Health & Science
6:35 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

CDC: Poor Southerners Have High Risk Of Vision Loss

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention just released a report on where in the U.S. people are affected by severe vision loss. More than three-quarters of the hardest hit counties are in the South. 

These are people who are either blind or can barely see even with glasses. And the reason so many are suffering from severe vision loss in the south? The CDC points to a body of research showing poverty, access to health care and insurance as contributing factors.  

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5:44 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Georgians Could Save $617 Million By Eating Less Salt

People eat about a teaspoon and a half of salt a day.
Credit nicolas michaud /

Georgians could save more than $600 million a year in healthcare costs by eating less sodium.

That's according to a recent report from the advocacy organization Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nation-wide, the savings could be as high as $24 billion a year.

Too much sodium can cause heart disease and stroke. People eat about a teaspoon and a half of salt a day. That’s half a teaspoon more than is recommended. It makes a big difference, said Jim O’Hara, director of health promotion policy with the group.

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5:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

AAA Report: About A Third Of Boaters Lack Proper Insurance

The AAA says roughly one-third of boaters take to the waterways without proper insurance.
Credit Christine /

The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the boating season.

And a new report from AAA says roughly one-third of boaters take to the waterways without proper insurance.

"Well, many people wrongly assume that their homeowners insurance is the coverage that they need for their boat. But for the most part, most homeowner policies just have minimal coverage for small boats. That would be the no engine or a very small engine," says AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend.

Last year, there were more than 4,000 boating accidents nationally, with 610 fatalities reported.

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4:35 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Gwinnett Police To Carry Overdose-Reversing Drug

Gwinnett County Police say they'll start carrying Naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug, as soon as Friday.
Credit M /

The Gwinnett County Police Department says as of Friday some officers will start carrying a drug that can counter some types of drug overdoses. The officers will also have new defibrillators.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can help reverse the effects of opioid overdoses from drugs like methadone and heroine.

Cpl. Michele Pihera says about 70 Gwinnett officers will start carrying the drug and defibrillators.

“We can use Narcan to the point where we’re able to transport them to a local hospital for immediate follow-up care,” Pihera says.

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A Closer Look
4:17 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Study: Atlanta Commute Times May Affect Economic Mobility

A recent Harvard study maintains that income-earners with shorter commute times tend to enjoy greater economic mobility.
Credit Eric Allix Rogers and Billy Wilson / and

Atlanta will never be confused with a commuter-friendly city.

But do long commute times limit the future economic mobility of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

That’s among the questions a recent Harvard University study has examined, and the results aren’t promising for the Atlanta area.

Jamie Fogel, a pre-doctorate Harvard economics fellow who participated in the study, said that places with high economic and social mobility "tend to have shorter commute times."

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A Closer Look
4:15 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Georgia Ranks Near Bottom In Children’s Well-Being Survey

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2014 KidsCount survey this week on how children are faring in the United States. Georgia ranked 42 among the 50 states.
Credit The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Georgia lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to the well-being of its children.

That’s the finding of the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KidsCount survey on how children are faring in the United States. Georgia ranked 42 out of the 50 states.

The Georgia Family Connection Partnership’s Rebecca Rice, who works with the survey in Georgia, discussed what it means and why it's important during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

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A Closer Look
4:02 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Travel Agency Fills Vacation Void For Special Needs Children

Clearwater Marina in Clearwater, Florida is home of Winter the Dolphin from “A Dolphin's Tale.” The marina has a program for children with special needs.
Credit Courtesy of Special Globe

As summer vacation season cranks into high gear, parents with special needs children face a bigger challenge than most parents in finding fun, family-friendly destinations and lodgings.

Special Globe is a company that helps families with special needs children find the right place to stay when traveling and vacationing.

Jonathan Yardley is the president and co-founder of Special Globe.

Yardley said that one of the biggest challenges families with special needs children face when traveling is “anxiety” over how people will react to their children.

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City Lights
3:24 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Hollywood Composer Thomas Newman Continues Family Tradition

Thomas Newman's latest Grammy Award was in 2014, in the Best Score Soundtrack category for "Skyfall."
Credit Matt Sayles / Associated Press


If you love the variety of contemporary Hollywood movies, you may be surprised that the music behind quite a few of those films comes from the same man.

