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Captain Herb
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Captain Herb

Captain Herb

Captain Herb

I've been writing this column every week since November of 2010. From now on, it will never be as good, it will never be as informative, it will never be as helpful. For that I apologize. Just about every week I would consult Captain Herb Emory about what to write in this weekly traffic column. Whether to get quotes from him on an important traffic issue, to ask for his guidance with a reader's question or simply to bounce ideas off of him. This was as much his column as it is mine. He was the true "Gridlock Guy." I was just the lucky soul asked to transcribe his wisdom every week.

 

Your traffic reports every six minutes on WSB Radio will never be as good, your traffic reports every 10 minutes on WSB-TV will never be as good, this column will never be as good. They can't be. Herb's knowledge, experience, ambition, drive, determination, effort, voice and sense of humor can never be replaced. 

 

The WSB Traffic Team has lost its Dalai Lama, its Albert Einstein, its Michael Jordan, its Muhammad Ali. Captain Herb was the best in the business at his profession. He forgot more about traffic reporting than any other traffic reporter in the country will ever know.

 

Every other traffic report on every other radio and TV station in the city will never be as good either. It's a widely known fact that other stations and traffic reporters monitored Herb's reports because, well, he was simply the best. He had the best information, he had the most knowledge, he had the most contacts, he had the most accurate and timely traffic reports. There is no disputing this. He was the king.

 

I was fortunate enough to work with Captain Herb for almost 17 years. When I first started at WSB in 1997, I didn't know the area, I didn't know how to report on traffic, heck, I had never even had a job at a radio station before. Herb literally and figuratively took me under his wing. He told me the proper way to pronounce Ponce de Leon Ave, Albany and Monticello. He made me study maps to learn the roads. He made me get in my car and drive every interstate. He took me up in the chopper and taught me all of the idiosyncrasies of Atlanta traffic. 

 

I will always treasure Captain Herb, the time we spent together and all that he has meant to me. 

 

The City of Atlanta has lost an icon, a pillar, an invaluable resource, and a dear, dear friend. He rode shotgun with millions of commuters over the years making sure folks got to work on time and then got home in time for dinner. 

 

We as traffic reporters in the metro area will try to fill his shoes, but just know traffic reports will never be the same.

 

He was Mozart, he was John Wayne, he was Dale Earnhardt. He is irreplaceable. 

