Local

Local
5:36 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Reed Defends Record on Affordable Housing In Wake Of Underground Atlanta Deal

Credit Charles Edwards/WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a deal to sell off Underground Atlanta to a South Carolina developer. Plans include new multi-story residential buildings, but as critics point out no requirements for affordable housing.  

During the press conference for the Underground announcement, Reed defended his record on affordable housing.

“No government in the state of Georgia, certainly no government in the region, has done more on affordability than mine,” said Reed.

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Local
4:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Atlanta's Cuban Community Mixed On Obama's Policy Shift

A mosaic of American and Cuban flags outside Papi's restaurant in Midtown.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

At Cuban restaurant Papi’s in Midtown Thursday, the staff is buzzing about changes to U.S. relations with the island nation after decades of isolation.

Among them is co-owner Yenia Regalado, who came to Atlanta from Cuba 15 years ago.

“I’m so happy,” she beams.

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Local
3:34 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Reaction: Spelman College Suspends Professorship with Bill Cosby Name

Author, playwright and Spelman alum Pearl Cleage agrees with the institution's decision.
Credit Pearl Cleage

Atlanta’s Spelman College is distancing itself from Bill Cosby.

It follows other institutions like the Berklee School of Music, Temple University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Cosby’s alma mater.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports Spelman is suspending a professorship that bears the Cosby name.

If there’s a value on silence, Bill Cosby’s decision to remain largely quiet about the numerous sexual assault allegations has cost him a lot.

And it goes beyond money Cosby receives through sponsorships and television royalties.

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Local
12:02 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Flu Season Hits Georgia

Credit CDC.gov

Georgia is among more than a dozen U.S. states that are experiencing widespread flu activity.

State health officials say metro Atlanta is among the areas of the state where the flu is currently spreading. Audrey Kunkes monitors flu activity for the Georgia Department of Public Health. She serves as the Influenza Surveillance Coordinator for the department.

“I would say it’s severe. We’re seeing a lot of school-aged children and those in long term care facilities coming down with influenza, and it can lead to very severe complications.”

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Local
11:12 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Transportation Officials Limiting Holiday Lane Closures

GDOT is limiting construction-related lane closures between 5 a.m. Dec. 23 and 10 p.m. Dec. 28.
Credit Gregor Smith / flickr.com/flc

Georgia transportation officials say they're restricting lane closures on interstates and major state routes to accommodate for increased traffic during upcoming holidays.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials say the agency is limiting construction-related lane closures between 5 a.m. Dec. 23 and 10 p.m. Dec. 28. Lane closures will also be restricted between 5 a.m. Dec. 31 and 5 a.m. Jan. 2.

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DeKalb Cityhood/Annexation
8:13 am
Thu December 18, 2014

DeKalb Superintendent Wants To Be Ready For Schools Annexation Legal Battle

Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School and two other schools into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.
Credit Titaniumjjp / Wikipedia

DeKalb County’s schools superintendent wants to set aside millions of dollars just in case the school system decides to fight a proposal to annex three DeKalb schools into the City of Atlanta.

An advocacy group called Together in Atlanta wants to annex Druid Hills High School, Fernbank Elementary School and Briar Vista Elementary School into the Atlanta Public Schools system if the Druid Hills neighborhood ends up being annexed into the city.

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Shipping News
4:00 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

FedEx Wreck Flings Packages Acoss I-75

Two tractor trailers split open in a wreck on Tuesday, spilling packages on I-75 south of Atlanta.
Credit Laura Corley, reporter for The Telegraph / macon.com

When a FedEx truck wrecked south of Atlanta yesterday, two tractor trailers split open. The crash flung packages all over I-75.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s office responded to the accident. Lieutenant Brad Freeman says there were packages everywhere.

“I saw a few that said, you know ‘To Mom, To Dad, open ASAP,’” he said. “And you kind of wonder what’s in the Christmas package, and it’s kind of sad to see it just laying there on the side of the interstate.”

He says most of the boxes looked damaged, and crews used a Bobcat to push them into a pile.

