Mara's Music Mix
12:52 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Upcoming Atlanta Concerts: Mudcat And Phish And Crows, Oh My

R&B singer Jill Scott will be taking the stage Sunday at Chastain.
Credit Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP

Atlanta will play host to a country music superstar, an Atlanta blues mainstay, the return of an R&B diva and much more. 

WABE contributor Mara Davis joins "Morning Edition" host Steve Goss for this week's Music Mix.

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12:22 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Many Gwinnett Food Pantries Have Nearly Bare Shelves

The Quinn House in Lawrenceville has a senior food box program that distributes groceries, toiletries and household items to about 125 local senior citizens every month. Pictured from left are volunteers Alex Lopez, Keith Mays, Norbert Goodrum and Scott Alexander. The Quinn House says some of its shelves are almost empty.
Credit Courtesy of Gene Brinkley

The shelves are nearly empty at many major Gwinnett County food pantries.

During the summer, with kids out of school, there's greater demand and use of food banks. 

"A number of our major food banks are running low or have bare shelves," said Suzy Bus with the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services. "The Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry in Snellville, the North Gwinnett Cooperative in Buford and many others don't have enough food to be able to serve the families that come to them." 

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11:58 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Gwinnett County Bans New Digital Billboards

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted Tuesday night to ban the construction of new digital billboards in unincorporated Gwinnett, unless a company tears down three static, or paper, billboards first. Digital billboards resemble ballpark jumbo video displays but scroll through several static ads each minute.
Credit Dirk Lammers / Associated Press

There may soon be fewer billboards in Gwinnett County. 

Commissioners voted Tuesday night to ban the construction of new digital billboards in unincorporated Gwinnett, unless a company tears down three static, or paper, billboards first.

The goal is to prevent driving distractions and reduce visual clutter.

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A Closer Look
11:27 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Greece Struggles To Restructure Debt As Deadline Nears

The Greek flag, right, stands next to the European Union flag with the iconic Parthenon visible in the background. Greece is struggling to address its soaring debt problems as its future in the European Union remains uncertain.
Credit Petr David Josek / AP Photo

The Greek government is swimming in debt and can’t pay its creditors. European finance officials are trying to work out a $95 billion bailout, the third, for the financially strapped nation.

Talks on the bailout among the Greek government, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have been fractured and contentious in recent weeks.

It’s a complicated situation, but Atlanta resident and Greek-American Rom Papadopoulos said during an interview on “A Closer Look,” that he has faith that Greece will be able to overcome the economic chaos.

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10:05 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Missing Southwest Florida Dog Turns Up In Atlanta

A southwest Florida family has been reunited with their dog after she turned up several weeks later in Atlanta, more than 500 miles away.

Michael Epstein told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that his family's 3-year-old miniature Australian shepherd, Abby, was lost on July 3. She ran away from the family's yard when fireworks frightened her.

Family members spent the next three weeks putting up signs around Sarasota and even created a website, findabby.com.

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10:01 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Disguised Metro Atlanta Police Crackdown On Texting Drivers

A metro Atlanta police department is using disguised officers to try catching drivers who are texting behind the wheel.

Marietta police officers dressed as construction workers on Wednesday were monitoring drivers at a busy intersection to bust motorists who were texting on the road, WSB-TV reported.

Marietta Police Officer Nick Serkedakis says the tactic helps officers get close enough to drivers' cars to determine whether they're texting or using their phones while driving.

A Closer Look
6:59 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

KSU Professor Addresses Online Violence And Gender Bias

Actress Ashley Judd was the target of a brutal online attack earlier this year after commenting on social media about a basketball team. She threatened lawsuits against the worst offenders.
Credit James Crisp / AP Photo

The Internet can be an enjoyable place, but it can also be home to lots of angry outbursts aimed at a lot of different people. When a user becomes the target of an online attack, their whole online experience can change in the blink of an eye.

Women’s advocates have been paying close attention to a rise in online attacks against female social media users in recent years – especially high-profile women – and the kind of verbal assaults the users are exposed to in online forums.

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5:16 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

High Museum Of Art Names Randall Suffolk As New Director

Atlanta's High Museum of Art has announced Randall Suffolk will be the organization's new director.
Credit Timothy Hursley / Courtesy of High Museum of Art


Just two days before Michael Shapiro steps down as the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. director of the High Museum of Art, his successor was announced.

