Closer Look: Omari Hardwick; Simon Helberg; And More

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Al Such / WABE

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

Solar Panels as seen from Decatur Ave.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia Power is adding more renewable power to its mix of energy sources. State regulators approved the utility's long-term plan Thursday. The company will get electricity from large-scale solar projects and build others, including at Georgia military bases. It could also use more wind energy.

“We've also expanded some of our energy efficiency programs, built on some of those successes,” said Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins. “We're also going to continue the work that we've been doing to preserve new nuclear as an option.”

James Gathany / CDC

In this week’s "Medical Minute," Dr. Ford Vox and Jim Burress talk about Kris Kristofferson’s case of Lyme disease, and what Georgians need to know about tick-borne illnesses in the state.

For more information:

Rolling Stone: Kris Kristofferson: An Outlaw at 80

The online fundraising company says it has frozen the account of a campaign that raised $184,000 for a homeless teenager who wanted to enroll in college until it resolves questions about the young man's story.

The outpouring of donations came after online reports that 19-year-old Fred Barley had biked six hours to get to Gordon State College in Georgia and was found sleeping in a tent on campus.

GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the funds are on hold "until all the questions have been answered."

Funeral services were conducted in the Mt. Petty church near Monroe, Ga., July 28, 1946 for George Dorsey and Dorothy Malcolm, brother and sister victims of a mob. A flag covers the coffin of Dorsey, a war veteran. Two others were slain at the same time.
AP Photo / AP Photo


Editor’s note: This story includes material that may be offensive to some readers.

To re-enact a lynching, director Cassandra Greene relies on the same things you’d see in any play: costumes from the period, props like fake guns, and actors.

When Greene briefed her crew at the First African Baptist Church in Monroe, Georgia on Saturday, July 23, she informed them that they were low on actors this year. Only four or five white men showed up to play what was supposed to be a mob of Klansmen.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the new March jobless metro Atlanta was 5.9 percent. That is down from 6.1 percent in February and 7 percent from March 2014.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Metro Atlanta saw a spike in its unemployment rate for June, according to a new report from the Georgia Department of Labor. The percentage of people out of work rose from 4.5 in May to 5.3 percent.

While those numbers might sound scary on their face, Department of Labor spokesperson Sam Hall said they’re typical.

Courtesy of True Colors Theatre Company

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Don Ryan / Associated Press

The proportion of U.S. households that own homes has matched its lowest level in 51 years — evidence that rising property prices, high rents and stagnant pay have made it hard for many to buy.

Just 62.9 percent of households owned a home in the April-June quarter this year, a decrease from 63.4 percent 12 months ago, the Census Bureau said Thursday. The share of homeowners now equals the rate in 1965, when the census began tracking the data.

Michell Eloy / WABE News

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid brought together government, court and police officials Wednesday to meet with the community about policing and criminal justice issues.

Cupid said the three-hour public forum was necessary in the wake of recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, respectively, at the hands of police. She said she hopes this is the first of more meetings to come.

Jack Davis, the prolific Mad magazine illustrator, cartoonist and movie poster artist, has died.

He died Wednesday morning, according to his son-in-law, Chris Lloyd. He died in St. Simons, Georgia, of natural causes. He was 91.

As a struggling young artist in New York, Davis was "about ready to give up, go home to Georgia and be either a forest ranger or a farmer," he recalled in an interview a few years ago. Then, in 1950, he scored the first of many sales of his artwork to EC Comics, which published a line of horror titles including "Tales from the Crypt."

John Konstantaras / AP Images for Kmart

Georgians will get a break on sales tax this weekend as part of the state's annual tax-free holiday in time for back-to-school shopping.

State officials tout the weekend as way for families to save money – and retail associations see it as a way to get a boost. But analysts say the holiday doesn’t all up to all that much in an increase in total spending.

“All it does is change the timing of the activity,” said Thomas Smith, an economist and finance professor at Emory University’s Goizeuta Business School.   

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

The 2016 Democratic National Convention heard several voices from Georgia: Congressman John Lewis; former President Jimmy Carter (via video), and his grandson, former state Sen. Jason Carter; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; and State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.

In her speech on the first night of the convention, Abrams talked about a "new American majority." On "Morning Edition," hours before Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech, Denis O'Hayer asked Abrams what she meant by a new majority, and what she thinks Clinton needs to do to win over voters who view her with suspicion.

The downtown skyline is reflected in an Atlanta Streetcar during a ceremony celebrating its inaugural trip.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The city of Atlanta and MARTA are planning major transportation investments in two separate sales tax referendums that will go before voters in November.

If approved, both taxes would generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year for a myriad of improvements including expanded streetcar or light rail lines, improved bus services, new multi-use trails and road upgrades into complete streets.

But one project missing from the plans is for a Peachtree streetcar.

The city of Atlanta has had a rocky experience with reintroduction of the streetcar.

Avery Braxton

Atlanta made a decision to do civil rights differently in the 1960s. Violence in the streets would not play out here. There were no dogs and no hoses. Politicians met with corporate leaders, civil rights advocates and the church to do things in a manner that did not end with atrocity as seen in other Southern cities.

