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    5Things to avoid doing to help keep your home safe… 1. Leaving your garage door open or unlocked. Once inside the garage, a burglar can use any tools you haven't locked away to break into your home, out of sight of the neighbors. Interior doors between the garage and your home often aren't as strong as exterior doors and may not have deadbolt locks.  Instead: Always close and lock the garage door. Consider getting a garage-door opener with random codes that automatically reset.  2. Hiding spare keys. Burglars know about fake rocks and leprechaun statues and will check under doormats, in mailboxes, and over doorways.  Instead: Give a spare set to a neighbor or family member. Better yet, set your house up with smart locks and video cameras. You can use your phone to unlock doors and see who is going in and out.  3. Letting landscaping get overgrown. Tall hedges and shrubs near the house create hiding spots for burglars who may even use overhanging branches to climb onto your roof.  Instead: Trim back all bushes and trees around your home.  4. Keeping your house in the dark. Like overgrown landscaping, poor exterior lighting creates shadows in which burglars can work unobserved.  Instead: Replace burned out bulbs promptly, add lighting where needed, and consider putting fixtures on motion sensors or light sensors so that they go on automatically.  5. Leaving 'goody' boxes by the curb. Nothing screams 'I just got a brand new flat-screen tv, stereo, or other big-ticket item for Christmas' better than boxes by the curb with your garbage cans.  Instead: Break down big boxes into small pieces and bundle them together so that you can't tell what was inside.
  • Q – How do I know if my fireplace is ready for action?  Doug in Sandy Springs A – With one round of cold weather already behind us and another coming soon, it’s not the most pro-active time to get your fireplace ready for burning. However, if the first cold weather caught you off guard, then now is the perfect time.  Here are some things that need addressing: Have a certified chimney sweep come and sweep out your chimney after every cord of wood burned and especially at the beginning of each burning season. A good sweep can also do a chimney inspection to see if yours has sustained any damage to its major parts: the chimney cap, the flue lining, outside mortar, and the damper.  Branches from nearby trees should be no closer than 15’ from your chimney. Trim them back every season. Clean soot from the hearth and fireplace area.Warm, soapy water and a brush should do the trick.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need a chimney sweep because you ‘burn aluminum cans’ or ‘creosote cleaning logs’ in your fireplace. While they may soften the creosote in the flue, those products do not clean it away. Nothing says lovin’ like a snuggly night in front of the fireplace. Make sure yours is up to snuff and ready for what could be a colder than normal winter. More from Dave Baker >>
  • Are gas logs worth it or no... Q – I am thinking of having some gas logs installed but my neighbor tells me that it will cost more in natural gas than getting regular wood. Is that true, and, can I burn regular logs in with my gas logs? Caryn in Dunwoody A – Gas logs are a great idea for your fireplace. They can deliver the warm and cozy ambiance of real fire in the fireplace without all the preparation, maintenance, and cleanup that a real wood fire requires. Gas logs can also be a great source of heat, especially if the electricity goes out since they require no electricity to operate. It would be hard for me to give a pennies-per-hour number on the cost of running your logs – it depends on what you are paying for gas and the BTU output of your logs. Your local gas company will be able to provide you with that number if you give them that information. Suffice it to say it is economical. You should however, never attempt to supplement a gas log fire by adding anything, including wood, to the fire. This can create additional heat which can damage your gas logs and void your warranty. Read up on the pros and cons of vented gas logs vs. vent-free gas logs before you purchase your logs, and buy them and have them installed by a certified professional. I will give you a quick comparison of gas logs.  Gas logs come vented or non-vented. You can burn vented gas logs a bit longer than non-vented gas logs, but they will not heat a room as quickly as non-vented gas logs will.  Don’t forget to read and follow directions no matter which type of gas logs you use, if you choose to go in that direction. Happy logging!  More from Dave Baker >>      
