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.

About 200 people marched near the Capitol ahead of Monday's vote, chanting "Dump Trump, save America."
Ali Guillory / WABE

Georgia's electoral college members have voted for Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

In downtown Atlanta, electors were smiling as Gov. Nathan Deal made the announcement 

"All the ballots have been tabulated and Donald J. Trump has received all 16 votes of the Georgia electors for president," Deal said.  

Threatening Letters

Electors said for weeks they've been bombarded with phone calls and emails asking them not to cast their vote for Trump.

Georgia Tech's new Coda building is expected to be complete in early 2019.
Courtesy of John Portman & Associates 2016

Georgia Tech's College of Computing Senior Associate Dean Charles Isbell says we're already looking at the future.

Construction has begun for the new Coda building, which will include the school's High Performance Computing center, in Midtown Atlanta.

"We're trying to construct a building that is as vertical as it is horizontal so that people are constantly moving up and down as well as left and right to interact with others," Isbell said.  

Students in Amy Wozniak's computer science class in Chicago use EarSketch to learn the programming language Python. EarSketch was created by two Georgia Tech professors.
Courtesy of Amy Wozniak

The White House recognized Georgia Tech last Monday for a coding program that uses music to teach code. It was recognized as part of its national initiatives for Computer Science Education Week.

EarSketch is a free online tool that uses music to teach the programming languages of Python and JavaScript.

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

The Atlanta-based technology start-up Yik Yak laid off more than half of its staff last week.

The social media mobile app was big on college campuses when it launched in 2013, but recently it’s seen slow growth and faced backlash from users protesting hate speech and bullying.

Yik Yak, which is like an anonymous version of Twitter, is used on more than 2,000 college campuses.

Tony Taylor, 62, is a Stone Mountain native. He began hiking, sining, and playing his guitar more than 20 years ago, initially to get over a divorce.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

If Stone Mountain had an official troubadour, his name would be Tony Taylor.

More than 825 feet above ground, on the largest exposed granite rock in North America, 62-year-old Tony Taylor is a fixture. 

Like clockwork, the accidental entertainer and Stone Mountain native hikes the mile up the mountain every 48 hours – all while singing and playing his Carlos acoustic guitar.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, with his wife Philippa, and defense attorney Craig Gillen, speaks during a press conference Thursday for the first time since he was convicted a year and a half ago following a second trial in DeKalb County.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis spoke out on Thursday for the first time since he was convicted a year and a half ago following a second trial in DeKalb County.

This is after the State Supreme Court reversed Ellis' corruption convictions.  He is accused of pressuring vendors for campaign contributions.

Ellis thanked his supporters, family and legal team during the “unimaginably horrific journey.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the retirement of Chief George Turner and selection of Deputy Chief Erika Shields as the next Atlanta police chief.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Mayor Kasim Reed has announced Deputy Chief Erika Shields will be the second woman in the city’s history to lead the Atlanta Police Department.

In 1994, Beverly Harvard was named the first black woman in the position. Shields said at a press conference Thursday, "not to slight other cities," but Atlanta has always had a higher standard.

Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the Intercontinental Exchange, New York Stock Exchange and 2017 chair-elect of the Metro Atlanta Chamber spoke about the importance of opposing discriminatory bills at the chambers annual meeting on Wednesday.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The Metro Atlanta Chamber said it will keep fighting any religious freedom legislation that gets introduced in Georgia's Legislature next year.

SunTrust Bank executive vice president and Metro Atlanta Chamber chair Jenner Wood said even the discussion of religious liberty bills like the one Governor Nathan Deal vetoed earlier this year, is not healthy for business.

Mimosa Hall, an antebellum home in Roswell, was designed for Roswell founding father John Dunwoody in 1840. It's currently on the market.
Courtesy of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

Mimosa Hall, an antebellum home in Roswell, is in "pristine condition," but it's still on a new list of historic Georgia buildings deemed at risk.

Mark McDonald leads the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He said Mimosa Hall is on its 2017 "10 Places in Peril" list because it's up for sale.

A sunken boat is exposed by receding water levels on Lake Lanier. Rainfall is expected Monday night, but water restrictions are expected to stay in place through the winter months.
David Goldman / Associated Press

After more than 42 days of no rain in metro Atlanta, scattered showers are expected Monday evening, with steadier rain overnight.

In Cobb County, the rain will be “the first rain in Cobb in 67 days, a record since record keeping began in the 1880s,” according to Kathy Nguyen, the county’s water department’s senior project manager.  

A newly-formed foundation is looking to raise $20 million to make major changes to the Bobby Jones Golf Course.
Chris Ferguson/WABE News

A newly-formed foundation is looking to raise $20 million to make major changes to the Bobby Jones Golf Course.

The golf course, which is now under state control, is being leased by the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation from the Georgia Building Authority for the next 50 years.

