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Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Several people leaped to action and risked their own lives Thursday morning to help a visually impaired man who fell from the MARTA Five Points station train platform to the tracks below.

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A video shot by a bystander shows two people who had jumped down next to the man lifting him by his legs while two others on the platform grab his shoulders. The video shows transit police officers arriving just as the man is hoisted back onto the platform.

Candace Wheeler / WABE

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Jay LaPrete / Associated Press

There's an initiative underway in Columbus, Ga., to become the first city in the world to test all of its senior citizens for Alzheimer's Disease.

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Neurologist Jonathan Liss is leading a three-year study and said about 40,000 people in Columbus are eligible to take part.

Longtime Atlanta Driving Range Shutters Its Doors

Apr 6, 2017
Grand Slam Golf and Baseball closes April 9 to make way for townhomes.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

After 53 years, one of the last golf driving ranges inside the perimeter will disappear.

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Daniel McDonald sweeps the concrete walkway leading up to entrance of Grand Slam Golf and Baseball off North Druid Hills Road. He sports typical golfers gear, with a blue striped shirt tucked into crisp, white pants. He’s the owner of the range.

“I’ve owned it since 2005,” McDonald says. “I had a partner originally and I bought them out about four years ago.”

Matt Rourke, File / Associated Press

Shoe chain Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the latest retailer to succumb to increasing competition from online rivals like Amazon.

The Topeka, Kansas-based retailer said Tuesday that it will be immediately closing nearly 400 stores as part of the reorganization. It has over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries and was founded in 1956.

In Georgia, the stores at these five locations will be closing: 

The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is one of the longest-running spring festivals in Atlanta.
Courtesy of Atlanta Dogwood Festival

It’s time to head outside and experience Atlanta’s best spring festivals this weekend.

Atlanta’s signature festival, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, is back at Piedmont Park. Sandy Springs is also getting in on the festival fun with the Rhythm & Brews festival. Plus there’s a kids Easter egg hunt and a live painting event at an intown park.

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‘Art Not Ego’ — Poetry Slams Unite, Share Truths, Create Acceptance

Apr 6, 2017
from video by Mikael Trench / vox ATL

Poetry slams are one of the few places on earth that people of every ethnicity, orientation, gender identity and every other divider of people can gather and tell their personal raw truths and be accepted for all that they are.

BRANDEN CAMP / Associated Press

Delta Air Lines bought pizza for stranded passengers after canceling about 300 flights in the Southeast because of severe weather.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Atlanta-based airline ordered more than 450 pies for passengers in states including Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida after storms on Wednesday caused flights to be canceled or delayed. The storms produced strong winds and pounded the region with hail.

A 51-year-old Georgia woman is recovering after authorities say a shark bit her on the thigh as she swam off Florida's Atlantic coast.

Melanie Lawson tells Orlando television station WESH she had told her children not to go deeper than 3 feet (about 1 meter) as they swam off New Smyrna Beach on Wednesday. She says she felt something hit her, knocking her over in the water, and then felt the pain.

Lawson, who lives in Marietta, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

She says she'll go back in the ocean again, but added it will probably be a long time.

Cloudy storm skies over WABE studios in Atlanta.
John Lorinc / WABE News

Cleanup efforts are underway after severe storms tore through the Southeast on Wednesday.  

A long-track tornado was confirmed in Columbus, Georgia, and there are reports of at least three other suspected tornadoes throughout the state.

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David Goldman / Associated Press

Basil Eleby could be facing federal charges in connection with the fire that took out a segment of an Interstate 85 overpass Thursday. 

Authorities say Eleby, 39, started the fire, using a chair and a shopping cart, which then spread to construction materials being stored under the bridge.

Susanna Capelouto / WABE

Last week's fire on Interstate 85 has stirred debate about whether construction materials should be stored beneath overpasses.

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The pipes kept underneath I-85 were made of fiberglass and 'high density polyethylene,’ or HDPE. The Georgia Department of Transportation says those materials aren't highly flammable. But Mi Geum Chorzepa, an assistant professor at UGA’s college of engineering, says the material could be partly to blame.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed refused to answer questions about the lawsuit and walked away from reporters.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed asked Congress to keep federal transportation funding flowing to cities and states in a trip to Washington, D.C. this week.

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In testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Reed pointed out the projects that Atlanta has accomplished thanks to federal support: From fixing roads and bridges to building a streetcar line.

David Goldman / Associated Press

A large tornado touched down in rural southwest Georgia on Wednesday, toppling trees and power lines as dangerous storms battered the Deep South with heavy rain and hail as large as baseballs in some spots.

Forecasters said a wide area including large parts of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina were under threat of powerful, long-lived tornadoes. Schools, churches and some businesses shut as a precaution.

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Deepening the shipping channel to the Port of Savannah is expected to cost taxpayers a whopping $267 million more than previously estimated.

Army Corps of Engineers officials said Wednesday they now estimate the massive dredging project will cost $973 million. That's 38 percent more than the $706 million price tag the agency had been citing since 2014.

