News from the local region for a station

Police and fire rescue officers in Sandy Springs are learning how to communicate with people with autism spectrum disorder. 

More than half of officers have participated in two-hour training session with Spirit of Autism so far. 

AP Photo

Next Monday is Oct. 19.  If we were to turn Atlanta's clock back 55 years to that date in 1960, we'd witness the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr at an anti-segregation lunch counter sit-in at Rich's department store downtown.

Georgia State University Associate Professor of History Dr. Clifford Kuhn revisited the event in a conversation with Steve Goss.  

StoryCorps Atlanta

Buddies Shawn Tucker and Michael Bartenfeld met on the first day of ninth grade in August of 2001.  Close friends ever since, they recently took an afternoon in the StoryCorps Atlanta booth to talk about what Shawn, a practicing Sikh, experienced in the aftermath of Sept. 11.  

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps booth.

courtesy of A3C

In its 11th year, the A3C Festival and Conference continues to celebrate the diversity of and innovation in hip-hop across the country and the world.

This year, headliners like De La Soul, 2 Chainz and the Dungeon Family will grace A3C’s stages in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward. There will also be a series of curated showcases that highlight some of the up-and-coming innovators in hip-hop today.

"Priceless Wellness"
Zeng Yi

The striking black and white photographs on display at a new exhibit at The Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum and Library span three decades in the lives of residents of several Chinese villages in the late 1970s through the early 2000s. The time period marked a moment of sweeping economic reform in the Asian nation, and with it, the rapid development of booming metropolises.

But that is not the China captured in "The People’s China…Village Life by Master Photographer Zeng Yi.”

Nick Johns playing a Steinway Concert Grand once played by Emanuel Ax, Diana Krall, Lang Lang, McCoy Tyner, and many others at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Alpharetta.
Myke Johns / WABE

The piano manufacturer Steinway is offering the chance to meet some living legends … or at least play their pianos.

Three pianos on display at Steinway Piano Galleries have been played by the likes of Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, Billy Joel and more. WABE producer Myke Johns paid a visit to check them out along with his brother, a classically trained pianist.

Wally Gobetz / Flickr.com

Atlanta is one of the best cities in America to be a millennial. That's according to Time's Money section, which ranked us second, after Austin.

The list is a group of cities where there's good projected job growth ─ in Atlanta, more than 14 percent through 2019, Moody's Analytics reports.

Atlanta has a relatively affordable cost of living, compared to New York City or the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, there's lots to do here, and good access to grocery stores, parks, bars.

Ric Feld / Associated Press

The battle over gate space at Dallas Love Field continues in a Texas federal court, as Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines duke it out. 

Atlanta skyline in smog. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlanta_cityscape_032008.jpg
Cwolfsheep / wikimedia.org

Atlanta has struggled to meet federal limits on the pollution that causes smog, and those standards may get tougher. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets limits on ground-level ozone, also known as smog, and the agency has a court-ordered deadline to release a new standard on Thursday.

Smog forms when cars, factories and power plants release chemicals, that than then react with sunlight. Health and environmental advocacy groups support reducing smog levels, while some business groups argue that tougher regulations are too expensive.

Mike Schmid / flickr.com/mikeschmid

October is crime prevention month, but for police departments like Atlanta every day represents an opportunity to prevent crime and criminal behavior.

One of the fastest growing crimes in the city this year is car break-ins. Thieves have broken into almost 7,000 vehicles so far this year, according to Atlanta police. That’s a 6 percent increase over the same period last year.

But authorities are also catching more of these thieves. Officials are reporting a 10 percent increase in the number of arrests compared to the same period in 2014.



TomorrowWorld organizers said in a statement that they understand festivalgoers' frustrations and disappointments following a weekend that many attendees called "chaotic."  

Michell Eloy / WABE

In September, WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" This is the latest installment in the project series. 

The South is the fastest-growing region in the nation, and Atlanta has reaped the benefits of that in-migration. People move here from across the country for jobs, school, the city’s reputation as a civil rights force and love.

