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Kandi Burruss’ private escape is accented with pops of color

Fuschia in the family room. Red in the piano room and the dining room. Pops of color accent Kandi Burruss’ seven-bedroom, 9.5 bath home in southwest Atlanta.

The R&B singer, songwriter, producer and member of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast moved in to the house in 2013. The home’s amenities include an indoor pool, an elevator and a private spa behind the family room.

As spacious as the home is, Burruss — a native of College Park and a member of the music group Xscape — maintains homey touches, including hanging family photos of husband Todd Tucker and their kids on the columns leading to the family room.

Georgia mom’s post about 5-year-old paying rent sparks viral Facebook conversation

At the age of 5, most kids are still learning the basics of counting, but one Georgia mom has tasked her 5-year-old with not only counting but learning the art of financial planning.

Essence Evans has received international attention for her recent Facebook post, about requiring her 5-year-old daughter to pay toward the family’s rent, water, electricity, cable and food. Evans, who says she lives in Georgia, said in a Facebook post Jan. 14, that she gives her daughter a $7 allowance each week, so paying rent is a way to teach her some “real world” concepts.

“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves,” Evans wrote. “So, I make her give me $5 dollars back. $1 for rent $1 for water $1 for electricity $1 for cable and $1 for food.”

Her daughter gets to keep $2 for herself or for saving.

The post has since been shared more than 314,000 times, and there are more than 44,000 comments, mainly praising Evans’ efforts to teach her daughter responsibility. 

“I think this is absolutely amazing! It is a great way to teach her how the real world works and to get her a little savings account of her own so she has a good start when she moves out or goes to college or whatever she chooses to do,” Jennifer Barfield wrote in response to the post.

Cathy White Stark agreed, writing that Evans is “a fantastic parent! Kids are clueless how things work and yes,they have this sense of entitlement. ... Good job.”

Some supporters even told personal stories of how similar tactics served them well.

“My father did that with me. I never complained. But when he died. He left me close to $28,000.00 I was shocked,” wrote Jim Koloski.

While the chorus of praise resonates throughout most of social media, there have been some that call her methods a bit much for a 5-year-old.

Some applauded the general idea but critiqued Evans for charging her child for necessities, even if just a small fee.

Evans’ Facebook post and the conversation around it has been featured on “Loose Women,” a television program in the United Kingdom, and several online news sites.

Evans did not immediately return The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for comment.

Study says more pregnant women are smoking marijuana for morning sickness

A new study published Tuesday in the weekly Journal of the American Medical Association says that more pregnant women are using marijuana.

The study, which looked at pregnant females in California from 2009 to 2016, found that trends in marijuana use among them increased overall in that time period. KABC reported that the study suggested some women use the drug to alleviate morning sickness and anxiety.

>> Read more trending news 

“Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy, and its use is increasing,” the study said. “From 2002 to 2014, the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among U.S. adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent. In aggregated 2002-2012 data, 14.6 percent of U.S. pregnant adolescents reported past-month use.” Data from nearly 280,000 women was used in the study. 

The publication said, however, that the data are limited and come from self-reported surveys and “likely underestimate use due to social desirability bias and underreporting.”

The data come from toxicology reports and a combination of self-reports in which pregnant females say they have used marijuana and positive toxicology reports.

The legalization of marijuana may have contributed to the increase in use found by the study, KABC reported.

Despite the trends found in the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against using marijuana when pregnant, planing to become pregnant and breastfeeding, as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can negatively affect a baby’s development. 

Opioids now kill more Americans than guns or breast cancer, CDC says

For the second year in a row, U.S. life expectancy has dropped, a trend largely attributed to the surge in fatal opioid overdoses, federal health officials reported Thursday.

More than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdose in 2016 and 42,249 of those deaths involved opioids, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between 2015 and 2016, the U.S. saw a 28 percent increase of fatal opioid overdoses. In 2015, more than 52,400 deaths were attributed to drug overdoses and 33,000 of them involved opioids.

