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Latest from Bill Caiaccio

    Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said he is 'beyond frustrated' and it's 'ridiculous' there is still no agreement on federal disaster aid to help Georgia farmers and others impacted by hurricanes, floods and wildfires. Speaking to WSB’s Scott Slade on Atlanta’s Morning News, Governor Kemp said its time to put politics aside and “get something done.” >>LISTEN TO SLADE’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH THE GOVERNOR BELOW. More than 200 days after Hurricane Michael devastated Georgia and Florida, Kemp wonders what’s taking so long. “The longest disaster bill we’ve ever had before was Hurricane Sandy, up in New Jersey. It took a little over 55 days, now we’ve been over 200,” Kemp said. Despite the lack of an agreement, Kemp said Georgia’s delegation is doing its part. “I know Senator Perdue and Senator Isakson have been working for over a month, probably closer to two, to get something done in the Senate,” he told WSB. Kemp and nine other governors in states affected by natural disasters have written a letter to the president and congressional leaders in Washington D.C. requesting “urgent attention” to help their states recover. Kemp vowed “To keep the pressure on them up there and hopefully they can get something done.” Unfortunately, he said “politics is at play there, which is very frustrating to our farmers.” WSB’s Jamie Dupree reports the U.S. House approved a $19 billion measure for disaster relief Friday, but Congress may be no closer to a final agreement because President Trump objects to extra disaster relief for Puerto Rico. It remains to be seen what happens next to the bill. Democrats are hopeful the Senate will approve it, despite the president’s opposition.
  • It may be the most anticipated Initial Public Offering this year. Ride-sharing company Uber begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, but should you add it to your portfolio? WSB Money Matters host Wes Moss said, “Investors are really playing Hail Mary economics,” if they decide to buy Uber stock. “It might, might, might work out. Hail Mary’s happen but not very often,” Moss said. The concern for WSB’s money expert is Uber’s lack of profitability. Moss said, “It’s hard to know what a fair price is for a company that’s bleeding money.” He said Uber may be the most unprofitable company to ever go public. While it could turn a profit one day, Moss said “A lot of things have to go right for that to happen.” He said it could take a decade. “If you’re an investor with an iron stomach, this might be for you, Moss said, but if you’re a more conservative investor that can’t handle lots and lots of years of maybes, then I’d probably stay away from it.” Uber announced on Thursday it was pricing its IPO at $45 per share, which was at the lower end of its targeted price range. Uber’s main rival, Lyft, went public six weeks ago with an IPO price of $72, but has lost about a quarter of its value since. Uber has a market value of $82 billion, which is five times more than Lyft.
  • Stacey Abrams decision not to run for the United States Senate in 2020 could have a major ripple effect on Georgia’s political future. First and foremost, it may be good news for the incumbent, Republican Senator David Perdue.  WSB Political Analyst Bill Crane said, “There are probably a lot of Georgia Republicans smiling, with David Perdue possibly having the biggest toothiest grin.” He said Perdue “would have faced a substantial challenge if Stacey Abrams had gotten into the race.” Abrams is considered by some as a rising star in the Democratic party. She narrowly lost the election to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp last year, and she delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address. When asked what would have made Abrams a difficult opponent for Perdue Crane said, “Her name recognition, and though we don’t know how lasting it will be, the passion she inspires among her voters.” He said, “Ms. Abrams has an organization, financing and quite a list in place already to make that challenge more formidable.” With Abrams out of the Senate race, it opens the door for other Democrats considering a run but who have been waiting to see what Abrams decided. A likely candidate is former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who said she will make a formal announcement on Wednesday. Crane said others who may get into the race include former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, who is currently CEO of Dekalb County and U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop and David Scott.  No matter who challenges Perdue Crane said, “It is difficult to oust sitting U.S. Senators regardless of their party.” As for what’s next for Abrams, she may still be weighing a run for president or vice-president, but Crane said, “She might be better suited to a rematch against Governor Kemp in 2022.” 
