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Atlanta's Morning News

Weekdays 4:30am - 9am

Scott Slade

Atlanta’s Morning News

(Weekdays 4:30am - 9am) Join Atlanta’s Morning News with Scott Slade weekday mornings on WSB to start your day with the news, weather and traffic you need from WSB.  


  • Scott Slade is host of Atlanta’s Morning News, consistently one of the top-rated radio programs in metro Atlanta for over twenty years, and among the top-rated news-talk programs in the USA. The show airs weekdays, 4:30-9:00 AM, on 95.5 WSB, Atlanta’s News & Talk.

After Atlanta's Morning News with Scott Slade

  • Morgan Ward—an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta—has done extensive research on how people give and receive gifts. Ward tells WSB Radio’s Scott Slade that a resounding theme she has found in her research is it is sometimes better NOT to give a gift. >>LISTEN TO SCOTT SLADE’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH WARD BELOW. A few of Ward’s points include:  The wrong gift choice can do damage to your relationship with the recipient, but how do you know?  There’s a difference between giving gifts in “normal” situations, when it’s expected (i.e. the holidays and birthdays) and when the gift giving is spontaneous. In normal situations, getting something is better than getting nothing. But when it’s spontaneous, a bad gift can have a real negative impact.  Consider the resources of the gift-giver and how that might constrain the size of the gift. You might lay a foundation if that’s an issue for you this year.
  • Scott Slade pulls back the curtain to offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at notes he takes every day, hosting Atlanta’s Morning News: KOREA SUMMIT: Kim Jong Un sends his right-hand man to Washington. And the Wall St Journal reports the U.S. is DEFERRING launching major new sanctions... The latest signs a North Korea summit is ON. BROAD report on the economy: S&P 500 companies: corp. profits up over 24% and 78% are beating expectations.  GAS PRICES MAY HAVE PEAKED: TRIPLE A says we should catch a break soon from rising gas prices after Russia and Saudi Arabia express interest in raising oil supply. CRUDE OIL prices have dropped enough to amount to a discount of at least 10 cents at the pump in the short term.  Americans spend BILLIONS on supplements like vitamins with no real idea on whether they're getting anything for their money.  WSB NEWS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH: THE MOST COMMON VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS DO YOU NO HARM, RESEARCHERS SAY BUT THEY DON'T DO YOU MUCH GOOD EITHER. SCIENTISTS IN CANADA SAY IT SURPRISED THEM TO FIND SO FEW POSITIVE EFFECTS FROM VITAMINS C, D, MULTI-VITAMINS AND CALCIUM. THEY SHOW NO ADVANTAGE IN PREVENTING HEART ATTACK OR STROKE. FOLIC ACID AND B-VITAMINS WITH FOLIC ACID DO REGISTER A SLIGHT HEALTH BENEFIT.  Starbucks stores close at 230 PM nationwide today for diversity training.  Watching to see if the roof at Mercedes Benz stadium cranks open today; it's supposed to open for the next 10 days for final construction, including Saturday's ATL United Game.  Delta Airlines rolls out new uniforms for flight attendants and ground crews.  The president travels to Nashville to raise campaign cash for Rep. Marsha Blackburn this evening, the GOP's leading Senate hopeful in Tennessee, and headline a rally.  Tuesday, May. 29 10:30 AM Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, and Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Amy Jacobs hold a news conference reminding parents, caregivers, and the public about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles (LOOK AGAIN campaign)  I wonder if this will come up THE VIEW on Channel 2 this morning? You know John McCain's daughter Meghan is one of the hosts. Comes out last night during the premiere of the new HBO Doc. JOHN MCCAIN FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS she had a screaming match with the senator just days after his brain cancer surgery to prevent him from flying back to Washington to vote on the GOP attempt to repeal Obamacare. He told her to stand down, snapping at her that 'IT's My Life and it's my choice.
