Georgia News Roundup
June 04, 2013 10:15 AM | 567 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Atlanta recognized for energy conservation

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized Atlanta as a national leader in reducing energy usage.

Spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed, Sonji Jacobs, says 78 buildings in downtown Atlanta made commitments to improve environmental sustainability by reducing energy usage during the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge . The initiative was launched by President Barack Obama in December 2011.

According to federal energy officials, the United States spends about $200 billion annually to power commercial buildings, and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities.

Officials say the costs can be reduced by as much as 20 percent through energy efficiency measures, such as LED lighting and upgraded heating and cooling systems.

Jacobs says the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge expects to expand to Midtown and Buckhead in the future.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia roadshow features alternative fueled vehicles

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols is set to host an exhibition to showcase vehicles using alternative fuel sources.

The Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Buckhead. The showcase is aimed at educating visitors on the everyday impacts of clean, alternative fuel sources.

Echols says visitors will get to see vehicles fueled by propane, biofuels, natural gas, electricity and compressed natural gas.

The roadshow has plans to stop in Dalton, Macon, Augusta, Savannah, Valdosta and Columbus.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Piedmont Center. It's free and open to the public, although visitors are asked to register online.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Zoo Atlanta to break ground on new exhibit

ATLANTA (AP) — Officials at Zoo Atlanta are set to break ground on a new space to showcase amphibian and reptile exhibits.

Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Keisha Hines says officials will break ground on the new amphibian and reptile experience Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Hines says the new exhibit space will replace the 51-year-old World of Reptile building — which is the zoo's oldest structure. Hines says the new reptile and amphibian exhibit space is the foundation of the largest fundraising effort in Zoo Atlanta history.

Hines says Zoo Atlanta officials have raised just under $22 million in an ongoing capital campaign to fund construction of the roughly 14,000 square-foot exhibit space.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Man shot to death outside Gainesville store

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A suspect is facing a murder charge after a man was shot to death outside a convenience store in the northeast Georgia city of Gainesville.

Adiren Lamont Thompson, 37, of Gainesville was shot in the abdomen Monday evening in the parking lot outside Peppers Grocery & Market, The Times of Gainesville reported.

Gainesville police Cpl. Joe Britte said Thompson was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center around 6 p.m. He was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Joseph Scott Williams, 32, faces charges of murder, possession of a gun during the commission of a crime and possession of a gun by a convicted felon, police said. It wasn't known early Tuesday whether Williams has an attorney.

Britte said he wasn't sure what led to the shooting, but believes there was some type of argument that led up to the gunfire.

Store manager Mohammed Islam said he heard five or six gunshots from inside the convenience store.

Information from: The Times, http://www.gainesvilletimes.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Republican Allen runs again for Rep. Barrow's seat

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen says he's running again for the Republican nomination to challenge the Deep South's last white Democratic congressman: Rep. John Barrow.

Allen announced his 2014 campaign for eastern Georgia's 12th Congressional District on Tuesday. The Augusta construction company owner was the runner-up in last year's Republican primary election.

Allen spent $610,000 of his own money on the 2012 primary race but lost the GOP nomination to state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown. Barrow of Augusta ended up defeating Anderson to win a fifth term.

The national Republican Party has already declared Barrow one of its top Democratic targets in 2014.

Allen isn't the only Republican seeking a comeback in Barrow's district. Longtime congressional aide John Stone, who challenged Barrow and lost in 2008, is also running.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Lawyers want lower bond in slaying of law grad

MACON, Ga. (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused of killing Mercer University law school graduate Lauren Giddings say bond in the case is too high.

They say they want to show their client could live in suburban Atlanta with no danger to the community.

The lawyers for Stephen McDaniel argue in court motions that the $850,000 bond is excessive and the judge should consider reducing it since prosecutors removed the option of the death penalty from the case.

The Telegraph reports that defense lawyers also say they want to present evidence that McDaniel could live with family members in Lilburn, a suburb of Atlanta.

