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    Fulton County, Georgia’s largest, certified its election results on Tuesday. The county said 424,991 Fulton residents voted in the mid-term, the largest midterm participation this century. That equaled a turnout of 60.4 percent of the voting-age population.  The numbers were led by early voting, which totaled 224,998, said Rick Barron, the county’s director of elections and registration. That eclipsed voting the day of the Nov. 6 election, which totaled 180,086 people.  A total of 17,913 people voted absentee by mail.  “The early voting this time was close to a presidential (contest), Barron said. The news comes just a day after U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg  on Monday ordered the state to review provisional ballots to make sure none are improperly rejected and to delay certification of the midterm until Friday.  Fulton received 3,549 provisional ballots, 1,555 of which were rejected, Barron said. A total of 972 of the rejected votes were tossed because they were from “out of county” voters while 581 were from people who were not registered.  Two people who attempted to vote could not prove citizenship.  “We can’t count ballots that are voted out of county,” Barron said.  He said some voter registration drives on college campuses failed to turn in applications, leaving some would-be voters unregistered.  Barron said he did not think any of the judge’s ruling would affect Fulton’s count, but said he did not think this is the last he would hear about it.  “I’m sure because of that ruling we’ll get questions this week,” he said. 
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order rejecting any future ICE detainees from being held in the Atlanta City Jail. She is explaining her actions in a news conference at City Hall.  WATCH LIVE COVERAGE BELOW.
  • A proposed deal for practice soccer fields and a corporate headquarters for Atlanta United FC would cost DeKalb County an estimated $12 million, 41 acres of government land and tax considerations, according to a pending agreement. The $30 million soccer complex would be built near the intersection of Interstate 285 and Memorial Drive, behind the DeKalb Jail. In exchange, the team owned by Arthur Blank would build a 3,500-seat stadium, three outdoor practice fields and a corporate headquarters. Additional fields and an indoor training facility could be built later. Ownership of the land and facilities would revert to the county after 30 years. The proposed agreement, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday, is scheduled for a vote of the DeKalb Commission on Tuesday. The $12 million contribution from the county includes an estimated $7 million paid to Blank so the county could locate its parks department in new offices in the stadium. Another estimated $5 million would be required for demolition and land preparation. In addition, Blank won’t have to pay property taxes, and all permitting fees for the soccer complex would be waived. The county would pursue funding for a pedestrian walkway from the complex to the Kensington MARTA station. Blank would pay the county 15 percent of revenue for naming rights and branded events held at the complex. The fields and the stadium could be used by the county when they’re not needed by Atlanta United, which will begin its first season in 2017. Atlanta United will share space with the Atlanta Falcons for its games in a new downtown stadium, which is under construction.
  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is calling for “restraint” in ongoing unrest in Baltimore and defended Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s handling of protests that quickly turned violent this week.Parts of the city erupted in chaos Monday night amid tensions over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died on April 19, a week after he sustained injuries during an arrest. An investigation into his death is ongoing. His death highlights an ongoing national discussion about policing tactics in minority communities.Rawlings-Blake has since faced criticism for her handling of the protests and ensuing riots, with some saying she was too slow to ask Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for military back-up on Monday.Reed, speaking to reporters after an event on Tuesday, expressed sympathy for Gray’s family and defended Rawlings-Blake.Reed said he knows the Baltimore mayor well, describing her as “competent, capable and passionate” individual. The two, who traveled to Panama together with Vice President Joe Biden in recent years, exchanged text messages Monday evening, he said.“I think that everybody in the country and everybody who cares about the people of Baltimore should encourage restraint and I think that we should leave it to local leaders to manage and handle,” he said, later adding: “I think they need to be given the time and space to work through what is clearly a very, very difficult time.”Reed said Atlanta has faced its own set of difficult civil protests, such as the Occupy Atlanta movement in Woodruff Park that lasted for several weeks in 2011.But none in recent years have resulted in the scenes that played out in Baltimore on Monday, when some of the protests turned violent. Several police officers were injured during the riots. Cars were burned and stores were looted.Reed said that unlike other cities, Atlanta has long benefited from the work of local civil rights icons including Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian.“I think that certainly influences the way that protests are handled in our city,” he said. “While I don’t deserve the credit for it, I think our city has shown an ability to navigate through pretty difficult times.”
