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David Goldman / Associated Press

Even as Atlanta struggles with one of the nation’s highest HIV infection rates, the agency tasked with curtailing the epidemic here is failing to spend millions of dollars set aside for HIV prevention.

In some years, the Fulton County Health Department has given back to the federal government as much — or more — than it spent.

Change in national HIV policy

The HIV/AIDS rates in certain areas of the U.S. are so bad, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  in 2012 decided to change the way it tackled the epidemic.

Sandra Hedrick looks at her mobile telephone as she sits in storm debris in Vilonia, Ark., Thursday, May 1, 2014.
Danny Johnston / AP Photo

Hurricane season officially begins today.

And when disaster hits — be it a hurricane or something else — few things become more critical than our wireless phones. They keep us connected to loved ones, often serve as lifelines and can provide access to essential information.

But even as far inland as Atlanta, sustained, tropical-force winds and rain can cause flooding and knock out cell towers.  

In a situation like that, how confident can we be that our smartphones will connect?

Mike House is almost certain the call will go through. 

Bob Jamerson, also known as Baton Bob, in Buckhead.
Alison Guillory / WABE

You’ll know Bob Jamerson when you see him. He can sometimes be seen twirling a baton, whistling and marching through the streets of Atlanta in a pink tutu. He's also known as "Baton Bob."

But what you may not know is that Baton Bob was born out of a tragedy and debuted first in St. Louis, just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

That's when he was furloughed from his job as a flight attendant and was looking for something to cheer himself up. He noticed his costumes and twirling routines were making others smile as well.

Elly Yu / WABE

Editor's note: Read part one and part two of this series. 

Voters will decide this year on creating two new cities in DeKalb County. If passed, LaVista Hills and Tucker would be the eighth and ninth cities formed in metro Atlanta over the past decade. 

Supporters say incorporation is a better use of tax dollars, but not all in the county agree.

The Iron Horse sculpture surveys the scene near Watkinsville, Georgia. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IronHorse.jpg
Wikimedia Commons

Today is May 27.  

If we were to turn Georgia's clock back 61 years to this date in 1954, we'd witness a rather extreme reaction by University of Georgia students to the placement of a horse on their campus.  

As Georgia State University associate professor of history, Dr. Clifford Kuhn explains, the horse was a sculpture and part of a well-intentioned effort to expose the university community to some "culture."  

Sister Josefa Maria (left), and Reverend Mother Jane Frances Williams, in the common room at the Monastery of the Visitation in Snellville
Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

A monastery nestled along a winding road in Snellville is home to a group of nuns who spend the majority of their days in prayer and meditation.

The Monastery of the Visitation was founded in 1954 and, in the decades since, has watched its numbers dwindle as fewer women – and men too – are called to the religious life.

The nuns in this order rarely leave the monastery. So Rose Scott, Denis O’Hayer and Mary Claire Kelly traveled to them to talk about their lives of prayer, an average day at the monastery and just how important their work is in this modern age.

Master beekeeper Linda Tillman checks a frame of honey to see if it's ready for harvest.
Brenna Beech / WABE

The tree allergy season is winding down, but for those with grass allergies, the misery is just beginning.

And if you’ve had itchy eyes and a runny nose, you’ve probably heard the advice to eat local honey. WABE took a look at whether it can help with allergies, or if it’s just an old wives' tale.

About 1,000 bees fly all around in Linda Tillman’s Atlanta backyard. She’s been a beekeeper for about a decade and swears by her daily dose of local honey.

President Luis Guillermo Solís, the President of Costa Rica, visits with Jim Burress
Brenna Beech / WABE

The president of Costa Rica is in the U.S. this week visiting several key “tech hub” cities.

That includes Atlanta.

President Luis Guillermo Solis said building on existing relationships between the Central American country and cities like Atlanta is key to his country’s success.

"That's why I'm here, seeking more investments," Solis said. "When the U.S. economy grows, the Costa Rican economy thrives. That's the overall lesson we've learned." 

City of Decatur mayor emerita Elizabeth Wilson
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Metro Atlanta has a history of demolishing and renaming streets and sometimes wiping out entire neighborhoods. In the city of Decatur, there used to be an African-American neighborhood called “the Bottom” or later Beacon. 

The city of Decatur is dedicating its new $38 million Beacon Municipal Center to that community.

The center pays tribute to the historically African-American neighborhood that once stood in its place.

