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Congress Holding Up Bill To Create MLK Jr. National Park

Apr 17, 2017
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

The U.S. Congress keeps holding a bill that would reclassify the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site as a national park. 

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) has been introducing the Martin Luther King Junior National Historic Park Act since 2013. The bill passed the House last year and this year, but it remains stuck in a Senate committee. 

Courtesy of GDOT

A section of Interstate 20 Westbound near Flat Shoals Rd. is closed after a portion of the highway buckled. 

DeKalb County police say an underground gas leak is causing the defect in the roadway, and advise motorists to seek alternate routes.

A motorcyclist was hurt when the road buckled, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

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


Two lanes of Interstate 20 westbound between Candler and Gresham roads have reopened after part of the highway buckled Monday morning.

State transportation officials say they're hoping to get all lanes of I-20 fixed by Tuesday at noon.

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Natalie Dale, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said in a news conference Monday afternoon that the agency was assessing the stability of lanes near the buckling in preparation for the reopening of some lanes.

The Atlanta Police Department is investigating the accident that caused a chemical spill early this morning.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta traffic keeps taking a hit, two weeks after the collapse of the I-85 bridge.

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Early Monday morning, several hours before Interstate 20 was closed after buckling near the Gresham Road exit, the Downtown Connector was shut down due to an accident that spilled toxic chemicals onto the road.

President-elect Donald Trump calls to media from the entryway of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 in Bedminster, N.J..
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked his political enemies seeking an upset in Georgia's special congressional election, blasting the leading Democratic candidate as a "super liberal" who "wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!"

Gwinnett County Police Department

An attorney is calling for the two Georgia police officers who were fired after being caught on camera having a violent confrontation with a motorist to face criminal charges.

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MARTA Chief Operating Officer Richard Krisak says $700 million in funding has been identified and approved for 250 new rail cars.
Alison Guillory / WABE

The collapse of an interstate in the heart of Atlanta has more than 2 million metro residents sitting in even more traffic in the already congested city, and mass transit advocates hope the headaches will spur new interest in expanding rail and bus routes.


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Many commuters come from surrounding counties that have long resisted mass transit, creating a car-centric region shaped by issues of race and class for more than four decades.


Teen Novelist Emily Ross Shares Her Tips For Writing Your First Book

Apr 17, 2017
Billy Howard

Editor’s Note: Marietta teen Emily Ross, 13, is the youngest author signed by Title Town Publishing for a multi-book contract. Her sci-fi/fantasy book, Blue’s Prophecy, is the first of three in the Canis Chronicles, a series about robotic and genetically enhanced dogs, who turn on their creators. She started the book when she was in fourth grade, writing and illustrating it at school.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

U.S. Rep. John Lewis has been named this year's recipient of the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award for his decades-long work on human rights and civil liberties.

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The award and $125,000 prize are given biennially by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School.

Lewis will receive his award at a public ceremony on Tuesday.


Updated 8:30 a.m. Monday

Lanes on both sides of the Downtown Connector are now open after they were closed around 3 a.m. today due to a crash and chemical spill.

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The southbound lanes reopened around  6:30 a.m. today, and the northbound lanes opened around 7:30 a.m., WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News reports. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture via flickr.com / https://flic.kr/p/83r1Zc

Georgia is rolling out an expensive eligibility determination system for Medicaid, food stamps and other public benefits.

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According to Georgia Health News, state officials are hoping to avoid the massive problems with a similar set-up in Rhode Island, operated by the same vendor.

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Advocates in Atlanta's Somali community are speaking out against recent immigration arrests reported in the Atlanta area, including in Clarkston, Georgia.

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About 10 Somalis were arrested this month, according to Omar Shekhey, president of the Somali American Community Center in Clarkston. He said some have been in the United States for decades and said he fears it will be dangerous to deport them to Somalia.

Martha Dalton / WABE

The consolidation between Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia State University could cause some students to lose their chance at college.

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One of Basil Eleby's four attorneys working pro-bono, Lawrence Zimmerman, spoke at a press conference Friday and said Eleby would plead not guilty.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Attorneys for the homeless man accused of setting the fire that caused the I-85 bridge to collapse last month said he will plead not guilty next week.

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Tim Adams / flickr.com/36217981@N02

A 36-year-old man is in custody in connection with the shooting death of another man riding a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit train and wounding of three others.

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MARTA police Friday arrested Chauncey Lee Daniels in the Thursday death of Zachariah Hunnicutt at the West Lake MARTA Station. He faces charges of murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is being held at the Fulton County Jail.

It was unknown if he's represented by an attorney.