  • MARTA maps out the route it hopes to take up Georgia 400 to extend rail service to Alpharetta.   Any expansion of rail service is years off, but MARTA's board approved the preferred route after input from residents.  It crosses SR 400 not once, but twice, to reach Alpharetta.   The first crossover will be above the North Springs Station south of Spalding Drive.  The second crossing will be above the Chattahoochee River, although the exact spot has not been selected.   MARTA has yet to secure funding.  The agency estimates heavy rail would cost two billion dollars.  A cheaper option might be to run rapid transit buses along the same route.   MARTA is considering other potential expansion projects include heavy rail along I-20 East and a light rail line from the Lindbergh station to Avondale.  MARTA General Manager Keith Parker tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the priority project is the one that secures funding first.  
  • A planned addition to the new Avalon development is looking to attract even more business to Alpharetta.  The proposed $100 million hotel would include a 74,000-square foot conference center.  David Belle Isle, mayor of Alpharetta tells the Atlanta Business Chronicle it would keep his city as the center of economic development in  north Atlanta.  It's just another addition to Alpharetta, which has already begun a revitalization of its downtown area.  The city council must still figure out how to pay for the boutique hotel. It'll vote on raising its hotel-motel tax later this month.
  • Packed with passengers and freighted with local and national expectations, Atlanta’s streetcar made its inaugural trip Tuesday as scores of political and community leaders cheered. The trip along Auburn Avenue to Woodruff Park downtown took less than five minutes. But its duration belied the sizable aspirations the trip represented. Atlanta officials are betting the $98 million project will reinvigorate tourism and encourage business investment along the route. Nationally, President Barack Obama’s transportation legacy hinges in part on his ability to move the nation toward rail. Atlanta’s streetcar is one of the first completed projects in that effort. Scores of invited guests packed the cars elbow to elbow for the trip, and several hundred people gathered at Woodruff Park for an official ribbon cutting. Check back for updates.
  • A judge today rejected a request to bar Fulton County from collecting money from a recent 17 percent property tax increase – a victory for the county in its ongoing battle with critics who say it spends too much.Senior Cobb County Superior Court Judge G. Grant Brantley did not rule the tax hike is legal. But he declined to order Fulton to refrain from collecting about $1,300 in additional taxes that six current and former state lawmakers owe because of the tax increase.The judge did not explain his ruling. But the decision could indicate Brantley thinks the county is more likely to prevail in the litigation.That’s a setback for the lawmakers, who claim Fulton violated a 2013 state law that prohibits the county from raising its property tax rate until 2015. They’ve asked the judge to prohibit the county from collecting the new taxes and to declare the tax hike illegal.Fulton officials have argued the General Assembly overstepped its authority when it capped county tax rates until next year. They say the tax hike is needed to protect funding for Grady Memorial Hospital and popular services like libraries and senior programs.The tax increase will cost the owner off a $275,000 house an extra $140 a year. But with property values in some areas rising fast, some taxpayers are seeing much larger increases.
  • Some Fulton County judges say they don’t have to comply with county travel policies, and they’re willing to jail two Fulton officials to make their point. Fulton officials have asked the judges to provide more documentation to justify some travel expenses, and they’ve withheld reimbursements until the judges comply. The judges say they don’t have to, citing new state laws that give them greater control over their own budget. Now Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan has ordered County Manager Dwight Ferrell and Finance Director Patrick O’Connor to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for violating a recent court order to reimburse the judges. She’s threatened to incarcerate them if they don’t. A hearing on the contempt issue scheduled for Sept. 2, and a courtroom discussion of procedural matters in the case is set for Monday. The showdown is the latest fallout from a flurry of new laws aimed at limiting the authority of Fulton County government. County officials also are in court defending their recent decision to raise property taxes, which critics say violates a tax cap approved by the General Assembly last year. Tusan declined to comment on the issue because it’s a legal matter pending in her court. Superior Court Administrator Yolanda Lewis declined to answer questions, including whether the judges believe the county’s travel reimbursement procedures are burdensome. Lewis issued a statement saying Superior Court is “working collaboratively to resolve this matter with the assistance of the county manager and finance director for Fulton County. No further comment will be offered at this time to allow the collaborative process to move forward expeditiously.” Fulton officials declined to discuss the spat with the judges in detail. County Commission Chairman John Eaves said he believes the dispute is “resolvable.” Ferrell and O’Connor did not respond to requests for comment.
