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For many artists their medium of choice is a bush on canvas and for others it's the hands-on feel of molding clay. But for all the many art forms found here in the city of Atlanta few artists use recording equipment to capture sound as an art form. Here audio artist Nat Slaughter expressing his appreciation of sound as an art form. The attached image is called, "missing what makes us us". Slaughter calls it a map excerpt of perambulatory sound recordings.

KKK could challenge "adopt a highway" denial

Jun 13, 2012

A Union County chapter of the Ku Klux Klan tells WABE it’s considering a legal challenge against the state. The potential court battle comes after the Georgia Department of Transportation denied the group’s request to adopt a highway.

Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project at Plant Vogtle is at least a year behind schedule, partly due to mismanagement and poor execution, according to the state’s project inspector.

It could mean higher bills down the line for Georgia Power ratepayers.

The scheduling issues are due to a delay in federal licensing and an early mistake preparing the nuclear site’s foundation.

As a result, the original long-term schedule for the $14 billion project has been thrown out. Since late last year, the project has been managed based on 60-90 day mini-schedules.

The “free ride” is over in the emergency lanes on a stretch of Georgia 400. The Sandy Springs police are ticketing drivers caught using the highway’s shoulder outside the time it’s legally allowed. 

Last month, state transportation officials opened the southbound shoulder on Georgia 400 between Holcomb Bridge Rd. and the North Springs MARTA station. But only during the morning rush hour, says Sandy Springs police spokesperson Forrest Bohannon. 

State denies KKK application to "adopt a highway"

Jun 12, 2012

The Georgia Department of Transportation has denied an application filed by a North Georgia Ku Klux Klan chapter to participate in the state’s adopt a highway program.

The International Keystone Knights applied in May to clean up a portion of state route 515 near the North Carolina border.

Officials have unveiled a new scaled-down, more affordable design for Atlanta’s forthcoming National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which breaks ground in two weeks.

The center, designed by North Carolina-based Freelon Group and HOK-Atlanta, won’t feature the imagery of two interlocking arms, as originally proposed.

But National Center for Civil and Human Rights spokeswoman Isha Lee says a version of that concept remains.

Isaac Newton Farris talks SCLC

Jun 12, 2012
Charles Edwards / WABE News

In April, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an Atlanta-based civil rights organization, said Isaac Newton Farris was no longer its President. Yesterday was the first time Farris talked about the events leading up his ouster as head of the SCLC. Farris is the nephew of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., who founded the SCLC.

Before Farris became President, he says the roles of SCLC’s board and its staff were clearly defined. But Farris says that understanding came into question in January.

The DeKalb County school board Monday delayed a vote on proposed budget cuts after realizing the budget gap was wider than officials originally thought. The board thought they were facing a deficit of $73 million. Instead, district spokesperson Walter Woods says, they found out the shortfall is  $85 million. 

“The board received a report about the tax digest, which we now believe will be 9% lower," Woods says, "The original estimate was 6%. We based deficit projection on that.”

Georgia Tech Institute

Today Georgia Tech announced the single largest financial gift donation to the school and renamed the institute’s former College of Management for the donor.  

The $50 million dollars will go a long way in attracting top students in department such as the college of computing says Dean Steve Salbu.

Salbu is a professor of business ethics and says the donation helps programs attract the best and brightest, “the combination of engineering and business or computing and business at a top university like Georgia Tech is so attractive to these students."

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The Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office met Monday about a request from the Ku Klux Klan to participate in the state’s Adopt a Highway Program in Union County. In a statement,  officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation say the department is still in the process of reviewing the application.

MARTA Board Approves Budget, Warns of Future Cuts

Jun 11, 2012

The MARTA board has approved its budget for the next fiscal year. Despite lower revenues, fares and service will remain unchanged, at least for now.

Largely due to lower sales tax collections throughout Fulton and DeKalb, MARTA’s budget is down about $30 million from last year.

To close the gap, MARTA is using tens of millions from its fast-depleting reserve fund.

Fernbank in danger with budget talks

Jun 11, 2012

Despite trying to close a projected $73 million dollar budget hole, it looked like the DeKalb County School Board was going to spare the Fernbank Science Center.

That changed today when the board decided to consider cutting about $3 million from the Center’s budget.

“Fernbank would remain open and would still be a science center that has a core educational mission of hands on science education for children,” said DeKalb spokesman Walter Woods. “But it would have a reduced budget.”

Atlanta considers cell phone bill

Jun 11, 2012

Texting while driving is illegal in Georgia.

But Atlanta city employees could get fired for using their cell phone while driving under a proposal city council is considering.

Councilman H. Lamar Willis, a lawyer, says the city pays hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. The money goes to people who were in car accidents where a city employee was at fault.

The recent rain may have canceled some weekend plans. But, it has also benefited parts of central and southern Georgia that needed it the most. Southeastern Georgia got some relief from Tropical Depression Beryl a few weeks ago.

Now, state climatologist Bill Murphey says, southwest and central Georgia are benefiting from the current rainfall.

“Around the Macon area, north of the Columbus area, and even the Augusta area got some," Murphey says, "And these areas were all in exceptional drought. We’ve still got a ways to go, but the rainfall has helped.”

Georgia State moves into 'endangered' Sweet Auburn

Jun 8, 2012

Georgia State University is buying the Atlanta Life building in the city’s Sweet Auburn district.

The purchase comes as some raise concerns about the lack of thriving commercial property in the neighborhood.

Georgia State is spending about $10 million to buy the Atlanta Life building and another one next to it. The school’s President, Mark Becker, says the area on the corner of Piedmont and Auburn Avenues will be home to Georgia State’s welcome center, admissions office, alumni association and honors college.

