A Closer Look
7:40 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

A Talk with NPR's Guy Raz, Host of "The TED Radio Hour"

NPR's Guy Raz, host of "The TED Radio Hour."
Credit NPR

  On March 6, 2015, the popular NPR series "The TED Radio Hour" launches a new collection of episodes, featuring more talks from the TED series.  Each week, the program collects TED talks that have common themes--from creativity to the source of happiness.  Host Guy Raz spoke with WABE's Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on the February 27, 2015 edition of "A Closer Look."  Among other things, Raz spoke about his favorite TED talk, by Ken Robinson on kids and creativity.  You can hear that here.

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Animal Abuse
7:22 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Trial Date Set for UniverSoul Circus Alleged Elephant Abuse

Alleged elephant abuse case set for trial.
Credit Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

  The case of alleged elephant abuse by UniverSoul circus during a performance in Atlanta will go to trial in April.

The trainer and marketing director have pleaded not guilty to charges of animal abuse. 

According to an incident report, witnesses told Atlanta police they saw one of the trainers insert a bullhook into Bo the elephant’s mouth during a performance.

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6:36 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Deadline Looms For DeKalb Cityhood Proposals In State Legislature

The deadline nears for cityhood proposals to be introduced in the state legislature for bills to succeed this year.
Credit Elly Yu / WABE

The clock is ticking for new cityhood proposals to make it through the state legislature, but as of Friday, no lawmaker has introduced a bill for any of the DeKalb County city proposals.

In order for cityhood to happen, they’ll need state legislative approval first.

Allen Venet, co-chair of LaVista Hills Yes, said he’s cautiously optimistic that his state representatives will sponsor a bill.

“We are hopeful that members of the legislature will agree that the people in our area have the right to vote on cityhood,” Venet said.

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A Closer Look
6:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

NASCAR: You Have To Be There

Marcelle English covers NASCAR and when she visited ''A Closer Look,'' she talked about the sport's diversity programs.
Credit Ali Guillory / WABE

All racing eyes will be on Atlanta this weekend.

Last weekend, driver Kyle Busch was injured in a crash at Daytona International Speedway. He suffered a compound fracture to his lower right leg and a fracture in the middle of his left foot.

Once again concerns about safer barriers around the entire track have surfaced.

Marcelle English is an experienced sports reporter who has covered the Olympics, the NBA and the NFL, among others. An African-American woman, she's also a NASCAR fan.

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A Closer Look
3:33 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Net Neutrality, At Least For Now

Three of five FCC Commissioners voted in favor of ''net neutrality'' yesterday.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission decided to reclassify regulation of the Internet under the Telecommunications Act. Advocates have been discussing "net neutrality" for months.  But what does it all really mean?

Professor Ellen Zegura, from the Georgia Tech School of Computer Science, researches the development of computer networks.  She came over to the "A Closer Look" studio to explain this important new ruling.

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2:59 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Georgia Golden Eagle Added To Project Tracking Appalachian ‘Ghosts’

The 5-year-old Georgia eagle is one of eight caught and fitted with phone-sized transmitters that weigh less than three postal letters in the South this year.
Credit Georgia Wildlife Resources Division /

A high-tech research project teamed with middle Georgia’s Devil’s Backbone hunt club to catch their first golden eagle in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

The golden eagle – considered one of the state’s rarest raptors – was caught on Feb. 15 on the club’s 4,700-acre lease area that borders Sprewell Bluff Wildlife Management Area near Thomaston.

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2:54 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Bond Referendum’s Fate Likely To Hang In A Few Voters’ Hands

In about two weeks, city voters will have the opportunity to approve $250 million in bonds to start addressing Atlanta's nearly billion dollar infrastructure backlog. The Courtland Street Bridge, pictured above, is one of dozens of projects slated for improvement with the bond money.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE News

Atlantans don’t have to look very hard for signs of the city’s infrastructure problems, like big potholes, crumbling sidewalks or bridges in disrepair.

That’s because the city is nearly a billion dollars short on funding these kinds of projects, according to the mayor’s office.

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1:31 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Manuel's Tavern Partners With Developer To Renovate Building

Manuel’s Tavern will be renovated as part of a redevelopment project in the Poncey-Highland community.
Credit Lee Coursey /

An Atlanta landmark is closing its doors for a short time in early 2016.

