Georgia News Roundup
June 18, 2013 02:50 PM | 746 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UGA has new director for Marine Outreach Programs

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The University of Georgia has named a new director for its Marine Outreach Programs.

The school says L. Mark Risse, a water resource policy professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will take his new post July 1. He has served as interim director since Dec. 1 and also holds adjunct appointments in the College of Engineering and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

In his new role, Risse will oversee coastal outreach programs, including the UGA Marine Extension Service and the Georgia Sea Grant Program.

University officials say the Marine Outreach Programs contribute to the state's prosperity by creating jobs, developing leaders and addressing the state's economic, social and community needs.

Online: Marine Outreach Programs.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Oconee Hill Cemetery added to national historic register

ATLANTA (AP) — The Oconee Hill Cemetery has become one of the latest Georgia landmarks to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources say the cemetery was formed when the City of Athens bought 17 acres near the north Oconee River in 1855. The site expanded in 1898 when the cemetery's trustees bought an additional 82 acres. Officials say the cemetery holds the remains of confederate soldiers, pilots and more.

The National Register of History Places is the country' official list of sites and structures that are worthy of preservation. The designation means properties listed on the register are given special consideration in the planning of state or federally funded projects.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Douglasville man sentenced on sex trafficking charges

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Attorney's officials say a metro Atlanta man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on sex trafficking charges.

Officials said Monday that 30-year-old Demario Hillmon, of Douglasville, Ga. was sentenced for his involvement in transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution. Authorities say Hillmon targeted young girls on social networking sites and enticed them into working as prostitutes by making false promises to them of money and gifts.

Officials say Hillmon arranged for the girls to engage in sex acts in Georgia and Alabama and pocketed most of the money.

Hillmon is ordered to serve 10 years of supervised release after his prison sentence.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Atlanta city employees to get pay raise

ATLANTA (AP) — Most Atlanta city employees will get a 3.5 raise under a new budget approved by the Atlanta City Council.

A 1.5 percent increase was approved for firefighters and police.

The council on Monday approved the pay hikes and budget for the new year beginning July 1.

Workers told CBS Atlanta that they deserve a pay raise, especially after city council members voted to give themselves a significant pay increase.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he believes employees deserve the recognition.

Information from: WGCL-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Boy, 9, hurt trying to save sister in carjacking

CONLEY, Ga. (AP) — Police were searching for a suspect after a boy was hurt while trying to save his sister in a carjacking.

Clayton County police say the crime happened Monday on Willow Way in the county just south of Atlanta.

The boy, 9-year-old Brannon Brown, says the suspect jumped in the car with his 5-year-old sister inside.

"He put it in reverse, tried to back up, and I shoved it back in park," Brannon tells WSB-TV.

Brannon said the car door hit him and he fell, and the carjacker took off with his sister inside.

The children's mother, Ashley Brown, said the girl was let out of the car several miles away, near a salon on Jonesboro Road. She was unharmed.

Brannon's injuries were described as minor. He fought back tears as he recalled details of the crime and explained why he took the actions he did.

"That's the only reason I did it. Because of my sister," he said.

Police were still searching for the suspect's vehicle, described as a black 2003 Acura TL.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Family of slain law grad want farm searched

MACON, Ga. (AP) — Parents of a slain Mercer University law school graduate want investigators to search farmland in central Georgia in hopes of finding her remains.

The parents of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings are asking a federal judge to allow them to search farmland that belonged to a relative of murder suspect Stephen McDaniel.

The federal wrongful death lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Macon, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

McDaniel is charged with the June 2011 slaying and dismemberment of Giddings, who was from Laurel, Md. Her torso was found in a trash bin near her apartment and police have said the rest of her remains have not been found.

McDaniel has pleaded not guilty. His attorney Floyd Buford declined to comment until he's reviewed the lawsuit.

From early on in the murder investigation, the Giddings family has wanted to thoroughly search a 63-acre tract where a relative of McDaniel's lived until his death last year.

The lawsuit alleges that McDaniel visited the Pike County farm, about an hour west of Macon, the weekend before Giddings was killed. The lawsuit contends that McDaniel went there looking for locations where he could "scatter dismembered body parts through the woods."

The Macon newspaper reports that investigators never searched the property.

Giddings father, Billy Giddings of Maryland, said in an interview that he wants cadaver dogs to search the area.

Information from: The Macon Telegraph,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Island gives guides time to weigh in on test plan 

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The Jekyll Island Authority is giving tour guide operators more time to provide input on a plan to test their knowledge of the island's history.

The plan would require tour guides in the historic district to pass a test on Jekyll Island history, The Brunswick News reported. The test would be given by the Jekyll Island Authority, which operates the state park.

