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Dylann Roof's Friend Sentenced In Charleston Shooting Plot

Mar 21, 2017
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File

The only person with whom Dylann Roof shared his racist plot to massacre worshippers at a historically black South Carolina church was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for failing to report a crime and for lying to the FBI.

Joey Meek cried at sentencing Tuesday in Charleston by the same federal judge who presided over Roof's trial, which ended in January with Roof being sentenced to death for the slaughter of nine people at Emanuel AME church.

"I'm really, really sorry. A lot of beautiful lives were taken," said Meek, who began to cry at sentencing.

Al Such / WABE

For 10 seconds every five minutes, a group of child engineers stops everything they’re doing.

They rush behind a panel and let their fingers glide over a massive panel of blinking buttons. They’re hard at work, waiting for the final countdown.

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Cheers erupt in the room as the space shuttle the engineers can see through a small window begins to billow smoke. The small room is filled with sound as the engines propel the shuttle toward the heavens.

David Barasoain / WABE

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area recently gained a bunch of land, 55 acres to be exact.

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AP file

Citizens of the brand new cities of Stonecrest and South Fulton are choosing their first-ever elected officials Tuesday as special elections take place around the metro Atlanta area.

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Voters in Cobb County and the city of Marietta are also at the polls Tuesday with a referendum on the countywide ballot for a sales tax funding school construction. In Fayette County, a sales tax paying for general infrastructure improvements is on the ballot.

Georgia State Capitol gold dome.
Al Such / WABE

Organizations in Georgia say proposed changes to several state legislative districts are "likely illegal" and want lawmakers to stop the effort.

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In a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal and legislative leaders, the organizations say the changes move black voters out of two House districts and move white voters in. They say the shifts would give two incumbent Republicans, Reps. Rich Golick and Brian Strickland, an advantage in future elections.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It is day three of what is expected to be three days of hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination. If confirmed, Gorsuch would fill the high court seat left vacant in February 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Jon Ossoff is trying for an upset in a Republican-leaning district outside Atlanta.
Bill Barrow / Associated Press

The garden room at Rivermont Golf and Country Club brims with Republican donors and activists, but Michael Fitzgerald wants to talk about Democrats.

"Shock therapy," he calls it.

The Georgia Senate is scheduled to hear a proposal Thursday that would allow consumers to bypass a physician's referral when seeking physical therapy.
Ken Lund / flickr.com/kenlund

Gov. Nathan Deal's new plan to turn around struggling schools took another step forward in the Legislature Monday.

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Pixabay Images

Many blueberry farmers in Georgia are singing the blues.

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The cold weather that blanketed Georgia last week appears to have crippled this year's blueberry crop.

Joe Cornelius has been growing blueberries since 1989 and is the chairman of Georgia's Blueberry Commission.

He said the last catastrophic freeze Georgia blueberry farmers had was during Easter of 2007.

StoryCorps Atlanta

LaKayla Edwards and her spouse, Kylin Edwards, ran in the same circle of friends at Fort Valley State University for about a year before officially meeting in early 2006.

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Now, over 10 years later and with toddler named Kingston in tow – you'll hear from him, too – the couple discuss the early years and what it meant to lack full familial support at the time.

OpenRoadPR/Pixabay

 

A legal battle out of Calhoun, Ga. over the constitutionality of jailing people too poor to afford bond is on its way back into the hands of a lower court.

About a year ago, a district court judge enjoined the city of Calhoun from detaining indigent defendants for misdemeanors or minor traffic cases. Last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, saying it was too light on detail.

 

Kim Kenney / Atlanta Ballet

A proposed sales tax to create a steady stream of funding for the arts in Atlanta appears to be dead.

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Mayor Kasim Reed needed Georgia lawmakers to sign off on the plan in order to put it before voters as a referendum in November. The idea was to let constituents decide whether they wanted to pay a one-tenth of a penny tax to support music, dance, theater or other artistic ventures in the city.

Doraville Wins Latest Round In Legal Battle With Adult Club

Mar 20, 2017
AP File

Georgia's Supreme Court ruled Monday that Oasis Goodtime Emporium, an adult club in Doraville, can't sell alcohol if it continues to allow nudity. 

The city of Doraville has an ordinance that bans alcohol sales in places considered "sexually oriented businesses" or that feature nude dancing. The ordinance, however, does allow semi-nude dancing. 

Jill Chambers, the director of Oasis, and a former Georgia state representative, said Oasis has become an artistic venue and no longer fits under the "sexually oriented business" ordinance. 

WABE File

The House Insurance Committee on Monday passed revamped legislation to reduce “surprise billing,’’ in which patients using hospitals in their insurance network may still get unexpected bills from doctors who are not in the network.

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Closer Look: Tom Frieden; Opioid Abuse; And More

Mar 20, 2017
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

MIRANDA HAWKINS / WABE

One of the people running for mayor of Stonecrest is asking for state and county investigations into a mailer about him sent to voters over the weekend.

