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UPDATE: Popular Atlanta restaurant passes re-inspection with score of 88

UPDATE: PittyPat’s Porch restaurant has passed a re-inspection by the Georgia Department of Public Health with a score of 88.

The Southern restaurant, in its 50th year of service, failed a late December inspection including uncovered food in the walk-in cooler and inadequate handwashing.

Many of the violations were addressed the day of the inspection, owner Guy Thomson said, and others were repaired between the failing inspection and Thursday’s passing inspection.

The restaurant will also paint a door, repair a sink and fix “a few other minor items” in order to reach a score in the “high 90s”the next time they are inspected, Thomson said.

UPDATE: PittyPat’s Porch will be re-inspected by the Georgia Department of Public Health on Friday after failing a late December inspection.

The issues that caused the restaurant to fail were resolved on the day of the inspection and allowed dinner service to occur as planned, owner Guy Thomson said. 

The restaurant was asked to voluntarily close after the December inspection, but chose not to because the issues were “minor and easily correctable,” Thomson said. 

“We had a very busy night and everything went well,” he said in an email.

The inspector’s report said an “intervention meeting” had been scheduled, but instead a follow-up inspection was scheduled, Thomson said. 

All violations in the December report have been “either fixed or rectified” and the restaurant expects to be in full compliance for its follow-up inspection Friday, Thomson said.

PittyPat’s Porch refused to voluntarily close after failing its second health inspection within a year, a report from the Georgia Department of Public Health said. 

The downtown Atlanta restaurant scored a 69/U on its Dec. 30 inspection. Violations included inadequate handwashing and handwashing stations, leaking pipes and uncovered food in a walk-in cooler. 

PittyPat’s Porch 25 Andrew Young International Blvd.  Atlanta, GA 30303 Score: 69 Read the full report here.

The restaurant manager refused to close the restaurant after the health inspector asked him to voluntarily do so, the report said. 

PREVIOUSLY: Popular Atlanta comfort food spot re-inspected after flies reported MORE: Midtown gastropub re-inspected after molded bacon kabobs reported

The inspector and the manager, Charles Dorough, were scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday for an “intervention meeting,” according to the report. Dorough was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Coyote in Piedmont Park concerns neighbors

A coyote seen Tuesday in Piedmont Park may be looking for a mate or for food.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Robin Hill said a biologist saw a coyote in the park on Saturday and people were feeding it, which is not advised.

“They think the coyote might be sticking around because of the opportunity to get food from people in the park,” Hill said. “The biologist believes the coyote to be a young adult and they hope that if people stop feeding it, it will eventually move on to another location.”

RELATED: Trapper catches 45-pound coyote in Sandy Springs neighborhood

Neighbor Jeff Porubsky told the television station he’d never seen a wild coyote before and he’s concerned for his children and little dogs. 

Timothy Herdina spotted it on Christmas day. 

“It was definitely surprising to see it,” he said. 

He told Channel 2 he hopes someone can help return it to its natural habitat, despite how friendly it's been. 

“He's not very big, and he was very docile and didn’t seem like he wanted any interaction with humans, but probably should be relocated,” Herdina said.

Experts with the Atlanta Coyote Project say that it's mating season and coyotes pose little risk to people as long as no one is feeding them. 

“If they start getting access to food, as associating people with food, they’ll start to overcome their wariness of humans and they’ll start to expect food,” expert Chris Mowry said.

RELATED: Rabid coyote attacks person in Roswell

Tex McIver surrenders at Fulton jail after being charged in wife’s death

Atlanta attorney Claud “Tex” McIver turned himself in at the Fulton County jail Wednesday night after Atlanta police charged him with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct in the shooting death of his wife, businesswoman Diane McIver.

McIver shot his wife in the back as the couple rode in their SUV near Piedmont Park, late on the night of Sept. 25. He was in the back seat and she in the front when his .38-caliber revolver discharged. She died later that night at the hospital.

McIver has said the shooting was an accident. Atlanta police have been investigating for the better part of three months.

The involuntary manslaughter charge is a felony, police said. The reckless conduct charge is a misdemeanor.

“This has completely destroyed his life,” John “Spike” McIver, Tex’s brother, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning. “This was his life mate. They were inseparable. This was a horrible accident.”

Spike McIver said his brother called him last night to say that he’d heard the warrants were being issued and that he was trying to arrange for booking at the jail. 

“He’s very depressed about it,” McIver said of his brother. “He keeps getting hit over and over from one direction and another. ... He’s upset that this is occurring on Christmas week. They could’ve waited, but they work in strange ways.”

McIver’s attorney, Steve Maples, told the AJC that the charges don’t make sense to him.