  • Scott Slade pulls back the curtain to offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at notes he takes every day, hosting Atlanta’s Morning News: WED on AMN Primary election results and analysis - who's moving ahead in the race for GOV  The White House meeting over the upcoming North Korea summit  The rain that's coming between now and Mem Day - who could see some flooding. Kirk Mellish's blog - 4-5 inches of rain between now and Sunday?  How Clark Howard says you can save hundreds on hearing aids  Why the CDC says ATLANTANS are maxing out the STRESS charts  The decision on whether a former DK cop will face a murder trial  Clark Howard's travel bargains Thursday morning (Kilauea volcano is still erupting): Are we going to hear from Clark Howard on whether Hawaii is on sale? Are you tempted? Gotta admit, I wouldn't mind seeing one of the natural wonders of the world. There hasn't been excitement for a play coming to ATL like this since PHANTOM's 1st run back in the 1990's... Hamilton!  AJC entertainment writer Melissa Ruggieri even has a public service BLOG this morning on common courtesy in the theater: turn off your phone, be on time, don't crawl over a row of people to go get a glass of wine (please wait til intermission). And for all that is Lin Manuel Holy, don't sing along with the songs!!!! The guy who paid 500 bucks for the seat next to you came to hear the cast do it... ok?  The 32 NFL owners are in ATL for meetings today ... including more changes in kickoffs and how to handle Natl Anthem protests and sports gambling...asking Congress to set clear rules.  PRIMARY ELECTION DAY ... over 400 races statewide, led by primaries for GA Governor.  Gwinnett and Cobb schools dismiss for the summer tomorrow; Atlanta, and DeKalb on Friday.  APS Super. Meria Carstarphen tells Chan 2's Audrey Washington that they'll be holding ACTIVE SHOOTER drills this fall.
  • Scott Slade pulls back the curtain to offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at notes he takes every day, hosting Atlanta’s Morning News: Today is first week day for the new STARBUCKS policy: 'Any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase.' If this is their plan to weed out paying customers, it might just work.  Rudy Giuliani says Special Counsel Robert Mueller's people tell him the Russia obstruction probe will wrap up by September IF the president agrees to an interview this summer.  Developments from the Santa Fe High School shooting Friday -- Former Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan is calling for parents to BOYCOTT SCHOOLS until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.  Singer Kelly Clarkson on the Billboard Music Awards last night with a tribute to the Santa Fe Texas high school shooting victims said moments of silence aren't working, it's time for action.  Coming up Tuesday on AMN:  Biggest rain chance days this week in Kirk Mellish's 5 DAY Forecast  South Korean President's meeting with Pres. Trump - will he get an earful for overselling NK willingness to negotiate?  Is GA Country Crooner Caleb Lee Hutchinson the new American Idol The Braves in Philadelphia playing the 2nd place Phillies  Early turnout on primary election day  Clark Howard's warning about thieves hacking credit cards with embedded chips  CDC: based on internet searches, Atlanta's ranking for stress.  TODAY  Pres. Trump says he will officially ask for formal investigation into whether the FBI had an informant inside his campaign in 2016.  Immunity hearing today for former DK officer Robert Olsen for the shooting death of an unarmed veteran; if he is not granted immunity, jury selection begins in his felony murder trial.  Atlanta City Council expected to vote TODAY on whether to spend up to $130 for backup generators at Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport. A resolution would call for the city to enter in to a contract with GA Power to install enough emergency capacity to supply 100% of the power needed to run the concourses normally...about 65 megawatts. (It could take more than two years to finish the generator project if and when it's greenlighted.)  Final day of campaigning before the GA Primary tomorrow. The candidates' biggest opponent may be voter apathy.
  • Scott Slade pulls back the curtain to offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at notes he takes every day, hosting Atlanta’s Morning News: Make a point to listen TOMORROW on AMN: Kirk Mellish's exclusive LONG-RANGE Summer Outlook at 620, 720 and 820 AM. Police tell the AJC, 7 of the 18 Holstein/Fresian dairy cattle (you may know them as Chick-fil-A cows) in the I-75 truck crash in North Cobb this morning did not survive. These cows were not on their way on vacation, but I'm impressed with their humane treatment by authorities.  CRIME ALERT for Morning Drive Muggings:  ATL police are mobilizing to STOP a string of car-jackings and pedestrian robberies that all occurred in a TIGHT radius including midtown and South Buckhead between the hours of 5AM and 7AM THIS WEEK.  CDC says it's now safe to eat romaine lettuce again. Tainted lettuce from AZ has aged out of the supply chain.  US House expected to continue debate on Farm Bill 12:00 PM today. Important: agriculture is GA's #1 industry worth nearly $75 billion a year. Some help for GA blueberry farmers? GA Dept. of AG says this year's blueberry crop is likely to be hit as hard as last years, around 60% off with an impact that could approach $400 million.  ON TAP TODAY  US Senate vote on CIA Dir. Nominee Gina Haspel.  Morning news conference over the future of a City of Eagles Landing.  The Cobb Development Authority meets with the Cobb School Board to talk about how big TAX INCENTIVES should be to draw several hundred high tech jobs to the Suntrust Park corridor.  THE huge new OPEN-AIR CLUB ON THE ROOFTOP OF THE FOX THEATER OPENS FOR BUSINESS TONIGHT to patrons, to the public on Saturday night ('Live From Here' with Chris Thile at the Fox Saturday). ABC: President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani is urging special counsel Robert Mueller's team to wrap up its investigation on the eve of the probe's one-year anniversary. Giuliani tells Fox News Channel's Laura Ingraham that Mueller 'has all the facts to make a decision.' Giuliani says Mueller has 'gotten 1.4 million documents, he's interviewed 28 witnesses. And he has nothing, which is why he wants to bring the president into an interview.' He says, 'We've tortured this president enough.'  I keep hearing Clarkston, Decatur and Athens being referred to as 'Sanctuary Cities.' But wait a minute ... the GA Legislature passed a law in 2009 OUTLAWING so called sanctuary cities that refuse to report immigration violations. But the national think tank Center for Immigration Studies says there's a loophole... the GA law refers to CITIES...and Dekalb and Clayton Counties are sanctuary COMMUNITIES.

