Local

Technology
12:30 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

High-Tech Farming: How PodPonics Grows Lettuce Indoors

Inside the PodPonics farm
Evan Changhwan Jang WABE

If it weren’t for the sign just outside the entrance to the Podponics farm, you might wonder if you’d gotten the address wrong.

As you pull into the lot, the scene most resembles an industrial truck yard. Airplanes are rushing overhead, taking off from Hartsfield-Jackson, just a few miles away. And the 11 acres of land in front of you are mostly empty, with exception of a few dozen shipping containers, stacked two levels high in the middle of the lot.

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Preview of Weekend Events
12:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Music Midtown, Mavis Staples and More this Weekend

Keb' 'Mo and Mavis Staples
Credit Atlanta Botanical Garden

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 around, Betsy and Lois talk about events ranging from the city’s major music festival to a one woman performance. 

Music Midtown

Marietta StreetFest

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Page-Turners
12:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Three Page-Turners...from Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea

Who knew? Novelist, essayist and poet Luis Alberto Urrea is probably a nature writer at heart. At least, that’s what he tells us in this installment of Page-Turners, in which we also see his penchant for a bit of magical realism. In addition, he tells us a great story about the one Stephen King novel that both he, and his son, couldn’t put down—and why.

In this extended version, Luis Alberto Urrea tells us his harrowing real-life story involving Mexican curanderas, or wise healer women.

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Local
11:07 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Atlanta Lawyer Gets MacArthur "Genius Grant"

Jonathan Rapping, an Atlanta-based lawyer gets a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation.
Credit Gideon's Promise

An Atlanta-based lawyer is among the 2014 Class of MacArthur Fellows.

Jonathan Rapping founded the Southern Public Defender Training Center in 2007.

That title was changed last year to Gideon’s Promise, inspired by a 1963 Supreme Court ruling.

That decision forced state courts to provide counsel to defendants in criminal cases who can’t afford representation.

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Business
7:56 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Name of New Home of the Braves, SunTrust Park: Why Companies Pay Big Money for Naming Rights

Chris Lemley, instructor in the marketing department at Georgia State University's Robinson College of Business
Credit Georgia State University-Robinson College of Business

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, state and local business and political leaders joined officials of the Atlanta Braves at the groundbreaking for the new Braves stadium in Cobb County.  

At the ceremony, team officials announced they had sealed a 25-year deal with Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks for the naming rights to the new ballpark.  It's the latest in a string of deals sports teams have made with big companies for the rights to put the companies' names on the teams' stadiums.  

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Politics
3:13 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Attorneys Deliver Opening Statements In Ellis Corruption Trial

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

Lawyers in Burrell Ellis’ corruption trial delivered opening statements Tuesday in a DeKalb County court room. It comes 15 months after the suspended DeKalb CEO was indicted on felony charges of bribery, extortion, and theft.

Speaking to a jury of ten women and two men, DeKalb prosecutor Lawanda Hodges said Ellis used his position as CEO to solicit campaign contributions, retaliate against those who didn’t give, then lied about it afterward.

"Power. Punishment. Perjury. That, members of the jury, is what the evidence will show you this case is all about," said Hodges.

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Health & Science
2:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

President Obama Addresses Ebola Aid Effort At CDC (Archived Video)

The President will speak about efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in Africa today at the CDC.
Credit CDC

  President Barack Obama spoke at the offices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta this afternoon.  We presented the President's remarks via a live video stream courtesy of whitehouse.gov.

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Atlanta's Live Literature Scene
12:52 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Lit'cast: Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea

This week on the Lit'cast, a conversation with Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North, the novel at the center of this year’s Big Read program. Plus a calendar full of lit events, workshops, storytelling shows, author visits and all that stuff keeping our city’s bookish types fully occupied.

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Books
12:40 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Setting Fire to Our Assumptions: Luis Urrea on his 'Big Read'

'Into the Beautiful North' author Luis Alberto Urrea is in Atlanta this week to discuss his book, which is this month's 'Big Read' pick.

