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Investigators: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce

State fire investigators said a Paulding County woman set her house on fire, causing the flames to spread to 19 other houses, including Auzalea Godfrey's.

Godfrey, a neighbor in the Greystone Subdivision, said she could not believe it.

"This is a person who I saw and said 'Good morning' to and 'How you doing?'" Godfrey said. "When she was going through hard times, I fed her and I even prayed with her."

TRENDING STORIES:

BLACK PANTHER: The Atlanta airport is now offering flights to Wakanda Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010 Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce

Paulding County Fire officials told Channel 2 Action News that Adrienne Satterly, 41, of Hiram, was going through a divorce. They said she lost the home to her ex, and she decided to torch it, using items available to her around 3:25 a.m. Sunday morning. 

"She stacked a pile of mattresses in the kitchen area of her home on Rosemont Court," said Georgia Deputy Fire Commissioner Jay Florence. "We believe she lit them on fire. She put not only herself but her neighbors and first responders in jeopardy."

Satterly left the house with her two cats, walked to Walmart and called 911, fire officials said. She now faces 14 counts of first-degree arson and three counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Firefighters say the fire destroyed four homes and damaged 16 other homes that suffered varying degrees of heat and smoke damage, firefighters said.

Neighbors told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi about how they ran out of their homes with almost nothing but their lives.

“I lost my two dogs, which is the hardest thing because material things can be replaced. But my dogs are my ... that breaks my heart,” Godfrey said.

Neighbors said they got no warning and woke up in a panic to the flames and smoke.

Shemiah Hedgebath, another resident in the neighborhood, said the flames were like something out of a horror movie. 

"I heard like a big boom," Hedgebeth said. "I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, what is this big boom, what is this big boom?' When I came out, this whole side was just up in flames."

Satterly is now in the Paulding County Jail, where she is being held without bond. She also faces one count of public drunkenness. 

CDC warning links kratom to salmonella outbreak across 20 states

A warning about an outbreak of illness linked to kratom, the controversial herbal supplement. 

Kratom is touted as an opioid alternative that can ease pain and elevate your mood, but in this case, officials say it's made dozens of people very sick.

"We are taking this outbreak very seriously," said Dr. Laura Gieraltowksi.

Gieraltowksi with Centers for Disease Control told Channel 2 Action News this is the first time they've seen salmonella in Kratom products.

TRENDING STORIES:

Uber Eats driver claims self defense in shooting that killed customer, attorney says 18-year-old sought in Cocoa motel homicide turns self in, police say Woman to whoever killed her boyfriend: ‘I hope (you're) being haunted'

Salmonella infections have been reported in 20 states. In 11 of those cases, those infected need to go to the hospital. Many of those interviewed reported to have consumed kratom before they got sick.

'We don't have any deaths luckily in this outbreak investigation, but we do have a high hospitalization rate, higher than we typically see," Gieraltowksi said.

Although this is the first time kratom has been linked to samonella, it's not surprising to disease detectives at the CDC.

"We have seen salmonella in other powders, and supplements so we think salmonella can survive in dried supplement products," Gieraltowksi said.

The CDC said until their investigation is complete, and they know more about the source of contaminated kratom, people should be not be taking it.

"We don't have a particular brand or supplier to warn people about, so the CDC is recommending people not take kratom in any form until we have more specific advice to give," Gieraltowksi said.

There have been no reported cases in Georgia, but there have been kratom salmonella infections in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.

CDC warning links kratom to salmonella outbreak across 20 states

A warning about an outbreak of illness linked to kratom, the controversial herbal supplement. 

Kratom is touted as an opioid alternative that can ease pain and elevate your mood, but in this case, officials say it's made dozens of people very sick.

"We are taking this outbreak very seriously," said Dr. Laura Gieraltowksi.

Gieraltowksi with Centers for Disease Control told Channel 2 Action News this is the first time they've seen salmonella in Kratom products.

TRENDING STORIES:

Uber Eats driver claims self defense in shooting that killed customer, attorney says 18-year-old sought in Cocoa motel homicide turns self in, police say Woman to whoever killed her boyfriend: ‘I hope (you're) being haunted'

Salmonella infections have been reported in 20 states. In 11 of those cases, those infected need to go to the hospital. Many of those interviewed reported to have consumed kratom before they got sick.

'We don't have any deaths luckily in this outbreak investigation, but we do have a high hospitalization rate, higher than we typically see," Gieraltowksi said.