Green Street Properties has agreed to buy the one-and-a-half acres on North Highland Avenue that Manuel’s Tavern sits on according to a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Manuel’s will still be owned and operated by the original owner Manuel Maloof’s family.

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12:42 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Avijit Roy, Local Bangladeshi-American Blogger, Slain

Protesters gather in front of portrait of Avijit Roy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Feb. 27.
Credit A.M. Ahad / Associated Press

A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger from the Atlanta area was killed Friday as he and his wife walked through Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka.

Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen, was an advocate of atheism and a prominent voice against religious intolerance in the Bengali community. On Friday, he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, who’s also a blogger, were attacked on the street with cleavers as they were returning from a book fair at Dakah University. Ahmad was also seriously injured in the attack.

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11:47 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Austell Considers Paying City Employees To Exercise

Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins wants to offer city employees $5 for each time they work out for at least an hour at the city’s gym.
Credit Victor /

Work up a sweat ... and boost your bank account.

Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins wants to offer city employees $5 for each time they work out for at least an hour at the city’s gym.

“If they do it 100 times, they get $500 ... which is a good bit of money. But whatever we pay out should benefit the city by lowering the health insurance,” Jerkins says.

And that’s the reason behind this offer.

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City Lights
11:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

For Breast Cancer Research, Survivors And Others Turn Their Bodies Into Art

The women of Greater Atlanta Hadassah who helped make this Saturday's art event, ''The Big Reveal,'' happen. Pictured here from left: Holly Strelzik, Joan Solomon, Barbara Lang, Susan Proctor and Sue Rothstein.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE


Walk through a modern art museum, and you’re sure to find naked women on the canvases that line the walls. Artists have been drawing, painting and photographing the nude female body for centuries. For just as long, artists have been presenting ideals of what the female body should look like.

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7:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Georgia National Guard Among First In Cyberdefense Soldier Teams

The U.S. Army’s ''Cyber Center of Excellence'' in Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Georgia’s Army National Guard will house one of three new U.S. cyberdefense teams to support the military’s efforts against virtual attacks.
Credit Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith / Courtesy of Georgia Army National Guard

Georgia’s Army National Guard will house one of three new U.S. cyberdefense teams to support the military’s efforts against virtual attacks.

“We’re very excited about developing this new capability,” Samuel Blaney, chief warrant officer for the Georgia National Guard, said.

He said the team will be comprised of about 25 soldiers ─ men and women who work as civilians in information technology or similar fields.

The team can be mobilized to help both state and federal agencies in the event of a cyberattack, Blaney said.

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Atlanta Falcons
6:27 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Atlanta Falcons Release Running Back Steven Jackson

The Atlanta Falcons have cut running back Steven Jackson.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press


There's a new vacancy in the Atlanta Falcons' backfield.

The team announced it has released running back Steven Jackson.

The 6-foot-2-inch veteran joined the team when he signed as a free agent in 2013.

During his two seasons with the Falcons, Jackson racked up 1,250 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

This cut saves the Falcons nearly $4 million against the salary cap.

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6:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Senate Clashes Over Debit Card Pay Bill

The Georgia Senate approved a bill that would give employers the option of paying workers with pre-paid debit cards.
Credit Frankie Leon /

There was a heated debate Thursday in the state Senate. At issue, a bill that would give employers the option of paying workers with pre-paid debit cards.

The bill says if a company decides they want to pay their employees by debit card they can do so, unless an employee tells them they would rather have a paycheck or direct deposit. Republican bill sponsor Burt Jones, R-Jackson, says companies need more options. And he says it will help low-wage workers without bank accounts.

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6:00 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Georgia Senate Says Cities Shouldn't Be Allowed To Ban Plastic Grocery Bags

Credit Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Should cities and counties be able to ban plastic bags from grocery stores? The Georgia Senate said no Thursday. WABE spoke with local residents about the issue and took a look at the Senate fight over plastic bags.

Gerald Grady stands outside his car at the Ansley Mall shopping center in Midtown. He says the government shouldn’t be able to tell stores they can’t use plastic bags.

“I think it should be done on a local store level whether or not that should be banned or not,” Grady says. 