This week, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author Luis Alberto Urrea is in town to discuss a novel that’s part fable, part gritty realism, and one-hundred percent rollicking adventure: his 2009 work Into the Beautiful North.

Urrea’s book is this month’s selection for The Big Read, a program sponsored by the Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta-Fulton Public Libraries. WABE’s Kate Sweeney sat down to talk with Urrea about North and how its border-crossing stories turn our expectations on their head.

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Local
12:28 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Zesto Diner on Ponce Closing its Doors this Weekend

Long-time Zesto employees Jeannette Holcomb and English Chante Gibson in the Zesto kitchen
John Lorinc WABE

An Atlanta institution is shutting its doors for good this weekend. 

The Zesto restaurant on Ponce de Leon Avenue was sold to an undisclosed buyer.  

“I’ve been a Zesto customer since a small child, so just thought I’d grab one last N-B-C before they closed,” says customer Roy Collins.

N-B-C, or Nut Butter Cluster, is one of the restaurant’s well-known desserts.  But that’s not all they’re famous for.

Zesto menus include hot dogs, quesadillas and chicken tenders.

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Education
8:15 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Candidates Face Off in Education Forum

Gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Jason Carter (left) and incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal shake hands before PAGE's education forum Monday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators held a candidate forum Monday. Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and state schools superintendent talked about education.It wasn’t a debate, but there were some fireworks. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic opponent state Sen. Jason Carter sparred over education spending.

Carter accused Deal of implementing “Draconian” budget cuts. He said that forced some districts to shorten their calendars.

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StoryCorps Atlanta
7:40 am
Tue September 16, 2014

StoryCorps Atlanta: Jorge, Sophie & Elise Polo

Jorge Polo is an immigrant, but for the past 32 years, his family has called Georgia home. At StoryCorps, Jorge’s granddaughters—15-year-old Sophie and 12-year-old Elise–wanted to know what his own childhood in Colombia was like, and what it was like to come to the U.S. for the first time. 

Jorge worked as a chemical engineer until his retirement at age 65 in 2007. StoryCorps Atlanta stories are recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

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Local
10:47 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

DeKalb Ethics Board Proposes Alternative Spending Plan

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics wants to hire contracted workers – not full-time staffers – to investigate ethics complaints.

That is contrary to what Interim CEO Lee May proposed when he pushed forward more than $90,000 in additional funding for the board.

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DeKalb County
10:41 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Ethics Board Moves Forward with Boyer Complaint

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer will be sentenced in December on federal mail and wire fraud charges.
Credit http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/boc/district1.html

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics will push forward with a complaint against former County Commissioner Elaine Boyer even though she is no longer in office.

The board made that decision Monday night in a preliminary hearing for Boyer, who did not attend board's meeting.

Her attorney, Anne Lewis, argued the Board of Ethics is overstepping the authority given to it by the state legislature, saying, “I don’t think there’s any question that this board does not have any jurisdiction over someone who is no longer listed in the legislation.”

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Politics
7:33 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

A Fact Check on the Latest Ads in the Senate Race, with PolitiFact Georgia Editor Jim Tharpe

Jim Tharpe, editor of PolitiFact Georgia
Credit Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  With polls showing the race for Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat is very close, both of the major party candidates--and the outside groups that are helping them--have unleashed a blitz of media ads.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer got a fact check on some of the newest ads, with Jim Tharpe, editor of PolitiFact Georgia, the non-partisan fact-checking arm of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and myAJC.com.

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Local
6:28 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Georgia DNR: Army Has Yet to Address Toxic Vapor Found in Homes Near Fort Gillem

The U.S. Army is currently testing a number of homes near Fort Gillem.
Credit Evan Jang/WABE

State environmental officials say the U.S. Army has not fulfilled a commitment it made to help residents of 26 homes that have tested positive for toxic vapor near Fort Gillem. Officials say the Army agreed to install vapor mitigation systems within the 26 homes no later than Sept. 11 but has yet to act.

