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Traffic Team in the Community  Meet your WSB Traffic Team! Doug Turnbull, David Hubbard, Mike Shields, Jackie Lee, Vanessa Croft, Aaron, Zach Grizzle, Alex Williams, Floyd Hillman, Mike Boozer, Veronica Harrell, Steve Winslow, Ashley Frasca, Mark Arum, Smilin’ Mark McKay and January Keaton Call our traffic center with traffic incidents at 404-897-7358. But for now, we hope you are sheltering-in-place, staying home. You can also get through to us using the “Triple Team Traffic Alerts” app, free in your phone’s app store! The app provides real-time, traffic incidents recorded by WSB radio traffic reporters. Powered by Cool Ray Carrier. There are currently no public events being held. The traffic team supports many causes, including the annual Georgia Police Memorial Ride, and it’s quite the sight! Hundreds of motorcycle riders turn out to support families of Georgia officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, this April ride has been postponed. It is now rescheduled for October 17, 2020. 

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • Let’s play hopscotch to cover a lot of traffic ground this week. The summer driving pattern has arrived As spring has turned to summer, the difference between the seasonal changes in driving patterns are not as defined. Usually the spring and fall see big booms in traffic volume, and then traffic dies down during the winter and summer holidays. Since the coronavirus essentially cancelled spring, the differences between spring and summer driving are far less. If anything, they are swinging to the inverse, as more places open in the early summer stretch and people take to the roads. While more people are on the roads, traffic volume is still 10-20% below what volume in 2019 was at the same time. But one area that is looking very close to the “old normal” is I-75 in Henry County. Both directions have been slowing during PM drive in varying degrees trying to clear the McDonough exits, especially later in the week. As more people travel to and from Florida, these delays could only worsen. And this is all absent of any wrecks in the perilous I-75 and I-675 interchange we covered last week.  PM drive is definitely seeing more traffic delays than AM drive, with I-75/85/southbound through Downtown Atlanta, I-85/northbound leaving I-285 into Norcross, and parts of I-75/northbound and I-575/northbound northwest of town seeing the most routine backups. Still, those backups are not nearly as close to the ones pre-pandemic. Another dog-days driving pattern is the discipline of driving through pop-up summer storms. Not only can they be intense, but they also come and go quickly. Summertime driving, particularly in the afternoons, can include driving in sunshine, then heavy rain and wind, and then back into blinding sunshine reflecting off of slippery, wet pavement. This can be extremely distracting and hazardous and has already happened several afternoons and evenings in the last couple of weeks. A watermelon RED ALERT Tuesday morning commuters on I-75/northbound leaving northwest Atlanta needed some thick skin. A vehicle hit a watermelon truck before 8 a.m. on I-75/northbound near Cumberland Boulevard (Exit 258), and melons cracked and spilled all over the freeway. The ensuing cleanup of the sticky pulp shut down the interstate for close to an hour, making quite the unexpected outbound jam. Listen below >>> An internet search on the subject unearthed multiple watermelon truck crashes on Atlanta’s roads in the last few years. 42,000 pounds of watermelons spilled onto the I-75/northbound ramp to I-285/westbound in Clayton County in 2015. And dozens of melons spilled from a truck onto the I-85/northbound ramp to I-985/northbound in Gwinnett in 2017. That cleanup also blocked that ramp for quite a while. GA-400 ramp closed ... sort of GDOT has closed the GA-400/northbound ramp to Abernathy Road/westbound (Exit 5B) — the ramp that traffic takes toward Sandy Springs. This is part of the redesign of that interchange into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) as part of the larger Transform I-285/GA-400 project. DDIs are in operation at several interchanges around Atlanta and are meant to eliminate left-hand turns across oncoming traffic. This decreases crashes and helps alleviate some delays in those busy intersections. While this ramp has closed, motorists shouldn’t fear that they suddenly cannot go west. The 5A ramp will still be open to motorists to choose to go in both directions, instead of just eastbound. If traffic were heavier, this forcing of all traffic onto one ramp would be a bigger issue. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.