“We’re very, very disappointed,” Maples said. “We feel it was an accident. Hopefully the grand jury would dismiss it when they hear the evidence.

“He was not doing anything in a reckless or negligent manner.”

He described his client as “very, very embarrassed and very, very humiiliated” by the charges. “Tex said this was the second worst day of his life,” Maples said.

He also noted that neither of the charges suggest that McIver had any malice toward his wife nor intent to cause her harm.

Andrew Ward, a longtime friend of McIver’s, said Wednesday that the couple adored each other.“

This was a tragic accident. If it has to go through court to prove that, so be it,” said Ward, who has known McIver for more than a decade. “He meant no harm to Diane. … I would not hesitate to be a witness in court to support their wonderful relationship.”

Thursday will be McIver’s 74th birthday, his lawyer said.

TIMELINE

February 27, 1990: Three teenagers accuse Claud “Tex” McIver of firing shots into the air and into their Ford Mustang outside his DeKalb County home.  

May 1990: Tex McIver is indicted in DeKalb County on three counts of aggravated assault as well as other lesser charges in the shooting incident. Prosecutors would go on to drop the case after the parties decided to settle privately.  

July 31, 2000: Tex McIver and his first wife are divorced.  

November 2005: Tex McIver and Diane Smith are married. 

 Sept. 25, 2016: Tex McIver shoots Diane in their SUV near Piedmont Park. She dies early the next morning at Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road.  

Sept. 26, 2016: An autopsy performed on Diane McIver determines she died of a gunshot wound to the back. The medical examiner declares the incident a homicide.  

Sept. 30. 2016: Bill Crane, a spokesman for Tex McIver, says the lawyer shot his wife accidentally after the Ford Expedition they were riding in hit a bump. Crane told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the McIvers became alarmed and took their .38-caliber revolver from the console after individuals approached the vehicle. Crane said the McIvers were also worried about unrest surrounding recent Black Lives Matter protests in the area. 

Oct. 6, 2016: In his first public comments on the case, Tex McIver tells The AJC that the shooting was an accident. McIver’s lawyer, Stephen Maples, also says some details provided by Crane about the night of the shooting were wrong. Maples said there was never a concern about Black Lives Matter. And he disputes that the gun went off after the SUV struck a bump. Instead he says Tex McIver was startled awake and the gun, which was in his lap, went off.  

Oct. 24, 2016: State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, issues a letter to Senate leaders calling for the removal of Tex McIver as vice chairman of the state Board of Elections.  

Nov. 2, 2016: Dani Jo Carter, a friend of Diane McIver who was driving the couple the night of the shooting, speaks for the first time. Carter says the SUV was stopped when the gun went off.

Google says Prince trumped Trump in Atlantans' searches for 2016

Google recently released its Year in Search 2016, revealing the most-searched topics around the world.

The five top-searched items around the globe? Pokémon GO, iPhone 7, Donald Trump, Prince and Powerball.

RELATED: Everything Atlanta needs to know about 'Pokemon Go'

Globally, Donald Trump was the most-searched person of 2016 and the U.S. election was the most-searched news topic.

In Atlanta, the top five searches were the Powerball, Prince, Hurricane Matthew, Donald Trump and the election.

RELATED: Remembering Prince: 5 most memorable tributes

Here’s more on what Atlantans Googled the most in 2016:

Top trending searches:

1. Powerball

2. Prince

3. Hurricane Matthew

4. Donald Trump

5. Election

RELATED: This Atlanta stylist dressed up as Prince for Halloween and the resemblance is uncanny 

Top trending news:

1. Election

2. Olympics

3. Super Bowl

4. World Series

5. Primary Results

RELATED: Atlanta 1996 Olympics: How the venues look now 

Top trending people:

1. Donald Trump

2. Hillary Clinton

3. Michael Phelps

4. Bernie Sanders

5. Simone Biles

RELATED: That time when Donald Trump saved a Georgia farm 

Top trending movies:

1. “Suicide Squad”

2. “Batman v Superman”

3. “Finding Dory”

4. “The Revenant”

5. “Captain America: Civil War”

 

Top trending "near me:"  

1. Voting polls near me

2. Hibachi near me

Browse Google’s Year in Search 2016 to learn more about what folks around the state, nation and globe were searching the most this year.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals: William Sallie to be executed

JACKSON

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for Georgia death row inmate William Sallie, clearing the way for him to become the ninth inmate Georgia puts to death this year.

Sallie was scheduled to die by lethal injection this evening at 7, but Georgia does not act until all courts have weighed in, which usually puts the actual time of death well into the night and sometimes into the early morning hours of the next day.

