Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress | WABE 90.1 FM

Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress

Weekdays at 1p.m. and 9 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. on WABE's Live Stream

This is a newsmagazine featuring the key stories of the day that are relevant to you.  It’s a community forum for and about metro Atlanta. Hosts Rose Scott and Jim Burress know the ins and outs of covering news important around Atlanta.

They’ll lead discussions on the issues that impact where we live. WABE’s news team is going into metro Atlanta neighborhoods to provide context, storytelling and a sense of place. You’ll hear not only from the biggest newsmakers, but also from folks who don’t often get a voice.

"Closer Look" features a mix of local national and international stories and interviews. It’s an interactive space to share ideas and dig deeper into issues. It’s not just about Atlanta; it’s a program for Atlanta.

The Center for Civic Innovation is located downtown.
Center for Civic Innovation / Center for Civic Innovation

The Center for Civic Innovation opened just last year, and it has a lofty mission: “to improve the efficiency of public organizations and increase civic engagement.”

Simply put, they hope to make Atlanta run more smoothly by better connecting local problems to the people who could fix them.

Marchers hold up a ''March On'' and ''Still They Marched'' signs as they make their way towards the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 2015.
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," when civil rights marchers were attacked as they crossed over the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Media coverage of the attacks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ultimately successful march from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery, created pressure that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Since Georgia enacted tax credits benefiting the entertainment industry back in 2008, a boom of TV and film productions from "The Walking Dead" to "Anchorman 2" have swooped upon the metro Atlanta area. Recently, in reaction to Georgia's growing entertainment industry, the state of California tripled their entertainment tax credits in a so-called "film war" against Georgia. 

A placard of a child sits on a table during a conference on human sex trafficking  in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

On Monday, Johns Creek police arrested 15 people in a two-day operation targeting sex work. It included an arrest of a man who is charged with seeking sex with a minor.

Over the years police stings like the one in Johns Creek have rescued many minors and adults forced into sex trafficking. It's also netted the arrests of traffickers and buyers. But authorities and advocates working to bring awareness about sex trafficking admit there's a lot more to do.

Paramount Pictures

Name 10 movies produced or directed by African-American women?  The Black Women Film Network  Summit is looking to increase that number.   It's been organized to support film projects "for, by and about women of color," and takes place at Spelman College and the Marriott Marquis this Thursday through Saturday.

"When we started in 1997 I used to ask, 'who will be the female Spike Lee?'" said Sheryl Riley Gripper, founder of the Black Women Film Network, on "A Closer Look" today.  "Now I ask, 'who will be the next Ava DuVernay?'"

Kelly Gissendaner
Georgia Department of Corrections

Update: The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied a stay of execution for Gissendaner in a 5-to-2 decision.

Later today, for the first time since the mid-40s, the state is scheduled to execute a woman.  

Kelly Gissendaner is set to die by lethal injection tonight for arranging the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner, in 1997.  

Last week, the State Board of Pardons and Parole denied clemency for Gissendaner.

Atlanta's police Chief George N. Turner (shown with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed) is joining the executive board of a national law enforcement organization.
Michell Eloy / WABE

He is a 32-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, and some consider Chief George Turner a pillar of the community.

Under his leadership, and with strong backing from Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Police Department reached its goal of 2,000 sworn-in officers in 2013.

Sacred Harp Shape Note singing
Alison Guillory / WABE

One of the oldest musical styles born in the U.S. looks a lot different on the page than typical music. Shape note singing uses symbols to represent notes: a triangle, a circle, a square and sometimes a diamond.

A small ─ but growing ─ number of people around Atlanta gather regularly to sing from the shape note hymnal, the "Sacred Harp." So, a scholar released a new version of it this month.  

Listen to the Sacred Harp singers in an audio slide show by clicking here.

NPR's Guy Raz, host of "The TED Radio Hour."
Kainaz Amaria / NPR

On March 6, 2015, the popular NPR series "The TED Radio Hour" launches a new collection of episodes, featuring more talks from the TED series.

