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Local
4:12 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Avondale Estates Getting Cold Shoulder From Some of its Annexation Targets

Avondale Estates was founded in 1924 and designed as a planned community.
Credit Lisa George/WABE News

The cityhood movement in DeKalb County – and the annexation efforts of existing cities in response to it – have two themes that keep coming up: securing strong tax bases and providing good schools.

Both issues are creating challenges for the small city of Avondale Estates.

With just 3,000 residents, Avondale Estates has long been a sleepy little enclave in DeKalb County. Now, a potential city is trying to form near its borders, and county seat Decatur is also trying to expand. So Avondale Estates wants to annex some land while there is still land to be had.

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Local
3:51 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Residents Offer Sharply Differing Views On Ellis Mistrial

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

The corruption case of suspended DeKalb County CEO ended Tuesday in a mistrial and DeKalb residents have sharply differing reactions.

Many took issue with the jury itself, which after two weeks of deliberation couldn’t agree on any of the 13 felony charges. The judge in the case repeatedly scolded the jury to get past personal issues and at one point told them to act like adults.

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Local
12:25 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Atlanta Debuts Non-Emergency Service Program

The city of Atlanta starts its first non-emergency customer service program.
Credit ATL 311

Atlanta residents now have a more direct way of touching base with local government officials.

It’s called ATL 311 and it’s the city of Atlanta’s first non-emergency customer service program.

This gives residents the ability to make requests and report issues like potholes, meter leaks and downed trees.

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Local
11:36 am
Wed October 22, 2014

CDC Foundation Helps Fill Holes In Federal Agency's Ebola Relief Funding

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit David Goldman / CDC

Since the Ebola virus began spreading through West Africa, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been one of the agencies on the front lines, fighting the disease.

But as the virus continues to spread, more resources are needed to contain it. As the CDC has done in the past with major disasters like the 2004 Samoan Tsunami and the 2009 earthquake in Haiti, it’s turned to its nonprofit arm, the CDC Foundation, also based here in Atlanta, to help bring in private dollars for relief funding.

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Local
5:59 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Rules For Driverless Cars

Google driverless car operating on a testing path.
Credit Steve Jurvetson / flickr.com

State lawmakers and metro Atlanta planners are already preparing for a future with driverless cars. The conversation has recently shifted from “is it possible?” to “how will it all eventually look?”

This week state lawmakers held its second committee meeting on unmanned cars.  

“We really are at a position right now where the world is drastically changing and how quickly can planners and local and state government leaders stay up with the technology," said Jane Hayes, the Atlanta Regional Commission's chief transportation planner.

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Local
4:38 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Judge Declares Mistrial in Ellis Case

Burrell Ellis during the trial
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A DeKalb County judge Tuesday declared a mistrial in the case against suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis. Ellis is accused of shaking down county contractors for campaign contributions. He maintained his innocence during the trial and took the stand to defend himself. 

The all-female jury deliberated for 11 days, but couldn’t reach verdicts on any of the 13 felony charges against Ellis. DeKalb County judge Courtney Johnson had repeatedly urged the jurors to try harder to come to consensus. Those efforts ultimately failed. 

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Burrell Ellis Corruption Trial
3:29 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Judge Issues Allen Charge to Burrell Ellis Jurors: What Does That Mean?

DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis has been suspended since his indictment in June 2013.
Credit DeKalb County

The jury in the corruption trial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is wrapping up its eleventh day of deliberations. Monday, the judge gave the jury what is known as an Allen charge.

  DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson had already instructed the jury to keep deliberating twice when they said they couldn’t reach a verdict.

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Local
2:17 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Atlanta Airport to Become One of Five Airports to Screen Travelers from Ebola-Stricken Nations

A TSA agent briefs a passenger at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Credit David Goldman / AP

The Homeland Security Department is requiring that anyone coming to the United States from one of three West African countries reporting an Ebola outbreak must enter the country through one of five airports screening passengers for the deadly disease.

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Local
12:43 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Cobb Construction Includes Diverging Diamond

Ground has been broken for a number of Cobb County construction projects, including 'diverging diamonds' on Wade Green Road.
Credit cobbcounty.org

  Expect to see a lot of orange cones and the like in Cobb County.

On Monday, officials broke ground for five construction projects on Windy Hill Road.  

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Local
10:29 am
Tue October 21, 2014

UPS Announces Higher Rates for 2015

United Parcel Service driver Marty Thompson steps off a truck while making a delivery in Cumming, Ga. earlier this year.
Credit David Goldman / AP

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service is going to ring in the new year with higher rates.

UPS says rates will rise nearly 5% for Ground, Air, International, UPS Freight and UPS air freight service between and within the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

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Local
6:00 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Georgia Lottery: New Game and Record Profits Likely To Boost Education Funding

Georgia and more than 20 other states are rolling out the Monopoly Millionaires' Club game this week. Georgia Lottery officials estimate the game could mean a total of $10 million for state-funded lottery programs for this fiscal year.
Credit youtube.com/PlayMMCLottery / Georgia Lottery

A new lottery game launched this week – the Monopoly Millionaires' Club. The rollout follows a record-breaking quarter for the Georgia Lottery. WABE’s Michelle Wirth reports on what new lottery profits could mean for our state’s students.