  • A judge has ruled the group that holds the title on the building at Peachtree and Pine Streets in Midtown Atlanta where hundreds of men, women and children bed down nightly can start the court process to evict the Task Force for the Homeless because it had not made a payment in years. Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall said in an order Friday that the removal process could begin, but his order did not say that eviction was imminent or even certain. The matter of whether the shelter can continue to operate is far from resolved. For years, the Task Force for the Homeless — led by Anita Beatty — has been at war with the city, Central Atlanta Progress and some of the business community because hundreds of homeless mill around and sometimes spill over into neighboring properties, vandalize and break into cars, businesses and homes nearby. Beatty has accused city officials and CAP of a campaign to cut off donations because they want the homeless out of sight. Once the large donors were dissuaded from helping the Task Force, it became impossible for the charity to pay its bills, including hundreds of thousands of dollars it owned the city for water, she said. The Task Force claims donations that once totaled as much as $1.7 million a year dropped to around $200,000, because the Atlanta business community had poisoned its reputation with donors. Without the Peachtree-Pine shelter, Beatty says, the homeless she serves will have nowhere to go. As many as 650 men, women and children sleep at the shelter each night but there are far more when the weather is bad or it’s cold. Over the years of the dispute, opponents of the shelter have insisted that no one will be left with nowhere to go if the Peachtree-Pine Shelter is closed. Richard Robbins, the attorney for Ichthus Community Trust, said the lender planned to “pursue dispossessory like any other owner in the state. If they (Task Force for the Homeless) want to fight it, they can fight it. However, they have to pay rent in the meantime. “This is not kicking out the homeless,” Robbins said. “It will be evicting the Task force. If the Task Force is evicted, we will transition the homeless to other shelters. If they don’t pay rent, they have to leave and we’ll bring in someone else to run the shelter.” Attorney Steven Hall, who represents the Task Force, said the charity will resist eviction efforts. “We have been fighting for years over the manner in which title was obtained and a foreclosure was conducted,” Hall said. “We’re hoping this will mean the court will hear all issues at one time and we will get a final answer.” The Task Force for the Homeless got into financial straits after it borrowed $900,000 in 1997 to make repairs on the building that it owned at the time. Ichthus bought the note in 2010 for just over $781,000 and soon began the removal process, which stopped, started and then stopped again because of legal issues.

News

  • Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch have made their marks as professional wrestlers. Now, both believe they have formed a perfect match and are ready to grapple with married life. >> Read more trending news  The WWE stars announced their engagement Thursday, with Lynch, 32, announcing the news on Instagram.. “Happiest day of my life,” Lynch wrote in her post. Lynch and Rollins’ fellow WWE stars shared their congratulations in the comments section, along with Nikki Bella and her sister, Brie Bella, People reported. “Awww yay! Love this so much!” Nikki Bella wrote. “You deserve all the happiness in the world!!! Love you Becky!!!” “Yay!!!! Congrats!!! So happy for you both!!!” Brie Bella wrote. On Twitter, Rollins called himself the 'luckiest man alive' and posted a photo of Lynch showing off her engagement ring.
  • Lindsey Vonn and P.K. Subban are making the switch from Olympic rings to wedding rings. >> Read more trending news  Vonn, 34, a gold medalist in the 2010 Olympics and winner of 82 World Cup skiing events, made the announcement Friday on Instagram. She and Subban have been dating for at least a year, ESPN reported. 'He said YES!!' Vonn posted. 'Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this crazy/kind/handsome/hyper/giving man.' Subban, 30, won a gold medal as a member of Canada's men's hockey team at the 2014 Olympics, ESPN reported. He was traded from the Nashville Predators to the New Jersey Devils in June. The couple met two years ago at the Nickelodeon sports show that follows the ESPYs, Vogue reported. The pair made their relationship official in a red carpet at the CMT Music Awards in June 2018, People reported. “Right off the bat, I knew he was different,” Vonn told Vogue. “But I’d been married before, so I was pretty hesitant to let myself think that I could find someone that I would want to be married to again. After a few months of dating, I knew he was the one I wanted to be with, though. He makes me happy, and he’s so positive and energetic.” In addition to her marriage to skier Thomas Vonn, Lindsey Vonn dated golfer Tiger Woods for nearly three years until they split up in 2015, ESPN reported. 'Lindsey's the best thing that's ever happened to me,' Subban told Vogue. 'There are people in life that deserve to be with good people. They have that person who takes care of them and makes them smile, and she deserves to be with someone who loves her more than anything else in the world, and I do.' Vonn said the couple has not set a date for the wedding but will live in New Jersey, Vogue reported. We’re in such a busy time right now. We’re trying to move to New Jersey,” Vonn told the magazine. “I just want to enjoy the moment and the engagement. We’re not in a big hurry to get married. It kind of depends on his playing schedule, and when we have time to sit down and go through it. I don’t want to stress him out because he has a big season coming.”