Former White House Chef John Moeller preparing a cucumber salad at the City of Refuge for Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of John Moeller

A former White House Chef is in Atlanta this week, helping to serve a Thanksgiving meal to residents at a homeless shelter.

The City of Refuge is a former warehouse-turned-shelter that houses 300 women and children in West Atlanta.

Chef John Moeller worked in the White House between 1992 and 2005. He said he's looking forward to serving these residents cranberry relishes, fresh pumpkin pie and roasted turkey.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is creating a new cybercrime unit to target cybercriminals.

U.S. Attorney John Horn said there's a misconception about cybercriminals being secretive hackers who are impossible to identify and send to jail.

Atlanta native and rapper T.I. donated 600 turkeys to seniors in West Atlanta on Wednesday, focusing on grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Hundreds of seniors packed the Adamsville Recreation Center in West Atlanta on Wednesday to pick up turkey and trimmings donated by the rapper Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., also known as T.I.

Mayor Kasim Reed and several city council members were at the event. Atlanta City Council member C.T. Martin has been volunteering at the event for the past 14 years.

"A lot of people need these turkeys, greens and potatoes,” Martin said. “We just want everybody to have a happy Thanksgiving dinner to feed their families on the day of love."

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta Air Lines' baggage claim area display banners saying bags are guaranteed to be delivered within 20 minutes. Delta Air Lines is the first to implement RFID luggage tags to track bags system-wide.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Your luggage tag may look ordinary, but if you’re flying with Delta Air Lines, it now has a microchip embedded inside. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is spending millions on new technology that allows its passengers to track their bags using a smartphone.

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the headquarters of Delta Air Lines, Cynthia Tookes of Lithonia, Georgia, who flies once a week to sing with her church choir, said she loves the new feature that allows her to track her bags on the Fly Delta app.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Atlanta NAACP leaders said developers in the city of Atlanta have made a lot of promises to the black community and sometimes failed to deliver.

Two examples they cited were the Georgia Dome and Turner Field. The projects received public money, developers made promises about improving the mostly African-American neighborhoods around them and then didn’t deliver what was promised.

A member of the public wearing a full face veil is seen in Blackburn, England, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2013.
AP Photo/Jon Super

A South Georgia lawmaker withdrew a proposal Thursday evening that would have prohibited people from wearing face veils or masks in public.

Republican State Rep. Jason Spencer of Woodbine, Georgia said he faced “political scrutiny” on the pre-filed legislation, which was opposed by both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers.

Face Veils

Nearly 200 people marched in downtown Atlanta from the CNN Center to SunTrust Bank to demand the CEO stop financing the Dakota Access Pipeline Project on Tuesday afternoon.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is 1,500 miles away from Atlanta, but nearly 200 people marched downtown Tuesday to protest a Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Atlanta environmental activists said they're concerned about the impact of a pipeline on the reservation’s water supply and sacred lands.

Activists also said they worried about loss of environmental protections in metro Atlanta under President-elect Donald Trump, who is not convinced of scientific evidence supporting climate change.

Jason Lary is chairman of the Stonecrest YES Committee. He launched a campaign to form the city of Stonecrest in 2012.
Glenn L. Morgan / OCG News

Voters approved two new cities in metro Atlanta last week: Stonecrest in DeKalb County and South Fulton in Fulton County. Cityhood leaders are now getting ready to form new governments.

About four years ago, DeKalb County resident Jason Lary noticed a trend:

"Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Peachtree Corners. Every city that branched off flourished. Flourished. And without raising taxes," said Lary.

A rendering of the new Georgia State Panthers football stadium. The team plans to play its 2017 season here after it renovates the former Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. The Board of Regents approved the $22.8 million purchase of Turner Field Wednesday.
Courtesy of Georgia State University

The University System Board of Regents approved the purchase of Turner Field by Georgia State University on Wednesday for $22.8 million.

Downtown Campus

Georgia State President Mark Becker said the 38-acre former Atlanta Braves stadium site gives the University, “a complete downtown presence.”

“From housing, student facilities, recreation, athletics and academics, it puts all the pieces together finally,” Becker said.

Some employees in Atlanta outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were anxious about President-elect Donald Trump leading the nation and appointing public health leaders who are against mandatory vaccinations.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Employees at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the mood in their office is somber.

The employees of one of the largest federal agencies in Atlanta said they're concerned about job safety, funding and new public health policies under Donald Trump's presidency.

At the General Muir deli across the street from the CDC, a few employees talked to WABE, asking that their names not be used. One microbiologist said her colleagues were crying in the hallways. 

Dwight Brower is Fulton County's election chief. He shows off how the elections machines are physically secured. The county is one of three that will have DOJ poll monitors.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

There will be lots of people watching the general election closely on Tuesday.

That includes the U.S. Justice Department, which is dispatching 500 people to 28 states, including Georgia.

