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Latest from Bill Caiaccio

    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.
  • Cartersville High School is on cloud nine, after one of their own leads the Clemson Tigers to college football's national championship.  Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was a student at Cartersville High only a year ago, carved up the Alabama defense leading the Tigers to a decisive 44-16 victory over the Tide at Levi's Stadium.  Cartersville principal Shelly Tierce tells WSB Radio, 'We're all tired today, but we're proud. 'Everybody is talking about the game.'  Lawrence was 20-of-32 passing for 347 yards and three touchdowns. 'I don't think anybody was surprised with Trevor's performance last night,” Tierce says, adding, “We've watched him grow up.'  But Tierce also says Lawrence is more than just a great quarterback. “You can see him as an athlete on the field, but until you know this kid as a person nobody can describe his character,' Tierce explains, calling Lawrence a great role model.”  Cartersville's football coach Joey King was at the game Monday night, watching Lawrence and another one of his former players, Alabama's Miller Forristall.  'When you coach a child like that and you're around them,” Tierce says, “it's like your own child being out there competing last night, so I know coach King was on cloud nine.” LISTEN TO TIERCE’S FULL INTERVIEW ON TREVOR LAWRENCE BELOW:
  • Marriott has announced its guest reservation database was breached, potentially exposing information on about 500-million guests staying at Starwood hotels worldwide.  WSB consumer expert Clark Howard says 'No matter how you slice it, this one's huge.' LISTEN to WSB’s full interview with Clark Howard below: The company says credit card numbers and expiration dates of some guests may have been taken. The stolen information also includes some names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and passport numbers. The breach has been taking place since 2014. Howard says 'A lot of the 500-million are repeat corporate travelers who stayed at the same or various hotels.' He says 'Identity theft is an ever present risk with the level of information the criminals have.' Marriott bought Starwood, which Howard says 'is one of the biggest players in hotels worldwide.' Starwood operates hotels under the names: W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels. As he has done with other major breaches, Howard recommends freezing your credit to avoid having your identity stolen. He says that way 'Even if a criminal tries to use this information to take over your identity, you can shut them down cold.' You can visit Clark.com for more info. Marriott is working with law enforcement, and has set up a website and call center for anyone who thinks they are at risk. Also, the company will be sending emails to those affected. MORE INFORMATION HERE.
  • If early voting is any indication, this year's election could break records in Georgia.Voters in some metro Atlanta counties are waiting in line up to three hours to vote early.WSB Political Analyst Bill Crane calls the race for governor 'A very passionate election.' Crane told Atlanta's Morning News 'People are feeling very connected to the issues and these candidates.
  • Days after Hurricane Michael hit, thousands of homes and businesses in south and southwest Georgia still don't have power.The electric membership cooperatives (EMC's) say they have restored service to over 150,000 members since the storm hit Georgia as a category 3 storm, but the restoration process will involve many more days or up to a week or more in some rural areas of the state.
  • Someone with direct knowledge of the Trump White House believes she may know the source of the anonymous New York Times op-ed, claiming to be part of an internal resistance to stop the President from doing things that could harm the country.  In an exclusive interview with WSB Radio’s Condace Pressley, Omarosa Manigault Newman says, “I suspect it's someone on [Vice President] Pence's staff.”  She adds, “He [Pence] has three senior staffers, assistants to the president, deputy assistants to the president, who would fit the description of this person.”  Refuting the accusations, the deputy chief of staff for Vice President Pence tweeted: “The Vice President puts his name on his op-eds. Our office is above such amateur acts.”  In her own-tell all book about the Trump White House, 'Unhinged,' Omarosa says she saw a 'mental decline' in President Trump during her 7-month tenure.  The book has spent the past two weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. 'I wanted to give the American people a chance to know the truth, because the truth so matters,” she tells WSB Radio.  Omarosa says when she read the op-ed, 'I really thought about the implications for, not just the White House, or for the president, but for the American people.'  An effort is underway at the White House to find out who wrote the piece for the New York Times.  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also denied writing it. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Pompeo said, 'It's not mine,' and accused the media of trying to undermine the Trump administration.  When asked about the anonymous editorial, President Trump called it 'gutless.
  • Independent voters in Georgia who want to take part in the state's biggest races will have to pick a party for the May 22 primary.
  • Bill  Caiaccio

    Anchor/Reporter

    Bill Caiaccio has been working for WSB since 2014. 