  • Q - I know there are some things you can't do in the cold weather like paint your house or pour concrete. What about have a new roof installed? Terry in Covington  A - Whoa - not so fast there partner… First of all, you can paint, or have your house painted this time of year. There are low temperature acrylic paints available on the market that work very nicely down to 38 degrees. As far as concrete goes, you can do concrete work this time of year, but it is not advisable to pour concrete on frozen ground. Now to your roof… People often question whether or not roof shingles can in installed in cold weather. Good news - you can roof in cold, dry weather. All good shingle manufacturers have specific requirements about what temperature their products are good down to and as always, read and follow all label directions. For the most part though, 28 degrees and over is shingle weather. It may take your new roof a little longer to lie flat in colder weather as a new roof depends on the heat from the sun to do so, but you can get a quality roof job throughout the winter. If you go with a quality roofer, they will know the intricacies of installing quality shingles in all kinds of weather. A quality roofer will tell you if the weather is good enough to install or not, and not just try to sell you a new roof no matter what. Make sure you do your due diligence when hiring a roofer, be it in warm weather or cold.  More from Dave Baker >>
  • Winter is here early. Protect your house… Whatever happened to global warming? We are just into December and we have had temps in the 20’s already. Stop already. It’s too early to be worried about my pipes freezing. I know I have already let my pipes drip all night just in case the temps plunge too low. I have also shut off and drained the outside spigots and hoses and have drained my irrigation system. I have sealed up my crawlspace vents and have installed electrical heat tape on my pipes that are exposed in my crawlspace to help keep them from freezing. I also put some insulation around my exposed pipes in my garage and in my crawlspace. I used those foam rubber tubes with the slits in them. It was so easy my kids even helped. Thank heavens I have also had my favorite heating and cooling company come by to give my furnace an inspection to make sure that my system is ready to handle winter. That’s one of the great benefits of having a maintenance agreement. It’s not that I’m not ready for the cold weather. I am.  I went out and got a whole house electrical back-up generator in case we have a bad ice or snow storm and we lose power for a couple three four days. My house won’t even miss a beat. I even went so far as to making sure my house is properly insulated. I have sealed up all the openings around outdoor spigots and have weather stripped and caulked around all my windows and doors, inside and out. That was easy – I did that myself. My attic is totally insulated and ready to keep in any of the hot air that I am paying my hvac system to heat. This is really spiffy because it will also keep in any air that I am paying to cool in the summer. It’s just that I am not ready for it to be this cold yet. Maybe spring will come early. More from Dave Baker >>
  • You are having trouble with your plumbing, or your hvac system, or even your garage door. Want to know how to find a good company to do the work? Here are 5 things to look for. 5 Things that I believe differentiate a great service company from a so-so one… - Size of company. For my money I want to use a company that is big enough and has enough experience so there are no surprises. Most large companies with many employees are rarely stumped when it comes to trouble shooting. - Stability of company. Although I am sure that there are a few quality start-up service companies out there, I prefer one that has been around and been successful. That tells me that they have the resources to get the job done. - Set specific appointments. I like my service companies to tell me when they are going to be there within an hour. I hate the “…sometime between 2p and 5p…” routine.  Tell me when you are going to be there, then call me 15 minutes before you get there in case I have stepped out. Really sharp companies will call me within an hour of completion to make sure I am happy with their work and service. - Talk to me. Once at my house, I like the company to tell me the issues, then tell me how much it will cost (without guessing) to fix, and also tell me how long it will take to get the job done. (And don't lie to me. If you are starting on Monday and it’s going to take 4 days don't tell me 2. Dumb as I look even I will begin to suspect something when you show up to work on Thursday.) If something goes wrong (or right) I want to know as you go, not afterward when you are trying to explain the extra hundred tacked onto the bill… - Don’t be a stranger. If I have a problem after you leave and need you back out to fix or finish a job I don’t want to hear “…we will get there when we can…” I waited for you to get here the first time, once you are in my house doing my job; I should become a priority to you. Anything else is unacceptable.
