was looking for an African-American Santa Claus for my African-American grandson,” says Mickens when I talk to her at South Dekalb Mall.

Mickens couldn’t find many African-American Santas for her 7-month old grandson’s holiday pictures.

“Well actually, I went to Southlake, Northlake – they told me to come to South Dekalb Mall, so I’m here,” says Mickens.

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Coal Ash
2:46 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

First-Ever Federal Coal Ash Rules Disappoint Environmental Groups

Plant Scherer is the largest coal plant in the country.
Credit Gene Blythe / Associated Press

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its first-ever regulations on coal ash, a byproduct from burning coal that can contain arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium.

“This is a huge step forward,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “For the first time in our history we have clear, concise standards for these facilities moving forward.”

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New Walking Trail
12:30 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Trail Will Cut A PATH Through Buckhead

An artist rendering of PATH 400 on Lenox Road.
Credit PATH Foundation

If someone tells you soon that they’re going to take a walk down 400, they won’t mean taking a stroll down the highway. That’s because the Buckhead area is about to get a new walking trail.

PATH400 is 5.2 mile trail that will run along the Georgia 400 highway corridor. It begins roughly where the 400 toll plaza used to be, and from there it heads down south to Peachtree Creek, where it will tie in with the Beltline.

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12:29 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

No More Moonshine: Meet Atlanta's First Legal Distillery Since Prohibition

Craig and Jeff Moore, founders of OId Fourth Distillery.
Credit Stephannie Stokes/WABE

This story originally aired on Oct. 28. Starting today, you can find Old Fourth Distillery vodka in select stores, restaurants and bars around Georgia.

In the early 1900s, as the temperance movement took hold in Georgia, Atlanta's last distillery, R. M. Rose Co., packed up and left the city. Now, more than a century later, Atlantans may finally be able to taste a locally produced spirit again. 

And that's because the newly built Old Fourth Distillery, located on Edgewood Ave, is set to start producing its first batch of vodka. 

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Health & Science
12:27 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Google Fiber Delays Metro Atlanta Debut

Google Fiber won't be coming to metro Atlanta in 2014.
Credit Google Fiber Kansas City

Computer users in metro Atlanta won’t be getting any “Fiber” in their tech diets this Christmas.  

Earlier this year, Google announced its “Fiber” gigabit internet service would be coming to parts of Georgia, by December.

Google Fiber lets web surfers hop around the Internet much faster than they can with the typical broadband service.

But now Google says it’s delaying its debut here because it still has “a bit more work to wrap up.”

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DeKalb Cityhood
9:50 am
Fri December 19, 2014

House Subcommittee Splits Northlake Mall Area Between LaVista Hills And Tucker

The proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker will have to split the commercial area surrounding Northlake Mall under a map approved today by a Georgia House Subcommittee.

Georgia lawmakers have drawn a new map that potentially puts close to 100,000 DeKalb County residents into two new cities.

The map also splits one of the biggest areas of contention right down the middle: it gives part of the Northlake Mall commercial area to the LaVista Hills and part to Tucker.

  A house subcommittee approved the map 3-1 with Atlanta Democrat Howard Mosby dissenting.

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7:34 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Georgia Senate May Discuss Medicaid Expansion; But Some Say Unlikely To Pass

Georgia’s governor and many state Republican leaders have been opposed to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But one GOP lawmaker says the Georgia Senate could soon take another look. However, he says if the state does move forward it would be on its own terms.

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Mara's Music Mix
6:40 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Mara's Music Mix: Dec. 19 & 20

Mara's Music Mix hosts Steve Goss and Mara Davis
Credit Evan Jang / WABE

For nearly two decades, Mara Davis was a well-known voice on Atlanta's FM airwaves, first on Z-93, and then on Dave FM.

Now she joins WABE's Steve Goss each Friday for a preview of weekend music events.


Mara's Music Mix for Dec. 19 & 20:

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6:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

African-American Girls Disciplined At A Disproportionate Rate In Schools

Credit Matt Rourke / Associated Press

When it comes to school discipline, boys get about two-thirds of all suspensions. But among female students, African-American girls are disciplined at a disproportionately high rate.

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5:36 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Reed Defends Record On Affordable Housing In Wake Of Underground Atlanta Deal

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a deal to sell off Underground Atlanta to a South Carolina developer. Plans include new multi-story residential buildings, but, as critics point out, no requirements for affordable housing.  

During the press conference for the Underground announcement, Reed defended his record on affordable housing.

“No government in the state of Georgia, certainly no government in the region, has done more on affordability than mine,” said Reed.

