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Latest from Sandra Parrish

    Have you gotten your driver’s license renewed lately? If so, you’ve likely noticed some changes. The Georgia Department of Driver Services is rolling out the new licenses in parts of the state including its location in Canton which was part of the pilot project. “It’s a polycarbonate card and it’s one of the most secure cards we’ve ever had here in Georgia,” says Shevanda Leslie, director of Governmental Affairs and Communications. The new card is green with a larger peach, has laser-printed engraving which can be felt by running your finger across it, and includes a hologram in the lower right corner. The license holder’s picture has also changed. “The picture is now black and white instead of color. It’s just a more secure feature and it’s harder for criminals to try and duplicate,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. When drivers go in to get their license for the first time or get it renewed, they will now receive a full sheet of paper containing their information and picture. Their new license will then be sent in the mail. Terry Holzclaw, of Canton, didn’t know about the new license until he went to get his renewed. But he likes the copy of a new one he was shown. “It looks more difficult (to duplicate)—so many different features to it that are not on the other one,” he says.  Leslie says various DDS locations began rolling out the new license last month and all should have them by next month. But there’s no need to run out and get a new one just yet. “What they have in their wallet right now is sufficient. Your license is good until it expires,” she says.
  • In a bizarre preliminary hearing, the case against a man charged with scamming a woman out of more than $80,000 in Gwinnett County is bound over to Superior court. John Martin Hill took the stand during his preliminary hearing Tuesday which is usually a time just to hear the evidence in the case from investigators.  The 34-year-old is accused of meeting victim Lisa Goodgames on an online dating site and then meeting for the first time in person later that night. He reportedly told her he was a millionaire.  The next day, Gwinnett County Police Detective Shaun Regains testified the couple met at a bank where she he wrote him a check for $75,000 to put a down payment on a house for the two to move in together. “When I looked at his account… before that he had no more than $9 in his account,” says Regains. He says the victim also took out an additional $8,500 in cash and gave to him to furnish the home. Regains says the money was used to buy expensive clothes and meals and to purchase a BMW. On the stand, Hill denied he swindled the money saying the woman gave it to him for the purchase his business which distributes press releases. “She made a certified bank check out to my name and then I incorporated the business paperwork to basically transfer that over to her in the state of Delaware,” he testified. Hill says Goodgames took out the additional money for pocket change for herself. Regains testified a similar fraud case is pending involving another woman in the city of Milton and he has had several arrests throughout the northeast involving fraud. The prosecution pointed that Hill has changed his name five times over the years including Gregory Davis Dutton, Gregory William Davis, George Jesse Junior Hill, and Maverick Bryson McCray. The judge found enough evidence to send the case to Superior Court. His attorney says he will request bond at a later time.
  • One of the biggest tourist towns in North Georgia becomes the latest to pass restrictions on short term rentals like those through Airbnb and VRBO.  The council vote 4-1 last week to ban short term rentals inside the city limits except those within the Central Business District and those with a commercial zoning. Rentals in unincorporated Fannin County are not affected.  “We’ve had concerns and we’ve had a few folks that wonder about why there’s so much traffic in and out of some of the homes. That’s how we’ve actually discovered there’s some nightly rentals in those places,” Mayor Donna Whitener tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  Current rentals that have been paying sales tax to the city for 12 consecutive months would be grandfathered in and other homes could go before the city to seek a variance to allow it.  >>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL REPORT BELOW. Homeowners like Richard Arnold complain it takes away the rights of property owners. He manages several Airbnb rentals and worries about the affect it will have on those owners’ ability to sell in the future.  “They can continue to rent their property because they’re grandfathered in because they’ve paid their city lodging taxes. But it affects their ability to be able to sell their property to someone who wants to do the same thing,” he says.  Pam O’Dell who runs the Short Term Rental Owners Association of Georgia expects it to having chilling effect on investors and tourism. She believes investors will no longer want to buy and renovate homes in the downtown area to use as rentals.  “A lot of people love downtown Blue Ridge. It is a pretty place and many people in the downtown area have worked long and hard to make it that way. That’s what attracts people. And if you have no place to stay, that’s an issue,” she says.  Whitener has until the end of this week to sign the ordinance or veto parts of it, which she says it likely.  “We’re not trying to cause anyone a hardship, but we also want to protect our residents. We do have residents with major concerns. They want to know who their neighbors are,” she says.
