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Local
4:59 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

More Opposition Mounting Against Religious Freedom Bill

Columbus Republican Sen. Josh McKoon defended his so-called "Religious Freedom" bill Monday on the Senate floor, dismissing claims it would give legal cover to parents in some child abuse cases.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Opposition is mounting against the so-called Religious Freedom Bill, which the legislature is expected to take up this session.

The latest objections to the controversial legislation come in the form of newspaper advertisements that ran Monday morning in the Marietta Daily Journal and the Columbus Ledger Enquirer - the hometown newspapers of Republican bill sponsors Rep. Sam Teasley and Sen. Josh McKoon.

The full-page ads, which were taken out by the left-leaning group Better Georgia, charge that the bill would give legal cover to some people accused of child abuse. 

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State News
12:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Georgia Ports Seeing Growth From West Coast Labor Problems

Overall cargo tonnage in Savannah and Brunswick was up nearly 7 percent in the six-month period from July 1 through Dec. 31 according to the Georgia Ports Authority.
Credit Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Georgia's seaports handled record-breaking cargo volumes in the first half of the 2015 fiscal year in part because of labor disputes that have bogged down trade on the West Coast.

The Georgia Ports Authority reported Monday that overall cargo tonnage in Savannah and Brunswick was up nearly 7 percent in the six-month period from July 1 through Dec. 31. Savannah, the nation's fourth-busiest container port, handled 1.75 million cargo containers, an increase of more than 13 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

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Local
12:03 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

'March: Book Two' Shows All Sides Of Civil Rights Movement

"March: Book Two," the second volume in a trilogy of graphic novels chronicling John Lewis' life, was released this past week.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. helped bring a young John Lewis into the civil rights movement.

Fifty years later, the Georgia Democratic congressman is now hoping graphic novels about his life and the fight to win equal civil rights for all Americans will serve as a guide for protesters today as they seek justice.

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State News
10:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Ice Possible In Higher Elevations Of Georgia Mountains

The National Weather Service said the ice could form on roads and bridges in north Georgia Monday evening, as temperatures fall below freezing in the mountains.
Credit John Amis / Associated Press

Forecasters say light snow and black ice will be possible in higher elevations of the north Georgia  mountains as a winter storm system moves toward the east coast.

In a winter weather advisory, the National Weather Service said the ice could form on roads and bridges Monday evening, as temperatures fall below freezing in the mountains.

Meanwhile, a wind advisory in effect until Monday evening covered all of north and central Georgia.

Winds from 15 to 25 mph ─ with gusts of up to 35 mph ─ were expected through 8 p.m. Monday.

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Local
8:39 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Ga. Inmate Who's Come Close To Death 3 Times To Die Tuesday

Warren Lee Hill, 54, who was sentenced to death in August 1991, was first scheduled to die two and a half years ago.
Credit Georgia Dept. of Corrections

A Georgia death row inmate who has come within hours of execution three times is once again scheduled to die this week.

Warren Lee Hill, 54, who was sentenced to death in August 1991, was first scheduled to die two and a half years ago. Challenges filed by his lawyers have provided temporary reprieves on three occasions and twice have effectively halted all executions in Georgia for months at a time.

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Local
8:33 am
Mon January 26, 2015

FBI: Hunt Continues For Suspect In Bomb Threats Against Jets

A worker closes the door to a Delta Airlines airplane sitting on the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Jan. 24, 2015, in Atlanta. Police were searching the Delta airplane and a Southwest airplane at Atlanta's main airport after authorities received what they described as ''credible'' bomb threats.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

An FBI agent says law officers are continuing to pursue a suspect after someone made bomb threats targeting two jets bound for Atlanta, prompting F-16 fighter jets to escort the planes.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett told The Associated Press on Sunday that the agency is continuing to pursue leads in an effort to locate the individual responsible for the threats.

No bombs were found in searches of both planes after they landed safely in Atlanta on Saturday.

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Local
8:05 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Suspect In Missing Marietta Couple Case Has Turned Himself In

Bud and June Runion have been missing since Thursday.
Credit Find Bud and June Runion Facebook Page

According to the Telfair County Sheriff's Department Facebook page, Ronnie "Jay" Towns, who was wanted in connection to a missing Marietta couple, has turned himself in around 11:30 a.m. today.