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4:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Atlanta's Cuban Community Mixed On Obama's Policy Shift

A mosaic of American and Cuban flags outside Papi's restaurant in Midtown.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

At Cuban restaurant Papi’s in Midtown Thursday, the staff is buzzing about changes to U.S. relations with the island nation after decades of isolation.

Among them is co-owner Yenia Regalado, who came to Atlanta from Cuba 15 years ago.

“I’m so happy,” she beams.

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From the AJC's Shane Harrison
12:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

AJC Events: It's A Wonderful Laugh, Lyle The Crocodile And More

Performances of Lyle the Crocodile are happening at Synchronicity Theatre this week.
Credit Synchronicity Theatre

Join host John Lemley for a look at some of the more budget-friendly events around town this week with the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Shane Harrison. This time around, Shane and John started off by discussing Dad’s Garage Theatre’s comedic take on the classic holiday movie "It’s A Wonderful Life."

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12:22 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Pinning Art Down At MINT Gallery

The MINT Gallery
Myke Johns

Each year, the MINT Gallery hosts a Postcard Pinup Show. The rest of the year, the nearly decade-old art gallery hosts carefully curated exhibitions, group shows, and runs various programs for developing artists, but for this one night, anyone can come and hang art on the walls. WABE’s Myke Johns was there and has the story.

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12:02 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Flu Season Hits Georgia


Georgia is among more than a dozen U.S. states that are experiencing widespread flu activity.

State health officials say metro Atlanta is among the areas of the state where the flu is currently spreading. Audrey Kunkes monitors flu activity for the Georgia Department of Public Health. She serves as the Influenza Surveillance Coordinator for the department.

“I would say it’s severe. We’re seeing a lot of school-aged children and those in long term care facilities coming down with influenza, and it can lead to very severe complications.”

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11:45 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Alan Jackson To Headline Gov. Deal Inaugural Gala

Alan Jackson performs will perform at the Arena at Gwinnett Center along with two other bands that have Georgia roots for Gov. Deal's inauguration.
Credit Robb Cohen / Invision/Associated Press

Country music artist Alan Jackson will headline the Jan. 15 Inaugural Gala as part of the kickoff to Gov. Nathan Deal's second term in office.

Deal says the Newnan native will perform at the Arena at Gwinnett Center along with two other bands that have Georgia roots and ties to Deal.

A member of The Brody Johnson Band formerly worked as a congressional aide for Deal, and the father of a GOP staffer who died this fall is a member of Banks and Shane.

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11:18 am
Thu December 18, 2014

More Jobs In Georgia, According To State Labor Officials

Trade, transportation and warehousing added 16,000 jobs, largely due to holiday hiring.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was for November was 7.2 percent, according to state's Labor Department.

  That’s down nearly half a point from November 2013, when it was 7.6 percent.

"In addition to strong job growth that has made Georgia a leading state in job creation for several months, we saw our total number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in November fall to the lowest point in more than 14 years," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

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11:12 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Transportation Officials Limiting Holiday Lane Closures

GDOT is limiting construction-related lane closures between 5 a.m. Dec. 23 and 10 p.m. Dec. 28.
Credit Gregor Smith /

Georgia transportation officials say they're restricting lane closures on interstates and major state routes to accommodate for increased traffic during upcoming holidays.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials say the agency is limiting construction-related lane closures between 5 a.m. Dec. 23 and 10 p.m. Dec. 28. Lane closures will also be restricted between 5 a.m. Dec. 31 and 5 a.m. Jan. 2.

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DeKalb Cityhood
8:13 am
Thu December 18, 2014

DeKalb Superintendent Wants To Be Ready For Schools Annexation Legal Battle

Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School and two other schools into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.
Credit Titaniumjjp / Wikipedia

DeKalb County’s schools superintendent wants to set aside millions of dollars just in case the school system decides to fight a proposal to annex three DeKalb schools into the City of Atlanta.

An advocacy group called Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School, Fernbank Elementary School and Briar Vista Elementary School into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.

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5:30 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Number Of Holiday Package Deliveries Expected To Rise This Year

Atlanta-based UPS anticipates an 11 percent growth in package deliveries this holiday season.
Credit Kari Bluff /

You might get more presents at your doorstep this Hannukkah and Christmas. That’s because there’s expected to be an increase in the number of packages being shipped.

Atlanta-based UPS anticipates an 11 percent growth in package deliveries this holiday season. The U.S. Postal Service expects to top that with 12 percent increase in parcels. Michael Miles is a spokesman for the Atlanta District of the U.S. postal service.

“Most of that volume is due to the growth in ecommerce.”