  • The headline alone might cause a few groans or closed pages. But in light of the extreme tensions and racial discussions of this dark time, now is the time to explore a theme that I’ve only become in touch with about myself in recent years. We each carry implicit biases and subconscious attitudes that affect our everyday behavior, including how we analyze situations behind the wheel. Getting in touch with some of these won’t necessarily eliminate them. But this thought exercise should at least steer us toward acting with intention before a more visceral gut reaction. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: The traffic temperature as some commerce resumes One reason that these biases can flare up even more behind the wheel is because we carry less empathy, in general, while driving. This is because the people in surrounding vehicles are just avatars surrounded by glass and steel. And since we also are in our own “glass cases of emotion” we usually have plenty of room to vent and fume in ways that we never would if that same driver were to cut in front of us in line or grab the last pack of toilet paper. We also almost never actually know the person that cuts us off, drives too slow, or tailgates us, so we are just cursing some “idiot” who learned how to drive via YouTube video. The road rage fueled by the encased isolation between drivers is on full display in NASCAR, my favorite sport. In the middle of a race, during heated battles, drivers say the most awful things about each other.  Racers freely admit that they become different people when they put the helmets on and the adrenaline pumps. They refer to each other as “the 9” and the “the 18” during a race and not “Chase” and “Kyle.” And if they spoke to each other that badly and that often in person, they would probably fight a lot more. This separation between cars, the distance between drivers, leaves a void that our biases often fill. And before turning the page here, stop — these biases far transcend race or gender. If someone in a certain car cuts you off, have you ever said, “Figures … it’s a Mercedes driver” or, if there is someone pedaling slow on the expressway, have you ever thought, “Stupid green-o in their Prius?” People aren’t born “Benz” or “E.V.” But we can have implicit biases about those characteristics, nonetheless. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Coronavirus data on roads and our duty to keep them open And this, of course, holds true for other, more controversial biases. Anger only fans the flames. Someone who wrongs us suddenly is somehow more wrong in our fickle minds because they’re different from us. “That (woman/millennial/foreigner/senior citizen/fat guy in a cutoff shirt in a big truck) can’t drive! Figures.” We honk, zoom, fume, and gesture and then go on and probably forget about it. And because the “offending” person is an equal to us and very well could have the same gripe about us, they likely go on with their day and let the aggression go. But consider these same inherent biases we all possess and experience materializing in places more consequential than interactions between passing drivers. Imagine the feeling someone has when they are singled out by a police officer or aren’t fully considered for a job, simply because they are black. That is what our friends in the African American community are experiencing right now and why there is so much angst over the recent senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. One thing that the white community needs to just swallow and stop fighting against is that, in general, we have it easier in America. That doesn’t mean that the worst-off Caucasian automatically has an easier life than the most well-off African American. Instead, given the same starting point or set of circumstances, a white person is often going to catch more breaks in society than a black person would. Even that fact isn’t in and of itself evil. People generally act more favorably toward people with whom they are more familiar. The black community does that also. So do women, millennials, high schoolers, refugees, and the rich and the poor.» RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Covering Atlanta traffic during a pandemic This fact takes a more impactful turn for African Americans in a society and country founded by whites, in which white people are the biggest racial demographic, that used to allow the enslavement of blacks, that institutionalized many discriminatory practices for generations, and is still recovering from those years of racism. Acknowledging white privilege shouldn’t be a stretch, if we can easily see how we judge people we don’t know who wrong us in their vehicles. Picture that seemingly meaningless reaction behind the wheel amplified over a potential life-and-death situation, such as not seeing someone’s hands in a traffic stop or chasing a supposed burglary suspect. People are fallible and anger and adrenaline — and bias — can escalate mistakes. So we need to do a better job of controlling and getting in touch with our own biases (whether driving or in the rest of our lives). Understanding our prejudices should also help us empathize with those around us who feel oppressed. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.
