Tasnim Shamma | WABE 90.1 FM

Tasnim Shamma

Reporter

Tasnim Shamma joined WABE 90.1 FM as a reporter in November 2014. She comes to Atlanta from Charlotte, where she spent more than two years at the NPR member station WFAE. 

Prior to that, she was a Kroc fellow reporting, writing, editing, blogging and producing for NPR’s Digital News Desk, Weekends on All Things Considered, the National Desk in Washington, D.C. and the NPR member station WLRN, based in The Miami Herald newsroom.

She graduated from Princeton's Class of 2011, where she was executive editor for multimedia for The Daily Princetonian. She worked as a video intern, copy editor and reporter at The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek in New York City and The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. She grew up in Queens, New York and now lives in Lilburn with her husband.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Fewer people are popping open a can of Coca-Cola compared to a decade ago.

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The company is losing money, so in April it announced impending job cuts to yield "productivity savings."

Photo Courtesy Kayla Weathers

When it came time for college, Kayla Weathers said she thought she was prepared.

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She attended public school for most of her educational career, graduating from the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon. Weathers, who is blind and uses a white cane to get around, said her first semester at Dalton State College in North Georgia was difficult.  

At the Gwinnett County Board of Ethics hearing of a complaint against Commissioner Tommy Hunter, attorney Christine Koehler cross-examined him, but Hunter decided not to testify, invoking Georgia Code 24-5-505 13 times within four and a half minutes.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The Gwinnett County Ethics Board is considering whether to reprimand Commissioner Tommy Hunter.

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Gwinnett residents have been calling on Hunter to resign for months after he posted controversial comments on Facebook, including calling Atlanta U.S. Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig."

The city of Atlanta spends nearly $250,000 a year on the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative. The program hosts the women in the historic Flatiron building downtown.
Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

In 2016, the city of Atlanta launched the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative, a program providing 15 women business owners free office space and resources to grow their businesses. 

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In 2015, Germany invested $255 billion in the United States and more than 672,000 people were employed for German companies like Mercedes-Benz USA.
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA

During President Donald Trump's visit to Brussels Thursday, German media reported Trump said he would stop imports of German cars into the United States.

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But many German car companies build their cars in the U.S. and export them from the South.

Al Such / WABE

A global "ransomware" attack that started last week locked thousands of computers in more than 150 countries.

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As a cybersecurity hub, metro Atlanta hosts nearly 100 cybersecurity firms. Some of them are helping affected companies respond to the attacks.

Five miles from the Port of Savannah, developers will add five million square feet of storage space on 500 acres of land recently sold by the Georgia Ports Authority.
Georgia Ports Authority

About 2,000 people in the transportation industry are at the Georgia World Congress Center this week for the Georgia Logistics Summit.

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In Georgia, logistics is a big industry, led by United Parcel Service, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the Norfolk Southern Railway. The state also is a route along major trucking corridors.

However, the industry has a problem: an aging workforce.

Joy Reddy said her 20 minute commute to SunTrust Bank from Toco Hills became one hour after the bridge collapse. She works from home at least twice a week. She said not having an assigned desk puts lets pressure on being physically present.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

On the evening of March 30, Thomas Crosson was grabbing a slice of pizza at Amalfi Pizza near SunTrust Bank, and watched as large flames rose from a section of the Interstate 85 in Atlanta, causing it to collapse.

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"It was funny to watch everyone gather around the TV. Even the cooks came out from behind the kitchen and all of them had the same expression on their face," Crosson said.

Division of Family and Children Services case managers, like Michelle Doris and Zenique Johnson, will receive training from Georgia State University to identify and treat secondary traumatic stress.
Elly Yu / WABE

Working with children who have been abused and neglected can be stressful.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services said it’s one reason employees leave. DFCS has asked Georgia State University to help case workers cope.

