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Latest from Sandra Parrish

    A late day deal is reached between Blue Cross Blue Shield and Piedmont Health.
  • Gov. Nathan Deal issues an ultimatum to Blue Cross Blue Shield and Piedmont Healthcare to reach an agreement by close of business Tuesday or he will take executive action.
  • A Gwinnett County Sheriff’s deputy is out of a job accused of conducting more than just business while on the clock. The department had already received complaints about Deputy Chase Peden using his patrol car for personal business. Then it received a typed letter signed only by “Michael” in late December that Peden had been meeting girlfriends for sex in his vehicle: “Deputy Peden uses his sheriff’s car, county-issued phone, uniform, and time on the clock to meet his girlfriend’s (sic)…. Even his part time security job at Eastside Station in Snellville, he uses his car and handcuffs. He brags how the woman (sic) like that.” Peden denied the allegations in a videotaped interview with supervisor Lt. Jeremy Brown. “I’m just going to ask to be clear, you’ve never had sex in your patrol car,” asks Brown. “No,” responds Peden. “You’ve never had sex when you’re on duty other than your wife,” asks Brown. “Ah, yes,” he answers. Peden also failed a polygraph test. “What was the thing with the question that made your fail,” asks Brown. “I told her the word ‘sex’ kind of made me, I mean when I’m just saying it now makes my body kind of react different,” Peden replies. His personnel records show investigators interviewed dozens of sheriff’s office employees and reviewed his cell phone records and tracking information from his patrol car before firing him. The former deputy is appealing his termination. He has a hearing before the Merit Board next week.
  • A north Georgia town is trying to come to the aid of its beloved drive-in movie theater after a disgruntled neighbor is threatening its business. The Blue Ridge City Council will take up an ordinance at its meeting tonight that would make it illegal to project light without a permit on city property including a drive-in movie screen. The city owns the land the 63-year-old Swan Drive-In sits on. It has been leased to owners Steve and Kathleen Setser for nearly 30 years. But spot lights from the home owned by Patrick Crain, which backs up to the theater property, began shining on the movie screen late last summer making it difficult to see. “Some movies it’s much more noticeable. If it has a lot of dark scenes in it, then it will look like trees on the screen,” Kathleen Setser tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. She says a dispute between Crain and her husband prompted their neighbor to make it difficult for customers to enjoy the movie. “The Crains actually both worked for us in the past. So, he got mad one night and threw his keys down and left and hasn’t spoken to us since,” she says. Crain tells Parrish he knew when he built his home 17 years ago, it would be located behind a drive-in theater. He says he never had any problems until the Setsers removed a chain-link fence that once separated the two properties several years ago. He denies focusing the spot light on the screen, but says he turns it on to protect his property since the fence is no longer there to keep moviegoers from walking over to his land.  Crain also says the vegetation that had grown over the fence throughout the years used to reduce the noise level. Now that it’s gone, he says you can hear sounds projected from the movie inside his home. Despite numerous visits by the local police over the last several months, the lights have continued including this past Sunday night.  The Setsers are now installing a 20-foot-high blackout screen between the two properties, attempting to keep the light out. “It is expensive and if he goes around that, I don’t know what the next step is,” she says. That’s where the ordinance, if passed by the city council, is expected to help. The first offense would prompt a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses would include a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Crain tells Parrish it could all be resolved if the Setsers would simply put the fence back up. In the meantime, the community has turned out in droves to support the theater.  “It’s actually made us want to come here more to show that we still care about the Swan and we’re going to continue to love it no matter how mean somebody wants to be,” says Kayla Henry.
  • “We’re continuing to see projects of all types and of all sizes that are going to many diverse parts of the state of Georgia and that’s a good thing for our state,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