  • With Thanksgiving fast approaching it is time for your annual tips and suggestions for hanging those holiday lights. Before you start decorating read this… Nothing quite says ‘Happy Holidays’ like hanging roughly 75,000 lights on your house, by your house, in your house, in your trees, on your shrubs, on your lawn.  And nothing says ‘2018’ like telling you this on November 2nd. (Next year I’m moving this reminder to the same week I see my first Christmas ad on TV – so roughly August 23rd). Holiday lighting is a fun, festive way to celebrate. I don’t know about you but I love to drive around town and ‘look at the lights’ – the bigger display the better as far as I am concerned. If you are a light hanger, inside or out, here are some tips to help keep you and your property safe. Make sure that you only use lights outdoors that are rated for outdoor use. The same goes for indoor lighting. Also – be sure any extension cords you use are appropriately rated indoor/outdoor, AND use only UL approved lights Make sure all outdoor receptacles are protected by a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter).  Make sure that you have smoke detectors in your home and that they are working, as well as a fire extinguisher. Each year examine your old lights to make sure they are in good working order, and be sure to discard strands that are worn. Drop cords are the number one reason for electrical fires in homes, never run a drop cord under a rug, especially if there is foot traffic in the area, and never overload a drop cord. Never run drop cords out windows or doors. Don’t over load the circuit which the lights are on. Read the labels on the box of lights for the total wattage. Most outdoor circuits should only be loaded to roughly 1500 watts. If small children are in the home consider 12 or 24-volt lights. As a general rule only three strands of lights should be linked together. Purchasing and Installation Tips - Don’t screw hooks into your home to hold up the lights, they will eventually rust and begin to look bad. Use the new plastic gutter hangers from the store. - Don’t drive nails into your roof to mount lights to. Use the new clips that mount under your shingles. However if your roof is old and brittle, don’t use the shingle mounts either. In the case of an old brittle roof perhaps you should not put lights on your roof. Or get a new roof, then use the shingle mounts. - Approximate number of lights needed to decorate your tree: 3’ Tree: 50 – 100 Lights 4’ Tree: 100 – 150 Lights 5’ Tree: 150 – 200 Lights 6’ Tree: 200 – 250 Lights 7’ Tree: 300 – 350 Lights Figure 35 – 40 Lights for each foot over 7’ Of course, if you are my neighbor, you don’t hang lights each year as much as just plug in the ones you left up from last year. If this is you make sure you unplug the lights before you do any repairs. One more important tip - don't gamble on bad looking light strings. I think you can purchase 7-kazillion lights for about $1.37 - so if yours are old or frayed, by all means step up and get new ones.  Now that you know the basics – go nuts! Send me a picture of your creation to Dave@TheHomeFixItPage.com
  • How do I keep out the mice?  Q – I read in a lot of places how to remove mice from my basement and crawlspace, but never do I read how to keep them out in the first place. Do you have an ideas on this? Charlotte in Templeton A – Thanks for that question. We don’t talk enough about how to keep the mice out to begin with. Here are a few tips: First of all you want to seal the entire perimeter of your home. This includes places like around crawlspace vents and between/behind your gutter and your attic. Use a thick metal and not just some chicken wirey junk. Mice can get through tiny openings and chew thru flimsy metals. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair any screens that have holes in them. Seal cracks and holes in your foundation or crawlspace including around plumbing and electrical openings and around vents. Use steel wool or caulk or a combination of the two. Keep your attic and basement/crawlspace ventilated and dry. And sealed. Repair or have repaired any cracks in any blocks or concrete or bricks on or around your house. Trim back your shrubbery from your house and move that stack of firewood at least 25 feet away from your house. Cool, dry, and clean is no way for a mouse to go thru life. Keeping your house, your basement and your crawlspace like that will help to keep the mice away. Oh, and get a cat.