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Governor Nathan Deal signs Senate Bill 219 on Monday, allowing for self-driving cars on Georgia roads.
Courtesy of General Motors

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Monday making self-driving cars that have the proper insurance and registration legal on Georgia roads.

Harry Lightsey, General Motor's executive director of public policy on emerging technologies, said GM already has 50 cars it's testing in three cities: San Francisco, Scottsdale, Ariz. and Detroit.

Dave Martin / associated press file

Today is the deadline for Gov. Nathan Deal to sign or veto bills that state lawmakers passed earlier this year. He signed 58 bills into law on Monday.

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The first one he signed, Senate Bill 85, allows craft breweries to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer per year directly to consumers.

At AT&T's corporate innovation center in Atlanta, employees have desks on wheels so they can easily rearrange themselves based on the projects they're working on.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Technology startups are all about testing big ideas quickly and efficiently, skipping much of the bureaucracy common at more established corporations.

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But large companies realize they’ve got to keep up to stay relevant and can't wait around to be "disrupted.”

UPS aircraft maintenance workers protest outside a UPS store in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.
Courtesy of Teamsters 2727

UPS aircraft maintenance workers are threatening to strike over health benefits ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Delaware today.

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UPS is headquartered in Atlanta, but most of its 1,200 airline maintenance workers and its union, Local Teamsters 2727, are in Kentucky.

If the union goes on strike, it could ground UPS planes worldwide.

Emory student Naman Gupta using the Yik Yak app on Emory University's campus in Atlanta. Students protested hate speech on the app and called on the University to block the app on its campus.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

This is the last week in business for Atlanta-based technology startup Yik Yak. Co-founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington announced recently that operations for Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app, would be shutting down.

Yik Yak users used the app to create and view posts – called Yaks – within a five-mile radius.

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Jim Burress / WABE File

According to a new five-year study of criminal justice systems in nine states, drivers in Georgia pay much more in traffic fines and fees.

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University of Georgia sociology professor Sarah Shannon and graduate student Brittany Martin worked on the analysis of monetary sanctions by the criminal justice system in Georgia.  

A ticket for driving with a suspended license in Georgia costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000.

MARTA
Alison Guillory / WABE

The day after a section of an Interstate 85 bridge in Atlanta collapsed, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority saw a 21 percent increase in ridership. Nearly a month later, the growth in new riders is slowing down.

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Since the collapse, MARTA has experienced an average increase of 11 percent more riders on its trains.

Danielle McFarlane

If you're a recent transplant to Atlanta with medical records from another state, you may have had to deal with filling out lengthy medical history forms at the doctor's office.

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One Atlanta health care technology startup, Patientory, wants to make it easier for patients to access and share their electronic medical records using technology known as blockchain, which is behind the digital currency Bitcoin.

Former Johns Creek City Council member Bob Gray hosted an election night party at Ippolito's Italian Restaurant in Roswell.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

At the end of the night, it’s about keeping the Atlanta suburbs conservative by supporting Republican front-runner Karen Handel in the runoff for Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

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That was candidate Bob Gray’s message in his concession speech Tuesday night to nearly 200 supporters at Ippolito's Italian restaurant in Roswell.

One of Basil Eleby's four attorneys working pro-bono, Lawrence Zimmerman, spoke at a press conference Friday and said Eleby would plead not guilty.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Attorneys for the homeless man accused of setting the fire that caused the I-85 bridge to collapse last month said he will plead not guilty next week.

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Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

President Donald Trump honored 15 officers from the Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police and Atlanta Fire Department at the White House Thursday.

Trump praised them for their “amazing bravery” and quick response after a section of the Interstate 85 Bridge collapsed in Atlanta on March 30.

"On that day, Georgia State police and Atlanta police took fast action to get motorists away from danger,” Trump said. “Then our brave fire fighters battled 40-foot flames, which was incredible."

Trump said he stands with Georgia as it works to repair the I-85 bridge.

