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.

Roadbot prototype, GDOT
Jonathan Holmes / Courtesy of Georgia Tech Research Institute

Researchers at Georgia Tech and the Georgia Department of Transportation have spent more than 10 years developing a robot, called Roadbot, that can seal cracks on major roads and highways. 

Roadbot has lots of body parts – cameras, computers, a machine that melts asphalt and colorful LED lights. It latches onto the back of a pick-up truck.

Electric Car Charging Station, Atlanta
Dan Raby / WABE

Georgia Power will spend $12 million to build new public electric vehicle charging stations and plans to offer residential customers up to $250 rebates to install them in their homes.

It’s part of an effort to reduce “range anxiety.”

Range anxiety is the fear of running out of juice in an electric car with no charging station in sight.

Marietta Square
City of Marietta, GA / flickr.com/mariettaga

According to legend, there’s a tunnel located underneath the city of Marietta’s town square.

As the city looks at redeveloping property near the square, residents wonder whether the tunnels really exist.

Bess Meade / Atlanta History Center

If you had to select an object that best represents Atlanta, what would you choose? 

Give it some thought because the Atlanta History Center is collecting ideas for an upcoming exhibit called, “Atlanta in 50 Objects.” 

Recently, Don Rooney, head of exhibitions at the History Center, spoke with WABE’s Steve Goss about the project.

David Goldman / Associated Press

About two years ago, the city placed a ban on all street vending while it tried to develop a new vending system.

But parts of the city were off-limits: like the Five Points MARTA station and Turner Field. Now, Mayor Kasim Reed says he’s open to lifting the ban on Turner Field.

Last week, City Council members passed a resolution that would allow for 10 street vendors near Turner Field. Mayor Reed says council members were asking him to reconsider his position on street vending.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

In the Atlanta area, there are more than 200,000 businesses owned by women.

Mayor Kasim Reed says there could be more. So he’s launching a program to help women start their own small businesses. It’s called the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

Mayor Reed says when he was running for mayor, he heard from many women entrepreneurs. And he says they had two concerns: 

Morehouse School of Medicine
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The Morehouse School of Medicine – not to be confused with Morehouse College – is a historically black medical school in downtown Atlanta. 

Since 1975, it’s graduated more than 1,400 students. Many students and faculty members work with the Grady Health system and local community clinics. 

Atlanta Police officer on patrol.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The Atlanta Police Department says it wants to get more drunk drivers off the road with more training. It’s also looking at restructuring the department’s DUI task force.

There are only six officers in the APD’s DUI Task force. They’re trained to detect and deal with drunk and impaired drivers.

Now the Police Department wants to assign DUI officers to each of the city’s six police zones. The idea is that the DUI officers will train other cops in the traffic unit precincts on how to better identify drivers who are under the influence. 

VA Department of Transportation / flickr.com/vadot

Speed limits are increasing on sections of some major roads and interstates in metro Atlanta.

Last year, state lawmakers set the maximum highway speed limit in urban areas to 70 miles per hour.

So the Georgia Department of Transportation spent months studying where it could safely increase the speed limits. 

“We’re really just bringing these speed limits in harmony with what motorists are doing and so we’re really helping them out in the long run," says GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. "Hopefully less speeding tickets for them.”

Construction of Lilburn City Hall is expected to cost $10.5 million.
City of Lilburn

The city of Lilburn ─ in Gwinnett County ─ is getting ready to build a brand new city hall. The mood it’s going for? Nostalgic.

It’s one of a growing list of suburban cities that are trying to reinvent themselves as competitive, small towns. 

A cheeseburger meal from a McDonald's restaurant is seen in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, July 22, 2009.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

In Cobb County, a man received a ticket for eating a burger while driving. The police officer cited him with distracted driving even though he wasn’t speeding or driving erratically.

Madison Turner was driving home last weekend when he made a critical stop. He ordered a double quarter pounder with cheese at a McDonald's and started eating it. Not long after, a Cobb County police officer pulled him over. 