Each week, the program collects TED talks that have common themes ─ from creativity to the source of happiness.

Host Guy Raz spoke with WABE's Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on the Feb. 27 edition of "A Closer Look." Among other things, Raz spoke about his favorite TED talk, by Ken Robinson on kids and creativity.  You can hear that here.

NASCAR: You Have To Be There

Feb 27, 2015
Ali Guillory / WABE

All racing eyes will be on Atlanta this weekend.

Last weekend, driver Kyle Busch was injured in a crash at Daytona International Speedway. He suffered a compound fracture to his lower right leg and a fracture in the middle of his left foot.

Once again concerns about safer barriers around the entire track have surfaced.

Marcelle English is an experienced sports reporter who has covered the Olympics, the NBA and the NFL, among others. An African-American woman, she's also a NASCAR fan.

Net Neutrality, At Least For Now

Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission decided to reclassify regulation of the Internet under the Telecommunications Act. Advocates have been discussing "net neutrality" for months. But what does it all really mean?

Professor Ellen Zegura, from the Georgia Tech School of Computer Science, researches the development of computer networks. She came over to the "A Closer Look" studio to explain this important new ruling.

Brenna Beech / WABE

Atlantans don’t have to look very hard for signs of the city’s infrastructure problems, like big potholes, crumbling sidewalks or bridges in disrepair.

That’s because the city is nearly $1 billion short on funding these kinds of projects, according to the mayor’s office.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), speaking to a breakfast meeting of Cobb County Republicans at the county GOP office in Marietta; Saturday, Jan. 10, 2014
Denis O'Hayer / WABE

At midnight on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will run out of money, unless Congress approves a new funding measure. 

Some Republicans have tried to tie DHS funding to their bill to overturn President Obama's executive actions on immigration.  

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders reached an agreement to hold a vote on DHS funding alone – without the immigration bill. House Republicans showed no signs of going along with that.  

Adair Park sign
Maria Saporta / special to WABE

Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood has never been shy of controversial topics. Now, she is taking on disagreements regarding the historic Adair Park community in southwest Atlanta.

Community members want a developer to purchase the George Adair School, that has been an empty eyesore in Adair Park for years. But Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to release the property deed to Atlanta Public Schools because of an ongoing dispute over BeltLine tax payments.

Today on "A Closer Look," Mary Norwood shared her view of the dispute.  

WABE: Candace Wheeler

Stephanie Blank was appointed last year to chair Governor Nathan Deal's Child Welfare Reform Council. Modeled on the Criminal Justice Reform Council, the group is conducting a comprehensive overview of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), and they released their first report this past January.

Actors and extras work during the filming of the Walking Dead, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Atlanta.
Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Atlanta is becoming more of a film capital than it has been in a long time. Television and film production is taking place all over the state of Georgia, with many entertainment projects drawn here by tax credits the state began offering some 10 years ago.

California has taken note.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed California’s own set of tax credits that will triple the dollars TV and film companies can earn there, as long as they stay in-state. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was standing right beside Brown when he signed the measure.

Elly Yu / WABE

In an article for the Washington Post's "Wonkblog," reporter Emily Badger asks, "What happens when a metropolitan area has too many governments?" She looks at St. Louis County, with its 91 separate municipalities, as an example of how having too many individual cities can weaken a regional economy.

Agnes Scott President Talks Women In Technology

Feb 24, 2015
Dan Raby / WABE

Agnes Scott College is hosting a "Women in Technology Roundtable" discussion on campus tonight at 6:30, and President Elizabeth Kiss stopped by the "A Closer Look" studios to tell us more about the event.

She said that leadership development is a key priority at Agnes Scott and noted the need for increased attention to women in technology.

Kiss talked about how to create an environment in which young women are encouraged to enter technology careers.  

She talked about the experiences women are having in the tech industry today and women's unique contributions.  

William P. Gottlieb / The Library of Congress

George Harrison famously said, "No Lead Belly ... no Beatles."  Musicians as diverse as The Weavers and Kurt Cobain have played Lead Belly's songs to enthusiastic audiences, but many Americans sing his lyrics without ever realizing that he wrote them.

