Now Playing
97.1 The River
Last Song Played
Classic Hits
On Air
No Program
Now Playing
97.1 The River
Last Song Played
Classic Hits

local

200 items
Results 21 - 30 of 200 < previous next >

Alternate Routes to Get You Around I-85 Bridge Collapse

This week, Atlanta commuters are having to adjust to life without a stretch of I-85. On the evening of March 30th, I-85 northbound collapsed just north of Piedmont Rd. after a spectacular fire. The effects will be felt for months, as I-85 north and southbound remain closed between the Buford Spring Connector and Ga-400. Crews are working around-the-clock to have I-85 rebuilt by the end of May. Triple Team Traffic is keeping up with roads/interchanges that are currently OPEN around the construction: 

[TRAFFIC:  Real-time traffic information to help you get around the collapse ]

  • I-75/sb ramp to I-85/nb (Brookwood), but I-85/nb must exit Buford Spring
  • I-75/85/nb ramp to I-85/nb (Brookwood split), but again, I-85/nb must exit Buford Spring
  • I-85/sb ramp to Buford Spring/sb (exit 86), one lane open for local traffic only. Sidney Marcus Blvd. access to Buford Spring/sb will remain closed.
  • Buford Spring/nb is open from Midtown. 
  • Ga-400/sb ramps to Sidney Marcus Blvd. and to I-85/nb. 
  • Piedmont Road is open in both directions except for one northbound lane.

[PHOTOS: Massive fire causes I-85 bridge to collapse]

Expect many surface streets around the area to be highly congested. A few alternates through the Brookhaven and N. Druid Hills areas are Peachtree Road, Briarcliff Road, LaVista Road, & N. Druid Hills Road. Highway 78 is also a good alternate to I-85. 

If you prefer to stick with interstates, take I-85/sb from Gwinnett County to I-285 south or east at Spaghetti Junction. Stay with that, and use I-20/wb into Downtown Atlanta. I-285 westbound (the Outer Loop) is good across to north side to get to Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. 

Triple Team Traffic will deliver alternate routes all day long, live on WSB Radio, as traffic conditions change. Please tune to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB.

Warrant: I-85 bridge fire suspect spoke of smoking crack before blaze

The man accused of setting the fire that destroyed part of I-85 talked with companions about smoking crack cocaine before the blaze started, according to a document released Saturday.

The fire collapsed a well-traveled stretch of I-85 — triggering millions of dollars in damage and wreaking havoc on traffic, potentially for months, as the state rebuilds the wrecked section.

Basil Eleby, 39, was charged on Saturday with first-degree arson in connection with the fire. Wearing a navy jumpsuit, flip-flops and handcuffs, Eleby reluctantly shuffled into a courtroom at the Fulton County jail for his first appearance hearing Saturday morning. 

Judge James Altman announced the arson charge, which was added on top of an earlier felony charge of criminal damage to property, and set bond at $200,000. The judge said he had considered an amount more “commensurate” with the damage inflicted. 

“But in this case,” the judge said, “that would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.” 

MORE: Mystery surrounds construction materials under I-85 bridge » Feds greenlight $10 million for emergency I-85 bridge collapse work » What Google Street View reveals underneath of I-85 » Map: Where the I-85 collapse happened, road closures and detour routes

Eleby shook his head vigorously when Altman mentioned the possibility of pleading guilty at a future court proceeding. But the suspect said nothing during the brief hearing. 

His public defender had asked the court to let Eleby skip the hearing, but the court refused. The attorney held a green folder up to try to hide Eleby’s face from the media.

Eleby and two others, Barry Thomas and Sophia Brauer, were charged Friday in connection with the fire. (Brauer earlier was identified by a different last name, but she was listed in the document released Saturday as “Brauer.” The discrepancy could not be resolved on Saturday.) 

Thomas and Brauer were charged with criminal trespass. Eleby, who has been arrested 19 times since 1995, mostly on drug offenses, according to jail records, is facing far more serious charges. 

According to an affidavit by a fire department lieutenant, the suspect admitted to frequenting the area where the fire was set and acknowledged being there on Thursday afternoon at about the time the fire started.

Eleby told investigators from the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he’d met Thomas and Brauer there at about 4 p.m. and they “discussed smoking crack cocaine together.” 

But Eleby ultimately decided “he would consume the drugs by himself” and “left the area before the fire started,” according to the affidavit, which was prepared in support of Eleby’s arrest warrant. 

Thomas told a different story. 

“Mr. Thomas watched Basil Eleby place a chair on top of a shopping cart, reach under the shopping cart and ignite it,” said the affidavit, which was released on Saturday.

Thomas told authorities he and Brauer then fled in the opposite direction of Eleby, it said. 

