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National Govt & Politics
Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0
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Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0

Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0

It was just another newscast this morning for WSB Radio in Atlanta. It was just another newscast on WDBO in Orlando, WHIO in Dayton, WOKV in Jacksonville, and KRMG in Tulsa. But it was much more than that for me, as my voice - my new, computer generated voice - went on the air today, getting me back on the radio for the first time in two years, after my voice was taken away by an unknown neurological disorder.

We call it, Jamie Dupree 2.0, a voice synthesized from recordings of my past news stories, which when paired with a special text-to-speech program, will allow me to go back on the radio,

I tuned in from home to see how it would sound. It all seemed so normal. The anchor reading the intro. "More from Jamie Dupree in Washington." And then my story played on the radio, just like up until the spring of 2016.

A few hours later, I got to work, and there was breaking news from the Supreme Court, as the Justices sidestepped a ruling on two cases dealing with gerrymandering of legislative district lines.

It all felt so normal. I typed up my story, fed it out to my stations, and it hit the air.

At home it seemed normal. But at work in the Capitol, when it played out in real time - the moment hit home.

It's hard to explain how difficult this past two years has been, both on a professional and personal level. I don't know if I will ever speak normally again. I don't if there will be a medical solution for the rare diagnosis that I have - "tongue protrusion dystonia."

But I want to thank those people in my company who backed this effort to find a solution for my voice problems. And I want to thank the listeners. Your good vibes have made a difference.