  • The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), says changes have been made to the bill to allow for drivers to use GPS and dial a number. Voice-to-text would also be allowed but drivers would not be able to type a text or use the internet.
  • The House last week went along with the Senate’s request to allow parents to give temporary custody to others without going through the Division of Family and Children Services. Instead, the guardian would register with the local probate court.
  • Lawrenceville Police are on the lookout for ATM skimmer thieves believed responsible for stealing $85,000 from unsuspecting customers. Det. Kevin Dyals tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish the same two men have hit two ATMs in Gwinnet, one in DeKalb and one in Cobb--all branches of the same credit union. “They’re going to the credit union or bank and installing a Bluetooth-capable credit card skimmer directly on the ATM machine which that device then captures the card numbers of customers who use the machine,” he says. Dyals says the same suspects and same vehicle have been captured on surveillance video at all four locations. The car is described as a white Ford Fusion with rear end damage that makes the trunk appear to be slightly open and a dealer drive out tag. A woman has appeared at two of the locations in surveillance footage. “Typically, in these cases, the suspects are sitting by somewhere locally within Bluetooth range. And as soon as the customer’s card is inputted into the machine, the information is transmitted to them,” he says. Dyals says the first incident was reported in November with the latest just last week. All the customers affected so far have been contacted by the bank.
  • “There were certainly concerns in the Senate that you could create an opportunity where you literally could be selling babies for adoption and making it for financial gain. Obviously, that has been taken out and severely restricted in the Senate version,”
  • Update: The State Senate will meet on the adoption bill this afternoon where it is expected to pass its own version of the measure. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle tells WSB's Sandra Parrish it will be a 'clean' version of the bill that focuses only on child welfare. It is expected that the controversial religious liberty language will not be included and may be filed as separate legislation. Cagle says it will move forward at a fast pace and could be voted on by the full Senate next week. Original story: Another fight is brewing between the Georgia House and Senate over modernizing the state’s adoption laws. House members including Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) again blasted the Senate on Tuesday for stalling last year’s adoption bill by adding what some consider religious liberty language to the measure. “How can one claim to be a champion of life and kill adoption in Georgia,” he told his fellow House members. He was joined by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), who says years of work were spent crafting the bill with the help of judges, adoption experts, and adoption agencies. “Georgia families were denied an opportunity for Georgia to modernize its adoption code and to become competitive with the other states,” she says. But Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), who authored the amendment last year, says there are other underlying problems with the bill beside his desire to see protections for agencies that don’t want to adopt to certain couples. He says the House version would have commercialized adoption, raising the price for everyone to adopt. He is also concerned it would waive the 10-day period that mothers currently have to change their minds. “We appreciate the fact that the House of Representatives worked on this bill for two years; however, the Senate had not been included in that process,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. Ligon complains, unlike other important pieces of legislation, it wasn’t brought to the Senate until after Crossover Day last year--meaning only ten days were left to debate it. “Being a comprehensive bill, we really didn’t have enough time to adequately look at the bill and become comfortable with it,” he says. Ligon says the Senate did meet on the bill over the summer and is currently working on a substitute that may or may not include his amendment.  He may also file a separate bill with the language of the amendment which he does not consider part of the “religious liberty” fight. He says it would apply to any agency forced to go against its mission statement in the adoption process.
  • Sandra Parrish