As Eleby appeared in court Saturday morning, Georgia Department of Transportation crews continued their around-the-clock work to deal with the damage that Eleby is accused of causing. 

Six sections and about 700 feet of roadway on I-85 — 350 feet in each direction of travel — are being removed and replaced, including support columns. The northbound section collapsed during the fire, but the southbound lanes also were compromised, authorities said. Demolition work has begun on those lanes as well. 

An exact timeline for the interstate to be completely restored is unclear, but the work is expected to take months. 

There was a bit of good news Saturday. After the collapse, people traveling northbound on the Downtown Connector were funneled onto I-75 North, with no option to take I-85 North at the split.

About 10 a.m. Saturday, however, transportation officials began allowing northbound traffic on the Connector to proceed north in two lanes of I-85 to the next exit: the Buford-Spring Connector, Exit 86 (Ga. 13). 

GDOT officials encouraged drivers to “still plan to utilize I-285 as the most efficient route of travel” through town. But drivers could choose to use the Buford-Spring Connector to bypass the interstate collapse and then return to I-85 North once past the damaged section.

Why exactly is Trump hosting China president at Mar-a-Lago?

White House spokesman Sean Spicer wouldn’t say why President Donald Trump was hosting China President Xi Jinping at his Palm Beach, Florida, compound Mar-a-lago during a news briefing Thursday afternoon.

When asked specifically why the administration had picked the property for the April 6-7 summit, Spicer demurred. He simply said the location was just one of a host of issues agreed to by Trump administration officials and their People’s Republic counterparts, without offering details.

>> Read more trending news

Spicer said the location, as well as the length of the visit and the timing, were just three issues of numerous items that were the subject of “several weeks” of discussion between the two governments.

RELATED: Trump, China and Twitter: 9 tweets that likely irked PRC leaders

“This is what we arrived at,” Spicer said, referring to the two-day summit.

Spicer said the agenda will include a range of topics mostly focused on trade and security.

RELATED: How Chinese media are spinning Trump-Xi Palm Beach superpower summit

“We have big problems to address on everything from the South China Sea to trade to North Korea,” Spicer added.

Spicer was not asked why the Chinese president Xi Jinping chose to stay at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa in Manalapan.

Wal-Mart in Roswell to close; 68 employees to be impacted

Some folks in Roswell must drive a little further if they want to keep shopping at Wal-Mart.

The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on 4651 Woodstock Road NE — in the Sandy Plains Village Shopping Center — will close its doors Friday, April 7. An estimated 68 employees are expected to be impacted, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Philip Keene, Wal-Mart’s director of communications for the southeast, said he doesn’t anticipate Wal-Mart losing those employees.

“We have several other locations around that area and feel confident about being able to place associates in those other stores,” Keene said. “We feel pretty good about retaining those employees.”

There are three Wal-Mart SuperCenters within seven miles of the one closing.

MORE ROSWELL: Five things to know about the Roswell beer festival

Keene said the final payment date for someone working in the Roswell store who did not want to transfer is May 28. Severance packages will be offered to employees who do not transfer, Keene said.

On March 3, Wal-Mart closed a store in Marietta. Wal-Mart closed seven Georgia stores in early 2016.

When asked if any other Georgia Wal-Mart stores will close soon Keene said, “not at this time and not to my knowledge."

Like North Fulton County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram

Children find Spirit Airlines pilot, wife dead in apparent overdose

Four children found their parents – including their airline pilot father – dead Thursday in their Centerville, Ohio, home in what investigators said appears to be the latest incident in a scourge of drug deaths plaguing Montgomery County and Ohio.

>> Read more trending news 

The husband, Brian Halye, was an active pilot for Spirit Airlines, flying for them nine years, and captaining a passenger jet as recently as last Friday.

He and his wife, Courtney Halye, were found in a bedroom of their home on East Von Dette Circle, a suburban cul-de-sac.

RELATED: Centerville pilot, wife deaths may be fentanyl-related

The deaths appear “drug related due to paraphernalia found at the scene,” Centerville Police Officer John Davis said. Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, said the incident resembles other opioid cases and “could be consistent with what we’re seeing with fentanyl products in our community.”

“We’ve been talking about this for how long now?” Betz said by phone. “Here I go again … year-to-date, accidental drug overdoses exceeded 160 already this year.”

Official causes of death for the couple have not been released, as a full medical exam will be performed today.

‘They were very cold’

The couple each had two children from previous marriages. In two 911 calls to Centerville police shortly before 8 a.m., the children ages 9 to 13 told dispatchers their parents are on the floor and “not waking up.”

“They were very cold,” said the oldest child, politely answering “yes, ma’am” to the dispatcher as his sisters cried in the background.

The children ran outside the home to relatives as police conducted an investigation. By 10:30, police and emergency response vehicles cleared the usually tranquil neighborhood.