Atlanta's Morning News Anchors

Local News

  • The Archdiocese of Atlanta has outlined new guidelines for its parishes, that extends the suspension of masses through April 19, which will cover Palm Sunday and Easter. In a memo to priests, deacons and parish leaders, Bishop Joel M. Konzen, the diocesan administrator, cited the continued spread of the coronavirus, which has forced many places of worship to forgo in-person services for livestreaming. “If we should be granted the ability to return to public gatherings sooner, we will, of course, alter this plan accordingly,” said Konzen in the memo according to the archdiocese’s website.   Pastors and other priests are asked to observe Palm Sunday services privately on April 5 . The masses will be celebrated with only those necessary, according to the archdiocese. Palms will be blessed and distributed at a later date. Atlanta’s bishops will celebrate the liturgies of the Easter triduum, which  begins the evening of Holy Thursday and ends the evening of Easter Sunday, at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. Those masses will  be broadcast livestream.  Such changes are happening globally. In Rome, Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Week liturgies in St. Peter’s Basilica without the public.   The memo was extensive is outlining what will occur during Holy Week, which is also the last week of Lent.  The memo also outlined the guidelines for observances of Holy Thursday Mass, which will omit washing of the feet. People will not be present during Good Friday or Easter Sunday.  Konzen suggested, as a show of unity, for churches to ring their bells. “For those within earshot, it can be a call to spiritual communion and contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery,” he said in the memo, according to the website. The memo went further, addressing sacraments such as confession. He said confessions would no long be held in confessional boxed or closed rooms.   Instead, they would be held in a well-ventilated area that provides for social distancing and confidentiality, if possible.   In-person religious education programs at parishes are suspended until April 20. Parishes that can be livestreamed can be found on the website or the individual parish’s social media.
  • Waffle House cook Iyana Phillips isn’t getting extra pay for the extra risk she has faced working in close proximity to others during a fast-spreading pandemic. In fact, she’s been making less. Her $10.50 hourly rate was cut by about a dollar and her hours sliced in half as the coronavirus keeps diners away in droves. First, the Norcross-based restaurant chain’s chairman said he eliminated his own salary and chopped all managers’ compensation by 20%. Then, Phillips said, cooks like her took a pay reduction. “I can’t criticize them,” she said of the chain. “It’s not their fault.” Many metro Atlanta workers — from those at Kroger to RaceTrac and Truist to AT&T — are getting higher hourly wages or bonuses for staying on the front lines of commerce during the spread of COVID-19. But many others aren’t in line for such money. Some are just glad to have jobs in a plunging economy. Rewards vary widely for those getting extra because their jobs don’t allow them to work at home. And the situation for health workers — among those most exposed to coronavirus risk — is even less certain. Some workers are pushing for increased pay and greater safety protections, launching online petitions. Gig shoppers for Instacart have called for a strike of the grocery delivery service starting Monday unless changes are made, including boosting shopper pay by $5 an order and defaulting in-app tips to at least 10%. Instacart, which has said it wants to add 300,000 shoppers, said it plans to pay bonuses of $25 to $200 to some workers. A Home Depot spokeswoman said Thursday the Atlanta-based retailer will pay $100 weekly bonuses to all store and distribution center employees who work at least 35 hours a week and $50 weekly bonuses to those working 20 to 34 hours a week. Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens and Lowe’s are all offering one-time bonuses of $300 to many full-time workers, or $150 to many part-time workers. CVS said it will give one-time bonuses of $150 to $500. Truist, formed from the combination of SunTrust Bank and BB&T, announced $1,200 pre-tax bonuses for all its employees making less than $100,000 a year. Columbus-based Synovus will increase hourly non-exempt on-site employee pay by $50 for each day worked, up to $500 a pay period. Hourly store employees of RaceTrac, the locally based gas and convenience store chain, will get an extra $3 an hour, according to the company. Both Target and Amazon are offering $2 an hour more for many workers, while restaurant workers at Chipotle are slated to get 10% added to their hourly wages. AT&T said it will pay its union employees 20% extra on top of their regular hourly rate. Tony Marshall, president and CEO of the Georgia Healthcare Association, said some skilled nursing centers are providing hazard pay to frontline workers, especially in facilities where a resident has tested positive. He said it’s being used to retain workers who are critically needed at this time in health care settings. Meanwhile, Wellstar Health System declined to comment on specific compensation issues related to the pandemic. In some settings, government workers will receive more pay. DeKalb County chief executive officer Michael Thurmond has directed that “front line workers,” such as police, fire, EMS, water, sanitation and roads, will receive double their regular compensation. Half will be in pay and the other half will be in comp time. Still, many employers aren’t taking such steps. Restaurants generally don’t seem to be offering such extras, said Karen Bremer, the chief executive officer of the Georgia Restaurant Association. She pointed out that many full-service restaurants have closed or significantly scaled back their workforce as their sales have cratered. Many jurisdictions including the city of Atlanta have banned dining in at restaurants. Phillips, the Waffle House cook, now handles only to-go orders, with customers ordering and making pickups at the front door. Package delivery giant UPS, one of the nation’s largest employers, said it isn’t offering hazard pay. The city of Atlanta did not provide answers by late Friday when asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about hazard pay. Publix said it will accelerate pay increases for workers, but did not specify amounts or timing as of late Friday. Many other workers who spoke with an AJC reporter said they aren’t getting any extra pay and stressed their bigger focus is to remain employed. “I’m scared,” said a man working behind the counter of a 24-hour convenience store and gas station in Suwanee. “You don’t know who has it.” But he said he hasn’t asked his employer for extra pay, figuring he needs to avoid putting his job at risk. “I have to work. It’s no choice.” Rashad Wilson just started a job as a furniture deliverer for what amounts to less than $10 an hour. It doesn’t include a bump up in wages for coming close to people in their homes or spending much of the day seated beside a co-worker driving the truck. Much of the time on the road, they are listening to news on the radio about the toll of COVID-19. “It’s the coronavirus, but everyday life is still going on,” he said. Sedrice Williams, a Home Depot sales associate, praised his employer for adding weekly hazard pay. Still, the 52-year-old said he has asthma and his wife faces her own health issues, which put them at elevated risk. “I’d rather not work, but I’ve got to work.” He has yet to take Home Depot up on its pandemic-related offer of 80 extra hours of paid time off for full-time employees. He’s been resistant to burn up that additional benefit so far. He said he just wishes Home Depot had put coronavirus safety measures in place in stores sooner. Mikesha Walker, a Gwinnett County bus driver, started an online petition seeking hazard pay for transit workers across the country. As of Friday morning, it had more than 1,800 signatures. Both MARTA and the state’s Xpress bus system said they have no plans for hazard pay, but have taken steps to protect workers. Representatives of Cobb and Gwinnett County transit systems said decisions about hazard pay would be up to private contractors that operate their services. — Staff writers David Wickert, Carrie Teegardin and Tyler Estep contributed to this article.
  • Thank you, we did it. We raised $104,854 which will help the Atlanta Community Food Bank provide 419,416 meals to struggling kids, seniors and families across our community.