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Local
3:48 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Buyout Deal Reached For Underground Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a $25.8 million deal with South Carolina developer WRS Inc. to buy out the iconic downtown mall.
Credit Wally Gobetz / flickr.com/wallyg

Underground Atlanta is officially slated for major redevelopment.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday a $25.8 million deal with South Carolina developer WRS Inc. to buy out the iconic, but struggling downtown mall.

Reed says the deal will be transformative for the area.

"WRS Inc. is committed to making Underground Atlanta a place where people can live and shop everyday instead of a place they visit every once in a while," said Reed.

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Architecture
3:30 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Fire Damages Historic Byzantine Church In Roswell

Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church is built in the tripartite style with three spires, in which the anteroom (narthex), nave, and altar are in a single west-east axis.
Tasnim Shamma WABE

Members of a church in Roswell are working to rebuild their sanctuary after a fire this weekend.

The Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church has some historical significance because it’s one of the only examples in the United States of a style of church architecture that originates from Eastern Europe. 

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Local
6:31 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Cheese Recalled Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination

A salmonella scare causes a Georgia-based company to recall some of its cheese products.
Credit Flat Creek Farm & Dairy

You may want to take a close look inside your refrigerator before your next holiday party.

Georgia-based Flat Creek Farm and Dairy is recalling some of its cheese for health-related reasons.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the cheese in question might be contaminated with salmonella.

The recalled cheeses are "Low Country Gouda" and "Aztec Cheddar."

The Swainsboro company say no related illnesses have been reported.

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Local
8:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Growing Concern Of Further Delay And Cost For Vogtle Nuclear Expansion

Vogtle construction monitors Steven Roetger, left, and William Jacobs.

A pair of state inspectors Tuesday said Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project near Augusta is headed for further delay. They also criticized Georgia Power for a lack of transparency over the project’s long-term construction schedule.

Both, however, are recommending the project be allowed to move forward.

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Local
5:03 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

DeKalb County One Step Closer To New Animal Shelter

Beulah is one of the puppies available for adoption with Dekalb County Animal Services.
Credit Dekalb County Animal Services

A new animal shelter in DeKalb County is one step closer to reality.

DeKalb County commissioners voted today to put out a request for design services. The Request for Proposal (RFP) calls for the construction cost of the new facility to be capped at $10 million and for design and architecture services to be capped at $800,000.

Five commissioners voted in favor of the measure.  District 3 Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton did not cast a vote nor did she officially abstain.

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DeKalb Cityhood
4:57 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

DeKalb Communities Try To Keep Up With Changing Cityhood/Annexation Plans

Druid Hills High School is on Haygood Drive just behind the Emory University campus.
Credit Titaniumjjp / Wikipedia

Two communities caught up in the DeKalb County battle for new cities are feeling the stress.

Druid Hills and Medlock Park may be very different neighborhoods, but the people who live in each are both feeling the pressure of annexation and new cityhood plans.

The latest wrinkle: a proposal to annex three DeKalb County schools, including Druid Hills High School, into the City of Atlanta along with the mainly affluent Druid Hills neighborhood.

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Local
3:09 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Unemployed Actor Charged With Fourth Metro Atlanta Murder

Photo from Aeman Presley's Facebook page
Credit Facebook.com

Police say a man arrested in Atlanta last week for three murders is also responsible for at least one more killing.

In late September Calvin Gholston was found shot to death at a shopping center outside Decatur; he had been sleeping in a breezeway.

Now police have charged 34-year-old Aeman Lavel Presley in Gholston’s murder. Presley is the same man investigators say gunned down two Atlanta homeless men in their sleep Thanksgiving week. Dorian Jenkins and Tommy Mims, whose bodies were found three days apart, had been shot with the same gun.

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Riding MARTA
6:00 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Can MARTA Convince People To Choose Transit?

MARTA officials are trying to woo more riders with improvements to stations.
Credit Scott Ehardt / Wikipedia

MARTA officials are trying to court what they call “choice” riders: People who could choose to ride MARTA, but don’t.

