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In Temple, Ga., Deadlock on Marijuana Ordinance

May 2, 2017
Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file

The small town of Temple, Georgia, has become the latest to consider easing penalties for marijuana possession.

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Last night, the city council there was deadlocked in a two-to-two vote on the proposal.

But after a special election in June, when a fifth council member is chosen, the matter will be brought up again.

John Bazemore / associated press file

Wildfires this summer are expected to be most severe in southwestern U.S. states, Florida, Georgia and in some parts of California and Nevada, forecasters said Monday.

 

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The summer 2017 fire outlook issued by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise also said heavy winter snow and spring rains that flooded many Western states will probably delay the onset of this season's worst wildfires.

 

John Davisson / Invision/AP file

Col. Bruce Hampton died hours after taking part in a celebrity-filled birthday celebration Monday night at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.

The singer-guitarist turned 70 years old last week, and the event was honored with a four-hour show.

During the encore, Hampton collapsed while onstage and was taken to the hospital.

Shortly before 3 a.m., former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks confirmed on Facebook that Hampton had died.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference to announce he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies Monday, March 28, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia teachers will get a 2 percent salary increase while state employees who handle child welfare cases will see a 19 percent raise under the state budget.

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Gov. Nathan Deal highlighted the increases for child welfare case managers at a Monday ceremony to sign the $49 billion spending plan.

Of the total, nearly $25 billion comes from the state, with the rest coming from federal sources.

I-85 Bridge Opening Should Beat Deadline By Weeks

May 1, 2017
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WABE

The I-85 overpass should re-open on May 26, weeks before the original date of June 15.

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That's the word Monday afternoon from Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry.

"We have not lost one full day of weather in this time frame, even though we've had some sporadic showers, just like we've had today,” he said “The contractor's been able to make the most of the weather."

Massive Wildfire May Be A Good Thing For Georgia Swamp

May 1, 2017
John Bazemore / Associated Press

While the massive wildfire on the Georgia-Florida line has burned more than 100,000 acres so far, it may actually be good for the area.

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Parts of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge have been burning for almost a month after a lightning strike caused a fire.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

These days, East Atlanta is a diverse, urban neighborhood with bars and music venues.

But once it was a battlefield. Two cannons, a mile apart, still point up to the sky as reminders.

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Henry Bryant examined the cannon near his house. It stands on a landscaped island in the middle of a residential street.

“It really hasn’t had much done to it," Bryant said, "since 1877 is when this monument got here.”

Ian Palmer

It’s a car enthusiast's dream at Perimeter Mall one Sunday morning: Ratrods, Volkswagens, McLarens, Lamborghinis, BMWs, Mustangs, Jaguars — old and new alike — a row of fifty plus Dodge Chargers, and even a couple of Austin Powers inspired “Shaguars.”

And that’s just within a 50-foot radius of longtime collectors Skip and Brandon Smith’s Classic AutoSmith vendor tent at the Caffeine and Octane car show.

Graduates line up before the ceremony at South High School, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Students graduating from college this month may have a good chance of finding employment within Georgia.

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“The unemployment rate is basically back to where it was before the Great Recession. And we’re not staring into another recession for another year or two,” said Dr. Jeff Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of Georgia.

Something else giving the state a leg up: officials are aggressively fighting to boost Georgia's overall economy.

SURBER BARBER CHOATE & HERTLEIN ARCHITECTS

Located in Midtown, 10th & Juniper is one of 13 public housing assisted residential properties owned and operated by the Atlanta Housing Authority. Eleven of those 13 properties are senior high-rise communities and the other two are small family communities. 

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Mike Stewart / Associated Press

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

Avondale Estates Is Going On A Road Diet

Apr 28, 2017
Avondale Estates now has to draw up plans on how it's going to do the road diet.
Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

The main road through the city of Avondale Estates is slimming down.

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The Georgia Department of Transportation has approved plans to change North Avondale Road from five lanes to just three where it passes through the main part of the city - from Clarendon Avenue to a bit past Sams Crossing. 

Al Such / WABE

President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address a National Rifle Association convention in more than 30 years when he spoke Friday at the group's annual meeting.

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He kicked off his speech by praising Republican Congressional candidate Karen Handel. 

“She’s totally for the NRA. She’s totally for the Second Amendment," Trump said of the candidate. 

Al Such / WABE

The National Rifle Association Convention kicked off in Atlanta Thursday, and, today, Donald Trump will become the first sitting president to address a the annual meeting in more than 30 years.

The last president to address an NRA convention was Ronald Reagan, who spoke to the 1983 gathering, according to the powerful gun rights lobby. Trump's appearance in Atlanta is expected to spark significant protests, in particular a die-in in Woodruff Park. 

Ric Feld, File / Associated Press

Waffle House co-founder Thomas Forkner Sr., died Wednesday at his house in Johns Creek. He was 98 years old.

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Forkner, a DeKalb County native, went to John Marshall Law School prior to getting drafted into the U.S. Army.