  • Once again, the Masters proves why it is the best golf tournament in the world, and it’s not even close. Some will argue they like seeing pros struggle, as is the case at the U.S. Open or the uniqueness of links golf at the Open Championship, but I’ll take the drama at Augusta National any day. I kept hearing the word “wow” uttered on TV during the CBS broadcast and in the press room during the final round Sunday.  Tiger Woods’ dramatic win may go down as the best Masters since Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket in 1986, but it wasn’t just the fact Tiger won that made this Masters so special. The golf course proved once again why it’s also the star of the show every year, no matter who’s battling for the green jacket. How many times have we seen Masters dreams die on the 12th hole. With all the talk of making holes longer, the 150-yard par-3 continues to confound the best players in the world. The same hole where Jordan Spieth lost the 2016 Masters is where Italy’s Francesco Molinari lost the lead it seemed he would never let go this year. On the par-3 16th hole, the same hole where Nicklaus came within inches of an ace on the way to his 1986 victory, Tiger nearly did the same. And who can forget Tiger’s chip in on that famous hole leading to his win in 2005. I dare you to find a better set of par 3’s on any course in the world, and the par 5’s on Augusta’s second nine aren’t too bad either. Because it’s the only one of golf’s major championships played at the same venue every year, we’ve come to know the holes so well. The same holes that can produce eagles and birdies also produce train wrecks, like the double-bogey made by Molinari on the par-5 15th. As far as Tiger is concerned, two of the biggest moments in his comeback have now occurred in Georgia. He won at East Lake in the Tour Championship last fall and now Augusta National. Some have said this is the greatest comeback in sports, after multiple back surgeries and his well-documented personal problems. While that is debatable, what Tiger proved Sunday is that he could still have a chance at beating Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional major titles. He most certainly has a good chance of matching the record six Masters titles by Nicklaus. His game may not the same as it was in his prime, but what Tiger has is his intelligence, and I believe he still carries an intimidation factor.  It seems by their reactions Sunday some of the best players in the world were affected by Tiger’s presence. How else do you explain four contenders going in the water on the 12th hole on Sunday? Whether you like him or not, Sunday’s scene of Woods hugging his kids after leaving the 18th green was a special moment. Even Woods, not one who gets choked up easily, got emotional when remembering hugging his own father after winning his first Masters 22 years ago.  Tiger Woods is good for golf and good for sports in general. He’s one of only a few athletes who makes most people stop what they’re doing to watch. And the Masters proves once again why it’s must-see TV each April.
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is not saying when he may sign the controversial “heartbeat” bill, which would restrict abortions in Georgia. The governor supports the bill passed by Georgia lawmakers during the recently completed legislative session. “We value life in our state,” Governor Kemp told WSB’s Scott Slade on “Atlanta’s Morning News.” The governor said he is not concerned about talk of an economic boycott, if he signs the measure. “I don’t believe there will be dire consequences for supporting life in our state,” Kemp told WSB. >>LISTEN TO THE GOVERNOR’S FULL INTERVIEW BELOW. Some in Hollywood are threatening to stop film shoots in Georgia to protest.  Actress Alyssa Milano is leading the effort. She says the measure is “unconstitutional.” As for when he may sign it, Governor Kemp said, “We really haven’t set a date for any of the bills to sign yet.” He told AMN, “We’ve got a thorough review process that we go through on every bill just to make sure there’s nothing in there that we missed.”  While Kemp said he’s “In no real hurry” to sign any piece of legislation, he told WSB the deadline is May 10. The bill would ban most abortions in Georgia, as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which usually occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy. “The abortion issue is a very tough issue,” Kemp said. “Even if you don’t agree with the legislation that was passed, you can certainly agree we value life in our state.” After the bill was passed, The Writers Guild of America released a statement saying if Kemp signs the law “It’s entirely possible that many of those in our industry will either want to leave the state or decide not to bring productions there.”  
