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Pete Combs

    President Trump's allegations of partisanship aimed at members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team could have wide-ranging and long-lasting effects on the American judicial system. LISTEN TO A FULL REPORT FROM WSB’S PETE COMBS BELOW:
  • He looks great in tights, wears a red cape, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Superman turns 80 this year and he’s getting the birthday treatment this weekend at a huge sci-fi convention called Dragon Con in Atlanta. For years, Dragon Con has been the go-to place for fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror. This year, 85-thousand people are filling downtown hotels. There will be a huge parade on Saturday, before the five-day convention winds down on Monday.
  • “If you watch people—how they interact—they interact mostly with their digital devices,” Zellmer tells WSB’s Pete Combs. “To then get into a car and viscerally experience what can be done on a track is something people appreciate obviously. And we’re very happy about that.” In this case, the experience involves driving on a closed track in a way you can’t drive on the highway. At the Atlanta Porsche Experience Center, that involves pushing both car and driver to the limits of their abilities. For 90-minutes, paying customers drive company cars on this road course. That may not seem like a long time, but Porsche bets it’s long enough to fall in love.  It’s also a learning experience. Drivers are instructed by Porsche experts who ride along, providing tips and cautions all along the way.  The course is set up in several parts.  “There’s a road course that’s designed to mimic a windy road in the North Georgia Mountains,” says Operations Manager Geoffrey Lowdermilk.  There’s a kick plate course where the road actually turns underneath the car, forcing it to slide. “That’s an effective way to learn how to control oversteer by turning into the slide,” he points out.  There’s also a multi-faceted off-road course built specifically for the Porsche Cayenne, an all-wheel drive SUV.  “You’d be surprised at what that vehicle can do right off the showroom floor,” Lowdermilk says with a smile.  Finally, there’s a “launch pad,” where drivers can feel the wind in their hair, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in around 3.2 seconds.  How do customers react to a brand land like the Porsche Experience Center?  “I just wanted to experience it more than I would if I was driving it around the block at the Porsche dealership,” says Suwanee retiree Terry Jordan. As he’s speaking, a bright blue roadster speeds up to a circular pad of polished concrete. It’s a drift pad, where drivers fling their Porsches into a sliding 180 degree turn, tires screeching all the way. “You know, like that,” he says, motioning over his shoulder.  It’s hard to be objective about the Porsche Experience Center once you’ve driven the course, met the people who work there, dine in the elegant café and see the remarkable collection of fine sports cars parked all over the property.  And that’s quite the point.  Porsche says the Experience Centers are a boon to sales and to the company’s cache. The point, says Zellmer, is that people want this sort of hands-on experience. He believes “brand lands” will work in a number of industries worldwide.  Says one employee at the Porsche’s Atlanta facility, “It’s like Disneyland for adults who like to drive really fast.”
  • A vehicle of interest has been identified in Tuesday’s QuikTrip robbery. 
  • An extremely dangerous robbery in Cobb County has police looking for the suspect who got away. WSB’s Pete Combs explains.
  • Long before McDonalds, before Burger King or Wendy’s – the Varsity was founded in 1928 by a former Georgia Tech student named Frank Gordy. The fast-food phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down, even as it prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary with a birthday party on Aug. 18. WSB Radio’s Pete Combs spoke with Gordon Muir, president of the Varsity and grandson of founder Frank Gordy, and employees who have worked for the chain for decades about the Varsity’s legacy. LISTEN TO COMBS’ FULL REPORT HERE.
