ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
64°
Overcast
H 77° L 55°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    64°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 78° L 57°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Today
    Mostly Cloudy. H 78° L 57°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    82°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 82° L 59°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Historic Craigie House owner: Ice ‘pushed the roof straight down’
Close

Historic Craigie House owner: Ice ‘pushed the roof straight down’

After historic Craigie House collapse, restaurateur thankful for ‘little voice’ - Video by John Spink / AJC

Historic Craigie House owner: Ice ‘pushed the roof straight down’

A historic Midtown building under renovation collapsed Wednesday night after a day of significant ice accumulation.

The Craigie House at 1204 Piedmont Ave. was vacant and no one was injured in the collapse, said Janet Ward, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Fire Department. But investigators have not determined if the collapse was related to the icy conditions.

“People are suggesting it could be weather-related, but I cannot say that definitely,” Ward said.

Located across from Piedmont Park and close to 14th Street, the building dated back to 1911 and served as headquarters for Georgia’s first chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), according to the chapter’s website.

A tree fell on the home in the mid-1980s, damaging it and rendering it unusable. Repairs were made over the years, but the building was again damaged by Hurricane Opal in 1995. In 2001, the property was sold but ended up in foreclosure.

The building was purchased last March for $350,000, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Remarkably, new owner Bert Sanders doesn’t have buyer’s remorse.

He and his wife, Laura Koch, were at their West Midtown home around 9 p.m. Wednesday when the news came in: The somewhat rundown, 103-year residence they’d recently purchased and begun lovingly restoring had partially collapsed in the ongoing storm.

“The structural engineers say it was from the amount of pounds per square inch of ice,” Sanders said Thursday morning, standing on the front lawn of the house now encircled by yellow crime scene tape. Motioning towards the knot of workers surveying the damage, he added, “It pushed the roof straight down.”

Built not long after the Cotton States Exhibition that took place directly across the street in Piedmont Park and essentially put Atlanta on the map, the house was orginally the headquarters for the first Georgia chapter of the DAR. The storm took out most of the back and affected one side of the house — residents of a smaller multi-dwelling house next door had to evacuate Wednesday night, Sanders said, but they should be able to return today when the braced-up side is deemed safe.

Luckily, the original brick and white-columned front remained standing and should be salvageable, said Sanders, who plans to live in the house with his wife when it’s restored.

“It’s such a cool place,” said Sanders, who joked that if you just look at the front of the house, it looks fine. “We’ll bring the cool factor back.”

Atlanta restaurateur Ace Amerson said Thursday that he is thanking a “little voice” for keeping him from being inside the house when it collapsed.

Amerson told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that he had signed an agreement to buy the house three years ago, but backed out of the deal.

“The owner was a good buddy, and I was looking for a house to buy and he thought this would be the coolest bachelor pad of all time,” Amerson said. “It just needed so much work, but I fell in love with the house.”

Amerson agreed to buy the house, and “worked on it so hard, every single day,” he said. “Lead paint, asbestos — this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever worked on.”

But after three months, “I had this nightmare one night about the house,” Amerson said. “I couldn’t shake the dream, and the next day, this little voice was saying this wasn’t the right deal for me to buy.”

Amerson said his friend let him out of the buyer’s agreement.

“If I had bought the house, I would have been in it when it collapsed,” he said.

— Staff writers Michelle E. Shaw, Alexis Stevens and Mike Morris and photographer John Spink contributed to this article.