"His exact words were — you can’t just be driving down the road, eating a hamburger,” Turner says.

United States' Abby Wambach, left, fights for the ball with Brazil’s Bruna Benites, right, during a final match of the International Women's Football Tournament at the National Stadium in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014.
Eraldo Peres / Associated Press

An investment group is looking to start a new professional women’s soccer team in Atlanta. Atlanta has seen one women’s soccer team fold twice, so what makes this different?  

Atlanta already has a women’s soccer team. They’re called the Lady Silverbacks. But what Atlanta doesn’t have is a major league women’s soccer team.

Trey Brantley is trying to change that.

Eddie's Automotive near Roswell Road
Bobby Holloway / WABE

On Tuesday, Sandy Springs City Council members voted to block new applications to build convenience stores for four months.

The mayor of Sandy Springs says it’s not a war on convenience stores. It’s part of a 15-year plan to build a new city center and redevelop Roswell Road.

If you’re looking to build a convenience store in Sandy Springs, you’ll need to hold off until April.

The downtown skyline is reflected in an Atlanta Streetcar during a ceremony celebrating its inaugural trip.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta's streetcars are up and running again. They were shut down for two and a half hours on Thursday.

A state trooper was chasing the driver of a stolen silver BMW. But during the chase, the driver crashed into a streetcar across from Hurt Park.

That caused a light pole to fall on the overhead streetcar wires. There was no damage to any streetcars or to the wires. Service was restored around 12:30 p.m.

Georgia Supreme Court in Atlanta
Nick NeSmith / WABE

In Georgia, at least 38 inmates were released from jail and thousands of warrants were dismissed last month.      

That’s because the Supreme Court of Georgia decision said judges can no longer allow private probation companies to put sentences on hold when probationers fail to respond or pay the required fees.

Professor Joy Laskar was indicted last week on two racketeering charges for allegedly funneling school funds to buy more than a million dollars worth of microchips from a company he started.
Tom Hoyle / Flickr

A grand jury indicted a former Georgia Tech professor on charges that he inappropriately used school funds to purchase more than a $1 million worth of computer chips.

Joy Laskar was the Director of the Georgia Electronic Design Center at Georgia Tech. His job was designing faster microchips for things like cellphones and laptops. These chips ─ and they’re tiny ─ can cost more than $5,000 each.

Pulled over by police for speeding
kenstein / flickr.com

In August, a student at Clark Atlanta University was pulled over for speeding. And shortly after that – when she showed the officer her Michigan driver’s license – she was arrested.

Turns out driving with a license from six states – including Michigan – and breaking a traffic law can land you in jail. 

“I’m quite confident that most people have never heard about this law,” says Russell Covey, a law professor at Georgia State University.  

Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Members of a church in Roswell are working to rebuild their sanctuary after a fire this weekend.

The Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church has some historical significance because it’s one of the only examples in the United States of a style of church architecture that originates from Eastern Europe. 

Officer Devon Perry and Officer Tony Luong shot on Friday morning on Glenwood Road.
Courtesy of the Dekalb County Police Department / Dekalb County Police

Two officers were shot with an assault rifle this morning in Dekalb County, according to police. Two suspects are in custody.

Officers Tony Luong and Devon Perry were responding to a report of an early-morning break-in at the Colony Ridge Apartments. When they arrived, they were both shot in the leg with an assault rifle.

A historic fire bell in Atlanta.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

There’s a really old bell sitting not far from the Georgia Dome. It even has a nickname: “Gussie.”

One of Atlanta’s oldest fire bells weighs nearly 2,000 pounds and it’s 148 years old. A group of Atlantans are now trying to raise funds to preserve and restore the bell.

It began… as the case of the missing bell.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The city of Atlanta is looking for companies that want to advertise in parks, on kiosks, on the sides of some city-owned buildings and even on trash cans. 

The money from these ads would go towards fixing things like sidewalks and street lights.   