Authority officials have said they want to make sure that private tour operators are knowledgeable about the island's past.

The authority board decided at its meeting Monday to delay a vote by two months, allowing for a second reading of the revised ordinance and more public comment at its next meeting on July 15.

Former Glynn County Commissioner Cap Fendig has been operating tours on Jekyll Island for more than 40 years. He said he's not convinced that adding new regulations will benefit tour companies.

"It's an extremely regulated business," Fendig said, calling tour regulations at state and national levels "horrendous."

Jekyll Island officials maintain the ordinance isn't intended to control the content of the tours, but to ensure that visitors get the best information about the island's history and revitalization projects.

Information from: The Brunswick News,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


1 killed, 1 wounded in stabbing at senior center 

ATLANTA (AP) — Police in Atlanta are investigating a stabbing at a senior care apartment complex that left one resident dead and another wounded.

Two residents of the center were stabbed by another resident at the Baptist Towers Apartments in southwest Atlanta shortly before 11 p.m. Monday, Atlanta police told WSB-TV.

Units responding to the stabbing call found the woman dead in her second-floor apartment at the facility on Myrtle Street, Atlanta police Capt. Tim Peek said.

Ellen Hall Varner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her mother, Mary Oliver, was killed in the attack. Varner said her mother would have turned 76 on Tuesday.

A second victim, a man in his early 70s, was stabbed multiple times in his upper torso and face in his apartment on the seventh floor of the assisted living facility, Peek said. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

Police say they apprehended a suspect -- a 60-year-old man who is also a resident at the center -- near the scene and had him in custody early Tuesday.

Officers "were able to recover two knives that did have blood on them," Peek said.

"There does not appear to be any definite relationships between the parties at this point," Peek said.

"We're unclear on the actual motive," he added. "We don't know why the person chose to do whatever he did."

The suspect, who lives on the fifth floor, is accused of stabbing the man on the seventh floor, then going down to the second floor where Oliver lived.

Varner said the suspect kicked her mother's door in and began attacking her.

"Immediately when you come in the door, her kitchen is to the right," Varner said, describing her mother's apartment. "He got one of her butcher knives out of there and went in and started stabbing her. She was in bed."

The facility's on-site security guard was apparently making rounds outside the tower when the stabbings occurred, Peek said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Worker hospitalized after becoming trapped in silo

OCILLA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a man working in a silo has been taken to a hospital after he became trapped in the structure.

WALB-TV reports that the accident happened Tuesday morning near the south Georgia town of Ocilla.

The station reports that the worker was taken by helicopter to a hospital after the accident on Irwin Avenue.

Few other details were immediately available.

Ocilla is about 180 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Information from: WALB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Mixed results for Georgia in teacher training report

By Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Just four teacher-training programs at Georgia's college and universities have earned high marks on a national survey that examined more than 1,000 programs.

The review by the National Council on Teacher Quality was released Tuesday and found colleges' education programs are not adequately preparing future teachers. The review criticized their admission standards, training and value.

The ratings were based on a set of key standards, such as instructing prospective teachers how to implement the Common Core academic standards, teach non-native English speakers and manage classrooms. Colleges and universities were rated on a four-star system.

In Georgia, five teaching programs received the lowest rating of no stars with a consumer alert designation.

Spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Tim Callahan, says questions have been raised about the report's methodology.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Gwinnett Medical Center warns of tuberculosis exposure

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — State health officials and executives of a metro Atlanta hospital say more than 100 patients may have been exposed to tuberculosis.

Officials said Tuesday that an unidentified Gwinnett Medical Center employee was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis. Officials say all of the facility's employees must take annual tuberculosis skin tests in June. Authorities say the employee likely developed the disease in mid-May and is expected to recover.

The hospital's Executive Vice President Alan Bier says 133 letters have been sent to patients who had the most direct contact with the worker between February and May. The letters advise patients who had contact with the employee to undergo tuberculosis testing.

Officials say no other Gwinnett Medical Center employees have tested positive for the disease.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Conceptual design for new Falcons stadium approved

ATLANTA (AP) — The conceptual design for a new Falcons stadium in downtown Atlanta has been approved.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority's board of governors approved the design at a meeting Tuesday.

The proposal by 360 Architecture is meant to provide direction for ongoing design work and doesn't necessarily represent the final structure. It includes an exterior meant to invoke falcon wings and giant windows to showcase a view of the city at night.

Tuesday's approval clears the way for the design team to create a detailed schematic design. The stadium's design is expected to be finalized in April 2014.

State and city officials have signed off on the $1 billion stadium in downtown Atlanta. Officials estimate $200 million in public bonds will be used to build the new, retractable-roof stadium.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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