  • When traffic in Atlanta and much of the rest of the world just about up and disappeared in the second week of March, it was almost an equilateral experience. But the slow return of traffic and increase in volume has happened more in pockets. And while certain trends are taking shape, there is no precedent to finding what the new normal may be, or if and when traffic volume from Q1 of 2020 and earlier will return. “They’re getting out and driving, but by no means are they driving the amount they did previously. So you’ll see the traffic volumes tick back up, but the miles traveled lagging behind that,” Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry told the AJC and WSB. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: The traffic temperature as some commerce resumes McMurry does think the acclimation of some to teleworking is one reason tracking the return of gridlock is tough: “Hopefully that is a trend that helps overall congestion in Metro Atlanta.” The overall number of cars on the roads in Atlanta is increasing, but the car count is rising in different spots. “In Metro Atlanta, the interstate volumes are outpacing the major arterials.” By arterials, McMurry means bigger side roads like Northside Drive, Peachtree (in various forms), and Roswell Road. He said this down trend on the smaller roads is likely because fewer people are actually going back to work. In fact, both McMurry and his team of engineers, along with the WSB Traffic Team, have all noticed conditions these days being more like Fridays. “Friday” conditions are where traffic is light in the mornings, but bustling in the afternoons when people are leaving work early, heading out to run errands, or beginning weekend travels. GDOT has some widespread and ambitious plans to add lanes to I-285 and GA-400 and to rebuild the I-20 and I-285 interchanges on both sides of town. The downturn in traffic volume and the fluctuation in revenues (which come largely from fuel taxes and toll lane-use) have not changed the need for those projects. In fact, McMurry said, the changing patterns justify them even more. “When you hit that 20% less traffic volume was where you started seeing congestion decrease,” McMurry explained. “Well guess what? If you had two lanes on each side of I-285, you increase the capacity by 20% or more, depending on what part of I-285 you’re on.” So the eventual tolled Express Lanes on I-285 could possibly have the same effect on traffic years down the road as the coronavirus is having right now. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Coronavirus data on roads and our duty to keep them open At the height of the shutdown in early April, Georgia saw a 40-50% decrease in traffic volume, McMurry told the GDOT board in a May 21 meeting. But compared to May of 2019, traffic now is down only 25-30% statewide - right in the wheelhouse for making traditional delays disappear.  But if Georgia’s traffic capacity stays at a level similar to this because of both a slow economy and adjusted working patterns, could that affect GDOT’s plans further in the future? “Over the long term we will have to make those decisions and that analysis to see what the new normal is,” McMurry said.  Just a month ago, freight traffic had begun decreasing and that industry was happening upon some hard times. However, McMurry said that industry is back on a rebound. “Even higher than normal is trucks and freight on the interstates both metro and rural.”  Big rig traffic is why I-85 northeast of Atlanta, particularly in Gwinnett, did not decline as much as other freeways, because of the large warehouses and freight needs on that corridor, McMurry said. But as traffic continues to hover at a lighter than “old normal” level, real concerns about transportation revenue persist. State Road and Tollway Authority Director Chris Tomlinson said SRTA’s fiscal year 2020 revenue is set to come in at 28% below what they forecasted, as drivers simply do not need toll lanes to save them time these days. Trip volume has been down as much as 70% in those lanes and the lack of demand keeps the pricing low. The month of April garnered SRTA just 12% of its normal take in those lanes. And public transit has also seen a major dip. “During the pandemic, MARTA has experienced rail service declines in the range of 70 to 75% and bus ridership declines of approximately 40 to 50%,” Tomlinson said in a May 18 news conference. Regional commuter buses have been 90% down. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Covering Atlanta traffic during a pandemic McMurry said that in terms of vehicle miles traveled, Georgia’s pre-COVID number was the most ever. In the previous 2008 recession, Atlanta traffic took seven years to return to its previous levels. So there is a real possibility this recovery — or return to the previous ugly traffic — could take quite a while. So while the decrease in traffic and for the need in transit is good, there needs to be enough demand to maintain those infrastructures. The roads, trains, and busing are important for different people at different times, and they cannot be sustained or innovated upon without some semblance of the previous revenue levels. Atlanta traffic doesn’t need to return to awful for this to happen. But there needs to be an equilibrium somewhere between “gridlock” and “ghost town” for our systems to sustain. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.
