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.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

After months of speculation, the Georgia Board of Regents confirmed it is considering state Attorney General Sam Olens as Kennesaw State University's next president.

The announcement was sent minutes before hundreds of KSU students and faculty protested what had, until Monday, been only rumors about Olens.


"About 30 years ago, I went into a restaurant and I didn't have enough money to eat," said Terralynn King.

She went to jail that night. She said at the time she had a drinking problem and was charged with disorderly conduct. She's 53 now and has put five kids through college. She said finding work has been a huge struggle with that arrest on her record.

"You get paid less," King said. "You have to do menial jobs. You get paid under the table. You have to encourage people in recovery not to go backwards and rob somebody."

Last week saw a spike in reports of protests on Atlanta area high school campuses. Students are participating in a sit-in in Fulton County schools, DeKalb athletes are threatening to take a knee at football games and Gwinnett students are skipping class to join prayer circles – all protesting racial inequality and incidents of police violence.

So far, school officials appear to be treading carefully. DeKalb and Fulton County's school systems say they support students' political expression as long as it's not disruptive.

Courtesy of Carafem

This year, a new abortion provider opened in Atlanta. That in itself is unusual. Abortion clinics across the U.S. and especially the South have had a difficult time keeping their doors open. This new provider is doing something else that’s new: big, hot pink advertisements aimed at getting people’s attention in a city that has seen attacks on clinics.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Do minority high school students in the city of Marietta get the same quality of education as their white counterparts? A federal complaint filed against the school district says "no."

A parent, a retired teacher and social justice advocates want the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to investigate what they say are policies which effectively widen an achievement gap between white and non-white students.

David Goldman / Associated Press

In 2015, after a scathing state audit, Georgia lawmakers passed a set of measures aimed at ending some of the worst practices of private probation companies. A recent follow-up audit recommends a few additional steps could still be taken, but says those new laws addressed most of the original problems discovered.

But some legal advocates say there's still plenty of problems with Georgia's system.

Two years ago, state auditors found little oversight for private probation companies operating across Georgia. Many were unfairly extracting fines and issuing unnecessary arrests.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal is promising state law enforcement officers a 20 percent pay raise starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Cheers of state troopers and other law enforcement filled the Georgia Capitol Thursday morning as the governor announced the planned raise.

"It will move our state troopers up from the sixth highest paid in the Southeast to the third. Including the 6 percent pay raise earlier this year, our state troopers will have gone from 50th nationally in terms of base salary to 24th," said Deal.


Public health researchers say health insurers Cigna and Humana are overcharging for HIV treatments. Both companies offer plans under Georgia's Affordable Care Act exchange.

Doctor Melanie Thompson is with the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, which, along with Harvard’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, filed federal discrimination complaints against the companies after looking into their HIV medication coverage in 2014 and 2015.

Gerald Herbert / WABE

As Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence bounces around Georgia today and tomorrow, he'll continue to face questions about his running mate's shifting immigration policy proposals.

Donald Trump has said he plans to clarify his stance in a speech in Arizona on Wednesday, but until then, even one of Georgia's staunchest opponents of illegal immigration isn't clear about where the Trump campaign will land on the issue.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Five Newton County mayors are requesting an end to the county’s moratorium on new permits for places of worship. The mayors’ letter to the county chair and Board of Commissioners comes during heightened community tensions over a proposed mosque, funeral home and cemetery there.

One line from the letter reads: “The nation is watching Newton County … and we are being embarrassed by our County leaders.”

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnson penned the missive on behalf of the mayors of Mansfield, Newborn, Oxford and Porterdale, Georgia.

Elly Yu / WABE

The GBI is just beginning to process more than 3,500 untested rape kits in Georgia thanks to a new state law. Out of just a hundred kits processed so far, lab tests have already returned 10 DNA matches.

According to the GBI, of the DNA matches so far, the cases range from incidents in 2013 all the way back to 2000.

"When they start realizing, 'Wow, why was this never tested to begin with?’ There's going to be a lot of anger -- rightly so,” said Susan Schuenemann who heads the Piedmont Rape Crisis Center.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

There's been a lot of hot talk this presidential campaign season about Georgia turning purple. Whether you buy that or not, it appears the Trump campaign is taking notice.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Trump-Pence campaign said two new Georgia staff members, including a senior advisor, will be “dedicated to keeping the state in the Republican win column.”

The newly minted Trump team said the expansion does not mean they think the state is in danger of slipping away, but University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said actions speak louder than words.

Atlanta Police Department Badge
Alison Guillory / WABE

As part of a U.S. State Department program with multiple cities, the Atlanta Police Department trains police all over the world. The APD received special praise from the State Department this summer for its training on bias-based violence and hate crimes abroad. But depending on where this training happens, some advocates say partnerships between the U.S. and foreign law enforcement can mean potentially lending American legitimacy to some troubling practices.

David Goldman, File / AP Photo

Two Georgia prisons are on lockdown.

One, Telfair State Prison, is locked down because of "rising inmate tensions" after weapons and cellphones were founds in the prison. At Macon State Prison, Georgia's Department of Correction said inmate Kendrick Hicks was killed on Monday, and another inmate was injured in a separate violent incident.

In each case, corrections officials say gangs are responsible.

Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has posted line-by-line responses to demands made by local protesters in the weeks of demonstrations following high-profile police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights.

In some cases, Reed’s statement said the city and Atlanta police are either already working on changes or that the specific demands were not applicable. In others, the administration pledged openness to policy reviews. Some demands met with full-throated rejections.

Lisa Hagen / WABE



After two years of renovations one of the country's leading African-American research libraries is up and running again in downtown Atlanta.

The newly upgraded Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History is one of only a small handful of such libraries dedicated exclusively to African-American literature, cultural and historical documents.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta Public Schools students are back in school this week, and with them, a brand new police force. Most of the nearly 70 officers have bachelor’s degrees. APS went out of its way to recruit officers with above-average educational backgrounds.

APS Police Chief Ronald Applin said they were looking for people with degrees.

"You know, not to say that we're better,” Applin said. "We can be more selective. We're a smaller agency, but we're also focusing on a different segment of the population."

When former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears was being interviewed for a seat on Georgia’s highest court in 1992, she said her race and gender weren’t explicitly discussed. But as part of a short list of potential justices populated by other women, and a lawsuit pending against the state aimed over a lack of racial diversity in Georgia’s court system, Sears said it was clear then-Gov. Zell Miller was interested in diversifying the bench in one way or another.

Lisa Hagen / WABE


When Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tried this week to meet with activists after five consecutive days of Black Lives Matter demonstrations, many of the key protest organizers walked out, calling the meeting a disappointment.

One person stayed and delivered a joint news conference with city leaders. Flanked by the mayor and Atlanta's chief of police Monday, Sir Maejor addressed the media.

Alison Guillory / WABE

 This story is 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. 

Pete Menzies and his 6-year-old son, Dylan, are in line to order milkshakes at a snack booth in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

“Chocolate,” comes Dylan’s request when asked what flavor he wants, mumbled into his dad's leg.

Dylan is in the middle of a weeklong aquarium “camp.”


It's been nearly a week of daily protests in Atlanta since the fatal shootings in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and Dallas. For many, those protests have included a form of collective grieving.

On Wednesday night, a group of mental health professionals invited members of the black community to address difficult feelings with their help, for free.

WABE spoke to psychologist Ifetayo Ojelade before the meeting she helped organize, which was closed to the media.


A federal judge has struck down part of a Georgia law aimed at allowing employees to end their union memberships at any time. It's a victory for union supporters in a region that tends to be friendlier to employers.

The Georgia law, passed in 2013, is trumped by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The judge’s ruling is plain and simple, said Charles Shanor, an Emory University law professor.

Atlanta Police Department

On Tuesday, Atlanta police fired an officer who shot and killed a 22-year-old man last month.

The administrative decision to fire Burns came within eight days of the fatal shooting, according to police -- prior to any of the recent, high-profile shootings in the U.S. and subsequent protests in Atlanta.

APD Sergeant Warren Pickard says Officer James Burns used unnecessary and unreasonable force.

One Georgia county has cut ties with a private probation company it had used for more than a decade. The company, Sentinel Offender Services, has been sued more than a dozen times for violations.

The majority of those suits stem from Sentinel jailing people unable to afford the company's fees.

Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, has sued Sentinel on behalf of clients who were charged money for drug tests no judge ordered them to take.

James A. Finley / associated press file

Georgia's highest court has ruled that the Ku Klux Klan's lawsuit over its bid to "adopt" a highway can continue.

In a unanimous decision announced Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Georgia dismissed the state's appeal of a lower court ruling. Court officials say the Georgia Department of Transportation failed to follow the correct procedures in filing its appeal.

A proposal to allow public drinking in downtown Roswell, Georgia, is gaining resident support.

The idea is to let people carry alcoholic beverages in 16-ounce cups within Park Square and Heart of Roswell Park from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  

At the heart of the proposal is an effort to spur business. Roswell residents weighed in at public comment session Tuesday night.

Senator Vincent Fort
Al Such / WABE

The Atlanta City Council is set to finish voting on the annexation of tracts of land in unincorporated South Fulton County.

These are areas looking to become part of Atlanta before a vote in November on whether what's left over in the area should become a city.

Georgia Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, is no fan of the South Fulton cityhood idea. He's blocked state bills to allow a vote on the matter in past years.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Chris Novy is thinking about getting his concealed carry license.


"I am new to a lot of the more free, Second Amendment culture," Novy said. “If I see someone walking with a gun down the street, in California, that’s not a thing. In Georgia, it is.”

He said figuring out what his rights are is important. Novy was one of about a dozen people to show up to the Atlanta chapter of an LGBT gun group, Pink Pistols. They were holding their first meeting since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando earlier this month.

Robert Ray / Associated Press

A federal appeals court in Atlanta heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging a Florida law that prevents doctors from discussing or recording information about their patients' gun ownership.

If the law is upheld, the protections could influence firearms debates in Georgia.

The legal battle began with an NRA-backed law meant to stop physicians from harassing patients about the potential dangers of firearms. Medical associations pushed back immediately.

gun control in georgia
Mike Stewart / Associated Press


In the wake of the Orlando shootings, one Georgia lawmaker is renewing her call for a ban on assault weapons.

During this year's legislative session, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston dismissed Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver's bill almost instantly.

Speaking on WABE's "Closer Look" Monday, Oliver said she modeled the bill on legislation that's been upheld in Connecticut.