  • A school resource officer is out of a job after she filmed a nude video of herself inside an elementary school bathroom during her shift. >> Read more trending news  Kissimmee Police told WFTV the woman removed her badge, uniform and gun when she went to the bathroom at Kissimmee Charter Academy to make the video for her husband in December. The video, which is heavily blurred, shows the woman asking the recipient what they thought of her video. The video was unearthed after the Osceola County Sheriff's Office investigated a personal incident with the school resource officer and her husband.  An investigation showed that while she was on lunch break, she was subject to recall at any point. Police said she was fired because if a shooting had occurred, she wouldn't have been able to respond.  The officer said that she locked the bathroom door and does not believe she should have been fired.  WFTV did not include the woman's name, as it was redacted in the report. 
  • A Nevada man overcame a weighty problem to become the first member of his family to enlist in the U.S. Army. >> Read more trending news  Seven months ago, Luis Enrique Pinto Jr., of Las Vegas, weighed 317, which meant he could not pass the Army's weight requirements, Army Times reported. The 18-year-old embarked on a program of exercise and diet and shed 113 pounds, allowing him to report to basic training, KNTV reported. Pinto now stands 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 204 pounds, the television station reported. Pinto had been an offensive lineman in high school and had a steady diet of carbohydrates, but he changed his diet and dropped the pounds. 'I had struggled with weight my whole life. I’ve always been a big kid,' Pinto told KNTV. The biggest hurdle to losing weight was cardio training, Army officials said in a news release. Pinto began to combine jogging and sprinting to improve his times. 'Running wasn't my strong suit,' Pinto said in the news release. 'Carrying all that extra weight and trying to run definitely increased my time.' 'When no one was looking, I was doing push-ups in my room, eating right, knowing what to eat,' Pinto told KTNV. 'I feel like everyone has the power to know what they take into their body, so I just took that into consideration. I just did the right thing at the end of the day,' Pinto's work ethic impressed his friends, family and his Army recruiter, Staff Sgt. Philip Long. 'There were a couple times where he hit a plateau. He would lose a pound or two, maybe,' Long told KTNV. 'But to continue to push forward and put the effort and dedication in, it inspires me and it should inspire you.' Pinto will report to basic training in September, Army Times reported.
  • Six inmates were injured -- two seriously -- during a prison riot Friday night at a San Diego prison, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The disturbance began at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility shortly after 8 p.m., The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Capt. Thomas Shoots said approximately 100 prisoners were in the prison yard when the riot broke out, the newspaper reported. It was not clear how many inmates were involved in the riot, the Union-Tribune reported. Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said a fight involving several inmates on the recreation yard escalated into a riot, KNSD reported. According to KSWB, staff members ordered the inmates to stop fighting. When the fighting continued, 'officers used several rounds of less than lethal use of force to quell the disturbance.' Two of the inmates were seriously injured and airlifted to area hospitals, Shoots told the Union-Tribune. No prison staff members were injured, KNSD reported.
  • Identity theft may have entered the final frontier if accusations from a woman against an astronaut are true. >> Read more trending news  Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, was married to astronaut Anne McClain. Now in the middle of a yearlong divorce and parenting dispute, Worden claims her former spouse accessed her bank account from space, KPRC reported. Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing McClain of identity theft and unauthorized access to the bank account, according to The New York Times.Worden claims McClain broke into her bank accounts while she was aboard the International Space Station, the newspaper reported. Through her lawyer, McClain admitted she had accessed the bank account from space on a computer system registered to NASA, the Times reported. However, McClain said she was merely keeping tabs on the couple's still intermingled finances, the newspaper reported. “I was shocked and appalled at the audacity by her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn't keep anything private,” Worden told KPRC. McClain's attorney, Rusty Hardin, told the television station in a statement that 'family cases are extremely difficult and private matters for all parties involved.' 'Neither Anne nor we will be commenting on this personal matter,' Hardin said. 'We appreciate the media's understanding and respect, as maintaining privacy, is in the best interest of the child and family members involved.” In a statement to KPRC, NASA said it had no comment on the matter. 'NASA has no statement on this and does not comment on personal or personnel matters. Anne McClain is an active astronaut.' NASA officials told the Times they were unaware of any crimes committed on the space station. McClain, who returned to Earth in June after her six-month mission, took an under-oath interview with NASA's Office of Inspector General last week, the newspaper reported.  “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” Hardin told the Times. Hardin told the newspaper the bank access from space was an attempt to make sure there were sufficient funds in Worden’s account to pay bills and care for the child they were raising. Hardin said McClain continued using the same password and claimed she never heard an objection from Worden, the Times reported. The fight from space might be the first case, but Mark Sundahl, director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, said it probably will not be the last one. “The more we go out there and spend time out there, all the things we do here are going to happen in space,” Sundahl told the Times.