The Halyes purchased their home in summer 2013. The neighborhood, Pellbrook Farm, is just southwest of the Ohio 725-Wilmington Pike intersection. The quiet suburban cul-de-sac features homes valued around $150,000 to $225,000.

Warren County Court records show Brian Halye was divorced in 2011 in a shared parenting case. Courtney Halye was convicted of a felony drug possession charge in 2009, but the case was expunged. Her previous husband Jacob Castor, the father of two of the children, died in 2007 at age 27.

Neighbors were stunned by Thursday’s news.

“There’s never much activity going on over there,” said a neighbor, who declined to be named. Added another neighbor, “That’s what surprises us, because he was an airline pilot, and he flew for Spirit.”

Pilot flew last week

Halye last flew for Spirit on Friday, according to the “ultra low fares” carrier. The pilot’s social media accounts indicate he was based at its Detroit operations center. The airline does not provide service to Dayton International Airport.

“Captain Halye served at the airline for just over nine years,” Paul Berry, the company’s spokesman, said in a statement expressing the company’s sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.

The Dayton Daily News asked Spirit Airlines officials to provide more details about Halye’s last-flown routes and upcoming flights, as well as the dates and results of any drug screenings. Spirit declined to answer.

Federal regulations require employers to administer drug and alcohol testing in pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, reasonable cause and follow-up situations, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.

MORE: Spirit Airlines pilot suspected in OD flew 6 days ago

Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which Halye held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Halye was 36.

The FAA database lists Halye’s medical certificate date as September, 2011, which would mean the certificate expired more than four years ago. Asked to double check, Cory said Halye’s certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.

“I’m not sure why the online database does not have that information,” Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News. “The system could be in the process of update.”

Dr. Richard Garrison is among the doctors who conducts such tests locally. Garrison said that exam is roughly similar to an annual physical, and also includes vision testing and EKG heart tests for pilots over a certain age. But he said those exams do not include substance-abuse testing.

Drug issues everywhere

Multiple-death overdoses at a single site happened at least four times in Montgomery County in 2016 — including to Jamie Haddix and Darrell Morgan, who were found dead on Christmas Eve. The place where they died, a four-unit apartment building on Wiltshire Boulevard in Kettering, isn’t ground zero in the region’s opioid crisis because there is no ground zero.

“You always hear, ‘It can’t happen in my neighborhood,’ ” said Michael Link, who lives around the corner from the Halyes in Centerville. “But it does.”

Centerville ranked comparatively low on Montgomery County’s 2016 overdose list, with only five residents dying from drug causes, according to preliminary coroner’s data. That’s much lower than comparably sized Trotwood (17), Miamisburg (14) and Riverside (13). But nearly every community in the county had a spot on that list, which included 355 deaths.

Two of the children attended Centerville’s Tower Heights Middle School and two attended another district. Centerville schools Superintendent Tom Henderson said the district “continues to support friends of the students who were part of this family. Centerville had guidance counselors “on call and on deck as needed.”

Henderson said so many students know each other not only from school, but from sports and other cross-community activities that a tragedy like this can have a wider impact that people might think.

“These two students have come up through our district, so we try to be cognizant of that and get out to the other buildings they’ve attended,” Henderson said. “We’ll be ready (Friday) when students come in, and we’ll be ready when the students (in that family) come back to attend school again.”

Staff Writers Chris Stewart, Malik Perkins, Katie Wedell and Hannah Poturalski contributed reporting.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be “beyond compare”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium General Manager Scott Jenkins tells WSB Radio he and his team hope to “redefine the stadium experience for fans.”

During an exclusive tour this week, Jenkins and representatives with Mercedes-Benz presented the big plans they have in motion for the stadium to WSB Radio.

Mike Gomes, senior vice president of fan experience at AMB Sports & Entertainment, predicts the stadium will be “beyond compare of any place you've ever been before.”

A recurring theme throughout the tour was “fans first.” Some 2,000 TVs will line the concourse in between food and drink vendors so fans can “always stay connected to what's happening on the field,” Gomes tells WSB Radio.

Around 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable are planned to run throughout Mercedes-Benz to enhance Wi-Fi access for fans.

Gomes adds, “We're also going to have a lot of fun with programming.” Stadium officials say they are implementing split-screen technology that displays an instant replay of action on the field for fans in the stands, while still broadcasting a view of live action.

“We want to entertain first, inform second, but certainly not overwhelm,” Gomes explains.

Progress is moving quickly at Mercedes-Benz. Jason Hughes, vice president of the project management group charged with overseeing construction at the stadium, says workers are installing an average 1,000 seats per day.

Darden & Company, LLC, employed one of the “world’s biggest crawler cranes” in the construction of Mercedes-Benz.

