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.

Paul Sableman / flickr.com/pasa

In the state of Georgia, it’s illegal to openly drink alcohol in public places. That’s unless local laws say otherwise.

The city of Roswell is looking to amend its city ordinance to allow the public to drink outside in its downtown district.

A wellness nurse practitioner in Stone Mountain allegedly pocketed more than $1 million by charging insurance companies for services she never performed.  

This week, a federal grand jury indicted her on charges of health care fraud and identity theft.

TRIP director Rocky Moretti
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

A new study says the average driver in metro Atlanta wastes more than 50 hours a year stuck in traffic. And they’re paying more than $1,900 a year because of deficient roads, highways and bridges.

Many of metro Atlanta’s major highways and roads were built in the 1960s and 70s. They need major repairs, says Rocky Moretti. He’s with TRIP, a D.C.-based transportation research group that released the study.

Peggy Ann Schnitzius, 77, looks inside a garbage bin while braving the cold weather in front of a frozen fountain Monday, Dec. 13, 2010, in downtown Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

DeKalb County says all of its libraries and recreational centers are operating as warming centers during this cold snap. It’s also using four fire stations as overnight shelters. They are Fire Station No. 6, 8, 21 and 25.

Captain Sell Caldwell at Fire Station No. 8 on Clairmont Road says no one has come by yet, but he expects visitors on Wednesday night when temperatures will drop to 13 degrees.

Kelley McCall / Associated Press

Georgia’s Attorney General is asking major oil companies like BP, Chevron and Exxon to stop selling synthetic drugs at its gas stations. These are the drugs you can find in the tobacco section … with names like Scoobi Snax and Herbal Spice. 

According to the Georgia Poison Center, it’s getting fewer and fewer calls these days related to synthetic drugs, and in 2012, the state outlawed synthetic marijuana. So why is Attorney General Sam Olens turning his attention to these drugs again? Because, he says, the laws aren’t keeping up.

Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Now that Alabama has legalized same-sex marriage, experts say it’s only a matter of time before it’s legal in Georgia. 

Georgia same-sex couples looking to get married might be able to plan for a summer wedding. That’s because it’s unlikely to be legal before then, says Georgia State University law professor Tanya Washington.

“Georgia is pretty much in a holding pattern along with the other states that still have marriage bans in effect, so they’re just waiting for the Supreme Court's decision,” Washington says. 

Charles Atkeison / flickr.com/atkeison

The Georgia Aquarium says it’s investigating whether or not a consultant abused dolphins while training them in Spain. The video, posted by a Spanish animal rights group called SOS Delfines, allegedly shows Jose Barbero kicking and screaming at dolphins.

Victor Villanueva / flickr.com/bikoy

The city of Atlanta wants to open a 30-acre recycling and compost center at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

It would be called the “Green Acres Atlanta Energy Park” and would recycle most of the airport’s trash.    

More than 96 million passengers pass through Hartsfield-Jackson each year. That’s a lot of people and a lot of trash ─ more than 25,000 tons of garbage.   

DeKalb County Board of Education meeting
Nick Nesmith / WABE

DeKalb County Schools have to pay back more than $2 million to the state because the district didn’t equally distribute money among the schools.

From the perspective of the DeKalb County School District, the letter from the Georgia Department of Education wasn’t too shocking. 

Driver being given a breathalyzer test.
miguelrd68 / Special to WABE

Over the last five years, the number of DUI convictions has been dropping, but it’s not clear why.

According to Georgia Health News, it may be connected to more drivers refusing to take sobriety tests.

In Georgia, if an officer pulls you over and asks you to walk in a straight line, stand on one leg or blow into a breathalyzer, you can say no.

If you opt out, your license is suspended for one year, but you get a temporary license while you fight the charge.

Jim Grady / flickr.com/meadowsrise

The city of Lilburn has decided to ban all drop boxes. Drop boxes are the metal bins you see around town where you can donate your used clothing, books or shoes.

But many cities consider them eyesores.

For some local charities, drop boxes are crucial. In a video on its website, the American Kidney Services, which has four boxes in Lilburn, says the boxes are necessary.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta City Council members voted to pass an ordinance to allow vendors to return to Turner Field

Up to 15 vendors will be allowed to sell their goods again outside the stadium, but only for the next two years.

City councilwoman Mary Norwood says for the last few months, vendors have been showing up at her Public Safety Committee meetings.  

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. 

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