Composer Thomas Newman has dozens of credits to his name, ranging from “The Shawshank Redemption” to the animated Disney feature “Finding Nemo” and many others.

The son of Alfred Newman, a Hollywood composer and later film industry executive, Newman won an Emmy Award, six Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

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A Closer Look
3:09 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Fight Over Ga.’s 'Religious Freedom' Bill Far From Over

Columbus Ga. residents, from left, Katy Clyde, Patricia Lassiter, and Wandra Jordan cheer during an Atlanta rally against Ga.'s contentious Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The fight over Georgia’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, did not end when the measure stalled in the state legislature last month.

Debate over the RFRA measure continued last weekend at the Republican State Convention in Athens.

Convention delegates agreed on a resolution that urged GOP lawmakers to pass the bill without an amendment that would prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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A Closer Look
3:01 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Midwest Avian Flu Epidemic Has Ga. Poultry Industry Worried

An avian influenza epidemic in the Midwest has killed almost 40 million chickens and turkeys.
Credit Tom H /

It’s been called the worst avian flu outbreak in U.S. history. 

Almost 40 million chickens and turkeys have died in 15 Midwestern states. 

Avian influenza expert Daniel Perez, who recently joined the University of Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medicine, explained during an interview on “A Closer Look” how this deadly epidemic might impact Georgia’s poultry industry.

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City Lights
1:53 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Atlanta’s Cuisine Featured In New Southern Food Documentary

The Lee brothers visited Buford Highway Farmers Market in their trip to Atlanta.
Credit Southern Foodways Alliance /


Brothers Matt and Ted Lee are out to bust some stereotypes.

The James Beard Award-winning siblings have traveled the South to demystify Dixie's culinary culture.

They documented their journey for the arts network Ovation TV – and the result is "Southern Uncovered," which premieres June 14.

Each of the six episodes explores the cuisine of selected Southern cities: Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, Asheville, Louisville and their native Charleston.

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1:07 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton Got Now-Classified Benghazi Info On Private Email

The State Department has released 296 emails from Hillary Clinton's personal account during her time as secretary of state.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

The State Department released the first batch of emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state Friday.

Spokeswoman Marie Harf says publication includes 296 emails given to a House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack in Benghazi that was classified Friday at the FBI's request.

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1:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Georgia Joins Fight Against Four Charities Accused Of Fraud

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says the public was defrauded by four cancer charities.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office have joined in a federal complaint against four cancer charities. The charities are accused of defrauding residents in all 50 states out of more than $187 million.

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8:44 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Study: Severe Vision Loss Is Most Common In The South

A CDC study found that the South suffers more commonly from vision loss than other parts of the U.S.
Credit Joerg Sarbach / Associated Press

Health officials say bad eyesight in the U.S. is most common in the South.

A new report found the South was home to three-quarters of the U.S. counties with the highest prevalence of severe vision loss.

The South also has higher rates of poverty, diabetes and chronic disease. Health officials believe those problems are all related to the vision loss.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Thursday. Overall, about 3 percent of people had severe vision loss. The highest rate was from Owsley County, Kentucky, which surpassed 18 percent.

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Mara's Music Mix
8:26 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Upcoming Atlanta Concerts: A Diva, Canadians And CounterPoint

Legendary singer Diana Ross will perform Friday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
Credit Associated Press file

Looking ahead at concert picks: Electronic music takes over Kingston Downs; the Canadians are coming to Verizon, and a bona fide diva celebrates 50 years of R&B at Chastain. WABE contributor Mara Davis joins us for this week’s Music Mix.

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7:29 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Highway Crash Kills Georgia Musician During Wheelchair Trek

The Georgia State Patrol says 59-year-old jazz harmonica player Frank Barham, center, died Wednesday while steering his wheelchair along Highway 21 in Screven County.
Credit Photo Courtesy Frank Barham



Authorities say a highway crash in southeast Georgia killed an Atlanta musician traveling 300 miles by wheelchair to raise awareness for people with disabilities.

