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Latest from Bill Caiaccio

    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.
  • Gas prices are on the rise across metro Atlanta, and could shoot up even more this week due to the conflict in Syria. Even though Syria is not an oil-producing country, AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend tells WSB, “Anytime there are issues in that Middle East region you're going to start seeing some type of effect at the pump.' He adds, 'Motorists should expect a 15-cent increase at the pump in the short term.'  Gas prices in Georgia already average about $2.63 per gallon and $2.67 in metro Atlanta. Townsend says, 'That's the highest since July of 2015.'  Prices at the pump have increased 6-cents in the past week, and are 35-cents more expensive than last year at this time.  Georgia now has the most expensive gas since last September, when prices were recovering from Hurricane Irma.  The highest prices in the state are in metro Atlanta, Brunswick and Savannah. The lowest prices are in Augusta and in Walker and Dade County, in northwest Georgia, where prices average $2.54. The predicted increase this week could be even more depending on how the crude oil market responds to the crisis in Syria. Crude prices jumped more than $5 last week, which was the largest weekly increase in over eight months.
  • Two people are heading to prison after stealing firearms from firefighters across metro Atlanta. WSB Radio reported on hundreds of break-ins that occurred from January to June of 2017. Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds has announced two Lawrenceville residents have been sent to state prison after admitting to the vehicle break-ins and thefts. Ayana Dayshina Forest, 22, and Elisha Howard Ross, 26, each entered guilty pleas to two counts of racketeering and 46 counts of entering auto for the crimes that occurred from January to June of 2017.  Cobb Police Det. R. McElwain and Smyrna Police Det. J. Lanzing worked with law enforcement agencies across 17 counties to connect the dots between the entering autos and track down the perpetrators.  The thieves worked at night, mostly targeting personal vehicles belonging to firefighters that were parked at fire stations. The evidence showed that Forest was the driver and would drop Ross off near a fire station, circling back to pick him up a few minutes later.  Ross usually used a tool to quickly break the window of a vehicle in order to search through glove compartments and other areas inside the vehicles. The two communicated by cell phone during the crimes.  The thieves hit 52 fire stations, one ambulance service, and the Smyrna headquarters of Glock Inc., as well as automobiles parked at 11 residences near a fire station in Acworth. The thieves broke into more than 200 vehicles throughout the metro Atlanta area over the course of six months. A total of 59 firearms were stolen out of the vehicles, and most of those were then sold on the street. Two of the stolen firearms were found in the suspects’ possession, and another firearm was recovered at the scene of a shooting in DeKalb County. The thieves also took cash, headphones, laptops, and other valuables from the vehicles. Reynolds says 'I’m very proud of the work done in this case by Detectives from Cobb PD and Smyrna PD. When these firefighters are out working to keep our community safe, the last thing they need to worry about is a thief breaking into their vehicles.' Ross entered a negotiated plea to all charges on January 23, and Cobb Superior Court Judge Kimberly Childs sentenced him on that day to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison and the balance on probation, and ordered him to pay $8,920 in restitution.  Forest entered her negotiated plea this week to all of the charges. J udge Childs sentenced her to 15 years, with seven years to serve in custody and the rest on probation. She was also ordered to pay $8,920 in restitution. The following fire stations were hit: Alpharetta Fire Stations 81 and 86 Bartow County Fire Station 13 Cartersville Fire Station 2 Clayton County Fire Stations 14, 8, 9 Cobb County Fire Stations 30, 6, 23, 28,  Coweta County Fire Stations 16, 12, 5, 8 Dawson County Fire Station 1 Douglas County Fire Station 7 Forsyth County Fire Stations 10, 3, 4, 7, 1 Gwinnett County Fire Stations 9, 21, 5, 31, 23, 15, 3 Griffin Fire Stations 2, 1 Henry County Fire Stations 12, 3, 9, 11, 6 Newnan Fire Stations 2, 1 Paulding County Fire Stations 9, 10 Peachtree City Fire Station 82 Rockdale County Fire Stations 6, 7 Roswell Fire Stations 6, 2 Smyrna Fire Stations 1, 5, 3, 4,  Social Circle Fire Department Spalding County Fire Station 1 Walton County Fire Station 2
  • The public should be careful of what they touch. As the opioid drug epidemic grows, Marietta police are warning of a possible hidden danger that could be lurking in public places such as restrooms, hotel rooms, even rental cars. Officer Chuck McPhilamy tells WSB, 'What happens to the average hotel worker that's at any hotel in the city cleaning a room that happened across some residue?'   Anyone who comes in contact with drug residue could be at risk.  McPhilamy says drugs laced with Fentanyl can be absorbed simply by touching it. He says 'That changes the game,' and 'changes our concern level.'  McPhilamy says, 'It can be inhaled through your nose or your mouth, it can be absorbed through your skin or your eyes.' A concern is the average person may have no idea what the drugs look like.  McPhilamy says, 'Fentanyl itself can come in so many different forms it's not like I can tell you just look for one substance.' There have been no reports of this happening in Georgia.  McPhilamy says he doesn't want to cause a panic, but he wants people to be aware. Even if a person is not a drug addict, they may come across people who use or sell these potentially dangerous drugs.  He says, 'I think we're talking about two different cultures intersecting.' If anyone sees something that looks suspicious, police say call 9-1-1, and if one should start feeling ill, get medical attention immediately.    