  • Kennesaw State University math professor Babak Moazzez asked his calculus class a question about 15 minutes into his lecture Thursday morning. “Good, Daniel,” the professor said after the student correctly typed his response. A few minutes later, four students wrote answers to another question. Until last week, Moazzez’s class met on campus, and students asked and answered questions face-to-face. Now, like all KSU courses, it’s being done remotely. Students log in to watch the professor teach. Moazzez writes formulas and text that appear in the middle of the screen. Students type answers to his questions that appear in the top right corner. » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Georgia colleges and universities are holding classes remotely for the rest of the semester after closing their campuses earlier this month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some schools have started such instruction, but most of the state’s largest institutions will begin next week. The transition presents particular challenges for faculty teaching courses with extensive hands-on instruction or that require significant face time with students. Faculty and administrators said in interviews it’s not easy teaching classes on welding, calculus, fashion design or dance from a computer. Georgia State University has told its faculty that some assignments are no longer possible. Other issues include finding software that more instructors can use simultaneously, that allows faculty to show students everything they’re trying to teach and that they can use for exams. The tools must also be usable for students with disabilities. “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” KSU President Pamela Whitten wrote Tuesday on her blog. “Faculty members are tailoring their solutions for what makes sense for each unique course. This is not easy, nor is it perfect.” KSU, which has about 35,000 students, is the largest Georgia school that has begun remote learning. This shift is requiring professors to rethink how they teach students content typically done in labs, said Yakut Gazi, associate dean of Learning Systems for Georgia Tech’s global campus. There’s more theoretical discussion and more writing. About 350 faculty members and 65 student advisers went through training sessions this week, she said. Faculty, she said, must think more now about ensuring students have everything they need to learn as opposed to solely focusing on covering all the required content. Brenau University senior Jordyn De La Rosa was skeptical about the plan to teach courses online. “I honestly didn’t believe it. There’s no way they’re going to uproot us to online,” said De La Rosa, 21, who has returned to her family’s home in Monroe, about 50 miles east of downtown Atlanta. Brenau began online instruction Monday. So far, De Le Rosa said, it’s gone well. Students say in interviews and in online discussions some less tech-savvy instructors are having trouble sharing their lessons remotely. Many faculty members have never done this before. Some complain the remote learning is done in lectures much shorter than their classes. Administrators and faculty are preaching patience as they work out the glitches. Moazzez’s face, for example, was not on the screen for much of the 100-minute class, but his voice could still clearly be heard. The professor said he faced other problems during test runs, such as not everyone could see what he was writing. Overall, Moazzez said the transition “has been great.” Students can watch classes on their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Some classes are taught live. Others are posted online for students when they can watch. Faculty are using software provided by their schools, primarily an app called “Blackboard Collaborate,” to teach the courses. Platforms such as Facebook Live won’t work, Gazi said, because it doesn’t properly help students form subgroups or private breakout sessions. She said there are also concerns that non-students can see who’s online and have access to their names, which violates federal student privacy laws. In some cases, instructors teaching more hands-on courses will focus more on writing, officials said in interviews. Many of these courses already included digital coursework, which makes the transition easier, said Steve Ferguson, chief information officer for the Technical College System of Georgia. The Technical College System is also working with the Georgia Department of Education to ensure dual enrollment students have no major issues taking classes remotely. “I think faculty and students are going to think a little differently on this,” Ferguson said. “We’ll have a lot of new ways of doing things.” Some students have their own sarcastic reactions to all of this. One included a social media post of streaming services Hulu, Netflix and Spotify with their prices. “The University of Georgia $28,000/year,” someone posted. De La Rosa, a fashion design major at Brenau, said one faculty member has talked about doing more projects than tests, concluding the remote learning is increasing student critical thinking skills. There are adjustments in some of her fashion courses, which typically involve sewing or hem work. Her professor’s plan was to help students rent a sewing machine who did not have one, but they couldn’t do so because of liability issues. There are other alterations. De La Rosa had a scheduling conflict with two classes that are being taught simultaneously online. One professor posted the class on a platform she could review later. Such changes are a part of her new world, along with now doing her coursework at her family’s home. “Just getting into that new routine,” she said. “So far, most of us are taking it well.”  What’s a tough class to take remotely? Dance Dance, as the modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis famously said, is “communication between body and soul.” So how is something so personal taught through a computer? That is the challenge for Kennesaw State University assistant professor Andrea Knowlton, now that the university is teaching all of its classes remotely after its campuses closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. She recently embarked on her first lessons. “It’s very physical,” Knowlton said of dance instruction in an interview, “so this is a very different experience.” One of her students, Leah Prince, said the greatest hurdle thus far is “keeping myself accountable” without a group of classmates to see in person during the week. “We are all encouraging each other to stay creative,” said Prince, 19, a first-year student majoring in dance. “Don’t let yourself wallow in not being in the studio.” Knowlton also misses the in-person interaction. “I do,” she said. “I really do.” The class still meets Mondays and Wednesdays, but not live. Knowlton posts the content for students to watch. The students send assignments digitally. There’s more critical thinking and writing, she said. The students send her time lapse videos of their warmups and some of their routines. Prince sent her professor a 12-minute video condensed into 20 seconds. Prince, in her family’s backyard, stretches and then kicks her legs to the sky. She bends one leg into the other and twirls around before moving her arms in circles. It looks frenetic in 20 seconds. Prince said her neighbors watched her routine with curiosity. “I’m just out there dancing, doing my homework.” Remote learning has its benefits. Prince said the time lapse video allowed her better “to see what I’m actually doing.” One advantage of live distance learning, though, is students can ask questions and immediately get answers. Knowlton has been impressed by her students’ flexibility, and their professionalism, during this abrupt transition. Dancers, she observed, are problem solvers. “This is right up our alley,” she said.
