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Local
6:08 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Georgia's Public Universities Go Smoke Free

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

All 31 campuses within the University System of Georgia went officially smoke free Wednesday. That means students can’t light up, use chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes anywhere at school. Kennesaw State University is one of the schools undergoing the change. WABE’s Michelle Wirth spoke with students and administrators at the university.

Tre Robinson skateboards across Kennesaw’s campus. Robinson is a junior communications major who smokes one or two cigarettes a day. He said the change is unfair.

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Education
5:03 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Test Expert Takes the Stand in Atlanta Cheating Trial

Gregory Cizek is a psychometrics professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He testified as a testing expert for the state.
Kent Johnson The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A testing expert took the stand Wednesday in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial. Some defense attorneys questioned the state’s investigation. That was triggered after an analysis found an unusual number of erasures on state tests at several APS schools.

Gregory Cizek has written books about preventing and detecting cheating. Defense Attorney Benjamin Davis, who represents a former key administrator, questioned Cizek about the use of data.

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Local
1:20 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Ellis Takes Stand Seeking To Refute Corruption Charges

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis on the witness stand.

Updated: 5:06 p.m.

After more than two weeks of listening to prosecutors make their case, suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis got the chance today to tell his side of the story.

Ellis is on trial for allegedly shaking down county vendors for campaign contributions, then lying about it under oath.

On the witness stand, Ellis insisted he never strong-armed vendors for donations.

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Beautiful City
12:40 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Beautiful City: Mountain Way Common

View from under Georgia 400 at Mountain Way Common.
Stephannie Stokes/WABE

"Beautiful City" is WABE's series about places to get away from Atlanta without leaving the city.

Today, we head to North Buckhead. Despite being one of the most affluent communities in Atlanta, it actually has less park space than any other neighborhood.

But its residents are working to change that -- by developing some of the hidden and unused spaces around them. WABE’s Stephannie Stokes has the story of one of these parks: the Mountain Way Common.

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Local
12:30 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Engineering a Safer Football Helmet for Atlanta and Elsewhere

Players at Georgia State University practice while wearing the Guardian Cap, a safety device for football helmets.
Stephannie Stokes WABE

Step onto Georgia State University's football field during practice and you won't be able to see GSU's blue helmets on the players' heads. 

Instead, you'll see a white padded cover, called the Guardian Cap. It's a safety device that fits over the classic hard-shell helmet and it's specially designed to soften any blows to the head that players may experience on the field. 

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From the AJC's Shane Harrison
12:15 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

AJC Events: Dog Festivals, Taste of Chamblee & More

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta, and this week, their conversation  has gone to the dogs.

HowlOWeenie

ChattaPoochee Pet Fest

Avondale Estates AutumnFEST

Taste of Chamblee

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Preview of Weekend Events
11:58 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Roller Derby, Churchill Paintings and More This Weekend

Derby Darlins
Credit www.mariettaderbydarlins.org

There's a lot going on this weekend, from roller derby to the celebration of photography. To figure it all out, WABE's Lois Reitzes recently spoke with Betsy Riley of Atlanta Magazine. Here's Lois with more.

Marietta Derby Darlins

The Art of Diplomacy - Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting

Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival

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Local
6:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Massive Number Of Illegally Dumped Tires Discovered In DeKalb County

Michelle Wirth/WABE News

This month, state environmental officials discovered one of the largest illegal tire dump sites in recent history.

More than six thousand old tires are scattered on a large wooded property in Lithonia. Near the tires mosquitoes swarm and the entire area smells of rubber. Eric Sanders, a Department of Natural Resources ranger, found the tires.

“I said man that’s a lot of tires. And the more I got to looking at the location, the magnitude of the tires is unreal,” said Sanders.

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Local
8:08 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Floyd County Sheriff's Office Among First in GA to Try Body Cameras: A Talk with the Chief Deputy

Tom Caldwell, the Chief Deputy of the Floyd County Sheriff's Office
Credit Floyd County Sheriff's Office

  In the months after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been a great deal of discussion about whether law enforcement officers should wear body cameras.  Some agencies in other states have tried bodycams, but in Georgia, the Floyd County Sheriff's Office appears to be the first local jurisdiction of significant size to do it.

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Local
5:50 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

As Defense Calls First Witnesses, Ellis Confirms He’ll Testify

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit facebook.com/burrellellis2012

Supporters of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis took the stand Tuesday for the first time in his corruption trial.

Several high-profile figures testified, and more are to come, including Ellis himself.

It was an open question whether Ellis would take the stand. Before the defense called its first witness, the judge wanted a direct answer from Ellis.

Judge Courtney Johnson: Do you personally want to testify or not?

Ellis: Yes.

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Local
5:16 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Student Testifies Teacher Gave Answers On Standardized Exam

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter presides over the trial Tuesday morning.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Prosecutors began calling their witnesses in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial.