  • After going 0-for-four in special U.S. House elections, Democrats are left licking their wounds.   The latest in a string of stinging defeats was Republican Karen Handel's win over Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th district runoff.   WSB Political analyst Bill Crane says, 'The Republicans taking all four of the seats that were created by appointments to the Trump administration gives them some gloating points.'   Despite spending about $30 million on the 6th district election, Democrats still couldn't take the seat away from Republicans. Crane says, 'For all of those resources, it did not substantially move the needle.'   Ossoff got 48% of the vote in April's special election, and had about the same number in the runoff.   Several factors may have cost Ossoff the race, including the fact he does not live in the 6th district. Crane says, 'In a close election any number of things can be the paper cut that wounds.'   The loss in the 6th district race could be a bad sign for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but Crane says Republicans still must deliver on their promises.   As for the chances we'll see a Handel-Ossoff rematch next year, Crane says don't bet on it. He says Handel will be tough to beat 'unless the Republican Congress can't deliver on any of its agenda.
  • Welcome to the unofficial start of summer. Most metro Atlanta schools are letting out this week, and families are making plans for the long weekend.   Georgia is bracing for a busy Memorial Day weekend on the roads and in the water. AAA is predicting more than 34-million Americans will be traveling.   The Georgia State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources and Governor's Office of Highway Safety will be out in force over the holiday weekend, and they will be ready to write tickets or arrest anyone breaking safety laws. They will especially be looking for people who are too impaired to operate a vehicle or a boat.   Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough says, 'The Memorial Day weekend is always a heavily traveled holiday weekend, and historically one of the deadliest on our roadways.'  In 2016, the Georgia Department of Transportation says 12 people died in accidents Memorial Day weekend.  More than half of those people killed in traffic crashes in Georgia last year were not wearing a seat belt.   Many boats will also be on the water for the first time this year this weekend.   The Georgia Department of Natural Resources made 182 boating under the influence arrests in Georgia a year ago, and alcohol was cited as a factor in boating incidents that killed 19 people. Overall, the number of drowning's rose from 39 in 2015 to 44 in 2016.   Col. Eddie Henderson, director of DNR's Law Enforcement Division says, 'All summer, Game Wardens across the state will be enforcing boating laws on Georgia's waterways, just as troopers will be enforcing driving laws on the highways.'   The Summer '17 Safety Tour begins with a stop at Lake Lanier Islands. It will also make stops on Lake Hartwell, Lake Blackshear and West Point Lake.
  • With Georgia's Tom Price leaving Congress to become the nation's Health and Human Services Secretary, it leaves an opening in the state's 6th Congressional District. The non-partisan special election to replace Dr. Price will most likely be held in late spring. Some experts are predicting a crowded field in the race to represent the district stretching from north Dekalb and Fulton counties to east Cobb.  If one candidate doesn't receive more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff. State Senator Judson Hill has already announced his candidacy, but WSB Political Analyst Bill Crane is expecting many more to join him. Crane says the seat could stay in the family.  'One of the question marks that still remains out there is Congressman Price's wife (Betty Price), who's a State Representative representing Roswell.' If she decides to run, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handle could be a frontrunner.  Crane says, 'In addition to having held statewide office, she's run for governor and statewide office twice.' Despite the district’s heavy Republican lean, Crane says a surprising number of Democrats have already indicated they're going to run.  Still, Crane says, 'I can't really see it going Democratic, unless the Republican Party has so many candidates they sort of eat each other alive.' And then there's the so-called Trump-effect.  'It'll be interesting to see how many running Republicans for that seat run away from or towards Donald Trump.