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Local
12:33 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Metro Atlanta Ready for the Season of the Witch

The Netherworld Haunted House is "scaring" up a lot of business this year.
Credit Fearworld.com

Halloween is right around the corner and there’s a lot of scary things to do in the metro Atlanta area.  

The Decatur Ghost Tour offers customers a chance to see some of the spookiness the area has to offer.

“Yes, Decatur does have its ghosts.  I mean, two or three of the restaurants are quite haunted,” says Boo Newell, a tour guide with the Decatur Ghost Tour.

That tour is open 12-months a year, but Newell says sales shoot up around 30% in October.

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Local
7:52 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Georgia Gas Prices Continue to Fall

Georgia commuters are seeing prices fall to lows not seen in a while.
Credit futureatlas.com / Flickr.com

The downward trend continues at the pumps throughout Georgia.

The average price for a gallon of regular in metro Atlanta is $3.09, according to AAA.

That’s about a 17-cent freefall from last week and it’s down 22-cents from this time last year.

Analysts say oil production in the U.S. has rocketed up to a level not seen since 1985, which has sent gas prices down.

The state-wide average is $3.03, the lowest it’s been in more than two years.

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Local
7:45 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Georgia Included in Publix Snack Recall

Publix announces a recall of one of its snacks.
Credit Publix

Georgia is among the six states affected by a recall from Publix.

Officials with the supermarket chain say its Publix Asian Mix contains undeclared peanuts.

That can pose a potential health threat for people with related allergies.

The snack in question was sold in 14-ounce clear, plastic containers with sell by days between January 3 and February 3, 2015.

All packages have been removed from store shelves.

Customers can return the product to Publix stores for a full refund.

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Local
6:53 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Brookhaven Having Trouble Getting Respect from USPS

This post office sits within the city limits of Brookhaven, GA. The city's Mayor Pro-Tem, Rebecca Chase Williams, is trying to get the U.S. Postal Service to acknowledge that by changing the sign.
Credit Lisa George/WABE News

Brookhaven has been a city for almost two years now, but the U.S. Postal Service has been a little slow to catch on.

Adrian Morton moved here about 18 months ago, and he gave his relatives his new address: Brookhaven, Georgia. Says Morton, “There has been some mail sent from home in the UK that hasn’t reached us.”

The likely reason? The postal service only just recognized Brookhaven as a legitimate mailing address.

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Covey Of Quail

Credit David Yu - flickr.com/photos/davidyuweb/

Sirkka Hougard has an aviary where she keeps a 'covey' of quail. A covey is a term for a small flock of birds. She feeds the birds each day, and the birds peck at the meal while making small noises. We meet Hougard and her quails in this Atlanta Sound.

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!  

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Local
5:41 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Atlanta VA Plans to Expand Women's Healthcare At Fort McPherson

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Atlanta VA Medical Center says it plans to expand healthcare services for women at its Fort McPherson Campus. The expansion comes as some female veterans express concerns about the types of services available to women at the Atlanta VA.

On Friday, a crowd gathered to celebrate the expansion of veterans’ services at Fort McPherson. One of the newer services is a center focusing on reproductive care, mental health and other medical services for female veterans.

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Local
5:31 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

English Avenue and Vine City See Promise In New Plan Targeting Blight

Perhaps no other place in the region is plagued with more blight than west Atlanta’s English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods.

Frustrated homeowners hope a new proposal could be a solution.

Far from improving, English Avenue resident Emily Hayden is seeing the neighborhood fall further into disrepair.

“It’s getting increasingly violent. We’ve actually had a bullet come through the wall of our home. I have two young children and I run a daycare here.”

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Local
12:03 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Ebola Not Expected to Pose Major Threat

The Ebola virus is expected to be a non-issue for much of the country.
Credit CDC

State officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal, say having hospitals prepared to handle the threat of Ebola is a top priority.

Educating the general public is also being stressed.

"We are working to ensure that all of Georgia knows what to look for, what questions to ask and what to do," says Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

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Local
10:55 am
Fri October 17, 2014

DeKalb County Schools Create Ebola Monitoring Policy

Chamblee High School, one of the schools that will be affected by Dekalb County official's decision regarding students from Ebola-stricken areas.
Credit John Phelan / Wikimedia

DeKalb County schools officials say no new students from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa may enroll without proper medical documentation and the superintendent's approval.

Officials said in a statement Thursday that the district has notified all principals and administrators of the policy, which includes new students from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and other areas.

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Local
6:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Ebola Fears Lead To Local Discrimination

Rev. William B.G.K. Harris, International Christian Fellowship
Katie King for WABE

As Ebola fears grow in the U.S., some local residents from countries hardest hit by the deadly viral disease are experiencing discrimination.

Rev. Dr. William B.G.K. Harris moved to Atlanta in 1980.  He still has family in Liberia and a large number of Liberian members in his church, International Christian Fellowship.