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Health & Science
4:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Atlanta Nonprofit Helps Keep Ebola Out Of Ivory Coast

Cocoa plants
Credit Photo Grrrrr /

 If you’ve had a piece of chocolate recently, chances are the cocoa came from beans grown in West Africa, specifically Ivory Coast.

The country is the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world, making about half the crop. It also shares a large border with Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.

The Atlanta-based nonprofit CARE has been working with cocoa farmers to keep the disease out of the country. CARE has been in Ivory Coast since 2000, working with rural cocoa farming communities to help grow business amid two civil wars.

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Shipping News
4:00 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

FedEx Wreck Flings Packages Acoss I-75

Two tractor trailers split open in a wreck on Tuesday, spilling packages on I-75 south of Atlanta.
Credit Laura Corley, reporter for The Telegraph /

When a FedEx truck wrecked south of Atlanta yesterday, two tractor trailers split open. The crash flung packages all over I-75.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s office responded to the accident. Lieutenant Brad Freeman says there were packages everywhere.

“I saw a few that said, you know ‘To Mom, To Dad, open ASAP,’” he said. “And you kind of wonder what’s in the Christmas package, and it’s kind of sad to see it just laying there on the side of the interstate.”

He says most of the boxes looked damaged, and crews used a Bobcat to push them into a pile.

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3:48 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Buyout Deal Reached For Underground Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a $25.8 million deal with South Carolina developer WRS Inc. to buy out the iconic downtown mall.
Credit Wally Gobetz /

Underground Atlanta is officially slated for major redevelopment.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a $25.8 million deal with South Carolina developer WRS Inc. to buy out the iconic, but struggling downtown mall.

Reed says the deal will be transformative for the area.

"WRS Inc. is committed to making Underground Atlanta a place where people can live and shop everyday instead of a place they visit every once in a while," said Reed.

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3:30 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Fire Damages Historic Byzantine Church In Roswell

Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church is built in the tripartite style with three spires, in which the anteroom (narthex), nave, and altar are in a single west-east axis.
Tasnim Shamma WABE

Members of a church in Roswell are working to rebuild their sanctuary after a fire this weekend.

The Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church has some historical significance because it’s one of the only examples in the United States of a style of church architecture that originates from Eastern Europe. 

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12:30 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Are You A Reindeer? Living Out My Sci-Fi Mall Fantasy In Woolworth’s

A 12-year-old Jack Walsh at Christmas time.
Credit Courtesy of Jack Walsh.

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Picture a shopping mall around the holidays. Christmas music plays from every speaker, decorations fill the window displays and crowds of holiday shoppers rush in and out of stores.

When Jack Walsh looked at this scene as a young teenager, he saw something more than holiday consumerism. For him, the suburban mallscape was a setting for a sci-fi adventure. 

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Celtic Christmas
12:06 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

"The Entire World Being Holy" - A Celtic Christmas in Atlanta

Celtic Christmas musicians John Maschinot, Joe Craven, Lisa Edwards, and Evan Kinney.
Credit Myke Johns / WABE

The arts of the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Appalachian holiday traditions will take the Rialto stage this weekend for Celtic Christmas. WABE's John Lemley sat down with a few of the musicians—Joe Craven, Lisa Edwards, and John Maschinot—to talk about the show. John began by discussing the oral traditions that birthed much of the music and poetry they will be performing. 

See a video of Joe, Lisa, and John performing with guitarist Evan Kinney in the WABE studios here:

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Preview of Weekend Events
11:58 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Kingsized Holiday Jubilee, Holiday Nights and More This Weekend

Credit Perry Julien /

Have you been looking for something to do this weekend? If so, join host Lois Reitzes as she speaks with our very own Kate Sweeney.

There's a lot going on over the next few days, including a "King-Sized" Jubilee and an exhibition all about food.

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11:38 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Carmike Cinemas Still Considering Options For "The Interview"

The movie "The Interview" has made a lot of controversy and it hasn't been released yet.
Credit Eric Charbonneau / Invision/AP

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

NPR is reporting that Sony has canceled the Christmas Day release of "The Interview." This comes after recent reports that most of the major cinema chains were not going to screen the film - citing concerns over threats.

"We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public," Sony said in a statement. "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

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6:31 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Cheese Recalled Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination

A salmonella scare causes a Georgia-based company to recall some of its cheese products.
Credit Flat Creek Farm & Dairy

You may want to take a close look inside your refrigerator before your next holiday party.

Georgia-based Flat Creek Farm and Dairy is recalling some of its cheese for health-related reasons.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the cheese in question might be contaminated with salmonella.

The recalled cheeses are "Low Country Gouda" and "Aztec Cheddar."

The Swainsboro company say no related illnesses have been reported.

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