Atlantic Station Bans Smoking in Common Areas

Jun 8, 2012

Atlantic Station announced Friday it will soon ban smoking in its common areas. The decision to ban smoking on the property’s sidewalks, green space and parking garage comes after Atlantic Station owners recently posed the question to customers on its Facebook page. David Anderson is General Manager of the property. He says more than 1,000 people responded to the question and overwhelmingly expressed support for the ban.

Ratepayers received unexpected relief last month when state regulators and Georgia Power agreed to reduce average monthly electric bills by about $8 per month.

Ratepayers are getting a break because the cost to produce electricity has fallen sharply in recent years, due partly to plummeting natural gas prices.

The Public Service Commission and Georgia Power are currently working out the details of a six billion dollar agreement that covers the company's fuel costs for the next two years. 

Hall: Sweet Auburn needs a 'Marshall Plan'

Jun 8, 2012
Charles Edwards / WABE News

Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood is again being considered one of America’s most endangered places. Sweet Auburn’s city councilman says he knows why. He’s also trying to come up with a solution.

Once again Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has concerns about the Atlanta Housing Authority and its chief Renee Glover.

Glover’s compensation was cited this week by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, as the highest for any housing authority executive in the country at over 6-hundred thousand dollars.

HUD will now set a maximum salary it will contribute for public housing executives.

In 2011, HUD asked public housing authorities across the nation to provide data for the top 5 highest paid employees.

Georgia’s Hispanic population has increased 800 percent since 1990.  

And along with that growth comes ever-widening disparities related to Latinos' access to healthcare.

That’s the finding of the Georgia Latino Health Report, released Thursday by the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia and Emory University.

Why an increase in health-related disparities?

There are two main reasons, the study finds. 

The “Great Recession” has cost many their jobs—and as a result, health insurance.

Fulton County opened a new regional health center in the Adamsville area of southwest Atlanta Thursday to try and address health disparities in the county.

According to data from the Georgia Division of Public Health, Adamsville residents have higher rates of Asthma, HIV deaths and major cardiovascular disease than other parts of Fulton County. As a result, Fulton County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Emma Darnell has been pushing for the center for several years.

New inmate transitioning program includes onion packing

Jun 7, 2012

‘Transitional’ inmates, who are getting ready to return to the outside world, are packing onions at a Glennville farm.

A part of their paychecks goes to the state to defray incarceration costs.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says the effort differs from a program last year involving people who are on probation.

The state sent probationers to farms after a new law cracking down on illegal workers left thousands of farm jobs unfilled. Few lasted more than a couple of hours.

An Emory University writing professor was named the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate today. The Library of Congress bestowed the honor on Natasha Trethewey, a Mississippi native and Pulitzer Prize winner. After winning the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems "Native Guard," about a black Civil War regiment, Trethewey explained to WABE how she gets inspired to write.

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have agreed to look into the death of 19-year-old Ariston Waiters. The investigation follows a meeting that Yates had today with State Senator Vincent Fort, members of Waiter’s family and their attorney. Waiters was fatally shot by a union city police officer in December.

Before meeting with Yates, Senator Vincent Fort says he’s requesting the investigation because he does not believe justice was served when a grand jury recently decided against indicting Union City police officer Luther Lewis.

Atlanta residents talk T-SPLOST

Jun 6, 2012

Atlanta residents are asking questions and voicing concerns about the proposed transportation sales tax referendum scheduled for July 31st.

Last night, the city introduced a list of projects that would be paid for by revenue from the tax.

Before he saw the list, Tom Tomaka wanted to know if the projects on it would create new roads and bridges in the city.

He hopes not because he says he has enough problems riding his bike in Atlanta right now.

Metro Atlanta school systems have been facing shrinking budgets for the past few years. Declining property tax revenues and reduced federal and state funds have forced most districts to make some big cuts.  

Most recently, the Fulton County School Board approved a $1.1 billion budget. District spokesperson Susan Hale says they were able to avoid furloughs, layoffs, and a property tax increase.

Atlanta's T-SPLOST list

Jun 6, 2012

If Metro Atlanta voters approve a transportation sales tax on July 31st, the city of Atlanta knows how it would spend its share of the money. Last night, Mayor Reed’s top transportation advisor, Tom Weyandt, released a list of projects.

You can view the list here.

State officials announced Monday they plan to make a decision about the redesign of the state’s Medicaid program sometime this summer. The state was originally supposed to select a new system by April, but say they moved the deadline due to a large amount of stakeholder input. WABE spoke with those in charge of the process to see how restructuring efforts are progressing.

Gwinnett Commissioners Squash Plans to Privatize Airport

Jun 5, 2012

The Gwinnett County Commission has unanimously rejected a proposal to allow commercial flights at Briscoe Airport in Lawrenceville.

The vote was years in the making, but it comes just days after Commissioner Shirley Lasseter abruptly resigned her position. Federal officials caught her accepting bribes.

About 200 attended the meeting. It was held at the county’s main government complex in Lawrenceville.

The vast majority of those in attendance dressed in red to show their opposition to the airport project.

Atlanta holds T-SPLOST meeting

Jun 5, 2012
www.nps.gov

Tonight, the city of Atlanta holds an open house to discuss proposed transportation plans for the city.

Atlanta has a list of projects that would be funded if voters approve a transportation sales tax on July 31st. Mayor Kasim Reed’s transportation policy advisor will unveil Atlanta’s list of projects during tonight’s open house. The advisor, Tom Weyandt, will also talk about the transportation sales tax referendum for Metro Atlanta.

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