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News

  • A Florida man is facing child sex abuse charges after officials said he paid over $800 on an Uber to bring a teenage girl to Apopka. >> Read more trending news Police said 25-year-old Richard Brown raped the 17-year-old girl in his parents' home over the course of several days. The two met over Instagram after he told the victim that he was a 19-year-old Instagram celebrity and that he would 'take care of her.' The victim told Apopka police that Brown paid for an Uber to drive her from San Antonio, Texas, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Louisiana, she got into another Uber that dropped her off in Apopka on Sunday. Brown would later show police receipts showing the second part of the trip that amounted to over $800. According to arrest documents, Brown told police he was 'only friends' with the victim and thought that she was of age and 'in need of a place to stay.' One neighbor couldn't believe the accusations. 'You might never know about it and now the cops are here,' said Amanda Trail. 'That's crazy for the parents.' The victim said once she realized Brown wasn't 19 or 'Instagram famous' that she wanted to go home. Brown then allegedly told her, 'no you owe me now for bringing you all the way here.' She later told officials that she escaped on Wednesday when Brown fell asleep and while she was on Snapchat with her mother. Police would locate her near Ustler and Wekiwa Preserve Drive, but said she wasn't able to point out which home belonged to the victim or what his name was on social media.  Brown's attorney took issue with the story, citing 'several inconsistencies.' Brown faces six felony counts of child sex abuse. 
  • A jury has acquitted Michael Rosfeld Friday night in the trial of the white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen fleeing a high-stakes traffic stop outside Pittsburgh. >> WPXI LIVE UPDATES: Michael Rosfeld Trial Rosfeld was charged with homicide for shooting Antwon Rose Jr. during a traffic stop last June. Rose was riding in an unlicensed taxi that had been involved in a drive-by shooting when Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot the 17-year-old in the back, arm and side of the face as he ran away. The panel of seven men and five women — including three black jurors — saw video of the fatal confrontation, which showed Rose falling to the ground after being hit. The acquittal came after fewer than four hours of deliberations on the fourth day of the trial. The Rose family’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, had urged a murder conviction, saying before closing arguments that it’s “pretty obvious” Rose was not a threat to Rosfeld. Rose’s death — one of many high-profile killings of black men and teens by white police officers in recent years — spurred protests in the Pittsburgh area last year, including a late-night march that shut down a major highway. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A photo taken of a mother and daughter on the flight deck of an Atlanta-bound Delta Boeing 757 has gone viral. >> Read more trending news The duo, Capt. Wendy Rexon and First Officer Kelly Rexon, can be seen smiling ear-to-ear at the helm of the duel-engine Boeing 757, which seats around 170 passengers. The photo was taken by Dr. John R. Watret, the chancellor of Embry-Riddle Worldwide, a world-renowned aeronautical university, who just happened to overhear that there was a mother-daughter flight crew. According to a release from the university, Watret, who was a passenger on the flight, overheard a mother and kids coming from the cockpit talking about the “mother and daughter” flying the passenger airliner. “I thought that was amazing. I was in awe. I asked if I could visit them, too,” he said in the press release.   This was especially meaningful for Watret because of Embry-Riddle’s commitment to creating more opportunities for women in all areas of the aviation industry. “There has to be more diversification in the industry. It’s crucial and one of the key factors we focus on. When there are more opportunities, everyone wins,” Watret said in the release. Delta airlines official twitter account also replied to his tweet: Kelly Rexon’s sister is also a pilot, according to the release from Embry-Riddle.
  • Tulsa firefighters have returned a cat to its owner after it hitched a ride in a car for about 100 miles. Officials said they were called to rescue a cat but quickly learned it wasn't 'your typical cat stuck in a tree call.' They believe the cat jumped into the car's undercarriage in Mustang, Oklahoma, and likely rode along near the engine. The driver said he heard a noise that he thought was his child's video game, but it turned out to be the meowing cat. >> Read more trending news Firefighters made calls to the Mustang area to see if anyone had reported a lost cat and eventually found the family. They drove up to Tulsa on Friday to collect the cat, whose name is Snickers. KOKI-TV was at the fire station Friday for the reunion.