The University of Georgia sign in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Brenna Beech / WABE

A former University of Georgia police officer has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the university and the Board of Regents, claiming he was fired after he called out his department for illegally arresting people who were reporting possible alcohol overdoses.  

Jay Park, an officer with the department for five years, was fired last year after he told judicial officials about his department’s conduct, according to the lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court. 

Kelly Gissendaner Execution Raises Transparency Issues

Sep 30, 2015
Kelly Gissendaner at the 2011 graduation ceremony for the Certificate in Theological Studies Program at Lee Arrendale State Prison, in Alto, GA
Ann Borden / Emory Photo Video

Kelly Gissendaner was convicted of malice murder in 1998 for plotting to kill her husband.

But just after midnight Wednesday, the only woman on death row in Georgia was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles held a last-minute clemency hearing Tuesday to consider supplemental information in Gissendaner’s case. One of Gissendaner's sons attended the hearing to plead for his mother's life, but the board, as it has done before in the Gissendaner case, denied the request.

One of two belugas whale calves born this week at Sea World in San Antonio, swims with its mother, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008. The calves, not yet named, were born Sunday to 9-year-old mother Whisper and Thursday to 22-year-old mother Sikku.
Eric Gay / AP Photo

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries agency said it is pleased with a federal judge's ruling to uphold NOAA’s decision.

The Georgia Aquarium lost an appeal on Monday to import 18 beluga whales from Russia. An aquarium spokeswoman said Wednesday that it is still reviewing the documents and decision. 

Some of the 18 whales were captured by scientists nearly a decade ago and have been swimming around a research facility in Russia.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a news conference before a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

From presidential candidates to the media, there are often plenty of inaccuracies between what is said publicly and what is actually the truth.

PolitiFact Georgia listens, checks and verifies all kinds of statements by lawmakers, public officials, local law enforcement and the media.

PolitiFact Georgia is published in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and on myajc.com.

By the 1930s, there were more than 5,000 Rosenwald schools built around the rural South.
Courtesy of the University of Virginia Library.

In the early 1900s, schoolhouses began popping up in African-American communities all around the rural South. The buildings looked simple, but their impact was significant. They provided many Southern black children with their first opportunity to receive an education. 

Eventually, they would become known as the Rosenwald Schools because a Chicago businessman and philanthropist named Julius Rosenwald helped make them a reality.

Atlanta-area composer and singer Elise Witt
Irene Young

"We're All Born Singing:" that's the name of a new CD and book from Atlanta-area composer and singer Elise Witt. It's also her paradigm as a music educator. 

Witt will officially launch her album with a concert at Decatur's Oakhurst Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, but she gave Amy Kiley a preview. Witt began by explaining how she herself was born singing.

Brenna Beech / WABE

Earlier this month, WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" This is the latest installment in the project series. 

Atlanta is where it is because of trains.

In 1837, two engineers for the Western and Atlantic Railroad were looking for a spot on the Eastern Continental Divide to end a new rail line. They drove a stake in the ground, and it was from that point that the settlement of Terminus, which would become Atlanta, sprawled outwards.

Don McCullough / flickr.com/DonMcCullough


Is Georgia's ban on drones flying within a five-mile radius of the governor's mansion legal? What will drones look like in five years? 

State Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville, Georgia, is looking to answer those questions during the first of five House Study Committee meetings starting Wednesday. 

This summer, the Georgia Building Authority banned drones flying over not only the state Capitol building's heliport, but also the governor's mansion.

Brenna Beech / WABE

New York has the subway; London has the tube; and Atlanta has MARTA.

But Atlanta's public transportation system has a tarnished reputation as not only difficult to access, but routinely late, making it hard to plan for arrival and departure times.

A new grassroots movement is trying to change the image of MARTA. The group is called the MARTA Army.

Simon Berrebi and Harshath J.R. are two of its co-founders. They joined WABE’s Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “Closer Look” to discuss some of the problems with MARTA and possible solutions, as well.

