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The mayor of Cleveland apologized Thursday to the family of  Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer, for the city having sent the administrator of the boy's estate a "decedent's last dying expense" claim of $500 for ambulance services.

Mayor Frank Jackson opened a City Hall news conference by saying, "We want to start off again apologizing to the Rice family if in fact this has added to any grief or pain they may have."

Tom Houck Cover
Alison Guillory / WABE

Fifty years ago, a 19-year-old Tom Houck stood in front of the Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC) headquarters on Auburn Avenue and waited for a ride to the Freedom House where he was staying.

Historic Oakland Cemetery and Atlanta Skyline
Evan Jang / WABE

Growing up in the 1950s, William Bell had to enter Birmingham's segregated Lyric Theatre though a side entrance, marked "COLORED," that was walled-off from the elegant lobby. He climbed a dimly lit stairwell to watch movies from the steep balcony where black patrons had to sit for generations.

Now the mayor of Birmingham, Bell recalls the Lyric's beauty, but also the way it isolated black people.

Each of the tens of thousands of names etched into the reflective granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., represents not only a person who died in the name of service to country but also a face, a hometown, a personal past and loved ones left behind.

David Goldman / Associated Press

More than 30 years ago, Donald Trump bought a franchise in the upstart United States Football League. He then led his fellow owners to sue the NFL in a high-stakes antitrust case. 

The head-on challenge and his ownership of the New Jersey Generals was an early testing ground for the swashbuckling approach that the celebrity businessman-turned-Republican presidential candidate has brought to his 2016 campaign.

A World War II veteran has embarked on a 10,500-mile journey to visit his wartime girlfriend after more than 70 years apart.

93-year-old Norwood Thomas boarded a plane from Norfolk to Australia on Sunday to reunite with Joyce Morris, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

They first met in London shortly before D-Day but ended up going their separate ways after the war had ended.

Thomas calls Morris "the one that got away."

Charles Kelly / AP Photo

Back in the days of black-and-white television, Atlanta was separated – physically, economically and socially – along color lines. 

Atlanta's Sweet Auburn neighborhood, located along Auburn Avenue (formerly known as Wheat Street), served as the economic and social center for the city's African-American community. This neighborhood rose to prominence because of the city's segregation laws, but by the mid-1900s had fostered a community of individuals ready to challenge the entire Jim Crow system.

Payson Schwin and Kristin Nabors with 2-year-old Matilda. Nabors writes, "I want to be sure my kids feel like they can like whatever they like, rather than being tracked into traditionally 'girl' and 'boy' interests."
Kristin Nabors

What color do you associate with baby girls? Okay, now how about boys?  

If you answered “pink” and “blue,” well … not so fast. There’s a new trend for babies and little kids, and it’s all about gender-neutral clothing. 

Genevieve Leavitt wheels a shopping cart loaded with groceries out of Trader Joes on a busy Tuesday morning. She’s sneaking in a few errands before picking up her two-year-old at daycare.

A romance that enchanted Russia may be over: Timur the goat and Amur the tiger have had a fight and aren't together anymore.

In November, the goat was placed in the tiger's compound in a wildlife park near Vladivostok with the expectation that the big cat would eventually kill and eat him. But the two not only tolerated each other, they appeared to become friends. The odd couple became a popular topic on social media, and T-shirts celebrating them went on sale.

But Timur started pushing it, constantly annoying and butting the tiger.

Mattel via Associated Press

Barbie's got a brand new bod.

Mattel, the maker of the iconic plastic doll, said it will begin selling Barbie with three new bodies — curvy, tall, and petite. The doll will also be available in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.

The El Segundo, California, toy company will also continue to sell the original Barbie. The new options come after years of criticism that Barbie had created unrealistic expectations for girls.

Bruce Weaver / associated press file

As families of the lost Challenger astronauts gather with NASA to mark the space shuttle accident's 30th anniversary, there's a new voice to address the crowd.

June Scobee Rodgers — widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee and longtime spokeswoman for the group — is passing the torch to daughter Kathie Scobee Fulgham.

Fulgham — not Rodgers — will be on the stage for Thursday’s ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. And making a rare appearance in the audience will be schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe's son, Scott, with his own family.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Few neighborhoods can match the perks of Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C. — a reality that reflects a broader problem for the U.S. housing market.

Residents of Adams Morgan enjoy a bevy of bars, restaurants, exercise studios and shopping, just steps from their row houses and condo buildings. Home values are reasonable relative to neighborhood incomes. And in general, the area schools rate as better than average nationally.

They were childhood friends who went on to become high school sweethearts, and on Jan. 9, Parker and Alfreda Hill celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony.

"We both grew up in the Louisville area of Marietta, over where Henry Park is, that side of town," Parker Hill said. "Henry Park was a playground back then and that's where the kids of the neighborhood congregated."

Associated Press

In a new memoir, "My Time with the Kings: A Reporter's Recollections of Martin, Coretta and the Civil Rights Movement," retired Associated Press reporter Kathryn Johnson describes civil rights flashpoints she covered in the 1960s and details her close relationship with the movement's leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and his family.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

When there’s a high profile event touching on the issue of race, guests on nightly news shows often call for a public conversation about racism in the U.S.