Susan Martin-Morgan lives about a mile from Fort Gillem. She said the Army sampled the air quality of her home and discovered it contains elevated levels of dangerous chemicals that could pose a long-term risk to her family’s health. 

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Politics
4:42 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Fulton Chair Seeking To Ease Tensions With Atlanta On Affordable Housing

Fulton Commission chair John Eaves
Credit johneaves4fulton.com

Fulton County Commission chair John Eaves says he wants to pass new affordable housing legislation by the end of the year. Part of the aim is to ease tensions between the development authorities of Fulton and the city of Atlanta.

“We certainly have an open mind and we probably will be exploring this in pursuing some sort of policy change in the near future,” said Eaves.

The comments come as Atlanta officials say the lack of an affordable housing policy by the Development Authority of Fulton County is lowering the bar for developers and costing the city development deals. 

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Politics
3:57 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

George HW Bush Endorses David Perdue In US Senate Race

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, left, Monday endorsed Georgia Republican nominee David Perdue in the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. Perdue is facing Democrat Michelle Nunn, who heads the former president's nonprofit Points of Light Foundation.
Credit Office of George Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush Monday announced he is endorsing Georgia Republican U.S. Senate Nominee David Perdue.

In endorsing Perdue, Bush praised the former Dollar General and Reebok CEO’s business experience, saying it “gives him the kind of real-world experience that Washington, DC is sorely lacking today.”

The former president also said he’d lost faith in the Senate Democratic leadership, and called Perdue “an independent voice for Georgia.”

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Books
3:22 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Author Events: Charles Lewis, Tavis Smiley & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang dropped by WABE studios to tell us about the week in metro Atlanta book Events. He started by telling City Cafe host John Lemley about Chris Guillebeau and his new book the "Happiness of Pursuit."

Chris Guillebeau will be at A Capella Books tomorrow. Find full details here.

Charles Lewis will be at the Carter Center on Thursday. Check out that event here.

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Arts
12:49 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

The Unconscious Personality of ACAC's Exquisite Exhibit

Detail of mural by Matt Haffner, Sarah Emerson, and Michi Meko, Exquisite Exhibit at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Myke Johns WABE

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center threw their Art Party on September 13, and along with the entertainment, the food and the crowds, they opened a new show called “Exquisite Exhibit: Parlour Games from the Studio Artist Program.” Knowing their first audience would be party-goers, the Contemporary made the exhibit kind of a game. Twenty one artists were tasked with working on seven works of art in the style of exquisite corpse drawings—a sort of collaboration where no one sees the whole picture until the end.

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Local
10:02 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Gas Prices in Metro Atlanta Dip Slightly

Metro Atlanta commuters are paying a little less to fill up.
Credit John Lorinc / WABE

Commuters in metro Atlanta are paying a little less to fill up.

The average price for a gallon of regular is $3.40, according to AAA.

That’s down about two-cents from last week and nearly five-cents from this time last year.

The state-wide average is $3.32---a three-cent dip from last week----and seven-cents below the national number.

Starting this week, refineries are now longer required to sell summer-blend gasoline.

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Health & Science
7:06 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Obama To Visit CDC Tuesday

Credit whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama will be in Atlanta Tuesday. He’ll meet with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A CDC spokeswoman says the President’s meeting will focus on enterovirus and the CDC’s response to the Ebola outbreak. The announced visit comes after President Obama mentioned Ebola last week at the end of an address focused mostly on the terror group ISIS.

  “It is America,” said President Obama. “Our scientists, our doctors, our knowhow that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola.”