The Georgia State Patrol says 59-year-old Frank Barham, a jazz harmonica player, died Wednesday while steering his wheelchair along Highway 21 in Screven County. Troopers say a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of an escort van following Barham. The impact hurled the van into Barham's wheelchair.

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6:04 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Athens Residents Want Street Declared As Historic District

West Rutherford Street in Athens, where a demolition permit has been issued, is looking to gain historical district designation. In this file photo, Caterpillar shows off one of the construction vehicles it will make at its new Athens facility.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

There’s a street in Athens, Georgia, some residents want to make sure doesn't change.  

West Rutherford Street was once part of a streetcar suburb in Clarke County with homes dating back to the early 1900s.

Athens-Clarke County commissioners are now asking for a moratorium on building and demolition permits in that neighborhood.

A few years ago, homeowners on West Rutherford Street said no thanks when they were asked to be part of a historic district. 

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A Closer Look
6:29 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Nuns Lead Life Of Solitude, Prayer At Snellville Monastery

Sister Josefa Maria, left, and Reverend Mother Jane Frances Williams, sit in the common room at the Monastery of the Visitation in Snellville. The Catholic nuns lead a life of prayer.
Credit Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

A monastery nestled along a winding road in Snellville is home to a group of nuns who spend the majority of their days in prayer and meditation.

The Monastery of the Visitation was founded in 1954 and, in the decades since, has watched its numbers dwindle as fewer women – and men too – are called to the religious life.

The nuns in this order rarely leave the monastery. So Rose Scott, Denis O’Hayer and Mary Claire Kelly traveled to them to talk about their lives of prayer, an average day at the monastery and just how important their work is in this modern age.

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5:43 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Three Page-Turners ... From Atlanta Actor Bernard Clark

Bernard Clark poses with his three Page-Turner picks.
Credit Kate Sweeney / WABE

Actor, improv veteran and writer Bernard Clark is best known in Atlanta literary circles as a storyteller. He’s one of the hosts and co-founders of “Naked City,” a monthly reading event known both for its raw spontaneity and for the fact that, if you go, there’s more than a good chance you’ll get candy thrown at you.

Kate Sweeney recently spoke to Clark about three books he loves. She began, though, by asking him about what it’s like to tell stories for a living – since Clark has built a career narrating audiobooks.

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A Closer Look
5:24 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Ga. Tech Project Encourages Minority Students In STEM Fields

Former Project Engages students and recent Best Academy High School graduates Amadou Bah and Qwantavious Stiggers explained the benefits of the Georgia Tech STEM program.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

There’s a big push underway at Georgia Tech to get more minority students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – the four subjects better known as the STEM fields.

The university has partnered with three Atlanta public high schools with the goal of doing just that through a program called Project ENGAGES.

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A Closer Look
5:13 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Georgia Trails Summit Hopes To Connect State's Pathways

A path through the woods in Roswell, Georgia offers solitude and beauty for hikers on the trail. Organizers for the Georgia Trails Summit hope to connect the state's trails one day.
Credit Zlatko Unger /

The state of Georgia has a varied environment – from mountains, forests and swamps to beaches, bogs and the urban jungle.

A series of trails wind through the various terrain and now a group of trail enthusiasts is working to try and connect these pathways throughout the state.

The second annual Georgia Trails Summit will convene in Athens next month to address that effort and other issues.

“We call it a world class network of connected trails in Georgia,” summit organizer Tracie Sanchez said during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

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A Closer Look
4:41 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Fortune 500 Has No Female CEO From Georgia – Yet

Veritiv’s Mary Laschinger would be the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company in Georgia.

Few people have even heard of the company Veritiv. But by next year, it will become one of Atlanta’s best-known companies. That’s because it will have the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company based in Georgia.

When the company eventually is included on the Fortune 500 list in 2016, it likely will be ranked near No. 300 – thanks to its sales of about $9.3 billion a year.

Veritiv formed last July through a merger of Unisource and a division of International Paper – xpedx.  The company held its first annual meeting this Wednesday. 

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4:13 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Report: Clayton State, Ga. Southern Prepare Teachers Best

According to the NCTQ, teacher training programs need to raise admissions standards and give students practical experience.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

How do you know if a teacher is well prepared?  According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, it could depend on where they went to college.