The mailer accused Charles Hill of being bipolar and manic depressive and compared him to Anthony Hill, a veteran shot and killed by a police officer two years ago. Anthony Hill's family has said he suffered from mental illness.

Photo Courtesy of Arís Theatre

When it comes to literature, the Irish have been active for quite a while. After Greek and Latin, literature in Irish is the oldest in Europe, dating from the 4th or 5th century.

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As the 20th century drew near in Ireland, a new nationalist cultural revival stirred. It would come to be known as the Irish literary renaissance and would change modern Irish history. The waves of that cultural sea change continue to ripple across the Irish and Celtic Diaspora.

The House Republican healthcare plan has been met with derision and skepticism from politicians and the public alike.
J. Scott Applewhite, File / Associated Press

Top Georgia Republicans so far have been fairly quiet about the plan from U.S. House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).

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Johnny Kauffman / WABE

To make it to work by nine, Chartisia Griffin had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. On public transit, her commute was two-and-a-half hours.

“I'm big pregnant. I'm walking from my house all the way up to the closest bus stop. In the dark, by myself,” she remembered.

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After two trains and another bus, Griffin finally clocked in for what was usually a six-hour shift.

“I'm tired by now because I'm pregnant, I done rode all this far,” she said.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Monday is the deadline for Georgians to register to vote in the April 18 special election.

The biggest race of that day is the contest for the 6th District Congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Tom Price, now the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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While turnout in special elections as a rule isn't especially strong, this could be an exception.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

The FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate President Donald Trump's claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him before the election, according to FBI Director James Comey.

Comey is testified at a highly politically charged congressional examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump's campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he'd been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

The Georgia Ports Authority is reporting another month of record growth, in part because of larger cargo ships arriving in Savannah via the expanded Panama Canal.

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Griff Lynch, the authority's executive director, said Monday the Savannah and Brunswick seaports handled 2.94 million tons of cargo in February — up nearly 10 percent from the same month last year. It was also their second-highest monthly tonnage ever. That record was set in January.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, begins his three-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Atlanta Takes Annexation Case To Georgia Supreme Court

Mar 20, 2017
Georgia Supreme Court building
Nick Nesmith / WABE

The city of Atlanta is going to the state Supreme Court to try to get back five neighborhoods it annexed from Fulton County.

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Last year, Georgia's General Assembly passed legislation to create the city of South Fulton. It included all of the last unincorporated areas in the county.

The law allowed areas that didn't want to be part of South Fulton to annex into another city, but it gave a time limit.

 

At the South by Southwest festival, participants stopped by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce booth and put on virtual reality headsets to experience Atlanta.
Courtesy of Foundry 45

In Austin, Texas, this week, hundreds of people visited Atlanta virtually.

At the South by Southwest festival, participants stopped by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce booth and put on virtual reality (VR) headsets to experience Atlanta.

Virtual reality has mostly been associated with gaming or selling a brand, but groups like the Metro Atlanta Chamber are using it to recruit candidates.

Dave Beck is co-founder of an Atlanta-based virtual reality company called Foundry 45.

BRENNA BEECH / WABE

The University of Georgia will hold a public ceremony Monday at 3 p.m. to rebury remains construction crews found while expanding a building on campus. The discovery of the remains has highlighted an emotional conversation in the Athens community.

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In late 2015, workers discovered 105 grave sites at Baldwin Hall, a campus classroom building. Of those grave sites, the remains of 30 individuals were preserved.

Todd Kirkland / associated press

The stands are packed with red-and-black-clad fans who chant incessantly, accompanied by a steady drumbeat and swirling flags.

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"Atlanta!" they shout from one end of Bobby Dodd Stadium.

 

"United!" everyone else responds.

 

There's plenty to cheer about with an expansion team that has already displayed a dynamic style of play, scoring 11 goals in its first three games.

 

charles hill campaign

The weekend before Stonecrest residents vote for their first mayor claims of dirty politics were being made.

On Saturday, a mailer that called Charles Hill mentally ill, bipolar and manic depressive was delivered in parts of DeKalb County.

It showed separate pictures of Hill and Anthony Hill, a veteran who was fatally shot two years ago by a DeKalb police officer who has since been indicted.

atlanta botanical garden
Atlanta Botanical Garden

Is the best botanical garden in the U.S. located right here in Atlanta? USA TODAY's 10BEST series is choosing readers' favorites, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden is in the running.

Nineteen botanical gardens across the U.S. are competing in the 10BEST. The top 10 will be selected through online polls. Voting is open through March 27 at 12 p.m. Winners will be announced March 31.

‘It’s Unimaginable Feeling Unwelcome In The Country That I Was Born In’

Mar 18, 2017
courtesy of vox

With the election of Donald Trump, political divide is at a seemingly all-time high, causing an uprise in social and racial tensions.

With the Trump administration’s revised travel ban that was scheduled to go into effect on March 16 now on hold  (it bans foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and bans all refugees for 120 days but judges in Hawaii and Maryland have ruled against it) heightening this separation, I decided to investigate what it feels like to be Muslim in the heap of this great American divide.

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