McDaniel is charged with the June 2011 slaying and dismemberment of 27-year-old Giddings, who was from Laurel, Md.

McDaniel has pleaded not guilty.

Information from: The Macon Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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North Carolina man resentenced for Eve Carson's death 

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — An Orange County judge has sentenced the younger of the two men convicted of killing the University of North Carolina student body president in 2008 to life in prison.

Judge Allen Baddour sentenced 22-year-old Laurence Lovette on Monday. A state appeals court ordered the resentencing for Lovette, who was 17 years old when Eve Carson of Athens, Ga., was killed.

His original sentenced was life without parole. Since Lovette's first sentencing, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that judges must consider mitigating circumstances before sentencing someone under the age of 18 to life without the possibility of parole.

Lovette is also charged in the shooting death of a Duke University graduate student who was found dead inside his apartment in January 2008. That case has not gone to trial.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Atlanta council rejects strip club banishment

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's city council has rejected legislation that would have forced adult entertainment clubs and shops along Cheshire Bridge Road to move within five years.

Councilman Alex Wan's legislation failed by a 9 to 6 vote on Monday night, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Audience members in the packed council chamber erupted in applause at the vote, including dozens of Club Onyx employees who have actively opposed the legislation since it was introduced earlier this year.

"When our business is under attack so to speak, we like to mobilize and show that there are real people in this business who have homes and families to support," said Dennis Williams, chief financial officer of Club Onyx. "I think this is a win for development in Atlanta, not just for us."

Jane Rawlings, head of the neighborhood planning unit which most ardently backed the legislation, was visibly shaken by the failed vote.

"For me it was a very sad day for neighborhoods because we have done everything this city has asked of us," said Rawlings, a 15-year resident of the area.

Some council members cited concerns that forcing the clubs to move would push them to other communities. Other members shared discomfort with phasing out previously-granted zoning uses.

"I don't know that this isn't a piece of legislation that solves a problem in one neighborhood, but makes it potentially a problem for others as time will go on," said council member C.T. Martin said.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Crews remove flathead catfish from Satilla River in southeast Georgia 

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is continuing its efforts to eradicate invasive flathead catfish from the Satilla River in southeast Georgia.

Tim Bonvechio has headed up the Waycross-based flathead eradication project since its inception in 2007.

His crews use electro-fishing equipment to stun flatheads, then scoop them up as they float to the surface. He said most are hauled to a landfill, and a small number are sent to the Okefenokee Swamp Park to feed the alligators.

Flatheads, desired by fishermen because they potentially can grow into the 100-pound range, were introduced into the Satilla in the 1990s, likely by a fisherman, The Florida Times-Union reported.

However, the voracious eaters flourished and soon began to pose a threat to the fish the Satilla is famous for, the redbreast sunfish.

The blackwater stream snakes 235 miles through the piney woods of Southeast Georgia, presenting recreational opportunities for boaters, paddlers and fishermen from Douglas to Woodbine. But it's only on the river's deepest stretch, the 100 winding miles from Waycross to the coast, where flatheads flourish.

"They like deep, swift water and sweeping bends," Bonvechio said. "We haven't found any upstream from Waycross."

Former Satilla Riverkeeper Clay Montague, a University of Florida professor emeritus, has called Bonvechio's flathead project, the "poster child" of such projects in the state.

"That about describes it," Bonvechio said. "There are other programs, but this one is in the forefront."

Now in their seventh season of the project, Bonvechio and his crews have removed 26,447 flatheads weighing a cumulative 66,558 pounds from the Satilla.

The average size of the fish taken has dropped from 5.8 pounds in 2007 to 1.2 pounds last year.

"That means the fish population is getting much younger," Bonvechio said.

The larger fish, 3 to 5 years old, typically make up the breeding stock.

However, the fish are proving to be resilient.

"We are starting to see even younger fish producing eggs," he said. "This is compensatory mechanism. They're very resilient."

Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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