And when Grady shops, he prefers plastic over paper.

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Winter Weather
6:25 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Why It's Tough To Tell If It's Going To Snow In Atlanta

When Atlanta's temperature hovers around freezing, it's tough to tell if it'll snow or rain.
Credit Amel Emric / Associated Press

Some in the metro area actually saw snow at their homes this week; others got not much more than cold rain and a bit of ice. Why’s it so tough for forecasters to figure out which way a snow day is going to go in Atlanta? 

“It’s incredibly hard,” said meteorologist with the National Weather Service Brian Lynn. He says we should blame the location. “We’re always on the edge of a temperature structure that allows for snow versus rain or snow versus sleet versus freezing rain.”

Lynn said the city is in an inconvenient sweet spot where the temperature hovers around freezing.

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A Closer Look
6:20 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

A Talk with Sen. Johnny Isakson: Homeland Security Funding; ISIS; And The Keystone Pipeline

In this photo from Jan. 10, 2015, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) speaks to a breakfast meeting of Cobb County Republicans at the county GOP office in Marietta.
Credit Denis O'Hayer / WABE

At midnight on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will run out of money, unless Congress approves a new funding measure. 

Some Republicans have tried to tie DHS funding to their bill to overturn President Obama's executive actions on immigration.  

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders reached an agreement to hold a vote on DHS funding alone – without the immigration bill. House Republicans showed no signs of going along with that.  

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5:59 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Under House Plan, Schools Would Pay More To Keep Part-Time Workers Insured

Under a budget plan approved by the Georgia House part-time school workers would keep their health insurance.
Credit Toby Talbot / Associated Press

About 11,000 bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other part-time school workers would keep their health insurance under a budget plan approved Thursday by the Georgia House. School districts, however, would be forced to pay significantly more to keep them insured.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England stressed the importance of the workers, but said change is needed.

“We’ve got a lot of state employees out there that are not covered and so it’s kind of a fairness issue. It’s not fair to the part-time employees we’ve not been covering,” said England.

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4:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Atlanta Hawks Offering Refunds Due To Winter Storm

The Atlanta Hawks are offering refunds for those who couldn't make it to the game Wednesday night due to the weather.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

The Atlanta Hawks said the team is offering refunds to people who couldn’t make it to the game Wednesday night due to the weather. While most of Atlanta hunkered down during a storm warning, the game went on as planned against the Dallas Mavericks at Philips Arena.  

The Hawks won in a 104-87 victory, but the game did experience a short delay. There was a leaking roof during the first quarter. Concession stands were also limited because some employees stayed home. 

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A Closer Look
2:22 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Redesigning The Snow Day At MODA

Kids get creative at MODA on a non-snow, snow day.
Credit Courtesy of Museum of Design Atlanta

What do you do on a snow day when it doesn't snow? Kids are stuck at home, there's no white stuff on the ground to entertain them, and many parents are tearing their hair out.

Enter MODA, the Museum of Design Atlanta, with a just-in-time solution. 

Executive Director Laura Flusche visited the "A Closer Look" studios to tell us about an invitation that MODA extended yesterday, inviting families to bring in their kids for free "until the snow arrives."

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City Lights
1:00 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Fifty Years After The Fact, An Unknown Opera, 'The Passenger,' Gets Discovered

The set of Weinberg's ''The Passenger'' features Auschwitz during the Holocaust on bottom and a grand passenger ship headed to Brazil in the 1960s on top.
Credit Robert Kusel

He is utterly unknown, but the 20th century Russian musical heavyweight Dmitri Shostakovich described his work in this way: "Music of beauty and enormity … it is a perfect masterpiece … it is a hymn to humanity … to the international solidarity of those who, subjected to the most terrible evil, stood up against fascism."

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Beautiful City
12:37 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Beautiful City: The South Peachtree Creek Trail

The South Peachtree Creek Trail is part boardwalk, part pavement.
Mary Claire Kelly WABE

Beautiful City is WABE's series about places to go in Atlanta to ... get away from Atlanta.

Today, that’s North Decatur.

There, the South Peachtree Creek Trail links two neighborhoods, two parks and even two sports.

On one end are the baseball fields of Medlock Park and, on the other, the tennis courts of Mason Mill Park.