The council ranks colleges’ teacher preparation programs. It uses criteria like admissions standards, curriculum, and how much time students actually spend in classrooms teaching.

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A Closer Look
4:07 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Atlanta Hawks Look To Rebound After Game 1 Loss To Cleveland

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) reacts to play against Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press


Don’t panic, Atlanta.

You’ve seen this before.

That’s what veteran Atlanta sports journalist Sam Crenshaw said on “A Closer Look” after the Atlanta Hawks dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference championship series Wednesday night.

The Hawks, who fell 97-89 to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena, haven’t been this far in the playoffs since 1970.

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City Lights
3:38 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Atlanta Jazz Festival To Feature Tribute To Nina Simone

Simone performs at a concert in Morlaix, France in May of 1982.
Credit Roland Godefroy / Godefroy

Atlanta vocalist and pianist Terry Harper will be among the artists paying homage to the late Nina Simone this weekend at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Harper, who has frequently played at such local jazz haunts as Churchill Grounds and Cafe 290, will be included in “Four Women – A Tribute to Nina Simone,” which begins Sunday at 3 p.m. at the main stage at Piedmont Park.

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A Closer Look
3:23 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Future Of Ga.’s Death Penalty Unknown Due To Drug Shortage

The death chamber at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia. The state has not revealed when it might resume executions after problems with the lethal injection drugs earlier this year.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

As Nebraska lawmakers voted to ban the death penalty this week, the future of capital punishment in Georgia has also been called into question. Georgia lawmakers aren't ready to ban it, but the lethal injection drugs used for killing the state’s worst criminal offenders are hard to come by.

State corrections officials are not revealing when executions might resume in Georgia after they encountered problems with the lethal injection drugs earlier this year.

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3:06 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Agent: Hawks' Carroll Has No Structural Damage In Knee

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives against Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll (5) during the first half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs, Wednesday in Atlanta.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

DeMarre Carroll's agent says an MRI on Carroll's left knee showed no structural damage, and Carroll is hoping to play for the Hawks by Friday night's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Mark Bartelstein told The Associated Press on Thursday that Carroll has only a knee sprain and "maybe a little" bone bruise.

Carroll celebrated the news on his Twitter feed.

Bartelstein says Carroll will receive treatment for the soreness Thursday and Friday in hopes of playing against Cleveland in Game 2.

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A Closer Look
2:24 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Ga. Tech Group Helps Spur Start-Up Development In Atlanta

The winners of the 2015 TAG Business Launch competition from left to right: Chris Hart, David Hartnett, Allyson Eman, Tino Mantella, Cory Hewett, Evan Jarecki and Amanda Hendley.
Credit Courtesy of Tech Association of Georgia

The Technology Association of Georgia, or TAG, sponsored a recent business tech start-up competition to help connect investors with new enterprises.

TAG is a leading technology industry association. The group’s president and CEO, Tino Mantella, says TAG is the “largest tech trade association in the nation.”

TAG is “dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of the state’s technology industry,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.

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1:52 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Boy Scouts' Leader Says Ban On Gay Adults Not Sustainable

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that banning gay people from the Boy Scouts is no longer sustainable.
Credit Mark Zaleski / Associated Press

The national president of the Boy Scouts, Robert Gates, says the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable and is urging change in order to avert potentially destructive legal battles.

In a speech Thursday in Atlanta to the Scouts' national annual meeting, Gates referred to recent moves by Scout councils in New York City and elsewhere to defy the ban.

"The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained," said Gates, a former U.S. secretary of defense.

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11:54 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Local Honey As A Cure For Allergies: The Debate Buzzes On

Master beekeeper Linda Tillman checks a frame of honey to see if it's ready for harvest.
Brenna Beech WABE

The tree allergy season is winding down, but for those with grass allergies, the misery is just beginning.

And if you’ve had itchy eyes and a runny nose, you’ve probably heard the advice to eat local honey. WABE took a look at whether it can help with allergies, or if it’s just an old wives' tale.

About 1,000 bees fly all around in Linda Tillman’s Atlanta backyard. She’s been a beekeeper for about a decade and swears by her daily dose of local honey.

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