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.

APS headquarters
Nick Nesmith / WABE

In Georgia, kids who misbehave in school are treated differently based on their race. That's according to advocates, who are trying to change the state's school discipline laws. Now, some state officials are re-examining Georgia's approach to school discipline. 

During a busy day at the state Capitol, Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, retreats to his office for a few minutes between meetings. A red folder sits on a table. Inside are several drafted bills related to school discipline reform.

DeKalb County Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander in his office, January 2015.
Denis O'Hayer / WABE

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander has a Ph.D. in psychology, and he is leader of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).  

President Barack Obama recently tapped Alexander to serve on the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, part of the administration's efforts to "strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve."

 Dr. Jose Diaz talks with WABE's Denis O'Hayer at AIDAtlanta in January 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

Not that many years ago, an AIDS diagnosis was considered an automatic death sentence.  But over the years, improvements in drugs, transmission prevention, and therapies have allowed many patients to live as if their disease is a chronic illness ─ not curable yet, but manageable.

Maria Saporta / Saporta Report

A lawsuit filed by the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. against The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change over the licensing agreement and intellectual property of Dr. King has been dropped.

The lawsuit pitted the King’s two sons, Martin King III and Dexter, against their sister, Rev. Bernice King, who heads the King Center.

Now, Martin King is reportedly seeking a resolution and opposes moving forward with this case.

Now-Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) in a file photo of his victory celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta on November 4, 2014.
Michell Eloy / WABE


Georgia's new U.S. Senator, Republican David Perdue, has been in office less than a month.  

But he has already proposed some bills, and lined up with his party for upcoming battles with President Obama.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Perdue about the President's recent State of the Union message, and whether Republicans will negotiate with him on issues from health care to the Keystone pipeline.

Keith Survell /

We all know the phrase, “Not in my backyard.” 

It especially applies to cell phone towers. Most of us depend on them — none of us want one next to our house.

Cellphone tower fights between companies and residents have broken out in many places around metro Atlanta. But in the City of Roswell, it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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. 

Dr. Karen Baynes-Dunning speaks at Marine Corps Logistics Base - Albany, Jan. 13, 2015.
Jennifer Parks / The Albany Herald / Special to WABE

In 2002, Georgia’s foster care system within Fulton and DeKalb County was called flawed, and some even said a broken agency.

That year, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of children in Georgia’s foster care system.

Eventually, in 2005, a consent decree was agreed to by both parties to fix the foster care system, including court appointed monitors.

At that time, Dr. Karen Baynes-Dunning was a juvenile court judge, but she now serves as one of the court appointed monitors.

A monarch caterpillar munches on tropical milkweed in a garden at The Landings in Savannah, Ga., in January 2014.
Dara Satterfield / UGA

Monarch butterflies are declining. They migrate from the U.S. and Canada down to Mexico and are losing habitat at both ends of that migration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering protecting them under the Endangered Species Act.

Stephannie Stokes/WABE

It’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of the past along Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue. Historic, and sometimes crumbling, buildings still stand from the early 1900s, when the street was a thriving African-American commercial district.

But recently, some have discovered a different kind of history on display in the neighborhood ─ a nearly century-old advertisement, uncovered by the 2008 tornado ─ and it’s serving as a grisly reminder of how African-Americans were once treated outside the Sweet Auburn community.

Then A Tornado Came Along…

Parents of Transgender Teen
Alison Guillory / WABE

Last December, on an early Sunday morning, in Warren County, Ohio, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn committed suicide by walking in front of a tractor trailer.

The teen left behind a suicide note. Leelah was transgender.

The teen left the note on a social media website describing a lonely and fractured relationship with her family.

Leelah Alcorn wrote, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.” 

Atlanta International School Against Human Trafficking
Twitter / WABE

When Shirley Franklin was mayor of Atlanta, a movement began to bring awareness, prevention and tougher legislation regarding the sexual exploitation of children.

In 2006, Mayor Franklin made national news with the Dear John Campaign:

When Shirley Franklin held a press conference about that Dear John Campaign she also revealed something else.

Rose Scott talks with Franklin about her personal story in this 2012 interview:

Shirley Franklin has talked about getting young people involved in advocacy work regarding human trafficking issues.

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. 

In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
File / Associated Press

In recent years, some long-missing recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches and interviews have come to light.

UCLA recently released a speech Dr. King gave in April 1965.

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at UCLA in April, 1965.
Courtesy of UCLA

Nearly 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech in Los Angeles, a recording of it has surfaced.

“It was kind of a eureka moment for me,” said Derek Bolin, an archivist at the University of California, Los Angeles. He found the speech just a few weeks ago, after climbing over piles of old equipment. “We knew it existed, we just were not able to track it down. And it had been right there in the room I had been working in this whole time, just buried beneath a bunch of equipment.”

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin, during an interview on January 15, 2015 at the studios of WABE.
Brenna Beech / WABE

  We've all heard the questions in the days following the Paris terror attacks: Since the killers were Muslims, do other Muslims have a duty to publicly condemn what they did? And is it right or fair to demand that?  

Atlanta has been home to a growing Muslim community for many years. Some are American-born, even Atlanta natives; some came here from other lands.

