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11Alive Help Desk Wipes Out Double Fines for Parking Tickets

ATLANTA -- The 11Alive Help Desk made a unique request to the Atlanta Municipal Court, and it could save you a bundle.

It involves hundreds of people who got Atlanta parking tickets from mid-July to mid-September and now have to pay double the fines.

One of them was Katha Dewees.

She got her parking ticket at Hartsfield-Jackson as she waited at curbside.

She tried to pay the $25 fine but couldn't pay it either online or by phone.

Her fine doubled to $50.

"I called the number that was listed on the ticket. I put the citation number in. It said citation number not found. Then I tried to talk to a person. Every time I would take the option to talk to an operator it would disconnect me," Dewees said.

The Help Desk found that a computer virus had crippled the Atlanta Municipal Court touch tone and online system for much of the summer.

The Gloved One: Tech Researchers Hone Fingertip Musicianship

ATLANTA -- Tanya Markow is a Georgia Tech researcher who has mastered a gizmo called the music mobile touch glove.

The glove is equipped with tiny vibrating motors in each finger, with the goal of teaching the glove wearer to play, in this case, the first 15 notes of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

"We've discovered that when people put the glove on, first of all, they're hearing the music. Second they're feeling which finger to use to press the appropriate key on the keyboard," said Markow, a Tech doctorate student and US Army Major.

The glove is for those too busy or impatient to actually learn to play music. The buzzing fingers on the glove provide passive muscle memory. Markow says the glove wearer can learn basic music while doing other chores.

Atlanta Police Chief Recommends Rezoning Precincts

ATLANTA -- The time it takes police to respond to calls for help in Atlanta could be changing.

On Tuesday, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner released his recommendations for redrawing police beat boundaries and zones to improve reaction time and increase police visibility and availability citywide.   

City Councilman Michael Julian Bond requested the Precinct Boundary Redesign study in January.

"Improving response times and police availability were top priorities communicated to me by citizens across the entire city as I was seeking office last year," Bond said, adding his appreciation for the police chief's recommendations.

Currently, Zone 1 covers 19 square miles, Zone 2 covers 40 square miles, Zone 3 covers 24 square miles, Zone 4 covers 32 square miles, Zone 5 covers 8 square miles, and Zone 6 covers 16.6 square miles.

Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light For Seafood At Whole Foods

ATLANTA -- The figures are staggering -- and frightening.

Since 1950, the numbers of all the large fish in the oceans, from marlin and bluefin tuna, to cod and flounder, have dropped by 90 percent.

Overfishing and the destruction of ocean environments are responsible.

If the fish populations ever recover, it will be because consumers change their buying and eating habits. The marketplace seems to realize that.

For some, Whole Foods is like the Disneyworld of supermarkets -- bright colors, sparkling displays,exotic foods. But in the seafood department, there is a decidedly adult message.

"Well our point is to really work on developing more sustainable practices with seafood," said Whole Foods' Alisha Cave. "We want to get rid of the overfishing and the bycatch that's going on."

Whole Foods has joined the growing number of grocery chains changing the way they sell seafood.

Violent Crime Dips in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Violent crimes in Atlanta hit a five-year low in 2009, a new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows.

Violent crimes were down 14 percent to 6,359 even as the city's population rose to 552,901. Broken down, the violent crimes in 2009 included 80 murders, 2,725 robberies, 135 forcible rapes and 3,419 aggravated assaults.

Violent crimes numbered 7,403 in 2008, 8,075 in 2007, 7,548 in 2006 and 7,213 in 2005.

Property crimes dropped about 12 percent to 34,349. These included 19,511 larceny-thefts, 9,112 burglaries, 5,726 motor vehicle thefts and 157 cases of arson.

Property crimes numbered 38,978 in 2008, 36,232 in 2007, 32,231 in 2006 and 31,397 in 2005.

The metro area's worst crime areas for 2009 were College Park, East Point, Chamblee, Atlanta, Forest Park, Cumming, Fairburn, Lilburn, Norcross and Doraville.

Many Kids Need 2 Doses of Flu Vaccine

ATLANTA -- While most people will need only one flu shot or spray to guard against H1N1 and the seasonal flu, this year, many children will need two, according to the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of 2010-11 flu vaccine for children 6 months through 8 years of age unless they received at least one dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine last flu season and at least one dose of seasonal vaccine prior to the 2009-2010 flu season or two doses of seasonal flu vaccine last flu season.

The first dose "primes" the immune system, while the second dose provides immune protection, according to the CDC. The second dose should be given 28 or more days after the first dose.

North Atlanta Pediatrics explains it this way on its website:

Fulton, DeKalb Offer Flu Vaccines

ATLANTA -- Flu season is on the way, and for the first time ever, the CDC is recommending that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated.

Most people will need only one dose this year. But children may still need two, and older adults might consider getting a super potent vaccine.

On Monday morning, the Fulton County Health Department and the DeKalb County Health Department began offering the vaccine at several different health centers.

This year's flu season will be dramatically different from last year's season.

This time last year, the swine flu season was in full swing, and the vaccine for H1N1 was not available. It didn't come out until October, and even then it was really tough to find.

This year, there is one vaccine out now that's designed to guard against the regular flu and H1N1, and there is plenty of it to go around.

In fact, drug stores started offering the vaccine last month.