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Immigration: Trump administration defends 'zero tolerance' policy (live updates)

Immigration: Trump administration defends 'zero tolerance' policy (live updates)

White House officials pushed back Monday against critics of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy has led to the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. >> Read more trending news Update 3:10 p.m. EDT June 18: Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, called Monday for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen amid the ongoing debate over the Trump administration’s immigration policy. The demand came one day after Nielsen said in a tweet that, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.” Nielsen echoed President Donald Trump’s claims that a law is behind the recent spike in separations of migrant children and their parents at the border. “We will not apologize for enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” Nielsen said. “We are a nation of laws. We are asking Congress to change the laws.” However, as Harris and numerous fact checkers have noted, there is no law that mandates the separation of children and parents at the border. Harris said in a statement Monday that Nielsen’s “misleading statements ... are disqualifying.” “We must speak the truth,” Harris said. “There is no law that says the Administration has to rip children from their families. This Administration can and must reverse course now and it can and must find new leadership for the Department of Homeland Security.” Update 2:30 p.m. June 18: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that President Donald Trump is telling an “outright lie” when he claims that Democrats are behind the recent surge in separations of children from their parents on the border. “This is not happening because of the 'Democrats' law,' as the White House has claimed,” Clinton said. “Separating families is not mandated by law at all.” Clinton, who ran as a Democrat against Trump during the 2016 presidential election, also appeared to chastise U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who cited a Bible verse last week while justifying the Trump administration’s immigration policy. “Those who selectively use the Bible to justify this cruelty are ignoring a central tenant of Christianity,” Clinton said. “Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children unto me.’ He did not say, ‘Let the children suffer.’” Update 2 p.m. EDT June 18: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged President Donald Trump to end the policy that’s allowed authorities to separate migrant children from their parents on the border, writing Monday on Twitter that 'children shouldn't be used as a negotiating tool.” “(Trump) should end this heartless policy and Congress should get an immigration deal done that provides for asylum reform, border security and a path to citizenship for Dreamers,” he wrote. The president has repeatedly called for Democrats to negotiate with Republicans to address illegal immigration after falsely claiming that the party is behind laws that mandate the separation of child from parent at the border. No such law exists.  Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush, ran against Trump in 2016 for the Republican presidential nomination. >> Laura Bush, Melania Trump speak out on separation of immigrant children, parents at border In an op-ed published Sunday by the Washington Post, former first lady Laura Bush called the Trump administration policy “cruel.” 'I live in a border state,' Bush wrote. 'I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.' First lady Melania Trump has also criticized the policy, telling CNN in a statement through her spokeswoman that “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.” Update 12:46 p.m. EDT June 18: President Donald Trump again accused Democrats of obstructing efforts to deal with illegal immigration and the separation of children and parents at the border, telling reporters Monday that “we’re stuck with these horrible laws” because Democrats refuse to sit down with Republicans. There are no laws mandating the separation of children and parents at the border. “We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world,” Trump said. “Nobody has such sad, such bad – and in many cases, such horrible and tough – you see about child separation. You see what’s going on there.” “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump said. Update 12 p.m. EDT June 18: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said authorities don’t want to separate children from their families but that officials have a duty to prosecute people who illegally cross the border. “When we ignore our laws at the border we obviously encourage hundreds of thousands of people a year to likewise ignore our laws and illegally enter our country, creating an enormous burden on our law enforcement, our schools, our hospitals and (our) social programs,” Sessions said Monday during the National Sheriffs’ Association Annual Conference in New Orleans. He framed the issue as a debate over “whether we want to be a country of laws or whether we want to be a country without borders.” “President Trump has said this cannot continue,” Sessions said. “We do not want to separate parents from their children. If we build the wall, if we pass legislation to end the lawlessness, we won’t face these terrible choices. We will have a system where those who need to apply for asylum can do so and those who want to come to this country will apply legally.” Sessions’ arguments echoed those of President Donald Trump, who has blamed Democrats for passing laws that he said led to the separations. There are no laws mandating the separation of children and parents at the border. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said earlier Monday that officials will not apologize for enforcing immigration laws. 'We have to do our job,' she said. Original report: President Donald Trump defended his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on Monday, writing in a series of tweets that children are being used “by the worst criminals on earth” to get into America as critics slammed the policy for separating children from their parents. “Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” Trump wrote. “Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world. Not going to happen in the U.S.” The president pointed to a rise in crime in Germany as an example of the chaos caused by illegal immigration, writing in a tweet that it was a “big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture.” However, Germany’s internal ministry reported last month that criminal offenses in the country were at their lowest since 1992, according to Reuters. This spring, the Trump administration ordered prosecutors to charge every person illegally crossing the border. Children traveling with the adults have been separated and placed in detention centers, prompting protests nationwide. The president has blamed Democrats for not fixing the law that allows for the separations. “Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration,” the president wrote. “Change the laws!” Despite his claim that Democrats are at fault for the situation, The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration “put the policy in place and could easily end it.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kernan Boulevard Roadway Project set to begin Wednesday

Kernan Boulevard Roadway Project set to begin Wednesday

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority says construction on the JTAMobilityWorks Kernan Boulevard Roadway Project is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 20.   The project will widen Kernan Boulevard from a four-lane to a six-lane road between Atlantic Boulevard and Matthew Unger Drive, and include a four-lane section from Matthew Unger Drive to McCormick Road.  According to JTA's Public Relations Manager, Leigh Ann Rassler, the new urban road will consist of raised medians, curb and gutter, utility improvements, bike paths, sidewalks, and a 12-foot multi-use path on the east side of the road.  Rassler says upon completion, the project will enhance the quality of life in this particular area of Jacksonville.   The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2020. 

Radio reporter Jamie Dupree, 54, sat at a gate in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and downloaded his new voice. Hampered for two years by a rare disease, unable to manage more than a few words at a time, he’d been waiting a long time to hear himself speak a full sentence. The executable program had been in his inbox all that day, but the day had been a busy one, having Botox injections in his tongue and the like. Finally, as he waited for his flight back to Washington, he had a minute to himself. He fired up his text-to-speech program, loaded the Jamie Dupree voice, and then stared at a blank screen. “What do I type first?” he wondered. “What do I want to hear me say first? “So I simply wrote, ‘My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice,’ and hit play.” Waiting to speak Dupree covers Capitol Hill for the Cox Media Group (which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a part of Cox Enterprises). For 30 years Atlanta audiences have heard his voice on WSB radio, reporting on Washington politics. In the spring of 2016, during the wildest presidential primary ride in recent history, Dupree came down with a stomach bug on a trip to England. His stomach recovered, but bizarre side-effects followed. His voice became wheezy and high-pitched, and he struggled for words. Finally, he couldn’t speak at all. For a radio reporter, it was the worst handicap imaginable, during an incredible campaign season. “It was my Super Bowl, and I missed it,” he has written. Though he continued to gather recorded interviews with lawmakers and posted regularly on his blog and social media, his voice disappeared from the airwaves. Dupree launched a tour of hospitals, specialists and therapists from Atlanta to Baltimore to Cleveland, and a series of ineffective and sometimes painful treatments. Doctors were baffled. They tried Botox injections to calm the muscles around his vocal cords. “The needle was very long,” Dupree wrote in a text-only interview with the AJC. “The doctor manually moved my voice box to the side and slid a very long needle in there. My dad was with me, and his eyes grew very wide as he watched.” Last year, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed his malady as tongue protrusion dystonia. It’s a neurological condition that causes the tongue to involuntarily protrude and the throat to close when the brain sends the signal to talk. The condition is vanishingly rare. There is little understanding of the cause and no known treatment.  “He told me that no one treated what I had, and he had no idea how to help me,” wrote Dupree. “So, I drive home from Cleveland, knowing that I’ve just seen a big-time expert, and he has no idea what I should do.” Building a voice Dupree took to handing out cards that were printed: “I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU, BUT … I am unable to TALK at this time.” The lawmakers he’d interviewed dozens of times took turns expressing their condolences, and late last year U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Miami, Fla., went to the House floor to explain Dupree’s plight and praise his work. “Jamie’s valiant strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all,” she wrote in a recent email to the AJC. “I took to the House floor to praise his determination while he faces dystonia, but this disease shouldn’t define him. Jamie is the same professional reporter with a penchant for finding truth that we have always known.” Her announcement from the floor ended up putting Dupree together with Scotland-based tech company CereProc, which develops text-to-speech technology. Graham Leary, head of professional services, said for 500 pounds, his clients “can record 620 sentences in English, and we’ll build a voice for them,” phoneme by phoneme. Dupree, of course, had already lost his voice. But he had hours of broadcasts that he’d saved. CereProc had everything they’d need. Last month Dupree opened his laptop, and typed in his first sentence. His computer read it back in the voice of Jamie Dupree: “My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice.” A few of his colleagues have heard it since then. “I had an emotional reaction when I first heard it,” said Rich Jones, host of the morning news show on Jacksonville, Fla.’s WOKV radio. “Heck! Jamie’s back!” A few weeks ago, Dupree was honored with the Governor Cox Award by Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, at a ceremony in front of other Cox Media Group employees. When it was time for Dupree to speak, he used his new cloned voice.  Back on the air Jamie’s back, though he really never left. Dupree still buttonholes legislators and asks them questions by scribbling on an LCD writing tablet called a Boogie Board, and he still feeds sound to his radio stations in Orlando, Jacksonville, Dayton, Tulsa and Athens. “They have all kept promoting my reporting,” he writes. “They have all kept my name on the air. They feature my blog. I send them info and still do interviews with their local lawmakers, and get them background on the big stories.” But he is stymied in one of the simplest pleasures of life: just chatting with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Elizabeth, Henry and Teddy. “For whatever reason, I’ve been dealt this hand,” he writes. “There are so many things that I want to tell my kids, or my wife. But I can’t get them out.” On the other hand, he writes, looking on the bright side, “I am not dying.” Dupree has tried some homemade solutions. Holding a pen or a golf-tee in his mouth sometimes calms his tongue down. But he’s resigned to the prospect that his voice might never come back. This month, Cox radio stations will be introducing the new voice of Jamie Dupree. They’re calling it Jamie Dupree 2.0. His reports from Washington will be pronounced by the synthesized creation of CereProc. Dupree said the voice sounds slightly artificial but is still recognizable as his voice. “Look, the voice is not perfect,” writes Dupree. “At times it sounds robotic… But I can hear myself in those words. And I think the listeners will be able to hear me as well.” 
Radio reporter Jamie Dupree, 54, sat at a gate in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and downloaded his new voice. Hampered for two years by a rare disease, unable to manage more than a few words at a time, he’d been waiting a long time to hear himself speak a full sentence. The executable program had been in his inbox all that day, but the day had been a busy one, having Botox injections in his tongue and the like. Finally, as he waited for his flight back to Washington, he had a minute to himself. He fired up his text-to-speech program, loaded the Jamie Dupree voice, and then stared at a blank screen. “What do I type first?” he wondered. “What do I want to hear me say first? “So I simply wrote, ‘My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice,’ and hit play.” Waiting to speak Dupree covers Capitol Hill for the Cox Media Group (which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a part of Cox Enterprises). For 30 years Atlanta audiences have heard his voice on WSB radio, reporting on Washington politics. In the spring of 2016, during the wildest presidential primary ride in recent history, Dupree came down with a stomach bug on a trip to England. His stomach recovered, but bizarre side-effects followed. His voice became wheezy and high-pitched, and he struggled for words. Finally, he couldn’t speak at all. For a radio reporter, it was the worst handicap imaginable, during an incredible campaign season. “It was my Super Bowl, and I missed it,” he has written. Though he continued to gather