  • Sometimes we happen upon a smattering of traffic takes, oddities, news items, and trends that each deserve coverage. But with this column only dropping once per week, the sands of time move faster than relevancy. So here are a few of those observations from the Atlanta roadways: Traffic is very unpredictable now. Even AAA has thrown in the towel in trying to predict how the commuting cookie was going to crumble for the Memorial Day weekend. AAA said in their annual pre-Memorial Day travel release that 2019 saw 43 million Americans travel that weekend, the second-most ever. The lowest number the travel and road safety organization ever measured was 31 million in recession-weary 2009. They anticipate this year’s start of summer to potentially be lower than 11 years ago, but AAA simply could not predict a specific number. And that is because traffic has not really assumed any pattern just yet. Weekday mornings are still very light. Afternoons are moderately busy, though with barely even a hint of the pre-corona gridlock. And there seem to be increasing amounts of people out both running errands and attending outings. Several travel outlets, including AAA, have seen their bookings slightly rise. But that increase in interest still doesn’t raise potential travel numbers to anywhere close to what they were. Combine a sudden downward shock to the economy with the cautiousness surrounding COVID-19 and one isn’t likely to expect routinely bad traffic or busy airports any time soon. But, as we have mentioned in recent past Gridlock Guy columns, there are enough vehicles out on the roads to send a commute south in an instant. Crashes are causing sizable delays again, and copious construction work is doing the same. The expectation of a delay-free ride should be higher than back in early March, but it isn’t guaranteed. Arm yourself with the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App and our live reports on 95.5 WSB; both are still necessary. By the way, Memorial Day weekend is the kick off of AAA’s 100-day summer campaign for safe teen driving, a period that normally is the deadliest for young drivers. With an increased amount of free time and even more unpredictable conditions these days, this campaign comes into a greater focus and should be top-of-mind for all of us. Unpredictability is on display with several major wrecks. Devastating crashes have always been a part of the Atlanta traffic menu. But the disparity in speeds between the wayward daredevils and and those within a standard deviation of the speed limit seems to be making these gnarly collisions more common. One on I-285/eastbound (Outer Loop) at Riverdale Road last Wednesday morning shut it down for several hours and caused extreme delays. An out-of-control red sedan sideswiped a van and then veered into oncoming traffic, where it was hit by a big rig and several other vehicles. The sedan’s driver died. On the evening before, a couple of vehicles collided, sending a sedan sideways and perpendicular into where a cement median wall began. The wall speared the passenger side of the car, killing the passenger. The Georgia State Patrol and HERO Units shut down I-75/85/southbound in the curve just south of I-20 (Exit 247)  to investigate this horrible wreck. Rain had just begun to fall when the chaos ensued, further highlighting the importance of lowering speeds and lessening distractions. These are just two examples of how reckless driving and sudden changes in conditions can bring calamity. There seems to be at least one epic crash of this kind per day now, causing intense traffic delays and radically shifting the lives of those involved. Now is the time to start taking driving seriously again. Delays more than itsy bitsy after a swimsuit spill. You read that correctly. A bit of commuting strangeness and ephemera shaded the commute on Friday, May 15. WSB Triple Team Traffic’s Mike Shields was the first to notice a debris field on I-285/sb (Inner Loop) near E. Ponce de Leon Avenue (Exit 40) in Clarkston. One of our Traffic Troopers called us hands-free as they passed this by and told Shields that someone had lost a load of … neon bikinis. And there were quite a few sets of two-pieces, maybe several dozen, scattered in the two right lanes of four total on I-285/southbound in that stretch of DeKalb County. The HERO operators did a great job of disrobing I-285 quickly and all lanes opened just after 3 p.m. I-285/southbound backed up several miles quite quickly, again evidencing how many are taking back to the roads. There is no word if the owner ever reunited with their precious lost cargo. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.
  • These strange times have caused confusion and stress for many. Job loss, anxiety, social distancing, changing habits, down time — all these have thrown sticks into the bicycle spokes of routine life. WSB Triple Team Traffic has seen both sides of the coin during this pandemic. We largely have operated at full capacity, but we have had to pivot our strategy of how we cover traffic, given how those patterns have changed. » RELATED: Coronavirus data on roads and our duty to keep them open Atlanta traffic evaporated like the steam off of the streets in the muggy sun after a summer storm. Well, even faster. Metro Atlanta needed about one week to go from terrible to eerily wonderful, as towering waves of closures and stay-at-home orders crashed on our shores in mid-March. Traffic is part of WSB’s bread and butter around the clock on the 95.5 WSB and in the mornings on Channel 2 Action News. Our traffic coverage suddenly went from relevant and timely to really being in the