  • Q – We are approaching the holiday season, or as it is known in our family, the traveling season. Our neighbors recently came back from vacation with bed bugs. How can we avoid having the same bad luck? Dorothy in Acworth A – Well first off, don’t travel or stay in the same places your neighbors did… The dreaded bed bug is out there just lurking to find a warm space to crawl on and suck some blood and repeat. Here are a few things you can do to impede their goal… Carry a small flashlight with you to help you inspect your room upon arrival. Don’t place your suitcase on the carpeted floor or on the bed until after you have checked it out. Set it in the bathroom or in the tub (which is easiest to inspect). OK – now start checking with the bed as this is the most popular spot for the BB’s to congregate. Carefully pull back the sheets and inspect all around the edges of the mattress (this is where the light comes in handy). Now check around the bed, thoroughly check the nightstands, and check the walls including looking behind that pop art festival hanging over the bed. All are popular bed bug hang out spots. It is a good idea to take a plastic suitcase liner to keep your suitcase in during your stay (they are sold just for this purpose and altho they can be mildly difficult to get a suitcase into, they do their job). Ok – next step – if you find bed bugs and still want to stay in that hotel, notify the front desk and asked to be moved to a room not adjacent to the bed bug room, preferably on a different floor. Make sure you give the new room the same look over. Think you are done? Not so fast… Whether or not you find the bugs when you return from your trip promptly wash your clothes and vacuum out your suitcase. After you vacuum out your suitcase empty the vacuum cleaner into a plastic bag, seal it and put it outside into your trash can. No, not your suitcase, the stuff you vacuumed out of it. Store your suitcase in a plastic bag until next time. Enjoy your trip and don’t worry about the bugs. You checked and you didn’t find any so don’t spend your time sweating it…
  • Q – We are shopping for a new garage door. What should we be looking for in terms of energy efficiency? Marilyn in Monroe A – While a new garage door is always a good idea (hint to my neighbors) you are smart to be adding energy efficiency to your list of things that are important in selecting a new door. You are basically looking for 2 things: A – The ‘R’ value of the door. ‘R’ value is the number assigned to measure the insulative (I just made up that word) properties of anything. Almost every component of your house comes with an ‘R’ value. The higher the ‘R’ value number is, the more insulation that object will provide. 2 – Any potential for air leakage around the edges of the door or through the door itself. I think the garage area is one of the toughest areas in your house to insulate because no matter how well your door insulates, you open it once and you are starting all over again. You need to look for well-fitting hardware that keep the door panels secure and tight, is there weather-stripping that goes around the door – even across the floor of the garage under the door (there should!), and are there windows in the door? I know windows always add a degree of light and life to an otherwise dark area, but they are not very energy efficient. One last item – have a professional install your new door. Sure you are a whiz with a level and a screwdriver and such, but there are many components of garage door installation that you probably aren’t aware of (The correct tension of the spring is? Anyone? Anyone?) and frankly, are better not dealing with. Good luck!

News

  • Officials from Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana are still figuring out how much damage an agitated naked man caused Sunday to its Dayton residential re-entry facility. >> Read more trending news   The naked man, who police haven’t identified, spent more than four hours on the roof of the organization’s Gettysburg Avenue facility after he disrobed and burned his clothing, officials said. The man, who was a resident at the center, also stabbed himself several times with a sharp object and wrote “Pig for Life” in his own blood on a wall, witnesses and police said. The man is expected to face criminal charges, possibly including felony vandalism after he damaged multiple cameras, windows and other equipment, police said. “This certainly was an unusual and very out-of-the-ordinary Sunday afternoon for us,” said Nicole Knowlton, vice president of communications for Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana. At about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, staff at the Volunteers of America called police after a resident climbed a chain-link fence and managed to get onto the roof of the facility, located at 1931 S. Gettysburg Ave. The facility provides programming and treatment to help ex-offenders integrate back into the community, Knowlton said. The organization has four half-way houses in the state, including the Gettysburg facility, which can hold about 120 people. >> Related: Naked man on top of Dayton building causes disturbance for more than 4 hours The man shed and then burned his clothing, police said. He jumped from rooftop to rooftop while naked. He stabbed himself with a sharp object and smeared blood on the top of the one-story building, officials said. Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana locked down the facility and restricted where clients could go for their safety, Knowlton said. The man broke two security cameras, six windows, some wiring and the fans of the heating and cooling units, Knowlton said. Officers lined up mattresses on the sidewalk below the roof to try to cushion a potential fall. Authorities used a ladder truck to eventually retrieve the man. Knowlton said she believes he remains in the hospital.