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Politics
7:51 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

AJC Poll Shows Tight Contests: A Look Behind the Numbers with the AJC's Jim Galloway

Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway
Credit Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll--the paper's first of the general election campaign--shows very close races for Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator.  Democrat Jason Carter and Republican incumbent Nathan Deal are statistically tied in the Governor's race; while Republican David Perdue holds a slim lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn in the Senate race.  In both contests, the Libertarian candidates are polling strongly enough to force runoffs, if the elections were held today.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with AJC political columnist Jim Galloway.

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Local
6:47 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Civil Rights Leader Reacts to Ferry's Leave Of Absence

Francys Johnson speaks Thursday at the Georgia Capitol on another matter.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry is taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately. The leave of absence comes after audio of a June conference call of Ferry speaking about free agent Luol Deng.

During the call, Ferry said words civil rights leaders and others describe as racially insensitive. This excerpt of the call was obtained by ESPN.

“He's a good guy overall, but not perfect. He's got some African in him."

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Education
5:32 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Will Voters Choose Issues Over Party?

State Sen. Jason Carter (L) and Gov. Nathan Deal (R) spoke to educators at the second annual Education Leadership Institute at Atlanta's Marriott Marquis Friday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Nominees in some statewide races have insisted lately their elections are about issues, not politics. Some have made education a focal point. And it seems some voters may be willing to put Party aside when it comes to schools.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic opponent state Sen. Jason Carter addressed a group of teachers at the Georgia Education Leadership Institute Friday.

Both struck impassioned tones. Carter spoke first. He claimed Deal hasn’t made education a financial priority and promoted his plan to create a separate education budget.

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Health & Science
4:30 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Georgia Rockcress Designated as "Threatened" by Federal Wildlife Officials

Arabis georgiana, also known as the Georgia rockcress, grows mostly along tall river bluffs.
Credit Michelle Elmore / The Nature Conservancy

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has given new status to the Georgia rockcress: the federal agency has put the plant on its list of threatened species.

It truly is a delicate flower. The Georgia rockcress looks a bit like a mustard plant. It grows to be only about 18 inches tall. It usually grows in shallow soil, most often on steep river bluffs.

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Sports
4:24 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Hawks GM Danny Ferry Taking Indefinite Leave of Absence

Credit (Photo: AP/The Atlanta Journal)

Update: Danny Ferry has released his own statement through the Hawks on his leave of absence.

"No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng.

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Politics
4:19 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Abrams Defends Her Voter Registration Group Against Fraud Allegations

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
Credit Kerri Battles - Barbara Jordan Forum 2012

The state House’s top Democrat, Stacey Abrams, is defending her voter registration group against allegations of voter fraud. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp opened an investigation into Abrams’ group.

The New Georgia Project is one of the state’s largest voter registration drives. Its goal, as Abrams puts it, is to sign up Georgia’s 800,000 unregistered minority voters. So far the group has helped submit more than 85,000 registration forms. But Abrams says Kemp’s actions could have a “chilling effect” on those efforts.

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Local
4:14 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Atlanta Taxi Drivers File Lawsuit Against Uber

Credit Nathan Congleton via flickr

A group of Atlanta taxi drivers are suing Uber and 22 of its drivers, claiming they're violating the law and cutting into the livelihood of traditional cab drivers.

Rick Hewitt of Checkered Cab of Atlanta has a handful of drivers participating in the lawsuit.

“In order to drive a taxi cab in Atlanta you have to have a medallion," said Hewitt, referring to what essentially amounts to a cab driver license. "You have to vet your driver properly. Inspect the vehicle to make sure that it’s safe. You have to have the proper insurance. And Uber has not done any of those things."

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Health & Science
4:00 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Should Georgians Worry About Rare Enterovirus?

Dr. Anne Schuchat
Credit cdc.gov

A rare type of virus has hospitalized dozens of kids in the Midwest, but is it something Georgians should worry about?  

The virus is known as EV-68, a type of enterovirus.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the assistant U.S. surgeon general and head infectious diseases at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said enteroviruses themselves aren’t uncommon.

The CDC estimates about 10 to 15 million people are infected with such viruses each year, typically around this time.

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