Towns is facing charges of giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. He is currently in custody, but no other details were available.

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Local
6:36 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Fulton County To Restore Library Hours

Judith Laroue checks on the books she placed on hold at the county's East Atlanta library branch.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE Radio

If you live in Fulton County, you’ll soon be able to go to the library more often. That’s because the County Commission voted to restore hours that were cut from the Atlanta-Fulton Library System last year. It’s a move that many Fulton residents are happy about.

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Education
6:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Should Georgia Change How The State Schools Superintendent Is Chosen?

Voter Larry Levatte, left, walks away from a voting booth after casting his ballot inside the old Hoggards Mill Courthouse. Some lawmakers want to change the way the state schools superintendent is chosen.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Every four years, Georgia voters elect a state schools superintendent to run the Department of Education. Some lawmakers want to change that.

Thirty-eight states appoint their superintendents instead of electing them. State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, wants Georgia to join them.

“Generally, you don’t elect people to be administrators; you elect policy people,” Dudgeon said at a recent symposium. "So, I believe that the governor should be able to appoint the person to run the Department of Education, just like he appoints the Department of Revenue.”

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Stitch By Stitch, An Atlanta Shoemaker Revives A Time-Honored Trade

A completed pair of boots are shown here. Shoemaker Sarah Green says it takes her about 40 hours in a week to make three pairs.
Myke Johns WABE

The work that goes into making a pair of leather shoes is exacting and difficult.

Few people make shoes on a small scale anymore, but there is a relative newcomer. Sarah Green makes boots, and, in this Atlanta Sound, we paid her a visit at her workshop in Atlanta to find out how it’s done.

And the 30-second version of this story:

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

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Politics
7:49 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

US Sen. David Perdue Discusses Keystone Pipeline, Upcoming Legislative Battles

Now-Senator David Perdue, R-Georgia, in a file photo of his victory celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta on Nov. 4, 2014.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

 

Georgia's new U.S. Senator, Republican David Perdue, has been in office less than a month.  

But he has already proposed some bills, and lined up with his party for upcoming battles with President Obama.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Perdue about the President's recent State of the Union message, and whether Republicans will negotiate with him on issues from health care to the Keystone pipeline.

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Health & Science
4:42 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

What Does The California Measles Outbreak Mean For Georgia?

Georgia's low exemption populous makes it a lot less likely what's happening in California could happen here.
Credit Jae. C Hong / Associated Press

Every state has laws requiring that students get vaccinated, with exemptions varying from state to state. All states provide for medical exemptions to vaccines, and all but two allow religious exclusions.

But unlike 19 other states, Georgia does not permit vaccination exemptions for philosophical reasons.

“We have a very low exemption populous, so we feel really good about maintaining our herd immunity,” says Penny Conner, who works in immunization at the Georgia Department of Public Health.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Gov. Deal Defends Plan To Cut Health Benefits For 11,000 School Workers

Gov. Nathan Deal’s latest budget plan cuts health benefits to more than 11,000 school workers.
Credit Branden Camp / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal’s latest budget plan cuts health benefits to more than 11,000 school workers - mostly bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other employees who work less than 30 hours per week.

Deal this week defended the proposal, saying it’s a matter of fairness to other state employees who work part-time but don’t qualify for benefits.

“I think more and more people are asking the question, 'why is it that people who are working less than 30 hours a week were being able to participate when some of our own state employees could not,'” said Deal.

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Covering the Affordable Care Act
3:42 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Obamacare Enrolls 425,000 In Georgia

Sylvia Burwell, seen here in 2014, praised Georgia for enrolling 425,000 people into a health plan under the Affordable Care Act, but said the state still had a lot of ground to cover.
Credit Susan Walsh / Associated Press

The head of the federal agency overseeing Obamacare stopped at a southwest Atlanta health facility Friday to tout how many Georgians have benefited from the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace.

"The number is 425,000 today," said Synthia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Blight
12:51 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

How Should Atlanta Tackle Blight?