  • When Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the continued closure of public schools into late April, it extended the educational turmoil for 1.8 million children and their parents, and for teachers such as Sarah Ott, who has kids of her own. She teaches middle school science and, from a public safety standpoint, thinks Kemp made the right decision to put the brakes on the accelerating number of coronavirus infections in Georgia. But still, the chaos. Ott has had to figure out how to move her curriculum online while learning how to talk to her students through a computer screen. Her daughters, ages 4 and 6, are home since their schools are closed, too, and, just like most every other parent in Georgia, or on the planet probably, she has to keep them occupied while doing her job.  Home confinement does things to people: teacher Sarah Ott channels Ariel the mermaid, with a little help in the background During normal times, she and her husband are so busy with work that they often rely on restaurants for their meals, yet the restaurants are closed. On top of all that, their housekeeper, fearing infection, has quit. “I’m about to lose it,” the eighth grade physical science teacher in Dalton said. “Everything’s so crazy right now.” Kemp, who previously ordered all schools to close through the end of this month starting March 18, is now forbidding them to reopen before April 27. Public colleges, which have already moved to online learning, will remain closed until the end of the school year. Many suspect K-12 schools will ultimately be closed for the rest of the year, too. >> RELATED | Kemp: Georgia public schools to remain closed through April 24 “I don’t really think they’re going back,” said Tywanna Bailey-Britt, who has three children in DeKalb County schools. She laments the disruption. Prom has been canceled, and her daughter’s graduation ceremony is up in the air. Kemp said he’d reached his decision after a “frank conversation” about the fallout for schools. “They want direction from a statewide perspective and we’re now in that place,” he told WGAU, an Athens-based radio station. Superintendents applauded his decision. Schools would be “negatively impacted” by returning too soon, said Chris Ragsdale, the superintendent in Cobb County. “Student and staff safety must always be the top priority.” J. Alvin Wilbanks, who leads the Gwinnett County schools, said the governor made “a tough decision in a timely manner.” Gwinnett has had dry runs with online learning, so he was confident his system could teach students well online “for as long as is necessary.” >>How is your school handling this extended closure? Are classes online or on paper? Are teachers using video conferences? Let us know at Atlanta Public Schools, which closed several days ahead of Kemp’s mandate, will miss five weeks of in-place schooling after subtracting the upcoming time off for spring break. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a virtual town hall Thursday with about 1,700 watching. “It’s too early to say whether or not schools are going to be closed through the end of May,” she said, adding that the uncertainty “causes all kinds of angst.” She advised parents who are now effectively home-schooling that they should cap schoolwork at three hours a day for children in fifth grade and younger, four hours for kids in middle school and five hours for teens in high school. Besides concerns about missed proms and graduation ceremonies, there is the fundamental question of missed learning. Schools that can do it have shifted to online, but it hasn’t been a seamless transition for all. “Our biggest worry is for those kids who don’t have internet access,” said Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, the superintendent in Early County, in the southwest corner of the state. As many as half of the students aren’t showing up for some online classes, she said. As president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, she’s heard similar concerns across the state. She said some superintendents have been pressuring Kemp to pull the plug on the rest of the school year. The uncertainty makes it hard to plan, and some, especially older, staffers want to stay as far away from the virus as possible. >> Follow all the AJC’s coronavirus coverage  Children and young adults rarely experience significant symptoms from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It is far more dangerous for older people and those with underlying medical conditions. Public health experts worry about the virus spreading in the close confines of schools. The situation has forced Ragan-Martin into a lose-lose situation: stop feeding students or risk the lives of her staff. Schools have been delivering food to students who qualify for the federally subsidized school meals program, but Early County will be ending its deliveries soon. With seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Early County as of Thursday evening, Ragan-Martin’s food service staffers fear the deliveries are putting them at risk of infection. “Our folks are too afraid,” she said. “People are scared.” Ott, the science teacher in Dalton, is among those who want Kemp to throw in the towel on the school year. The virus is too dangerous, and must be stopped with months of continued social distancing, she said. She can muddle through with online schooling. After the bumpy transition of the first couple of days, things are going well enough. She has been using a popular teleconferencing platform called Zoom to meet with her students. With students curious about the pandemic, she saw a teachable moment and has been reading the book “Hot Zone,” about the deadly Ebola virus, in a YouTube video that her students have been enthusiastic about watching. Still, she has to keep a box of tissues near her computer because she cries every time she sees them through a screen. She misses them, and they miss school. “There was only one kid who was like ‘woohoo, no school,’” she said. “Everybody else is sad.” Staff writers Marlon Walker, Vanessa McCray and Kristal Dixon contributed to this article


