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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

    Anchor/Reporter

    Bill Caiaccio has been working for WSB since 2014. 

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News

  • It was supposed to be a fun ride on a roller coaster, but it ended with a fire department rescue. About a dozen children were stuck atop the roller coaster at Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Texas, KVII reported. They were at the park for an end-of-the-school-year party when the Mouse Trap got stuck mid-ride. >> Read more trending news  Park officials said they think the ride had an issue because of wind and temperatures at the park, but the 35-year-old ride worked as expected, and stopped when magnetism was indicated on the rails, KVII reported. The children were removed from the ride either via fire department cherry picker or by manually pushing the cars down the track, according to KVII.
  • Alabama Public Television is standing by its decision not to air an episode of the PBS Kids show “Arthur.” The first episode of the 22nd season, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” features the first gay wedding in the show’s history. In the episode, Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries a chocolatier named Patrick. >> Read more trending news  APT ran a repeat episode instead and said it does not plan to show the season premiere. “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” APT director of programming Mike McKenzie said in a statement to AL.com. “More importantly — although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards — parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for ‘Arthur’ also watch the program.” Related: 'Arthur' character Mr. Ratburn gets married, comes out as gay on PBS Kids show McKenie told NBC News the station would have taken away parents’ ability to choose what their children watch. “The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not,” he said. “Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.” APT was among many PBS member stations that didn’t air a 2005 episode of the “Arthur” spin off “Postcards From Buster.” In the episode, titled “Sugartime!” the character Buster visits Hinesburg, Vermont, to learn about the production of maple sugar. He meets children who live with their mother and stepmother. The couple are referred to as partners in the episode. WGBH, a member station that produces “Arthur” and “Postcards from Buster,” aired the episode and offered it to other stations, some of which chose to air it.
  • A mile-long, walnut-shaped asteroid with its own moon is set to pass Earth on Saturday, according to scientists. >> Read more trending news  The asteroid, known as 1999 KW4, will come within 3.2 million miles of Earth -- its second-closest approach in the past 20 years, WGRZ-TV reported. While this is considered close it’s still a safe distance from Earth. The asteroid is considered a binary system, meaning it consists of one large asteroid and a smaller moon orbiting it, CNet reported. The Las Cumbres Observatory describes its shape as “slightly squashed at the poles and with a mountain ridge around the equator, which runs all the way around the asteroid. This ridge gives the primary an appearance similar to a walnut or a spinning top.” The asteroid will best be observed Saturday from the Southern Hemisphere. However, stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere may be able to catch a glimpse of it Monday using an 8-inch-diameter telescope, EarthSky.org reported. The next time the asteroid will be visible from Earth will be in 2036, when it will be even closer. More information about viewing 1999 KW4 can be found here.
  • Nasty Nick, Evil Eddie, Junky Jeff and Kim Kong are making a comeback -- on your phone. >> Read more trending news  Those 1980s collectible cards misfits return as a mobile app in “Garbage Pail Kids: The Game,” creator Jago Studios announced in a joint news release with The Topps Company on Tuesday. “Garbage Pail Kids: The Game” is a card collecting and strategy role-playing mobile game available on the App Store. Jago Studios developed the game under license from Topps, which originated the sticker trading cards in 1985 as a parody of the popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. The sticker cards even led to a 1987 film, “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.”  Production of the cards stopped in 1988 after sales dwindled, but a new generation of Garbage Pail Kids stickers were introduced in 2003. “An entire generation grew up with the outrageous and satirical character art of the Garbage Pail Kids, imagining what the cards would look like if they were to come to life,” Stuart Drexler, Jago Studios CEO, said in a news release. “We are excited to bring these ’80s icons to mobile and offer GPK fans entertaining new ways to interact with their favorite characters.” The mobile game incorporates fully animated versions of the 1980s cards and beyond to battle against other Garbage Pail Kids, Jago said in its release. “When GPK was originally launched back in the day, mobile games or mobile phones did not exist,” Ira Friedman, vice president of global licensing at Topps, said in a news release. “Thanks to the giant leaps in technology since those early times, our fans can now experience the fun, the thrills, and the visual audaciousness of the Garbage Pail Kids property through their phones— whenever they want.” 
  • A newborn hospitalized in grave condition after police said he was cut from his slain mother’s womb last month has opened his eyes for the first time, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Police said the boy’s mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was killed April 23 by a woman she met through a Facebook group geared toward young mothers. Authorities said Clarisa Figueroa, 46, called 911 after cutting the baby from his mother’s body to falsely claim she’d given birth to a child who was not breathing. Tests later confirmed the boy was not Figueroa’s. >> 3 charged in connection with slain pregnant woman found with baby cut from womb The child, who family members have named Yovanny Jardiel, remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition, according to WMAQ-TV. He is not expected to survive. Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who has been helping Ochoa-Lopez’s family, told CNN she was photographing the baby Sunday as his father, Yovany Lopez, held him at the hospital. 'We were just praying and praying, and he opened his eyes,” Garcia told CNN. “His dad said, ‘Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'' She shared images of Lopez and his son early Monday on Facebook. 'We've been blessed, although this is a really bad tragedy,” Garcia told CNN. “They're such a loving and humble family and it's just so wrong what happened to them.' Authorities said Figueroa plotted for months to get a newborn following the death by natural causes of her adult son, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors said she strangled Ochoa-Lopez with a coaxial cable while her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, showed the pregnant woman a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa’s late son. >> Woman faked pregnancy for months before killing mother-to-be, cutting baby from womb, reports say Authorities have charged both Figueroas with one count each of first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, was also arrested on one count of concealment of a homicide. Police said first responders found Yovanny Jardiel blue after Clarisa Figueroa reported he was not breathing on April 23, according to The Associated Press. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he was in grave condition. When Figueroa went to the hospital, doctors who examined her found 'no signs consistent with a woman who had just delivered a baby.' She also had blood on her arms, hands and face that authorities later determined was from Ochoa-Lopez, prosecutors said. It was not clear whether the hospital contacted police. In a statement issued Friday, Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn declined to comment, citing federal and state regulations. Oak Lawn police said they were not contacted about Figueroa by the medical center or any other agency, including the Chicago Police Department. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has asked the Department of Child and Family Services to determine whether hospital officials followed proper reporting procedures after Figueroa and the baby were brought to the hospital, WLS-TV reported. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The annual Barbacoa & Big Red Festival is a food festival in San Antonio, but organizers are happier when visitors leave their knives at home. >> Read more trending news  Along with stun guns and other weapons, KSAT reported. Officials said they collected more than 600 weapons Sunday during the event, according to the festival’s Facebook page. 'Safety for our patrons is our number one priority. We are very proud to say that not a single altercation or arrest occurred at our festival,' a spokesman for the festival wrote on its Facebook page. Vigilance by festival organizers resulted in no arrests, KENS reported. Event founder DJTONYC said the delays caused by searching bags for weapons were worth it. 'Fast forward to the end of the night, if you want to know how many arrests we had, how many altercations, how many intoxicated people that we had to arrest and kick out, the answer was zero. So I mean, to me, that's successful,' DJTONYC told Spectrum News.