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News

  • He didn’t just lose his mother. Kincaid Eaker lost his second chance at life. >> Read more trending news  Kincaid was born with a genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease, the same disease that claimed his older brothers as infants, but medical treatment saved his life. His mother, Audra Eaker, knew the time would come when her son would need a donated kidney, and she’d already told him she was ready.  But in December 2016, Audra was shot five times in the head by her husband, Darrell, as they drove along Highway 92 in Woodstock, Georgia.  “What am I gonna do?” Kincaid, then 10, said on the day of the funeral, according to his grandmother. “My mom was going to give me my kidney. What am I gonna do now?” Nearly three years later, his mother’s best friend is on a mission to help find a donor for Kincaid and raise money to help the family with any expenses. “This is how I can honor the best friend I ever had,” Brandy Love told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Brandy and Audra met two decades ago. Their then-husbands worked together and traveled frequently. Kincaid arrived in October 2006, joining his sister Olivia, who the Eakers had adopted. “She had him in the ambulance on the side of I-75 near Delk Road,” Love said.  Kincaid was born before his mother could make it to the hospital.  The two women raised their children together, and photographs documented their yearly beach trips.  “I was supposed to end up in the rocking chair with her, not anyone else,” Love said.  Kincaid and his older sister, Olivia, are now active teenagers, living with grandparents just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. The tragedy is behind them, but never forgotten, their grandmother Elaine Touton says. Touton is Audra’s mother.  Darrell Eaker, Kincaid’s father, was convicted of killing Audra in Cherokee County, Georgia, and sentenced to life in prison, plus 16 years, without the possibility of parole for the domestic violence. “Considering everything they’ve lost, their mom and dad and their school, their friends and their house,” Touton says. “They’re thriving. And I’m so thankful.” Kincaid’s kidney function has declined in recent weeks, Touton said. His doctor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has told the family the 13-year-old needs a transplant and he’s been placed on the list to receive a donor. Kincaid’s kidneys are currently functioning at only 14%. He is continuing to be treated by a doctor at Egleston.  Although he’s able to attend school, where he plays the saxophone in band, and swim laps with his team, Kincaid tires easily and must take medication frequently, his grandmother says. He doesn’t like to be the center of attention. So far, no one has been a match for Kincaid. But his family believes it’s just a matter of time. Until then, the family is focused on moving forward and overcoming the unimaginable tragedy.  “God says he’s going to make beauty from ashes, and he already has,” Touton said. “I know the Lord is going to take care of everything. I just know he will.” Help for Kincaid A Go Fund Me page titled “Kincaid needs a kidney” has been created to assist Kincaid’s family.  Emory University Hospital is conducting the search for a kidney. Here is the donor webpage. On Dec. 7, a fundraiser will be held in Woodstock to support Kincaid. See this site for details. 
  • A Georgia sheriff's deputy is facing a murder charge after a deadly shooting in Athens, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to Athens-Clarke County police, Madison County sheriff's Deputy Winford 'Trey' Terrell Adams III was arrested early Monday after 26-year-old Benjamin Lloyd Cloer was found with multiple gunshot wounds Sunday evening in the 6000 block of Old Jefferson Road. Cloer was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died. Police did not say how Adams and Cloer knew each other. An investigation is ongoing. Adams, 32, 'was off-duty and in plain clothes at the time of the incident,' police said in a news release. The shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute, according to the release. In a statement posted on Facebook, officials with the Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed Adams's arrest. 'It's a sad day for all Law Enforcement officers,' deputies said in the statement. 'Please, please, say a prayer for the MCSO family and the family of the victim.' Adams joined the Madison County Sheriff's Office in August 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Records. He previously worked for a few days at the Royston Police Department and for four years before that at the Statesboro Police Department, according to the Journal-Constitution. Records obtained by the newspaper showed he voluntarily resigned from both those positions. Adams was being held Monday morning in Clarke County Jail, according to the Journal-Constitution. The newspaper reported his bond was not immediately determined.
  • Home security cameras in Missouri caught a bright fireball that streaked across the sky Monday evening.  >> Read more trending news  A large fireball was spotted over St. Louis on EarthCam, a website dedicated to webcam content around the world. Twitter user Mike Hefner uploaded video from his Nest Cam located in Wentzville, which is west of St. Louis. Rob Edwards posted his video of the event. One of the better videos from the event came from Tom Stolze. He notes in the tweet that the meteor traveled from the east to west. People in the region reported on Twitter that their homes shook as the meteor crossed the sky. Some reported hearing a loud boom about 45 seconds later.
  • A Jacksonville, Florida, Navy Reserve officer, Ryan Sidlovsky, is being called a hero after he jumped into the water to save a woman trapped in her submerged car.  >> Read more trending news  Sidlovsky and his wife, Francee, said it happened Friday morning off of Mizell Road. They said they were on their way home from their daughter's school, when they saw a red car dart out of a gas station parking lot. The couple saw the driver barely passed by two other vehicles while quickly crossing Mizell Road.  'I saw the car go very quickly, much too fast,' Francee said. 'It was amazing that she even made it across the traffic.' The couple said they witnessed the car dodge two trees and then crash into a retention pond at a nearby complex. Francee said she called 911 while Ryan reached for a tool in their car.  'Initially I would say it was about waist deep to where I was,' Ryan said. 'Then I remembered I had a window breaker tool in my car. I ran to get that and ran back out. By that time, the car was getting deeper. So I was kind of treading water and smashed the window in with the window breaker.' As soon as Ryan broke through the window, he said water quickly filled the vehicle and it started to sink faster. Within a few minutes, it was submerged underwater.  'We went down and down and I was trying to get her out of the car but couldn't,' he said. 'I think she was having a hard time swimming against the current of the water rushing into the car.' After getting a second breath of air, Ryan said he got her out safely. Francee called it a miracle.  'Ryan, having served in the Marine Corps for many years and now Navy Reserves and his training as a Delta pilot, he was the one for the job,' Francee said. 'Just felt like this is where we needed to be in that moment.' The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said the driver, Nina King, is older. They said because of Ryan she did not suffer any major injuries. The Sidlovsky's said she is always welcome in their home.  'If she'll have us, we'll take her as part of our family now because she was meant to be here and we were meant to be here,' Francee said. 
  • A nonprofit in New England is training puppies to help soldiers who are returning home from war with post-traumatic stress disorder. >> Read more trending news  The problem is that the demand is high and there isn't enough boarding room to train more puppies. Clear Path for Veterans New England, a wellness-focused organization helping veterans, is asking for people to help provide temporary foster homes while puppies are trained. Fitch, a 10-month-old Labrador retriever, is training to become a service dog. Once certified, he'll be paired with a veteran who is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. 'They're basically trained as puppies and it can take 18 to 24 months to fully train a dog to be a service dog, certified,' said Ryan Burnett, the K-9 program manager at Clear Path for Veterans New England. He said that veterans are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and difficult situations in their past and present. Clear Path is located in the basement of an old Army hospital in Devens, Massachusetts. The entire building is being renovated, and once it's complete next year, it will offer a variety of free services for veterans. 'Everything we do is tailored to a veteran's journey home,' said Clear Path Vice President Donna Bulger. She said the service dogs in the program will help veterans with their anxiety. 'That response for a veteran that's maybe been in isolation, hasn't been able to go out in public -- the service dog helps them do that,' Bulger said. There are more than 30 veterans who are ready to receive a service dog, Burnett said, but Clear Path only has three dogs in training right now. 'We are in desperate need of foster homes, of good foster families to be able to foster these dogs and to work with our trainers,' he said. Even though Fitch is very well behaved, the puppy in him still comes out. He needs to be ready for any situation and Burnett said that's why Clear Path doesn't give untrained puppies to veterans with PTSD. It could be up to another year before Fitch is certified and ready for action. 'Being that companion and that loving, trusting relationship that the veterans need,' Burnett said. The more foster homes the nonprofit gets, the sooner it can start training more puppies. To get involved and foster a puppy, visit Clear Path's website.
  • A Florida woman is accused of setting fire to her boyfriend's home after catching him with another woman. >> Read more trending news  Tyetha Moore, 47, of Pensacola, was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree arson, the Pensacola News Journal reported. She was being held in the Escambia County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond, according to arrest records, According to an arrest report by the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations, a fire was reported at an unoccupied residence around 9 a.m. Nov. 7. Moore was standing in the driveway of the home when firefighters arrived, the News Journal reported.  According to the arrest report, Moore told an Escambia County Fire Rescue battalion chief she used to live at the home but moved out last month when she caught her boyfriend with another woman. In interviews with four neighbors, firefighters learned Moore had asked them for gasoline, the News Journal reported. The neighbors said they gave Moore a water bottle filled with gasoline, the newspaper reported. Neighbors told authorities they saw Moore climb over a fence into her boyfriend's backyard and try to remove a window screen, according to the arrest report. Moore then threw the bottle into a trash can and left the yard, the report said. The fire was discovered a short time later, the News Journal reported. Investigators said the fire began on a sofa near the home's rear window, according to the arrest report.