Lisa Hagen | WABE 90.1 FM

Lisa Hagen

Lisa Hagen is a reporter at WABE.

In 2011, Lisa interned and produced videos for the English-language news site for Al-Ahram, in Cairo, Egypt. She’s reported for and from Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene Brooklyn for the NYTimes’ “The Local” blog. She also put in a couple years as a stringer for the New York Post before moving south.

Lisa studied creative writing at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, but ended up with a much more practical degree in “Militarism and Sexuality” from New York University’s Gallatin School. A master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism seemed a next logical step.

She’s originally from Kahalu’u, Hawaii. Lisa does not know how to surf. She can, however, filet a salmon very quickly and is a lover of fly-fishing.

Kaitlin Kolarik

Republican Karen Handel told supporters gathered in Roswell Tuesday night that by morning the campaign would start anew and called on Republicans to unite around her.

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The former Georgia secretary of state will face Democrat Jon Ossoff in a runoff for the 6th Congressional District. Ossoff ended up with 48 percent of the voted, lower than the clear marjority he would have needed for an outright win. Handel came in second with just shy of 20 percent of the vote.

Lisa Hagen / WABE


The year 2014 should have been a great one for Ron Laster. He and his wife had just bought a house.

Then he got injured. And that same year, his boss died. He'd been a touring musician with James Brown for 27 years. The Lasters called around to relatives for help as bills piled up, but the mortgage payments were too much. That’s when they saw a TV commercial.

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Gwinnett County Police Department / WABE

The Gwinnett County Police Department has fired an officer who was captured in a widely-shared video of kicking a man in the head during a traffic stop on Wednesday in Lawrenceville.  

The officer, Robert McDonald, was hired by the department in 2013, and graduated from the police academy in 2014, officials said. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press



U.S. Sen. David Perdue said Tuesday that Republicans in Congress will need Democratic input to craft a new health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.


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Perdue, a Republican from Macon, spoke to members of the DeKalb and Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce. His speech highlighted the need to for Congress to address the growing debt and increase security funding.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

The Gwinnett County commissioner who's faced months of outrage after calling John Lewis a "racist pig" will not participate in the county's ethics board process.

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Commissioner Tommy Hunter has refused to pick an appointment to represent him. That's supposed to be part of the process after an ethics complaint was filed against him in February.

Now, Hunter's spokesperson Seth Weathers said they're not going to play ball at all.

LisaHagen / WABE

Georgia has the highest rate of people on probation in the country. That rate is nearly four times the national average.

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After years of criminal justice reform, the state has seen its prison population drop, but the rate of people under state supervision has stayed stubbornly high. A bill that could get a vote in the Georgia House is aimed at changing that.

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE


A controversial bill that would require Georgia colleges to report campus sexual assaults to law enforcement stalled Thursday in the state Senate.


The bill has been vigorously opposed by rape survivors and groups advocating for them. They say mandating police reporting would discourage survivors from coming forward.


Rob Griffith / Associated Press



Remember the "Burqa Ban?"

Last November a Georgia lawmaker introduced, and then quickly withdrew, a measure many believed targeted Muslim women wearing face veils. The bill may be long dead, buried under a firestorm of instant resistance from both the right and the left, but on certain parts of the Internet, Georgia is still making headlines.

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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.


MARTA Chief Operating Officer Richard Krisak says $700 million in funding has been identified and approved for 250 new rail cars.
Alison Guillory / WABE

It's a long road to Congress finalizing the new federal budget. But under President Trump's proposed plan, Atlanta's transportation future could be at risk.

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When Atlanta voters approved a half-penny sales tax last year to expand MARTA, the idea was that the money raised could be used to draw in matching federal dollars.

Trump's budget proposal says it will cut off future funding for the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program.

Denis O'Hayer / WABE

More than 120 Georgians died last year in domestic violence incidents, and one-third of those deaths were murder-suicides. Those findings are from a new report by the Georgia Fatality Review Project.


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The report looked at more than 100 separate incidents of homicides involving domestic violence and also noted that in nearly 40 percent of those cases, the perpetrators had threatened or attempted suicide.

Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press

The daughter of an inmate who died of pneumonia in the Gwinnett County jail is suing the sheriff, health care employees and the private health provider in charge of her care.
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Lisa Hagen / WABE

A task force hoping to commemorate the exploitation of a group known as “comfort women” is looking for a new home for their planned memorial in Atlanta. That’s after the National Center for Civil and Human Rights pulled out of an agreement to erect the memorial outside its building.

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J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press



U.S. House Republicans have unveiled a pair of bills laying out what repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act could look like.

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According to Cindy Zeldin, with healthcare consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, one of the biggest impacts this state would feel is from a major shift in the way Medicaid works.

Lisa Hagen / WABE


If you were near downtown Atlanta at the crack of dawn Sunday, you might have heard what sounded like about 500 pounds of explosives being set off. You were right. That was the sound of the old Georgia Archives building being imploded.

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An estimated crowd of 1,400 people looked on as Gov. Nathan Deal shouted “Fire in the hole!,” capping off the countdown to demolish the building sometimes called “the white ice cube.”