Sam Adams works on special projects in the city of Atlanta. He wants people to know what the city doesn’t want to be: Times Square. 

But Adams says the city is looking for new real estate to place ads.  

A DeltaWings electric car concept drawing.
DeltaWing Technologies

A sports car manufacturer wants to build the first electric cars in Georgia. DeltaWing Technologies is looking at a three-wheeler that could cost $15,000. 

 You can buy the vehicle for yourself, but the idea is to be a car-sharing program – like Zipcar – but exclusively for electric cars. Gary Fong is the director of communications with DeltaWing. He’s not sure when the cars will be ready, but the company first has to build a manufacturing plant in Georgia.

A clerk poses for a photo showing cash in the register at Vidler's 5 & 10 store.
David Duprey / Associated Press

Think of all the ways stores lose money.

Pricing Errors. Damaged Goods. But what about when employees steal merchandise? It's actually a lot more common than you would think. 

There’s a reason your average shopper doesn’t know about this problem. 

“It’s kind of an embarrassing topic,” says Richard Hollinger. He’s a criminology professor at the University of Florida and he’s been studying why and how employees steal for more than 25 years.

It all started when he was 16. He was working at a small grocery store just south of Macon, Georgia.

Clayton County Jail

Authorities released more details about a thirteen-year-old boy recently rescued. He was missing for more than four years.

It took two 911 calls from his biological mother and two searches of the home, before Clayton County police officers finally found the boy. He was found in a secret compartment behind a linen closet.

If this pre-filed bill passes, only hands-free devices will be allowed while driving.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  In Georgia, it’s illegal to text and drive. And if you’re a bus driver – or under the age of 18 – it’s illegal to use a cellphone at all while you’re driving.

Nationwide, there are more than a dozen states that ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

Democratic Representative Rahn Mayo of Decatur wants to take that a step further. He’s the sponsor of a new bill in the state legislature banning all drivers from using anything except hands-free cellphones.  

Tasnim Shamma

It’s an annual tradition in Atlanta. 

Hundreds of volunteers spend all night fixing about 9,000 meals for the homeless and working poor. It’s organized by Hosea Feed The Hungry, which was founded by a local civil rights leader – the late Reverend Hosea Williams.

In the cafeteria, volunteers are rushing in large aluminum trays to the serving tables.  

Halona Barber draws blood from Justin Brown at the Red Cross blood donation center in midtown.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The Red Cross needs blood. Especially during the holiday season -- when there’s a drop in donations.           

Atlanta resident Charlie Echols leans back into his chair while a phlebotomist gets ready to put a needle in. He comes here every month.

“Unfortunately, kind of a sad story, my wife’s brother bled to death at Piedmont Hospital in March of this year, so I like giving back," Echols says.

Danielle Walton is the donation center’s supervisor.

“We have our good days and our bad days. Today is a slow day. We’re normally packed around this time.”

Tasnim Shamma

The Atlanta streetcar isn’t even up and running yet, but cars are already crashing into it.

This weekend, the streetcar was hit during a test run. This was the second accident in just one week. 

Atlanta Streetcar officials are trying to help people get used to the idea of streetcars here. So they’ve held community forums, ran social media campaigns and even made a short video:

Alternative Heat / flickr.com/alternative_heat

After a timber company makes its plywood or paper, there’s leftover sawdust and wood shavings. These leftovers are called woody biomass and in Georgia, they’re becoming a big source of renewable energy.

A Pew study ranked Georgia third in the country for converting this “woody biomass” into electricity. 

Trees are a big deal here.

Juvenile Law Center

Say you were convicted of shoplifting a couple of times when you were 13. Fifty years later, you would hope that wouldn’t still be on your record.

But in some states, like Georgia, it probably is. And anyone can access it.

"Everyone assumes that these records are confidential and I think that’s because the public also wants them to be confidential,” says Lourdes Rosado with the Juvenile Law Center. 

Rosado says most states – including Georgia – are doing a poor job.

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