  • The University of Georgia releases a statement on President Donald Trump's immigration order that limits nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States. UGA President Jere Morehead, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten and Associate Provost for International Education Noel Fallows have written a letter to all students, faculty and staff on how the policy may impact international travel and visa holders. It says 'As you know, the safety and well-being of the UGA community is our top priority, and it is important that we remain in close communication as new information and direction from the State Department becomes available in the coming days.' All international students, staff and faculty who might be traveling overseas in the near future are advised to consult with the UGA Office of International Education. Morehead says it appears no University of Georgia students or faculty were detained over the weekend because of the executive order.   UGA will continue to assess the impact on its students, staff and faculty, and will provide updated information and assistance.
  • Bill  Caiaccio

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    Bill Caiaccio has been working for WSB since 2014. 

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  • After Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston traded touchdown pass after touchdown pass, it came down to a few wacky flips near the goal line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly pulled off a miracle. But, in the end, the Atlanta Falcons finally got a much-needed victory to bounce their way. Ryan threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak, holding off Tampa Bay 34-29 Sunday in Winston's return as the Bucs' starter. The Falcons (2-4) scored on their first three possessions and held off a wild comeback by Tampa Bay (2-3), avoiding their first 1-5 start since 2007. The Bucs lost their third in a row. 'It was all hands on deck,' Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. Especially on the final play . Winston and the Bucs drove to the Atlanta 21 but were out of timeouts. With the Falcons dropping nearly everyone toward the end zone, expecting a pass, Winston took the snap and darted straight up the middle of the field. When he was about to be tackled at the 10, he pitched the ball toward receiver Adam Humphries, who was so intent on going for the winning score he couldn't hang on. The ball skipped to Mike Evans, who blindly flung it in the direction of DeSean Jackson along the sideline at the 5. Jackson might've had a chance to dive for the end zone, but he couldn't come up with another bouncing ball. It rolled harmlessly out of bounds to end the game. Jackson ripped off his helmet and kicked the pylon in disgust on his way to the locker room. 'The play is a play you run once,' tight end O.J. Howard said. 'It was a great call. We almost got it.' Winston, who was suspended for the first three games of the season and came off the bench in Week 4, threw for 395 yards and four TDs. His performance, though, was marred by a pair of interceptions, one a deep ball that was picked off at the Atlanta 1 and a deflected pass in the end zone that ricocheted high in the air and was grabbed by Brian Poole to deny a red-zone scoring chance. Ryan's three TD passes gave him 274 in his career, passing Joe Montana for 16th on the career list. 'Obviously it's very special any time your name is brought up with Joe's,' Ryan said. 'But I'm more excited about the win.' He also had a big scramble on third-and-9, powering for a 13-yard gain that set up his final scoring pass. Quinn made a gutsy call with just over a minute remaining, sending on Matt Bryant to attempt a 57-yard field goal with Atlanta clinging to a 31-29 lead. Bryant's kick just cleared the crossbar, extending the Falcons' lead. The 43-yard-old Bryant put everything into the kick and immediately grabbed his right hamstring before hobbling off the field. Quinn's decision forced the Bucs to go for a touchdown. 'I can't say enough about Matt Bryant and the kick he had,' Quinn gushed. 'He's definitely one of the most mentally tough players I've had a chance to coach.' JULIO'S DAY Julio Jones went another game without a touchdown catch. The Falcons didn't mind a bit. Jones had 10 receptions for 143 yards — his third 100-yard game of the season — and constantly drew attention away from his teammates. That allowed Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman to haul in scoring passes. Jones has gone 11 straight regular-season games without a TD since a Nov. 26, 2017, victory over Tampa Bay, when he had two scoring catches. BUC-KLING DOWN The beleaguered Tampa Bay defense, which is guided by former Falcons coach Mike Smith, was shredded in the first half for three touchdowns, a last-second field goal and 275 yards. It showed a bit of improvement after the break, actually forcing Atlanta to punt on three straight possessions. But, with the game on the line, the Bucs surrendered a 75-yard drive capped by Ryan's 6-yard TD pass to Coleman and a 36-yard possession that set up Bryant's long field goal. Tampa Bay came into the game allowing 34.75 points per game, more than any team in the league. INJURY REPORT Atlanta's receiving corps took a beating. Calvin Ridley, who was leading the Falcons with six touchdown catches, went out in the first half with an ankle injury and didn't return. Sanu was sidelined in the second half with a hip problem after hauling in a 35-yard touchdown pass. The loss of two receivers forced the Falcons to give more playing time to Justin Hardy, Marvin Hall and Russell Gage. Hardy had three catches and Gage came up with a big catch on Atlanta's touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Bucs lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who walked slowly off the field in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. Also, cornerback Ryan Smith was evaluated for a possible concussion. UP NEXT Buccaneers: Return home next Sunday to host the Cleveland Browns (2-3-1). Falcons: Host the struggling New York Giants (1-5) on Monday, Oct. 22, to close out a stretch of five home games in the first seven weeks of the season. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFLfootball and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • A small plane crashed while taking off at the Gwinnett County Airport on Sunday afternoon, officials said. The two occupants of the plane were able to exit safely before the plane caught fire at about 12:40 p.m., according to a statement from the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services. The occupants, an instructor and a student, were not seriously injured, the fire department said. One was evaluated and released by paramedics at the scene, and the other said they were not injured. READ MORE: 1 reported dead in plane crash in Paulding County The Cessna 172 “experienced a nose dive and hard landing” while taking off from Runway 7 at Briscoe Field, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The plane went up in flames, but crews put out the fire shortly after 1 p.m., officials said. The aircraft was deemed a total loss. The crash occurred just a day after another small plane crashed in Paulding County, killing the pilot. In other news:
  • One person in Mississippi is in custody after the Bolivar County sheriff said that a baby was stabbed, WTVA reported. The baby was then placed in an oven at the home and baked, the sheriff told WTVA. >> Read more trending news  The person, whose name and relationship to the baby has not been released, is in the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility, according to Sheriff Kelvin Williams. Williams said deputies found the baby, whose age has not been determined, after being called to the home Monday evening, WTVA reported. They are unsure though when the baby died. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the crime lab are investigating.