  •  A favorite eatery in downtown Canton is up for sale after nearly 50 years of making everybody’s favorite sandwich.  Mike DeLuca and his sister Donna operate R & M Hoagie Shop which their parents opened on the square in 1972. DeLuca says it’s time for a change and for somebody new to run it. “We just work all the time, and that’s just part of owning your own business. What we do is part of a young man’s sport. I want to travel for a while and see the world and not worry about having to be at work every day,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. DeLuca has seen generations of families patronize the shop over the years, many he grew up with including Michael Holland. “A lot of people come into town just for this,” says Holland.  But for many its more than just an eatery. Bill Proud says it’s about small-town life. “It’s an institution. It makes the downtown area and I think it just helps to promote the small-time atmosphere that this town has. It will be a big plus if the new owners keep the character of this restaurant,” he says. DeLuca says nothing is final yet and the shop will continue to run the way it has the last 47 years for now. “We want to continue it on. I’ve talked to some good people and that’s the whole game plan—just keep everything going the way it’s always been,” he says.
  • The new law allows him to hire consultants to customize waivers from the federal government aimed at expanding Medicaid to those making around $12,000 a year and to help lower premiums for those with existing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. “Georgians know that one-size-fits-all healthcare doesn’t fit at all. Through the Patients First Act, we will address Georgia problems with innovative Georgia solutions,” he says. Kemp budgeted a $1 million for the consulting process and expects to begin quickly. The bills passed both the House and Senate mostly along party lines with Democrats calling for a full expansion of Medicaid instead.
  • A bill to bring new voting machines to Georgia is headed to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.The State House gave final passage to the measure Thursday calling for new touch-screen voting machines with a paper ballot that would then be scanned to record the vote. The bill passed along party lines 101-69 with Democrats voting against it.
  • In an impassioned and sometimes emotional speech, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston took to the well of the House Monday morning to address his fellow lawmakers over accusations that he’s abused a law that allows attorneys in the Legislature to delay court cases.A resolution was filed by Buford Republican Rep. David Clark last week, with ten others signing on, calling for Ralston’s resignation after an investigation by WSB TV and the AJC found more than 50 cases over the past two years have been delayed for clients he represents.
  • Nearly a dozen State House members sign onto the resolution calling for Speaker David Ralston to step down.  Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) filed the measure accusing Ralston, a Blue Ridge attorney, of abusing his power by delaying more than 50 cases of his clients citing legislative privilege. Clark became especially upset when one of those cases involved a man accused of raping a teenager six years ago. “I can’t stay silent when something is being done wrong and especially when there are victims who are being hurt by our Speaker who’s abused his power,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. Ralston maintains he’s done nothing wrong saying some of those cases are in the final stages of being handled and others are out of his control due to court schedules and witnesses. He is pleased with the outpouring of support he’s received former Governors Roy Barnes and Nathan Deal, both attorneys, and current Gov. Brian Kemp. “Many, many House members have reached out. And so, I think as people take a look at it and kind of sort through the fact from fiction, they kind of see what’s there. But if people want to drop a resolution, it’s certainly a free country to do that,” says Ralston. All the nearly one dozen lawmakers who signed onto the resolution are Republicans. One Democrat told Parrish his party has no plans to get involved. Ralston says he will not step down. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and it’s not about me, it’s about getting the work done for the people of Georgia,” he says.
  • A bill to increase the penalties against hit-and-run drivers who cause serious bodily injury or death sails through the Georgia Senate. The bill is named for 23-year-old Charlie Jones, or C.J. as his family called him, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in northeast Cobb County ten years ago. After the driver fled, he was subsequently run over by other vehicles that did stop. His cousin, Marcus Coleman, believes had the first driver stopped, Jones might still be alive.  He and his family have been fighting for justice ever since. “Our tenacity led us to find out the loopholes and the inconsistencies in the hit-and-run legislation which I understand hasn’t been updated since 1999,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. After C.J.’s Law failed to pass last year, the family worked with Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) to sponsor the bill this legislative session. “It is totally unacceptable to cause a serious accident, harm somebody and flee and keep going. You have a duty to stop and render aid when you cause an accident that causes serious harm,” she says. Her bill increases the current penalty of one to five years in prison to one to ten years. The driver who hit Jones has never been found. His family has returned to the scene every year on the anniversary of the accident in hopes the person will come forward. “This is not a vengeful type of push for legislation, because again we don’t feel like it would help us. But we feel like it balances the laws as drivers are becoming more and more distracted in today’s era,” says Coleman. He will continue to fight for the new law as the bill now heads to the House.
  • The first bill Governor Brian Kemp signs into law corrects a problem created last year when it comes to when a vehicle must stop for a school bus.  Senate Bill 25 requires all vehicles to stop unless there is a grassy median or physical divider. It corrects a bill passed in the final minutes of last year’s session that inadvertently changed the law allowing oncoming cars to pass on roads with a center turn lane.  “This was a team effort from the General Assembly, law enforcement, educators and concerned citizens to do the right thing and help save kids’ lives,” Gov. Kemp says.  Col. Mark McDonough, head of the GSP, tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish that last year’s change in the final minutes of the legislative session led to confusion for drivers.  “It takes that confusion away. We’re falling back to the way it was—the way it should be,” he says.  The bill took affect the moment it was signed into law.
