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6:00 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Church 'Revisting' Plans To Move Priests, Still Intends To Move Forward

Atlanta Archdiocese Bishop Wilton Gregory presides over mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Buckhead earlier this year.
Credit Jaimee Lee / WABE News

There’s a new controversy involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and housing, after some Buckhead residents say they oppose a plan to move some priests into a house previously inhabited by Archbishop Wilton Gregory.

Christ the King Catholic Church spokesperson Dave Fitzgerald said the church is taking a second look at its plans to move six of its priests into the home, but said the church still intends to move forward.

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Politics
8:18 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Messages for Georgia Republicans--and Democrats--in New Insider Advantage GOP Primary Poll

InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery
Credit InsiderAdvantage

  With just over a month remaining before the May 20, 2014 Georgia primary elections, InsiderAdvantage released a poll on the Republican contests for Governor and U.S. Senate.  

The numbers revealed some interesting trends, with implications not only for the Republican candidates, but for the Democrats the survivors will likely face in the November general elections.  

InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery spoke with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.

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Local
5:56 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Educators Pleased About Potential Changes to the State Health Benefit Plan

Credit Ga. Dept. of Community Health

Several education organizations are pleased the state plans to increase the number of providers and health plan options for state employees next year. The announcement by the state comes after state employees raised concerns about Georgia selecting Blue Cross Blue Shield as its only insurer this year for the State Health Benefit Plan.

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Education
5:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Cobb School District Presents Balanced Budget

The Cobb County school board is expected to vote on a proposed budget later this month.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Cobb County school officials this week presented a balanced budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The district seemingly overcame an estimated $80 million deficit.

Officials said they cut spending by $20 million; benefitted from another $20 million in increased property tax revenues; and received an additional $35 million in state funding this year. Chief Financial Officer Brad Johnson said the district will restore some cuts.

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Local
4:34 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Controversy Over Pay Raises Puts Greater Focus On Atlanta Watershed Operations

Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Jo Anne Macrina.
Credit Channel 26

Questions persist over how the city’s Watershed commissioner was able to dish out hefty pay raises to her leadership team without City Council approval. It comes as the department is being investigated for mismanagement and widespread cases of lost and stolen equipment.

Earlier this year, Watershed chief Jo Ann Macrina awarded pay raises to five members of her leadership team, ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. The raises were backdated to June so retroactive pay was included.

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History
12:06 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

"A Storyteller of Great Pain" - Letters to Sala at MJCC

Young Sala
Ann Kirschner MJCC

The Marcus Jewish Community Center is hosting two programs depicting one woman’s story of survival during the Holocaust. The woman is Sala Garncarz, who was 16 years old in 1940 when she was forced from her home and into a German labor camp. Now, Letters to Sala is being brought both to the gallery and the stage. The exhibition features her letters, photographs, and a diary chronicling her years in the Nazi work camps.

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Second Cup
11:55 am
Fri April 18, 2014

What Makes a Mezzo a Mezzo? A Conversation with Irene Roberts

Irene Roberts is Rosina in the Atlanta Opera's production of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville."
Credit Kristin Hoebermann / irenerobertsmezzo.com

If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a mezzo-soprano and a soprano, Irene Roberts has your answer. Roberts, a mezzo-soprano, will be singing the role of Rosina in the Atlanta Opera's upcoming production of "The Barber of Seville." Lois Reitzes sat down with Irene and began by asking her how she got into music.

"The Barber of Seville" opens April 26 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

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Local
10:17 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Georgia State Hires Chief Innovation Officer

Credit Georgia State University

Georgia State University has hired its first chief innovation officer.

The university hired Phil Ventimiglia, former NCR Corporation vice president for innovation and new product development. Ventimiglia started the position week and will head the university’s Information Systems and Technology Department. He also plans to explore new technology solutions both in and out of the classroom.

“My position on this that it’s that it’s not to go and remove the classroom from the equation but really to augment the classroom with other modalities of learning.”

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Health & Science
10:01 am
Fri April 18, 2014

220,000 Georgians Sign up for Health Insurance Exchange

Fulton County residents listen to a presentation on the Affordable Care Act given by Enroll America last October.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The state says more than 220,000 Georgians have signed up for insurance coverage under a federal health exchange that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.

The numbers were gathered from insurance companies participating in the exchange. State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says of the more than 220,000 Georgians who applied a little less than half have paid for policies and most are receiving a federal subsidy. Hudgens is an opponent of the law. He says Georgia’s numbers lead him to believe national enrollment numbers are inflated.

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Mara's Music Mix
6:50 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Mara's Music Mix: April 18-20

Mara Davis and Steve Goss talk Atlanta music.
Credit Dan Raby / 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 April 18-20:

Clay Cook vs. Levi Lowrey at Southern Ground Social Club; Friday April 18

Milk Carton Kids at Buckhead Theatre; Friday April 18

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Education
6:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Report: Juvenile Justice Schools Doing More Harm Than Good

Credit Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice education programs may be doing more harm than good according to a new study by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation.