  • A polygamous group based on the Utah-Arizona border is letting go of the sprawling building where its members worshipped, in the latest sign that the sect run by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs is crumbling and losing control of the community it ruled for a century. The group known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, now has nowhere to gather for worship services after the nearly 53,000 square-foot (4,900 square-meter) building was taken over last week as part of government-ordered evictions that have taken away about 200 homes and buildings from members who refuse to pay property taxes and $100-a-month occupancy fees. The meetinghouse with capacity for several thousand people is valued at $2.8 million and sits on about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) in the remote red rock community, on the Arizona side of the border. The building has a stage, a church-like setup for services and classrooms for religious education but has not been used for at least six months, Jeff Barlow said Monday. He is the executive director of a government-appointed organization that oversees a former church trust that has properties in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. The FLDS doesn't have a spokesperson to comment about the development. The sect is experiencing a major leadership void with Warren Jeffs serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides and his brother Lyle Jeffs serving nearly a five-year sentence for his role in carrying out an elaborate food stamp fraud scheme and for escaping home confinement while awaiting trial. Members have said they have been worshipping at home on their own. The lack of local leaders meant nobody stepped up to take responsibility for the building when Barlow's organization warned an eviction was imminent, said Christine Katas, who lives in the community and serves as an intermediary between Barlow's organization and the FLDS. Rank-and-file members don't believe they have the authority to do so, she said. 'It's very sad for the FLDS. I've seen people cry over it,' Katas said. 'Both sides are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Everybody wishes there was a different outcome.' The evictions have led many FLDS members to take refuge in trailers around town or move away, while former members have purchased the homes and buildings and moved back. Group members don't believe they should have to pay for what belonged to a communal church trust that the state of Utah took over more than a decade ago amid mismanagement. The evictions are part of the shifting demographics in the sister cities of about 7,700 people. Non-sect members last year won control of the mayor's office and town council in Hildale, Utah and nearly did the same in municipal elections in Colorado City. The town government and police are being watched closely by court-appointed monitors after a jury found past town and police leaders guilty of civil rights violations. Sprawling homes that used to belong to Warren Jeffs have been converted into beds and breakfast and sober living centers. Members of the group still consider their leader and prophet to be Warren Jeffs, even though he has been in jail in Utah or Texas continually since 2006. Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the mainstream church abandoned the practice in 1890 and now strictly prohibits it. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported the eviction of the meetinghouse. Barlow said the board of the organization he runs, called the United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust, will meet on Jan. 5 in a public meeting to discuss what to do with the building, constructed in 1986, Barlow said. One possibility is converting it to a civic center, though that would likely require seeking grant funds, he said. The UEP board will make the final decision.
  • The 2018 college football bowl season kicks off with the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The game will feature champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic and Southwestern Athletic conferences. In a rematch of the first Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, the North Carolina A&T Aggies will go head-to-head with the Alcorn State Braves.  Starting at 11 a.m., Channel 2 WSB-TV presents a live half-hour program, “The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Countdown.”  Channel 2 anchors Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge host the pregame show for this event. Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein will break down the strategies of both teams, the players, coaches and each team’s strengths and weaknesses.  Following the countdown will be a special edition of Channel 2 Action News at 11:30 a.m. with weather, game day traffic and news of the day. At noon, the battle for the championship begins. In addition to the game, organizers will host the first annual “A Celebration of Service.” The service project will bring together “The Divine 9” Greek letter organizations to collect food donations that benefit Hosea Helps. Other attractions include a special fan experience and the ultimate HBCU Greek homecoming tailgate. MATCHUP Alcorn State (9-3, 6-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) vs. North Carolina A&T (9-2, 6-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). TIME/LOCATION Saturday at noon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Pregame coverage starts at 11 a.m., followed by the game at noon. TOP PLAYERS Alcorn State QB Noah Johnson has thrown for 2,079 yards and 15 touchdowns while also running for 960 yards and nine touchdowns. North Carolina A&T is led by veteran QB Lamar Raynard and a running game that's averaging close to 200 yards on the ground per game. NOTABLE The Braves are back in the Celebration Bowl for the first time since the inaugural game in 2015. Alcorn State is led by coach Fred McNair, the older brother of the late Steve McNair, who was a star quarterback for Alcorn State and in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. The Aggies are back in the Celebration Bowl for the third time in four seasons. North Carolina A&T beat Grambling 21-14 last year to give the MEAC a 2-1 edge in the game over the SWAC. LAST TIME North Carolina A&T 41, Alcorn State 34 on Dec. 19, 2015. BOWL HISTORY The Braves are in the Celebration Bowl for the second time. The Aggies are in the Celebration Bowl for the third time.