way of the swarm of the coronavirus news. We were jumping in like normal — every six minutes on radio and every 10 on TV — but we pretty much universally were saying, “Nothing to see here. Ain’t that weird? Move on along.” But we still patrolled the roads in the WSB Skycopter and looked over our map data on the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App with a fine-toothed comb. We were ready to pounce on any strand of hair that appeared out of place. » RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia: COVID-19 Dashboard Being less relevant was a bit of a gut-punch to us. Covering big traffic blockages was still important for essential workers and emergency responders, but Atlanta and America were mostly holed up at home. We, like you, had no idea how long the “Great American Shutdown” would or should last. We wondered how long we would stay powered up and staffed up if this diminuendo continued to softly play. Did we sound and look silly? But while other stations suspended traffic reporting or just had news anchors quickly voice over traffic maps, WSB Radio and TV pressed on. We eliminated some reports during drive times, because there were no longer dozens of miles-long, predictive traffic delays. But we still stayed on the air and present digitally. And, as noted multiple times in this column, there have been just enough bad crashes and extended construction zones to make driving around town extremely unpredictable. The best tool any driver can bring to their commute is preparedness. Triple Team Traffic was and is still relevant! But we, too, have also had to conform to work-at-home orders and the effects, both good and bad, that they have. The WSB Traffic Center usually has three people in it at drive time on weekdays. COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines reduced that to two. “Quarantine life is a challenge,” 95.5 WSB and KISS 104.1 morning reporter Veronica Harrell said. She and afternoon reporter Mike Shields each work their weekday shifts at home, only coming into our Midtown studios for their solo weekend shifts. “Although I love the comfort of being at home, I do miss the technical assurance I have when I'm inside of the Traffic Center.”  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Harrell is referring to the multiple computers and monitors we have to effectively watch multiple problems on the WSB Jam Cams (which are harder to access on the bulky intranet site remotely) and the multiple police scanners we have to listen to emergency dispatches about wrecks and other problems. Morning reporter Ashley Frasca and I have been gung-ho about those police scanners and the good nuggets of news we can hear on them and nowhere else. Frasca’s keen ears have heard multiple fatal wrecks in recent mornings and even a police chase and carjacking of a news van. With fewer people out on the roads calling in info to us, we and the rest of the Traffic Team have had to beef up our scanner listening and “detective work” around traffic incidents. I have actually called businesses near the scenes of road closures to see if they are still blocked. The cameras nearby weren’t working and the police the GDOT didn’t have straight answers. The devil is in the details and that is especially so these days in traffic reporting. Our on-air strategy has shifted from adhering to a geographical rotation in our rush-hour reports, to taking an approach more apropos for midday and weekend traffic. That is, we simply rotate covering the worst traffic problems. So a listener or viewer will not hear us spending time saying a bunch of interstates are clear as much as they will hear us repeating the few problems we do have. And with regulations around the state easing and more people taking to the streets, traffic volume is slowly on the rise, as are the number of wrecks. Conditions are nowhere as bad as they were pre-pandemic, but we’re starting to see daily PM drive delays where I-285 hits I-20 on both sides of town and the busy I-75/85 at I-20 intersection. AM drive WSB Skycopter anchor Smilin’ Mark McKay keeps relaying, however, that the mornings are still a lot less busy than the afternoons. This is likely because people are running errands in the afternoons and sleeping-in in the mornings, since many commutes are just from the bed to the home office. That remote-working environment has been a blessing for Shields and Harrell. They each save hours per week in commuting and have fashioned up multiple devices to be able to gather traffic information and report for 95.5 WSB and our music stations. They can remotely upload reports for KISS 104.1, 97.1 The River, and B98.5FM almost as seamlessly as they could from the studio. But those reports and their live ones on WSB Radio do have a bit less audio quality than before. It’s all still very impressive, considering they didn’t work at home as much before. Another drawback for them, just like many of you, is the people they do not get to see. “The work-at-home life can also make it difficult to contact my co-workers. Overall, I do miss the energy that being on-air at the radio station brings,” Harrell, who arguably is the biggest social butterfly on our Traffic Team, said. So as we all look ahead to what life looks like in the second half of 2020, know that WSB Triple Team Traffic has stayed full bore in our defense of your commute. But we also have experienced some of the fears and strangeness that you have in this major cultural adjustment. Traffic will be lighter than before the virus for a long time, but some of it is and is continuing to return. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.