Atlanta Journal Constitution cartoonist Mike Luckovich
Ryan Nabulsi / / for WABE

A week after the deadly attack on its office, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo​ published a new issue. It sold out immediately.  The cover featured yet another cartoon image of the prophet Muhammad -this time shedding a tear.  

Satirical images of the Prophet have angered many Muslims.  But perhaps all of us have at some time been upset by satire.  So, should there be limits?  

Another busy Sunday at Plaza Fiesta
Ryan Nabulsi/ / WABE

A lot of stories these days tell us the American shopping mall is in trouble. But Buford Highway's Plaza Fiesta might set an example for an entirely new model of mall.

Or maybe it’s not so new after all.

The story of a new kind of shopping mall starts with the story of some of the very oldest shopping malls. These were conceived of by a man with a vision.

Live, Work, Play...1960s-Style

Georgia Tech post-doc Catherine Walker (left) and Britney Schmidt in Antarctica.
Courtesy of Britney Schmidt

A scientist at Georgia Tech is looking for the possibility of life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. It’s covered in a freezing ocean. So astrobiologist Britney Schmidt decided to use Antarctica as a testing ground.

Schmidt took a team of Tech students down to Antarctica for two months to study the relationship between ice and the ocean and to test her self-driving underwater vehicle, Icefin.

John Fox, the outgoing president and CEO of Emory Healthcare, during an interview at his office on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Denis O'Hayer / WABE

After 16 years leading Emory Healthcare, CEO John Fox will depart Atlanta for a new job with Beaumont Health in Detroit.

In a wide-ranging conversation with WABE's Denis O'Hayer, Fox recalled his decision to accept the first Ebola patient in the United States, Dr. Kent Brantley. Two questions were critical, Fox said. “Can we really make a difference for these patients?” and “Can we do it safely?”

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.

Wednesday, Jan. 14, sixty-six year Andrew Brannan is set to be executed for the 1998 murder of Laurens County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Dinkheller during a traffic stop.

22-years old at the time, the deputy was shot to death by Brannan and it was captured on the dash board video of the deputy’s patrol car.

WARNING: The video contains graphic scenes of a shootout.

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


This past November, American voters gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress.  After President Obama said he had his veto ready for GOP bills he doesn't like, there were dire predictions that the Washington gridlock of the past few years will get even worse.  

But Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson insists the divided government has a chance to work, even as he promises to take on the President and campaign for his own re-election in 2016.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston at the state Capitol, Jan. 8, 2015
Brenna Beech / WABE

Yesterday, Rep. David Ralston talked with Denis O'Hayer about upcoming transportation proposals facing the Georgia General Assembly. 

Ralston also defended law enforcement officers, stating that he would not allow them to become "Enemy Number One" in discussions about body cameras and other surveillance tools. 

The speaker shared his views on controversial bills on religion and the fight over which schools should receive state money.

Ga. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams
Alison Guillory / WABE

WABE's Rose Scott interviewed House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams on a number of hot topics facing the Georgia General Assembly in the 2015-2016 legislative session that began this week. 

In this two part interview, the conversation begins with Abrams talking about education.

In part two of the interview, the conversation begins with Abrams talking about Republican Representative Sam Teasley's religious freedom bill.

Christopher Martin attending a computer class at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, taught by librarian Charles Young.
Ali Guillory/WABE

State Sen. Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale, is asking Comcast to offer discounted Internet to low-income seniors. The company already provides cheaper service to poor families with school-age children. Seay says, older folks would benefit from it, too.

“We have some seniors who are on fixed incomes who cannot afford it. Affordability should not be a disconnect,” Seay says.

A Comcast spokeswoman says the program is staying focused on students, though it could evolve.

For seniors, cost isn’t the only barrier.

Georgia House Speaker Rep. David Ralston at the state Capitol, Jan. 8, 2015
Brenna Beech / WABE

This is day one of the new legislative session in Georgia.  Representatives from across the state have convened under the Gold Dome to take on the issues that voters are concerned about. 

In the first part of an interview with WABE's Denis O'Hayer, House Speaker David Ralston acknowledges that transportation may top the list. During the long conversation, he told O'Hayer about the upcoming transportation proposals facing the Georgia General Assembly.

Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is set to begin his second term in office today with an inaugural ceremony in Atlanta.

An afternoon ceremony is planned inside the State Capitol.

The governor and first lady Sandra Deal plan to started the day at a 9 a.m. prayer service at Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta.

An inaugural gala is scheduled for Thursday night with entertainment by country music artist Alan Jackson and other Georgia musicians.

Prime 50-yard line seats at the Georgia Dome will go on sale for $45,000 on Monday.
TravelHyper /

Lifelong Falcons fan Terry Whitehead’s done the math, and she estimates her four season tickets will cost her over $94,000 at the new stadium.

“94? That’s out of our reach, and that’s out of our intelligence. Who does that?” said Whitehead.

Someone will, the Falcons hope. The new Personal Seat Licenses, or “PSLs,” mean you own your seat for 30 years. Right now the best spots, near the 50-yard line, are going for $45,000.

C.T. Vivian
Maynard Eaton

  On November 20, 2013, Atlanta civil rights leader C.T. Vivian received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama, in a White House ceremony.  

In part two of a conversation with WABE's Denis O'Hayer, Dr. Vivian talked about how the movement's strategy changed the world, and about the future of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where he now serves as president.