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m not prone to dramatic statements,” Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, told NPR. “But I think we should be really alarmed. The drug overdose problem is a public health problem and it needs to be addressed. We need to get a handle on it.”

The last time the life expectancy in the U.S. dropped was in 1993, because of the AIDS epidemic. The rate hasn't fallen for two consecutive years in the U.S. since the 1960s, NPR reported.

Related: Could medical marijuana help fight the opioid epidemic?

According to the CDC, much of the increase in fatal opioid overdoses was driven by the rise in illegal synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as fentanyl and tramadol. The rate of overdose deaths involving these synthetic opioids doubled between 2015 and 2016, from 3.1 per 100,000 in 2015 to 6.2 per 100,000.

Opioids are defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a class of drugs that bind to opioid receptors on cells in the brain and throughout the body, and cells that may control your digestion, pain and other functions.

The body already contains some opioid chemicals, like endorphins, which help relieve pain and give you that positive feeling after exercise. But when opioid drugs attach to the cell receptors in the brain, they can dull your perception of pain even more, which is why some opioid drugs are prescribed by physicians for patients with severe injuries.

Misuse of opioids starts when prescription opioid drugs or illegal opioids, like heroin, are used to feel euphoric. The misuse of opioids can lead to addiction and can potentially be fatal.

Each year since 2013, the rate of deadly overdoses from synthetic opioids other than methadone have increased by an average of 88 percent. Heroin claimed more than 15,000 lives in 2016, compared to nearly 13,000 in 2015.

Related: Doctors and the opioid crisis: An AJC National Investigation

By comparison, opioids killed more people in 2016 than car crashes (about 37,400), guns (about 38,000) or breast cancer (about 40,000).

Twenty-two states plus Washington, D.C., had overdose death rates higher than the average of 19.8 fatalities per 100,000 people.

West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania were among the worst.

Drug mortality has increased among all age groups since 1999, but it's currently highest among those ages 25 to 54. 

“It’s even worse than it looks,” Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University, told the Washington Post. Research has shown that the actual number of opioid deaths could be at least 22 percent higher than the figures reported.

“We could easily be at 50,000 opioid deaths last year,” Humphreys said. “This means that even if you ignored deaths from all other drugs, the opioid epidemic alone is deadlier than the AIDS epidemic at its peak.”

There's more to Johns Creek than the troubling tales of R. Kelly

Give Johns Creek some love. It's been a long year in the media for the north Atlanta suburb thanks to one famous resident.

RELATED: Fulton DA: No investigation into R. Kelly 'cult' claims at this time

There has been a lot of coverage in 2017 of famed singer R. Kelly - who this time last year was celebrating his forthcoming Christmas album in an interview with Melissa Ruggieri - and the specifics of his living situation with a group of women who share his Johns Creek home. An extensive feature on Buzzfeed told a strange tale of alleged brainwashing and kidnapping and raised the possibility that Kelly "held women against their will in a cult" in the home. After the Buzzfeed break, the story was covered by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Complex, Mic, USA Today, Variety, NBC Washington and many others.

Most of the stories mentioned Johns Creek, and it's never flattering to be mentioned in the same sentence as "sex cult" and "brainwashing."

The city's mayor, Mike Bodker, is the first to admit that he was shocked to hear the news. "We're all sensitive to anything that feels like human trafficking. As a police force, we'd be doing even more to investigate any allegations in that vein. In this particular case, we've mostly handed everything over to the FBI, and are in a supporting role from here."

So, let’s offer the world a little more information about Johns Creek. Here are some things you should know about the city north of Atlanta, wedged between Roswell, Alpharetta, Duluth and Norcross, some of it straight from Mayor Bodker:

When the story broke, the mayor asked, "Who's R. Kelly?"

"When the story broke, I had to ask 'who's R. Kelly?'" Bodker says. Though he has gotten to know many famous residents during his time as mayor, Bodker had never even heard of the singer prior to the controversy. "I don't know a thing about pop music. Not a thing."

There are other famous residents of Johns Creek.

In addition to R. Kelly's home, Johns Creek is also home to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, singer and actor Usher Raymond, television personalities Karen Greer and Russ Spencer, "a dozen" active Falcons, Braves and Hawks, as well as Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Leo Mazzone. TLC's Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopez lived in Johns Creek prior to her death, as did singing legend Whitney Houston.

Mayor-ing here is (supposed to be) part-time work.

You'll have to forgive an overworked government official for not having taken the time to listen to the “Space Jam” soundtrack. In Johns Creek, like in most other cities in Georgia, the office of mayor is budgeted as a part-time job. Of course, Bodker points out it's the kind of part time job that requires 40 or more hours each week.

RELATED: Study claims Johns Creek is 4th best American city to live in

But 40 hours spent in Johns Creek each week are 40 little blessings.

"People who first hear of Johns Creek because of R. Kelly should stick around to find out that residents of Johns Creek have one of the highest average incomes in the state. And that the city is known for its schools, and for ranking as the safest city in Georgia, and among the top safety cities nationwide," says Bodker.

Been at a left hand turn with its own lane, and gotten the yellow flashing yield arrow?

Johns Creek says you're welcome for the convenience. "We're a great place to pilot programs in Georgia. We were the pilot city for the yellow flashing lights for left hand turns that has since spread around the rest of the state. We're open to trying things out here," says Bodker.

RELATED: America’s second largest church is in N. Fulton 

Is there a right way to quit your job? (Yes, believe it or not)

When you think it's time to leave your job, how do you depart in a way that avoids personal and professional repercussions?

There’s no perfect way, but there are some smart moves to make your exit smooth, easier on your soon-to-be former boss and a breeze for you, said Forrest Wildes, director of strategic accounts for Harris Waste Management Group, a company based in Georgia.

RELATED: Straight talk: 13 things never to say in your job interview

"I would advise the person to make sure that they have considered all the pros and cons about the job they have and that their decision is final," Wildes said.

"I would suggest a meeting with your boss and explain that, for whatever reason, you feel led to take another job or you are moving or whatever the reason," Wildes added. 

Below, other career experts offer insight on the three significant things to consider when you decide to call it quits with your job.

Consider yourself

Will this decision lead you on the right path? Will you regret quitting, considering the consequences? Are you fearful? Do you feel guilty? 

If you are certain this decision is right, you may want to follow these suggestions from IdealistCareers.org:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally by listing three things about your current job that make you feel grateful and three things about your new venture that excite you.
  2. List briefly why this transition is right for you in order to build closure and acknowledge the present in a positive way while mentally preparing you for the future.
  3. Create a loose transition plan for your boss, listing your biggest responsibilities, the status of any ongoing projects and a back-up point of contact for your work. Whether or not your boss accepts your plan, by being positive and proactive, you will show respect for the organization and lessen the chance of getting a negative reaction.
  4. Envision what you can do to make the transition easier on the team, and list a few goals you plan to accomplish before your last day; but set reasonable boundaries for yourself such as not extending the standard two-week notice.

Consider your employer

  1. Arrange a short, in-person meeting with your manager.
  2. Use the "compliment sandwich" method: Sandwich the news that you are leaving between the positive of what you are grateful for during your time there and the proactive transition plan you've created. Don't try to control his/her reaction to your news.

Consider your family

How will leaving your job affect your family? Have you discussed your plans with them before you do the final deed of submitting your notice? Have you secured another job before submitting your notice? If not, do you have enough in savings to carry you and your family through until you can secure another job?

Final word, according to Wildes:

"Leave under good conditions if at all possible. Never burn the bridge if you can help it. You never know when you may need a reference or even need your old job back!"

Cox Media Group ‘A Day in the Life’ Program

Experience A Day In The Life Of Media with Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio.

Cox Media Group, Inc. created the Day in the Life experience to give students and recent graduates an opportunity to learn, first-hand, what a day in media looks like. You will spend the day learning from industry professionals, touring the facility, attending meetings, networking and participating in a workshop.

The program is open to those who have demonstrated superior academic achievement and are committed to a career in media.

Application requirements include:

-Availability for a full-day in the life experience on the specified date.