Former Decatur mayor Elizabeth Wilson says she remembers when she first moved into the Beacon neighborhood in 1949.

A rehabilitation center in Cienfuegos
Courtesy of Lorrie Lynn King

The United States-based health care organizations, MEDICC and the American Public Health Association, plan regular visits to Cuba as “people to people” exchanges for American health care and medical professionals.  

As the founder of the women's health care nonprofit 50 Cents. Period., and community health director at the Clarkston Development Foundation, Lorrie Lynn King was able to participate in a visit to Havana and Cienfuegos in April.

Associated Press

After the county unit system that preserved rural political dominance in Georgia was effectively dismantled by federal courts in the early 1960s, a new breed of urban Democrat was able to gain a stronger foothold on statewide offices.  

One of the so-called "progressive" Democrats to emerge was Georgia U.S. Rep. Charles Weltner.  

Weltner's quick rise and fall is recounted by Emory University's Nathaniel Meyersohn in his senior honors thesis, "The Unfinished Task – Charles Weltner and the Hope of the New South."  

John Kessler
AJC Staff / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After 18 years as a food writer and dining critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Kessler is leaving that beat to move to Chicago. Recently, he spoke with Steve Goss about getting into restaurant reviewing and the growth of the Atlanta restaurant scene.

Michelle Wirth / WABE

Business mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner is well known for starting CNN. He also once owned the Atlanta Braves and got the United Nations Foundation rolling with a $1 billion gift.

Now, the Atlanta City Council is thinking about renaming a downtown street after Turner. A hearing took place at Atlanta City Hall Tuesday.

The proposed route for Ted Turner Drive is on a portion of Spring Street between West Peachtree and Whitehall streets. The plan was proposed by a group called Friends of Ted Turner and City Councilman C.T. Martin.

I Support WABE And Trees Atlanta

Apr 21, 2015

My pledge helped plant a tree in Atlanta. Join me and support Atlanta’s NPR station!  

Brittian Pendergrast (left) and Nan Pendergrast (right) sit in their West Paces Ferry Road home. They've lived here for 60 years, and just celebrated their 75th anniversary.
Jim Burress / WABE


It was the year Superman debuted, filming of “Gone With the Wind” started, and Oregon beat Ohio State in the first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

It’s also the year Atlantans Brittain Pendergrast and Nan Schwab married.

This weekend, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.


One of the most noted rap songs of the early 1990s turned out quite different than was first envisioned. 

Rapper Sir-Mix-A-Lot made it big with his hit, "Baby Got Back." But originally, the song was titled, "Baby Got Bach." 

And the inspiration? 

A budding friendship between Anthony Ray (Sir Mix's real name) and WABE's own Lois Reitzes. 

For the first time, Reitzes shared her story with Senior Reporter Jim Burress. 

(To hear the interview, click the 'Listen' icon below.) 

Stephen Gunby / flickr.com/stephen_gunby

The Georgia Senate has tabled a bill that would have legalized the sale of fireworks in the state.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jay Roberts of Ocilla was apparently killed Tuesday for the session without objection.

Roberts had argued that all states surrounding Georgia except North Carolina allow fireworks sales.

This photo from 1964 shows Greg Wittkamper and other young people at Jekyll Island receiving an award. Two of the first black students at Americus High are immediately to his left: Dobbs Wiggins and Jewel Wise.
Courtesy of Greg Wittkamper

Dear Greg,

I expect you will be quite surprised to hear from me. If you remember me at all, it will likely be for unpleasant reasons. I was a classmate of yours at Americus High School and graduated with you in 1965.

I don’t recall ever directly assaulting you, but I probably did, to gain acceptance and accolades of my peers. In any case, I surely participated as part of an enabling audience and tacitly supported and encouraged those who did. For that I am deeply sorry and regretful.”

Jacque Muther commissioned a T-shirt quilt to commemorate her nearly three-decade career in AIDS advocacy. It's now on display at Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Center, part of the Grady Infectious Disease Program.
Jim Burress / WABE

Jacque Muther has spent most of her career working to get low-income AIDS patients life-saving medications as part of the Grady Infectious Disease Program. 

In May, she'll retire. 

Over the years, Muther has amassed a sizable T-shirt collection from various nonprofits, events and people connected to the fight of HIV and AIDS. 

To preserve the memories (and clear out a few drawers), Muther commissioned master crafter Juanita Williams to turn the T-shirts into a quilt. 