Roswell, Georgia City Hall on July 19, 2007
Carrie Qualters / Wikimedia Commons

Roswell, Georgia, is a northern suburb of Atlanta. Roswell is the state’s eighth largest city with a population of more than 94,000 residents, according to the 2014 U.S. Census estimate.

Roswell is an older city, incorporated as a town back in 1854, and it's steeped in plenty of state history.

But Mayor Jere Wood discussed more modern issues like zoning, transportation, schools, how to create a more walk-friendly city, and more during an interview on “Closer Look.”

Comedian Amy Schumer attends the 74th Annual Peabody Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on Sunday, May 31, 2015, in New York.
Charles Sykes/Invision / Associated Press


There’s a lot going on around Atlanta this weekend including Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer sharing the stage at Lakewood for the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival.

To learn more, host Amy Kiley spoke with Betsy Riley of Atlanta Magazine. 

They began by talking about the return of Flux Night.

A proposal to build a soccer stadium in DeKalb County was approved by a majority of commissioners last month, but it faced fierce opposition at a meeting Monday night.

DeKalb Commissioners Nancy Jester, Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader hosted what they called a “community conversation” about DeKalb County's stadium deal with the new professional soccer team Atlanta United FC. All three voted against the plan, but were outnumbered by the other four commissioners.

About 70 residents attended the meeting. Some were upset the deal was approved without public input.

Jimmy Carter greets a young Nepali boy with the customary Namaste gesture during the Carter Center’s observation of Nepal’s constituent assembly elections in November 2013.
The Carter Center

Jimmy Carter plans to travel to Nepal this November to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project, marking the 32nd year the former president has donated his labor to the housing nonprofit.

In a statement on Tuesday, Carter says that the medical team treating him for cancer recently consented to the trip. The former president expressed some doubt about his ability to participate about a month ago when he revealed that cancer had spread to his brain.

Ric Feld / Associated Press

Coca-Cola says it will not renew its sponsorship of a professional group for dietitians, bringing to a halt one of the many outreach efforts on health by the world's biggest soda maker.

The Atlanta-based company said its decision was driven by its "budget realities." It said it will also not renew current contracts with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Cardiology when they end this year. The groups were informed of the decision earlier this summer, the company said Tuesday.

Amtrak says that on Thursday it will start charging $20 to passengers who exceed restrictions for carry-on and personal items.
Michael Kurras/Shreder 9100 / http://en.wikipedia.org/Shreder 9100

Amtrak is boarding a baggage fee bandwagon that has generated billions in revenue for the airline industry.

The passenger train operator says that on Thursday it will start charging $20 to passengers who exceed restrictions for carry-on and personal items.

Customers are allowed to bring two personal items weighing up to 25 pounds and two carry-on bags weighing no more than 50 pounds. The fee applies to each item above those limits.

Joaquin strengthened to a hurricane Wednesday morning as it nears the Bahamas.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the central Bahamas as the storm approaches.

Hurricane Joaquin's maximum sustained winds increased to near 75 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says additional strengthening is expected over the next two days.

The storm is centered about 245 miles east-northeast of the central Bahamas and is moving southwest near 6 mph. Joaquin's center is expected to pass over or near the central Bahamas Wednesday night or Thursday.

The University of Georgia sign in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Brenna Beech / WABE

When Georgia Southern University rolled out body cameras for its 34 patrol officers earlier this month, it joined a growing number of colleges and universities across the country using them.

Several of Georgia's public colleges use body cameras, including large schools like the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State and Georgia Southern, as well as smaller schools such as Bainbridge State College and the College of Coastal Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The family of a 25-year-old man who died during a sleep study at an Atlanta medical center has been awarded $20.5 million.

Representing the family of Brandon M. Harris, attorney Shean Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that a DeKalb County State Court jury on Friday awarded about $10 million to Harris' estate for pain and suffering and $10.5 million for the full value of his life.