Randall Suffolk, currently the director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was selected after what museum officials described as an “international search” by its board.

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5:03 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Atlanta Breaks Ground On First Infrastructure Bond Project

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, helps city officials Wednesday break ground on the first of hundreds of planned infrastructure improvements tied to millions in bond money.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

City of Atlanta officials Wednesday broke ground on the first of hundreds of planned projects tied to millions in bond money for infrastructure repairs. 

Near the intersection of Cascade Road and Lynhurst Drive on the city’s southwest side, Mayor Kasim Reed and a handful of city officials helped kicked off construction for road repaving, sidewalks repairs and new street lights. 

“We’re going to be improving this city in a way that hasn’t been done in 40 or 50 years above ground,” Reed said.

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A Closer Look
4:49 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Bennett, Gaga Bring ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime’ Show To Chastain

Lady Gaga, left, and Tony Bennett perform at the 57th annual Grammy Awards this year. The duo are bringing their award-winning “Cheek to Cheek” album tour to Chastain Park Wednesday night.
Credit John Shearer / Invision/AP

Legendary crooner Tony Bennett and mega pop star Lady Gaga are going “Cheek to Cheek” In Atlanta Wednesday night.

The duo are bringing their tour of their Grammy-winning collaborative album of classic jazz standards, “Cheek to Cheek,” to Chastain Park for one night only. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts when it was released last September.

Atlanta Magazine writer Richard Eldredge called it “a once-in-a-lifetime event” during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

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4:44 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Atlanta Weekend Events: Crocodile Rock And Memphis On Stage

Craig A. Meyer as Sir Elton John will be performing at Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre on Saturday.
Credit Courtesy of Craig A. Meyer

There’s a lot going on around Atlanta this weekend including a production of “Memphis the Musical” and a tribute to Elton John.  

To learn more, host Amy Kiley spoke with Kimberly Harbrecht of PBA's arts and entertainment web site, Atlanta PlanIT.  They began by talking about a new 3-D IMAX screening that takes you under the sea.

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City Lights
4:17 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

The Art Of ‘Placewriting’ In Crafting The Southern Novel

''It's more important to write in such a way that the town itself seems familiar to anyone who comes from any small Southern town,'' Joshilyn Jackson says.
Credit Brent Moore / flickr.com/brent_nashville


Decatur writer Joshilyn Jackson is in the process of writing her next novel, which she has tentatively titled “Origin Story.”

In this installment of her “Reader to Writer” series for “City Lights,” she describes how she creates a sense of place, based in the small-town South.

She says it’s important “to write in such a way that the town itself seems familiar to anyone who comes from any small Southern town.”

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3:33 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Atlanta Police Chief To Lead State Police Chiefs Association

Atlanta's Chief George Turner has been named the new president of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press


Atlanta's police chief has been named the new president of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

An association news release says Chief George Turner assumed the role of 2015/2016 president on Tuesday. The association represents more than 500 chiefs of police and other heads of law enforcement agencies across the state.

Part of Turner's new duties include chairing the association's executive board and appointing committee chairs.

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2:32 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

MARTA Commuter Rail Possible For Clayton County

Passengers boarding a MARTA train in Atlanta ─ something Clayton County residents hope is in their future.
Credit Scott Ehardt / Wikipedia

MARTA buses have been rolling in Clayton County since March, but what the county really wants is commuter rail.

The good news is that MARTA is working on it.

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City Lights
1:52 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

New Yorker Cartoonist Releases Book For Smart, Attractive People

Matthew Diffee is one of the cartoonists at The New Yorker. He just released a new book called “Hand Drawn Jokes For Smart, Attractive People.”
Credit Wikimedia Commons

In 1998, Matthew Diffee was a comic and fine arts painter, and that year, The New Yorker was having a cartoon contest.

Diffee combined his two skills — being funny and making pictures — and won the contest. The cartoon editor, the famed Bob Mancoff, encouraged Diffee to continue submitting to the magazine. Since then, he's become one of their staff cartoonists.

The New Yorker rejects about 90 percent of the cartoon staff's work. As dire as that sounds, Diffee said, “Ninety percent means you’re doing great.”