Through a compilation of federal data, the report concludes incarcerated youths often receive an education worse than they would outside the juvenile justice system, and one that’s more expensive.

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Politics
7:57 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The Wage Gap: Sorting Through Some Political Claims, with PolitiFact Georgia's Jim Tharpe

Jim Tharpe, editor of PolitiFact Georgia, which appears in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The male-female wage gap has become the focus of heated political debate in Georgia and around the nation.  

Political leaders in both parties have made some emphatic claims about whether the wage gap exists--and, if it does, how bad it is.  

Jim Tharpe, editor of PolitiFact Georgia, looked at whether some of those claims are true, in a conversation with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.  

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Local
4:35 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Reed Says Turner Field Area Is Attracting Developers

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Credit City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday he’s already received two to four offers to redevelop the Turner Field area when the Atlanta Braves relocate to Cobb County in 2017.

Reed said the city can’t act on them until 2015, when the Braves' lease is set to expire.

But he said the area’s redevelopment isn't keeping him up at night.

"I’m completely calm about Turner Field. We have very nice options," said Reed. "We could sell Turner Field right now."

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Business
3:36 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Reed To Continue Trade Efforts In Brazil And Elsewhere

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Credit City of Atlanta

Coming off a weeklong trip to Brazil, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday he wants to continue efforts to build relationships in South America and elsewhere through his second term.

Reed said he was stunned to learn business and government officials he came across in Brazil weren’t aware of Hartsfield airport and the connections between Atlanta and major global brands.

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DeKalb County
2:00 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Request for Appeal in Ellis Corruption Case Refused

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis's corruption trial is scheduled to begin June 2.
Credit DeKalb County

A judge has denied a request from suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis to take part of the case against him to a state appeals court.

If DeKalb Judge Courtney Johnson had approved the request, it could have delayed Ellis’s trial.

Ellis’s lawyers contended the grand jury that indicted the CEO exceeded its scope during its investigation of corruption allegations against him. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson disagreed.

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Local
12:29 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Georgia Unemployment Rate Declines Again

Georgia’s unemployment stands at its lowest rate in more than five years.

The Georgia Department of reports unemployment rate for March 2014 was 7.0%, its lowest rate since September 2008. It is the ninth month in a row Georgia’s jobless rate has declined.

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From the AJC's Shane Harrison
12:15 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Budget-Friendly Events

Credit corneliageorgia.org

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta this week,  and he begins with an event that's part of our occasional day tripper series -- a series which highlights places just outside the metro Atlanta area. 

Apple Blossom BBQ Festival in Cornelia, GA

Eggstravaganza at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

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Sports
11:23 am
Thu April 17, 2014

GOAL! Atlanta Awarded MLS Team

Fans packed the upper level of Ventanas, where the announcement was made about Atlanta being awarded a major league soccer team.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

It’s official.

In 2017 when the new downtown stadium opens, the Atlanta Falcons won’t be the only hometown team playing.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports major league soccer is expanding to the south and Atlanta is getting a team.

Everyone attending Wednesday’s announcement was in a party mood and cheered as MLS commissioner Don Garber made the announcement.

“On behalf of soccer fans across America, it is my pleasure to welcome the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia to major league soccer. Can’t wait 'til 2017!”

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Phone Data Collection
6:05 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Former SCOTUS Judge Stevens Weighs In On Phone Data Collection

Speaking at Georgia State University Wednesday, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens weighed in on a controversial topic: the collection of telephone data.

Stevens said the use and storage of phone data to identify callers does not violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches. He cited his decision in the 1979 case Smith v. Maryland, in which the court ruled the instillation of a pen register (a device that records all numbers called from a particular phone) was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.  

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Business
5:33 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Georgia State Finance Professor Skeptical on Weibo IPO

Lixin Huang is a finance professor at Georgia State Univ. He's skeptical about investing in Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Credit Courtesy: Georgia State University

Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, goes public today.

It’s one of China’s most-visited websites.  Despite its popularity, analysts are watching to see if Weibo closes way low.

That’s because of users like Lixin Huang.  He’s one of 130-million active users the website claims as its customer base.  But he’s not exactly what you’d call “active.”

“I used it sometime last year when my friends were using it,” he says.

Huang, a finance professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, now uses WeChat.  It’s growing at three times the rate of Weibo.

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MLS Expansion Team
6:35 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Atlanta Awarded Major League Soccer Franchise; Games To Begin In 2017

Arthur Blank (center) receives a high five from fans after announcing that a new MLS team will be coming to Atlanta. Accompanying Blank are MLS Commissioner Dan Garber (left) and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (walking behind Garber and Blank).
Credit MLS

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced today that he will be the owner of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise team being awarded to Atlanta.  The new team, yet to be given a name and a logo, will play in the new Atlanta Falcons stadium beginning in 2017.