Work began in 2015 to deepen 39 miles of the Savannah River to make room for larger cargo ships to reach the Savannah port.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

There’s a lot of new development in Atlanta these days, and with it often comes worries about trees. When construction goes up, trees on private land tend to come down.

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And now in a park in Peachtree Hills, a neighborhood in south Buckhead, forest on public land is a concern too.

In the center of Peachtree Hills Park, there's a playing field and a community garden, and at the border are trees. That’s where Laura Dobson stands, looking at a handful of pines, birches and an oak.

David Goldman / Associated Press

 

Flights to Atlanta's airport were temporarily halted this morning because of severe storms.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport tweeted from its official account that the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered a ground stop, which meant that flights heading to Atlanta from other airports were held. It has since been lifted.

​The airport's website also warns, "Due to inclement weather, some flights have been delayed. Please check with your airline before arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport."

Susanna Capelouto / WABE

Investigators say the man accused of starting the raging fire that caused the collapse of a major Atlanta interstate bridge could face federal charges.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assistant special-agent-in-charge James Deir told WSB-TV on Wednesday that Basil Eleby could be charged with federal offenses after the U.S. attorney's office reviews the March 30 incident.

Eleby is already charged with first-degree arson and first-degree property damage and remains in jail on a $200,000 bond.

Al Such

The Atlanta area has already seen scattered strong storms Wednesday morning, and the rest of the day will bring more of the same.  That means everyone needs to make preparations and take immediate cover if severe weather hits.  

On "Morning Edition," Denis O'Hayer got an update, and a look ahead, from Laura Belanger, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

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John Lorinc / WABE

Severe thunderstorms are moving across the Southeast today, and officials are warning residents to be ready for the worst.

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The storms are expected to bring hail, heavy winds and rain this morning.

"The Storm Prediction Center does have all of North and Central Georgia in a moderate risk.  They have a five-tier system.  This is number 4 of 5.  So this is a significant outbreak that we are expecting today,” said Laura Belanger from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta's sewer system has been under federal oversight for nearly 20 years. Now, an independent office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at how well Atlanta has complied with its agreements to clean up water pollution and how well the EPA has overseen it.

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U.S. Congressman John Lewis wrote to the EPA Office of Inspector General asking for a review earlier this year.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta has been closed for several months for repairs, and on Tuesday visitors were allowed to tour only the first floor.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

On Tuesday, hundreds of visitors took silent tours of the home where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is remembering the day King was assassinated 49 years ago in Memphis with silent tours of his childhood home. 

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"It’s going to be a silent open house, so they can reflect and pay homage to this great man," said Rebecca Karcher, the chief of interpretation, education and cultural resource management for the site.  

Alison Guillory / WABE

Among the questions being asked after Thursday's fire that caused the collapse of an Interstate 85 overpass are: Who was storing items under the bridge and why?

The Georgia Department of Transportation said Tuesday the material came from a 2007 project that was going to install advanced traffic management systems along Georgia 400. The contractor, TDC Systems Integration of Smyrna, was found to be in default and stopped work in April 2008.

GDOT: I-85 To Be Reopened By Mid-June Or Earlier

Apr 4, 2017
Ali Guillory / WABE

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) said the Interstate 85 overpass will be rebuilt by June 15th, about 10 weeks from now.

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ELLY YU / WABE

It's a quiet morning inside Mama's restaurant on Piedmont Road, just one block away from where the Interstate 85 bridge fell. Over the weekend, the road under the bridge was closed off, and that's hurt business for the restaurant, said Jaime Zelaya, Mama's morning manager. 

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"It's usually really bombing here because all the business, you know, after-hours people that goes to the clubs, they come over here and eat because this is a 24-hours restaurant," he said. 

Deal Asks Feds For More Money For I-85 Reconstruction

Apr 4, 2017
David Goldman / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Monday, saying that Georgia will need more federal funding than the $10 million the federal government has pledged to help with reconstruction efforts for the Interstate 85 bridge that collapsed last week. 

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David Goldman / Associated Press

Commuters are looking for alternate routes after the Interstate 85 bridge collapse and many people are choosing to use MARTA.

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Early data shows ridership jumped Monday morning by more than half and parking lots at several stations in the North corridor were full.

MARTA's chief of staff Rukiya Thomas told "Closer Look" hosts Rose Scott and Jim Burress that more trains and larger buses in service.

Alison Guillory / WABE

A court date is scheduled in the fight over the future of an Atlanta site where convicts were forced to work in terrible conditions.

David Goldman / Associated Press

In February, INRIX 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard reported Atlanta was the eighth worst city in the world for traffic with an average of 70.8 hours spent in congestion. Before Thursday, it would have been safe to assume that city's traffic woes couldn’t get much worse.

But that was Atlanta BC: Before the collapse.

John Bazemore / associated press file

The daughter of Coretta Scott King said that she wants her family to publish the speeches, letters and commentary of the widow of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

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"I know that her voice and her life can serve as a true inspiration to so many women," Bernice King said last week at the National Press Club.

 

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