The quilt is now on display at the Ponce de Leon Center in Midtown. 

Southern Fried Laughter Conference
Southern Fried Laughter Conference

What makes you laugh? A good joke? An amusing thought? A funny scene in a movie?

At the 2015 Southern Fried Laughter Conference what matters is not what inspires a laugh as much as the act of laughing itself. Lori Sugarman is a co-facilitator with the conference, and Meridy Hurt is a certified laughter yoga leader. Recently, they spoke with WABE's Steve Goss about the benefits of laughter. 

"There's a physical effect." Hurt said.

WABE And PBA30 Outage Tonight At 1 A.M.

Mar 24, 2015

Public Broadcasting Atlanta, WABE 90.1FM and PBA30TV will have a planned outage for maintenance beginning at 1 a.m. Wednesday, March 25.  We apologize for any inconvenience, and will resume broadcast services shortly.

Elly Yu / WABE

President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration in November would have protected millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported, including some parents of U.S. citizen children. But several lawyers in Georgia say that hasn't always been the case in the past several weeks, ever since a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction to halt parts of the president's plan.

Stacey Kizer / flickr.com/staceymk11

On the weekend of May 8-10, the Shaky Knees music festival will present its third annual, three-day weekend of concerts by alternative rock and indie rock bands. One week later, promoter Tim Sweetwood will debut a two-day festival for country artists called Shaky Boots.  

Recently, he spoke with WABE's Steve Goss about the festivals.

David Goldman / Associated Press

This Monday is March 9, but it's not just any other day.

If we were to turn Georgia’s clock back 56 years to that date in 1959, we’d witness the incorporation of our state’s newest city, Peachtree City. 

But, Peachtree City in Fayette County was unlike any other municipality in the state. It was a planned community. Although, as Georgia State University historian Cliff Kuhn explains, the concept of a planned community was not a new one.

Druid Hills Presbyterian Church

From March 7 through March 22, the Atlanta Preservation Center is presenting its 12th annual "Phoenix Flies"─ a city-wide celebration of Atlanta's historic places.  

Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center, and Ellen Cody, events coordinator with the APC, recently spoke with WABE's Steve Goss about this year's event.

NPR's Guy Raz, host of "The TED Radio Hour."
Kainaz Amaria / NPR

On March 6, 2015, the popular NPR series "The TED Radio Hour" launches a new collection of episodes, featuring more talks from the TED series.

Each week, the program collects TED talks that have common themes ─ from creativity to the source of happiness.

Host Guy Raz spoke with WABE's Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on the Feb. 27 edition of "A Closer Look." Among other things, Raz spoke about his favorite TED talk, by Ken Robinson on kids and creativity.  You can hear that here.

Save the Fox
Courtesy of The Fox Theatre

It’s been 40 years since the “Save the Fox” campaign successfully spared Atlanta’s most beloved landmark from demolition. 

How Atlantans first learned of the plan to sell and then destroy the Fox Theatre was due to the efforts of a group of high school students — chief among them, Rodney Mims Cook Jr. 

A native Atlantan, Cook today is the CEO of the National Monuments Foundation. Recently, he spoke with WABE's Steve Goss. 

Mikel Manitius (cropped) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ / flickr.com/trancemist

It was a Monday night last December, in an apartment just outside Decatur. Kevin Davis was home with his girlfriend, his dog and a co-worker who was staying with him. 

“His co-worker got into a verbal altercation which led to his co-worker stabbing [Kevin's] girlfriend,” said the family's lawyer, Mawuli Mel Davis, no relation. 

He said the girlfriend ran into the bedroom where Kevin was. He called the police.

Alison Guillory / WABE

In 1947, siblings Dr. Nathaniel H. Bronner Sr., Arthur E. Bronner Sr. and Emma Bronner began teaching cosmetology at Atlanta's Butler Street YMCA. That first year 300 people came to the Bronner Bros. Trade Show to see beauty seminars and the new products on sale.

This Day in History: Cyclorama Opens In Atlanta

Feb 19, 2015
The Atlanta Cyclorama
Katie King / WABE

This Sunday is Feb. 22. If we were to turn Atlanta's clock back 123 years to that date in 1892, we'd witness the public presentation of a massive circular painting of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta.  

Georgia State University Associate Professor of history Dr. Clifford Kuhn revisits the event with WABE's Steve Goss.