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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.

Comcast expects to invest $200 million over the next 20 years in startups at its new accelerator opening at its new regional headquarters near SunTrust Park, called The Farm.
Courtesy of Boomtown

Comcast will dedicate part of its new nine-story office tower going up next to the Atlanta Braves stadium to a new start-up accelerator program called “The Farm.”

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Toby Krout, executive director of Boomtown, a startup accelerator in Boulder, Colorado, is launching the program with Comcast early next year.  

ALISON GUILLORY / WABE

Georgia's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for February fell to 5.3 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

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That's down two-tenths of a point from January.

"Our job growth is doing better than most of the rest of the nation," Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

Georgia gained nearly 12,500 jobs last month and 114,000 jobs over the last year, according to the Labor Department.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference to announce he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies Monday, March 28, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

As the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Thursday on the healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaders in Georgia have expressed mixed views about the plan. 

So far, many of Georgia's Republican members in the U.S. House appear to support the bill. But Wednesday, a spokesperson for Congressman Jody Hice, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said Hice was opposed to the measure.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

In nine days the Atlanta Braves will play their first game in their new Cobb County ballpark.

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Team officials have repeatedly said they've got traffic troubles under control and have assured fans that they will be able to get to the stadium on-time.

Those who live and work nearby are bracing for the traffic boost.

Martha Dalton

A bill that would require Georgia colleges to report sexual assaults to police is advancing in the Senate. That mandate is controversial.

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Currently, victims can report assaults to law enforcement, but they aren't required to. A federal law, called Title IX, also lets them file a complaint on campus that’s handled by the school. Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, is the bill’s sponsor. He said colleges aren’t equipped to manage such serious cases.

Rob Griffith / Associated Press

 

 

Remember the "Burqa Ban?"

Last November a Georgia lawmaker introduced, and then quickly withdrew, a measure many believed targeted Muslim women wearing face veils. The bill may be long dead, buried under a firestorm of instant resistance from both the right and the left, but on certain parts of the Internet, Georgia is still making headlines.

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Alex Brandon / AP Photo

New legislation before the Atlanta City Council would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a citation-only offense.

The ordinance, from Council Member Kwanza Hall, would mean someone caught with less than an ounce of the drug would face a fine of up to $75, not jail time.

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The proposal is similar to a law adopted in the town of Clarkston last July.  

Atlanta City Council president Caesar Mitchell said the council isn’t attempting to greenlight marijuana use.

Georgia Power

Thousands of Georgians are starting the day in the dark, after storms passed through Tuesday night. 

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Georgia Power reports at one point last night more than 171,000 customers were without power. Of those, about 38,000 were in the greater Atlanta area.

The strong storm system started to enter North Georgia in the afternoon.

The Georgia Senate is scheduled to hear a proposal Thursday that would allow consumers to bypass a physician's referral when seeking physical therapy.
Ken Lund / flickr.com/kenlund

Gov. Nathan Deal's new plan to turn around struggling schools took another step forward in the Legislature Monday.

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Pixabay Images

Many blueberry farmers in Georgia are singing the blues.

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The cold weather that blanketed Georgia last week appears to have crippled this year's blueberry crop.

Joe Cornelius has been growing blueberries since 1989 and is the chairman of Georgia's Blueberry Commission.

He said the last catastrophic freeze Georgia blueberry farmers had was during Easter of 2007.

StoryCorps Atlanta

LaKayla Edwards and her spouse, Kylin Edwards, ran in the same circle of friends at Fort Valley State University for about a year before officially meeting in early 2006.

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Now, over 10 years later and with toddler named Kingston in tow – you'll hear from him, too – the couple discuss the early years and what it meant to lack full familial support at the time.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

Airline passengers coming to the U.S. and Britain on direct flights from a number of majority-Muslim nations must now place most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras, in checked baggage under stepped-up security measures, the Trump administration and the British government said.

Passengers can still carry smartphones into the plane's cabin, but nothing larger, officials from the two countries added.

The House Republican healthcare plan has been met with derision and skepticism from politicians and the public alike.
J. Scott Applewhite, File / Associated Press

Top Georgia Republicans so far have been fairly quiet about the plan from U.S. House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).

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BRENNA BEECH / WABE

The University of Georgia will hold a public ceremony Monday at 3 p.m. to rebury remains construction crews found while expanding a building on campus. The discovery of the remains has highlighted an emotional conversation in the Athens community.

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In late 2015, workers discovered 105 grave sites at Baldwin Hall, a campus classroom building. Of those grave sites, the remains of 30 individuals were preserved.

Gerald Herbert / AP

This weekend's concert offerings include gritty soul, New Orleans jazz, and indie rock both new and old. Contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for a look at the calendar with Mara's Music Mix.

Al Such / WABE

This week, a federal judge in Hawaii temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's revised order on travel and immigration.  The renewed legal battle comes at a time when Atlanta area religious leaders are working out their messages to their congregations, about the president's order--and about immigration in general.

On the day the judge in Hawaii issued the temporary block on the president's order, WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Atlanta Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory at the archdiocese office in Smyrna.

The 11-year-old Tara Grinstead case has been solved, police say.
Elliott Minor / Associated Press

More information may soon be available in the Tara Grinstead case.

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Last month authorities charged Ryan Duke with killing Grinstead in 2005. Since then there's been a gag order on the case.

Duke's lawyer said the gag order is necessary to make sure that his client receives a fair trail.

Thursday, a number of news organizations challenged the order. The attorneys representing those outlets said the order restricts free speech and is too broad.

Georgia Senate Passes Family Sick Leave Legislation

Mar 17, 2017
Georgia sick leave laws, Georgia SB 201
WABE File

Soon, you might be able to use your sick leave days to take care of a family member.

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The Georgia Senate passed SB 201 that would require employers to let workers use their sick days to take care of a child, parent, or any dependent listed on tax returns.

State Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) is sponsoring the bill in the House.

At most Supreme Court confirmation hearings, questions focus on hot-button social issues — abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage — and the hearings next week on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be no exception.

But senators are also likely to spend a lot of time examining the nominee's views on federal regulations — of the environment, health and safety laws for workers, and laws on consumer rights and business.

In question is a doctrine that Gorsuch has criticized but that also once helped his mother.

The Chevron doctrine

Authorities in Mexico say they have found more than 250 bodies in what may be the largest mass grave site in the country. It's located in a dusty abandoned lot just outside the port city of Veracruz.

Authorities were led to the graves by a group of mothers who've spent months digging there in search of their loved ones.

Of the 252 bodies found in the mass grave, only two have been identified: Pedro Huesca, a young state investigator, and his personal secretary.

MARTA Chief Operating Officer Richard Krisak says $700 million in funding has been identified and approved for 250 new rail cars.
Alison Guillory / WABE

It's a long road to Congress finalizing the new federal budget. But under President Trump's proposed plan, Atlanta's transportation future could be at risk.

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When Atlanta voters approved a half-penny sales tax last year to expand MARTA, the idea was that the money raised could be used to draw in matching federal dollars.

Trump's budget proposal says it will cut off future funding for the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program.

David Goldman / Associated Press

People with pollen problems won't be breathing easy over the next month or so. 

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“Today there is definitely a lot of tree pollen, even the pine pollen is starting to come out now as well as juniper pollen," David Redding, an Atlanta-based allergy physician, said.

David Goldman / Associated Press
Elly Yu / WABE

In late January, Hassan, his wife and his two young daughters were ready to start a new life across the globe in Atlanta. They’d been living in Jordan for about four years after Hassan and his wife fled Syria. Hassan didn't want to use his real name because of family members still living in Syria. 

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Ali Guillory / WABE

Taxi drivers argue a new age limit for cars picking up from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is hurting their profits--at a time when they're already facing steep competition from companies like Uber and Lyft.

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The Atlanta City Council passed the seven-year-age limit for cabs serving the airport last fall. It went into place at the start of this year.

Molly Samuel / WABE

In many Georgia counties, the drought is clearing up. The state recently relaxed water use restrictions in dozens of counties. But not in metro Atlanta, most of which remains in a "Level 2" drought response. In places that rely on Lake Lanier for water – that includes most of the metro area – the drought drags on.  

Pixabay Images

Temperatures fell below freezing throughout much of the state this week, and that could cause havoc with fruit crops.

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“That’s the life of a farmer, you know, when they’re dealing with those contingencies that all they can do is pray for, it makes it very difficult,” Andy Lucas, with the Georgia Farm Bureau, said.

He said fruit farmers are seeing the most damage because their buds started to bloom over the past few months due to the warmer weather.  

Astronaut Mark Kelly Shares His New Mission With Atlanta

Mar 15, 2017
John Raoux / Associated Press

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly was in Atlanta Tuesday night as part of a new mission. The goal: Get younger generations excited about space.

Kelly gave a talk at the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Emory Village to kick off the Atlanta Science Festival. He was met by a sea of fans, most of them children.

Austin Valencia, 6, said he was nervous to meet Kelly.

"It's just because I never met an astronaut before and this is, like, my first time doing this,” Austin said.

Chris Ferguson / WABE

Paper ballots are needed to improve voter confidence in Georgia. That's the main message 20 professors with the national Verfied Voting organization had for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

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In a letter sent to Kemp's office yesterday, the tech experts recommended voting the old-fashioned way for the upcoming special election for Georgia's 6th District congressional seat.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Some Atlantans needing help to pay rent will have a rare chance to sign up for housing assistance Wednesday.

The city's housing authority is re-opening its wait list for Section 8 vouchers for the first time in more than two years.

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However, for some low-income residents, like Athena Robinson, past experiences applying for the wait list have left them with low expectations.

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