John Bazemore / Associated Press



The race for Georgia's 6th Congressional District is attracting national attention. The Democratic front-runner for this historically Republican seat is making headlines for the funds he's been able to raise.

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David Goldman / Associated Press


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed an Obama-era directive for federal prisons to begin severing ties with private prison companies.  

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Of the country's 12 privately run federal prisons, Georgia is home to two: McRae and D. Ray James in the middle and south parts of the state. Only Texas has more.

Al Such / WABE


Supporters of Donald Trump gathered at the state capitol Monday to show their approval for the president and the first month of his administration.


About a hundred people showed up to Liberty Plaza in their Make America Great Again finest.


John Bazemore, file / Associated Press


Karen Handel is running for Congress, but she said she didn't have anything to do with a recent fundraising letter that claims she aims to "end Muslim immigration."

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Pixabay Images


GBI agents investigate an average of two serious officer-use-of-force cases a week in Georgia. Most of those are shootings.  This week, analysts at the Pew Research Center have looked into some of the characteristics of police officers who fire their weapons on the job.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press



The U.S. House of Representatives is trying to roll back an Obama-era rule that sought to restrict firearms access to some people suffering with mental illness.

Meanwhile in Georgia, lawmakers are working to close a gap in an existing state law on gun possession for those with serious mental illness.

David Goldman, File / AP Photo

Georgia has gotten national recognition for its criminal justice reform efforts in the last few years. Many of the changes have focused on low-level, nonviolent crimes. But reform advocates say Georgia still has one of the country's toughest sentencing statutes for some serious crimes.

Nazgol Ghandnoosh has been trying to figure out why the number of prison inmates serving life sentences is growing. She's a researcher with the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for criminal justice reforms.


2016 was a record year for federal human trafficking arrests, according to new numbers from the Department of Homeland Security. But only a small proportion of those investigations tackled what researchers say make up the bulk of trafficking cases: forced labor.

Out of nearly 2,000 trafficking arrests nationwide, just over a hundred were in the Atlanta area, according to Bryan Cox, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson.

“The majority of the cases we handle fall on the sex trafficking side,” Cox said.

GSU Winter 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE



A Georgia State University student has been temporarily banned from campus. The ban happened after she was removed from a meeting after trying to ask the school's president about the future of Turner Field. The student is one of a group of activists pushing for assurances about GSU's development there.


Asma Elhuni, a senior political science major at GSU, showed up at a public student government meeting with a group of young activists Thursday night to speak with GSU President Mark Becker.

Lisa Hagen / WABE



For the second week, about a hundred protesters showed up to a Gwinnett County Commissioners meeting. They're demanding a commissioner resign after calling U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis a racist pig.

Tommy Hunter was shouted down as the meeting began, while announcing an event in his district.

Later, for more than an hour during public comment, protestors voiced their anger that hunter was still in office.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

About a hundred Donald Trump supporters gathered at the Cobb County GOP headquarters to watch the inauguration Friday morning.

Fried chicken was served while American flags and plenty of Make America Great Again gear were on vibrant display.

Jerry Ramsey of Cobb County called today a historic moment for the country.

“This past eight years has been horrible, but I believe the young people right now are going to find that in the next four to eight years there’s going to be so much opportunity, so many jobs that, if you have no skill, you can get a job,” he said.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Gynecologist Lilian Schapiro scooted up to her patient, who was already in stirrups on the exam chair. Her patient was a mother of two in her early 40s. She was seeing Schapiro to get her IUD replaced.

“I-U-D stands for intrauterine device,” Schapiro said.  “A speculum is put in, it [the IUD] goes through the cervix and stays inside the uterus.”   

It’s a form of long-lasting birth control, and depending on the type, can last anywhere from three to 10 years. They can cost up to $1,000 out of pocket.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press



Last week, President Barack Obama announced the sudden end of a decades-old immigration policy which granted special privileges to Cubans entering the United States.


It was called the “wet-foot, dry foot” policy. It meant Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil, could stay and would be fast-tracked to citizenship. It’s termination is the latest step by the Obama administration toward more normal relations with the island nation.


A DeKalb County commissioner has kicked off the new year by proposing another new city.

The city of Prosperity would include Panthersville, Ellenwood, Glenwood and more neighborhoods within DeKalb's 3rd District, in the southern part of the county. Commissioner Larry Johnson represents the area and announced the proposed city at a public meeting Tuesday.

"If people keep taking all of our valuable pieces of land – the cities – they'll be nothing left for us to make sure that we have and then our taxes will go up with nothing to protect us," Johnson said.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, speaks before Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, rear, signs an executive order requiring state agencies to start preparations now for the enactment of the state's medical marijuana bill Friday, March 27, 2015, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Republican State Representative Allen Peake says he's planning to try to put the question of in-state cannabis cultivation before Georgia voters in the form of a referendum.

Peake is unquestionably the state legislature's biggest proponent of medical marijuana, but so far he has had a hard time convincing lawmakers to come up with ways for Georgians who are qualified for medical cannabis oil treatments to actually get their hands on the stuff in state.