recorded interviews with lawmakers and posted regularly on his blog and social media, his voice disappeared from the airwaves. Dupree launched a tour of hospitals, specialists and therapists from Atlanta to Baltimore to Cleveland, and a series of ineffective and sometimes painful treatments. Doctors were baffled. They tried Botox injections to calm the muscles around his vocal cords. “The needle was very long,” Dupree wrote in a text-only interview with the AJC. “The doctor manually moved my voice box to the side and slid a very long needle in there. My dad was with me, and his eyes grew very wide as he watched.” Last year, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed his malady as tongue protrusion dystonia. It’s a neurological condition that causes the tongue to involuntarily protrude and the throat to close when the brain sends the signal to talk. The condition is vanishingly rare. There is little understanding of the cause and no known treatment.  “He told me that no one treated what I had, and he had no idea how to help me,” wrote Dupree. “So, I drive home from Cleveland, knowing that I’ve just seen a big-time expert, and he has no idea what I should do.” Building a voice Dupree took to handing out cards that were printed: “I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU, BUT … I am unable to TALK at this time.” The lawmakers he’d interviewed dozens of times took turns expressing their condolences, and late last year U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Miami, Fla., went to the House floor to explain Dupree’s plight and praise his work. “Jamie’s valiant strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all,” she wrote in a recent email to the AJC. “I took to the House floor to praise his determination while he faces dystonia, but this disease shouldn’t define him. Jamie is the same professional reporter with a penchant for finding truth that we have always known.” Her announcement from the floor ended up putting Dupree together with Scotland-based tech company CereProc, which develops text-to-speech technology. Graham Leary, head of professional services, said for 500 pounds, his clients “can record 620 sentences in English, and we’ll build a voice for them,” phoneme by phoneme. Dupree, of course, had already lost his voice. But he had hours of broadcasts that he’d saved. CereProc had everything they’d need. Last month Dupree opened his laptop, and typed in his first sentence. His computer read it back in the voice of Jamie Dupree: “My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice.” A few of his colleagues have heard it since then. “I had an emotional reaction when I first heard it,” said Rich Jones, host of the morning news show on Jacksonville, Fla.’s WOKV radio. “Heck! Jamie’s back!” A few weeks ago, Dupree was honored with the Governor Cox Award by Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, at a ceremony in front of other Cox Media Group employees. When it was time for Dupree to speak, he used his new cloned voice.  Back on the air Jamie’s back, though he really never left. Dupree still buttonholes legislators and asks them questions by scribbling on an LCD writing tablet called a Boogie Board, and he still feeds sound to his radio stations in Orlando, Jacksonville, Dayton, Tulsa and Athens. “They have all kept promoting my reporting,” he writes. “They have all kept my name on the air. They feature my blog. I send them info and still do interviews with their local lawmakers, and get them background on the big stories.” But he is stymied in one of the simplest pleasures of life: just chatting with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Elizabeth, Henry and Teddy. “For whatever reason, I’ve been dealt this hand,” he writes. “There are so many things that I want to tell my kids, or my wife. But I can’t get them out.” On the other hand, he writes, looking on the bright side, “I am not dying.” Dupree has tried some homemade solutions. Holding a pen or a golf-tee in his mouth sometimes calms his tongue down. But he’s resigned to the prospect that his voice might never come back. This month, Cox radio stations will be introducing the new voice of Jamie Dupree. They’re calling it Jamie Dupree 2.0. His reports from Washington will be pronounced by the synthesized creation of CereProc. Dupree said the voice sounds slightly artificial but is still recognizable as his voice. “Look, the voice is not perfect,” writes Dupree. “At times it sounds robotic… But I can hear myself in those words. And I think the listeners will be able to hear me as well.” 