John Reynolds, author of "Lead Belly:  A Life in Pictures" spoke with Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer about Lead Belly, who was born in 1889 as Huddie Ledbetter.

Randy Gold of Jewish Gene Screen
Dan Raby / WABE

In 2009, Randy Gold's 18-month-old daughter, Eden, was diagnosed with Mucolipidosis IV, a preventable Jewish genetic disease that causes developmental delays, vision impairment and reduced life expectancy.

He and his wife, Caroline, thought they had been thoroughly tested for genetic diseases, but they had actually only been tested for eight out of 19 known Jewish genetic diseases.

After learning there was no standard testing panel, they founded JScreen, a public health initiative dedicated to preventing these diseases.

Claire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
Dan Raby / WABE

Under the “Economic Savings Account Act,” or House Bill 243, parents of home school or private school children would be able to use state dollars to pay for education expenses.

Dan Raby / WABE

On the surface, legislation aimed at fighting child sex trafficking in Georgia sounds like a great idea … unless you’re part of the adult entertainment industry that would be levied a penalty fee of $5,000 or 1 percent of gross earnings.

Lauren Waits / WABE

Westside Works is a job training and community development program located about a mile from the site of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. It’s supported by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

"A Closer Look" recently visited Westside Works and talked to some of the people living near the stadium in neighborhoods that have drastically changed over the decades.

Georgia Ready to Fund Transit? Nope.

Feb 20, 2015
AP File

We've been fooled again.

Before the legislative session, we thought this would be the year Georgia would finally invest in transit.

We had hope. Maybe the state would shift the fourth penny sales tax on gas to transit. That would be about $180 million a year. Now that's some real money.

Then the House unveiled its plan. The gas sales tax was gone and being converted to motor fuel taxes. That meant that all transportation money could only be spent on roads and bridges.

The Chattahoochee River passes under 285 in Sandy Springs.
Monika & Tim /

For nearly 80 years an obscure agency has helped keep Georgia’s rivers clean.

The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission was created during the Dust Bowl. Now Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed to take away the agency’s independence.

Ali Guillory / WABE

What do Paloma Picasso, Chelsea Clinton and Nancy Sinatra have in common? They are each the daughters of famous fathers who have worked to establish careers and pursue passions in their own right.

Laura Seydel ─ Laura Turner Seydel ─ is among them. 

Jason Parker / WABE

Dominique Wilkins scored over 26,000 points while playing in the NBA.  

On Tuesday, Wilkins sat down with WABE's "A Closer Look" hosts, Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer, to talk about his current role as executive with the Atlanta Hawks. But he also reminisced about his days on the court with the Hawks, going toe-to-toe against Larry Bird in the playoffs, getting roughed up by Darryl Dawkins and trying to emulate Julius Erving as a young kid.

Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) during an interview in her Capitol office on February 13, 2015.
Alison Guillory / WABE

The Georgia Legislature may soon be taking another look at the rights of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.  

After several previous efforts failed, Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) has introduced HB 323, which would ban the state government from discriminating in hiring and promotion against anyone based on sexual orientation.  

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods in his office at the state Capitol, Feb. 13, 2015.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Richard Woods is Georgia's new state superintendent of schools. He took office in January 2015 after winning the election last year.  

Woods, a Republican, had been in office barely a month when Gov. Nathan Deal announced his plan for the state to take over up to 20 failing schools each year. The schools would be placed in a new statewide district of their own, with its own superintendent who would report to the governor, not to Woods.  

Rev. Eric Terrell, President of the Southwest Chapter of the SCLC, who has worked in the Civil Rights movements for over 43 years, energizes Ferguson rally attendees as the crowd gathers.
Ryan Nabulsi /

Note: Story updated to include response from City of Atlanta

It’s been more than five years since Felicia Anderson saw Atlanta Police beating a handcuffed suspect, grabbed her cell phone and started taking pictures of the scene from her front porch.

Police arrested Anderson and took her phone.

Anderson sued the city and won.