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    A proposed deal for practice soccer fields and a corporate headquarters for Atlanta United FC would cost DeKalb County an estimated $12 million, 41 acres of government land and tax considerations, according to a pending agreement. The $30 million soccer complex would be built near the intersection of Interstate 285 and Memorial Drive, behind the DeKalb Jail. In exchange, the team owned by Arthur Blank would build a 3,500-seat stadium, three outdoor practice fields and a corporate headquarters. Additional fields and an indoor training facility could be built later. Ownership of the land and facilities would revert to the county after 30 years. The proposed agreement, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday, is scheduled for a vote of the DeKalb Commission on Tuesday. The $12 million contribution from the county includes an estimated $7 million paid to Blank so the county could locate its parks department in new offices in the stadium. Another estimated $5 million would be required for demolition and land preparation. In addition, Blank won’t have to pay property taxes, and all permitting fees for the soccer complex would be waived. The county would pursue funding for a pedestrian walkway from the complex to the Kensington MARTA station. Blank would pay the county 15 percent of revenue for naming rights and branded events held at the complex. The fields and the stadium could be used by the county when they’re not needed by Atlanta United, which will begin its first season in 2017. Atlanta United will share space with the Atlanta Falcons for its games in a new downtown stadium, which is under construction.
  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is calling for “restraint” in ongoing unrest in Baltimore and defended Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s handling of protests that quickly turned violent this week.Parts of the city erupted in chaos Monday night amid tensions over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died on April 19, a week after he sustained injuries during an arrest. An investigation into his death is ongoing. His death highlights an ongoing national discussion about policing tactics in minority communities.Rawlings-Blake has since faced criticism for her handling of the protests and ensuing riots, with some saying she was too slow to ask Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for military back-up on Monday.Reed, speaking to reporters after an event on Tuesday, expressed sympathy for Gray’s family and defended Rawlings-Blake.Reed said he knows the Baltimore mayor well, describing her as “competent, capable and passionate” individual. The two, who traveled to Panama together with Vice President Joe Biden in recent years, exchanged text messages Monday evening, he said.“I think that everybody in the country and everybody who cares about the people of Baltimore should encourage restraint and I think that we should leave it to local leaders to manage and handle,” he said, later adding: “I think they need to be given the time and space to work through what is clearly a very, very difficult time.”Reed said Atlanta has faced its own set of difficult civil protests, such as the Occupy Atlanta movement in Woodruff Park that lasted for several weeks in 2011.But none in recent years have resulted in the scenes that played out in Baltimore on Monday, when some of the protests turned violent. Several police officers were injured during the riots. Cars were burned and stores were looted.Reed said that unlike other cities, Atlanta has long benefited from the work of local civil rights icons including Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian.“I think that certainly influences the way that protests are handled in our city,” he said. “While I don’t deserve the credit for it, I think our city has shown an ability to navigate through pretty difficult times.”
  • MARTA maps out the route it hopes to take up Georgia 400 to extend rail service to Alpharetta.   Any expansion of rail service is years off, but MARTA's board approved the preferred route after input from residents.  It crosses SR 400 not once, but twice, to reach Alpharetta.   The first crossover will be above the North Springs Station south of Spalding Drive.  The second crossing will be above the Chattahoochee River, although the exact spot has not been selected.   MARTA has yet to secure funding.  The agency estimates heavy rail would cost two billion dollars.  A cheaper option might be to run rapid transit buses along the same route.   MARTA is considering other potential expansion projects include heavy rail along I-20 East and a light rail line from the Lindbergh station to Avondale.  MARTA General Manager Keith Parker tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the priority project is the one that secures funding first.  
  • A planned addition to the new Avalon development is looking to attract even more business to Alpharetta.  The proposed $100 million hotel would include a 74,000-square foot conference center.  David Belle Isle, mayor of Alpharetta tells the Atlanta Business Chronicle it would keep his city as the center of economic development in  north Atlanta.  It's just another addition to Alpharetta, which has already begun a revitalization of its downtown area.  The city council must still figure out how to pay for the boutique hotel. It'll vote on raising its hotel-motel tax later this month.
  • Packed with passengers and freighted with local and national expectations, Atlanta’s streetcar made its inaugural trip Tuesday as scores of political and community leaders cheered. The trip along Auburn Avenue to Woodruff Park downtown took less than five minutes. But its duration belied the sizable aspirations the trip represented. Atlanta officials are betting the $98 million project will reinvigorate tourism and encourage business investment along the route. Nationally, President Barack Obama’s transportation legacy hinges in part on his ability to move the nation toward rail. Atlanta’s streetcar is one of the first completed projects in that effort. Scores of invited guests packed the cars elbow to elbow for the trip, and several hundred people gathered at Woodruff Park for an official ribbon cutting. Check back for updates.
  • A judge today rejected a request to bar Fulton County from collecting money from a recent 17 percent property tax increase – a victory for the county in its ongoing battle with critics who say it spends too much.Senior Cobb County Superior Court Judge G. Grant Brantley did not rule the tax hike is legal. But he declined to order Fulton to refrain from collecting about $1,300 in additional taxes that six current and former state lawmakers owe because of the tax increase.The judge did not explain his ruling. But the decision could indicate Brantley thinks the county is more likely to prevail in the litigation.That’s a setback for the lawmakers, who claim Fulton violated a 2013 state law that prohibits the county from raising its property tax rate until 2015. They’ve asked the judge to prohibit the county from collecting the new taxes and to declare the tax hike illegal.Fulton officials have argued the General Assembly overstepped its authority when it capped county tax rates until next year. They say the tax hike is needed to protect funding for Grady Memorial Hospital and popular services like libraries and senior programs.The tax increase will cost the owner off a $275,000 house an extra $140 a year. But with property values in some areas rising fast, some taxpayers are seeing much larger increases.
  • Some Fulton County judges say they don’t have to comply with county travel policies, and they’re willing to jail two Fulton officials to make their point. Fulton officials have asked the judges to provide more documentation to justify some travel expenses, and they’ve withheld reimbursements until the judges comply. The judges say they don’t have to, citing new state laws that give them greater control over their own budget. Now Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan has ordered County Manager Dwight Ferrell and Finance Director Patrick O’Connor to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for violating a recent court order to reimburse the judges. She’s threatened to incarcerate them if they don’t. A hearing on the contempt issue scheduled for Sept. 2, and a courtroom discussion of procedural matters in the case is set for Monday. The showdown is the latest fallout from a flurry of new laws aimed at limiting the authority of Fulton County government. County officials also are in court defending their recent decision to raise property taxes, which critics say violates a tax cap approved by the General Assembly last year. Tusan declined to comment on the issue because it’s a legal matter pending in her court. Superior Court Administrator Yolanda Lewis declined to answer questions, including whether the judges believe the county’s travel reimbursement procedures are burdensome. Lewis issued a statement saying Superior Court is “working collaboratively to resolve this matter with the assistance of the county manager and finance director for Fulton County. No further comment will be offered at this time to allow the collaborative process to move forward expeditiously.” Fulton officials declined to discuss the spat with the judges in detail. County Commission Chairman John Eaves said he believes the dispute is “resolvable.” Ferrell and O’Connor did not respond to requests for comment.
  • A judge has ruled the group that holds the title on the building at Peachtree and Pine Streets in Midtown Atlanta where hundreds of men, women and children bed down nightly can start the court process to evict the Task Force for the Homeless because it had not made a payment in years. Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall said in an order Friday that the removal process could begin, but his order did not say that eviction was imminent or even certain. The matter of whether the shelter can continue to operate is far from resolved. For years, the Task Force for the Homeless — led by Anita Beatty — has been at war with the city, Central Atlanta Progress and some of the business community because hundreds of homeless mill around and sometimes spill over into neighboring properties, vandalize and break into cars, businesses and homes nearby. Beatty has accused city officials and CAP of a campaign to cut off donations because they want the homeless out of sight. Once the large donors were dissuaded from helping the Task Force, it became impossible for the charity to pay its bills, including hundreds of thousands of dollars it owned the city for water, she said. The Task Force claims donations that once totaled as much as $1.7 million a year dropped to around $200,000, because the Atlanta business community had poisoned its reputation with donors. Without the Peachtree-Pine shelter, Beatty says, the homeless she serves will have nowhere to go. As many as 650 men, women and children sleep at the shelter each night but there are far more when the weather is bad or it’s cold. Over the years of the dispute, opponents of the shelter have insisted that no one will be left with nowhere to go if the Peachtree-Pine Shelter is closed. Richard Robbins, the attorney for Ichthus Community Trust, said the lender planned to “pursue dispossessory like any other owner in the state. If they (Task Force for the Homeless) want to fight it, they can fight it. However, they have to pay rent in the meantime. “This is not kicking out the homeless,” Robbins said. “It will be evicting the Task force. If the Task Force is evicted, we will transition the homeless to other shelters. If they don’t pay rent, they have to leave and we’ll bring in someone else to run the shelter.” Attorney Steven Hall, who represents the Task Force, said the charity will resist eviction efforts. “We have been fighting for years over the manner in which title was obtained and a foreclosure was conducted,” Hall said. “We’re hoping this will mean the court will hear all issues at one time and we will get a final answer.” The Task Force for the Homeless got into financial straits after it borrowed $900,000 in 1997 to make repairs on the building that it owned at the time. Ichthus bought the note in 2010 for just over $781,000 and soon began the removal process, which stopped, started and then stopped again because of legal issues.
  • First the Braves stadium, now another controversy pops up surrounding Cobb County taxpayers.  Cobb voters head to the polls this fall to decide whether to renew a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The SPLOST includes an easy-to-understand section for $100 million for a proposed new controversial dedicated bus route.  Commission chair Tim Lee has asked commissioners to split that money into ten projects.  Opponents believe Lee is only trying to confuse the average voter into choosing the project by making it more confusing on the ballot.  He says it would help the county qualify for $250 million in federal grant money for the half-billion dollar project.  The bus route has run into plenty of opposition.  It would mainly serve the congested Cobb Parkway area, as well as a direct line between Kennesaw State University and Midtown Atlanta.  Several public hearings and information meetings are scheduled for the SPLOST over the next two weeks.
  • DFCS case workers will now be required to work overtime in an effort to reduce the thousands of backlogged child protective cases through out the state. Starting Tuesday, workers at the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services will be required to work a minimum of eight hours overtime each week until each of the more than 3,300 overdue child protective services investigations are taken care of. The 3,300 overdue cases represent about half of all child protective service investigations, according to the Georgia Department of Human Services. Bobby Cagle, interim director of Georgia DFCS implemented the policy following a rise in reports of child abuse and neglect in the last year. Reports have increased by almost 2000 cases monthly to an average of 8,400 initial reports a month, according to DHS. With the new policy, Cagle hopes to take care of 95 percent of the overloaded cases safely and completely by the end of July. In addition to the mandatory increase in working hours, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has promised to allocate funding for 500 additional case workers over the next three years. 175 have already been hired.

News

  • Great Britain lowered its security threat level from “critical” to “severe” on Saturday, Prime Minister Theresa May said. >> Read more trending news Earlier, police hunting a suspected network behind Salman Abedi, the bomber who killed 22 people on Monday night during a concert in Manchester, said they had made two further arrests overnight as they closed in on other possible cell members, Reuters reported.  As a result, soldiers who have been assisting police would be withdrawn from Britain's streets at midnight on Monday. 'A significant amount of police activity has taken place over the last 24 hours and there are now 11 suspects in custody,' May said. May cautioned, however, that the lesser threat is still a dangerous one. 'The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely,” she said. “The country should remain vigilant.' The threat assessment has returned to the level it was at prior to the Manchester attack. In Manchester, events planned around the spring bank holiday will go ahead with additional security, including a significant number of armed officers, police said. British officers do not usually carry guns, CNN reported. Events include the Manchester Games, the Great Manchester Run, and a stadium show by bands including The Courteeners, all of which are likely to attract big crowds. This weekend also marks the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar, CNN reported.    