    News Anchor Reporter

    Sandra Parrish has been a reporter for WSB Radio since 1995 and covers political, legislative, transportation, and educational news. She graduated from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism in 1989 and worked as an anchor/news director for WPLO in Lawrenceville, an anchor/assistant news director for WNGC in Athens and an anchor/reporter for WDUN in Gainesville before joining the WSB news team. Over the years, she has received over a dozen Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for "Best Use of Sound", "Best Series", and "Best Sports Reporting". She's also received numerous awards from the Associated Press, Georgia Association of Broadcasters, Society of Professional Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists. Sandra is a former member of the board of the Georgia Associated Press Broadcast Association. She is married with two daughters.

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News

  • Authorities have declined to press criminal charges against anyone in the 2016 overdose death of musical icon Prince, saying Thursday that investigators were unable to determine where the artist got the fentanyl that killed him. >> Read more trending news >> READ MORE: Charges could be announced in Prince opioid investigation two years after his death | Prince died of fentanyl overdose, autopsy report released | Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation | Photos: Prince through the years | MORE
  • Atlanta police are working to identify a woman found dead near Interstate 75/85 and Langford Parkway in southeast Atlanta. Channel 2 Action News there as police tried to figure out how the woman got there. We're talking to investigators as they try to figure out what happened for Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m. A family will receive some tough news today when the medical examiner finally identifies a woman found dead on the side of an interstate at 2am. I'll have the lates at Noon on Ch2 pic.twitter.com/JY3wgM4ZIi — Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) April 19, 2018 Atlanta police said officers responded to a report of a person down call just before 2 a.m. Thursday.  When officers got there, they met with two drivers who said they had seen someone having trouble walking in the road and pulled over to help them. They said the woman then collapsed. Police said Grady EMS arrived and said she was dead. TRENDING STORIES: Guilty or Not? Tex McIver jury deliberations continue Man charged with arson in stable fire that killed 24 horses 'Armed and dangerous man' on the loose after killing wife, sheriff says Her injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle, Atlanta police Capt. Andrew Senzer said. Police said they believe the woman is between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. Police on scene said they noticed that there are no apartments or homes nearby, so they said they do not know why she was in the road. “You have 75/85 that splits with Langford Parkway and that loops around, it’s a lot of twists and turns over here, very dark, but we don’t know why the pedestrian was on the roadway,” Senzer said. If the woman was hit by a car, police will then start searching for the hit-and-run driver.
  • Security plans are being overhauled at the downtown Atlanta library after police say a woman was sexually assaulted. Police say a woman who works as a contract security guard had scissors held to her throat while a man hiding in the building tried to make her perform oral sex on him late Sunday night after the library had closed. Authorities are still searching for the suspect after he got away. Hear from the Fulton County board chairman about the new plans to keep you safe, on Channel 2 Action News at 5.  TRENDING STORIES: Guilty or Not? Tex McIver jury deliberations continue Authorities find body of teacher missing for 3 years Student drop-offs could be delayed 60-90 minutes after DeKalb bus drivers call out
  • NASA's latest nail-biting drama was far from orbit as the Senate narrowly confirmed President Donald Trump's choice of a tea party congressman to run the space agency in an unprecedented party-line vote. In a 50-49 vote Thursday, Oklahoma Rep. James Bridenstine, a Navy Reserve pilot, was confirmed as NASA's 13th administrator, an agency that usually is kept away from partisanship. His three predecessors — two nominated by Republicans — were all approved unanimously. Before that, one NASA chief served under three presidents, two Republicans and a Democrat. The two days of voting were as tense as a launch countdown. A procedural vote Wednesday initially ended in a 49-49 tie — Vice President Mike Pence, who normally breaks a tie, was at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida — before Arizona Republican Jeff Flake switched from opposition to support, using his vote as leverage to address an unrelated issue. Thursday's vote included the drama of another delayed but approving vote by Flake, a last-minute no vote by Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth — who wheeled onto the floor with her 10-day-old baby in tow — and the possibility of a tie-breaker by Pence, who was back in town. NASA is a couple years away from launching a new giant rocket and crew capsule to replace the space shuttle fleet that was retired in 2011. 'I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the president's vision for American leadership in space,' Bridenstine said in a NASA release after the vote. Democrats opposing Bridenstine said his outspoken divisiveness, earlier rejection of mainstream climate change science and lack of space experience made him unqualified. Republicans praised him as a qualified war hero. 'His record of behavior in the Congress is as divisive as any in Washington, including his attacks on members of this body from his own party,' Florida Democrat Bill Nelson said. 'It's hard to see how that record will endear, and by extension NASA, him to Congress, and most importantly, endear him to the American people. ' Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, cited past Bridenstine comments that rejected mainstream climate science, invoking the movie 'Apollo 13.' 'Houston, we have a problem,' Markey said. 'NASA's science, NASA's mission and American leadership will be in jeopardy under Congressman Bridenstine's leadership.' During his confirmation hearing, Bridenstine said he acknowledges that global warming is real and man-made, but wouldn't say that it was mostly human-caused, as the overwhelming majority of scientists and scientific literature do. And Bridenstine told Nelson, 'I want to make sure that NASA remains, as you said, apolitical.' Texas Republican Ted Cruz praised the NASA nominee as 'a war hero.' 'NASA needs a strong leader and it will have that strong leader in Jim Bridenstine,' Cruz said. Sean O'Keefe, who was NASA chief under President George W. Bush and was confirmed unanimously, said the close vote 'is a consequence of an erosion of comity in the Congress, particularly in the Senate. Political fights will always break out, but now most policy choices are more likely to emerge based on the party with the majority than the power of the idea.' Alan Ladwig, a top NASA political appointee under Democrats, said this was a case of both party politics and a divisive nominee who doesn't accept science. __ Associated Press writers Mary Claire Jalonick and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. ___ Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears . His work can be found here .
  • Kirby Smart has called for fans to fill Sanford Stadium on Sunday for the annual G-day game.
  • The Justice Department has agreed to provide Congress with copies of several memos written by former FBI Director James Comey. That's according to a person familiar with the agreement. The person declined to be named because the documents had not yet been sent to Congress. The move comes as House Republicans threatened to subpoena the documents and criticized department officials. Comey revealed last year that he had written the memos after conversations with President Donald Trump, who later fired him. Justice officials had allowed some lawmakers to view the memos, but had never provided copies to Congress. Last week, three House chairmen demanded the memos by Monday. The Justice Department asked for more time, and the lawmakers agreed.