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.

Courtesy of Post Properties/MAA

A real estate firm in Memphis, Tenn., Mid-America Apartment Communities, is merging with Atlanta-based Post Properties in a deal worth nearly $4 billion. 

The merger makes the combined company one of the largest publicly-traded landlords in the country.

The new company now oversees more than 105,000 apartment units.

Ron Cameron is a senior vice president and principal of the multi-family advisory group at the real estate services firm Colliers International in Atlanta.

The University of Georgia's Science Learning Center cost $48 million and includes 33 labs and two 280-seat lecture halls.
Rick O'Quinn / UGA

The University of Georgia is holding a dedication ceremony Wednesday on a new $48 million science learning center.

The science learning center will have 33 labs, and it's purposely designed to get students talking and working together.

It includes flexible chairs in the auditorium and tables with computers strategically placed throughout the lecture rooms. 

 A private developer Corvias Campus Living built Georgia State University's newest dorm, Piedmont Central on Piedmont and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. The developer will not have to pay local property taxes and can collect rent from students.
Courtesy of Georgia State University

Georgia State University's newest dormitory on Piedmont and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue is called Piedmont Central. 

It's the first dorm at Georgia State University to be built under a new public-private partnership.

The University System of Georgia has accumulated billions of dollars in debt trying to keep up with student housing demand.

MARTA Chief Operating Officer Richard Krisak says $700 million in funding has been identified and approved for 250 new rail cars.
Alison Guillory / WABE

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority is now getting ready to replace up to 350 rail cars over the next decade. MARTA Chief Operating Officer Richard Krisak says $700 million in funding has been identified and approved for the 250 cars.

Some of MARTA’s 318 train cars date back to 1979, when the transit system began rail service. Krisak said the lifespan of most train cars is a maximum of 40 years, and newer cars would be safer and easier to maintain.

Courtesy of Rob Felt/Georgia Tech

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. In 1958, the United States followed with Explorer 1.

Today, there are more than 1,000 of these large satellites revolving around the Earth sending radio signals back to us, which get converted into pictures of the oceans, weather forecasts and even DISH TV.

Many of these satellites are the size of a 7,000-pound hippo and can take decades to design and build.

A Google Fiber van in Atlanta
Courtesy of Google Fiber

Google Fiber announced Tuesday it’s open for business in five Atlanta neighborhoods.  

It also opened a new customer service center and event space, which it calls a "Fiber Space," inside Ponce City Market. 

Residents in Midtown and Piedmont Heights have until Sept. 29 to sign up for Google Fiber's Internet, phone and TV service. 

Morningside/Lenox Park, Old Fourth Ward and Virginia Highland residents have until Dec. 8. 

Jim Burress / WABE

This week, the Georgia Department of Transportation is beginning to add lanes on Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County.

It's the latest in an effort to add toll lanes to the busiest interstates in metro Atlanta.

GDOT is adding 10 more miles of toll lanes northbound and southbound between Old Peachtree and Hamilton Mill roads on Interstate 85. It would be an extension of the 16 miles of toll lanes on I-85 that stretch from Chamblee-Tucker Road in DeKalb County up to Old Peachtree Road in Gwinnett County.

Five participants of Mental Health Court graduated Thursday from a 24-month treatment program that teaches people skills and how to access resources to manage their mental illness.
Kristie Garrett

Five participants graduated Thursday from a two-year program at Cobb County's mental health court. It's one of 24 mental health courts in the state for people diagnosed with mental illnesses. 

Cobb County Mental Health Court coordinator Adrienne Bowen said it keeps individuals charged with felonies out of jail and saves money in the long-term.

Jonathan Bachman, File / Associated Press

A political group called The Satanic Temple is looking to add what it calls an "After School Satan Club" at Still Elementary in Powder Springs

The Cobb County public school does not currently have an “After School Satan Club” but it has found itself in the middle of a discussion about the separation of church and state.