Blank made the announcement Wednesday afternoon flanked by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, and Georgia World Congress Center Authority executive director Frank Poe.  MLS streamed the announcement live (video below):

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Politics
5:51 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Pennington Calls On Governor To Debate Or Step Down From Race

Former Dalton Mayor and gubernatorial candidate David Pennington.
Credit davidforgeorgia.com

Gubernatorial candidate David Pennington called on Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday to either agree to a formal debate or bow out of the Republican primary due to ethics issues.

Outside the governor’s office at the state Capitol, Pennington said if Deal doesn’t want a debate, he should carry out the rest of his term and leave it at that.

“Straighten out your legal, ethical, and financial problems in private because it’s obvious now you’re not able to perform as the chief executive officer of the state of Georgia.”

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Business
5:00 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Vidalia Onions Headed to Stores Ahead of State's Mandated Shipping Date

Farmers have been growing Vidalia onions in southeast Georgia since the 1930s. The sweet onions got their own trademark in 1986.

Whether you fry them, sauté them, or grill them, the battle over the Vidalia onions is heating up.

One of Georgia’s largest Vidalia onion growers is shipping his product today despite an order from the state agriculture commissioner to wait until next week. 

Delbert Bland farms some 3,000 acres of Vidalias in the southern part of the growing region. He says his crop is ready to go.

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Local
4:44 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

U.S. Transportation Chief Pushes Obama Bill, Defends Atlanta Streetcar Investment

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx flanked by (from left) Central Atlanta Progress head A.J. Robinson, MARTA CEO Keith Parker, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed,

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke in Atlanta Wednesday about the need for Congress to pass a broad transportation bill.

Foxx touted the Atlanta Streetcar and the Beltline, both recipients of federal funding. He spoke along the Beltline in east Atlanta and said future projects are at risk. 

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Ernest Moniz at Georgia Tech
2:52 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

U.S. Energy Secretary: Nuclear Power Plant Vogtle an Example of 'Fuel Diversity'

U.S. Secretary Ernest Moniz
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz talked about the future of nuclear power during an appearance in Atlanta today.

Moniz pointed to the construction of Plant Vogtle as just one indicator of an ongoing commitment to using different kinds of energy.

“Fuel diversity is something that I think that’s very important for the country; it’s happening here,” said Moniz. “For the country and even globally, the cost and schedule performance will be very important for the future trajectory of nuclear power.”

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2:47 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Judge Won't Intervene In Vidalia Onion Dispute

Lead in text: 
News Brief: We will have more on this story later today, but a Georgia superior court judge has declined to intervene in a fight between one of the state's largest Vidalia onion farmers and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black over a new rule restricting the packing of Vidalia onions for shipping before a certain date.
Vidalia onion rule: A Georgia judge Tuesday refused to intervene in a legal battle between a prominent Vidalia onion farmer and the state's agriculture commissioner over a new regulation aimed at keeping unripe onions from reaching store shelves.
Preview of Weekend Events
11:58 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Eggstravaganza, Atlanta Steeplechase and More this Weekend

Credit Callaway Gardens

Have you been looking for something to do this weekend? If so, join host Lois Reitzes as she speaks with Betsy Riley of Atlanta Magazine about this weekend's events. This time, they started off by discussing an Atlanta  holiday tradition.

Eggstravaganza at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Azalea Season at Callaway Gardens

Atlanta Steeplechase

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Second Cup
11:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

"Power and Seduction" in ASO's 2014-15 Season

ASO Music Director Robert Spano
Credit Angela Morris / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

 
Lois Reitzes recently sat down with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. The maestros revealed the ASO's 2014-15 season, highlighting concerts of "sumptuous tone poems," a truly creative partnership with Emory University and an all-star season finale.
 

Season tickets are on sale now on the ASO's website.

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This Day in History
9:00 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Remembering Jackie Robinson's Breakthrough: A Talk with Baseball Historian James A. Riley

Jackie Robinson
Credit Library of Congress

  67 years ago, on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, who was born in Cairo, GA, broke the color line in major league baseball.  But as much as baseball officials celebrate the occasion, and as often as they re-tell the story, some parts of it remain little-known.  Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is struggling to attract African-Americans as spectators, players, and team officials.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with baseball historian James A. Riley, who has written 6 books on the Negro Leagues.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:03 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Atlanta Schools Seek New Chapter with New Superintendent

Dr. Meria Carstarphen is officially introduced as the next superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools.
Credit WABE 90.1 FM/Dan Raby

Monday, Atlanta school board chair Courtney English called it a special moment after the board approved the hiring of the district’s new superintendent.

Dr. Meria Carstarphen was the sole finalist for the job.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports, Carstarphen is acknowledging the challenges, but also pledging assurances as APS looks to turn the corner from the nation’s largest cheating scandal.

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