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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.

Ron Harris / Associated Press

This weekend, the city is host to two big festivals and two big country stars.

Contributor Mara Davis and host emeritus Steve Goss are in to preview the concert calendar with "Mara's Music Mix."

JamesDeMers / Pixabay

Georgia's hunters and fishers will see an uptick in licensing fees come July 1.

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Gov. Nathan Deal will sign a bill on Tuesday that will increase the fee to buy a hunting or fishing license to be on par with surrounding states. For example, hunting licenses that are currently $10 will be $15.

Right now, Georgia has some of the lowest prices in the Southeast. That's according to a state audit from November 2016.

Interfaith Group Opposes 'Campus Carry' Bill

Apr 20, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

Outcry, an interfaith anti-violence group is asking Gov. Nathan Deal to veto House Bill 280, commonly known as the "campus carry" bill.

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"I, myself, am a supporter of the Second Amendment. My father and my grandfather spent some of their careers in law enforcement. However, campuses don't need more guns," said James Lamkin, pastor of Atlanta's Northside Drive Baptist Church.

How 6th District Residents Feel About The Runoff Election

Apr 20, 2017
Al Such / WABE

The congressional election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District has garnered international attention over the last few months. But after the election last night ended with a call for a runoff election, some 6th District residents have mixed feelings about the campaigning that will inevitably continue for the next two months.

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Maureen Coleman lives in Milton, towards the northern part of the 6th District. She says she's not looking forward to the next two months. 

Steven Senne / Associated Press

March for Science organizers in Atlanta are preparing for thousands of people to turn out this Saturday in a movement that’s coalesced since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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The main march is in Washington, D.C., but like the Women’s March in January, satellite events are happening all over the country. Here, people are gathering in Candler Park to hear speakers, to march, and to express their support for what they say should be a non-partisan issue: science.

Georgia now has its first STEAM school, and it's in DeKalb County.

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On Tuesday, April 18, Henderson Mill Elementary School received the certification. That means it meets all requirements for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and it also offers a strong arts curriculum. Henderson has designated teachers for both music and visual arts.

AP file

After months of listening to ads, robocalls, and door-to-door campaign volunteers, voters in Georgia's 6th Congressional District finally get to have their say.

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Atlanta Braves v NY Mets: Turner Field  Outside Atlanta's Turner Field on September 30, 2012
Charles Atkeison / flickr.com/CharlesAtkeison

Neighborhoods around Turner Field could soon benefit from the sale of nearby city-owned properties, according to legislation the Atlanta City Council approved Monday.

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The bill would send money from sales into a trust fund that could be used for affordable housing or job training.

Council Member Alex Wan said the redevelopment of Turner Field warranted the new law.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

 

The year 2014 should have been a great one for Ron Laster. He and his wife had just bought a house.

Then he got injured. And that same year, his boss died. He'd been a touring musician with James Brown for 27 years. The Lasters called around to relatives for help as bills piled up, but the mortgage payments were too much. That’s when they saw a TV commercial.

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Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file

An effort to reduce penalties for marijuana possession has stalled in Atlanta.

The City Council decided it wasn’t ready to vote on the legislation Monday.

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The ordinance from council member Kwanza Hall has been in the works for months. It would make less than an ounce of marijuana possession a fine-only offense.

That is, under Atlanta law.

What still worried council members, like Keisha Lance Bottoms, was that stiff penalties would remain under state law.

Atlanta Woman Witnessed History During Cuban Election

Apr 18, 2017
StoryCorps Atlanta

Connie Alonso was living in Cuba, when a chance encounter made her a witness to history. It was 1952, an election year in Cuba, but a coup left Fulgencio Batista in power until the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

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At the time, Connie worked overnight as a switchboard operator at the National Hotel in Havana before heading to her part time job with the Carlos Hevia, the Cuban foreign minister who was running for president.

A century ago, it was one of the biggest names in retail. Now, even Sears officials say its future could be in doubt — though they say they have plans to make sure the retail icon survives.

Nancy Koehn with the Harvard Business School says that in its early days, Sears Roebuck and Co. was like Amazon is today — a retailer of great disruption.

For Sears, it meant a path-breaking strategy of offering all sorts of merchandise in catalogs and building department stores in remote places with ample parking.

Congress Holding Up Bill To Create MLK Jr. National Park

Apr 17, 2017
Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta has been closed for several months for repairs, and on Tuesday visitors were allowed to tour only the first floor.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The U.S. Congress keeps holding a bill that would reclassify the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site as a national park. 

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) has been introducing the Martin Luther King Junior National Historic Park Act since 2013. The bill passed the House last year and this year, but it remains stuck in a Senate committee. 

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

The special Congressional election Tuesday in Georgia's 6th District, one of the first contests since Donald Trump took office, has been billed by some as a referendum on the new president. But many Republican voters in the district don’t see it that way.

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Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

Jean-Luc Melenchon likes surprising even his own supporters.

Last week, thousands waited to hear the 65-year-old, brash, charismatic leftist speak inside the Grand Palais in the northern French city of Lille.

But first he dashed outside to a balcony overlooking an overflow crowd huddled around a giant TV screen.

"I didn't want to go inside without greeting you!" Melenchon, clad in a navy-blue utility jacket, declared, as his supporters cheered and chanted "Resistance!"

"It's the people who make history — it's you!" he said.

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Advocates in Atlanta's Somali community are speaking out against recent immigration arrests reported in the Atlanta area, including in Clarkston, Georgia.

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About 10 Somalis were arrested this month, according to Omar Shekhey, president of the Somali American Community Center in Clarkston. He said some have been in the United States for decades and said he fears it will be dangerous to deport them to Somalia.

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Pinewood Atlanta Studios is teaming up with Atlanta-based virtual reality studio Trick 3D to bring its plans to life.

This week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle reports Pinewood Forrest, a 234-acre project underway in Fayetteville, will include 600 single family homes, 100 attached townhomes, 600 multi-family homes, a wellness and health center, two hotels and 250,000 square feet of retail space, including 15 restaurants and 25 boutiques.

Georgia's Space Industry Gets Ready To Blast Off

Apr 14, 2017
Atlanta Business Chronicle

The space industry in Georgia is about to take off.

This week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle reports an Arizona-based aerospace company will test launch a sub-orbital rocket as soon as this summer from a 400-acre site on the Georgia coast that could become the Peach State’s first commercial spaceport.

Al Such / WABE

At the beginning of 2017, Erika Shields became Atlanta's new police chief.  In her first three months on the job, she has emphasized that preventing violent crime is her priority.  Shields now leads a force where she has spent 22 years -- in jobs from beat patrols, to vice enforcement, to internal affairs, to deputy chief.

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Shields talked about her career, and her priorities, in a wide-ranging conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition."

Elly Yu / WABE

More and more signs are popping up in neighborhoods near Atlanta's Interstate 85 overpass collapse site that say "No Thru Traffic During I-85 Closure."

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"The neighborhood streets were definitely not designed to accommodate the heavy traffic volume and the weight of some of these vehicles that would normally try to go through those streets," Atlanta's Public Works Commissioner Will Johnson said.

He said neighborhood streets often have children playing in them, which can make it dangerous for cars to rush through them. 

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

South Georgia Wildlife Refuge Bans Grills, Campfires

Apr 13, 2017
skeeze / Pixabay

A fire ban at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge means charcoal grills and campfires are off limits.

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The refuge, which sits on the Georgia-Florida line, has been fighting the huge swamp fire for several days. The refuge is also still in the middle of a drought.

Susan Heisey, Okefenokee's supervisory ranger, said Easter weekend is the park's busiest time of year.

Courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

Atlanta Ballet will stage "Firebird" April 14-16. It's the first performance since the announcement that half the company's dancers are leaving.

This is the first season with Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin. He has a new vision for the company, and, in "Firebird," it shows.

“I want to bring different styles of ballet to the city, to the company that would attract the largest audience possible,” he said.

Right now the company leans toward contemporary dance techniques. Nedvigin wants more variety.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

The disruption from the Interstate 85 bridge collapse has led many commuters to change their habits. And some say that’s a big opportunity for MARTA.

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On a weekday morning, Pam Porter usually would be sitting in her car.

But on this day, she's sitting on a bench at the Brookhaven MARTA station.

"Since the collapse, I've been taking the MARTA into Midtown," Porter said.

GDOT Offers $3.1M Bonus To Finish Bridge By Late May

Apr 12, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

CW Matthews, the contractor on the Interstate 85 overpass repairs, could earn more than $3 million in bonuses for finishing early. 

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The Georgia Department of Transportation set the completion date for June 15, but said if CW Matthews can finish three weeks earlier, by May 25, it'll get a $1.5 million bonus. If the contractor finishes the work by May 21, it'll get $2 million. And for every day before May 21, it'll get $200,000 for a potential grand total of $3.1 million. 

Neighborhood Near I-85 Collapse Feels Traffic Pressure

Apr 12, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

Since the collapse of the Interstate 85 overpass, many people have had to find creative ways to get where they need to be. But neighborhoods near the collapse site have had to deal with more traffic as a result. 

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The traffic in Morningside is so bad these days, it's hard for locals to even get off their block. Winston Wiant, a Morningside resident, said ever since the bridge collapsed, a lot more drivers have been cutting through her neighborhood. 

Alison Lu was in shock on election night. The Harvard Business School student had voted for Hillary Clinton, and she couldn't fathom how Donald Trump had managed to win the presidency.

She opened her Facebook page searching for answers, but she didn't find any Trump-supporting friends. "None of them [Trump voters] showed themselves on my Facebook feed," she says.

Al Such / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal will soon sign his school turnaround bill into law. The legislation requires the state to provide extra support for struggling schools.

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Education experts say there’s no magic bullet when it comes to improving schools. However, State Superintendent Richard Woods said recently there is one key ingredient.

“I think leadership is probably one of the – if not the – most important factors in making sure our schools succeed,” Woods said.

Atlanta Reaches Financial Milestone, Mayor Reed Announces

Apr 11, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed held a press conference on Friday to announce that Atlanta reached a historic financial milestone.

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The Mayor said Atlanta has about $175 million in cash reserves. He said this is the most the city has ever had in its rainy day fund. 

"We've secured this record, without once raising property taxes in Atlanta or without once raising water rates during the entire time that I have been in office," Reed said. 

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