Although this is the first time kratom has been linked to samonella, it's not surprising to disease detectives at the CDC.

"We have seen salmonella in other powders, and supplements so we think salmonella can survive in dried supplement products," Gieraltowksi said.

The CDC said until their investigation is complete, and they know more about the source of contaminated kratom, people should be not be taking it.

"We don't have a particular brand or supplier to warn people about, so the CDC is recommending people not take kratom in any form until we have more specific advice to give," Gieraltowksi said.

There have been no reported cases in Georgia, but there have been kratom salmonella infections in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.

Uber Eats driver accused of gunning down customer, breaks down in court

An Uber Eats driver accused of killing a customer cried when he appeared before a judge Tuesday.

Channel 2’s Tom Jones was in the courtroom when a judge told Robert Bivines she couldn't give him a bond since he faces felony murder and aggravated assault charges. 

Bivines lowered his head as the charges against him were read out loud. Jones said Bivines’ eyes began to water as he heard he wouldn't be getting a bond. He then took a seat and used a towel to wipe away his tears.

“He cannot stop crying,” Bivines’ attorney Jackie Patterson told Jones. 

Patterson said this incident has devastated his client.

RELATED STORIES:

Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010 Uber Eats driver claims self-defense in shooting that killed customer, attorney says Police: Uber Eats delivery flees after customer shot, killed in Buckhead “This is the lowest point of his life but I told him to hold on a change will be coming,” Patterson said.  It was Saturday night around 11:30 on Pharr Circle South in Buckhead when police said Bivines arrived to deliver food to Ryan Thornton, 30. Officers said there was an altercation and Bivines got in his car and shot Thornton several times as he walked away. Patterson said Thornton was angry over how long it took for his food to arrive. “Mr. Thornton came downstairs and jerked the food out of the window when my client gave it to him,” Patterson said.   Patterson said Thornton verbally threatened Bivines and came toward him with his hand in his pocket. He said his client had no choice but to defend himself.  Jones tried to get a comment from Thornton's family after court. “My sis... his mother has asked us not to comment at all. So we're going to respect their wishes,” one family member told Jones, not identifying themselves.  Bivines hopes a judge sets a bond when he heads back to court March 6.

Uber Eats driver accused of gunning down customer, breaks down in court

An Uber Eats driver accused of killing a customer cried when he appeared before a judge Tuesday.

Channel 2’s Tom Jones was in the courtroom when a judge told Robert Bivines she couldn't give him a bond since he faces felony murder and aggravated assault charges. 

Bivines lowered his head as the charges against him were read out loud. Jones said Bivines’ eyes began to water as he heard he wouldn't be getting a bond. He then took a seat and used a towel to wipe away his tears.

“He cannot stop crying,” Bivines’ attorney Jackie Patterson told Jones. 

Patterson said this incident has devastated his client.

RELATED STORIES:

Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010 Uber Eats driver claims self-defense in shooting that killed customer, attorney says Police: Uber Eats delivery flees after customer shot, killed in Buckhead “This is the lowest point of his life but I told him to hold on a change will be coming,” Patterson said.  It was Saturday night around 11:30 on Pharr Circle South in Buckhead when police said Bivines arrived to deliver food to Ryan Thornton, 30. Officers said there was an altercation and Bivines got in his car and shot Thornton several times as he walked away. Patterson said Thornton was angry over how long it took for his food to arrive. “Mr. Thornton came downstairs and jerked the food out of the window when my client gave it to him,” Patterson said.   Patterson said Thornton verbally threatened Bivines and came toward him with his hand in his pocket. He said his client had no choice but to defend himself.  Jones tried to get a comment from Thornton's family after court. “My sis... his mother has asked us not to comment at all. So we're going to respect their wishes,” one family member told Jones, not identifying themselves.  Bivines hopes a judge sets a bond when he heads back to court March 6.

Charities may not be donating as much money to groups as you think

Pennies on the dollar: Charities that say they are helping the nation's veterans but most of the money raised ends up elsewhere.

Channel 2’s Washington Bureau reporter Justin Gray found that these organizations are raising millions of dollars from well-meaning donors.

The names of the charities sound great. The fundraising letters and the websites are powerful. But the problem is that the vast majority of the money some of these groups are raising never gets to veterans in need.

Butch Kelly is on a fixed income but gives when and what he can. When he first got a letter from Disabled Veterans National Foundation, he sent back a check.

“You see 'disabled veterans' and think, 'Wow, these people are doing good work,'” Kelly said.