There are an estimated 17,000 abandoned properties in Atlanta.
Credit Jonathan Shapiro / WABE

The City of Atlanta is working to tackle abandoned homes and properties throughout the city, something the city has had a hard time handling with because of its current laws, officials said. 

Last summer, the city created a Code Enforcement Commission to figure out best practices from other cities on handling blight. There are an estimated 17,000 abandoned properties, said City Council member Mary Norwood, who also co-chairs the commission. 

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MARTA
11:03 am
Fri January 23, 2015

MARTA Is Hiring New Police Officers

The MARTA Police Department plans to host a job fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at MARTA headquarters.
Credit Allison Guillory / WABE

The police department for Atlanta's public transit system is hiring.

The MARTA Police Department plans to host a job fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at MARTA headquarters. The department says it will offer on-site information sessions for open positions.

Police recruiters plan to pre-screen applicants.

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Local
10:37 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Study: Metro Area Could Add 4 Million People By 2030

Up to 4 million more people may be living in the metro Atlanta area within the next 15 years, according to a new report released by the Washington, D.C., based Urban Institute.
Credit Gregor Smith / flickr.com/flc

The metro-Atlanta area can expect a big population growth in the next 15 years, according to a new report released by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute.

The study lays out 27 scenarios for population growth based on historical data for births, deaths and migration. Even under the most conservative projections, the study shows the metro population could grow by more than a million by 2030.

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Atlanta Music
10:28 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Shana Tucker Brings 'ChamberSoul' To Spivey

Shana Tucker performing in WABE's Studio A in January 2015.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Shana Tucker is a Durham, N. C.-based cellist and singer-songwriter. Drawing inspiration from the pop music of the 1980s, film scores, and world music, she infuses her playing with her classical and jazz upbringing into a style she calls "ChamberSoul."

WABE's Erin Wright sat down for a conversation with Tucker to talk about her music and her most prominent gig to-date, performing as cellist and mezzo-soprano in Cirque du Soliel's "KÀ" in Las Vegas. 

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Local
9:37 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Files Discrimination Complaint

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has filed a federal complaint against the city claiming he was discriminated against because of his religion.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has filed a federal complaint against the city claiming he was discriminated against because of his religion.

Mayor Kasim Reed recently fired Cochran over comments in his self-published book, "Who Told You That You Were Naked." The book characterizes homosexuality as "vulgar" and "a sexual perversion."

City spokeswoman Anne Torres says the city plans to defend the mayor's decision.

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State News
8:44 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Georgia Inmates To Wear Hot-Pink Uniforms

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses members of his DUI chain gang Dec. 11, 2007, in Phoenix, Arizona. Arpaio, best known for issuing pink underwear to jail inmates and housing them in old military tents, said he wants the chain gang to act as a deterrent to potential drunken drivers.
Credit Matt York / Associated Press

Inmates at a Georgia jail will soon be wearing hot-pink uniforms, an idea borrowed from an Arizona sheriff.

Gary Jones, the public safety chief in the east Georgia city of Grovetown, said he hopes the inmates will be seen in their pink uniforms while collecting litter on public roads. Jones tells The Augusta Chronicle that he envisions motorists driving by and deciding they never want to be in that position.

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Local
7:47 am
Fri January 23, 2015

East Atlanta Named 'Hottest Neighborhood'

The Flatiron is part of a row of East Atlanta restaurants and shops.
Credit Larry Schwartz / Flickr.com/elemess

One of the most popular pieces of real estate in the country is in metro Atlanta.  

East Atlanta is the third “hottest neighborhood” in the United States.

That’s according to Redfin Corp.’s latest report.

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Mara's Music Mix
6:40 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Shaky Festivals, Leon Russell Make The List For Upcoming Concert Picks

Reporters are reflected in the sunglasses of Leon Russell as he answers a question at a news conference in Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 29, 2013.
Credit Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

The Santa Claus of rock helms a two-night stand, and seemingly thousands of bands are set to descend on the city in May for all manner of Shaky festivals. WABE's Steve Goss and WABE contributor Mara Davis weigh in on their picks for upcoming concerts.