  • President Trump and his Republican friends on Capitol Hill are declaring victory after the much-anticipated Mueller report found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. WSB political analyst Bill Crane said, 'The president's legal troubles and challenges are not over, but I think he has a lot to kind of claim victory about.' One of the first to see the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller was Republican Congressman Doug Collins of Gainesville, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. 'The special counsel’s investigation was long, thorough and conclusive: There was no collusion.' Now that the report is out it remains to be seen how much the American people will get to see. In an exclusive interview with WSB's Monica Matthews, Collins said 'The public should see everything they can see.' Collins said 'This is something that is very important. Democrats talking point is just to dump everything. You can't do that.' Collins said Attorney General William Barr 'has made it very clear he will put out as much as possible, so that the American people can have assurance what Bob Mueller found is the actual truth.' That way 'Nobody can go looking for shadows behind the curtain,' Collins said. Democrats have a different view. U.S. Representative Hank Johnson of Lithonia, one of the top Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, says the full Mueller report should be made public. Johnson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution 'There are a whole lot of questions that need to be answered and we certainly can’t answer those questions by relying on the conclusions that Barr says Mueller reached.' Another one of President Trump's supporters on Capitol Hill, Republican Congressman Jody Hice of Monroe, tweeted 'We knew this two years ago: Zero collusion.
  • As bad as the damage is in Georgia from Sunday's tornado outbreak, Governor Brian Kemp says we're very fortunate. 'It is a miracle we haven't had a loss of life,' the governor told Atlanta's Morning News. More than 20 people lost their lives just across the state line in Alabama, but so far there are no reports of fatalities in Georgia. A day after touring tornado damage in west-central and South Georgia, Governor Kemp told WSB the State of Emergency will remain in place for as long as needed in Talbot, Harris and Grady counties.  'We see the damage, and some of the folks I talked to that rode the storm out in their home that was devastated it's amazing,' Kemp said. The governor has also been impressed with the way people are pitching in to help those in need. He said, 'A lot of folks there are already serving food and helping their neighbors.' LISTEN TO GOV. KEMP’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH WSB RADIO’S SCOTT SLADE BELOW: Kemp said he's not sure yet if the damage in Georgia will qualify for federal disaster assistance. The governor did speak to President Trump who Kemp said, 'Offered his full support and the help of the federal government.' While folks are cleaning up from this latest natural disaster, Governor Kemp is also concerned about South Georgia farmers who are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael last fall. The governor will travel to southwest Georgia Tuesday along with Agriculture Secretary Gary Black to get an update from farmers and provide an update on efforts to get them federal aid. 'This should have been done already.' Kemp said, 'The president continues to offer his full support.' Governor Kemp is calling on members of congress to pass a bill proposed by Georgia Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson.  'We're hopeful we can get this done, but we cannot continue to wait. Our farm families need that done right away,' Kemp said.
  • A Kentucky teenager has hired a big time Atlanta attorney in a lawsuit over a face-to-face showdown with a Native American at the Lincoln Memorial in January. 16-year old Nicolas Sandmann is suing the Washington Post for $250-million in damages, claiming the paper wrongly accused the Covington High School student of instigating the confrontation. The video of the showdown went viral leading to outrage on social media.  Sandmann is seen in the video standing face-to-face with Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist.  Sandmann stares at Phillips, who is singing and playing a drum.  The lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. It claims the newspaper wrongfully targeted and bullied Sandmann because he was wearing a Make America Great Again cap. The teen was on a school field trip to the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington D.C. when the incident occurred.   A private investigation has found Sandmann and his classmates did nothing to provoke a confrontation. Sandmann's attorney is Lin Wood of Atlanta. Wood said in a statement to expect similar lawsuits soon. A statement from the Washington Post says they are reviewing the lawsuit and will mount a vigorous defense.  Wood, whose nickname is 'Attorney for the Damned,' rose to fame when he represented Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996. Wood also represented John and Patsy Ramsey, who were investigated in the death of their daughter JonBonet in Boulder, Colorado.