Disabled Veterans National Foundation's website is slick. There are videos and testimonials about work to help vets. But the organization's tax filings show that, out of every dollar donated, less than a quarter is actually going to programs that support veterans.

Daniel Borochoff monitors nonprofits at Charity Watch. The group gave Disabled Veterans National Foundation an F rating.

“They're basically taking money away from needy veterans,” Borochoff said.

Another watchdog, Charity Navigator gives it 0 out of 4 stars.

“They should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves,” Kelly said. 

The majority of the $27 million DVNF raised in 2016 went to mailings. 

Disabled Veterans National Foundation's headquarters is a building in suburban Washington DC. More than a month ago, Gray first reached out asking to talk to them about their finances. But they've repeatedly refused his requests for any kind of interview.   They did send a letter. It touts the military record of Purple Heart-winning CEO Joseph VanFonda who has been “working to revamp the organizations operations, programs, staff and fundraising practices.” 

The letter said, “DVNF is committed to transparency and accountability.” 

But VanFonda won't talk to Gray. And Charity Watch said the proof is in the numbers.

“You're really helping the telemarketer more than you're helping the veterans,” Borochoff said. 

DVNF is not alone. 

The Veterans Support Foundation gives less than a quarter out of every dollar to veterans. 

The president of Veterans Support Foundation, Keith King, said his organization provides housing for veterans in need

“We're proud of what we do once we have the money in the house, how we take care of that money, what we do with that money and I think that is as important, if not more important, than what it costs me to raise that money in the first place,” King said. 

King said money problems forced his charity to turn to telemarketers, who now get half of every dollar he raises.

TRENDING STORIES:

Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce Body wrapped in plastic found by sanitation workers Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010

“We had gotten to a point to where we were looking seriously to simply shut our doors,” King said. 

That's what Charity Watch said should happen.

“They should go out of operation,” Borochoff said. “They're just siphoning money out of the giving pool.” 

Money can be raised efficiently. At the National Military Family Association, 80 cents out of every dollar donated goes to programs. 

“It's important to ask the question, ‘How much of my dollar is going to support the people you say you serve?’” said NMFA’s Joyce Raezer. 

And if a charity doesn't have an answer, Borochoff said you should reconsider giving.

DVNF sent a response to Gray:

"You are correct, DVNF has made many changes and continues to make more.  We have professionalized the organization in many respects, starting with the hiring four years ago of Joseph VanFonda as CEO, upon his retirement, with the rank of Sergeant Major, from a 27-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. A recipient of the Purple Heart, VanFonda remained on active duty after being injured in combat. His final assignment in the Marine Corps was serving as the Regimental Sergeant Major for the Wounded Warrior Regiment, responsible for the coordination of non-medical case management for combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines.  

At DVNF, Mr. VanFonda who has been working to revamp the organization’s operations, programs, staff, and fundraising practices.  

As you and I discussed on the phone, charity evaluation sites are generally only able to rate a very large number of charities (more than 9,000 in the case of Charity Navigator) by using algorithm-driven data metrics and several yes/no questions.  They simply don’t have the resources for close evaluation of the effectiveness of individual charity’s programmatic activity.  Organizations like DVNF that don’t have large numbers of corporate donors and wealthy individuals and rely instead on direct mail—with its high overhead costs for printing, mailing and postage—often end up with zero stars even though they may run very fine programs that provide significant benefit to a large number of people.  We believe this is the case with DVNF.  

Also, please consider three other points about DVNF’s Charity Navigator rating:  

•    DVNF has low administrative costs.  Charity Navigator awards the highest score on this metric for organizations whose administrative costs are less than 15% of their total budget.  DVNF’s percentage is just 8.3%.   •    DVNF does not pay exorbitant executive salaries.  Charity Navigator says that an organization whose CEO’s compensation is 1% of the organization’s budget is an example of “tighter expense control.”  In DVNF’s case, the CEO’s compensation is less than half that:  0.49%.   •    DVNF also has strong year-to-year growth in program expenses, a good thing.  Charity Navigator awards the highest score on this metric for organizations whose growth in spending on programmatic activity exceeds 10%.  DVNF’s score is 11.4%.  •    DVNF is committed to transparency and accountability.  Charity Navigator awards four stars, the maximum, for any organization with a 90% score or better on accountability and transparency.  DVNF’s score is 96%.  Moreover, DVNF is a participant in the GuideStar Gold Transparency Program.  

