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    With Super Bowl 53 only days away, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and public safety officials have unveiled their security plans for events leading up to the big game. More than 1 million visitors to Atlanta are expected for the game, concerts and other events happening around the Super Bowl.  Only Channel 2's Dave Huddleston received access to the joint operation center, where more than a dozen agencies will monitor the area around Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  Officials want to reassure the public they have been working for two years on security and prepardness. They also want citizens to be vigilant and report if they see anything suspicious. Media gearing up for Mayor @KeishaBottoms and safety officials to discuss #SuperBowlLIII @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/hSgpnMvc24 — Dave Huddleston (@DaveHWSB) January 15, 2019 RELATED STORIES: 10 things you didn't know about Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta Super Bowl 53: Concerts, music festivals in Atlanta leading up to the big game Not a football fan? Here are some non-sports things to do Super Bowl weekend Starting Jan. 26, Atlanta police will work 12-hour shifts through Feb. 5. Huddleston asked Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields how she plans to keep her officers from getting  fatigued.  'We've built in an off day for everyone, so they do have a break.  But really what makes this manageable is the fact that we have so much afforded to us from other agencies,' Shields said. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Georgia State Patrol and more than a dozen other law enforcement agencies will work with APD during the 10-day period surrounding the Super Bowl.  The chief said they have prepared and drilled for the worst-case scenarios. On Tuesday, Huddleston saw workers covering the stadium and downtown buildings with Super Bowl posters to prepare for Super Bowl Live. Almost 350 workers are busy building a free fan village, featuring two team houses for each conference champion and a stage for concerts. Bottoms says initially she was nervous about the city hosting, but with so much assistance from state and federal partners, she says she's confident the city is prepared.   'This event will be all that we hope it to be,' Bottoms said. 
  • First warmer then colder then... rinse repeat the roller coaster ride. Dramatic temperature drop over the weekend as first of multiple Polar air masses come down from Canada this month and next. Coldest air of the season to date by Monday. In the transition another big snowstorm in the Midwest to New England. Could Atlanta see a few snow flakes? Yes not out of the question but I would not hold your breath. As of now at least, it looks like even if we did it would be brief and not last or matter with no accumulation outside of NE mountains and most of us won’t see any snow. The sharp change to sharply colder is the real story. As I’ve said repeatedly in past blogs since Fall, the prospect for snow or ice looks alive before we warm up in April. As in the rest of life, the meeting of cold and moisture is all about the timing. The pattern looks to turn ripe but we have to wait till we have an actual system to watch.  FORECAST SURFACE CHARTS FRIDAY THROUGH NEXT TUESDAY: KEY JET STREAM FEATURES FORECAST BY END OF MONTH: SUNDAY ECMWF SURFACE WEATHER FORECAST: The GFS and Canadian Models show no snow whatsoever.  Cold is the real story.  SUNDAY AM WIND CHILL: WIND CHILL END OF DAY SUNDAY: ECMWF FORECAST WIND CHILL FACTOR MONDAY MORNING: ECMWF SUNDAY EARLY MORNING TEMPERATURES: ECMWF END OF DAY SUNDAY SURFACE TEMPERATURE ESTIMATE: By Monday morning the freeze line is as far South as the Mouse House near Orlando down to Tampa Bay area: ECMWF ENSEMBLE FORECAST LOWS MONDAY MORNING: ECMWF MODEL FORECAST HIGHS MONDAY: ECMWF ENSEMBLE AND GFS ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE PROJECTIONS: No actual snow or ice storms to track for Atlanta, yet.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • A woman in Maitland, Florida, said an otter charged at her, bit her calf and scratched her while she was walking her dog last week at Lake Lily Park. >> Read more trending news Ann-Christine Langselius said the encounter happened Jan. 8 while she was walking on a bridge that traces the lake's eastern shore. She said she visits the park daily, but she had never before seen an otter at the lake. 'I saw an otter coming ... just looking at me. It went straight for me,' Langselius said. 'It went for the calf and then it bit first; once in my Achilles. And then it got a really good hold a little further down.' >> Photos: 25 ways Florida could kill you Langselius said she started running and the otter held onto her until she was off the bridge. 'It was so fast,' she said, when asked how large the otter was. 'Maybe like a dog (in terms of size); short legs and very wet.' On Wednesday, the city of Maitland posted flyers, warning visitors to keep their distance, to not feed wildlife and to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if they spotted any aggressive otters.  The Maitland Police Department said it had received several complaints about an aggressive otter attacking people and pets. The agency said a police officer fatally shot an otter Thursday near Lake Maitland. The Florida Department of Health said the otter tested positive for rabies. Langselius said she suspects it is the same otter that attacked her. The virus is almost always fatal if left untreated. The health department said it has treated three people for rabies in connection with aggressive otters.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand entered the growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Tuesday, telling television host Stephen Colbert that she's launching an exploratory committee. 'It's an important first step, and it's one I am taking because I am going to run,' the New York senator said on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.' She listed a series of issues she'd tackle as president, including better health care for families, stronger public schools and more accessible job training. Gillibrand, 52, has already made plans to campaign in Iowa over the weekend, more than a year before the leadoff caucus state votes. She joins what is expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic nomination that could feature more than a dozen candidates. Already, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has announced her own exploratory efforts, and decisions by a number of other senators are expected in the coming weeks. Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, has been among the Senate's most vocal members on issues like sexual harassment, military sexual assault, equal pay for women and family leave, issues that could be central to her presidential campaign. 'I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own,' said Gillibrand, a mother of two sons, ages 10 and 15. As she works to distinguish herself from likely rivals, Gillibrand will be able to draw from the more than $10.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she can use toward a presidential run. Gillibrand pledged during her Senate campaign that she would serve out her six-year term if re-elected. She will use Troy, New York, where she lives, as a home base for her presidential efforts. Near the end of their interview, Colbert presented Gillibrand with a basket of campaign gifts, including an ear of yellow corn to wave in Iowa, a piece of granite for New Hampshire and a one-of-a-kind button that reads 'I announced on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been more than double what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. [READ MORE: Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history] Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December as the new senior pastor, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday, Jan. 6 seeking aid. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. 'When I originally brought them down, I was just going to pray for them.' TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines But the pastor said God spoke to him and asked him to do more. 'I ain't waiting on the Democrats or the Republicans,' Bryant said. The pastor asked members to dig in their pockets and give to those not getting paid. 'I was absolutely blown away. I've only been in here a month. I had no idea that compassion was this high in Atlanta,' Bryant said. Now the pastor is looking at other ways to help those affected by the shutdown. 'Whether or not we can do potluck dinners for families to be able to come -- gift cards to grocery stores,' Bryant said. He said there are more people in need based on the comments he got from those who missed the service. 'You can't imagine how many people said, 'Oh I missed last Sunday. Are y'all going to do it again?'' Bryant said. Bryant said his team is looking at ways to help members on an ongoing basis until the shutdown ends. He said it's the church's job to help those in need.

News

  • A woman in Maitland, Florida, said an otter charged at her, bit her calf and scratched her while she was walking her dog last week at Lake Lily Park. >> Read more trending news Ann-Christine Langselius said the encounter happened Jan. 8 while she was walking on a bridge that traces the lake's eastern shore. She said she visits the park daily, but she had never before seen an otter at the lake. 'I saw an otter coming ... just looking at me. It went straight for me,' Langselius said. 'It went for the calf and then it bit first; once in my Achilles. And then it got a really good hold a little further down.' >> Photos: 25 ways Florida could kill you Langselius said she started running and the otter held onto her until she was off the bridge. 'It was so fast,' she said, when asked how large the otter was. 'Maybe like a dog (in terms of size); short legs and very wet.' On Wednesday, the city of Maitland posted flyers, warning visitors to keep their distance, to not feed wildlife and to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if they spotted any aggressive otters.  The Maitland Police Department said it had received several complaints about an aggressive otter attacking people and pets. The agency said a police officer fatally shot an otter Thursday near Lake Maitland. The Florida Department of Health said the otter tested positive for rabies. Langselius said she suspects it is the same otter that attacked her. The virus is almost always fatal if left untreated. The health department said it has treated three people for rabies in connection with aggressive otters.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand entered the growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Tuesday, telling television host Stephen Colbert that she's launching an exploratory committee. 'It's an important first step, and it's one I am taking because I am going to run,' the New York senator said on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.' She listed a series of issues she'd tackle as president, including better health care for families, stronger public schools and more accessible job training. Gillibrand, 52, has already made plans to campaign in Iowa over the weekend, more than a year before the leadoff caucus state votes. She joins what is expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic nomination that could feature more than a dozen candidates. Already, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has announced her own exploratory efforts, and decisions by a number of other senators are expected in the coming weeks. Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, has been among the Senate's most vocal members on issues like sexual harassment, military sexual assault, equal pay for women and family leave, issues that could be central to her presidential campaign. 'I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own,' said Gillibrand, a mother of two sons, ages 10 and 15. As she works to distinguish herself from likely rivals, Gillibrand will be able to draw from the more than $10.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she can use toward a presidential run. Gillibrand pledged during her Senate campaign that she would serve out her six-year term if re-elected. She will use Troy, New York, where she lives, as a home base for her presidential efforts. Near the end of their interview, Colbert presented Gillibrand with a basket of campaign gifts, including an ear of yellow corn to wave in Iowa, a piece of granite for New Hampshire and a one-of-a-kind button that reads 'I announced on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been more than double what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.