A.M. ATL: Georgia spellers stung at national bee

Plus: Trump deliberations, ‘Ozark’ and Atlanta United

Morning, y’all! Expect slightly cooler temperatures out there today, with highs around 80 degrees.

News-wise, we’ve got the latest on jury deliberations in Donald Trump’s hush money case, a massive wastewater spill at a local lake and why some Emory students are studying “Ozark.” Plus, a couple new eateries headed our way.

But first: Let’s C-O-M-M-I-S-E-R-A-T-E with a pair of young competitors.

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EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT

Dunwoody's Sarv Dharavane at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Credit: Nathan Howard/AP

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Credit: Nathan Howard/AP

Spelling is hard.

Georgia’s two contestants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee already knew that — but consider it a lesson reinforced on Wednesday, a day short of the linguistic gantlet’s final round.

Matthew Baber, a 14-year-old from Fayetteville’s Rising Starr Middle, knew how to spell “trouvaille” (definition: a lucky find) and “alcalde” (the leader of a Spanish-speaking town).

It was “bicitaxi” — a bicycle taxi, like a rickshaw involving a bike — that got him. He threw a “y” in there. Understandable but incorrect.

  • “Actually, I didn’t really mind getting out,” Baber told the Associated Press. “Win or lose, to be here, it’s a pretty big accomplishment.”

Indeed! And tied for 60th place ain’t too shabby, kid.

Sarv Dharavane, the 10-year-old from Dunwoody’s Austin Elementary, also represented Georgia.

He aced rather odd offerings like “motherumbung” (a type of Australian shrub) and “mormorando” (a descriptor for murmuring-type music). In other rounds, he defined slightly less obscure words.

Round 6 brought “stalace.” That’s a type of cell formation in a plant. And a stumper.

  • Our boy went with “stallice.” He finished tied for 23rd place.

A valiant effort. And he’s got a few more years to try and reach the mountaintop.

Tonight’s finals start at 8 p.m. You can watch on a channel called ION.

Not signed up yet? What’re you waiting for? Get A.M. ATL in your inbox each weekday morning. And keep scrolling for more news.

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TRUMP ON TRIAL

ajc.com

Credit: Jabin Botsford/Pool Photo

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Credit: Jabin Botsford/Pool Photo

The jury in Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial began deliberating around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. They asked to rehear some testimony before departing for the day a little before 5:30 p.m.

  • Whenever a verdict comes down in the former president’s case, the AJC will be all over it — offering a look at what’s next, potential ramifications for the Fulton County case and more. Stay tuned!
  • Related: Attorneys for Trump case co-defendant and state Sen. Shawn Still argued in court Wednesday that he was following legal advice when he cast an “alternate” electoral vote in 2020.

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MORE TOP STORIES

» Democrat U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath says she’s open to a 2026 run for governor. Meanwhile, current Gov. Brian Kemp is plotting his next steps.

» Cobb County spilled more than 12 million gallons of wastewater into Lake Allatoona last week. They say drinking water isn’t affected.

» Federal officials gave nine Georgia school districts (including Clayton, Douglas and Hall counties) millions of dollars to buy new electric buses.

» A big new microchip factory east of Atlanta is the first of its kind in the U.S. and a big part of the technological battle with China.

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MONEY LAUNDERING 101

ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

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Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

A new class at Emory University uses the Georgia-filmed Netflix series “Ozark” to dive into money laundering. Professor Melvin Ayogu says it’s not about teaching students how to clean dirty money, but opening their eyes to a shadowy part of the global economy.

“We want to de-filter their idealized view of the world,” he said.

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NATION AND WORLD

» Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says he won’t recuse himself from cases involving Donald Trump or the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — controversial flags flown outside his homes or not.

» Israel’s military claims it has seized control of the entire length of Gaza’s border with Egypt.

» A massive international police operation targeting ransomware networks led to the arrest of four “high value” suspects and took down more than 100 servers, officials said.

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THEY WON!

ajc.com

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

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Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United snapped their nine-match winless streak with a 3-1 victory — over Inter Miami and the legendary Lionel Messi, no less.

Midfielder Saba Lobjanidze (pictured above, left, pretending he’s pregnant) scored twice.

More sports highlights:

  • Spencer Schwellenbach pitched well in his big league debut but the Braves offense stayed cold in a 7-2 loss to the Nationals.
  • The Dream beat the Mystics, 73-67. Allisha Gray scored 19. Tina Charles added 17 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Meet Kevin Bacon. No, not that one. The mascot and “director of fun” for Macon’s summer league baseball team.

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GOOD EATS

» Opening today inside Wild Heaven Brewery in Avondale Estates: Ginsberg’s Refresher, with food from the chef behind spots like General Muir and Wood’s Chapel BBQ.

» Coming later this summer to West Midtown: upscale restaurant Avize, offering Alps-inspired cuisine.

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MORE TO EXPLORE

» Former Fulton charter schools on probation a year after state approval

» Popular College Park rock wall subject of controversy

» Louisville police drop charges against top golfer Scottie Scheffler

» Georgia Supreme Court overturns murder conviction

» Atlanta moves to permanently allow older taxis at airport

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ON THIS DATE

May 30, 1994

The Braves traded part-time baseball player Deion Sanders to the Cincinnati Reds, receiving a guy named Roberto Kelly in return. Sanders was unimpressed.

“Every time (general manager John Schuerholz) has had a chance to take a shot at me, he has,” Sanders said. “This is personal. There is no way else to explain it but that he is getting back at me.”

A few months later, the two-sport star left the Atlanta Falcons, too.

The Atlanta front page on May 30, 1994.

Credit: File photo

icon to expand image

Credit: File photo

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

ajc.com

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

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Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

AJC contributor Ben Gray captured friends and family members of Bre’Asia Powell, a Mays High student shot and killed during a 2023 gathering near the school, gathering for a “rally for peace” in her memory.

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ONE MORE THING

Before we go: The first trailer for “Moana 2″ is out, if you/your kids/your grandkids are into that kind of thing! The movie drops in November.

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Thanks for reading to the very bottom of A.M. ATL. Questions, comments, ideas? Contact me at tyler.estep@ajc.com.

Until next time.