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1:09 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Parents: DeKalb Inattentive To Students With Special Needs

Some parents of DeKalb students with special needs say the district isn't responsive to their concerns.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

Trying To Be Heard

Every child in the U.S. is entitled to a “free and appropriate education” under federal law. That includes children with disabilities. But some DeKalb parents of children with special needs said their kids aren’t getting the services they should and that the district is unresponsive.

A group of parents met at a library in Tucker recently to compile a list of concerns. They each have at least one child with special needs.

“DeKalb is just broken,” Linda Bryant-Butler said.

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12:19 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Commission Considers Changing The Way Georgia Pays Teachers

Georgia teachers could soon see their students' test scores tied to their paychecks.
Credit East Lake Foundation / Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

“How should Georgia pay its teachers?” That’s just one of the questions Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission is trying to answer.

Right now, Georgia teachers are paid by their years of experience and their level of education.

But that could soon change. The commission is considering different salary models. All of them would take students’ test scores into account when calculating teacher pay.

Claire Suggs, the senior education policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said so-called performance pay models aren’t a quick fix.

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11:21 am
Wed July 29, 2015

UGA Makes Plans To Boost Faculty Numbers Over The Next Year

The University of Georgia is increasing its staff over the next year, by adding 56 new faculty members.
Credit StevenV / Flickr.com/stevenv

Bulldog Nation will boost its staff, and officials say this will result in a better overall experience for students. The University of Georgia plans to hire 56 new faculty members by 2016. This will increase the school's faculty size by nearly 3 percent. And having more staff will trim the student-to-teacher ratio in many classes to below 20. “I think overall it will help students have more success at UGA, beyond UGA and just leave UGA having a better experience,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president of instruction at UGA. These faculty additions will cost the school nearly $4.5 million. 

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24 FPS
10:48 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Atlanta Filmmaker Explores The Mind Of A Female Sociopath

Jennifer Kim plays the sociopathic Phoebe in Jiyoung Lee's film “Female Pervert.”
Credit Jiyoung Lee

Some of the most cherished characters in fiction are sociopaths.

Take Jay Gatsby, Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes or Dean from "On The Road.” They are not exactly pillars of empathy.

Local filmmaker Jiyoung Lee created her own sociopath in her recent film "Female Pervert." It played at the Atlanta Film Festival in March.

It follows the bizarre dating life of a woman named Phoebe, played by Jennifer Kim, who hasn't quite figured out how to behave appropriately towards anyone.

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9:57 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Ex-Georgia Deputy Sheriff Pleads Not Guilty In Botched Raid

A former Habersham County deputy sheriff has pleaded not guilty to providing false information to get a warrant that led to a botched raid that left a toddler critically injured.

Attorney Jeff Brickman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday that Nikki Autry never intentionally misled the judge who signed a no-knock warrant that led to a member of a task force throwing a flash grenade into a home.

Authorities have said 19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh was critically injured when the device landed in his playpen.

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9:34 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Georgia Back-To-School Tax Holiday Begins Friday

As parents and students get ready for the start of school, they can get a sales tax break on items needed for the classroom, including computers, beginning Friday.
Credit John Konstantaras / AP Images for Kmart



Georgia retail officials say an upcoming sales tax holiday is meant to offer shoppers back-to-school savings.

Georgia Retail Association spokesman James Miller said in a statement that sales taxes are being dropped from back-to-school goods including clothes and shoes worth less than $100, computers, school supplies and more. Georgia's sales tax holiday runs Friday and Saturday.

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A Closer Look
6:48 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Lawyer: Agency's Ruling Opened Door For LGBT Job Protections

Protesters gathered at Albany City Hall in New York in March to support a measure aimed at prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, and education for transgender New Yorkers.
Credit Mike Groll / AP Photo

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage last month, the decision did not include other areas of concern for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, such as workplace discrimination.

But last week, the federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace did.

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, or EEOC, ruled in a 3-2 vote that the existing federal laws, like the 1964 Civil Rights Act, already protect the LGBT community from sexual discrimination in the workplace.

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A Closer Look
6:13 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Young African Leaders Train At Clark Atlanta University

People walk across the Clark Atlanta university campus in Atlanta. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders selected 25 members from the program to participate in a six week course at Clark Atlanta University to pick up business and entrepreneurial skills.
Credit W.A. Harewood / AP Photo, File


The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a flagship program designed to empower young leaders from Africa between the ages of 25 and 35 through academic coursework, leadership training and networking. 

