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Atlanta Celebs Launch Grady Hospital Fundraiser

ATLANTA, Ga -- Grady Hospital is joining forces with several Atlanta celebrities for a new fundraising campaign.

Called "G2G" or "Give to Grady," the campaign kicked off Friday to raise awareness of and money for the Level I Trauma Center.

Jermaine Dupri, DJ Drama, Frank Ski, Rashan Ali, Chilli, Kandi, Bobby Valentino and Cristyle are all supporting the effort with a mass messaging event on Twitter and Facebook.                     

They are encouraging fans to text "GRADY" to 50555 to donate $5 to Grady Hospital.

Supporters can also make their donation at www.GradyHealthFoundation.org.

Fulton County Awarded over $3 Million from HUD to Help Stabilize Neighborhoods and Help Home Buyers

Atlanta, GA-- In Atlanta, like many cities, there are entire neighborhoods underwater and in foreclosure. For some of them, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program has literally been a lifeline. Georgia just received $50 million for its third installment of the funds.

"All of the recipients of NSP1 money in the state of Georgia have obligated 100 percent their money," said Edward Jennings, the Southeast Administrator for Housing and Urban Development.

On Wednesday, Atlanta city officials announced that they're getting nearly $5 million as part of the new infusion of HUD money. It will give even more people access to homes that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

"Giving people hope for the future," said Rep. Hank Johnson. "It's a classic shift from Wall Street to Main Street.

CNG Stations: If They Build Them, Will You Come?

ATLANTA -- Regular? Premium? Or natural gas? At the urging of the Georgia Public Service Commission, the Atlanta Gas Light Company has come up with a proposal to open several natural gas fueling locations in the City of Atlanta within a few years.

Which comes first: the vehicle or the fuel? When it comes to a projected natural gas transportation system, it's the fuel.

"We'll begin to build that infrastructure and the customers will come" said Donna Peeples, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Atlanta Gas Light Resources.

"You're confident that that's going to happen," 11Alive's Marc Pickard asked. 

"Absolutely," she said. "With the tax credits available and the reduction in fuel costs, the clean, abundant supply here domestically, it's a natural."

Bottleneck Threatens Atlanta's Rail Plans

ATLANTA -- A rail version of Atlanta's gridlocked Five Points is threatening a planned network of passenger rail lines just as the state is starting to make progress on a critical transit hub.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is seeking $4 million in federal funds to help rail planners figure out how to speed up the flow of freight and passenger trains through Howell Junction, an interchange in northwest Atlanta where five rail lines converge.

All of the potential solutions run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, said Erik Steavens, director of the DOT's Intermodal Division.

But until the agency chooses one and fixes the problem, the Multimodal Passenger Terminal being planned for downtown Atlanta will be a hub with no spokes.

"If we don't solve Howell Junction, we can't get to the MMPT with the trains," said David Doss, a member of the State Transportation Board. "It's not a small hurdle. It's a big one."

The Education of the Voters

ATLANTA -- Republican Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal unveiled his plans for the future of Georgia public education Tuesday afternoon.

The passing of the Labor Day holiday kicks off the traditional start of the general election season.

On this first day of the rest of the campaign, Mr. Deal came to downtown Atlanta talking education -- a $19 million deal that would give teachers more autonomy and more charter schools.

The GOP hopeful seeks to focus on science, math and technology coupled with fitness and nutrition.

One part of his plan is called "Move On When Ready," which would allow a teacher to determine if a student is ready to move up a grade during the school year.

"I think implementing the move on concept is one that will make a huge difference in the classroom," Deal said.

'Secure Communities' Rolls Out in Cobb, Fulton Counties

MARIETTA, GA -- A new federal program is going into effect in Cobb and Fulton Counties.  The program screens the fingerprints of people who are arrested against a national database, in an effort to verify their immigration status.  It's drawing praise and criticism.

Fingerprints are one of the few distinguishing features almost all of us have.  Being fingerprinted is an activity widely associated with being arrested for committing a crime.

Now, a new program, called Secure Communities, will run the fingerprints of those arrested, against a national database to check an inmate's immigration status.

Atlanta Dream 1 Win Away from Unlikely Spot in WNBA Finals

ATLANTA -- Only two years ago, the Atlanta Dream made WNBA history for the most losses in a season.

Now comes a shot at a record to brag about. The Dream are one win away from becoming the first expansion team to reach the WNBA finals in its third season.

The Dream will try to complete a two-game sweep of the New York Liberty in the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night. Seattle awaits the Atlanta-New York winner in the WNBA finals.

Atlanta finished 4-30 in its inaugural 2008 season. The Dream improved to 18-16 last season and lost to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs.

Even Atlanta's players are caught off-guard by this year's playoff run.

"At the start of the year I was wondering how good we could be and I had no thoughts we could be a champion," forward Iziane Castro Marques said after Monday's practice.

The expectations changed after the Dream opened the season with six straight wins.