These were the first in what’s expected to be a long list of witnesses alleging widespread cheating within APS and an attempt to cover it up.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports the state focused on a particular student.

That student is now 17-years old.

A few years ago, while a student at Cascade Elementary in Southwest Atlanta, she struggled academically, especially in reading.

But when it came time to take the yearly CRCT, Georgia’s standardized test, the student excelled.

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Health & Science
5:14 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

CDC Confirms First Ebola Case Diagnosed In US

The CDC will have a press conference this afternoon discussing the recent case of Ebola in Texas.
Credit John Lorinc / WABE

The head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t ruling out the possibility of more people arriving in the United States with the deadly Ebola virus.

Speaking Tuesday at a press event confirming the first Ebola diagnosis in the United States, CDC Director Tom Frieden said as long as the disease continues to spread in West Africa we need to be “on our guard.”  

“The reality is that patients travel, individuals travel, and as appears to have happened in this case individuals may travel before they have any symptoms,” he said.

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Atlanta Public Schools
1:43 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

APS Cheating Trial Day 2: Live Tweets, Part 1

Fulton Senior Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker questions witness Justina Collins during testimony Tuesday.
Kent Johnson Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rose Scott is covering the trial of the 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of a conspiracy to raise school scores by changing the answers on student tests.  The trial enters its second day of testimony today.

Here are Rose's tweets from the morning of Tuesday, September 30.  They are arranged in chronological order.

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Airlines and Aviation
1:25 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Dallas-Love Field Denies Delta

Since 2008, Delta has flown directly from Atlanta to Dallas-Love Field, the city's in-town airport. In two weeks, it must stop that service.
Credit Courtesy: Aviationblog.Dallasnews.com

(Note: This updated version includes link to letter the City of Dallas gave Delta, as well as statement from Delta Air Lines.)

In two weeks, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines will have to halt its five daily flights to Dallas-Love Field, the city's in-town airport.

To understand why, you have to venture back 35 years.

In 1979, an obscure law called the Wright Amendment became federal law. Part of its purpose was to keep the newer, bigger Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport busy.

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Beautiful City
12:15 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Beautiful City: Outdoor Activity Center

Grandfather Beech.
Mary Claire Kelly

"Beautiful City" is WABE's series about places to get away from Atlanta without leaving the city.

Today we’re heading off to the urban forest of the Bush Mountain Outdoor Activity Center. The 40-year-old park, hidden in the middle of a Southwest Atlanta neighborhood, features two miles of trails, a large wooden playground, a cabin-like educational center, and a community garden that sits on the former practice lot of the Atlanta Black Crackers baseball team.

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StoryCorps Atlanta
7:40 am
Tue September 30, 2014

StoryCorps Atlanta: Ben Thomas and Courtney Slater

Courtney Slater and Ben Thomas at StoryCorps Atlanta

Ben Thomas and Courtney Slater met in college in 2002, and while they were both interested in dating each other, the timing was never right. After school, Ben and Courtney took divergent paths, got married to other people, and then divorced. They reconnected in 2012. In the StoryCorps booth, Courtney recounted how they found each other again.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

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Local
6:05 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Ellis Defense To Begin Calling Witnesses

Suspended Dekalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit Kent Johnson/AJC

Lawyers defending suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis in his corruption trial are expected to call their first witnesses Tuesday.

So far, only witnesses supporting the prosecution’s case have taken the stand.

Among the witnesses expected to testify for Ellis are Congressman Hank Johnson and former DeKalb school board chair Eugene Walker. Ellis’ wife may also testify. Still unclear is whether Burrell Ellis, himself, will take the stand.

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Music
7:47 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

ASO President Resigns: A Talk with The Woodruff's President, and a Statement from ASO Musicians

  On Monday, September 29, 2014, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Dr. Stanley Romanstein resigned, effective immediately.  

A statement released by the Woodruff Arts Center (the ASO's parent organization) quoted Romanstein as saying, "I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO's musicians."  

The musicians have been locked out since their previous contract expired on September 6, 2014.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association responded with the following statement:

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Local
6:25 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Grady Receives $30 Million For Expansion

Credit Nick NeSmith/WABE NEWS

Grady Memorial Hospital is getting $30 million to expand its emergency department and its stroke center. The donation comes from the Marcus Foundation, whose board is chaired by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.

Most of the money will go toward a new emergency center for the hospital. Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation Board of Directors, Pete Correll, said the current one is more than 20 years old.

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Local
6:23 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Prosecutors Say Atlanta Cheating Was Cleverly Disguised

Prosecutor Fani Willis addressing the jurors during the prosecution's opening statements
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cheating within several Atlanta Public Schools was cleverly disguised.

That’s what prosecutors told the jury as opening statements in the trial of 12 APS educators got underway.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports on the first day of the long awaited trial.