Al Such / WABE

At the beginning of 2017, Erika Shields became Atlanta's new police chief.  In her first three months on the job, she has emphasized that preventing violent crime is her priority.  Shields now leads a force where she has spent 22 years -- in jobs from beat patrols, to vice enforcement, to internal affairs, to deputy chief.

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Shields talked about her career, and her priorities, in a wide-ranging conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition."

Elly Yu / WABE

More and more signs are popping up in neighborhoods near Atlanta's Interstate 85 overpass collapse site that say "No Thru Traffic During I-85 Closure."

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"The neighborhood streets were definitely not designed to accommodate the heavy traffic volume and the weight of some of these vehicles that would normally try to go through those streets," Atlanta's Public Works Commissioner Will Johnson said.

He said neighborhood streets often have children playing in them, which can make it dangerous for cars to rush through them. 

Braves officials advised fans to buy their tickets and parking spots in advance, use its mobile apps to get to SunTrust Park and follow the signs when they arrive.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves' new stadium is ready for its first real unveiling. The Braves' new team remains an unfinished work.

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A sellout crowd will be watching when the Braves finally play their first regular-season game in SunTrust Park against San Diego tonight.


After struggling on a long road trip to open the season, the Braves are glad to finally play in their new home.


Gwinnett County Police Department

Two Georgia police officers were fired Thursday, a day after authorities say one punched a man who had his hands up and the other kicked the man in the head once he was handcuffed on the ground.

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Alison Guillory / WABE

Police say they plan to increase the number of officers patrolling Metro Atlanta's transit system after a man was fatally shot.

They said the shooting on a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority train Thursday appears to be a "targeted, isolated incident."

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Transit officials say ridership has been surging as motorists look for alternate ways to get around after a fire beneath an Interstate 85 overpass led to its collapse on March 30.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE File

The Atlanta Braves play their first regular season game in their new home at SunTrust Park on Friday. Meanwhile, a group of protesters has taken up residence in tents outside the Braves' old home at Turner Field.

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Alison Guillory / WABE

A MARTA spokesperson says one person is dead and three are wounded after a shooting at the West Lake MARTA station.

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Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority spokesman Erik Burton says in a statement that the shooting happened about 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the station.

Burton says police have detained a suspect. Authorities have not released the man's name but say he's in his 30s. The investigation is ongoing.

Al Such / WABE

More than 18,000 people have signed a petition to preserve an illegally-built skatepark underneath an Interstate 85 bridge close to the site of the recent bridge collapse.

The petition, which will be delivered to Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal and several Georgia Department of Transportation officials has received national attention from supporters and members of the skateboarding community, earning signatures from states as far away as Arizona.

South Georgia Wildlife Refuge Bans Grills, Campfires

Apr 13, 2017
skeeze / Pixabay

A fire ban at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge means charcoal grills and campfires are off limits.

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The refuge, which sits on the Georgia-Florida line, has been fighting the huge swamp fire for several days. The refuge is also still in the middle of a drought.

Susan Heisey, Okefenokee's supervisory ranger, said Easter weekend is the park's busiest time of year.

Brad Barket / Invision/AP


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

The Georgia Renaissance Festival is an annual spring Atlanta festival.
Georgia Renaissance Festival

It’s time to put the finishing touches on your do-it-yourself Renaissance costume and dust off your Easter basket. Some of the best spring events in Atlanta are happening this weekend, and Atlanta PlanIt is sharing their picks with you.

Saturday is opening day for the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and Cobb County is bringing back its helicopter Easter egg drop. Or if you’re looking for a more traditional night out, there’s a comedy show and a throwback country concert worth checking out.

Gwinnett County Police Department / WABE

The Gwinnett County Police Department has fired an officer who was captured in a widely-shared video of kicking a man in the head during a traffic stop on Wednesday in Lawrenceville.  

The officer, Robert McDonald, was hired by the department in 2013, and graduated from the police academy in 2014, officials said. 

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

The disruption from the Interstate 85 bridge collapse has led many commuters to change their habits. And some say that’s a big opportunity for MARTA.

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On a weekday morning, Pam Porter usually would be sitting in her car.

But on this day, she's sitting on a bench at the Brookhaven MARTA station.

"Since the collapse, I've been taking the MARTA into Midtown," Porter said.

Bathroom Bills And Trans Youth – Asking Allies To Take Action

Apr 13, 2017
courtesy of vox atlanta

As a queer Jewish teenager, I have the uncommon privilege of having relationships with people between 20 and 50 years older than me, with similar intersectionalities.

I have been able to develop these relationships through Congregation Bet Haverim, a synagogue founded by gay and lesbian Jews in Atlanta. I was raised in this community, and as I get older, I am becoming a leader in it.

On a recent Wednesday night, I sat in our small community building eating Indian food with many of these adults. The topic of conversation was privilege.