This afternoon, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously denied Sallie’s request for a stay of execution. His lawyers then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the high court had previously turned him down.

As he waited, Sallie ate all of what he’d requested for his final meal — pizza — and visited with six family members, four friends, three members of the clergy and four paralegals.

Sallie, 50, has repeatedly failed to get any court to consider his claim of juror bias, and on Monday the State Board of Pardons and Paroles also rejected that argument and refused to grant a stay of execution.

Sallie was convicted in Bacon County of murdering his father-in-law John Moore in 1990, shooting and wounding his mother-in-law Linda Moore, and kidnapping his estranged wife and her sister.

Sallie broke into his in-laws’ home — where his wife, Robin, and their 2-year-old son, Ryan, were sleeping — after he lost a custody battle and his wife filed for divorce.

In court filings and a clemency petition, Sallie’s lawyers wrote that the domestic turmoil in William and Robin Sallie’s lives was much like that lived by a juror who denied ever being embroiled in a volatile marriage, a custody dispute or domestic violence.

When the woman was questioned during jury selection for the Sallie murder trial, she said her marriages — four of them — had ended amicably.

Sallie’s lawyers said that was false, contending in their clemency petition that the juror fought with soon-to-be ex-husbands over child custody and support payments and lived with domestic abuse.

That juror also told an investigator for Sallie’s lawyers that she pushed six fellow jurors to change their votes from life in prison to death, making the jury’s decision unanimous.

In numerous filings, Sallie’s lawyers have tried to get a hearing on the issue of juror bias, which has not been argued in any court because Sallie missed a critical deadline to bring that appeal.

Sallie’s attorney Jack Martin said that deadline came at a time when Sallie did not have a lawyer, as Georgia law does not mandate that the state pay for appellate attorneys for death row inmates.

Martin said former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher told the Parole Board about Georgia’s history of not providing lawyers for condemned inmates.

Fletcher wrote an op-ed in The New York Times this week — “Georgia’s dangerous rush to execution” — in which he talked about problems inherent in Georgia’s application of the death penalty.

“A door that would have been open to Mr. Sallie in almost any other state was closed to him in Georgia,” Fletcher wrote of the state’s refusal to provide people with legal counsel. “If it were open, he would be able to present the

facts about his trial, which appear to show serious problems with juror bias.”

Once Sallie is executed, Georgia will almost double its record for the number of executions carried out in a year since the death penalty was reinstated here in 1973. Georgia executed five people last year and also in 1987.

Georgia also leads the nation in executions this year.

Secret Santa drops $1K gold coin in red kettle for what might be second year in a row

The Salvation Army Corps of Springfield, Ohio, got a kick start to its holiday fundraising when they found a gold coin worth $1,000 in one of its red kettles.

It’s the second time in two years that a South African gold coin wrapped in a $100 bill has been dropped in a red kettle at the Kroger store on Bechtle Avenue, Salvation Army Resource Developer Ryan Ray said.

>> Read more trending stories

Around the same time last year, a gold coin valued at $1,200 was dropped in the bucket, Ray said.

The Salvation Army never figured out who dropped the coin, he said.

The Red Kettle Campaign kicked off on Nov. 4 and runs through Christmas Eve.

More than 800 Clark County families signed up for Christmas assistance through the Springfield Salvation Army office this year, Ray said.

Money raised in the kettles goes toward community programming for the Salvation Army throughout the year. The organization says that for every dollar donated to the Salvation Army in Clark County, 83 cents goes back to the community.

Police: Child taken along for ride as 4 people rob Central Florida home

Four thieves burglarized a Central Florida home while a child sat in the back seat of a getaway car, police said.

The burglary happened during the middle of the day Tuesday in the Orlando suburb of Ocoee.

Thanks to astute neighbors, the thieves only made it about three miles down the road, police said.

Officers said they caught the culprits and found the stolen items and the child, who is younger than 10.

According to a charging affidavit, neighbors called police after they watched the car with the four people inside pull up to the home.

The affidavit also said one woman got out and banged on the door, and when no one answered, the two men inside the car got out and, "ran up to the door and kicked it open.”

Police said the culprits ran out of the home with a briefcase, got in the car and drove away.

Neighbors said it is important to look out for each other.

"I think it's great I think we need to do that," neighbor Alice Nice said.

The child was placed in the custody of relatives.

Detectives said they are working on charging Kameron Allen, Tyshira Davis, Kiara Jackson and Joshua Joseph with child endangerment.

The four were arrested and charged with burglary and remain in the Orange County Jail.   

No injuries were reported.