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a letter on Friday that the city council’s attempt to have her administration investigated for potentially misusing city funds to hire her campaign staff was itself unlawful. Bottoms specifically pointed to a sentence in a resolution that the council approved on Monday that authorized the ethics officer and auditor to hire an outside law firm to assist with an investigation. “A grant of authority to hire legal counsel, such as is contained in the Resolution, violates the City of Atlanta Charter,” Bottoms wrote. “The Charter designates the City Attorney as the chief legal advisor of the city.” The letter represents an escalation of a power struggle over the mayor and city council’s respective roles to help restore public trust amid an ongoing federal probe into corruption at city hall. The resolution requesting the investigation came in response to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article published last weekend. The article found that six Bottoms campaign staff members were issued payments for a pay period in December 2017, before the city had formally offered them jobs. That article reported that political supporters of the mayor were given job titles based on desired salaries, not their job qualifications or responsibilities. And it found that Bottoms’ former campaign manager Marva Lewis was briefly made an Airport Deputy General Manager and received payments out of airport funds, in possible violation of FAA regulations. The council resolution approved on Monday requested that the auditor and ethics office to determine if the manner in which campaign staff were hired violated city code, state law, the state constitution or Federal Aviation Administration regulations. City Auditor Amanda Noble confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday that she and the ethics office had initiated an investigation. Noble declined to address the contents of Bottoms’ letter. Council President Felicia Moore said resolution was not a binding order, but an expression of the council’s will to see the matter reviewed by the city’s oversight officers. She said the auditor and ethics officer are independent and have the discretion to investigate matters of their choosing. “The law department may have to assist in their getting outside counsel,” Moore said. “The reality is that neither the ethics officer nor the auditor need the council’s resolution to conduct a review.” Moore said one could read the resolution’s call for the ability to hire outside counsel as an implied request for the city’s law department to cooperate with the investigation. The law department, at least in theory, reports to both the mayor and the council. Bottoms has until early next week to decide if she will sign the proposal or veto it. If she doesn’t act eight days after it was passed, the resolution is automatically adopted. The mayor’s letter, which mentions a possible veto, was itself a veiled threat that she may take such action against a resolution that she claims violates the city’s charter. The letter itself seemed to be a preemptive attempt to call into question an investigation, which she claims grew out of a resolution that violates the city’s charter, would be allowed to move forward. Bottoms said that because of the resolution the auditors and ethics officer’s findings “would be rendered useless due to their unlawful origin.” Moore sees no reason why an investigation shouldn’t move forward. “As far as them doing their review and having the access to all city records, there should be no reason why that would change,” Moore said. “They already have the authority.”
  • Here is the letter Barr sent to leaders in Congress after he received the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian Collusion during the 2016 presidential election. Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins: I write to notify you pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3) that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters. In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with “a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General” or acting Attorney General “concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation. The Special Counsel has submitted to me today a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he has reached, as required by 28 C.F.R. 600.8(c). I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. Separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the Special Counsel regulations, and the Department’s long-standing practices and policies. I remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review. Finally, the Special Counsel regulations provide that “the Attorney General may determine that public release of” this notification “would be in the public interest.” 28 C.F.R. 600.9(c) I have so determined, and I will disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you. Sincerely, William P. Barr Attorney General