  • Companies seeking tax credits from Wisconsin's troubled job-creation agency would face less scrutiny under a provision Republicans included in a package of lame-duck legislation designed to weaken newly elected Democrats. The measure awaiting GOP Gov. Scott Walker's signature would loosen the reins on an agency he created, which has marred by allegations of failing to recover loans from some companies and handing out $126 million without a formal review. Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who ousted Walker in last month's election, would be blocked from overseeing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for nine months under another provision in the lame-duck package. It's one of several components in the legislation that would reduce the powers of Evers and the incoming Democratic attorney general. Current law requires the WEDC to annually verify payroll and employment data from tax credit recipients to make sure they're creating enough jobs to qualify. State auditors found last year that the agency isn't living up to that requirement and was accepting information recipients submitted as accurate and complete. The lame-duck legislation would erase those annual verification requirements. The agency instead would be required to have a third party verify a sampling of the information. Recipients also would have to send a signed statement to WEDC attesting to the accuracy of the information they submit. WEDC's chief executive officer, Mark Hogan, told reporters Monday that the agency can't possibly verify information about the tens of thousands of employees that work for the 300 or so credit recipients. The agency has been verifying data samples for years and the lame-duck bill simply codifies that practice into law, he said. 'You're never going to be able to independently verify over 200,000 employees,' Hogan said. 'It's a process that cannot work. The only solution was to change the statutes to codify what we're doing.' Hogan said changing the law has been his 'top priority' for three years. He tried to get lawmakers to pass the changes before the Legislature adjourned its two-year session this past spring, but legislators told him then it was too late. WEDC is a quasi-governmental agency Walker created in 2011 that hands out grants, loans and tax credits to businesses and other organizations. A May 2017 audit found the agency didn't require recipients to supply enough detailed information to determine how many jobs were created or retained as a result of the agency's award. WEDC officials played a key role in persuading Foxconn Technology Group to build a huge flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant. The agency administers an unprecedented $3 billion state incentives package that Walker and Republican lawmakers created for the manufacturer. Walker has promised that if Foxconn doesn't create jobs it won't receive state tax credits. 'Under Republican control, the WEDC has been plagued by scandals, mismanagement and under-performance,' Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said in a statement. 'The last thing that agency needs is less accountability measures.' The WEDC provisions are tucked into a wide-ranging package of legislation that also restricts early in-person voting to the two weeks before an election, prevents Evers from withdrawing from a multistate lawsuit challenging federal health care reform laws and eliminates the state Justice Department's solicitor general office. Walker has signaled his general support. His spokesman, Tom Evenson, said Monday that the governor was still reviewing the measures. ___ Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1 ___ This story has been corrected to reflect that Shilling is the minority leader, not the majority leader.
  • Channel 2 Action News has learned that investigators say there are currently more than 70,000 gang members across the state of Georgia. Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne was on hand Monday for the second meeting of the Georgia Anti-Gang Network. Officials told Winne that not only are they battling against inmates who are in gangs, but also corrections officers.  “Across the state, how many investigations do you have going on involving the corruption of corrections officers by gangs?” Winne asked Georgia Department of Correction Director Clay Nix.  “Numerous,” Nix answered.  Nix said Georgia’s prison system is not only battling against inmates who are in gangs, but also corrections officers, who are recruited after hiring. TRENDING STORIES: State government will delay opening Tuesday due to weather LIVE UPDATES: Atlanta United's championship parade and rally Search for missing Colorado mother intensifies; FBI assisting with investigation “Also, they reach out to other gang members who have no criminal record and encourage them to come to work for us,” Nix said.   “That’s happened?” Winne asked Nix.  “It has. Several times in the past,” Nix said.  Nix showed Winne pictures of a haul of suspected gang-related contraband that consisted of 61 homemade weapons, cellphones, suspected cocaine, suspected meth and marijuana.  “They control the contraband trade, which is very lucrative,” Nix said. The items were seized at the Macon state prison just hours before a meeting of the Georgia Anti-gang Network at state corrections headquarters, headed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “Criminal street gangs represent America’s greatest public safety threat,” Cobb County District Attorney Mike Carlson said.  “And in Georgia?” Winne asked Carlson.  “Georgia as well,” Carlson said.  “And in metro Atlanta?” Winne asked.  “Absolutely,” Carlson said.  “The most frightening thing you've heard today?” Winne asked Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.  “The use of social media, the recruitment of young local neighborhood gangs as young as 9 and 13 years old,” Carr said.  The commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Community Supervision said there are currently more than 13,000 gang members under active supervision across the state.  “We'll never be able to have parity in numbers with the 70,000-plus gang members in Georgia. But what we are able to do is finely tune the force packages we use to go after each one of these sets,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine.  Christine said a grand jury recently indicted dozens affiliated with the Ghostface Gangsters.  “It involves multiple jurisdictions and multiple counties,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gilluly said.  “You've got a great group of folks that are focused on this issue, that aren't putting their heads in the sand and saying, 'We're going to protect the people of Georgia,'” Carr said.  Nix told Winne that without going into too many specifics, gang-related corruption cases pending against current or former corrections officers across the state range from charges up to and including homicide.