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News

  • The Latest on the Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law (all times local): 6 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focusing on the tax cuts, deficit reduction and lower premiums cited in a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate's health care bill, and making no mention of the 22 million more Americans who would be uninsured. McConnell put out a brief statement Monday after the release of the Congressional Budget Office report. He says Americans need relief from the 'failed Obamacare law,' and says the Senate will soon act on a bill to give Americans better care. The Kentucky Republican says the bill would lower premiums by 30 percent in 2020, cut taxes by $700 billion and reduce the deficit by $331 billion. His statement omits any mention of the CBO prediction that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured in 2026 than under President Barack Obama's health care law. ___ 4:20 p.m. The Senate health care bill would result in 22 million more uninsured Americans over the next decade compared to current law. That's according to an analysis Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The figure may further complicate Senate GOP leaders' plans to pass their bill this week. It's barely an improvement upon the health care bill that passed the House — which would have resulted in 23 million more uninsured. Several GOP senators have said they want to see their bill cover more people than the House version. And President Donald Trump himself called the House bill 'mean' — though he's lent his support to the Senate version and is lobbying for passage. ___ 2:15 p.m. The nation's largest doctors' group is outlining its opposition to the Senate Republican health care bill. The American Medical Association sent a letter Monday to Senate leaders saying the draft legislation violates the medical oath to 'first, do no harm.' The letter says the Republican plan is likely to lead to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care for low- and middle-income patients. The doctors' group says the Senate bill's Medicaid payment formulas threaten to 'limit states' ability to address the health care needs of their most vulnerable citizens' and won't keep up with new medical innovations and epidemics such as the opioid addiction crisis. The letter is signed by Dr. James L. Madara, the group's CEO. The AMA has about a quarter-million members. __ 2 p.m. One of the nation's biggest health insurers says the Senate health care bill will 'markedly improve' the individual insurance market's stability and moderate premium hikes. Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem says the bill will help in part by appropriating money for cost-sharing reduction payments and eliminating a health insurance tax. Cost-sharing reduction payments help cover expenses like deductibles for people with modest incomes. President Donald Trump has discussed ending these payments, and insurers planning to return to the exchanges next year want a guarantee that the payments also will return. Anthem Inc. sells coverage in key markets like New York and California. It has said tough market conditions have forced it to pull out of exchanges in three states for 2018: Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. __ 1:10 p.m. Senate Republicans have issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. Under the new package, people who lacked coverage for at least 63 days in the past year and then buy a policy would face a six-month delay before it takes effect. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his initial measure last week. It had no penalty for people who let their coverage expire. The waiting period is designed to prompt healthy people who might not otherwise buy insurance to do so. That helps insurance companies pay for sicker customers who are more expensive to cover. McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate by the end of this week, but some Republicans are rebelling. __ 12:55 p.m. An outside group backing President Donald Trump will begin targeting more Republican holdouts on the Senate's health care bill. America First Policies is expanding its campaign against Nevada Sen. Dean Heller to include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Those lawmakers came out against the bill as written when it was made public last week. A senior official with America First Policies says online and social media ads will remind voters that Republicans have promised to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation. The official demanded anonymity to discuss the plan. The group also is preparing radio and television ads to run ahead of the vote, which could come at the end of this week. — Julie Bykowicz __ 11:19 a.m. A conservative Republican senator who doesn't back the GOP health care bill is using unusually sharp tones to criticize party leaders. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is accusing top Republicans of trying to jam the legislation through the Senate. He says the leadership effort is 'a little offensive' and says conservatives haven't had input into the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation last week rolling back much of President Barack Obama's health care law. Johnson is among four conservatives and a moderate who said they don't back the measure but haven't ruled out supporting it if it's changed. McConnell is working this week to make revisions to win over votes. The bill will win approval if just two of the 52 Senate Republicans support it. All Democrats oppose it. __ 10:54 a.m. A nonpartisan group representing Republican and Democratic state officials who administer Medicaid programs says the GOP health care legislation advancing toward a Senate vote will not work. In a strongly worded statement that reflects the 'unanimous' views of its board, the National Association of Medicaid Directors said the Republican health care bill would be 'a transfer of risk, responsibility, and cost to the states of historic proportions.' While the group's members differ over the concept of federal spending limits on the health program for low-income people, the board agreed that the inflation adjustments in the Senate bill 'are insufficient and unworkable.' Medicaid has become perhaps the key sticking point in the congressional debate. The group said Congress should focus on stabilizing insurance markets for now, and tackle Medicaid overhaul later in a more thoughtful manner. __ 2:54 a.m. Senate Republicans skeptical about a GOP health overhaul bill are expressing some doubt about holding a vote on the measure this week. Lawmakers are awaiting a key analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. President Donald Trump is making a final push to fulfill a key campaign promise, insisting that Republicans are not 'that far off' and signaling that last-minute changes are coming to win votes. So far, five Republican senators are expressing opposition to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama's health law. That's more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The holdouts are expressing willingness to negotiate, but many of them are pushing revisions that could risk alienating moderate Republicans in the process.