  • A Cobb County mother was jailed after her 5-year-old son said she beat him with a belt and a broom, hit him in the head and stomped on his stomach. Nakeisha Lashay Logan of Mableton faces first-degree child cruelty, battery and family violence charges in connection with an alleged May 17 attack. The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile victim, said during a forensic interview that he tried to hide under the bed to avoid the “terrible” beating but Logan beat him with a broom and threw a box of toys at him, a magistrate court warrant states. RELATED: ‘I’m going to rape you’ man allegedly tells mother in front of kid Mom, friend jailed after child suffers broken bones, electrical burns Babysitter charged after 5-month-old breaks 4 bones After the box of toys hit the child in the shoulder, Logan grabbed his head and smashed it repeatedly on the floor, according to the warrant.  The warrant adds that Logan stomped on the child's stomach, making him feel nauseous.  The warrant doesn’t state who called police, but by the time an officer arrived the boy’s bleeding cheek had scabbed. His face was still red and swollen, Officer Sydney Tschappat wrote. Police took the boy to a nearby hospital and arrested Logan. She was being held in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. In other news:
  • Police say a metro Atlanta couple locked the woman's 86-year-old mother in her room and used furniture to block the door closed. Katie Son and her husband are both charged with cruelty to an elderly person. Officers say 86-year-old Bong Le managed to escape out a front window. She was found a couple of blocks away, wrapped in a blanket and sitting under a tree. Investigators say she smelled like urine and feces. Her daughter and son-in-law, who are now out on bond, told Channel 2's Tony Thomas that they were just trying to protect her from herself. 'Did you lock your mom up?' Thomas asked. 'No. No sir,' Son replied. Gwinnett police say they found tables, chairs and other items stacked high against the door of the downstairs bedroom in the home. 'It looked quite unusual,' Cpl. Michele Pihera said. But Son said it was all to keep her mother safe. She said when she and her husband went to work each day at a Hall County nail salon, her mother couldn't be trusted alone in the house. 'They told our officers that the reason they had stacked up the furniture was to prevent the mother from going into the kitchen to access the stove or access any kitchen utensils,' Pihera said. TRENDING STORIES: Police search for teens accused of setting off fireworks inside grocery store Watch your step! Snakebites on the rise World falling in love with Georgia father's letter to Ariana Grande Deputies still have questions. 'It's very possible they were trying to prevent her from getting into the food or any kind of items to eat,' Pihera said. She says the state of the room was disturbing. 'They found human feces and what looked like human urine that looked like it had been smeared into the carpet or never even cleaned up,' she said. She said that, combined with the furniture, led to the arrests. 'You combine the lack of access to food and water and the living conditions and that's what led our detectives to take out warrants for their arrests,' Pihera said. Neighbors didn't want to talk about what happened, but said they recognized Le as the woman who didn't really have a memory and would get lost easily. She's now in the hospital. Her daughter and son-in-law have been ordered not to go near her.
  • Toni Rosenberg has spent the past week chatting non-stop with her half-sister, Florence Serino, 82. After all, they have decades worth of memories to catch up on. The two met for the first time May 16 at a crowded airport gate in Fort Lauderdale. Rosenberg, a Boca Raton resident who was given away as a newborn in a secretive “black market” adoption, tracked down Serino just last year. “We both have big mouths,” Serino, who lives in Irvine, California, said with a laugh. The two have spent the past week shopping, eating and sharing memories, stories and photos of two families that, despite living on opposite sides of the country, are inextricably connected. Rosenberg even learned that she had biological cousins living just miles from her in Boca Raton, she said. Serino introduced them. “It’s crazy to think I had family right there,” said Rosenberg, the only child of her adoptive parents. >> Read more trending news The sisters have spent hours looking at old family photos, including ones of the pair’s biological mother Ilene Gallagher, which Serino brought with her from California. “If you saw my mother walking down the street, you’d say immediately, ‘She must be related to Toni,’ ” Rosenberg said of her resemblance to Gallagher. The union has brought immeasurable joy to Rosenberg and her family and friends, Rosenberg said. But a sadness still lingers. Serino plans to fly back to California on Tuesday. “All this time has gone by and we could’ve shared children and grandchildren,” Rosenberg said. “We could’ve had more years ahead of us.” The sisters aren’t sure if they’ll meet again in person. A 2,200-mile flight is a financial and health strain on most, let alone on two elderly retirees. “It’s kind of hard to think far ahead,” Rosenberg said, adding that they’re strategically packing half-a-century’s worth of conversations into a two-week visit. “How much time does God give us?”Read more about the sister's journeys to meet one another here.
  • Webb Simpson shot a 3-under 67 on Saturday to break out of a crowd and take the third-round lead at the Colonial. At 9-under 201, Simpson was two strokes ahead of Danny Lee and Paul Casey after both of them made long birdie putts at the 18th hole. Stewart Cink and Kevin Kisner were three strokes off the lead. Part of a four-way tie for the 36-hole lead, Simpson went ahead alone to stay after consecutive birdies to start his back nine. He made a 6-foot birdie putt at the 387-yard 10th and a 12-footer at the 630-yard 11th before finishing with seven consecutive pars. It is only the second time in 12 years at Colonial for the 54-hole leader to have more than a one-stroke advantage. Defending champion Jordan Spieth shot a 68 with a caddie switch after making the turn, and was at 4 under. Spieth's regular caddie, Michael Greller, left the course after 11 holes because of heat exhaustion on a steamy day with temperatures in the 90s and the heat index higher than that. Damon Goddard, the personal trainer for the player and the caddie, carried the bag the rest of the round — a stretch when Spieth had a bogey and two birdies. Lee and Kisner also were tied for the second-round lead, along with Scott Piercy, whose shot 72 to fall five strokes back. After three birdies and three bogeys his first eight holes Saturday, Lee had a steady stream of pars until finishing with a 16-foot birdie for a round of 69. Casey, who shot 68, was alone in second for only a couple of minutes. He made a nearly 25-foot birdie putt that had just enough speed to fall into the cup at No. 18, while Lee was playing in the group behind him. Casey was 1 over for the day without a birdie until starting his back nine with three birdies in a four-hole stretch that included a bogey. Piercy was still within a stroke of the lead at 8 under after a par-saving 13-foot putt at the 12th hole after driving into the rough and hitting his approach in a greenside bunker there. Piercy then promptly hit his tee shot at the par-3 13th into the pond on way to a double-bogey. He followed with another bogey at 15 when he drove into the rough and then hit into a greenside bunker, and did the same at No. 18. Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open winner playing in the final group, started the round with birdies at the first two holes. He gave one of those back with a bogey at the par-3, 192-yard No. 8 after missing the green with his tee shot. Since losing a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama at Phoenix, Simpson had missed four of nine cuts before this week. The four-time PGA Tour winner's best finish in that stretch was a tie for 11th at the RBC Heritage. ___ More AP golf: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf
  • Mo Farah pounded his chest after crossing the finish line on a U.S. track for perhaps the final time. Farah won the 5,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic at Oregon's Hayward Field on Saturday in 13 minutes, 0.70 seconds. The British distance specialist, who won Olympic gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 at the Rio Games last year, plans to retire from track races after the World Championships in London this August. He's said that after that he'll likely focus on the marathon. American Ronnie Baker bested both countryman Justin Gatlin and Canadian Andre De Grasse to win the men's 100, while Tori Bowie prevailed over a strong field that included Allyson Felix and Jamaican Elaine Thompson to win the 200 on a brilliantly sunny but breezy day.