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Neighbors near Georgia Dome worried about dust from implosion

Some residents of Southwest Atlanta neighborhood Castleberry Hill told us they’re concerned about the dust from the Georgia Dome implosion and how it might be affecting their health.

Tuesday, dust from an excavator on site kicked up dust, as it rooted through the rubble Tuesday afternoon. A crew pressure washed the side of Mercedes Benz stadium, where grime was visible from the ground.

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“I’ve never seen dust this thick,” longtime window washer Marc Charles told Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus , as he cleaned business' windows along Nelson Street SW. Charles told Klaus he’s been in the window washing business for almost a quarter of a century.

“Everything’s coated. It’s layered,” said Charles. He believes the dust came from the dome implosion Monday morning.

He says he can taste the particles. “Chalky in my mouth.” That concerns him, since he says he has bronchitis.

Charles showed us dark grey water in his bucket that he said would usually be clear after two jobs.

“Usually it takes about four or five jobs before the water starts to discolor,” Charles said. “This here, this is filthy. This is bad.”

Nearby, Zakiya Blake says the dust is causing her congestion, runny eyes and difficulty breathing. She’s concerned for her health – and others’.

“I’ve just kind of been using my scarf to protect [my] breathing,” said Blake. “We don’t know everything that we’re breathing in.”

Channel 2 Action News emailed and called the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to ask about the dust. We’re waiting to hear back.

 

KSU violated guidance when keeping cheerleaders off field, regents board says

The Georgia Board of Regents said Tuesday that Kennesaw State University did not follow guidance when it kept cheerleaders off the field after several of them took a knee during the National Anthem.

University System of Georgia officials told KSU president Sam Olens and the presidents of its public universities during a two-day October meeting that taking a knee during the anthem is free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution and should not be interfered with, unless it causes a disruption. Any changes by a college should be discussed with the USG.

The Saturday after that meeting, KSU implemented a change that kept its cheerleaders in its stadium tunnel before the anthem. 

In a report to the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents concluded that Olens was aware of the change three days before it went into effect and did nothing to stop it. 

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They also found that Olens failed to advise the university system office of the proposed change even though he was instructed to do so. 

This stems from a KSU home game on Sept. 30 when several KSU cheerleaders took a knee during the National Anthem to protest police misconduct and racial inequality.

The University System advised Olen that such protests were constitutionally protected free speech as long as they weren't disruptive.

Still, the university received outside pressure to end the protests, including calls from the Cobb County sheriff and a state representative.

By the next home game, the cheerleaders were kept off of the field during the anthem.

The athletics department initially maintained that the change was an effort to improve the fan experience and tighten up the run of show, but the Board of Regents calls that explanation into question due to the timing of the change. 

The five-page review is a rare rebuke of Olens, who’s been one of the state’s most influential leaders for the past two decades. 

Olens is the former Georgia attorney general, Cobb County government and Atlanta Regional Commission chairman. He was named KSU’s president in November 2016.

KSU has about 35,000 students, the USG’s third-largest enrollment.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article. 

Officer injured after drunk driver hits patrol car, police say

An Alpharetta police officer is recovering after investigators say a drunk driver crashed into his squad car.

Police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik that Officer Dustin Bak, a member of the DUI taskforce, was driving home on GA 400 Friday night when the man crashed into the back of his car.

“He was going about the speed limit there on 400, when another driver, suspected of DUI, drove up rather quickly and smashed into the back end of our patrolman’s vehicle,” department spokesman Jason Muenzer said.

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Forsyth County deputies told Petchenik they arrested Joseph Gipe, 25, on DUI charges.  He bonded out of the Forsyth County Jail after posting a $5,800 bond, Deputy Douglas Rainwater told Petchenik.

Muenzer said Bak suffered some minor injuries and his squad car was totaled in the wreck.

“The officer is doing good, thankfully,” Muenzer said.  “He did suffer some injuries but we hope to see him back on the road here soon.”

It’s not the first time someone has hit an Alpharetta police officer while suspected of DUI.

In September, police said Ceijai Broughton hit Officer Jomo Bent’s car as he patrolled a construction site on GA 400.

“This is becoming all too common,” Muenzer said.  “It needs to stop.”

Police said the same night police arrested seven DUI suspects in Alpharetta alone.

“The message here is don’t drink and drive,” Muenzer said.

Officer injured after drunk driver hits patrol car, police say

An Alpharetta police officer is recovering after investigators say a drunk driver crashed into his squad car.

Police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik that Officer Dustin Bak, a member of the DUI taskforce, was driving home on GA 400 Friday night when the man crashed into the back of his car.

“He was going about the speed limit there on 400, when another driver, suspected of DUI, drove up rather quickly and smashed into the back end of our patrolman’s vehicle,” department spokesman Jason Muenzer said.

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Forsyth County deputies told Petchenik they arrested Joseph Gipe, 25, on DUI charges.  He bonded out of the Forsyth County Jail after posting a $5,800 bond, Deputy Douglas Rainwater told Petchenik.

Muenzer said Bak suffered some minor injuries and his squad car was totaled in the wreck.

“The officer is doing good, thankfully,” Muenzer said.  “He did suffer some injuries but we hope to see him back on the road here soon.”

It’s not the first time someone has hit an Alpharetta police officer while suspected of DUI.

In September, police said Ceijai Broughton hit Officer Jomo Bent’s car as he patrolled a construction site on GA 400.

“This is becoming all too common,” Muenzer said.  “It needs to stop.”

Police said the same night police arrested seven DUI suspects in Alpharetta alone.

“The message here is don’t drink and drive,” Muenzer said.

KSU violated guidance when keeping cheerleaders off field, regents board says

The Georgia Board of Regents said Tuesday that Kennesaw State University did not follow guidance when it kept cheerleaders off the field after several of them took a knee during the National Anthem.

University System of Georgia officials told KSU president Sam Olens and the presidents of its public universities during a two-day October meeting that taking a knee during the anthem is free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution and should not be interfered with, unless it causes a disruption. Any changes by a college should be discussed with the USG.

The Saturday after that meeting, KSU implemented a change that kept its cheerleaders in its stadium tunnel before the anthem. 

In a report to the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents concluded that Olens was aware of the change three days before it went into effect and did nothing to stop it. 

TRENDING STORIES:

They also found that Olens failed to advise the university system office of the proposed change even though he was instructed to do so. 

This stems from a KSU home game on Sept. 30 when several KSU cheerleaders took a knee during the National Anthem to protest police misconduct and racial inequality.

The University System advised Olen that such protests were constitutionally protected free speech as long as they weren't disruptive.

Still, the university received outside pressure to end the protests, including calls from the Cobb County sheriff and a state representative.

By the next home game, the cheerleaders were kept off of the field during the anthem.

The athletics department initially maintained that the change was an effort to improve the fan experience and tighten up the run of show, but the Board of Regents calls that explanation into question due to the timing of the change. 

The five-page review is a rare rebuke of Olens, who’s been one of the state’s most influential leaders for the past two decades. 

Olens is the former Georgia attorney general, Cobb County government and Atlanta Regional Commission chairman. He was named KSU’s president in November 2016.

KSU has about 35,000 students, the USG’s third-largest enrollment.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article. 

Woman shot in face while driving to church

Police are looking for a group of gunmen who opened fire in a neighborhood, hitting a 61-year-old woman as she drove to church.

The woman said she was driving with her brother through a southeast Atlanta neighborhood on their way to church last Thursday around 9 a.m.

“I was on my way to church to clean the church,” she said.

She said a group of men on Oak Drive near Empire Boulevard started shooting and her car was caught in the middle. She said she heard about 15 shots.

“I don’t know if they were shooting at somebody or if somebody was shooting at them,” the woman said.

A bullet went through the front windshield and hit her in the cheek.

“It hit my cheek and evidently came back out and they found the bullet in the back seat of the car,” the woman said.

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The victim said she and her brother did not get a good look at the armed men because their focus was to get out of danger.

“When he saw the blood, he told me I had been hit so he told me to climb over the seat and he got into the driver’s seat,” the woman said.

Police said they are looking for the driver of a stolen car who they think was the intended target of the shooting.

According to police, a stolen Nissan Altima was involved in a hit-and-run seconds after the shooting and then ditched the car two miles away. They said the stolen car had also been hit by bullets.

The woman said she is thankful that her injuries were not worse.

“I could have been dead the way the bullet came through the windshield. It was pointed right at me,” she said.

She said that it’s by the grace of God that she survived.

“It made me think about how close life and death is. You could be living one minute and dead the next minute. I think about that and I think about how He kept me,” the victim said.

Police said there is video of the car theft that they hope will lead them to the driver of the stolen car and the group of gunmen.

Ex-Braves GM banned for life by MLB; Atlanta loses prospects

Former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella has been banned for life by the MLB for meddling with international free-agent signings.

Coppolella’s punishment is part of discipline handed down by the league Tuesday for major infractions committed in the international free-agent market.

In addition, special assistant Gordon Blakeley has been suspended for one year.

In handing down the punishment, the league announced that Braves will forfeit rights to 13 international prospects, will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period and are restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.

The Braves issued a statement Tuesday evening, saying in part, that they fully cooperated with the investigation.

The highest-profile signee that the Braves will lose is infielder Kevin Maitan.

pic.twitter.com/9FGORxGnHk — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 21, 2017

Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Jenrry Mejia are the only other people on the MLB "banned for life" list.

Information from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.

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