John Lorinc | WABE 90.1 FM

John Lorinc

Host, Weekend Edition, Producer and Reporter

One week after his 21st birthday, John Lorinc entered the world of radio at WBHV in State College, Pennsylvania.

A few months after graduating from Penn State University’s College of Communications, Lorinc returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

That’s the city known for its three rivers and residents who put french fries in their salads.

While in Pittsburgh, John worked at WRRK, doing morning news and traffic for the “Quinn in the Morning Show.”

John also had a classic rock shift at WRRK on Saturday nights, which is why he never needs to ever hear songs like “Hotel California” and “Stairway to Heaven” ever again.

Lorinc also wrote record reviews and interviews with musicians for the now-defunct Rock N Roll Reporter, in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

In 2000, Lorinc moved to Atlanta and worked at CNNRadio for a decade as an anchor/reporter.  He also produced a weekly music feature called “Measure to Measure.”  Among the musicians who were on the show included: Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Jon Bon Jovi, Bonnie Raitt, Big Boi of Outkast, Smokey Robinson, Trace Adkins and Miranda Lambert.

Other career highlights include winning a GABBY Award for a WUGA story on Athens-based singer/songwriter John Keane and writing an excerpt in Larry Kane’s New York Times’ best-selling biography "Lennon Revealed."

Lorinc has been with WABE since 2012.

Courtesy of Lula Lake Land Trust

The new year will bring new trails to hikers, bikers and others in North Georgia and South Tennessee.

Work will being in January on the Chattanooga Connector Trail, which will do exactly as its name suggests.

It will link a network of trails between Georgia's Cloudland Canyon, which is next to Lookout Mountain, and the Tennessee Riverwalk.

Bill Kostroun / Associated Press

Six Atlanta Falcons are heading to the 2017 Pro Bowl.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, running back Devonta Freeman, center Alex Mack, linebacker Vic Beasley and place kicker Matt Bryant all got the nod this year.

This is the fourth Pro Bowl trip for Ryan, Jones and Mack.

It's the first for Bryant, who's been in the NFL for 16 years.

Wellstar Cobb Hospital
Al Such / WABE

The biggest insurer and the biggest hospital system in Georgia are joining forces.

WellStar Health System and Blue Cross Blue Shield have agreed to take part in a federal insurance exchange product.

“Continuity of physician and hospital is important to consumers and you know, you feel comfortable with somebody you trust. And if a WellStar patient very much likes their doctor, they can keep them if they stay in the Blue Cross network,” said Andy Miller, with Georgia Health News. 

Courtesy of Cobb County

There are less than two weeks before 2017, and that means the Atlanta Braves will soon be playing in their new park.

The 1,100-foot bridge that will help pedestrians get to and from Sun Trust Park is about 40 percent finished, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Jim Wilgus, Cobb's transportation director told the newspaper the bridge will be operational by April 14.

Eric Durban / WABE

The new soccer field at MARTA's Five Points station is a hit, so far.  

That's why Soccer in the Streets, the group behind it, wants to build nine more fields.

“This is a great way, we feel, to provide access to Metro Atlanta youths and adults and integrate the city through a sport that is known to bring people together,” said SITS board member Sanjay Patel.

The nine stations where the group wants to expand include College Park and Brookhaven.

The goal — excuse the pun — is to have soccer fields open at 10 MARTA stations by the end of the decade.

Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

A lot of people will be going over the river and through the woods this week.

More than 103 million Americans are hitting the road for the end-of-the year holiday season, according to AAA.

"It's setting a new travel record, since we've been tracking travel data since 2001," said AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend.

Nearly 5.4 million Georgians are included in that number, that's a 3.1 percent hike from 2015 and, according to Townsend, it's more than double the national average.

AP File

Commuters can now figure out how much it will cost to take the Interstate-75 South Metro Express lanes.

The toll rates for the lanes go from 10 cents to 90 cents per mile. The minimum toll charge for a ride in the lanes is 50 cents.

The State Road and Tollway Authority's board of directors approved the amounts yesterday.

The 12 miles of new lanes will debut in late January and reach from McDonough Road to Stockbridge Highway.

Thiqa News via AP

It's nearly 7,000 miles away, but Syria is on the minds of many here in Atlanta.

That includes Jana Al-Nahhas who has visited family in Syria every year.

She says her Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of posts from people in Aleppo for a while, but their messages have taken on a new tone.  

“So sometimes you almost, it’s sad to say, but you get numb to it all, and then moments like these really, they just awaken your heart in some ways, and it’s really terrifying,” she said.

Georgia Department of Labor – Mark Butler, Commissioner

For the third time in as many months, Georgia's unemployment rate rose.

The Georgia Department of Labor has reported it was 5.3 percent in November, up a tenth of a point from October. 

State officials have said the rate is rising because more people are looking to return to the workforce, but haven’t yet found jobs. Those potential employees were not categorized as “unemployed” when they weren’t actively looking for work.

“In those same three months, we’ve seen more than 56,000 people become employed,” said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Patrick Sison / Associated Press

A federal judge hands an $11.2 million fine to ConAgra on Tuesday, ten years after the company shipped out tainted peanut butter that sickened more than 600 people in 47 states.

That's the largest criminal fine linked to a food-borne illness in U.S. history.

An official with ConAgra pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of shipping adulterated food yesterday.

Investigators determined the tainted peanut butter came from a plant in Sylvester, Georgia.

Firefighters spent more than two months battling wildfires in north Georgia and in Tennessee this fall.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

    

It took months of hard work, but fire crews in north Georgia can now claim victory. They've reached total containment in the region.

"You know, we've had some wonderful rain and it's knocked the fires back and greatly diminished our immediate risk of wildfires, but we're not out of the drought yet, believe it or not.  So we still ask people to be cautious, understand where we are," said Wendy Burnett, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

via Pixabay, edited

DeKalb County is having success finding shelter for those who wore the uniform.

DeKalb is the first county in Georgia to reach a milestone known as "functional zero" for homeless veterans.

That landmark means if a homeless vet is willing to accept housing, it is available.

Counties get this status if they can prove it takes less than three months to find permanent housing for veterans who agree to take it.

According to interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, the county has found housing for nearly 400 vets thus far this year. 

Branden Camp / Associated Press

Hundreds of people appeared at a funeral Sunday for a Georgia police officer shot in the line of duty.

The casket that held the body of Nicholas Smarr was draped with the American flag and was carried by a horse-drawn carriage.

The 25-year-old Americus police officer was fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call Wednesday.

Smarr's best friend and fellow officer Jody Smith, was also shot during the incident.

Smarr, who performed CPR on Smith, died at the scene. The 26-year-old Smith died the following day.

David Goldman / associated press file

It's December and temperatures are dropping, but state and local officials say they are ready for whatever Mother Nature and Jack Frost have in store this winter.

No snow is expected in north Georgia this weekend, but the Georgia Department of Transportation is fully stocked in case some of the white stuff – or even worse, ice – appears sometime over the next few months.

“[We have] just over 50,000 tons of salt, just over 65,000 tons of gravel, 385 snow removal equipment units, throughout the state and we are at capacity on brine,” said GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.

MariaGodFrida, via Pixabay

Georgians may want to make sure they've got warm jackets and blankets within reach.

Frigid weather is coming to Georgia this week thanks to an Arctic-type air mass flying south from Canada.

“The next couple of days we’re looking at mid-20’s approximately for lows roughly and then the lower 40’s for highs," said Brian Lynn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

According to the NWS, those temps are 10 to 15 degrees below what is normal in Georgia for this time of year.

Heavy rain can make Atlanta’s sewers overflow. The city overhauled the system in an effort to make it happen less often.
Ric Feld / Associated Press

Much of north Georgia, including metro Atlanta, received about two inches of rain from the storm systems that hit the area between Saturday and Tuesday.    

"We built the drought we are in now over quite a few months of below-normal rainfall," said Matt Cena, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. "It's going to take quite a few months of normal to above normal rainfall to climb us out of that drought."

Sandy Springs has voted in favor of a 120-day moratorium on building new convenience stores and gas stations.
Sharon Kraun / Sandy Springs Government

For the second time in two years, the city of Sandy Springs has put a moratorium on building new convenience stores and gas stations.

Officials say this comes as a result of confusion with the ordinance regarding where these types of facilities are allowed with in the city limits.

“If you read it there’s one section that implies that you could have convenience stores and there’s others that say that you can’t have them anywhere. And so we got to get it right,” said assistant city manager Jim Tolbert.

William Sallie will be the 9th person executed in Georgia in 2016.
Georgia Department of Corrections

Georgia executed its ninth inmate Tuesday night. William Sallie died at 10:05 p.m., from a lethal injection.

The 50-year-old was convicted of the 1990 murder of his father-in-law John Lee Moore.

Sallie made a final statement where he apologized for his actions and he asked for forgiveness. He also accepted a prayer.

There have been 19 inmate executions thus far this year in the U.S. Georgia has had the most, and Texas has had the second most, with seven.

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A voter takes a "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker after voting during Georgia's primary election at the polling station at South Lowndes Recreation Complex in Lake Park, Ga., Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Gwinnett County has been ordered to provide Spanish-language information for all elections.

The U.S. Census Bureau has just ordered the county to comply with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act.

What that means is that the Census Bureau has determined Gwinnett has more than five percent of voting age citizens who do not speak or understand English well enough to participate in the electoral process.