-A copy of your current resume or (CV) Curriculum Vitale.

-Earned a minimum GPA of 3.2 overall in an undergraduate major based on a 4-point scale or any scale analogous to a 4-point grading scale. 

For more information e-mail: ATLRadioDITL@coxinc.com. 

Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website

Equifax linked people to a fake online site that mimicked the link for its own site on its massive Sept. 7 security breach that affected 143 million Americans.

>> Read more trending news

After the breach, which involved Social Security numbers and other key identifying information, Equifax set up a site, equifaxsecurity2017.com, that directed people to information on the hacking incident and links to sign up for free credit monitoring and other protections the company is offering.

But in several tweets in recent days, a company employee directed people to a fake site that flipped the name of the site and sent people to a similar-appearing site.

>> Related: Clark Howard: 10 things you need to know about the Equifax data breach

Rather than being a phishing site that could have reaped unsuspecting folks’ personal data yet again, it was set up by Nick Sweeting, a software engineer, according to news reports.

People who clicked on the link got this headline: “Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information Which is Totally Fake, Why Did Equifax Use A Domain That’s So Easily Impersonated By Phishing Sites?”

>> Related: Report: Feds investigating top Equifax executives’ stock trading

Sweeting told the New York Times his site received more than 200,000 hits before he took it down Wednesday evening.

Equifax apologized for the mistake. “All posts using the wrong link have been taken down. To confirm, the correct website is https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. We apologize for the confusion,” the company said in a statement.

The company also warned people to watch for fake websites and emails targeting Equifax customers and people responding to the hacking incident.

“These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Equifax and the emails may link to websites purporting to be operated by Equifax,” said the company.

Trump pressured Mexican president to drop public opposition of border wall

President Donald Trump urged Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to refrain from saying outright that Mexico will not pay to build a wall between their two countries, according to a transcript of the call published Thursday by The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news

Trump touted his proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico in the race to the White House, making it a central campaign promise and vowing to make America’s southern neighbor pay for the wall.

But during a Jan. 27 phone call with Pena Nieto Trump admitted that funding would have to come from other sources, telling the Mexican president that “it will work out in the formula somehow,” according to the Post transcript.

“The fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall – I have to,” Trump said.

He urged Pena Nieto to stop saying that Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall and threatened to cut communications should he refuse.

“What I would like to recommend is – if we are going to have continued dialogue – we will work out the wall,” Trump said. “They are going to say, ‘Who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?’ to both of us, and we should both say, ‘We will work it out.’”

The two leaders spoke one day after Pena Nieto cancelled a planned trip to the U.S. and reiterated his refusal to have Mexico pay for the border wall.

For his part, Pena Nieto said he would be willing to work with Trump to find a solution for both countries, but warned that Trump had put “a very big mark on our back … regarding who pays for the wall.”

“This is what I suggest, Mr. President – let us stop talking about the wall,” Pena Nieto said. “I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been, and will continue to be, very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.”

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump replied. “The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that.”

The transcript was one of two reportedly prepared by the White House and released by the Post.

In a separate call on Jan. 28, a conversation between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull turned contentious after they clashed over the issue of refugees. Trump characterized the conversation as “ridiculous.”

The White House did not immediately comment on the transcripts.

Donald Trump's childhood home sells for 'yuge' profit

A real estate prospector just profited big-league from the sale of President Donald Trump's childhood home.

>> PHOTOS: Donald Trump’s childhood home

According to CNN, the 2,500-square-foot New York Tudor has a new owner just three months after Michael Davis bought the property in Queens' Jamaica Estates neighborhood for $1.4 million. Last week, an unnamed bidder reportedly shelled out $2.14 million for the home where Trump lived until he was about 4.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Donald Trump's childhood home goes on auction block

The house, built by Trump's father, Fred Trump, has "a brick and stucco exterior and an old-world charm interior featuring arched doorways, hardwood floors, five bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, library, living room with fireplace, formal dining room, basement and more," Paramount Realty USA said in the listing.

>> Read more trending news

Read more here or here.

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