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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.

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

This week, an internal fight among Democrats about the future of their party culminated in Atlanta, with the election of a new party chair.  Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress were trying to decide whether to hold town hall meetings in their districts -- meetings that might be filled with voters who are angry about the policies of the new Trump administration.

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Dr. Ford Vox

In these "Medical Minute," WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss homeopathy – more specifically a line of homeopathic teething tablets and gels produced by Hyland’s Homeopathic. 

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Stephannie Stokes / WABE

A huge development around the Brookhaven MARTA station may still happen.

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That's after plans recently hit a dead end.  

MARTA has been pursuing transit-oriented development throughout metro Atlanta.

Those are mixed-use developments located at or near MARTA stations.

Alpharetta Is Building Its Own BeltLine

Feb 24, 2017
Courtesy of Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Atlanta BeltLine is still being built, but it’s already attracting millions of dollars in urban redevelopment. Now Alpharetta says it’s creating its own version of the BeltLine in the North Atlanta suburb.

It is called the Alpha loop, according to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle – an approximately 8-mile trail that would connect the city’s downtown to big projects including Avalon and the Big Creek Greenway. It would include lighting, bicycle service areas and pocket parks for people to gather.

Matt Sayles / Invision/Associated Press

Big names from classic rock radio are hitting the city this weekend, including a man from down under and everyone's favorite Police.

Contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for a look ahead at the concert calendar with "Mara's Music Mix."

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Tens of millions of dollars collected by the state through small fees on things like new tires, prepaid cell phones and police fines aren’t spent how Georgia lawmakers intended, creating a system critics call a scam on taxpayers.

The piles of dumped tires along roadsides and behind abandoned lots throughout Georgia may be the most visible symbol of how environmentalists, county officials and conservatives say the state’s accounting process deceives taxpayers.

Michael Ryan, 45, is a juvenile judge in Cleveland, Ohio. And like many of the kids who end up in his courtroom, he didn't have an easy childhood.

He adored his mother, he tells his son — also named Michael, 19, at StoryCorps in Cleveland, but she was addicted to heroin.

Al Such / WABE

Atlanta's taking a second look at some of the low-level offenses in the city's code.

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Those offenses include treasure hunts – illegal if they’re for commercial gain. Another law prohibits moving your furniture in the middle of the night unless you have a permit.

Then, there’s the crime of spitting. It’s against the law on sidewalks and in churches.  

Al Such / WABE

There's a drill digging a tunnel deep under Atlanta. It cuts through granite six nights a week, all night long, 300 to 400 feet below the ground. Eventually, it will connect Bellwood Quarry – recognizable, perhaps, from scenes in the Hunger Games, Walking Dead and Stranger Things – to the Chattahoochee River.

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Now, the bottom of the quarry, where the tunnel starts, is a construction site.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

Keitra Bates is standing in front of an empty storefront on Atlanta's Westside. The walls are yellow-painted stucco over cinder blocks, with iron bars on the windows and doors, and a small side yard littered with abandoned tires. A corner store, the Fair Street Superette, is next door.

The proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would run right through Native lands, and tribal leaders in the region say it would desecrate sacred sites.

"Over my dead body will we build a wall," says Verlon Jose, vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. "It's like me going into your home and saying 'You know what? I believe in order to protect your house we need some adjusting.' And you're going to say, 'Wait a minute, who are you to come into my house and tell me how to protect my home?' " he says.

Statewide Transportation Gets A Win In The Ga. Senate

Feb 22, 2017
Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia's senators have passed a bill by unanimous vote that seeks to create a statewide council focused on transportation.

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The Georgia Regional Transit Council would focus on a strategic transit plan for the state.

State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-District 51, sponsored the bill.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

On Feb. 21, the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, approved Georgia Power's request for an additional $141 million in expenses related to the construction of new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.  

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Courtesy of Atlanta City Council

If there's a new proposed sales tax on the ballot in Atlanta this year, City Council member Felicia Moore wants to make sure some of the money goes to public safety.

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At the State of the City address last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a one-tenth of a penny sales tax specifically to fund the arts.  The tax could potentially raise $10 million-$15 million.

Atlanta City Council Considers Marijuana Legislation

Feb 22, 2017
Council members listen to advocates argue for and against decriminalizing marijuana.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

Atlanta is Georgia's largest city. But it has at least one thing in common with one of the state's smallest cities: Clarkston.

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Both city governments have the discretion to decide how to charge people who are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana.

Clarkston is the first city in Georgia to lower the penalty to just a citation similar to a traffic ticket.

David Goldman / Associated Press

A group of state Senate Republicans has proposed legislation that they say protects the people's religious rights. 