   

The public is invited to get information and give input on a proposed widening project on Interstate-85 in Gwinnett County.

Georgia Department of Transportation officials say the plan calls for reconstructing nearly 13 miles of I-85 near I-985, just north of Georgia Route 211, and just over 11 miles of I-85 from Georgia Route 211 to just north of U.S. 129.

Justin Ross Harris is accused of purposely leaving his 22-month-old son to die in his SUV in 2014.
Kathryn Ingall/ The Marietta Daily Journal, Pool via AP

Justin Ross Harris, the man at the center of the so-called "Hot Car Trial," was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday afternoon.

WABE legal analyst Page Pate said he wasn't surprised with Judge Mary Staley Clark's decision.

“I am certain she was cognizant of the fact that she would have received a lot of negative press and attention from the public had she imposed anything than the maximum sentence in this case,” Pate said.

Harris was convicted last month of purposely leaving his 22-month-old son strapped inside a hot car to die.

David Goldman / Associated Press

After going about a month and a half without significant rain, metro Atlanta got about an inch this weekend.

And more is on the way.

The metro Atlanta area is expected to get nearly an inch and a half of rain Monday and Tuesday.

Officials will be monitoring creek and river levels to see how much the rain is helping.

Associated Press

The Rolling Stones have just released their latest album, "Blue and Lonesome."

This is the first album in the group's five-decade-plus career that does not contain original material.

All of the songs are blues covers from legends like Jimmy Reed, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf.

The Stones have covered a number of groups over the years, especially before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards became a prolific songwriting team.

Here are the 10 best Rolling Stones songs that did not come from the Glimmer Twins.

John Lorinc / WABE

Four tornadoes passed through Metro Atlanta on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Two of the confirmed twisters touched down in Fulton County, another one was close to the Jackson/Banks County line.

The strongest of the four was in Cobb County.

>The EF-1 tornado landed on Delta Court, crossed Six Flags Parkway and onto Discovery Boulevard.  

It had winds of about 100 miles per hour.

"It does some damage to trees, buildings, even flipped over a tractor-trailer," said NWS meteorologist Kent McMullin.

The rain and heavy winds started Wednesday, Nov. 30 in the early afternoon, when a well-developed storm system with two specific waves of precipitation entered the area.
John Lorinc / WABE

Crews are combing over North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, to assess the damage done from Wednesday's storms.  

The rain and heavy winds started in the early afternoon, when a well-developed storm system with two specific waves of precipitation entered the area.

"And at that point the atmosphere was warm and moist, so a lot of the ingredients came together to produce storms and some of those storms were able to put down a lot of wind," said Brian Lynn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Hillary Zody / Christmas Lights Etc

  

If you want to get your "true love" the perfect Christmas gifts, the price tag rose less than a percentage point from last year.    

The total cost of all the gifts mentioned in the holiday classic "The Twelve Days of Christmas" will cost $34,363.49, according to the annual PNC Christmas Price Index.

"Wages for the pied pipers and the drummers drumming rose, but the lords a leaping and ladies dancing remained steady this year," said Cindy Widner Wall, with the Atlanta-branch of the PNC Financial Services Group.

Severe storms hit parts of north Georgia on Wednesday, with at least one confirmed tornado.
John Haas / WABE

A radar-confirmed tornado was spotted about seven miles north of downtown Atlanta Wednesday afternoon.

It forced officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to halt flights for about 15 minutes.

Authorities say there were some downed trees and power lines reported in the metro Atlanta area.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

After more than two months, north Georgia is finally seeing drops of water falling from the sky.

"Everybody is doing a happy dance, we are just thrilled to get some rain," said Wendy Burnett, a spokeswoman with the Georgia Forestry Commission.

And although the crews and officials said the rain is helping crews, there are still concerns.

“We don’t anticipate that having a huge impact on our overall fire activity in North Georgia just because of the deep drought that we’ve been in for quite some time,” said Hannah Cowart, a GFC official.

Downtown Connector March 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

The Georgia State Patrol reports 20 people were killed in roadway accidents over the Thanksgiving break.

Among the counties where fatal crashes occurred: Bryan, Carroll, Cobb, Decatur, Floyd, Lamar and Warren.

The GSP also reports nearly 300 people were injured in just over 600 crashes state-wide.

There were 273 DUI arrests also made in Georgia.

Bob Edme / Associated Press

The Ripple Effect Film Project is underway and every Georgian with a camera is invited to participate.

The theme for this contest is “Ocean Connections,” and the impact of human behavior on the world’s oceans. Contestants can submit a one to four minute film or a 30 second public service announcement.

“Basically the judges will look at the films and select their favorites. They’re looking at things like whether the film effectively demonstrates a connection to the ocean, production quality, things like that,” said Sara Beresford, an organizer with the project.

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