Radio reporter Jamie Dupree, 54, sat at a gate in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and downloaded his new voice. Hampered for two years by a rare disease, unable to manage more than a few words at a time, he’d been waiting a long time to hear himself speak a full sentence. The executable program had been in his inbox all that day, but the day had been a busy one, having Botox injections in his tongue and the like. Finally, as he waited for his flight back to Washington, he had a minute to himself. He fired up his text-to-speech program, loaded the Jamie Dupree voice, and then stared at a blank screen. “What do I type first?” he wondered. “What do I want to hear me say first? “So I simply wrote, ‘My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice,’ and hit play.” Waiting to speak Dupree covers Capitol Hill for the Cox Media Group (which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a part of Cox Enterprises). For 30 years Atlanta audiences have heard his voice on WSB radio, reporting on Washington politics. In the spring of 2016, during the wildest presidential primary ride in recent history, Dupree came down with a stomach bug on a trip to England. His stomach recovered, but bizarre side-effects followed. His voice became wheezy and high-pitched, and he struggled for words. Finally, he couldn’t speak at all. For a radio reporter, it was the worst handicap imaginable, during an incredible campaign season. “It was my Super Bowl, and I missed it,” he has written. Though he continued to gather recorded interviews with lawmakers and posted regularly on his blog and social media, his voice disappeared from the airwaves. Dupree launched a tour of hospitals, specialists and therapists from Atlanta to Baltimore to Cleveland, and a series of ineffective and sometimes painful treatments. Doctors were baffled. They tried Botox injections to calm the muscles around his vocal cords. “The needle was very long,” Dupree wrote in a text-only interview with the AJC. “The doctor manually moved my voice box to the side and slid a very long needle in there. My dad was with me, and his eyes grew very wide as he watched.” Last year, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed his malady as tongue protrusion dystonia. It’s a neurological condition that causes the tongue to involuntarily protrude and the throat to close when the brain sends the signal to talk. The condition is vanishingly rare. There is little understanding of the cause and no known treatment.  “He told me that no one treated what I had, and he had no idea how to help me,” wrote Dupree. “So, I drive home from Cleveland, knowing that I’ve just seen a big-time expert, and he has no idea what I should do.” Building a voice Dupree took to handing out cards that were printed: “I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU, BUT … I am unable to TALK at this time.” The lawmakers he’d interviewed dozens of times took turns expressing their condolences, and late last year U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Miami, Fla., went to the House floor to explain Dupree’s plight and praise his work. “Jamie’s valiant strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all,” she wrote in a recent email to the AJC. “I took to the House floor to praise his determination while he faces dystonia, but this disease shouldn’t define him. Jamie is the same professional reporter with a penchant for finding truth that we have always known.” Her announcement from the floor ended up putting Dupree together with Scotland-based tech company CereProc, which develops text-to-speech technology. Graham Leary, head of professional services, said for 500 pounds, his clients “can record 620 sentences in English, and we’ll build a voice for them,” phoneme by phoneme. Dupree, of course, had already lost his voice. But he had hours of broadcasts that he’d saved. CereProc had everything they’d need. Last month Dupree opened his laptop, and typed in his first sentence. His computer read it back in the voice of Jamie Dupree: “My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice.” A few of his colleagues have heard it since then. “I had an emotional reaction when I first heard it,” said Rich Jones, host of the morning news show on Jacksonville, Fla.’s WOKV radio. “Heck! Jamie’s back!” A few weeks ago, Dupree was honored with the Governor Cox Award by Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, at a ceremony in front of other Cox Media Group employees. When it was time for Dupree to speak, he used his new cloned voice.  Back on the air Jamie’s back, though he really never left. Dupree still buttonholes legislators and asks them questions by scribbling on an LCD writing tablet called a Boogie Board, and he still feeds sound to his radio stations in Orlando, Jacksonville, Dayton, Tulsa and Athens. “They have all kept promoting my reporting,” he writes. “They have all kept my name on the air. They feature my blog. I send them info and still do interviews with their local lawmakers, and get them background on the big stories.” But he is stymied in one of the simplest pleasures of life: just chatting with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Elizabeth, Henry and Teddy. “For whatever reason, I’ve been dealt this hand,” he writes. “There are so many things that I want to tell my kids, or my wife. But I can’t get them out.” On the other hand, he writes, looking on the bright side, “I am not dying.” Dupree has tried some homemade solutions. Holding a pen or a golf-tee in his mouth sometimes calms his tongue down. But he’s resigned to the prospect that his voice might never come back. This month, Cox radio stations will be introducing the new voice of Jamie Dupree. They’re calling it Jamie Dupree 2.0. His reports from Washington will be pronounced by the synthesized creation of CereProc. Dupree said the voice sounds slightly artificial but is still recognizable as his voice. “Look, the voice is not perfect,” writes Dupree. “At times it sounds robotic… But I can hear myself in those words. And I think the listeners will be able to hear me as well.” 