News

  • There are new rules in place for the holiday weekend if you plan to rent an Airbnb. The company says guests under 25 years old with fewer than three positive reviews will not be able to book an entire home close to where they live Airbnb didn’t reveal how it defines what is “close.” Airbnb said it wants to weed out any potential problems, specifically unauthorized house parties and feels this is the best way to do so. The company says it’s a nationwide policy, but it is most relevant for a handful of cities. The company says its technologies would block that guest from booking. “No one policy is going to stop all unauthorized parties. We’re also conscious that just because you’re 25 or older doesn’t mean that every single person in that group is booking for the right reasons too,” spokesperson Ben Breit told WSB-TV. Guests under 25 with at least three positive Airbnb reviews and no negative reviews won’t be subject to the restrictions. Airbnb began stepping up efforts to ban “party houses” last November after five people were shot and killed during an unauthorized party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California. At the time, Airbnb set up a rapid response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening “high risk” bookings, such as reservations at a large home for one night. In a message to hosts, the company said reducing unauthorized parties is even more of a priority right now as states try to avoid coronavirus outbreaks. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States,” the company said. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were charged Thursday with felonious assault after pulling a gun out on a Black mother and her children when a confrontation escalated outside a Chipotle in Michigan. Each of them had a loaded firearm and concealed pistol licenses. Deputies seized the two handguns, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. On Thursday, the couple was arraigned and were given a $50,000 personal bond.  “As part of the bond conditions, they must turn over all firearms, not engage in any assaultive behavior, and may not leave the state,” sheriff’s officials told The Detroit News. The Detroit News first reported on the three-minute video posted online that shows part of the interaction. Takelia Hill, who is Black, told the newspaper that it happened after the white woman bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the fast food restaurant. The video footage [WARNING: Contains graphic language] starts after that, in the parking lot. A woman since identified as Jillian Wuestenberg is heard arguing with Hill and her daughters. Wuestenberg climbs into the vehicle, rolls down the window and says, “White people aren’t racist,” and, “I care about you,” before the vehicle she was in starts to back away. Her husband, who had led his wife to the vehicle, turns to the camera and asks, “Who ... do you think you guys are?,” using an expletive. Then, as someone is standing behind the vehicle, Jillian Wuestenberg jumps out and points a handgun in the direction of a person who’s recording. She screams at people to get away from her and her vehicle. A woman shouts, “She’s got a gun on me!” and urges someone in the parking lot to call the police. Wuestenberg then lowers the gun, climbs into the passenger seat and the vehicle drives off. Cooper, the prosecutor, told The Associated Press that her office viewed the available video and looked at the facts before filing charges. “It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that tempers run high over, basically, not much of an incident,” she said of the initial alleged spark that caused the confrontation. Bouchard said people are “picking sides” and that threatening calls were made to the sheriff’s office dispatch center after the videos were posted online. “We don’t see sides. We see facts,” he said. “There’s a lot of tension in our society, a lot of tension among folks and people with each other. I would just say this, we are asking and expect our police — and rightfully so — to deescalate every situation they possibly can, and we should be doing that. But I would say that needs to happen with us individually in our own lives and situations, that we interact with each other and deescalate those moments.” The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • The United States Geological Survey reported that a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning near Puerto Rico around 9:55 a.m. EDT. The quake was felt across the U.S. territory and is the latest in a series of tremors that began in late December and have damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Ángel Vázquez, who oversees the emergency management agency in Ponce, said a house collapsed in the town of Lajas. The house was empty and slated for demolition, according to Kiara Hernández, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security. Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told The Associated Press that the tremor is an aftershock related to the 6.4-magnitude quake that struck in early January, killing at least one person and causing millions of dollars in damage. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • With The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race postponed this year, the Atlanta Police Department warned people against running or walking the course on the Fourth of July. APD noted in a tweet Friday that the course will not be closed to car traffic on Independence Day. With hashtags including #MyPersonalPeachtree and #APDCares, the police department said in the tweet that people should avoid running or walking the course on Saturday for safety reasons. >>Read MORE on AJC.com. [Summary]
  • The Washington Redskins issued a statement that they will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Majority owner Daniel Snyder said in the the statement. Snyder had previously shown no indication he would change the name since buying the team in 1999, but was quoted in the release. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he supports “this step.” The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium, FedEx asked the NFL team to change its name in a statement Thursday. The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action. Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store Thursday evening according to The Associated Press. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Two people are dead after a shooting Friday morning near North Carolina A&T State University. The shooting happened just before 6:30 a.m. near North Dudley and and Salem streets in Greensboro. The victims, 34-year-old Rodney Letroy Stout and 34-year-old Bakeea Abdulla Douglas both died of their injuries, according WGHP. Police said they are now investigating the case as a homicide. The university sent out an Aggie Alert at 7:15 a.m., encouraging students and staff to “stay behind closed and locked doors until further notice.” University officials said the shooting involves a “male suspect wearing a white t-shirt with black pants and a black mask traveling in an unknown direction.” No arrests have been made.