In response, Beatrice and Larry Soublet, founders of ERACE in Atlanta, always say the same thing.

“We are having one," Beatrice said. "Come to our meeting."

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Michelle Obama's affection for the White House South Lawn has grown just like the sweet potatoes and carrots she plants there.

During seven years as first lady, Obama has often used her family's temporary backyard as a grassy stage from which to promote a lifestyle built around plenty of fresh, nutritious food and lots of exercise.

Quinn Dombrowski / flickr.com/quinndombrowski

With an explosion in growth in the craft beer industry over the last decade, it's not enough to simply have a passion for brewing and beer when it comes to starting a brewery or working for one as the industry gets more competitive.

Recognizing that, some universities are now offering online programs on the business of craft beer.

In the last decade, the number of craft breweries has grown to more than 4,000 in the U.S. today, from more than 1,400 in 2005, according to the Brewers Association.

W.A. Harewood / Associated Press

Bill Cosby, a cultural icon who once stood among America's most beloved figures, suffered the latest and most serious blow to his forever mixed legacy, as he walked slowly into a Pennsylvania courthouse holding a cane and answered to charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman.

It was a moment Wednesday in stark contrast to a reputation built over half a century, merging the personal and professional into one potent, visceral brand. The allegations have left many — especially in the black community — feeling betrayed.

Seated in one of two offices he maintains on the Harvard University campus, William Julius Wilson points to the far wall and his framed citation for the 1998 National Medal of Science, only the second one given to a sociologist.

"When President Clinton introduced me, he proceeded to talk about my book 'The Truly Disadvantaged,' and all these national scientists saw that the president not only read my book but could talk about it and had been influenced by it," he says. Clinton knew the book so well he even mentioned the page count, 187.

Paul Sancya / Associated Press

Sometimes the act of dying, by itself, represents a type of victory.

Such was the case for Richard "Dick" Walters, who was a leader in the effort to get the state of Vermont to pass aid-in-dying legislation. Diagnosed with lung cancer, Walters ultimately used the law to end his own life in October at age 90, becoming one of the many notables who died in 2015.

Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

Astrid Rau just baked 16 kinds of Christmas cookies, including a batch in the shape of snowflakes. But she's nevertheless having trouble getting in the holiday spirit, thanks to forecasts that have the temperature in her hometown of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, hitting 72 degrees on Thursday.

"I associate cold with Christmas," the 55-year-old says. "And if it's warm it just doesn't feel quite right to me."

Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press

Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said she prayed for those who disagreed with her and feels the pace of social change has "awakened" Christians across the country.

Drug overdose deaths surged in 14 states last year, pushing the nation to a record count, according to a government report released Friday.

Rates went up in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the overall tally last week. On Friday it provided more details, including state numbers.

Candace Wheeler / WABE

The holidays can be lucrative for the many who dress up as Santa Claus each year. But there’s a budding industry in the Santa business for African-American Santas like Dee Sinclair, who is gearing up for his 14th season as Santa Claus. Sinclair said he's been booked solid for Christmas events so far.

“We’re in high demand,” said Sinclair, who is based in Georgia. “It’s high demand to the point where folks just don’t know how to find us."

United Parcel Service driver Marty Thompson steps off a truck while making a delivery in Cumming, Ga.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The humming is constant; a low-pitched drone from 155 miles of conveyer belts racing packages in every direction. Boxes shift from one belt to another and bump into a metal wall. Thud. Thud. Thud. In the background, trucks beep and jet engines roar.

Forget jingling bells and ho-ho-hos, these are now the sounds of the holidays.

Franklin Reyes, File / Associated Press

Here's a look at some recommendations for where to go in 2016 from across the travel industry.

U.S. TOUR OPERATORS ASSOCIATION: Emerging and off-the-beaten path: Cuba, Myanmar, Iceland, Colombia, and Ethiopia and Japan (tied for fifth). Most popular: Italy; United Kingdom; China, France and South Africa (tied for third); Peru and India. In the U.S.: New York and California (tied for first); Arizona and Hawaii (tied for second); Nevada; Florida and Washington, D.C., (tied for fourth); and Alaska.

Richard Tanton / flickr.com/tantonr/

Long the land of parking lots and little economic development, downtown Atlanta might be changing.

COURTESY OF THE PATEK PHILIPPE MUSEUM VIA HARPER COLLINS

Aja Raden's new book, Stoned, is about jewelry, but on the first page she lays out a bold statement: "The history of the world is the history of desire."

"There's no more powerful statement than 'I want,' " Raden tells NPR's Audie Cornish. " 'I want that. I want them.' ... Even if it's an issue of survival, you still are driven by what you want and what you are compelled to take or have or maintain."

Elly Yu / WABE

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, some states, including Georgia, have tried to block Syrian refugees from resettling in their cities. But in spite of Gov. Nathan Deal’s stance, one family from Syria arrived in Georgia last week.

Mohammad, Ebtesam and their young son became the first to arrive in the state since Gov. Deal’s executive order trying to stop Syrian refugees from coming into the state.  They asked for only their first names be used for security reasons.

Katie Park/NPR / Source: Pew Research Center

Americans have long lived in a nation made up primarily of middle-class families, neither rich nor poor, but comfortable enough.

This year, that changed, according to the Pew Research Center.

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