Musician and barista Jed Drummond said he co-founded the Atlanta chapter of the Satanic Temple two months ago.

Theresa Davis of Atlanta's Art Amok! Slam Team reads from one of her books of poetry at Java Monkey Speaks in Decatur. The Java Monkey Slam Team will represent the host city of Decatur in the National Poetry Slam.
Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

More than 400 poets from all over the United States will spend this week in Decatur, competing in the National Poetry Slam, which is being hosted in Georgia for the first time. 

Poets in San Francisco hosted the first National Poetry Slam competition in 1990.

Host city coordinator Daryl Funn won a bid to host the competition in his native city of Decatur in 2013.

Cumberland Community Improvement District Board chairman Tad Leithead said a ramp at the first entry point to reversible tolls on I-75 is at Aker Mills, but there is no direct access. A ramp would address major traffic and safety concerns for the area.
GDOT

A highway ramp at Akers Mill Road in Cobb County, Georgia, may cost more than five times the original estimate.

A ramp near the new Atlanta Braves stadium would provide direct access to reversible toll lanes being built along Interstate 75. The toll lanes would go southbound in the mornings and northbound in the afternoon.

Cobb County Board of Elections

With about 64 percent of the vote, retired Marine Colonel Mike Boyce easily won a runoff election last night against incumbent Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee.

Once in office, Boyce said his priority is having a transparent government.

Boyce said one reason he beat outgoing Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee is because of how Lee handled the contract for the new Atlanta Braves Stadium.

Lee's critics said the deal was not transparent and lacked public input. 

But Boyce said, the contract is a done deal and the county needs to move forward.

The popular political gathering place, Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, is set to reopen on August 6 after months of renovations.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

A popular political gathering place in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta is set to reopen next week after months of renovations.

On Monday morning, Brian Maloof, the owner of Manuel’s Tavern, invited a priest from his family's church to bless the bar as more than 50 employees and customers watched.

Middle Eastern Custom

The Rev. John Azar of St. John Chrysostom Melkite Catholic Church chanted in Arabic while Brian Maloof guided him through each room of the tavern.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran was at the center of a debate on Capitol Hill recently as members of the U.S. House of Representatives debated a federal “religious liberty” bill.

At the first hearing on July 12, Cochran shared his story of being fired by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday not to tear down Central Library.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Atlanta's Central Library downtown will be getting an upgrade.

After many months of public debate on whether to build a new library or renovate the existing one, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday not to tear down the building.

The Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library system will now select an architecture firm to work with it on designing the renovated spaces and coming up with the actual cost.

Voters cast ballots in Georgia's primary election at a polling site in a firehouse Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Early voting continues this week in the race for DeKalb County's District 4 Commission seat.

Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton faces challenger Steve Bradshaw in what both candidates said has been a very negative and divisive race.

Analysts say interest in the race could mean a slightly higher than usual voter turn-out in a mid-summer runoff election.

Barnes Sutton has mailed out flyers saying Bradshaw is not a true Democrat. Both candidates are African-American. Included on the Barnes-Sutton flyer is a photo of Bradshaw with his wife, who is white.

Pokemon Go at Oakland
Kyra Semien

Since last week, several museums and cemeteries in Atlanta have noticed large crowds of teenagers and young adults showing up.

Most aren't there primarily to learn about history or to pay their respects to the dead, but swiping their phones while they play a game on it.

Pokemon Go is a mobile app that requires players to physically visit sites to catch fictional creatures called Pokemon and uses a technology called augmented reality, where images and sounds are added to what you see in front of you.

Zeinab Said Hessen owns a clothing business in Clarkston. She fled her hometown of Wau, Sudan in 1994. She said she fears for her family in South Sudan who she hasn't been able to reach in three weeks.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Some metro Atlanta residents are watching the conflict in South Sudan closely and say they are worried for their families.

This weekend, South Sudan marked its fifth independence day, but it was overshadowed by fighting that may mark the start of a second civil war.