  • 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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  • A man said his pain medication and a broken back door are what led to his 2-year-old son wandering onto a busy Florida highway. Jacob Krueger, 25, and the child's mother, 28-year-old Yajaira Tirado were both arrested on neglect charges after their son was found on the highway around 10:30 a.m. Monday with a dirty diaper and bug bites covering his arms.  'I'm sorry,' Krueger said after walking out of jail Tuesday. 'I didn't mean for it to come down to this.' Krueger explained that he and Tirado are on medications for conditions that he said kept them asleep during the ordeal. He also blamed a broken door at the home they rent as why his son was able to escape. >>Read: Toddler wearing dirty diaper, covered in bug bites found crossing highway, police say; 2 arrested When asked why there wasn't any attempt to fix the door to prevent an incident like this, Krueger said, 'There's no way. Doesn't matter if I tried doing something to it.' Krueger went on to deny a responding deputy's claim that his home was littered with broken bottles and smelled like feces. >> Read more trending news  'I love my child. I want the best for them (and) don't ever want to hurt them,' Krueger explained.  Officials said they had been to the home in 2018 for another case of child neglect in which Tirado was arrested after a 1-year-old and 2-year-old were left at the home alone, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.  Deputies said the toddler found crossing the highway was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Tirado remains in the Volusia County Jail.
  • The Democratic presidential primary debates begin Wednesday with 10 candidates going head-to-head in Miami as the 2020 presidential election season gets underway. >>Read more trending news Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and seven others will likely face questions on border security, health care and climate change on the first night of the two-night event. >>Jamie Dupree: Warren leads Democrats into first night of 2020 debates Here’s what to know about and how to watch Wednesday’s Democratic debate.  When and where is the debate being held? The debate will be broken up into two nights with 10 candidates on the stage to debate each night. The debates will take place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Who will be on the stage on Wednesday? Here is the lineup for Wednesday’s debate: Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey  Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts  Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas  Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii  Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota  Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington  Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio  Where will they stand onstage? The candidates will stand from left to right in this order – de Blasio, Ryan, Castro, Booker, Warren, O’Rourke, Klobuchar, Gabbard, Inslee, Delaney.  Who will be asking the questions at the debate? Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debate. Holt, Guthrie and Diaz-Balart will moderate the first hour, with Holt, Todd and Maddow asking questions in the second hour. How can I watch the debate? NBC is sponsoring the debate, but it will be shown on all three major networks and on cable news channels. It will stream online free (without requiring an account with a television provider) at NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, and Telemundo's digital platforms. What time wil it be on? The debate will air from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday. Where can I watch the livestream? Here is the livestream link of the debate from YouTube Live coverage: Come back here beginning at 7 p.m. for live coverage of the first night of the debate. 
  • Police arrested a woman who allegedly tried to kidnap a couple’s children in the atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Saturday morning. Police said Esther Daniels, 26, tried to grab a stroller with a child in it before being fended off by the child’s mother. She then picked up one of the couple’s other children and walked away, but the father took the child back from her, Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said in an emailed statement. >> Read more trending news  An officer responded a few minutes later and found Daniels in a frenzied mental state, Chafee said. She then allegedly ran toward a nearby family and had to be restrained by the officer, Chafee said.  Daniels, who lives in Kansas, eventually calmed down and was escorted to the police precinct in a wheelchair, the statement said. She was checked out at Grady Memorial Hospital before being taken to the Clayton County Jail. Daniels was charged with kidnapping and obstructing an officer. Her bond has not been set.
  • A Virginia man and woman are facing homicide charges after their 2-month-old daughter died from cocaine and heroin intoxication last year, authorities said. According to WDBJ-TV, police on Tuesday arrested Eugene Chandler Jr., 27, and Shaleigh Brumfield, 26, of Danville, on felony homicide charges in the baby's November 2018 death. Officials also charged the pair with child abuse and neglect, the news station reported. >> Read more trending news On Nov. 24, Danville police and emergency crews responded to a report of an infant who couldn't breathe, according to court documents. The child, identified as Marleigh Rain Chandler, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the Danville Register & Bee reported. While searching the family's home, investigators discovered evidence of drug use, including marijuana and drug paraphernalia, WSET reported. The Western District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy, which revealed that Marleigh died from 'acute heroin and cocaine intoxication in a setting of co-sleeping,' officials said. Chandler and Brumfield were booked into the Danville City Jail, where they are being held without bond.