  • With more states imposing “safer at home” and quarantine orders because of the coronavirus, families and friends are searching for ways to stay connected. Sure, the telephone works, but more people are using video apps for face-to-face contact. It’s a good way for older citizens to connect with grandchildren without worrying about coming in contact. While hugs may be precious, people are becoming more aware of staying isolated. There are plenty of ways to connect. Here is a look at 12 video-chatting applications: Zoom: This app appears to be geared toward business, but families can use Zoom too. Users initiating a meeting are taken to a virtual room that looks like a table in a conference room. Personal groups of up to 100 people can meet online for free. Business options include packages for sale that allow up to 1,000 participants. Facebook Live: Viewers can connect in real-time from their cellphones, computers and even through their television set. FaceTime: This app, though the Apple store, allows users to make video and audio calls to groups of up to 32 people. FaceTime is available on Apple products including iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Facebook Messenger: Similar to FaceTime, Messenger allows free video calling around the world for individuals or groups of up to six. It can be used on cellphones, tablets and computers. Skype: This app has been around for a while. Skype can accommodate groups of up to 50 people worldwide, It can be used on computers, mobile devices, XBox One and even smartwatches. WhatsApp: More than 2 billion users take advantage of the WhatsApp. The mobile app works on Android and iOS platforms, making it a good choice for people with friends owning diverse types of devices. The free app allows groups of up to four users per session. Tango: You know the old phrase. It takes two to Tango, and this app restricts video contact to two people. This free app is good but only two! The free app is good for video calling one other person at a time. You can also make voice calls, send messages and play games using Tango. Google Hangouts: This app is free in its basic form. Google Hangouts allows up to 10 participants at a time. You can even video chat through your Gmail accounts. Instagram: Up to six people can video chat at once via Instagram. Houseparty: This video chat app is owned by Epic Games, which developed Fortnite. Houseparty allows people to play video games or test trivia skills through its interface. It is available through Android, iOS, MacOs and Chrome. Snapchat: With Chat 2.0, Snapchat users can use a full, featured video chat service. Snapchat is free to use, but can chew up a lot of data time. It is recommended to connect to a wireless network before making your call. Viber: The Viber app is good for international calls and one-on-one video calls. Calls between Viber users are free, but a fee will apply for calling people without the app.
  • Tom Coburn, a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma known as a conservative political maverick, died after a battle with prostate cancer, according to The Associated Press. He was 72. Coburn retired from the Senate in 2015 after being diagnosed with cancer. He served two terms from 2005 to 2015, KOKI reported. “Oklahoma has lost a tremendous leader, and I lost a great friend today,' U.S. Sen. James Lankford said in a statement. “Dr. Coburn was an inspiration to many in our state and our nation. He was unwavering in his conservative values, but he had deep and meaningful friendships with people from all political and personal backgrounds. He was truly respected by people on both sides of the aisle.” In the Senate, Coburn was the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and also served on the committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Intelligence. From 1995 to 2001, Coburn represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A family physician, Coburn was a member of the Committee on Commerce, where he sat on the subcommittees on Health and Environment as vice-chairman, Energy & Power, and Oversight and Investigations. Coburn was also selected co-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2001. Services for Coburn have not been announced, KOKI reported.
  • Florida senior citizens who live in a downtown Orlando high-rise flickered the lights of their apartments Friday in a show of support for the doctors and nurses who are trying to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. Residents of Westminster Towers flickered their apartment lights at 9 p.m. to show support for the medical professionals working at Orlando Health. “Tonight, we flashed all of our lights to show our thanks to the hero health care workers at Orlando Regional Medical Center as they work hard to treat the sick and keep us safe from COVID-19,” Westminster Towers said on Facebook. “Thank you.” The display could be seen from the hospital campus, which is near the apartment building. “Thank you (Westminster Towers) for lighting up the night and our hearts,” the hospital network said on Facebook. “We’re all in this together.”