  • They thought it was a dud – a three-inch artillery shell on display at a museum in Marietta.  But it wasn’t.  It was actually one of several shells that could have exploded at any moment. WSB’s Pete Combs reports Amy Reed, curator at the Marietta Museum of History, always assumed the 150 or so artillery shells on display were all safe. But her friend, historian Michael Hitt, had been nagging her for weeks to get them checked out. He was worried they weren’t duds at all. So, Reed called Marietta Police. Several officers checked out a number of shells that showed no indication of having been rendered inert. They found seven.  “They said, ‘Okay, well, this one’s not good, so we’re going to take it with us,” Reed recalled. “Then they took a couple of others and said, ‘Okay, we’ll be leaving now!’” Reed says, in retrospect, she wasn’t scared. She’d moved the 3-inch shell circa World War I from place to place within the museum. She even knocked it over once. Rather than afraid, she felt lucky. “They told me to buy a lottery ticket,” she said, “because it was a miracle….” The heavy, 3-inch round was apparently fired toward Kennesaw Mountain in 1917 by a group of officer candidates training to take over the newly-created Camp Gordon, which was located where DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is now. The battery of guns fired hundreds of shells toward the mountain. But at the end of their training exercise, historian Michael Hitt says the cadets’ aim went wild. Several shells flew over the top of the mountain. One landed near the present-day intersection of Stilesboro Road and Mossy Rock Road at the edge of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, killing two men and a woman. Another shell found its way to the museum. It, along with several shells from WWI and the Civil War were safely detonated at the Vulcan quarry in Kennesaw by the Cobb County Police Bomb Squad and explosives experts from Dobbins Air Reserve Base.   Hitt and Reed are no longer worried about the possibility of finding live bombshells at the museum. But they do worry about the likelihood there are countless live rounds buried in the backyards of homes all over Cobb and DeKalb Counties. Hitt is especially worried about sites near PDK, site of a housing construction boom. He hopes police in Brookhaven and Chamblee will send out precautionary warnings to residents of the former Camp Gordon site—beware of unexploded ordnance.   “If you find something like this,” Hitt warned, “don’t go playing with it.” “Yeah,” Reed agreed, “don’t go putting it on your mantel.”
  • The first numbers are coming in, and it looks like Georgia’s new Hands-Free Law is saving lives. In July last year, statewide, there were 136 wrecks where cell phones were a factor. WSB Radio’s Pete Combs reports that after the law went into effect, that number was down to 107.  The law does not just apply to texting or talking on the phone, The AJC’s Amanda C. Coyne reports. You cannot go through your Spotify playlist, browse Twitter, play Candy Crush or take a selfie on Snapchat unless you’re lawfully parked.  The law bans the phone from touching any part of the driver’s body, even when stopped at a stop sign or red light.  You can adjust a GPS app or device while driving.  In Gwinnett County, the first violation comes with a $50 ticket and one point on your license. The penalty for a second violation is a $100 fine and two points on your license, and the third violation carries a $150 fine and additional points on your license.  During a ride-along in Marietta, Police Officer Jared Rakestraw tells WSB’s Pete Combs the state’s new hands-free law does seem to be working.  The number of accidents involving cell phones last month, when the law went into effect, was 27 percent lower than a year ago.  And that is why Rakestraw says he is still out here – looking for cell phones.
  • A little Jonesboro boy should be celebrating his birthday.Instead... as WSB's Pete Combs reports... the boy is missing... and authorities are increasingly worried about his safety.
  • Kemp defeated Cagle soundly in the GOP runoff election for Governor of Georgia.

News

  • Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton received 11 write-in votes for an election in North Carolina, officials said. >> Read more trending news  Newton’s name was written in for the Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation district position, according to the Board of Elections. The two people who won received more than 100,000 votes each. Newton has thrown for 2,086 yards and 17 touchdowns this season for the Panthers, who are 6-3 and trail the New Orleans Saints by two games in the National Football League’s NFC South division.
  • Fifteen years after tossing her twins off a bridge into the Mississippi River, a Minnesota woman is using her story to raise awareness about mental illness, KARE reported. >> Read more trending news  Naomi Gaines was 24 when she threw her 14-month-old sons, Sincere Understanding Allah and Supreme Knowledge Allah, into the river near St. Paul on July 4, 2003, and then jumped into the water, the Star Tribune reported in 2003. Sincere drowned, and Gaines was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, KARE reported. Gaines, now 39, served 15 years in prison and spent time at a mental health treatment center,  After the death of her son, Gaines was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, the television station reported.Now, Gaines is reaching out to help people with similar mental conditions. “If there is another Naomi Gaines out there, you are not alone. Mental illness is not a character flaw. It is not a weakness to ask for help. It is a strength,” Gaines told KARE. “What I wouldn't give to go back and say, 'I am not OK, and I need help.'” Gaines now works part-time at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota. “I got the most help for my mental illness while incarcerated,' Gaines told KARE. 'That is when the prevention classes, groups, therapy and medication happened, after it was already too late for my son.