  • When the first Democratic presidential primary debate kicks off Wednesday night, Kirkland Dent will be watching. Dent, 28, a medical librarian at Mercer University in Macon, has been trying to keep up with the sprawling Democratic field aiming to unseat President Donald Trump — “I can probably name 80% of them,” he said. But he is looking forward to seeing them in action. “I’m curious about what their goals are, what issues they want to tackle.” So are Judy Hauser, Michael Murphy-McCarthy and John Chastain. They are among about a dozen Democratic and independent voters in Georgia who have agreed to take part in an informal focus group organized by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to discuss the 2020 Democratic primary race. The AJC checked in with them for the first time ahead of the debates Wednesday and Thursday in Miami, the first opportunity many voters will get to see the candidates answer questions for a national audience. THE LATEST | Georgia Presidential candidate visit tracker MORE | Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasize Georgia’s big role in 2020 For the most part, the Georgia voters said they have been paying some attention to the race but want to know more. That’s true of Democratic voters nationally, too. According to a poll released this week by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, only 35% of Democrats who are registered to vote say they’re paying close attention to the campaign. The size of the field doesn’t help, and most of the Georgia voters who talked to the AJC said they are eager for it to thin out a bit. The debates, which will feature 10 candidates on stage each night, won’t give the contenders a lot of time to make their case. “It’s going to be really, really hard to stand out in that big a crowd,” said Murphy-McCarthy, who lives in Peachtree Corners and works in IT. “It will be easier to fall down than to stand out.” Dent said a number of candidates have stood out for him so far: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. But he’s open to being surprised by lesser-known candidates. “It’s important for our generation to start paying attention a lot more,” he said. RELATED | Biden reverses stance on Hyde abortion amendment at Atlanta event MORE | Georgia’s ‘heartbeat’ law targeted by Democratic presidential hopefuls Chastain, 73, lives in largely Republican Cherokee County. “If I say I am a Democrat, it’s like I have the plague,” he joked. He said he’s very interested in the Democratic primary race and wants to hear candidates get specific at the debates. “I’m looking for some action plans,” he said, “I want to know what they are going to do, not just getting Trump out.” He’s retired and said health care is a top issue. Hauser, a registered nurse from Buckhead, wants a candidate who can win. “We need someone who is going to be able to take on Trump and his mouth,” she said. She said she likes Biden but is also interested in Buttigieg and Harris. Biden, she said, “has very good core values. Yes, he’s made some mistakes, but who hasn’t?” His age doesn’t bother her. “I see him as a one-term president that will bring this country back on even keel,” she said. Murphy-McCarthy, 51, said he’s been impressed by Warren but says he’s open to the others. “I’m OK with somebody coming out of nowhere,” he said. DEEPER COVERAGE | Which Democratic candidates have raised the most in Georgia PHOTOS | Top Democratic presidential contenders campaign in Atlanta Howard Giambrone of Coweta County is an independent who has mostly voted for Republicans in the past, but he is considering a Democrat in 2020. It won’t be Bernie Sanders or Warren, who he says are too liberal. He said he is looking for a candidate who is fiscally responsible, supportive of the military and has what he considers a moderate view on immigration. Giambrone’s wife is from Colombia and he doesn’t like Trump’s immigration policies. “I want to strengthen the border but make coming here (legally) less difficult,” he said. So far he thinks Biden and Cory Booker are possibilities. What can the candidates say to win him over? “I want to hear fresh ideas and get away from trashing Trump,” he said. William Black, 38, is a housekeeper in Jones County. He said his top issues are race relations and global warming, and his favorite candidates so far are Sanders and Biden. He isn’t too worried about the size of the field. “They will weed themselves out,” he said. He’s happy to see the enthusiasm. “It’s good for the Democratic Party that there’s that level of interest of people who want to change the country.” How to follow Democratic presidential debates NBC will host the first Democratic presidential debates Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 9 and concluding at 11 each night. Each night will feature 10 candidates. The debates will be broadcast by NBC News and also appear on MSNBC and Telemundo. Telemundo will broadcast the debate in Spanish. They also will stream online free on NBC News’ digital platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms. NBC News will also stream the debates live and in full on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • A 58-year-old man is behind bars after police said he raped a child nightly over a three-year period. According to the Jackson Sun, William Paul Godwin of Parsons, Tennessee, was arrested Sunday and charged with 12 counts of child rape, as well as one count of continuous child rape, authorities said. >> Read more news stories Godwin is accused of forcing the girl into sexual intercourse nightly beginning in fall 2012, when she was 5, the Sun reported. The victim said the rapes continued until summer 2015, according to court documents. Godwin was jailed on $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court July 8, WBBJ reported. Read more here or here.