  • Police are looking for the person who sprayed bullets into a home filled with children. Newnan police said four girls were inside the home on Reynolds Street having a sleepover when someone outside fired their gun into the home around 11:30 p.m. Two of the girls, both 11, were hit by gunfire. 'We ask you to have a heart, understand that we want to speak to you. We will hopefully track down leads and locate you and this is your opportunity to come forward and let us know what happened in your own words,' said Newnan's deputy police chief. One of the girls were hit in the cheek, the other was shot in the thigh. They were taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. TRENDING STORIES: From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Teen missing for more than a year found at Duluth home Police continue to search for duo seen punching woman, daughter Both are listed as stable. One of the girls' mother was home at the time. Investigators believe the gun used was a 9mm. Police were able to count seven bullet holes into the home. Channel 2's Lori Wilson spoke to neighbors in the area. Why they say they've been afraid for years about something like this happening at 6 p.m.
  • DeKalb County police are trying to find a man thought to be a serial robber and his accomplice, saying they present more than just a threat to businesses. Authorities say it’s a public safety issue, too. “It's a safety issue when you're robbing businesses,” detective Chastity Cantrelo told Channel 2 Action News. “At any point, a customer could come in and startle the suspects, and he could make the mistake of shooting someone.” The person has hit two Waffle Houses and a Walgreens in three weeks. Police say he has never pulled a gun, just shown a handle. In two surveillance videos, the robber is wearing the same outfit — a gray and black zip-up hoodie, black sweatpants and sneakers. Also, he’s always wearing a white glove on one hand to keep from leaving fingerprints, police said. The armed robberies have some people in the area concerned. “I guess they feel really bold and brazen about what they're doing,” resident Ed Banks said. “It is pretty scary.” Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting crimestoppersatlanta.org.
  • A spokesman for the wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says she has hired a lawyer as federal investigators examine a real estate deal involving a Vermont college she once ran. Family spokesman Jeff Weaver managed Sanders' 2016 Democratic presidential campaign and tells The Associated Press that Jane O'Meara Sanders has retained an attorney to look out for her interests. The news website VTDigger.com first reported federal investigators are taking a closer look at $10 million in financing she assembled for the now-defunct Burlington College. Last week, Bernie Sanders called the probe 'nonsense' in an interview with WCAX-TV and suggested it was politically motivated. The complaint against Jane Sanders was filed by Brady Toensing, who was the Vermont campaign chairman for Donald Trump during his run for president as a Republican.
  • A man accused of holding a teen captive in his home for an entire year faced a judge for the first time Monday. Michael Wysolovski was denied bond after he was arrested and charged for allegedly holding a North Carolina teen captive in his Duluth home. Hailey Burns, now 17, disappeared from her parents' home in Charlotte in May of last year. Investigators said the teen met Wysolovski online and somehow ended up in his control. Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes was in the courtroom for Wysolovski first court appearance Monday. She said three women and one man were there for in support of the suspect but they wouldn't say if they were relatives or not. They didn't get a chance to speak to the Wysolovski, but he acknowledged them and whispered something to them that Fernandes said she could not make out. As they left the hearing, Fernandes asked them to speak on Wysolovski's behalf. All they would say to Fernandes was 'no comment.' TRENDING STORIES: GSU police chief arrested on DUI charges Teenage son of former Braves player on life support after baseball injury From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Wysolovski has been charged with aggravated sodomy, cruelty to children deprivation in the 1st degree, interference with custody and false imprisonment after police said he held Burns captive in his Duluth home along Seneca Trail for more than a year. Saturday, the FBI raided Wysolovski's home, finding Burns inside. Police haven't said exactly how Burns ended up at Wysolovski's home, but they did say that Burns disappeared from her parents' home in North Carolina in May of last year after meeting Wysolovski online. Her parents said Burns has a form of autism and they weren't sure they would ever see her again. 'She is just so happy to be home. Even the littlest things make her happy,' mother Shaunna Burns said. 'To be able to be at peace. And to not, probably, be living in fear. And that is, that is, a commodity that she now understands,' father Anthony Burns said. On Saturday, police said Burns reached out to a woman in Romania online and told her she was being held against her will. Police said she sent the woman pictures of the home and five hours later, FBI agents found the teen. Now, she's home safe with her parents in Charlotte. Neighbors said they couldn't believe what was allegedly happening in the home right next door to them.
  • A contagious virus has forced dozens of animals to be removed from the Bartow County Animal Shelter. The state has now placed the Cartersville facility under a cat quarantine. Animal control officers say the cats were exposed to feline distemper, an especially contagious virus that came in from a single cat, either stray or surrendered, that didn't have the proper vaccination. The county and the Etowah Humane Society convinced the Fur Kids rescue in Doraville to take the cats in hopes that they can be cleared for adoption. Monday morning, dozens of cats got shots and were then loaded up for a trip to the rescue in DeKalb County. Some of the cats are already symptomatic and will receive medical treatment. 'It's a very ugly disease,' Animal Control Deputy Director Tommy Gentry said. 'Right now, we can't even pet them. We can't even touch them.' TRENDING STORIES: Police continue to search for duo seen punching woman, daughter Teen missing for more than a year, found at Duluth home From Mexico to metro Atlanta: Bust nets $1M in meth, $250K in cash Three cats have already been euthanized and even veteran animal control employees are feeling it. 'Twenty-seven years of doing it, it gets a little rough when a cat's put to sleep for no reason,' Gentry said. 'You can't save them all but the ones you can save are very gratifying.' Feline distemper is the same disease as Parvo in dogs. It starts with vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration and often leads to death. Gentry says Bartow County residents are getting frustrated that animal control is unable to respond to cat calls. He says the county is scrubbing down the facility and they hope to be reopened to cats within the next 72 hours. Fur Kids says the cats will remain quarantined until July 9, then will be free for adoption. In the meantime, the rescue is looking for donors to help defray the cost.