Al Such

Freight trains are running again after a fire broke out under railroad tracks in Atlanta, not far from where a section of the I-85 bridge collapsed.

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Around 7 a.m. Thursday, Atlanta police officers reported a fire near CSX railroad tracks between Cheshire Bridge Road and Lenox Road, causing traffic to back up in the area. 

Internet users in Atlanta are wondering what their options are after President Donald Trump recently signed a bill  to repeal Internet privacy rules.

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For companies like ExpressVPN, which sell "virtual private network" or VPN services, it's been a busy time.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta has been closed for several months for repairs, and on Tuesday visitors were allowed to tour only the first floor.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

On Tuesday, hundreds of visitors took silent tours of the home where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is remembering the day King was assassinated 49 years ago in Memphis with silent tours of his childhood home. 

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"It’s going to be a silent open house, so they can reflect and pay homage to this great man," said Rebecca Karcher, the chief of interpretation, education and cultural resource management for the site.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

Commuters are looking for alternate routes after the Interstate 85 bridge collapse and many people are choosing to use MARTA.

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Early data shows ridership jumped Monday morning by more than half and parking lots at several stations in the North corridor were full.

MARTA's chief of staff Rukiya Thomas told "Closer Look" hosts Rose Scott and Jim Burress that more trains and larger buses in service.

At Emory University, several students said they support the University adopting sanctuary policies even if it means losing state funding.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

State lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would strip state funding from private colleges in Georgia that adopt "sanctuary policies," meaning the schools limit cooperation with immigration officials. 

So far, no colleges have said they won't cooperate. 

At Emory, students have protested, trying to get the university to declare itself a sanctuary campus.

Migos performs during the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash 20 at Philips Arena on Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Atlanta.
Katie Darby / Invision/Associated Press

A student group at Emory shared a letter on Facebook Tuesday night that starts off: “It sucks. We're disappointed.”

After promising for weeks that the hip-hop group Migos would be performing on campus, the Student Programming Council learned it was a scam.

Julia Munslow, the editor of The Emory Wheel, said her staff noticed the conflict.

Braves officials advised fans to buy their tickets and parking spots in advance, use its mobile apps to get to SunTrust Park and follow the signs when they arrive.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

If you're worried about traffic near the new Atlanta Braves stadium on game nights, you're not alone.

But stadium officials and business leaders are telling people not to fret: officials say they're ready.

At its final transportation update before the new Atlanta Braves stadium opens to the public on Friday, team officials advised people to buy their tickets and parking spots in advance, use its mobile apps to get to SunTrust Park and follow the signs when they arrive.

Comcast expects to invest $200 million over the next 20 years in startups at its new accelerator opening at its new regional headquarters near SunTrust Park, called The Farm.
Courtesy of Boomtown

Comcast will dedicate part of its new nine-story office tower going up next to the Atlanta Braves stadium to a new start-up accelerator program called “The Farm.”

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Toby Krout, executive director of Boomtown, a startup accelerator in Boulder, Colorado, is launching the program with Comcast early next year.  

A section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area on Cobb Parkway called the Paces Mill/Palisades facility is about to get major facelift and a new name.
Courtesy of Cumberland CID

Off Cobb Parkway near Paces Mill Road, is a tucked-away section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area that's about to get major facelift and a new name.

The recreation area currently known as the Paces Mill/Palisades facility has more than a few problems

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At the South by Southwest festival, participants stopped by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce booth and put on virtual reality headsets to experience Atlanta.
Courtesy of Foundry 45

In Austin, Texas, this week, hundreds of people visited Atlanta virtually.

At the South by Southwest festival, participants stopped by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce booth and put on virtual reality (VR) headsets to experience Atlanta.

Virtual reality has mostly been associated with gaming or selling a brand, but groups like the Metro Atlanta Chamber are using it to recruit candidates.

Dave Beck is co-founder of an Atlanta-based virtual reality company called Foundry 45.

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