  • A load of space station supplies rocketed into orbit from Virginia on Saturday, the second shipment in two days. Northrop Grumman launched its Antares rocket from Wallops Island before dawn, delighting chilly early-bird observers along the Atlantic coast. The Russian Space Agency launched its own load of supplies to the International Space Station on Friday, just 15 hours earlier. The U.S. delivery will arrive at the orbiting lab Monday, a day after the Russian shipment. Among the 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of goods inside the Cygnus capsule: ice cream and fresh fruit for the three space station residents, and a 3D printer that recycles old plastic into new parts. Thanksgiving turkey dinners — rehydratable, of course — are already aboard the 250-mile-high outpost. The space station is currently home to an American, German and Russian. There's another big event coming up, up there: The space station marks its 20th year in orbit on Tuesday. The first section launched on Nov. 20, 1998, from Kazakhstan. This Cygnus, or Swan, is named the S.S. John Young to honor the legendary astronaut who walked on the moon and commanded the first space shuttle flight. He died in January. It is the first commercial cargo ship to bear Northrop Grumman's name. Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK in June. SpaceX is NASA's other commercial shipper for the space station. Experiments also are going up to observe how cement solidifies in weightlessness, among other things. There's also medical, spacesuit and other equipment to replace items that never made it to orbit last month because of a Russian rocket failure; the two men who were riding the rocket survived their emergency landing. Three other astronauts are set to launch from Kazakhstan on Dec. 3.
  • Two California men living in a homeless camp acted swiftly to save a driver whose vehicle was involved in an accident with a truck, KSBW reported. >> Read more trending news  On Tuesday, a truck driver lost control of his vehicle in Santa Cruz and slammed into a car, the television station reported. The small sedan was pushed 150 yards down the road and was stuck to the truck’s bumper, KSBW reported. It hit several cars before bursting into flames, rendering the driver unconscious, the television station reported. Robert Woodlief and John Thompson saw the accident and immediately sprang into action. 'We heard the explosion. A big boom,' said Woodlief told KSBW. 'It sounded like someone dropping giant shipping containers,' Thompson told the television station. As flames intensified, the two men used a box cutter and pocket knife to cut the unconscious driver’s seat belt and pull him to safety, KSBW reported. 'It caught my hair on fire and that's when I had to fall to the ground and roll two or three times and then John ran into the car and proceeded to cut,' Woodlief told the television station. 'I had to basically stop thinking about the flames. I was thinking about anything,” Thompson said. “My focus was on what I was doing and I cut the belt.'  The driver of the sedan remains in critical condition, KSWB reported.
  • A lawsuit filed on behalf of a New Mexico author alleges that a Santa Fe hospital revived the woman in violation of her “do not resuscitate” directive while she was in the facility’s care in 2016, the Albuquerque Journal reported. >> Read more trending news  The lawsuit filed in New Mexico state district court against Santa Fe's Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center alleges that the hospital was negligent twice in its treatment of Jamie Sams, a writer known for her books about spirituality.  The lawsuit also alleges that Sams was given the painkiller Dilaudid, a medicine she claims she is allergic to, the Journal reported. Sams suffers from Dercum’s, a rare disease that produces tumors all over the body, the newspaper reported. According to court documents obtained by the Journal, Sams went into cardiac arrest after receiving the drug in the emergency room on Feb. 5, 2016, and the hospital’s negligence was compounded when she was resuscitated -- something she did not want. Sams had signed a “Double DNR (do not resuscitate)” form, the newspaper reported. “As a result of being revived, Plaintiff continues to experience severe pain, disability and limitations and further, will incur extensive expenses throughout the remainder of her life,” the lawsuit against the hospital and emergency room doctor Jamie Gagan states. “This condition is extremely debilitating and painful and, moreover, requires frequent hospitalization and medication at great expense.” Christus spokesman Arturo Delgado told the Journal that Gagan works for HealthFront, which does emergency services work for the hospital. He said he could not comment on the lawsuit. Sams is a Native American author who co-wrote “Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals.” According to her author biography on the Amazon website, she is a member of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge. Sams is half French and half American Indian, with ancestors from the Cherokee, Seneca, Choctaw, and Mohawk tribes according to her profile at Spirituality & Practice. 
  • A photograph of a Utah police officer cradling a baby while the infant’s mother filed a domestic violence report has gone viral, KUTV reported. >> Read more trending news  One of the clerks at the West Jordan Police Department snapped a photo of Officer R. Lofgran holding and bottle feeding the baby and caring for the woman’s other young children, KSTU reported. “He spent hours on this call. Thank you for your service,” one person wrote on the West Jordan Police Department’s Facebook page. The photos and posts have been shared more than 370 times and have been liked by nearly 3,000 people since it was posted on Thursday.