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The measure says the state government should follow the pattern set out in the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

That law says the Federal government must show a "compelling government interest" before it can restrict someone's exercise of religion.

The new bill is not as broad as the one vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last year. 

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) during a hearing at the Senate Finance Committee, May, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

The U.S. Congress is in recess. Usually, that means lawmakers return to their districts and meet with constituents, but some have been reluctant to do that lately, as some town hall meetings have become hostile. A recent open office day held by the staffs of Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Rep. Jody Hice in Greensboro, Georgia grew contentious when Trump opponents waited to confront the lawmakers.

NASA, File / Associated Press

For StoryCorps Atlanta we're doing something a bit different today, we're celebrating a milestone. It was 10 years ago this month that WABE partnered with StoryCorps Griot to record the voices, experiences and life stories of African-Americans here in Atlanta.

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Today, a look back to a story we recorded in 2007 about the young life of Ronald McNair. He was a physicist and NASA astronaut. He was killed aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded in 1986.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

The head of Georgia’s university system on Monday spoke publicly for the first time against a bill that would allow guns on college campuses around the state.

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“With respect to ‘campus carry,’ we feel strongly that current law strikes the right balance to create a safe environment on our campuses,” said Steve Wrigley, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, before a committee of mostly Republican lawmakers friendly to expanding gun rights.

Flowers along a trail at Panola Mountain State Park
Al Such / WABE

Warmer weather is expected to continue in Georgia this week and climatologists say it's part of a pattern of unusually warm temperatures much of the state has experienced this winter. 

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Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia, said temperatures have been above average as a whole this winter, and that it's likely to continue. 

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, speaking with Denis O'Hayer at the WABE studios on February 17, 2017.
Denis O'Hayer / WABE News

As President Donald Trump prepares a revised version of his executive order on travel and immigration, he continues to promise tougher enforcement against people who are in the country illegally. Earlier this months, ICE raids in Georgia resulted in 87 arrests.

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the giants. Lincoln. Jefferson. Washington.

And of course, mattress sales.

"You go hunting when the ducks are flying," says Kevin Damewood, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Kingsdown, a mattress manufacturer.

He says three-day weekends are when people have time to shop for a new mattress. It's also when many people decide to move, and consequently when many people are in the market for a new mattress.

Officer Jacob Mach stands with Chief Erika Shields at the swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.
Courtesy of Atlanta Police Department

Jacob Mach was sworn in as an Atlanta police officer on Tuesday. What separates him from the others in his graduating class is that he's a refugee – a "Lost Boy" of Sudan.

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Mach was one of 20,000 boys forced from their home in Sudan in 1987 because of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Only half survived the thousand-mile trek by foot to a refugee camp in Kenya.

Mach was a child when he escaped, but he still remembers that journey.

Courtesy of the city of Chamblee

More than $360 million worth of new projects are now in the works in the city of Chamblee. According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, that includes about 1,200 apartments, townhomes, senior housing, and office, retail and restaurant space.

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Jim Herrington / Cool Rock Records

This weekend, Atlanta's playing host to a punk legend, political pop, and one of Elton John's favorite new bands.

Contributor Mara Davis sits down with host emeritus Steve Goss for the look ahead.

Downtown Connector March 2015
Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta is coming up with a new vision for transportation in the city. This time, officials want to reimagine how Atlantans get around.

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For example, Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta is a wide one-way road, almost like a highway. Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said streets like that were designed to get cars through town as quickly as possible.

He said, if the city’s going to keep growing in population, that has to change.

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

When schools struggle academically, is the state obligated to intervene? If so, to what degree? Georgia's House Education Committee wrestled with those questions Thursday during a hearing for a bill that targets low-performing schools.

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The bill is considered a replacement for the governor's school takeover plan, which was defeated by referendum in November.

This weekend marks 75 years since President Roosevelt's executive order that sent Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Roy Ebihara and his wife, 82-year-old Aiko, were children then, and both were held in camps with their families.

At StoryCorps, 83-year-old Roy told Aiko about what happened in his hometown of Clovis, N.M., in the weeks just before the executive order was issued.

A school bus in front of the Georgia Capitol
Alison Guillory / WABE

In early February, Gov. Nathan Deal sent lawmakers his latest plan to turn around failing schools in Georgia. The governor had promised the new proposal, after his Opportunity School District (OSD, sometimes called the "school takeover" plan) was rejected by the state's voters last November.

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Toby Talbot, File / Associated Press

Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill that would further regulate opioid treatment centers in the state.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, would put into place new requirements for those wanting to open up centers in Georgia. The centers offer medical-assisted treatment and counseling to help treat patients with addictions to heroin and other opioids.