  • A five-game losing streak has assured the Atlanta Falcons of their first losing season since 2014, and the usually upbeat coach Dan Quinn said he's alarmed by the ugly results and looking for fixes. Quinn said all players and coaches are in the spotlight after Sunday's 34-20 loss at Green Bay locked in the losing season for the Falcons (4-9). It is a bitter reality for an Atlanta team only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons would have to win two of their last three just to match their last losing record, a 6-10 finish in 2014. Quinn has turned up the heat on his team as Atlanta prepares for a visit from Arizona on Sunday. 'Some of you may have questions regarding the program and staff and players,' Quinn said. 'As we're sitting here in week 15, we have four wins. So you better believe we're evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.' Quinn complained about 'self-inflicted wounds,' including 13 penalties and two turnovers in the loss to the Packers. 'I thought our toughness was right but our focus is not,' he said. He said the errors and lack of focus are not new concerns. 'It hasn't been to the level that we needed to for a while,' he said. '... To have some of these inconsistencies show up over a period of time has definitely been something that has been at the forefront of my mind.' Quinn doesn't have an answer to why the focus has become an issue, saying, he 'can't tell you the amount of sleep' he has lost 'on that question alone.' Matt Ryan's second-quarter pass for Austin Hooper was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. The Falcons also botched a shotgun snap in the red zone that was recovered by Green Bay. Quinn said those were among the mistakes 'that made me think lack of focus.' It was a mixed weekend for team owner Arthur Blank, who also owns the MLS Atlanta United. One day after watching Atlanta United win the MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Blank was in Green Bay for another Falcons loss. Blank gave Quinn a postgame hug one week after saying he still has confidence in the coach and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Quinn is 36-30 in his fourth season in Atlanta, including a 3-2 postseason mark. For the second straight week, Quinn tweaked his starting offensive line, inserting Ty Sambrailo at right tackle ahead of Ryan Schraeder. Zane Beadles made his second straight start at right guard. 'I've been waiting for the opportunity to go out and show what I can do,' Sambrailo said Monday. 'The opportunity came and I felt I did all right.' The line helped produce a much-needed boost in the running game . Atlanta ran for 107 yards, only its third 100-yard game of the season. Rookie Ito Smith had 11 carries for 60 yards as he continued to have a more prominent role. Tevin Coleman ran for 45 yards on 10 carries. There were other personnel moves. Rookie Isaiah Oliver shared time with cornerback Robert Alford. Brian Hill played at running back and fullback while fullback Ricky Ortiz was inactive. Defensive end Steven Means also returned to the playing rotation. More changes could come. 'Nobody is OK with this record,' Quinn said. NOTES: Quinn second-guessed himself for allowing Matt Bryant to attempt a 53-yard field goal into the wind in the first quarter. Bryant's kick was short. 'That would be one I'd like to have over,' Quinn said. ... Quinn said TE Austin Hooper avoided serious injury when he left the game with an apparent knee injury. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL