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Eric Gay / WABE

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

One of the reasons students are paying more to go to college is for on-campus services, like living in dorms.
Courtesy of Georgia State University

Ten years ago, it cost students on average a little more than $8,000 to go to one of Georgia's public colleges or universities. Now students are paying almost twice as much.

In May, state senators requested an audit, available below, on what are the driving costs of higher education. The audit, which was released last week, pinpointed two main factors:

One, students are paying more tuition because there is less state funding.

Former President Jimmy Carter, second from left, and his wife Rosalynn, right, examine a rescued loggerhead sea turtle in the surgical suite at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Marathon, Fla.
Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP

Former President Jimmy Carter; his wife, Rosalynn; and about 40 other family members have helped release a rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle off the Florida Keys.

"Salty" was released after the Carters, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren toured The Turtle Hospital. The facility opened in 1986 and has treated and released more than 2,000 injured sea turtles.

United Way’s Milton Little, civic leader Ann Cramer, Community Foundation’s Alicia Philipp, Learn4Life’s Ken Zeff and ARC’s Doug Hooker at recent Learn4Life executive committee meeting.
Maria Saporta

Four regional organizations – the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta – are collaborating on an educational effort called Learn4Life. The goal is to bring the eight public school systems in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties to improve public education in the region.   

It makes all the sense in the world.

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

Some new state laws take effect Jan. 1.  

Limousine carriers will be required to follow the same registration rules as taxi services. Limo companies need to apply for licenses, which have to be renewed each year. They’ll be charged a registration fee of up to $100.

Wikimedia Commons

Saturday may be your last chance to see the Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta on New Year’s Eve. A pending sale of the property could leave the 28-year-old tradition in limbo.

The event has been compared to a Southern version of New York’s annual ball drop in Times Square. Revelers crowd into the outdoor mall to watch an 800-pound peach fall from a tower.

Beforehand, they're treated to big name musical acts. Atlanta artists Ludacris and T.I. have played in the past. This year hometown band Collective Soul will open, and singer Ne-Yo will headline.

Amy Ray (L) and Emily Saliers and the Indigo Girls perform at Magnolia Fest at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida on Saturday. October 18, 2014.
Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

How will you begin 2017? Contributor Mara Davis suggests opening with a song. Mara and host emeritus Steve Goss have a concert calendar for all your New Year's weekend plans. It's "Mara's Music Mix."

Pixabay Images

2016 has been a very strange year. The U.S. political climate became more divided than it has been in decades, and the world will be forever changed after a series of losses and tragedies.

Josh Edelson / AP Images for Lyft

After months of debate, the Uber X and Lyft ride-booking services will finally become legal at the world's busiest airport in Atlanta.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport will begin allowing the rides Sunday under new regulations. Airport officials say passengers will pay a $3.85 surcharge per ride from the airport.

Commentary: Can Reparations Help Patch A Racial Wound?

Dec 30, 2016
Maya Martin / VOX ATL

This year, Georgetown University made history by recognizing its role in slavery and doing something about it. I first heard about the decision on Sept. 1 while listening to the radio on my way to school.

April Williams / WABE

Georgia's roads are in tough shape.

You won't get much debate on that — not even from the Georgia Department of Transportation. But things have picked up in the last 18 months thanks to the passage of a state transportation funding act in 2015.

G-DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale says an increased gas tax has brought in more than $2.5 billion so far. And some of the projects that money is paying for are coming to fruition.

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Jefferson, located in Jackson County, early Thursday morning.

"It traveled about 3.4 miles in that 10-minute time period that it was on the ground," said Kent McMullen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Clean-up efforts are underway.

"It put some trees down on some homes, I've heard that there was anywhere from about 20 to 25 homes that had some type of damage," said McMullen.

There were also downed trees and power lines.

No injuries were reported.  

Atlanta Regional Commission

Atlanta is a city of high highs and low lows when it comes to income; it tops the list for income inequality in U.S. cities. A MARTA ride from north to south illustrates the stark divide, with a median household income of $104,518 at Buckhead Station  and of $19,447 at West End Station.

Closer Look: MARTA Clean Up; Dentists; And More

Dec 29, 2016
Alison Guillory / WABE

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

City Lights: Avi Avital; Soul Food Cypher; And More

Dec 29, 2016
HAROLD HOFFMAN / DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

US Slaps Sanctions On Russia, Expels 35 Diplomats

Dec 29, 2016
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.

The State Department also has kicked out 35 Russian diplomats from its embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the U.S. The diplomats were declared persona non grata for acting in a "manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status."

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

Keion Carpenter died yesterday, according to a statement from a family spokesperson.

Carpenter played safety for the Atlanta Falcons from 2002 through 2005.

He also suited up for the Buffalo Bills.

During his six-year NFL career, the Baltimore native had 14 interceptions. He also started the Carpenter House, a nonprofit that helped families find a place to live.

Pixabay Images

DeKalb County officials say the owners of the Presidential Hotel, the 15-story building at Spaghetti Junction, have violated a consent order.

Marcus Kellum, DeKalb's beautification director, says the county code enforcement staff had been working with Habib Osta and Vincent Lu, the property's owners, "trying to bring them into compliance with the codes and standards that require the property to be safe, secure and sanitary."

Trump Holds Q&A, Discussing Jobs, Russia, Israel

Dec 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a South Carolina Republican primary night event in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.
Paul Sancya / Associated Press

President-elect Donald Trump applauded the return of 8,000 jobs to the U.S. and hailed his transition discussions with President Barack Obama in a series of comments that amounted to his most detailed interaction with journalists since before the election.

Georgia’s pension fund for teachers, with assets of more than $65 billion, is falling further in debt and is the farthest it’s been from breaking even in decades, according to an annual financial report posted in December by the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).

The TRS distributes payments to retired teachers, similar to the smaller Georgia state Employee Retirement System (ERS). To pay for these disbursements both funds rely heavily on income from investments in stocks. 

SANA via AP

The Syrian army has announced a nationwide cease-fire as of midnight.

In a statement carried by state news agency SANA on Thursday, the military command "declares a comprehensive nationwide cessation of hostilities as of midnight."

State TV says the cease-fire paves the way for reactivating negotiations to end the conflict.

It says the cease-fire comes after the "successes achieved by the armed forces," an apparent reference to the capture of rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo earlier this month.

Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With days left before leaving office, Burrell Ellis is tackling a major concern for residents.

In a letter released Wednesday, the outgoing DeKalb CEO addressed the county's water billing crisis.

Ellis said the county will send out about 50,000 statements that were withheld due to accuracy concerns.

The amount on these bills will be a rough estimate of the average water usage over the past 12 months, with the highest and lowest amounts removed.

Ellis says customers who are unhappy with the billed average should contact county officials.

Pixabay Images

New Year’s Eve is one of the most anticipated nights of the year. But it can be hard to usher in a new year if you’re not prepared. Here are few tips from Atlanta PlanIt that will help you have a stress-free, celebratory night.

1. Plan ahead.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Boy Scouts of America has seen a steady decline in membership over the years. Some say that's because kids today no longer have time for it, with all of their after school activities.

Here in Atlanta, there's a man who has always made time for Boy Scouts, even now that he's 94 years old. His name is Josiah Benator, but among scouts he’s often known simply as “Mr. B.”

Benator, a friendly man with big eyeglasses, has been with Boy Scouts for eight decades. He wears a uniform decorated with pins and badges, showing his years of involvement.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

The latest electronic device Delta Air Lines' has forbidden on its planes is a rideable suitcase.

Those are rolling bags you can sit on and ride through the airport.

Just like hoverboards, the problem is with the lithium ion batteries.

It’s the same type of battery in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which federal authorities banned from planes in October.

Alison Guillory / WABE

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

Warner Bros.

An upcoming film series at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema delves into the corrupt, the ambiguous and the dark. The series features ten films considered film noir, released from the mid-1940s to 1980s.

“It’s a vision of American society where everyone is corrupt and nobody can be trusted,” said Emory film professor Matthew Bernstein in an interview with Lois Reitzes.

Film noir generally features a male lead, who strays in his morality. He is paired with the femme fatale, the dangerous, conniving and often beautiful woman who leads the hero to his doom.

Pushing Back On Israel, Kerry Defends Obama's UN Vote

Dec 28, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry testifies along with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, right, and Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, not shown, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, July 23, 2015, to review t
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Stepping into a raging diplomatic argument, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday staunchly defended the Obama administration's decision to allow the U.N. Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal and warned that Israel's very future as a democracy is at stake.

Cam Newton of Carolina Panthers
Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

There's no doubt Cam Newton has a soft spot in his heart for kids.

That was never more evident than this week when the Panthers quarterback surprised a 10-year-old boy with a serious heart condition — and got a big hug in return .

The league's reigning league MVP visited Taylor Austin Deckard in an Atlanta children's hospital Tuesday. Taylor was wearing Newton's No. 2 Auburn jersey at the time.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Georgia fireworks retailers say they're gearing up for brisk sales after Gov. Nathan Deal recently lifted a temporary ban on shooting them.

Deal had issued an executive order Nov. 14 banning the ignition of consumer fireworks in many parts of Georgia because of persistent drought conditions.

The Gainesville Times reports that Deal rescinded his order Dec. 20 after much of the state received rainfall that eased the dry conditions.

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