“Some members of the church have had relatives die, and that’s been very disturbing.”

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Local
9:00 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Community Court Aims To Cut Down On Repeat Offenders Along Fulton Industrial

Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
Credit facebook.com/TheBoulevardCID

Fulton Industrial Boulevard off I-20 is a busy thoroughfare with a seedy reputation. Crime is a persistent issue.

As part of plans to revitalize the area, county and business leaders are teaming up to launch a so-called community court next month.

Past the strip clubs and rundown motels, it’s easy to find locals with stories about cars broken-into, public drug-use, and vandalism.     

Connie Vann runs a staffing company along the strip. She’s been working in the area for 20 years and had this memory of a run-in with a prostitute.  

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Local
6:03 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Are Local Hospitals Prepared For An Ebola Patient?

Emory University Hospital has already successfully treated two Ebola patients and has been willing to share what’s worked for them with hospitals across the country.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi / twinlensatl.com

If a person with Ebola walks into a local hospital, what would be the response?

That’s become one of the most pressing questions facing hospitals across the country now that two Dallas nurses have tested positive for the virus after treating a Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who was diagnosed with the disease after arriving in the U.S. and later died.

Georgia Regents Medical Center in Augusta began preparing months ago for a possible patient when cases in West Africa started to ramp up.

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Local
8:48 am
Thu October 16, 2014

GA Unemployment Falls, But Still Above National Level

Georgia's unemployment rate in September fell slightly from August's rate.
Credit Robert Aaron/WABE

The unemployment rate in the state fell in September.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, last month's jobless number was 7.9%

That's a dip from 8.1% in August.

But, it's only down slightly-----1/10th of a point-----from September 2013, and it's two full points above the national rate  of 5.9%

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Cyclist Suffered Head Injury in June Incident
3:51 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Indictment Charges Driver in Greg Germani Hit-and-Run with Attempted Murder

Greg Germani is well known to many Atlantans as the creator of the website AtlantaTimeMachine.com.
Credit MedlockPark.org

A Fulton County grand jury has indicted Joseph Alan Lewis on eleven counts in the hit-and-run of Atlanta cyclist Greg Germani.

One of the charges against Lewis, criminal attempt to commit murder, is seldom used in Georgia courts. WABE legal analyst Page Pate says prosecutors rarely levy that charge because it is so hard to prove. “You can’t reach inside the defendant’s mind to determine what he was thinking at the time,” says Pate, “so you look to what he did.”

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Local
12:06 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Cobb Commissioners Look for Ways to Ease Cumberland Traffic

Cobb Commissioners are looking at ways to ease traffic in areas in the Cumberland area, including Windy Hill Road.
Credit Cumberland CID

Cobb County officials are looking to unclog traffic in the Cumberland area.

On Tuesday, Cobb Commissioners approved two task order contracts for projects in the development process.  

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Local
9:07 am
Wed October 15, 2014

State Lawmakers Examine Whether Georgia Should Create Mold Laws

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Mold can cause serious health problems. But right now, there are no state laws, or even EPA regulations, to protect residents. Some state senators are looking at whether that should change.

Senators created a study committee to look at mold and mildew related problems after hearing stories like Linda Porter’s. After Porter moved into an apartment in Southwest Atlanta, she discovered a blackish colored mold.

“I began to see mold and mildew from behind the walls, on the corners, and at the top of the ceiling.”

Then Porter developed health problems.

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Local
7:21 am
Wed October 15, 2014

DeKalb Commission Frees Up Money for Ethics Board

Members of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics (shown here) have tabled complaints against former county staffers Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall. Walton resigned and Hall was fired after their testimony in the corruption trial of suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit Lisa George/WABE News

The DeKalb County Commission has freed up $90,000 in funding for the county ethics board, which was reconstituted just last year to deal with mounting ethics issues.

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May very publicly announced in June he was getting his fellow commissioners to allocate money for a Chief Integrity Officer, an investigator and an assistant, three full-time employees to help clean up the county’s ethics problems.

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Local
6:12 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Electric Car Advocates Concerned About Life Without Tax Credit

Credit felixkramer via flickr

Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County recently received a grant to build its own electric charging station.

It’s another example of the state’s growing number of electric cars. But some remain anxious about their future in Georgia.

Diana Wheeler helped secure the grant for Peachtree Corners. She’s eager to meet the demand.    

“There’s been a lot of interest. In fact even one of our council members has an electric vehicle.”

Wheeler says she didn’t want her city left out.

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Local
5:52 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

In Cheating Trial, Atlanta Parent: "Don’t make my baby out to be a monster"

Keylina Clark cries as she answers questions about her son.
Credit BOB ANDRES: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Tuesday was  intense in the Atlanta cheating trial.

A parent breaks down on the stand while testifying about her special needs son.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports why the parent became upset.

In 2008, Keylina Clark’s son was struggling at Blalock Elementary.

He was a special needs student and was placed in what’s called an

Individualized Education Program  or I-E-P which is used to identify specific resources for special needs

kids.

But all students take the yearly standardized exam.

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