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.

Willie Grover voted early in Fulton County at the Southeast Atlanta Public Library for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The final presidential debate between the top two candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, is Wednesday night, but more than 146,500 Georgia voters have already cast their ballots.

Heyward Young, a resident of Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward, said he doesn't need to see any more debates and is looking forward to the end of the election.

AP file

Early voting begins on Monday, Oct. 17. To prepare, Fulton County has launched a new early voting website.

Dwight Brower is Fulton County's election chief. Brower said the website will help with cutting down on long lines.

"We had no wait time that the public could access before,” Brower said. “Now anyone that has access to the computer before they go to the poll, they can actually see the estimated wait time. It's just another tool that the citizen voters have."

The Atlanta Urban Design Commission calls the former Trust Company of Georgia building at 2160 Monroe Drive NE historic. It will be considered for landmark designation by Atlanta City Council on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Al Such / WABE

The "round bank" building in Piedmont Heights may soon become a city of Atlanta landmark.

The city's Urban Design Commission meets Wednesday evening to discuss the fate of the building whose design was once a modern trendsetter for banks.

David Southerland, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, said the round bank building design was unique to Atlanta in the 1960s and spread around the Southeast soon after.

“There's only one or two left in the region, so it's important to keep it," Southerland said.

In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 photo, a Coke truck delivers Coca Cola at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A new study has found Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and its main rival, PepsiCo, gave money to nearly 100 national health organizations between 2011 and 2015.

Emory University, the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation are among a half-dozen Atlanta-based groups receiving funding from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Fulton County leaders cut the ribbon in front of the new Select Fulton office space in the Fulton County Government Center. The new center places the Development Authority and Economic Development Division in one office space.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

There are 14 cities in Fulton County and, if you're a company looking to relocate in or near Atlanta, until recently you might have had each of those cities vying for your business.

Fulton County has had both an economic development division, where people were working to attract new business, and a development authority with the folks working out the details.

Select Fulton County's CEO Alan Nash said it was difficult for business project managers.

“They didn't know who to call, we'd add confusion to the thing," Nash said.

The historic Covington courthouse in Newton County.
Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Newton County has now dealt with months of debate and protests over a proposed mosque, Muslim cemetery and funeral home.

The county has now approved use of the land for that purpose. But now commissioners are concerned about how the dead will be buried.

University System of Georgia's Board of Regents Executive and Compensation Committee goes into executive session to interview Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens for the presidency of Kennesaw State University.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The University System Board of Regents will vote at its next board meeting on Oct. 12 on whether the state Attorney General Sam Olens should become Kennesaw State University's new president.

Olens interviewed with board members for more than an hour Tuesday to become president of the third-largest school in the University System of Georgia.

"Outstanding" Interview

Delta Air Lines reached an agreement in principle on Friday with the Air Line Pilots Union, which represents Delta Air Lines pilots. Off-duty pilots picketed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in June calling for higher pay.
Elly Yu / WABE

After more than a year of negotiations, Delta Air Lines has reached a contract deal in principle with its pilots.

Pilots and Delta management have been been negotiating for more than a year and a half. 

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said the National Mediation Board helped the two sides reach a comprehensive agreement in principle on Friday.

The new $1.5 million command center at the Fulton County Courthouse will be able to access all cameras in Fulton County government buildings.
Alison Guillory / WABE

More than 11 years since an accused rapist, Brian Nichols, killed three people at the Fulton County Courthouse in March of 2005, the county has opened a new, high-tech security command center.

Doris Downs was chief judge of the Fulton County Superior Court at the time of the shootings.

"We have over 50 courts presiding over massive calendars of very serious disputes, so it is critical that security is our utmost concern,” Downs said.

The Christian nonprofit City of Refuge, based in Atlanta's Westside, will receive $7.5 million in funding for emergency housing, job training, health services and youth development programs for Atlanta residents.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola and the city of Atlanta announced a $7.5 million donation to a nonprofit that provides job training in Westside Atlanta.

The City of Refuge is a Christian organization that helps residents with jobs, youth development, emergency housing and health care access.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made the largest investment so far in the group's $25.5 million capital campaign.

Notorious ZIP Code

The Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee project studies how bees are able to live in cities.
Dan Raby / WABE

Three Georgia Tech professors accepted a Golden Goose Award at the Library of Congress last Thursday. It's awarded to federally-funded research that seems silly but has a significant impact.

In 1988, Georgia Tech professors began research on how bees collect nectar as a colony by tracking 4,000 honeybees.

After a successful test run in Atlanta, Uber is expanding Real-Time ID Check, a new security feature, which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services to match photos, to cities across the U.S.
Courtesy of Uber

Uber drivers now have a new job responsibility: taking selfies.

After a successful pilot program in Atlanta, the ride-hailing company is now requiring all U.S.-based drivers to upload selfies to verify their identity.

If there's no match, their driver account gets blocked.

There have been a couple of incidents in Atlanta over the past year where customers said they were robbed or assaulted by Uber drivers or people claiming to be Uber drivers.

TSA explosive agents explain why it has security procedures in place during a demonstration of hidden explosives.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Transportation Security Administration officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said security procedures will stay the same for travelers for the foreseeable future.

In the airport security line, taking off your shoes, jacket and belt, and emptying your pockets are practically rituals.

That's because the trend of using ordinary things, like pressure cookers as explosives, isn't going away.

TSA explosive specialist Mark Trice said the TSA changes the rules when there are valid threats they are notified of.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

 

North Georgia, including the metro Atlanta area, has been in a drought so long, it's officially a long-term drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday escalated the state from a short-term to a long-term drought.

A long-term drought means it has officially passed the six-month mark.

Georgia's Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black also owns a cattle farm in the city of Commerce in Jackson County. Black said he's praying for rain.