One plan is to bring in concessions.

“They have stores in Union Station,” said MARTA spokeswoman Rhonda Briggins Ridley. Union Station in Washington D.C. is like a half-train station, half-mall. You can buy clothes and cosmetics there. You can get a burger or a bagel or a burrito.

The only thing to do at a MARTA station is get on a train.

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Local
6:00 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Battle Brewing Over State's Beer Laws

Credit flickr/jan zeschky

Imagine you’re on a tour of one the state’s 34 craft breweries. You’re sampling the brewer’s offerings – stouts, pilsners, pale ales – when you find a beer you really like.

So you ask to buy a pint at the bar or a six-pack to take home.

Right now under Georgia law, you can’t.

“They can’t pay for beer in any shape or form at all at a brewery,” says Nick Purdy, who runs craft brewery Wild Heaven near the Avondale MARTA station.

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Local
8:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

State Inspector Says Vogtle Nuclear Project Will Be Delayed Further

Plant Vogtle

The nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle near Augusta appears headed for further delay, and it could result in higher electric bills for ratepayers. 

The state's independent construction monitor, William Jacobs, said last month he expects the two new reactors to take longer to build than Georgia Power's current projections. 

"(State staff) and (I) believe that the (completion dates) will be further delayed. At this time...it is impossible to determine a reasonable forecast range as to when the (twin reactors) could be commercially available," testified Jacobs.

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Local
6:16 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Kennesaw City Council To Vote Again On Mosque: A Preview With WABE's Martha Dalton

Demonstrators outside the Kennesaw City Council meeting on Dec. 1, 2014, demanding the Council reject a zoning request from a local Muslim congregation. The Council rejected the request, but has scheduled a second vote for Dec. 15, 2014.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Two weeks after it voted to reject a Muslim congregation's request to locate a mosque in a small shopping center, the Kennesaw City Council will vote on the request again - and it's widely expected to reverse itself and approve the request.  

The second vote, on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, comes after the congregation said it would file a lawsuit, claiming discrimination based on religion.  

WABE's Martha Dalton previewed the second vote, in a conversation with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.

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Local
5:33 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Atlanta's 'Love-Hate' Relationship With "Gone With The Wind"

Crowds flocked to Loew’s Grand Theatre for the premiere of the classic film.
Credit PBS

75 years ago today, the film version of “Gone with the Wind” premiered here in Atlanta. Michelle Wirth takes a look at the city’s love/hate relationship with the classic movie.

When the film premiered in 1939, it was a star-studded celebration at the Loew’s Grand Theatre in downtown Atlanta. 75 years later, Connie Sutherland says the film is still as popular as ever.

“I think because people relate to it, to the common thread that binds it all together which is survival.”

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Local
4:13 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Atlanta Councilman Aims To Raise Awareness About Affordable Housing

Councilman Andre Dickens
Credit facebook.com/dredickens

New legislation aims to increase awareness about affordable housing in the city of Atlanta.

Councilman Andre Dickens is sponsoring a proposal that would require any city legislation related to land use or zoning include an affordable housing impact statement. The statement would include a detailed analysis of how the legislation would affect the city's overall affordable housing stock.

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Local
12:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Georgians Face Deadline For Obamacare

Georgians have until Tuesday at 3 a.m. to decide if they want to sign up for the Affordable Care Act for 2015.
Credit CDC.gov

If you want to get covered under Obamacare, the clock is ticking.

Georgians have until 3 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16 to sign up for the Affordable Care Act or make changes to the health insurance policy they currently have.  

More than 300,000 Georgians have health insurance through the ACA.  For next year, there will be more and some cheaper plans for people to choose from.  Some existing plans will cost more. 

Atlanta resident Michael Searvance says the law now covers his daughter.  He admits there have been problems, but that critics need to be more patient.

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Local
12:17 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Christmas Lights On Monroe Drive

David Barasoain WABE

You’ve likely seen Christmas light displays that really stand out. Such is the case at the home of Paul Medlock just behind Piedmont Park on Monroe Drive.