But you’ll find that this path does much more than connect Point A to Point B.

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12:06 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Atlanta’s Economic Forecast For 2015 Looks Promising

Atlanta's economy continues to rebound from the Great Recession.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Economically speaking, 2014 was a good year for Atlanta.

And 2015 should be even better.

“Although the recession was very difficult, on the upside, we have so many different industries to lean on and that helps improve our economic prospects,” Mekael Teshome, an economist with PNC’s Financial Services Group, says. 

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City Lights
11:07 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Harp Concert Promises To Be Mega

This year the Mega Harp Concert will feature 56 harps. The harpists will play several pieces all together along with a selection of smaller ensemble works.
Credit Courtesy of Mary Ann Flinn

A photo can be a dangerous thing. 

In 2008, the officers of the Georgia Chapter of the American Harp Society saw a picture of a large-scale harp concert. And they thought, "Well, why can't we do something with multiple harps? Because the harp is a lonely instrument," as Mary Ann Flinn, the vice president of the organization, recalled.

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Historic Places
10:15 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Milledgeville Old Governor's Mansion Proposed As State Historic House

The Old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville could be the official state historic house.
Credit Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia


A bill in the state legislature is proposing to make the Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville the state’s official historic house. The house is currently a National Historic Landmark, but the designation could help boost tourism, said Matthew Davis, director of the Old Governor's Mansion. 

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Mara's Music Mix
10:00 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Willie Nelson And The Piano Man Top Week In Upcoming Concerts

Willie Nelson will appear on the Tabernacle stage with his trusty guitar, Trigger, on Feb. 27.
Credit John P. /

This week, everyone's favorite ponytailed country legend Willie Nelson continues to wear a hole in his trusty guitar and an Athens country rule-breaker takes the Tabernacle stage. Plus, an indie rocker brings a new kind of grit to the EARL, and Piano Man Billy Joel plays the hits at Phillips. 

WABE contributor Mara Davis brings this weekend in concert picks.

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University of Georgia
9:17 am
Thu February 26, 2015

UGA Opens Washington, D.C. Housing, Study Space For Students

The three-story Capitol Hill building, named Delta Hall, was formerly an office building. Since being purchased by the university it has undergone renovations that make it capable of housing 32 students who are interning and studying in the District of Columbia as well as faculty and staff.
Credit UGA

The University of Georgia is holding a ribbon cutting Thursday for a building that will provide living, classroom and study space for students and faculty in the nation's capital.

The three-story Capitol Hill building, named Delta Hall, was formerly an office building. Since being purchased by the university it has undergone renovations that make it capable of housing 32 students who are interning and studying in the District of Columbia as well as faculty and staff. The inaugural class of students moved into the building on Massachusetts Avenue in January.

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8:49 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Saving The Fox Theatre: Recollections From The National Monuments Foundation CEO

''Save the Fox'' supporters paraded through the streets 40 years ago to keep the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Credit Courtesy of The Fox Theatre

It’s been 40 years since the “Save the Fox” campaign successfully spared Atlanta’s most beloved landmark from demolition. 

How Atlantans first learned of the plan to sell and then destroy the Fox Theatre was due to the efforts of a group of high school students — chief among them, Rodney Mims Cook Jr. 

A native Atlantan, Cook today is the CEO of the National Monuments Foundation. Recently, he spoke with WABE's Steve Goss. 

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5:22 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Winter Weather Causes School Closings And Delays

Concerns about weather result in school cancellations and delays for Thursday.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Annunciation Day School

Closed today

Art Institute of Atlanta

Faculty and staff at 11 a.m., students at noon

Athens Academy

Closed today

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5:44 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

House Committee Scrutinizes Autism Treatment Coverage Bill

Under the popular Senate bill, insurance companies would have to cover autism treatment coverage for children six years old and younger.
Credit Ken Lund /

A popular state Senate bill requiring private insurers to cover autism treatment for young children was scrutinized Wednesday by members of a House committee. Representatives don’t want small businesses to pay more for insurance.

Under the bill, insurance companies would have to cover autism treatment coverage for children six years old and younger. Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith, R-Columbus, says small businesses can’t afford the extra costs.

“How do I go back home and say by the way, we just voted to raise your insurance premium,” Smith says.

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