It was a gentlemen’s conversation, rather than a brawl of ideals. This allowed the city to prosper financially and civically in a time when it didn’t seem realistic. That approach became known as the “Atlanta Way.”

Grady Memorial Hospital
Al Such / WABE

Only two Georgia hospitals earned top scores from the federal government, according to new and controversial star ratings released this week.

Gordon Hospital in Calhoun and Northside Medical Center in Columbus received the only five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which rated 3,671 hospitals nationwide. The full rankings are posted on CMS’ Hospital Compare website.


President Obama will make the case for Hillary Clinton Wednesday night with about as many Americans approving of him as disapprove of him.

That puts him somewhere in the middle of other outgoing presidents who have given convention speeches supporting their potential successors. Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower were all relatively well liked when they left office. George W. Bush and Harry Truman, meanwhile, delivered their addresses even while their approval numbers were in the tank.

Gabbie Watts / WABE

This Cultural Olympiad story was produced in partnership with ArtsATL as part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here. 

Artistic rendering of soccer field planned for Five Points Station

Atlanta, say hello to transit-oriented soccer.

It's the latest move by MARTA to try to boost street life around its stations. The organization is working with nonprofit Soccer in the Streets to construct what it’s billing the first soccer field ever built inside  transit facility.

The pitch, measuring about 66 by 99 feet (smaller than a regulation-sized soccer field), will be housed on the top floor of Five Points Station, in downtown Atlanta.

Darin Givens (left) and Matt Garbett (right) explain Thread ATL's goals to a crowd assembled at Condesa Coffee in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

Walkable neighborhoods. Better transit. And city leaders who’ll make these a priority. These are the goals of a new group organizing in Atlanta.

Thread ATL organizer Darin Givens is familiar with the charge that bike lanes and walkable streets are the pet issues of the elite: weekend cyclists sipping their artisanal lattes.

But, along with co-organizer Matt Garbett, Givens argues that good urbanism should matter to everyone, especially now that Atlanta is seeing such rapid growth.

Lt. Rebecca Rebarich/U.S. Navy via AP

Georgia's coastal military bases are under threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change, according to a new report.

The Union of Concerned Scientists in the analysis found that Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay will experience more flooding and could permanently lose land by the end of the century. The report analyzed 18 military bases along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Closer Look: Democratic National Convention; And More

Jul 27, 2016
John Locher / Associated Press

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

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

In advance of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, "Closer Look" invited three local Democratic leaders – each of different backgrounds – to sit down and assess their party.

The panel included former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who's a Hillary Clinton delegate at the DNC; Gigi Pedraza, co-founder of the social venture YoSoyM; and Khalid Kamau, an organizer with ATL is Ready, as well as a Bernie Sanders delegate.

While the three agreed on several points, there was a split when it came to issues of free higher education, gun control and immigration.

Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

Sales for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company fell during the second quarter of this year. The soft drink giant announced Wednesday it made $11.5 billion for the quarter, compared with $12.2 billion during the second quarter of last year. Coke says total revenue fell about 5 percent.  

Cobb County Board of Elections

With about 64 percent of the vote, retired Marine Colonel Mike Boyce easily won a runoff election last night against incumbent Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee.

Once in office, Boyce said his priority is having a transparent government.

Boyce said one reason he beat outgoing Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee is because of how Lee handled the contract for the new Atlanta Braves Stadium.

Lee's critics said the deal was not transparent and lacked public input. 

But Boyce said, the contract is a done deal and the county needs to move forward.

BreeAnne Clowdus / Serenbe Playhouse

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes"

BreeAnne Clowdus / Serenbe Playhouse

A Huey helicopter flies low over a field at Serenbe, about an hour south of Atlanta. This isn’t a military exercise or a film shoot, but Serenbe Playhouse's theatrical production of "Miss Saigon," the story of star-crossed lovers in war-torn Vietnam. 

Executive and artistic director Brian Clowdus spent eight months convincing the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, based in Hampton, Georgia, to participate.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, including an alarming increase in ambush-style assaults like the ones that killed eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to a report released Wednesday.

However, data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that firearms-related deaths of officers in the line of duty are still lower than they were during previous decades like the 1970s.

Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

Coca-Cola trimmed its sales outlook for the year Wednesday, citing weakening demand in major international markets including China and part of South America.

The world's biggest soda maker said its global volume for the second quarter was flat from a year ago, dragged down by poor results in some areas outside the United States. The maker of Fanta, Sprite and Powerade said it sold more noncarbonated drinks, but less soda.

John Quigley

In 1968, there was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Then, in the late 1980s, we saw the Traveling Wilburys, made up of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

These are supergroups, short-lived musical dream teams. And today, there is case/lang/veirs, the moniker for Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs and the name of their collaborative album.

Lang, a multi-Grammy winner, suggested the supergroup several years ago, and the trio spent two and a half years writing together between touring and their own musical projects.

Courtesy of Leslie Gordon

This Cultural Olympiad story was produced in partnership with ArtsATL as part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here  

Twenty years ago, the Olympic Games brought the world’s athletes to Atlanta. It also brought Nobel laureates.