At least 150 people have died and thousands are displaced in South Sudan after fighting broke out in the capital of Juba last week.

South-Sudanese In Atlanta

City of Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs is waiting on state approval to change its ordinance for buildings. 

The city wants to require developers to use metal or masonry framing on any new buildings taller than three stories or more than 100,000 square feet.

Sandy Springs Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders said cheaper wood framing used in most apartment complexes these days is more flammable.

Lightweight Construction

Courtesy of Google

Georgia’s Public Service Commission is investigating a contractor hired by Google Fiber to install its optic cables underground.

Since last July, the contractor, S&N Communications, reported 36 incidents of damaging utility lines.

Associated Press

The Emory University community is mourning the death of two of its students who were among 20 people killed in an attack Friday in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

Professors, classmates and friends described Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain as selfless. Kabir was a rising sophomore from Miami, and Hossain, an international student from Dhaka, had just graduated from Emory University's Oxford College campus.

Courageous Act

Residents near Turner Field say they would like to see the stadium and parking lots redeveloped into a mixed-use community, affordable housing or a major retail shopping area.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Last week, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority board agreed to the terms of the sale of Turner Field to a development team that includes Georgia State University, Carter and Oakwood.

But residents near Turner Field said they are still pushing for a binding "community benefits agreement" with the developers.

This would require the developer to provide specific amenities the community wants on the 67-acre parcel.

Jason Dozier of Mechanicsville said there's no guarantee the developers will build what they've proposed.

Atlanta Public Schools Police Chief Ronald Applin stands in front of officers in the newly formed Atlanta Public Schools Police Department.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta Public Schools now has its own police force. A new chief of police and 67 officers were sworn in Thursday night at the Center for Learning & Leadership. 

These new officers will act as the school district's school resource officers and replace members of the Atlanta Police Department in the city's middle and high schools starting July 1. 

APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said these are sworn police officers, but they'll also teach and counsel students.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Atlanta's City Council passed a nonbinding resolution Monday calling for construction of a new Central Library building downtown.

Jaime Henry-White / Associated Press

Since last July, more than 10,000 Georgia Power customers inquired about having solar panels installed on their roofs.

Of the thousands who completed a self-assessment form on its website, 800 opted to have Georgia Power "solar energy experts" call them back to talk through the process and the pricing.

Comparably

Women technology professionals in metro Atlanta make significantly less than their male peers: 72 percent less.

The Atlanta area leads the nation with the largest overall gender wage gap among the top 15 technology markets in the country, according to a Comparably survey of 10,000 technology employees nationwide.

Paulding County has approved a deal for a California company to lease and eventually buy the county's film studio in Hiram, Georgia.

The county built the Atlanta Film Studio in 2011, but it has had trouble making it very profitable.

Some major productions filmed at the studio were the Jackie Robinson biographical film “42” and AMC's TV series “Halt and Catch Fire.” But much of the time, the studios have sat empty.

So last year, the county put it up for sale.

In this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes, File / Associated Press

There's a common complaint in Atlanta among tech startups about access to capital. It's why some startups leave.

But one venture capital firm focused on data security ─ Centerview Capital Technology ─ is coming to Atlanta to help with funding and opening its first office outside of Silicon Valley in Atlanta.

It’s welcome news for the region's growing cybersecurity industry.

Atlanta Streetcar near Centennial Park April 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

The city of Atlanta submitted a partial corrective action plan (CAP) for the Atlanta Streetcar Tuesday, but asked for a four-week extension to complete the plan.

The Georgia Department of Transportation threatened to shut down the streetcar if it didn't get the plan Tuesday.

Cobb County schools will build a new $29.9 million College and Career Academy in Marietta.

The academy will primarily target students who want to graduate from high school to a job, but Cobb County School Board Vice Chair David Chastain said it won't be your average vocational technical school of decades past.

"It's not just learning to use a skillsaw and making a cutting board that looks like a rooster or something,” Chastain said. “This is working with technology, maybe even learning coding."

Pages