He started decorating his home with lights back in 1992.   Back then he had about 300 lights, but today that number is closer to 35,000.

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Local
7:02 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Spelman Suspends Endowed Professorship Program From Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is interviewed before giving Spelman College's commencement address in 2006.
Credit W.A. Harewood / Associated Press

Spelman College is cutting its ties with Bill Cosby for now.

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In Conversation With Valerie Jackson
9:00 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

In Conversation with Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson, seen here in 1999, shows off two Super Soakers.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

In this installment of In Conversation with Valerie Jackson, Mrs. Jackson speaks to engineer and inventor Lonnie Johnson. 

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Atlanta Sounds
12:00 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Atlanta Sounds: Ice Skaters

Credit Orlin Wagner / Associated Press

In this Atlanta Sound, we meet two ice skaters named Jasmine and Dayo. The couple were skating at an outdoor rink in midtown Atlanta.

The activity is not exactly common in our southern city, and the beginner pair told us that ice skating can take some getting used to. 

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

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Local
5:41 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

MARTA To Lose Millions Due To 'Birthday Tax' Change

MARTA has been on a roll lately. More riders. Higher revenues. Expansion to Clayton County.

But Friday MARTA laid out some bad news. The transit agency just discovered it stands to lose $46 million over the next five years due to a recent change in state law.

Most Georgia drivers are familiar with the so-called birthday tax. That’s the money you pay the county each year to renew your car registration. State lawmakers recently changed that system. For anyone buying a car after early 2013, rather than an annual tax, there's now only a one-time, upfront fee. 

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Local
5:36 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Vermont Artist Wins Trademark Fight With Chick-fil-A

Bo Muller-Moore stands in his home studio in Montpelier, Vt.
Credit Toby Talbot / AP

A Vermont Artist has won a long trademark fight with Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave Bo Muller-Moore the trademark rights to the phrase “eat more kale.”

Bo Muller-Moore has been printing and selling T-shirts with the words “eat more kale” for more than a decade. He made them at the request of a farmer friend to promote local agriculture. Then, three and a half years ago, he decided to trademark the saying. Soon after, Muller-Moore got a letter from Chick-fil-A telling him to stop using the phrase.

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Breaking News
5:14 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Atlanta Police Arrest Alleged Serial Killer

Aeman Lovel Presley, seen here in a picture from his Facebook, is the prime suspect in as many as four recent murders in metro Atlanta.
Credit Facebook.com

Atlanta police have made an arrest in the murder of two homeless men Thanksgiving week. Aeman Lovel Presley is a suspect in as many as four recent murders in metro Atlanta.

It is expected Presley will be charged with the shooting deaths of Dorian Jenkins on Nov. 23 and Tommy Mims three days later. Both men were shot multiple times as they slept outside.

Presley is also a suspect in the murder of Karen Pearce. Pearce was shot to death in downtown Decatur Dec. 6.

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Local
4:32 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Cobb County Woman Jailed For Cursing At Cops Wins $100K Settlement Against County

Credit Jason Getz / Associated Press

Two years ago, a woman cursed at Cobb County police. They took her to jail.

Now, the county has to pay that woman $100,000.

Amy Barnes was riding her bike down Austell Road on Easter Sunday 2012 when she saw something she says happens all the time in her neighborhood. “I saw yet another African American stopped for doing nothing other than being outside while black,” says Barnes.

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Police Shooting
1:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Two Officers Shot By Assault Rifle; Suspects Arrested

Dekalb County Police Officers Devon Perry and Tony Luong were shot in the leg Friday while responding to a report of an early morning home-robbery invasion. Perry has been released from the hospital and Luong is expected to recover.
Credit Courtesy of the Dekalb County Police Department / Dekalb County Police

Two officers were shot with an assault rifle this morning in Dekalb County, according to police. Two suspects are in custody.

Officers Tony Luong and Devon Perry were responding to a report of an early-morning break-in at the Colony Ridge Apartments. When they arrived, they were both shot in the leg with an assault rifle.

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