UCB is the first big pharmaceutical company in the technology hub near Georgia Tech, but it's the 15th innovation center in Tech Square.
Courtesy of the Atlanta Business Chronicle

Smyrna-based pharmaceutical company UCB opened an innovation center in Tech Square on Tuesday.

UCB is the first big pharmaceutical company in the technology hub near Georgia Tech, but it's the 15th innovation center here.

It joins AT&T, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Delta, Anthem and other big corporations who have established “corporate innovation centers" in Midtown Atlanta.   

‘Fast-Fail’

Janaza Services of Georgia funeral director Ahmad Rashad, 66, is an Athen's native and diehard University of Georgia Bulldogs fan. The founder and CFO Abdullah Tahir Siddiqui first began work on this project in 2012.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Amidst the controversy surrounding a proposed mosque and funeral home in Newton County in recent weeks, the state’s first Muslim funeral home quietly opened in Norcross Monday.

The red brick funeral home, Janaza Services of Georgia, is easy to miss. The funeral home is in a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood off Buford Highway. Its name, Janaza, comes from the Arabic word for funeral.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

From Home Depot to the Secretary of State’s office to Grady Hospital, the Atlanta area has had its share of data breaches.

Alison Guillory / WABE

According to Georgia Tech’s informal reports, the university has had fewer deaths by suicide per year than the national average for schools of its size.

But the university’s leaders are now working to eliminate all suicides with a new campaign: Tech Ends Suicide Together.

Georgia Tech would be one of the first schools in the United States to adapt and implement a model used in health care settings.

Zero Suicides

Georgia Tech Computer Science Assistant Professor Bistra Dilkina worked with three student interns during this summer's Data Science for Social Good internship program. She helped students develop an online tool for New American Pathways.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

It can take a while for refugees to get the paperwork they need to get a driver’s license or be able to afford a car. So they need easy access to public transit, supermarkets, schools and low rents. So the city of Clarkston, just outside Interstate-285 in DeKalb County, is an ideal location.

But Clarkston is just 1.4 square miles and it’s running out of space as refugees decide they actually want to stay there.

The resettlement agency New American Pathways helps place more than 500 refugees in metro Atlanta each year. Many end up in Clarkston.

DeKalb County Police Department / Associated Press

  

This story was updated at 12:00 p.m.  

A white, former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed, naked black man is scheduled to make a court appearance on Friday.

Former DeKalb police officer Robert Olsen was indicted earlier this year on a number of charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault and making false statements. 

Authorities said he shot and killed 27-year-old Anthony Hill in March 2015.

Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner said General Electric can help him analyze data on turnover rates and help it investigate why officers are leaving the city of Atlanta.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has asked General Electric to help the Atlanta Police Department improve its relationship with residents.

Starting salaries for Atlanta officers is between $34, 726 and $42,128. While it’s competitive with some neighboring cities, the department has recently been losing at least 100 officers a year, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Alison Guillory / WABE

If you have trouble hearing announcements by MARTA train conductors, you're not alone.

MARTA plans to spend $40 million to install 300 new display boards, add 500 more speakers and replace 4,000 older speakers to address complaints about its audiovisual system.

The new signs, which will double the number it currently has, will be larger than the current signs. And instead of a black backdrop, the signs will look like TV screens with ads, stock information, news and other updates.

An aerial rendering of the Edgewood-Candler Park transit-oriented development. It will include apartments, restaurants, retail and a performance hall.
Courtesy of Columbia Ventures LLC

MARTA broke ground on the first of six "transit-oriented developments" at its Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station Monday.

A private developer, Columbia Ventures LLC, is building the $40 million project at no cost to MARTA.

The development, called “Spoke”, includes a 224-unit apartment complex, park, restaurant and performing arts center.

Eric Kronberg has lived in Edgewood since 1999 and has been working with neighbors on a vision to redevelop the area for over a decade.

Jamarion Robinson was 26 when he was fatally shot in East Point. A private investigator who says he found evidence left at the crime scene including two projectiles fired from guns and blood on the walls suggesting he was dragged down the stairs.
Courtesy of Monteria Robinson

The family of 26-year-old Jamarion Robinson is calling for the FBI to investigate his death.

Robinson’s family hired a private investigator who has said he found evidence left at the crime scene including two projectiles fired from guns and blood on the walls suggesting he was dragged down the stairs.

Robinson was being served an arrest warrant in East Point when he was fatally shot by U.S. Marshals on Aug. 5.

Ozzie, a shorthaired terrier mix, was the only dog in the experiments that chose food over his owner’s praise 100 percent of the time. “Ozzie was a bit of an outlier,” Berns says, “but Ozzie’s owner understands him and still loves him.”
Courtesy of Gregory Berns

A few years ago, Emory neuroscientist Gregory Berns had what he calls "a crazy idea" to see if dogs could be trained to sit still for brain scans in order to find out what they might be thinking.

Berns began the "Dog Project" after more than two decades of studying decision-making in humans.

Berns' latest experiment, with 15 dogs from Atlanta, found that dogs are motivated less by how many treats you give them and more by social rewards like praise. 

A Pennsylvania lottery kiosk promotes the record $1.4 billion Powerball Jackpot in a mini-mart in Monroeville, Pa., Jan. 11, 2015.
Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

Alabama is one of only six states that doesn't sell lottery tickets, but that could change soon.

Lawmakers in Alabama are divided on whether to legalize the lottery there to help fund Medicaid.

After years of opposition, the governor of Alabama now says legalizing the lottery is the only way to cover Medicaid costs.

Lucy Dadayan, a senior researcher with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, a New York-based think tank, said if they do, it could cut into Georgia's lottery sales.

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.

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