Gomes says ultimately, “We want you to say, ‘this stadium does it right.’”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is slated to officially open on July 30.

Ellen Degeneres gives Super Bowl tickets to Atlanta Falcons fan with “be kind” message

Fans of the Atlanta Falcons and The Ellen Degeneres Show stood outside for hours on Georgia Tech’s campus Wednesday in hopes of appearing on the tv host’s show and securing tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend.

Degeneres has been teasing Atlanta fans with hints regarding the giveaway all week and today she tweeted that she would be giving away a pair of tickets to someone dressed as a cat with “the biggest bowl.”

The costume contest was a nod to Degeneres’ love for Hallmark’s Kitten Bowl.

But, there was a catch. After catching the attention of Degeneres’ team, finalists had to make up a song to prove that they deserved tickets.

Katie Battle, a nurse at WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center, caught the attention of the TV show host (who was watching remotely from Los Angeles) by incorporating Degeneres’ popular “be kind” mantra.

Battle said she plans to take a friend/coworker who helped her put together her costume as her guest to Super Bowl LI.

Ellen DeGeneres is Giving Away Super Bowl Tickets in Atlanta Today

Aha! So this is why Ellen DeGeneres is coming to town on Wednesday.

First she posted this cryptic tweet that had us all guessing .. and now we have some answers. Actually she’s not coming – but her team will be, and afterward someone is going to the Super Bowl. 

Ellen’s correspondent, Jeannie Klisiewicz, will be on site. It’s unclear exactly how things are going to work but the magical moment will air during Thursday’s show.Details to come via Ellen’s Twitter feed!

Marietta's Big Chicken KFC restaurant is closing - but it's only temporary

An iconic restaurant in metro Atlanta is closing its doors Monday.  But the shuttering of the Big Chicken in Marietta is only temporary, as the KFC restaurant gets a major remodel.  

KBP Investments owns the Big Chicken location and 60 other KFC stores in metro Atlanta.  All of them have been getting overhauls the past couple of years, with the majority now having been completed.  But news of changes to the famous Big Chicken is sure to grab headlines.  

First-off, this reassurance where it concerns the landmark Big Chicken structure that overlooks Cobb Parkway: "We're going to paint it, we're going to repair it, we're going to work on some of the mechanical, but you won't notice a change to that piece of the facility," says Mike Kulp, CEO of KBP Investments.  "We're going to sharpen it up, brighten it, and add a more updated KFC sign to the side of it." 

But as for the restaurant structure itself, Kulp says there will be "a pretty massive overhaul from front to back."  That includes everything from the drywall to the ceilings and beyond. 

"An exterior seating area, a screened-in porch...we're re-doing the entire kitchen, we're going to have a wall that's made out of Plexiglas where you can see the cooks fresh-breading product back in the kitchen while you order."  Kulp says there will be unique materials used in his restaurant, not used in any other KFC in the country. 

While other metro KFC location renovations have cost roughly $200,000 each, the work to the Big Chicken location alone will cost in excess of $2 million.  

Kulp says the Big Chicken will close Monday, with work to extend about 12 weeks. "We've got some pretty big plans for a pretty wild grand re-opening celebration in mid-April."

Crash victim's parents outraged at fundraiser for driver's family

The parents of a teenager killed in a 2015 car wreck are upset about a fundraiser to recoup legal fees, medical bills and other expenses of the family of the driver who caused the wreck.

>> Read more trending stories

The GoFundMe page called Family Help Fund seeks to raise $75,000 for the family of Abigail McGaha.

Prosecutors charged McGaha and later reached a plea agreement after she crashed an SUV in 2015. Police said the vehicle had been traveling more than twice the speed limit.

The crash killed Alex Mundt, 16, of Sante Fe, New Mexico. He had been wearing a seat belt and riding in the car with McGaha and one other passenger at the time.

The GoFundMe webpage lists the creator as Joseph McGaha.

The fundraiser description says, "Abby's criminal legal battle is pretty much behind us. But the civil battle remains with Alex's family."

It cites legal fees from criminal and civil cases, medical bills from the accident and a family knee surgery as creating a "financial burden."

The post said the two families settled out of court to avoid a civil lawsuit.

"The second portion of an established payment is due to Alex's family in February. The first payment was made in November. We are establishing a Go Fund Me for this purpose," part of the post read.

Mike and Lynn Mundt, Alex's parents, had not been not aware of the page until WSOC contacted the couple Monday.

"I'm stunned that they would do such a thing," said Mike Mundt. "I can't imagine what all was involved in the case and then a civil settlement afterwards, but those are natural consequences of crime and to ask the community to pay for the consequences of crime is incredulous to me."

Calls and messages made in attempt to reach the McGaha family were not immediately returned. 

200 items
Results 21 - 30 of 200 < previous next >