Read More

News

  • President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president's signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas. Trump, who has called global warming a 'hoax' invented by the Chinese, has repeatedly criticized the power-plant rule and others as an attack on American workers and the struggling U.S. coal industry. The contents of the order were outlined to reporters in a sometimes tense briefing with a senior White House official, whom aides insisted speak without attribution despite President Trump's criticism of the use of unnamed sources in the news media. The official at one point appeared to break with mainstream climate science, denying familiarity with widely publicized concerns about the potential adverse economic impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather. In addition to pulling back from the Clean Power Plan, the administration will also lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The Obama administration had imposed a three-year moratorium on new federal coal leases in January 2016, arguing that the $1 billion-a-year program must be modernized to ensure a fair financial return to taxpayers and address climate change. Trump accused his predecessor of waging a 'war on coal' and boasted in a speech to Congress that he has made 'a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations,' including some that threaten 'the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.' The order will also chip away at other regulations, including scrapping language on the 'social cost' of greenhouse gases. It will initiate a review of efforts to reduce the emission of methane in oil and natural gas production as well as a Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule, to determine whether those reflect the president's policy priorities. It will also rescind Obama-era executive orders and memoranda, including one that addressed climate change and national security and one that sought to prepare the country for the impacts of climate change. The administration is still in discussion about whether it intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. But the moves to be announced Tuesday will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the U.S. to achieve its goals. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, alarmed environmental groups and scientists earlier this month when he said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. The statement is at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and Pruitt's own agency. The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed studies and climate scientists agree the planet is warming, mostly due to man-made sources, including carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons and nitrogen oxide. The official who briefed reporters said the president does believe in man-made climate change. The power-plant rule Trump is set to address in his order has been on hold since last year as a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly states and more than 100 companies who call the plan an unconstitutional power grab. Opponents say the plan will kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity costs. The Obama administration, some Democratic-led states and environmental groups countered that it would spur thousands of clean-energy jobs and help the U.S. meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon pollution set by the international agreement signed in Paris. Trump's order on coal-fired power plants follows an executive order he signed last month mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution. The order instructs the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined 'waters of the United States' protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller creeks and wetlands. While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs for decades under presidents from both parties as a result of increasing automation and competition from cheaper natural gas. Another factor is the plummeting cost of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal. According to an Energy Department analysis released in January, coal mining now accounts for fewer than 70,000 U.S. jobs. By contrast, renewable energy — including wind, solar and biofuels — now accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. jobs. The Trump administration's plans drew praise from business groups and condemnation from environmental groups. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue praised the president for taking 'bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top priority.' 'These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration's strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy,' he said. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accused the Trump administration of wanting 'us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the future.' 'This is not just dangerous; it's embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and U.S. leadership,' she said in a statement. ___ Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker contributed to this report. Follow Daly and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC and https://twitter.com/colvinj
  • Amy Peterson’s daughter Gracie had been getting teased at school for not having a father.  >> Read more trending news  “She had one kid tell her she didn’t have a dad because she’s fat and ugly,” the Henry County mother told told WSB-TV. So when the daughter-father dance rolled around, Peterson got the idea to dress up as a father and go to the dance, she told the news station.  “(Gracie) was OK with it,” she said, “She was excited that her friends were going to get to see this.”  They even posted a photo of what Peterson would look like taking her daughter to the dance.  But an hour before the two were set to leave, Peterson got a phone call from the Locust Grove Elementary School principal telling her she couldn’t go.  “She said: ‘No I forbid you to come and if you show up we will turn you away,’” she told WSB-TV.  Peterson had no choice but to tell her 6-year-old daughter they couldn’t go.  The news was just as painful for her as it was for her daughter.  “I identify myself as her father and mother because that’s what I’ve done for six years,” she said.  In a statement to WSB-TV, Henry County school officials said administrators spoke to Peterson in advance about the dance and said she was told in a dance announcement that any father figure could attend in lieu of a father.  “The school is cognizant that different dynamics exist across households in our school system,” officials said in the statement. “Anyone with a question as to the requirements or specifics of any school extracurricular event is encouraged to reach out to a school official or teacher. There are multiple parent engagement events and opportunities to participate with their kids annually at this school in an effort to make that connection and build school spirit.”  The school also holds a mother-son dance and a sweethearts dance for Valentine’s Day.  The school also offered to refund Peterson her $20 and made an apology.  Still, Peterson thinks more could have been done.  “I think they handled it poorly,” she told WSB-TV. “They shouldn’t have turned any parent away.”
  • A man whose daughter was killed in a traffic accident has joined a campaign to improve the busy intersection. A car hit and killed Alexia Hyneman, 14, on Monroe Drive and 10th Street in midtown Atlanta last year. The driver told police he did not see Hyneman, who was riding her bike when it happened around 3 p.m. She was a freshman at Grady High School. A neighborhood group wants to slow down traffic on Monroe Drive and turn one traffic lane into a bike lane. Alexia's father wants to make sure no family has to go through their pain. 'it hit her hard enough to send her quite a distance. I don't quite understand how the car accelerated that fast in the brief route that it had but it had to,' Thomas Hyneman said. There are two more days for public comment on the project.
  • A Cherokee County middle school teacher who was killed in a car crash will be buried Tuesday.  Kevin White, 37, of Canton, died Friday after his F-150 went off a 100-foot embankment on I-575 at Little River Bridge near Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock, officials said. He was a chorus teacher at E.T. Booth Middle School in Woodstock.  RELATED: Teacher dies after pickup truck goes off embankment on I-575 White’s funeral will be held Tuesday at Canton First United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Visitation is scheduled until 9 p.m. Monday and again from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at South Canton Funeral Home. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. White's family and friends,” Cherokee County Schools said in a statement. White had taught in the school district since 2004.  Grief counselors had been at the school since Friday, spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.  In other news: