Elly Yu | WABE 90.1 FM

Elly Yu

Reporter

Elly Yu is a reporter at WABE, where she first got her start in public radio as an graduate student intern in 2013. Since then, she’s reported for WNYC, NPR, and Marketplace among others.  In 2014, Elly was awarded with an immigration reporting fellowship from the Institute for Justice and Journalism.

Elly holds a bachelor’s in international relations from the University of Southern California, and a master’s in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she co-hosted a podcast. 

Elly Yu/for WABE

After weeks of delay due to the weather, SkyView Atlanta officially started spinning today. 

Across from Centennial Olympic Park, the line for the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel wrapped around the block. 

“Folks don’t know it but today’s ribbon cutting was three years in the making," says Mayor Kasim Reed. "And the bottom line is that things are going to only get better in downtown Atlanta.”

The Ferris wheel will takes riders 20 stories above the city. 

While many were anxious to ride, some spectators weren’t as excited about the opening.

Elly Yu/for WABE

Hundreds of people marched in downtown Atlanta Monday night in protest of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. 

Georgia.gov

 The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials plans to sue the city of Gainesville. The group says the city’s at-large voting system violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

At-large voting allows all Gainesville residents to vote for each city representative instead of voting by district.  But GALEO’s Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez says at-large voting discriminates against the city’s growing Latino population.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in voting practices or procedures. 

Elly Yu/for WABE

The new director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center  says changes are being made after federal audits showed poor patient care. 

Leslie Wiggins was appointed to head the center in May after the audits linked three patient deaths in the past two years to mismanagement. A fourth death was later reported.

Wiggins says the hospital has since made many improvements.

Rose Scott/WABE

The historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market near downtown Atlanta was the latest victim in a recent trend of smash and grab robberies.

Police say suspects crashed a stolen van through the market’s glass entrance and stole an ATM early Tuesday morning.

The entrance of the market was taped off, but otherwise, the market was bustling as usual during lunch.

Gerald Boyd, the security manager of the market, said he got a call from the alarm company at 5 a.m. Monday morning and rushed to the market. He says police were already on the scene. 

Katjusa Cisar via flickr / http://www.flickr.com/photos/katjusac/5052594922/

Thousands of Georgians may have flocked to the beaches over the Fourth of July weekend, but a new report shows Southern beaches along the Gulf Coast didn’t fare so well on pollution tests last year.  

In 2012, Southern beaches came second when it came to bacterial contamination, according the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The environmental advocacy group collects government data about ocean water safety, then issues a report each year.

Georgia Department of Driver Services

 South Korean citizens no longer have to take written or road tests to get a Georgia driver’s license. That’s because the Georgia Department of Driver Services has signed a reciprocity agreement with the Republic of South Korea.

 

The agreement falls under HB 475, which passed earlier this spring. The bill allows the Department of Driver Services Commissioner to form agreements with foreign countries who have business interests in the state.

Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill into law on May 1 at a Kia plant in West Point.

Capital Broadcasting Center / http://cbc-eg.com/

 Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has been ousted.

WABE’s Rose Scott and Elly Yu report on initial reaction from Metro Atlanta observers.

It’s been two years since the Egyptian revolution, when Hosni Mubarak was put out of power.

And a year since Mohamed Morsi was then elected president.

But now he’s out.

Lawrence Rubin is a professor of international affairs at Georgia Tech, with a specialization in Middle East politics.

He spoke from Jerusalem today about how the situation in Egypt came about.

Thomas Bunton via flickr / http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasebunton/8201307629/

 The city of Atlanta is setting up a new film office to deal with the city’s booming film industry.  

On Monday, the City Council voted 11 to 2 to create the new office. Councilman Michael Julian Bond, who voted in favor of the department, said it was long overdue.

“Atlanta, unlike our counterparts in LA and New York, that we often compare ourselves to, doesn’t have a film office,” Bond said. 

The state estimates the economic impact of filming around the state amounted to $3.1 billion in 2012 -- and the lion share of filming happens in Atlanta.

Zoo Atlanta

Lun Lun, one of Zoo Atlanta’s giant pandas, is expecting. The cub would be the first giant panda to be born in the U.S. in 2013. 

The 15-year-old panda is expected to give birth in two to three weeks and will be on 24-hour watch starting next week, said Rebecca Snyder, mammal curator at the zoo. 

 “We’re getting great information now through the ultra sound. We can track the fetus and collect data on its development and growth rate which is information that’s not widely available for giant panda fetuses," Snyder said. 

Elly Yu/for WABE

Florida A&M University is lifting the suspension of its famed marching band a year and a half after a fatal hazing incident. 

In November of 2011, the Marching 100’s drum major, Robert Champion of DeKalb County Georgia, died after being beaten in a parked bus after a football game.

Elly Yu/for WABE

The former DeKalb County school board chairman is fighting to get his elected seat back. Eugene Walker testified in a reinstatement hearing on Wednesday, the third board member to do so.

The governor removed Walker and five other members in February after a state board recommendation, but Walker and his attorney argued that the report that led to his removal was biased and lacked evidence.

The report by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, also known as SACS, said the board was dysfunctional. But Walker disagreed with its findings:

Charles Edwards/WABE News

In wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, the NAACP said Tuesday they will soon push Congress to pass voting protections for minorities.  

Edward DuBose, the president of Georgia’s NAACP says he was appalled by the Court’s decision. 

