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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."

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Police: Grandmother dropped child off at wrong daycare

Police investigators said a child who was dropped of at an Atlanta daycare Monday morning, was dropped off there by mistake.

Investigators said the boy's grandmother took him to Globe's Daycare on Myrtle Street, which is not his normal daycare.


Many questions remain as loved ones honor mother found dead Family: Someone put poison on child's slide Authorities hunting for former teacher accused of kidnapping 15-year-old student

The boy told workers that his name is Cameron and he is possibly 3 years old.

DFACS took custody of the child, and police are now searching for the boy's parent or guardian.

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!

Falcons “A City Waits” Video

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. 

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.

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