The defendants sat alongside their attorneys and listened as assistant district attorney Fani Willis told the jury what evidence would prove the cheating conspiracy.

It included, giving students answers, hiding in a closet to change answers and threatening to fire teachers if their classes didn’t make high scores.

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Politics
5:23 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

House Committee Wants To Consolidate Inspections For State Childcare Providers

Say you want to help care for children who’ve been placed in state care.

First you’d have to undergo a license inspection from the state Department of Human Services, along with some follow up inspections.

There’s also a federal licensing process that requires its own inspection.

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Atlanta's Live Literature Scene
5:06 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Lit'cast: "Try To Leave Cabbagetown"

Credit Batty Catty Designs

WABE’s Lit’cast is an ongoing chronicle of Atlanta's live literature and storytelling scene.

This week’s story comes from Bill Taft, a musician who has played in a lot of bands around Atlanta over the past few decades, notably in Smoke, but also Hubcap City, the Opal Foxx Quartet, the Jody Grind and others. In February of 2013, Bill took the stage at WRITE CLUB Atlanta to present his take on the concept of "Return."

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Education
4:42 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Some Seniors Take Advantage of Free College Tuition

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Higher education is free for some Georgia senior citizens. A state policy allows residents ages 62 and up to go back to college for free. 

Judith Carson, 70, is working on her master’s degree in poetry.

“Some of the people call me Aunt Judith now,” she says.

Carson is part of a program at Georgia State University called GSU-62. Students who are at least 62 years old can qualify for free tuition.

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Music
3:10 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Breaking: ASO President and CEO Resigns

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra seen from above.
Credit Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Board of Directors of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced that President and CEO Stanley Romanstein, Ph.D. has resigned from his position. Romanstein will work with the orchestra on the leadership transition, which will see newly-appointed interim President Terry Neal manage the day-to-day orchestra operations.

Neal, a retired executive of The Coca-Cola Company, was elected to the ASO's Board in 2013.

The entire press release from the Woodruff Arts Center is below:

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APS Cheating Scandal
1:30 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Trial Underway in Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Case

Prosecutor Fani Willis (seen here during the jury selection process last August) made opening statements during the first day of the trial.
Credit Kent D. Johnson / The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Prosecutors say 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators and administrators cheated, lied and stole as part of a widespread but cleverly disguised conspiracy that affected thousands of students.

  In opening statements, prosecutor Fani Willis told jurors in Fulton County Superior Court that they would hear from current and former APS students, teachers, parents and administrators in the coming weeks. The trial is expected to last months. Opening statements for the defendants' attorneys will begin Monday afternoon.

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Beautiful City
12:26 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Beautiful City: Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

Mary Claire Kelly

"Beautiful City" is WABE's series about places to get away from Atlanta without leaving the city.

Today, we’ll learn about a neighborhood reclaiming both its history, and its future, in one of its neighborhood parks. WABE’s Kate Sweeney takes us to the 120-acre Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in Southwest Atlanta.

Beautiful City is made possible by a grant from The Kendeda Fund, and through a partnership with Park Pride, celebrating 25 years of more and better parks for Atlanta.

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Books
12:15 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Author Events: Carl Hiaasen, Yamma Brown & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival dropped by to fill us in on the week in metro Atlanta literary events. Events this week include appearances from Carl Hiaasen and James Brown's daughter Yamma Brown, as well as an evening devoted to poet Seamus Heaney. 

Miss anything?

Carl Hiaasen will be at the Decatur Library Auditorium Wednesday Oct. 1 at 7:15 p.m. Full details here.

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Perdue vs. Nunn
6:00 am
Mon September 29, 2014

U.S. Senate Ads: A Short Analysis of Negativity

InsiderAdvantage C.E.O. Matt Towery.
Credit InsiderAdvantage

  It is clear the gloves have come off in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race.

A short clip from a recent campaign ad from Republican David Perdue: “She funded organizations linked to terrorists.”

And Democrat Michelle Nunn’s response: “That’s a terrible lie.”

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Atlanta Sounds
11:39 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Baby Birth

Mary Novotny and Tycho.

In late 2012, Mary and her husband, Andy Rodriquez, submitted audio to WABE of their hospital room where their soon Tycho would soon be born.

4 hours and 22 minutes later afer their initial recording, Tycho came into the world, and they couple caught his first moments on tape. We've turned that audio into this Atlanta Sound.

    

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

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Politics
7:45 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Film Makers Get Drone Approval: Are Georgia Lawmakers Ready for the Expanding Technology?

State Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell)
Credit Georgia General Assembly

  On Thursday, September 25, 2014, Federal officials gave six movie and TV production companies permission to use drones in their film shoots, with some restrictions.  

It's a major step toward wider use of drones in commercial operations.  And it increases the attention on Federal and state lawmakers as they scramble to come up with rules for this rapidly-expanding technology.  

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