  • A snow day no longer means an off day for many students in metro Atlanta. More school districts are following the lead of Forsyth County, and now use digital learning days when they cancel classes.  Jennifer Caracciolo, director of communications with the Forsyth County School District, told WSB 'This is our fifth year, for Forsyth County Schools, for doing an online learning plan for school closures.' She said Forsyth was the first district in Georgia to make this available on snow days. Once students login, 'They have the ability to complete their work now, or they can complete it later on during the day,' Caracciolo said. She said it's another way to offer school to students. Caracciolo told WSB 'School is not the life of our students. School fits into their lives.'  Caracciolo said she believes it teaches kids a valuable life lesson. 'Even in the workforce they could be working virtually, so this is just how our students do school in Forsyth County,' she said. The school district is able to provide devices to students who don't have them thanks to a partnership with the Morrow Family Foundation. Other counties are also offering digital learning to students on snow days. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports it's worked so well in Gwinnett County, the district has only two inclement weather days built-in this year.
  • Atlanta Public Schools is launching an effort to help families facing financial hardship due to the partial government shutdown. APS has a goal of raising $25,000 through a Go Fund Me donation drive. Atlanta Public Schools Chief Human Resources Officer Skye Duckett told WSB Radio 'If we don't get to $25,000 fine, we'll take whatever we get.'  APS estimates 300-500 of its employees are affected by the shutdown. 'We have a very large workforce that have spouses, domestic partners, household members that are in this situation,' Duckett said. They are employed by one of the federal agencies that have been closed. Many are on the verge of missing a second paycheck.  Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has donated $1,500 of her own money. The Christian Coleman Foundation donated another $500.  'Many federal employees and contractors, some of them family members of APS employees, are facing the impacts of the federal government shutdown, and we want to do all we can to help,' said Carstarphen.  The school district is also encouraging furloughed spouses of APS employees to work as substitute teachers until the shutdown is over. 'We are doing a fast track process for federal employees so that we can get them moved through the process a little more quickly,' Duckett told WSB.  APS has identified a number of other ways employees can help co-workers impacted by the shutdown:  Consider setting up Meal Train accounts.  Drop off food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  Take advantage of APS' employee discount program on goods and services.  Utilize APS' Employee Assistance Program.
  • Bill  Caiaccio

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    Bill Caiaccio has been working for WSB since 2014. 

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  • Two men are behind bars facing charges of inducing panic after allegedly surfing on the swollen Great Miami River. >> Read more trending news  Passersby spotted the men in the water shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday. Andrew S. Cook Jr., 25, and Garrett M. Pickiering, 26, said they also had asked someone to call for help after they apparently fell into the river in the area of State Route 47 and Port Huron Drive. “We had prepared for a water rescue,” Sgt. Joel Howell, of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said. “We weren’t exactly sure if they were in the water.” Deputies received word that the pair, who were wet and carrying an oar, were just south of town. “They ended up going to jail for inducing panic, the reason being they left after asking somebody to call for help for them,” said Howell, who added that Cook and Pickiering apparently admitted to seeing at least one deputy respond. Cook and Pickiering were each booked into the Shelby County Jail on suspicion of inducing panic. They await Monday morning court dates, according to online records. Howell said the river is especially dangerous because it is flooded over the banks, full of debris and has a swift current.
