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Morning Edition

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Waking up is hard to do, but it's easier with NPR's "Morning Edition": bringing you the day's stories and news to radio listeners on the go. A two-hour mix of news, analysis, interviews, commentaries, arts, features and music, "Morning Edition" is heard Monday through Friday.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside are changing. Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction is wrapping up; the BeltLine is coming. And what has been a blighted creek could eventually become an amenity. But some residents are concerned that efforts to fix Proctor Creek could eventually price them out.

Rise In Property Value Affects Cobb Park Acquisition

12 hours ago
David Goldman / Associated Press

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners is running into trouble buying land to turn into public parks. 

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In 2009, Cobb voters approved a $40 million park bond, but the county didn't issue the bond because of the recession. Nine years later, it has access to only $27.4 million, a little more than half of the original value, because it waited to issue it. 

And Cobb constituents aren't too pleased with that. 

One of President Trump's boldest, most ambitious proposals on the campaign trail was to build a wall along the Southern border and get Mexico to pay for it. Amid the tumult of Trump's first few months in office, the border wall hasn't gotten as much attention as some other things. But new legislation has been introduced in Congress to help fund it.

It's called the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, introduced on March 30 by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

The number one filming location for box office hits wasn't California last year. According to a new study, it was Georgia.

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The study by FilmLA, the nonprofit film office for Los Angeles, looked at the top 100 grossing movies of 2016 and found that 17 were filmed in Georgia. By comparison, California had 12.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Kids in low income neighborhoods tend to change schools more often than their peers. Studies show that can have a detrimental effect on their education.

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This past year in Atlanta, one public school tried to break that trend—by bringing in some lawyers.

At Thomasville Heights Elementary School in southeast Atlanta, Christal Reynolds and Ayanna Jones-Lightsy have just started their day.

Why Atlanta Ranks Only 50th In Public Parks Index

May 24, 2017
The lake in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia is a great place for a stroll on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo/Brenna Beech)
Brenna Beech / WABE File

Atlanta has a lot of work to do to catch up with public parks in other major American cities. 

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Alison Guillory / WABE

Proctor Creek flows from downtown Atlanta across dozens of neighborhoods to the Chattahoochee River. There has been ongoing work to address flooding and pollution the creek

There is also a new project aimed at connection people to the creek — and to each other. 

Alison Guillory / WABE

Proctor Creek has been a problem for residents of 35 northwest Atlanta neighborhoods for a long time. It’s polluted. It floods.

That’s changing, though. 

Billions of dollars' worth of upgrades to the city's sewer system and plans for a series of parks address the long-running issues with the creek. 

Alison Guillory / WABE

Some of the rain that falls in downtown Atlanta eventually forms Proctor Creek, which flows through the west side of the city and into the Chattahoochee River. Like the rest of Atlanta's creeks, Proctor Creek is polluted. But it still has wildlife living in it. Scientists are learning more about the health of the creek and its critters by studying crayfish.  

  A longer version of this story was published and aired last fall. 

The actor Sir Roger Moore has died at 89 after "a short but brave battle with cancer," according to his family and his agent.

Moore played the role of James Bond from 1973 to 1985 and was knighted in his home country of England in 2003.

He was the third of six actors who have played James Bond in the official silver screen franchise, beginning with 1973's Live and Let Die. He starred in a total of seven Bond films over 12 years, ending with A View to a Kill in 1985.

The Supreme Court is seen in the morning in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.
Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

Georgia may feel the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overruling voting districts in North Carolina.

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State lawmakers there claimed they drew the districts for political advantage. But the high court decided they used race as a main factor, and that was unconstitutional.

Michael Kang, a law professor at Emory University, said the decision could have a big impact in Southern states, like Georgia, where party preference tends to fall along racial lines.

Voter Registration Numbers Surge In 6th District

May 22, 2017
David Goldman / Associated Press

More than 5,000 people have registered to vote in Georgia's 6th Congressional District in the last 19 days.

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Earlier this month, on May 4, a federal judge order the state to reopen voter registration for the runoff between Republican candidate Karen Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. It has become one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country. Registration for the June 20 runoff closed Sunday, May 21. 

MARTA Ridership Takes A Hit After I-85 Overpass Reopens

May 22, 2017
Alison Guillory / WABE

When the Interstate 85 overpass collapsed in late March, many metro-Atlanta commuters depended on MARTA to get to and from work. MARTA's daily usage numbers surged 11.5 to 12 percent. 

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But now that the overpass has re-opened, how many people are still using public transit? 

2015 had the highest reported youth suicides in the past five years.
Martha Dalton / WABE

Eighteen children in Georgia have killed themselves this year. And state officials are working to stop and prevent those suicides.

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Fatality Review Program teamed up with state education and health officials to create a new training program for school personnel.

The program focuses on teaching educators warning signs in students and figuring out way to get the issue of suicide out in the open at their schools.

Cumberland Island Development Plans Spark Controversy

May 19, 2017
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode / flickr.com/photos/wildliferesourcesdivision/

Cumberland Island on Georgia's coast is famous for its untouched, natural landscape. Tourists from around the United States and the world visit the island specifically for its wilderness.