Phil Maderia at Red Clay Theater; Friday, Jan. 23

Leon Russell at Terminal West; Monday and Tuesday Jan. 26-27

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Education
6:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Some Gwinnett Residents Say AP US History Exam Is Anti-American

Residents, such as Dahlys Hamilton, had three minutes to address the school board.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Some Gwinnett County residents tried to convince the school board at a meeting Thursday night that textbooks they use for Advanced Placement U.S. history are anti-American.

About 10 residents lined up and had three minutes each to tell the board their concerns over the AP history text.

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Local
7:17 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Cell Towers, Backyards And The Courts: A Talk With Roswell Mayor Jere Wood

Cellphone tower fights between companies and residents have broken out in many places around metro Atlanta.
Credit Keith Survell / Flickr.com/keithius

We all know the phrase, “Not in my backyard.” 

It especially applies to cell phone towers. Most of us depend on them — none of us want one next to our house.

Cellphone tower fights between companies and residents have broken out in many places around metro Atlanta. But in the City of Roswell, it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Atlanta Art
5:50 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Critical Coverage Drawing Recognition At BURNAWAY

Susannah Darrow in the BURNAWAY office.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Susannah Darrow is co-founder and executive director of BURNAWAY, a non-profit arts organization based in Atlanta. The group aims to provide critical coverage and create dialogue about arts in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast.

They have an online arts publication and a critic-in-residency program, among other offerings. In support of their goals, BURNAWAY recently won a $50,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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Politics
5:18 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Gov. Deal Reveals Reason For Mysterious Absence

Gov. Deal, seen here after his State of the State address earlier this month, revealed today that he had traveled to England.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Speculation over Gov. Nathan Deal’s whereabouts was laid to rest Thursday. Deal, who was last seen Saturday, addressed the mystery after a budget meeting at the state Capitol.

Local and national news outlets, along with those on social media, were wondering where he was. His office wouldn’t offer details. At one point, his spokesman assured the press that no Argentinean lovers were involved ─ a reference to Congressman Mark Sanford, who as governor of South Carolina disappeared for days to rendezvous abroad with a mistress.

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Politics
5:11 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Deal Spotlights Criminal Justice Reform In Budget Briefing

Deal’s budget calls for an extra $15 million so prisons can hire 28 full-time teachers and principals.
Credit Katie King / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to give more prisoners a shot at getting a high school diploma or GED. Deal made that case Thursday to state lawmakers who are reviewing his nearly $22 billion spending plan for next year. 

“We are conveying to our fellow Georgians that the mistakes of their past have not sentenced them to a life of despair, that if they work hard and pay their dues then upon release they’ll have a chance to move on from what they’ve done,” said Deal.

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Politics
5:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

DeKalb CEO Wants To Move Government Center Out Of Decatur

DeKalb CEO Lee May announces a proposal to move the DeKalb Government Center out of Decatur during his Thursday State of the County address.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

DeKalb County’s Government Center could move from downtown Decatur to Memorial Drive. DeKalb CEO Lee May announced the relocation proposal today during his state of the county address.

CEO May says the move is needed because it would spur redevelopment along the Memorial Drive corridor. He believes that’s essential for DeKalb’s future.

“This vision is about giving attention to a part of the county that has been neglected for decades.”

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Research
4:40 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Morehouse School of Medicine Wants To Close Health Disparities Gap

The Morehouse School of Medicine is located in Atlanta's west end.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The Morehouse School of Medicine – not to be confused with Morehouse College – is a historically black medical school in downtown Atlanta. 

Since 1975, it’s graduated more than 1,400 students. Many students and faculty members work with the Grady Health system and local community clinics. 

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Law Enforcement
3:15 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Atlanta Police Want To Catch More Drunk Drivers

Atlanta Police Department officials say they want to increase their DUI detection and apprehension rate in 2015 by restructuring its DUI task force.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The Atlanta Police Department says it wants to get more drunk drivers off the road with more training. It’s also looking at restructuring the department’s DUI task force.

There are only six officers in the APD’s DUI Task force. They’re trained to detect and deal with drunk and impaired drivers.

Now the Police Department wants to assign DUI officers to each of the city’s six police zones. The idea is that the DUI officers will train other cops in the traffic unit precincts on how to better identify drivers who are under the influence. 

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