One important indicator of DVNF’s progress in professionalizing the organization over the last few years is the fact that we have been awarded grants from several corporations and governmental agencies.  These grants are a vote of confidence in the value of our service to veterans and in the integrity of the organization.  

Another factor that offsets to some extent the high cost of direct mail is the fact that DVNF gets great “bang for the buck” for its programmatic spending.  So, for example, the Health & Comfort program, which sends shipments of health and hygiene supplies, clothing and toiletries to veteran stand-down events and veteran shelters around the country, distributes mostly donated products.  So, for a modest expenditure of staff time and transportation costs, many thousands of veterans benefit.  More than 20 stand-down events received distributions in 2017, and organizers tell us that these free distributions help to attract veterans to their events, where they can get other vital services like health screenings and benefits assistance from the VA.  

Similarly, the “Tailored for Troops” program distributes free suits and other business attire, donated by a corporate partner, to unemployed veterans who will have a much better chance at higher paying jobs if they can dress professionally.  That program also has impact that is out of proportion to the cost.     Another program that leverages our expenditures for maximum impact are our Capacity Building Grants, where DVNF selects highly promising veteran-service organizations and awards grants that are designed build the scale and long-term effectiveness of the organizations’ programs that directly serve veterans.  In 2017, 59 organizations were supported with significant grants.  These included organizations that provide very specific services one-on-one to disabled veterans, like adaptive bicycles, service dogs, advanced prosthetic devices, art therapy, etc.  

All told in 2017, DVNF supported more than 50,000 veterans through our programs, and we hope to keep doing even more to support the men and women who served in defense of our country going forward."

Major state tax overhaul could put more money in your pocket

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that one of the biggest tax overhauls in years could mean big savings for families.

If Georgia had done nothing after the federal tax overhaul, estimates show the state could collect nearly $5 billion in taxes over the next five years.

State leaders thought that was too much of a windfall, so they decided to give some back to taxpayers.

Deal was joined by other state lawmakers to announce his plans to introduce a plan to cut Georgia taxes after changes in the federal tax code inadvertently gave the state a huge tax windfall.

“We believe that this approach makes clear our intent to rather reduce the tax burden on the citizens of our state while simultaneously safeguarding the mechanisms that keep our economy growing in the right direction,” Deal told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot .

The plan doubles the standard deduction for all Georgia taxpayers starting in 2018. It also reduces the income tax rate for individuals and corporations from 6 percent to 5.7 percent in 2019 and could further cut to 5.5 percent by 2020, with lawmakers and the next governor’s approval.

TRENDING STORIES:

Man sentenced in brutal beating of college baseball player at popular Buckhead bar Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010 “A family of four earning the average household income in Georgia will see their taxes cut by more than 15 percent a year under this plan on average,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. The plan also includes the elimination of the jet fuel tax - something Clayton County officials worried about, since they’ve been collecting that sales tax for 20 years while officials with the FAA said they shouldn’t have. They worried that the state or Delta Air Lines might come back for all that money. But county commission chair Jeff Turner said the governor worked out a deal where the state and Delta would not hold Clayton County responsible for whatever was collected in the past. “So, we’re happy so far with what we’ve heard, but we definitely want to see the bill and see where do we from there,” Turner told Elliot. Clayton officials said the state now needs to come up with ways to help them make up the loss of that tax revenue. The Governor and other state leaders unveiled their plan to overhaul Georgia's tax code. The plan includes cuts in the income tax rates for individuals and corporations. More at 5. pic.twitter.com/BrJs9ghXui — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) February 20, 2018

Major state tax overhaul could put more money in your pocket

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that one of the biggest tax overhauls in years could mean big savings for families.

If Georgia had done nothing after the federal tax overhaul, estimates show the state could collect nearly $5 billion in taxes over the next five years.

State leaders thought that was too much of a windfall, so they decided to give some back to taxpayers.

Deal was joined by other state lawmakers to announce his plans to introduce a plan to cut Georgia taxes after changes in the federal tax code inadvertently gave the state a huge tax windfall.

“We believe that this approach makes clear our intent to rather reduce the tax burden on the citizens of our state while simultaneously safeguarding the mechanisms that keep our economy growing in the right direction,” Deal told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot .

The plan doubles the standard deduction for all Georgia taxpayers starting in 2018. It also reduces the income tax rate for individuals and corporations from 6 percent to 5.7 percent in 2019 and could further cut to 5.5 percent by 2020, with lawmakers and the next governor’s approval.