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia climbed to 2,366 Saturday as the state’s death toll reached 69. Since Friday evening, the confirmed number of Georgians who have died as a result of COVID-19 increased by four, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Health officials also confirmed an additional 168 cases since the 7 p.m. update. Of Georgia’s overall cases, 617 people remain hospitalized, a rate of about 26%, according to the state’s noon figures.  Fulton County still has the most cases with 373, followed by DeKalb with 240, Dougherty County with 205, and Cobb with 181.  As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases across the state was fewer than 1,000 Since Friday evening, Fulton has 26 new cases, while DeKalb has 21 more and 18 more people tested positive in Cobb. Four counties also reported their first cases, including Murray, Walton, Jenkins and Pike.  » MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany A total of 11,051 tests have been conducted so far in Georgia. About 21.4% of those returned positive results. On Friday afternoon, the DPH started releasing data on where people died. Dougherty County leads the count with 13 deaths, followed by Fulton with 12, Cobb County with eight, and Lee County with five. About 2.9% of Georgians who have tested positive for the highly contagious disease have died. » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. As numbers spike across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to stay home and practice social distancing. At a town hall broadcast Thursday evening, Kemp told residents to heed directives to avoid more restrictive measures, such as a statewide stay-at-home mandate. » RELATED: Kemp urges Georgians to heed virus warnings but balks at drastic steps Bars and nightclubs remain closed across the state, many public gatherings are banned, and the elderly and medically fragile are ordered to shelter in place. » PHOTOS: Metro Atlanta adjusts to shifts in daily life amid coronavirus crisis Many metro Atlanta cities and counties have issued their own stay-at-home orders to residents, shutting down nonessential businesses and imposing curfews. » MORE: DeKalb County issues stay-at-home order Speaking on CNN Saturday morning, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said metro Atlanta’s hospitals are already nearing capacity.  “...We are a large urban city in an even larger metropolitan area, so on a good day our hospitals and our ICU beds are at a premium,” she said. “What people have to realize is strokes don’t stop, diabetes and these things that send people into our emergency rooms, these things continue. It’s stressing our health care system and you add this pandemic on top of it and we have a real problem of it brewing right here in Atlanta.” » RELATED: Bottoms: Stay home so others ‘have an opportunity to simply live’ Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.  — Please return to for updates.
  • He has been a prominent face during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings. Now, Anthony Fauci’s face is prominently featured on doughnuts in a New York shop. According to WHAM-TV, Donuts Delite, in Rochester, introduced the sweet treat Monday as a tribute to Fauci, 79, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a doctor for the National Institutes of Health. Nick Semeraro, owner of Donut Delites, said his employees have made “thousands” of doughnuts, the television station reported. “We wanted to find a way to cheer up the people in our neighborhood,” Semeraro told CNN. “We noticed Dr. Fauci on (television), and we loved his message and how thorough he was, and how he kept everyone informed during the crisis... so we wanted to give back and say thanks.” The shop printed Fauci’s face on edible paper and put it on top of a buttercream-frosted doughnut, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Fauci’s image was then encircled with frosting decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles, the newspaper reported. “Right now, we’re selling over 100 an hour at least,” Semararo told WHAM. “We had no idea they would blow up like that. “It just started as a tribute,” Semararo told the television station. “It started as a thank you. It’s sticking, and I think it’s great. People are stuck at home and what’s happening is, it’s starting conversations. Whether they pick it up for someone, it starts that thinking outside of the box and giving back.” Semararo said he would continue to make the doughnuts as long as there is a demand. “I never met a guy that worldwide (who) is so loved,” Semeraro told CNN. “And a month ago, we never knew his first and last name... His political agenda is medical. It’s facts ... the American public needs facts now.”
  • The chief executive officer of Texas Roadhouse restaurants said he is giving up his salary and bonus so the chain’s front-line employees can be paid during the coronavirus pandemic. Wayne Kent Taylor will begin donating his checks from the pay period beginning March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021, Market Watch reported Wednesday. Louisville Business First reported Taylor’s total compensation package in 2018 was $1.3 million with his base salary being $525,000. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Texas Roadhouse said it is also suspending its dividend in an effort to conserve cash during the pandemic, according to Market Watch. Texas Roadhouse, a publicly traded company based in Kentucky, employs more than 56,000 workers and has 563 locations in the U.S. and internationally, the website reported. Taylor, 63, founded the chain in 1993, opening his first restaurant in Clarksville, Indiana, USA Today reported.