Radio reporter Jamie Dupree, 54, sat at a gate in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and downloaded his new voice. Hampered for two years by a rare disease, unable to manage more than a few words at a time, he’d been waiting a long time to hear himself speak a full sentence. The executable program had been in his inbox all that day, but the day had been a busy one, having Botox injections in his tongue and the like. Finally, as he waited for his flight back to Washington, he had a minute to himself. He fired up his text-to-speech program, loaded the Jamie Dupree voice, and then stared at a blank screen. “What do I type first?” he wondered. “What do I want to hear me say first? “So I simply wrote, ‘My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice,’ and hit play.” Waiting to speak Dupree covers Capitol Hill for the Cox Media Group (which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a part of Cox Enterprises). For 30 years Atlanta audiences have heard his voice on WSB radio, reporting on Washington politics. In the spring of 2016, during the wildest presidential primary ride in recent history, Dupree came down with a stomach bug on a trip to England. His stomach recovered, but bizarre side-effects followed. His voice became wheezy and high-pitched, and he struggled for words. Finally, he couldn’t speak at all. For a radio reporter, it was the worst handicap imaginable, during an incredible campaign season. “It was my Super Bowl, and I missed it,” he has written. Though he continued to gather recorded interviews with lawmakers and posted regularly on his blog and social media, his voice disappeared from the airwaves. Dupree launched a tour of hospitals, specialists and therapists from Atlanta to Baltimore to Cleveland, and a series of ineffective and sometimes painful treatments. Doctors were baffled. They tried Botox injections to calm the muscles around his vocal cords. “The needle was very long,” Dupree wrote in a text-only interview with the AJC. “The doctor manually moved my voice box to the side and slid a very long needle in there. My dad was with me, and his eyes grew very wide as he watched.” Last year, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed his malady as tongue protrusion dystonia. It’s a neurological condition that causes the tongue to involuntarily protrude and the throat to close when the brain sends the signal to talk. The condition is vanishingly rare. There is little understanding of the cause and no known treatment.  “He told me that no one treated what I had, and he had no idea how to help me,” wrote Dupree. “So, I drive home from Cleveland, knowing that I’ve just seen a big-time expert, and he has no idea what I should do.” Building a voice Dupree took to handing out cards that were printed: “I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU, BUT … I am unable to TALK at this time.” The lawmakers he’d interviewed dozens of times took turns expressing their condolences, and late last year U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Miami, Fla., went to the House floor to explain Dupree’s plight and praise his work. “Jamie’s valiant strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all,” she wrote in a recent email to the AJC. “I took to the House floor to praise his determination while he faces dystonia, but this disease shouldn’t define him. Jamie is the same professional reporter with a penchant for finding truth that we have always known.” Her announcement from the floor ended up putting Dupree together with Scotland-based tech company CereProc, which develops text-to-speech technology. Graham Leary, head of professional services, said for 500 pounds, his clients “can record 620 sentences in English, and we’ll build a voice for them,” phoneme by phoneme. Dupree, of course, had already lost his voice. But he had hours of broadcasts that he’d saved. CereProc had everything they’d need. Last month Dupree opened his laptop, and typed in his first sentence. His computer read it back in the voice of Jamie Dupree: “My name is Jamie Dupree. This is my new voice.” A few of his colleagues have heard it since then. “I had an emotional reaction when I first heard it,” said Rich Jones, host of the morning news show on Jacksonville, Fla.’s WOKV radio. “Heck! Jamie’s back!” A few weeks ago, Dupree was honored with the Governor Cox Award by Alex Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises, at a ceremony in front of other Cox Media Group employees. When it was time for Dupree to speak, he used his new cloned voice.  Back on the air Jamie’s back, though he really never left. Dupree still buttonholes legislators and asks them questions by scribbling on an LCD writing tablet called a Boogie Board, and he still feeds sound to his radio stations in Orlando, Jacksonville, Dayton, Tulsa and Athens. “They have all kept promoting my reporting,” he writes. “They have all kept my name on the air. They feature my blog. I send them info and still do interviews with their local lawmakers, and get them background on the big stories.” But he is stymied in one of the simplest pleasures of life: just chatting with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Elizabeth, Henry and Teddy. “For whatever reason, I’ve been dealt this hand,” he writes. “There are so many things that I want to tell my kids, or my wife. But I can’t get them out.” On the other hand, he writes, looking on the bright side, “I am not dying.” Dupree has tried some homemade solutions. Holding a pen or a golf-tee in his mouth sometimes calms his tongue down. But he’s resigned to the prospect that his voice might never come back. This month, Cox radio stations will be introducing the new voice of Jamie Dupree. They’re calling it Jamie Dupree 2.0. His reports from Washington will be pronounced by the synthesized creation of CereProc. Dupree said the voice sounds slightly artificial but is still recognizable as his voice. “Look, the voice is not perfect,” writes Dupree. “At times it sounds robotic… But I can hear myself in those words. And I think the listeners will be able to hear me as well.” 
Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0

It was just another newscast this morning for WSB Radio in Atlanta. It was just another newscast on WDBO in Orlando, WHIO in Dayton, WOKV in Jacksonville, and KRMG in Tulsa. But it was much more than that for me, as my voice – my new, computer generated voice – went on the air today, getting me back on the radio for the first time in two years, after my voice was taken away by an unknown neurological disorder.

We call it, Jamie Dupree 2.0, a voice synthesized from recordings of my past news stories, which when [More]