According to a statement from the Waffle House, Forkner was a security officer for the Manhattan Project, which was responsible for producing the first nuclear weapons.

Karen Clarke / Trust for Public Land

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has expanded by bits and pieces since it was created in the 1970s. The park's property adds up to about 7,000 acres in patches along nearly 50 miles of the Chattahoochee River, from Lake Lanier down to the city of Atlanta.

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Claude "Tex" McIver
Fulton County Sheriff's Office via AP

A prominent Atlanta attorney has been indicted on charges including murder in the fatal shooting of his wife last year.

 

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Thursday that Claud "Tex" McIver faces charges including malice murder and influencing witnesses. McIver has said the Sept. 25 shooting of his wife, business executive Diane McIver, was an accident.

 

Stephen Maples, a lawyer for McIver, did not immediately respond to an email and a phone message seeking comment.

 

Al Such / WABE

 

In January the Atlanta Board of Education announced a task force that would focus on affordable housing. Their purpose? To explore the possibility of re-purposing surplus APS facilities into affordable housing units. 

The task force is made up of both business and community leaders. To find out more about their mission, "Closer Look" hosts Rose Scott and Jim Burress spoke to Nathaniel Smith, chairman of the Affordable Housing task force. He's also the founder and chief equity officer for the Atlanta based, nonprofit the Partnership for Southern Equity.

Al Such / WABE

Private colleges that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities would lose state funding for scholarships and research under a new Georgia law.

 

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed the measure today.

 

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The measure is expected to have no immediate impact since no colleges in Georgia have embraced so-called "sanctuary" policies. Students at several metro Atlanta universities did call for changes following President Donald Trump's election.

 

MARTA
Alison Guillory / WABE

The day after a section of an Interstate 85 bridge in Atlanta collapsed, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority saw a 21 percent increase in ridership. Nearly a month later, the growth in new riders is slowing down.

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Since the collapse, MARTA has experienced an average increase of 11 percent more riders on its trains.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the new March jobless metro Atlanta was 5.9 percent. That is down from 6.1 percent in February and 7 percent from March 2014.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in March, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

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That's down half a point from March 2016.  

"We have 103,000 more jobs today than we had at this same time last year, which is right at a 4 percent job growth over the year," state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / associated press file

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation giving the state broad authority to intervene at struggling local schools.

 

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The bill is an alternative to Deal's preferred strategy for these schools: A constitutional amendment seeking to let the state take over some schools that voters rejected in November.

 

Gwinnett County Police Department

Charges have been filed against two fired Gwinnett County police officers who authorities say were captured on video kicking and hitting a man during a traffic stop.

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Gwinnett County police on Wednesday announced charges against Michael Bongiovanni and Robert McDonald. Each man faces a felony charge of violation of oath of office and a misdemeanor battery charge.

Branden Camp / Associated Press

Atlanta long has had a reputation for affordable housing. Compared to the national average, the city is still one of the most affordable, large metro areas.

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Last year the average Fulton County homeowner spent about 25.8 percent of their income on housing, that's according to RealtyTrac, a website that tracks home price trends.

Mercedes Benz Stadium under construction
Alison Guillory / WABE file

Workers are racing to complete Atlanta's new $1.5 billion stadium project in the next three months after ongoing roof issues have delayed the facility's opening.

 

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the building is 90 percent done, and "is looking great."

 

Piedmont Road Reopens A Little Earlier Than Expected

Apr 26, 2017
Dan Raby / WABE

Atlanta drivers got some good news this morning as Piedmont Road reopened about 90 minutes earlier than expected, according to local news reports.

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Because of the ongoing Interstate 85 bridge reconstruction, the Georgia Department of Transportation had closed Piedmont Road, just under the bridge, at 9 a.m. Tuesday.  Work crews had to set the final section of beams on the highway, GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.

Ali Guillory / WABE

State officials have announced that rebuilding the collapsed section of Interstate 85 in Atlanta will cost up to $16.6 million.

 

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Georgia Department of Transportation set a June 15 deadline for the completion of the new I-85 bridge, although no official timetable was announced.

 

David Goldman / Associated Press

So far, the Georgia Department of Transportation says, work to rebuild the Interstate 85 overpass that collapsed last month is on track to beat the June 15 completion deadline. Officials also have announced that the reconstruction will cost up to $16.6 million.

GDOT construction director Marc Mastronardi said at a news conference Tuesday that the federal government is expected to pay 90 percent of the costs associated with the repair.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Renters will pay $975 to $1,050 for a Gwinnett County two-bedroom apartment with a pool, $1,100 for a Buckhead one-bedroom apartment with a workout facility, and $1,100 to $1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment for students near the Emory campus.

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This is what the rental market looks like here in Atlanta, according to John Parent, the manager of the PROMOVE location on North Druid Hills Road.

Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Last year, Georgia hosted nearly 250 productions — but “host” is the key word. These shows might film in Georgia, but the money, the concept and the above-the-line talent still come largely from Los Angeles or New York.

According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, major film studios like Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal, whose executives have the power to greenlight projects, have their headquarters in Hollywood.

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