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Most of Cumberland's 36,000 acres are protected by federal legislation that preserves the island in its "primitive" state. But some of the island is privately owned and several property owners are applying to Camden County authorities for rezoning to build houses. 

Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

This weekend, Atlanta plays host to R&B superstar John Legand at Chastain Park and a mysterious Icelandic quartet at the Fox. Here to unpack it is contributor Mara Davis and host emeritus Steve Goss.

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Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-09)
Office of Congressman Doug Collins / U.S. Government

 

Pressure has been building for U.S. Congress members to hold in-person town halls in their districts. On Thursday night, northeast Georgia Rep. Doug Collins held one over the phone.

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In an hourlong call, Collins took 12 full questions from constituents. He assured listeners that his staff doesn’t unfairly screen calls.

“They simply put up the questions so we can get as many as we want to,” Collins said.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Friday afternoon, there's a groundbreaking for a new park on Atlanta’s Westside. Cook Park will honor civil rights leaders. It will also help with long-term flooding and pollution in the area.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Alumni and staff of Morris Brown College are still pushing to regain accreditation.  The historically black college lost it more than a decade ago, in large part due to financial woes.

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Some Morris Brown supporters showed their loyalty at one of the school's regular cleanups Wednesday. Volunteers repainted parts of the campus and worked on other projects the college can’t get to on its limited budget.

Al Such / WABE

A global "ransomware" attack that started last week locked thousands of computers in more than 150 countries.

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As a cybersecurity hub, metro Atlanta hosts nearly 100 cybersecurity firms. Some of them are helping affected companies respond to the attacks.

Al Such / WABE

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff nearly won the April 18 special election to replace Tom Price as the U.S. House member from Georgia's 6th Congressional District.  Now, he faces Republican Karen Handel in the June 20 runoff in a district that has been solidly Republican for years.  

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer talked with Ossoff about a wide range of issues, including reports of President Donald Trump disclosing classified information to Russian officials; healthcare reform; and whether Ossoff could take the independent course he has promised if he were elected.

Rep. John Lewis Meets Ga. Constituents At Meet-And-Greet

May 16, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

Nearly 200 people turned out Monday night to meet with Congressman John Lewis.

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The group included Wilhelmina Jenkins, who lives in Atlanta's West End.

"I love that Congressman Lewis is always at town hall meetings, out among the people," Jenkins said. 

Lori Leary, who lives in Decatur, agreed.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Last month, Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the First Priority Act, his latest plan to improve the performance of chronically-struggling schools in the state.  The measure offers state resources and assistance to those schools — many of which are in the Atlanta area — but it also raises some questions about how it will work, and who will pay for it.

StoryCorps Atlanta

On Sunday families across the country celebrated moms near and far, both present and those that have passed.

In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, Bill Hagan talks with his middle son, Mark Hagen, about his late wife of 62 years, Mary Ellen Hagen. He lovingly recalls stories about Mark's mother and begins with his fondest memory back from his senior year at Notre Dame in 1951.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps Booth.

Atlanta Aims For 100 Percent Clean Energy

May 16, 2017
Jaime Henry-White / Associated Press

Doubling down on its reputation for promoting sustainability, Atlanta is pledging to convert to 100 percent clean energy in the coming decades.

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According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, under a resolution the city council passed unanimously May 1, all city government operations must completely run on renewable energy by 2025, while the entire city — including the private sector — must convert to renewable power by 2035.

Cops have a decent shot at catching run-of-the-mill online scammers — say, the guy selling a car that's just too good to be true on Craigslist. But catching ransomware attackers is generally much more difficult — unless they slip up.

Joy Reddy said her 20 minute commute to SunTrust Bank from Toco Hills became one hour after the bridge collapse. She works from home at least twice a week. She said not having an assigned desk puts lets pressure on being physically present.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

On the evening of March 30, Thomas Crosson was grabbing a slice of pizza at Amalfi Pizza near SunTrust Bank, and watched as large flames rose from a section of the Interstate 85 in Atlanta, causing it to collapse.

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"It was funny to watch everyone gather around the TV. Even the cooks came out from behind the kitchen and all of them had the same expression on their face," Crosson said.

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

There’s a small election Tuesday in Atlanta’s suburbs, but it could be a sign of big political changes coming to the Georgia Statehouse. State Senate District 32 in east Cobb County sits inside a political district getting a lot more attention, and money right now: Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

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Courtesy of aLIVE Coverage

There's a whole lot of shakin' going on in Atlanta this weekend with the Shaky Knees Festival in town.

Here to run down that and still more of the concert calendar, music contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for "Mara's Music Mix."

Susan Walsh / Associated Press file

Even in a world that is now accustomed to big surprises, it was a dizzying week in politics.

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President Donald Trump, who had just visited the Atlanta area to support Karen Handel's 6th Congressional District campaign, abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey. 

That event, in turn, could affect the close battle for the seat left vacant by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price -- at least according to political strategists Brian Robinson and Tharon Johnson.

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