TRENDING STORIES:

Man sentenced in brutal beating of college baseball player at popular Buckhead bar Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010 “A family of four earning the average household income in Georgia will see their taxes cut by more than 15 percent a year under this plan on average,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. The plan also includes the elimination of the jet fuel tax - something Clayton County officials worried about, since they’ve been collecting that sales tax for 20 years while officials with the FAA said they shouldn’t have. They worried that the state or Delta Air Lines might come back for all that money. But county commission chair Jeff Turner said the governor worked out a deal where the state and Delta would not hold Clayton County responsible for whatever was collected in the past. “So, we’re happy so far with what we’ve heard, but we definitely want to see the bill and see where do we from there,” Turner told Elliot. Clayton officials said the state now needs to come up with ways to help them make up the loss of that tax revenue. The Governor and other state leaders unveiled their plan to overhaul Georgia's tax code. The plan includes cuts in the income tax rates for individuals and corporations. More at 5. pic.twitter.com/BrJs9ghXui — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) February 20, 2018

700 metro students see 'Black Panther' for free thanks to foundation

The buzz over ‘Black Panther' is sweeping across the metro. Much of the record-breaking Marvel blockbuster was shot here in metro Atlanta.

Hundreds of local students were all smiles Tuesday because they watched "Black Panther."

“The movie was very empowering. To show that, even if something comes your way, you can overcome it,” said ninth-grader Mekiaya Jones.

Seven-hundred students all came from school to Movie Tavern in Tucker. They packed every theater in the house to watch "Black Panther."

“He's a superhero. Awesome superhero. I like him,” said fourth-grader Brenan Bullard.

The field trip was funded by donations through the Phoenix Leadership Foundation

Phoenix Leadership Foundation’s Jay Bailey said a Marvel movie trailer opened his eyes.

“And I saw a black man who was a prince. Son of a king. Wealthy. Intelligent. His country led the world in technology and math and science. I was blown away,” Bailey said.

TRENDING STORIES:

Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce Body wrapped in plastic found by sanitation workers Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010

He wanted local students of all colors to see it.

“They showed a lot of woman empowerment. I like that. There were a lot of women, dominant figures in the movie,” Bailey said.

Much of the film was shot in and around Atlanta, including scenes at the Vulcan Materials Quarry in Stockbridge.

“The fact that the kids are loving the movie, and that we can be involved in such a blockbuster, makes it extra special,” said Carol Landrum of Vulcan Materials..

Spoiler alert: when you see the film, the scene shot out in metro Atlanta looks like the Himalayas and even had a muskox.

700 students take field trip to see Black Panther in DeKalb County. 445 pic.twitter.com/ld0ZTgE7Vm — Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) February 20, 2018

700 metro students see 'Black Panther' for free thanks to foundation

The buzz over ‘Black Panther' is sweeping across the metro. Much of the record-breaking Marvel blockbuster was shot here in metro Atlanta.

Hundreds of local students were all smiles Tuesday because they watched "Black Panther."

“The movie was very empowering. To show that, even if something comes your way, you can overcome it,” said ninth-grader Mekiaya Jones.

Seven-hundred students all came from school to Movie Tavern in Tucker. They packed every theater in the house to watch "Black Panther."

“He's a superhero. Awesome superhero. I like him,” said fourth-grader Brenan Bullard.

The field trip was funded by donations through the Phoenix Leadership Foundation

Phoenix Leadership Foundation’s Jay Bailey said a Marvel movie trailer opened his eyes.

“And I saw a black man who was a prince. Son of a king. Wealthy. Intelligent. His country led the world in technology and math and science. I was blown away,” Bailey said.

TRENDING STORIES:

Officials: Woman started massive Paulding fire after losing home in divorce Body wrapped in plastic found by sanitation workers Uber Eats driver accused of killing man was convicted of battery in 2010

He wanted local students of all colors to see it.

“They showed a lot of woman empowerment. I like that. There were a lot of women, dominant figures in the movie,” Bailey said.

Much of the film was shot in and around Atlanta, including scenes at the Vulcan Materials Quarry in Stockbridge.

“The fact that the kids are loving the movie, and that we can be involved in such a blockbuster, makes it extra special,” said Carol Landrum of Vulcan Materials..

Spoiler alert: when you see the film, the scene shot out in metro Atlanta looks like the Himalayas and even had a muskox.

700 students take field trip to see Black Panther in DeKalb County. 445 pic.twitter.com/ld0ZTgE7Vm — Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) February 20, 2018
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