The program, which is part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI, provides 500 young leaders an opportunity to spread across the United States obtaining skills in various areas – including business, civic engagement and public administration. 

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5:24 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Georgia Sues Website For Publishing State's Annotated Laws

The state of Georgia is suing a website for publishing the Official Code of Georgia Annotated online. It is available in XML format and scanned copies of the volumes are also available on Archive.org.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

The state of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the owner of the website, Public.Resource.org, for publishing the annotated version of the Georgia State code online. 

The owner of the website, Carl Malamud, argues these notes to the law should be free and accessible to the public.


The annotations include important notes ─ like when laws were changed and short summaries of court cases that help judges and lawyers interpret state laws. 

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5:18 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

10th Annual Decatur Book Festival Schedule Released

Erica Jong, author of the 1970s feminist classic ''Fear of Flying,'' will be the keynote speaker at this year's Decatur Book Festival.
Credit TimothyJ / flickr.com/tjc


Bookworms get ready.

On Tuesday, the full schedule was released for the 10th annual Decatur Book Festival, sponsored by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The theme for this year’s festival, which take place Sept. 4-6 in downtown Decatur, is “Read Different,” urging book lovers to “read beyond what you normally do,” especially as it relates to race, gender, form and genre.

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A Closer Look
4:18 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Ga. Food Bank, Arby’s Unite To Help End Childhood Hunger

Summer meal programs help provide the bridge between the school year free lunch programs and hungry children during the summer break. Thousands of Georgia families need food assistance every year.
Credit Art of Life Photography

Hunger is a silent threat that lurks in the most unlikely places. It’s pervasive among children in pockets of poverty in Atlanta’s suburbs, for example – an area most people don’t expect to find hungry children.

In 2013 Georgia was one of the top five states with the highest number of children without access to regular and nutritious meals, Feeding America reported.

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City Lights
3:40 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Photographer Captures A Magical Age In ‘At Twelve’ Series

Sally Mann, ''Untitled'' from the ''At Twelve'' Series (Lithe and the Birthday Cake), 1983-1985
Image copyright of the artist and courtesy of Gagosian Gallery and Jackson Fine Art

When photographer Sally Mann first published her series titled “Immediate Family” in the early '90s, it caused a stir in the art world. Her black-and-white photographs of her young children, often nude, were immediately praised, but also criticized by those who claimed the photos sexualized her children.

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2:24 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Decatur Water Boil Advisory Negatively Affects Businesses

The Slide in the City event, expected to bring thousands of people to Decatur, was shut down due to DeKalb County's water problems.
Credit IQRemix / flickr.com/IQRemix

A water boil advisory that was in effect for three days in DeKalb County hurt some local businesses.

The county issued the advisory because crews had to drop the water pressure three times within 36 hours to repair a transmission line that broke late Thursday. It all started last week when a fire hydrant was struck by a crew that was mowing the grass along the road near the transmission line at Henderson Mill and Evans Road.

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12:48 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

High Demand For Georgia Pre-K Won't Lead To More Slots

There are 5,000 children on Georgia's pre-K waiting list, but officials want to use money to ensure program quality before expanding to add more spaces.
Credit Gene Blythe / Associated Press

About 84,000 4-year-olds are expected to show up in Georgia’s prekindergarten classes this year. But demand for the program is even greater than that.

Anyone can apply for a place in Georgia’s lottery-funded pre-K program. But there’s not enough room for everyone. So, students are chosen by another lottery. “We have about 5,000 children on our waiting list,” Georgia’s pre-K program director Susan Adams said.

Adams said there’s probably more demand, but pre-K isn’t available everywhere.

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12:15 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Author M.O. Walsh On What Steers Southern Gothic’s Popularity

Author M.O. Walsh asks and attempts to answer the question, “Why is Southern gothic literature so popular across the globe?”
Credit Sam Gregory Photography

There’s a bold assertion in a recent headline in the Guardian newspaper; it reads: “Why Southern gothic rules the world.”

In it, New Orleans-based author M.O. Walsh breaks down Southern literature, comparing its component parts to that of a bicycle and taking examples from the works of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Zora Neale Hurston and other well-known authors known to have a bit of a twang to their prose.

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