“Medgar Evers died for that right to vote. Dr. King was killed for the right to vote. The four little girls in Birmingham were killed for the right to vote,” DuBose said at a press conference.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices said the law was based off of old data and didn’t reflect racial progress.

A section of the Atlanta BeltLine.
beltline.org

Expect to see more police officers on the BeltLine starting this week. 

The new Path Force Unit of the Atlanta Police Department begins its patrol this week, said Lt. Jeff Baxter, unit commander of the Path Force Unit. 

Since the Eastside Trail opened in October 2012, a number of armed robberies along the BeltLine has raised public safety concerns.

In response, the Atlanta Police Department has created a specific unit of about 20 officers who will patrol the trail.

Elly Yu/for WABE

 The U.S House of Representatives voted against its own version of the farm bill Thursday. That raises questions about funding the nation’s farm and nutrition programs this year.

The house bill would have cut more than 20 billion dollars over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as foods stamps.

Bill Bolling is the executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which distributes more than 30 million pounds of food a year.

Georgia unemployment rate May 2013
WABE

Georgia’s unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in May, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That’s one-tenth of a percentage point higher from the 8.2 percent in April. However, the rate is eight-tenths of a percentage point lower from 9.1 percent in May last year. 
 

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says the increase comes from more people entering the workforce.

Skyview Atlanta

Construction on the new Ferris wheel downtown began on Wednesday. 

The 20-story Ferris wheel, named SkyView Atlanta, is being built across from Centennial Olympic Park.

The attraction will be different from the average Ferris wheel that would be at a fair, said Jason Evans, spokesman for SkyView. 

Ed Castro Landscape/DeKalb County

Animal activists are still waiting on final word from DeKalb County on the location of a new animal shelter. After weeks of delay, residents are frustrated and concerned about the shelter being built on one of the proposed sites.

Two weeks ago, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was set to recommend a site for a new shelter.

Instead, three sites were proposed, and the final recommendation was supposed to come Tuesday at the county commission meeting. But the county presented further evaluations.

Elly Yu/for WABE

UPDATE (June 14, 2013, 12:20 p.m.): Governor Deal Friday appointed two top Democrats in the House and Senate to sit on a panel along with the Attorney General to decide whether Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D- Atlanta) should be suspended from office.

Deal appointed state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) and state Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson (D-Tucker) to join Attorney General Sam Olens. 

The panel has 14 days to issue a written report of its determination. The panel's ruling is final. 

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

In an attempt to boost funding for Georgia’s wildlife preservation efforts, the state Department of Natural Resources Thursday revealed three new license plate designs. 

With a bald eagle by his side, Governor Deal introduced each of the new tags at the state capitol.

“The first tag features a soaring bald eagle and provides critical funds for DNR’s nongame conservation section,” Deal said.  

Proceeds from the license plates are one the primary sources for the state’s wildlife preservation efforts.

Georgia State Senate

 The U.S. Senate Wednesday began debating an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. A group of state lawmakers is now urging Georgia’s U.S. senators to vote against the proposed bill.

The bill would provide a path to citizenship and make it easier for U.S. companies to hire foreign workers. But ten Republicans in the Georgia State Senate say before a pathway to citizenship can be addressed, the bill needs to focus on securing borders.

Dekalb World Refugee Day
Elly Yu/for WABE

DeKalb County on Tuesday honored thousands of refugees who’ve made the county their new home.

Some dozen refugee families and several Atlanta-based service organizations attended the proclamation in commemoration of World Refugee Day on June 20.

Joshua Htu William came from Burma, also known as Myanmar, three years ago with his wife and two kids after living in a refugee camp. He says he’s happy to be recognized and acknowledged by the community.

Georgia DOL
Georgia Dept. of Labor

The state of Georgia is trying to collect millions of dollars of unemployment benefits. A federal audit shows Georgia’s labor department made overpayments due to outdated systems.

From 2008 to 2011, the state overpaid by $58.7 million in unemployment checks, according to the audit.

“To be quite frank, in a lot of instances, we saw people getting unemployment benefits that did not qualify,” said Mark Butler, Georgia’s Labor Commissioner.

goingstuckey via Flickr / http://www.flickr.com/photos/34739862@N00/4912126105

A report by a Georgia State University researcher found the Clean Air Act of 1970 actually caused more rainfall in metro Atlanta by decreasing pollution.

Jeremy Diem, an associate professor of geography at Georgia State, collected data from nine weather stations around Atlanta dating back to 1948.

He found that in the 1950s and 1960s, heavy summer rainfall decreased in urban Atlanta compared to rural parts of Atlanta.

Georgia License Plate
Georgia Department of Revenue

An Atlanta man who filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Driver Services for rejecting his request for a personal license plate had his case settled Wednesday.

James Cyrus Gilbert submitted an application requesting one of three options for his new license plate: GAYPWR, GAYGUY and 4GAYLIB.

The Georgia Department of Revenue, which manages vanity license plates, denied all three requests.  He and his attorneys filed a lawsuit against the department in January.

PulteGroup Pulte Homes logo
PulteGroup

One of the nation’s largest homebuilders is moving its corporate headquarters from the Detroit area to Atlanta.

PulteGroup is expected to bring more than 300 jobs when it arrives here next summer.

The company decided to move as more of its customers have been based in the Southeast over the past several years, said Valerie Dolenga, a spokeswoman for PulteGroup.

“Atlanta is a great hub for us to office our operations, and gives us easy access to a lot of the major markets that we build in,” she said.

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