Observers will be in three Georgia counties: Fulton, Gwinnett and Hancock.

The monitors will interview poll workers and look out for civil rights violations, such as discrimination based on race or language.

Ronda Hinton said it took her 20 minutes to vote early because there was confusion over whether she was registered to vote. She successfully cast hear ballot early in Fulton County at the Southeast Atlanta Public Library on Tuesday.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Georgia voters made history this year with more than 2.3 million people casting their votes early – surpassing a record set in 2008.

A total of 2,381,416 people cast their votes early or with an absentee ballot. In 2008, 2,129,316 people cast their votes early.

In metro Atlanta, several counties – including Gwinnett, Cobb and Fulton – beat their early voting records set in the last presidential election.

At a Chevron gas station in Midtown Atlanta, gas prices were $2.69 on Thursday, a few days after the Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline explosion.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

It will take a little longer than first predicted for repairs to be finished on the gasoline pipeline that supplies the Atlanta area.

In an update on its website, Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline Company said it now expects repairs to be completed Sunday afternoon. The pipeline has been shut down since an explosion in Alabama earlier this week, in which one worker was killed and four were injured.

But most drivers in metro Atlanta are not racing to gas stations to fill up their tanks just yet.

Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

Here’s a huge surprise: traffic is still the top concern for metro Atlanta residents.

In an annual survey by the Atlanta Regional Commission, transportation was the top concern for the third year in a row. 

In Atlanta, even the rapper Ludacris has trouble getting to his concerts on time.

But Ludacris isn't the only one complaining.

This summer, Atlanta City Council voted to give the Bobby Jones Golf Course to the state in exchange for a parking deck and state property near Underground Atlanta.
Chris Ferguson / WABE

The management company that operates five Atlanta golf courses said it purposely chose not to submit a bid after the city of Atlanta issued a new request for proposals on its golf properties this summer.

American Golf said the primary reason was the city of Atlanta’s sale of one of its most lucrative golf properties, Bobby Jones, to the state.

American Golf has been managing five golf courses for the last 30 years: North Fulton, Candler Park, Bobby Jones, Brown's Mill and Alfred ''Tup'' Holmes. 

New Management

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act are going up in Georgia.

That's according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, which says the average hike in metro Atlanta will be 13 percent before tax credits.

According to the report, metro Atlanta residents eligible for tax credits won’t see a change in their premiums, if they're open to switching to another health care plan.

Tokhir ''T.R.'' Radjabov, 32, is running for state House representative in State House District 108, which covers Lilburn and the surrounding area in Gwinnett County. He converted the sunroom of his Lilburn home into his campaign headquarters.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Tokhir Radjabov, or "T.R.," is aspiring to a third career. He retired at the age of 27 after launching three businesses and working as a nurse.

Radjabov is now 32 and he’s running as a Democrat for state House representative in a majority Republican district of Gwinnett County.

If Radjabov wins the seat, he would be the first Muslim-American in the Georgia General Assembly.

Alabama Roots

A short, black beard frames Radjabov’s pale, white face. He’s Muslim, but he’s comfortable quoting from the Bible.

Dr. Jonathan Eisentat is the GBI's chief medical examiner. He says the number of heroin-related deaths is doubling, so there's a need for more investigators and more morgue space.
Alison Guillory / WABE

More than 1,200 people in Georgia died of a drug overdose in 2014, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To keep up with the increase in these cases, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Medical Examiner's office in south DeKalb County is spending $4.5 million to expand its morgue and office space.

Morgue Space

President and CEO of NPR Jarl Mohn during a national road tour of NPR member stations.
John Haas / WABE

President and CEO of National Public Radio Jarl Mohn is on a coast-to-coast road tour of member stations. He stopped in Atlanta recently and spoke with WABE’s "Morning Edition" host Denis O’Hayer on the business model of public radio, digital media and the future of the network.

“I think if you attempt to make everybody happy, you probably fail,” Mohn said. “I think what we have to do is not overly complicate things. We have to think about what sounds good, what sounds right, what fits with our brand and what sounds like the future.”

Mohn said the network isn’t trying to find exact replicas of shows that have new hosts or hosts who are retiring like "A Prairie Home Companion" and "The Diane Rehm Show," but is experimenting with different sounds that fit the brand. He said it will require giving shows longer than the six-month test runs most traditional media outlets allow.  

“It is a hell of a challenge. It’s very difficult to do,” Mohn said. “Because every one of those shows, which are big monster hits, took years to develop. They were not overnight hits. None of them were. They took time to develop. So there are a lot of ideas out there and if we discover that idea tomorrow or this afternoon, it’s probably going to take years before we can really see the success.”

Mohn started his career as a DJ in 1967 before joining MTV as an executive in 1986. He later created E! Entertainment Television, spent time at VH1, CNET and served on the board of XM Radio.

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