  • A Massachusetts school employee is under investigation by the Secret Service for allegedly threatening President Donald Trump on social media. >> Watch the news report here The employee, a Fitchburg Public Schools paraprofessional who works with special-needs students, has also been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation. Her husband, a principal at Fitchburg's Longsjo Middle School, spoke only to WFXT about his wife's alleged tweet, which was captured in screen shots and shared multiple times on social media. At first, the tweet caught the attention of the local police force and subsequently of federal agents. 'People have their preferences, but sometimes you should just keep your 2 cents to yourself, you know?' said Roger Valcourt, a parent. The tweet, posted Oct, 10 which read, 'No just kill Trump,' has been generating controversy around town. Parents were shocked to learn what happened, saying both the principal and his wife are star educators. After the tweet was reported to Ashburnham police, the Secret Service launched an investigation, telling WFXT that they are aware of the incident and investigate all threats made against the president. 'I don’t know what was going through her head, I guess, but it’s not a good thing to say you want to kill the president,' said Alex Clemente, a parent. Clemente, a veteran who fought in Iraq, says the tweet went too far. 'Even though you don’t like him, you can’t say that,' Clemente said. >> Read more trending news  The employee's husband told WFXT in an off-camera interview she meant no harm, saying, 'It was lapse in judgment, a mistake. It was a bad choice of words that were taken out of context. My wife is not a malicious person, and has an impeccable work record. She’s embarrassed by this situation.' While Craig Chalifoux spoke to WFXT on the record, his wife isn't being identified because she is not facing any charges. The superintendent told WFXT that the employee has been placed on paid administrative leave, saying, in a statement, this 'is being done to protect her interests as well as the interest of the district [and] it will allow the investigation to conclude and minimize any disruption and distraction and protects her safety and security.
  • A U.S. Customs and Border Protection beagle named Hardy detected a roasted pig’s head in checked luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. >> Read more trending news  Hardy, a six-year-old rescue beagle, alerted his handler to a bag belonging to a traveler from Ecuador. Inside was the pig’s head, which weighed nearly 2 pounds. The director of the Port of Atlanta for Customs and Border Protection, Carey Davis, issued a statement saying the seizure demonstrates “the tremendous expertise of our four-legged K-9 partners in protecting the United States.” >> Related: Beagle rescued from abuse now detects contraband at Hartsfield-Jackson The agency seized the pig’s head and destroyed it, saying pork and pork products from other continents are prohibited from entering the United States to prevent the introduction of diseases like classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease. Travelers are supposed to declare fruit, vegetable and food products to Customs and present them for inspection. Hardy, a member of the Customs and Border Protection “Beagle Brigade,” got his job in 2015 after training at the National Detectors Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. It’s not the first time a beagle has intercepted a pig at Hartsfield-Jackson. In 2016, a K9 beagle named Joey detected a whole roasted pig in the baggage of a traveler from Peru.
  • A man in Cleveland County, North Carolina, was seriously hurt after he was shot by his own booby trap. >> Read more trending news  Edwin Smith booby-trapped a back door with a shotgun and posted an abrasive warning sign for intruders. >> Related: Business booming for man who invented booby-trap to detour package thieves He opened the door at about 11:30 a.m. to feed squirrels. The trap was sprung and he was struck in the arm. He is recovering in a hospital.