  • A Mississippi teen is fighting for her life after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Jonestown, Mississippi. >> Read more trending news  Family members said Lamonshae Williams was shot in the stomach during a graduation party overnight. She was rushed to Regional One in critical condition. Williams graduated from Coahoma Early College High School on Saturday. Relatives told FOX13 she graduated sixth in her class.  Another victim who was shot at the scene was treated at a local hospital and is expected to be OK. Lamonshae's mother Luetisha Gardner said she is heartbroken about the situation. She told FOX13 that Lamonsha's older sister was killed a few years ago. Jonestown has very limited police coverage, so Coahoma County deputies are currently handling the case. Officers have not identified any suspects at this time. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
  • A year ago, the world watched as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at Windsor Castle’s historic St. George’s Chapel. Less than a year after their nuptials, they welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. On Sunday, the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary. >> Read more trending news  Harper’s Bazaar reported that the couple has shared behind-the-scenes moments from their big day in an Instagram post on Sussex Royal. Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: A relationship timeline The video slideshow begins with a series of black-and-white photos that include images of Markle holding hands with her mother, Doria Ragland, and Prince Harry pretending to hitchhike to his wedding. Audio of “This Little Light of Mine,” which Sussex Royal said was selected by the couple for their recessional, can be heard as the images are displayed. The video slideshow ends in color images of the big day and wedding bells. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also shared a message to supporters, saying, “Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world. Each of you made this day even more meaningful.” Watch the video below.
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse College at institution’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.  But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the billionaire technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire class of 2019.  >> Read more trending news  “This is my class, and I know my class will pay this forward,” he said. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony. The announcement elicited the biggest cheers of the morning. Tonga Releford, whose son, Charles Releford III, is a member of the class of 2019, estimates that her son’s student loans are around $70,000. “I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Smith’s gift has been estimated at $40 million. Tonga Releford’s husband, Charles Hereford Jr., is also a Morehouse graduate. He said their younger son, Colin, is a junior at Morehouse, an all-male historically black college. The father said he doesn’t know who the keynote speaker will be at Colin’s graduation ceremony but is hoping for a return performance by Smith.  “Maybe he’ll come back next year,” he said.
  • The creepy, unsettling image of the “Momo challenge” will be coming to the big screen, according to one report. Deadline reported that “Getaway,” a horror film directed by Lilton Stewart III, will follow a group of teens on their last summer vacation before college who end up secluded in a cabin. >> Read more trending news  “In ghost story fashion, one tells the story of the urban legend, MOMO, a strange spirit of a bird-like woman that taunts its victims with specific personal details and violent commands via text message and phone calls,” Deadline reported. “What starts out as a harmless prank soon turns more sinister over the next 24 hours as the teens start disappearing without any motive or pattern.” The urban legend is inspired by the viral internet hoax that made the rounds last year. Related: What is the ‘Momo challenge’ and is it a hoax? Despite endless media coverage and local law enforcement warnings on social media of the supposed internet challenge, there were no verified cases of the “challenge” or people being harmed because of the game. “We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube,”  the video platform said on Twitter in February 2019. “Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.”
  • DJ Khaled has released the music video for his single “Higher,” which stars John Legend and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The song comes from the producer-DJ’s new album “Father of Asahd.” >> Read more trending news  Billboard reported that the video, directed by Eif Rivera, starts with a tribute to Hussle, who died after he was shot outside his now-shuttered The Marathon Clothing brick-and-mortar store March 31. The video, TMZ reported, is the last one Hussle shot. Behind-the-scenes video obtained by the tabloid site shows Legend, Hussle and Khaled standing on top of a parking structure with a piano and retro cars in shades of blue. Khaled said in a statement Wednesday that the video footage was shot days before Hussle died. Legend reflected on shooting the music video after news broke of Hussle’s death. “Recently, I embarked on a soul-searching journey down a road I never thought I would travel in a million years. It began when a tragedy robbed the world of an enlightened soul, a brother, a father, a partner and my friend, Nipsey Hussle,” the statement said. “Just days prior, he shared his energy and positivity with me on a video set for a song called, ‘Higher.’ After much prayer and reflection, and with the full blessing of the Asghedom family, I am sharing that moment with the world. “The very title of the song reminds us that vibrating on a ‘Higher; level was the essence of Nipsey’s soul. It is in this spirit, of moving forward, of preserving his mission that I, my co-workers, producers and label partners are donating 100% of all our proceeds from 'Higher' to Nipsey's children, Emani and Kross. “The Marathon Continues.” Watch the music video on YouTube and see a teaser below.