Man,mistaken for deer, shot, killed by brother on hunting trip

An Atlanta man was shot and killed Saturday by his brother while on a hunting trip with family members in South Carolina, an official said.

The brother of Brian Gregory Pickle, 30, mistook him for a small doe or a coyote, Union County Sheriff David Taylor said Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Pickle and Scott Leonard Pickle had the same Roswell Road address, Taylor said. Their father, who lives in Arlington Heights, Ill., also was in the hunting party.

>> Read more trending stories  

The incident happened shortly before 6 p.m., not long before nightfall on land leased for hunting, Taylor said. Because darkness was near, Pickle’s brother said he felt limited in time to take a shot, never thinking it could’ve been a person, Taylor said.

“We see these types of accidents all too frequently,” Taylor said.

The autopsy showed that the victim died of a gunshot wound to the head, coroner William Holcombe said.

“It was a family hunting outing turned horribly tragic,” the coroner said.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident.

Virginia Hepner, Woodruff Arts Center CEO, stepping down

Virginia Hepner, CEO and president of the Woodruff Arts Center, and a leader who guided the arts organization through a successful $110 million “transformation” campaign, announced Friday she will be leaving the Woodruff next spring.

That day, May 31, 2017, will mark five years since Hepner took the reigns at the Woodruff, an organization that includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art.

 

The summer of 2012, when Hepner arrived, was a contentious time, marked by bitter labor disputes with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a Woodruff management thunderstruck to discover that an employee had embezzled $1 million.

Hepner came on board after a 25-year career in the banking industry, and began straightening those numbers out. She also presided over the appointment of new leadership at the arts center, as Rand Suffolk became the new director of the High Museum and Jennifer Barlament the new executive director of the symphony.

Under Hepner’s guidance the Woodruff negotiated contracts with the symphony that ended a lockout, and promised an endowment campaign to stop the orchestra from shrinking.

That $25 million endowment drive was part of the $100 million Transformation Campaign, an ambitious bid to completely renovate the Alliance Theatre, rebuild the symphony, underwrite educational and outreach programs at the High and create a steady flow of dividends that would take pressure off operating expenses.

The completion of that campaign — with $10 million to spare — was announced early this month.

“Virginia Hepner has done a tremendous job of leading the Arts Center over the last four-plus years,” said Doug Hertz, chairman of the Governing Board of the Woodruff Arts Center, in a statement. “The arts center is in a much stronger position today as a result of her commitment to our art, her willingness to take on some of the difficult issues the arts center has been facing and her incredible energy.”

With a budget close to $100 million a year, the Woodruff Arts Center is the largest arts organization in the Southeast and one of the three largest in the country. In an interview Friday Hepner said she has no plans beyond working from now until May 31 to get the center’s ducks in a row. After that she’s looking forward to a vacation in an unnamed part of the world.

“I can’t imagine I’ll ever retire,” said the 59-year-old, who imagines she’ll be part of the arts in one way or another for the rest of her life. “At the end of the day I’m a business person who believes in arts and culture.”

 Virginia Hepner, Woodruff Arts Center CEO, stepping down

College student becomes youngest elected to Florida House of Representatives

Amber Mariano cut her four classes on Tuesday, but the third-year political science major at the University of Central Florida more than likely won’t be penalized by her professors. In fact, she might get extra credit.

>> Read more trending stories

Not only was she studying the political process, she was winning at it.

Mariano, a Republican candidate who turned 21 on Oct. 18, became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida House of Representatives, winning District 36 by 719 votes over incumbent Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy. Before Mariano, the youngest person elected to the Florida House was Adam Putnam, who was 22 when he won in 1996 and is now Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture.

“It was honestly the best night of my life,” Mariano told WFTS.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the margin was 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent out of 66,939 ballots cast in Pasco County, located north of the Tampa Bay area — according to final but unofficial results.

Mariano the youngest of any gender since 1996, when Adam Putnam, then 22, won his first statehouse race.

According to her website, Mariano gained experience on the issues of education and health care during her time working for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Washington, D.C. During the 2016 Florida legislative session, she worked for state representatives Rene “Coach P” Plasencia and Scott Plakon. She received endorsements from Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Mariano, who plans to attend law school after graduation, is no stranger to politics. Her father, Jack Mariano, won re-election to a fourth term as a Pasco County commissioner.

“We didn’t expect this opportunity to present itself so quickly in her life,” Jack Mariano told WFTS. “But I will tell you at 6 years old she said she wanted to be the first woman president.

“So it’s been in her blood from way back when.”

“He says I’m leapfrogging him. He just wanted me to follow my dream,” Amber Mariano told WFTS.  “And this is my dream.” 

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