Georgia News Roundup
June 25, 2013 12:00 PM | 663 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chapter of national honor society launched at CAU

ATLANTA (AP) — Clark Atlanta University officials say the 75 students, faculty and administrators have been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society.

School spokesman Larry Calhoun says Clark Atlanta is the first private, historically black college or university to be granted a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi — which was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine.

Since its inception, the honor society has grown to more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and includes more than 1 million members.

University President, Carlton Brown, says the honor society establishing a chapter at Clark Atlanta is a milestone in the university's history.

Phi Kappa Phi officials say the organization is the oldest of its kind to accept students from all academic disciplines.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Giraffe moved from Zoo Atlanta to St. Louis

ATLANTA (AP) — Zoo Atlanta officials say one of their giraffes has been moved to a zoo in St. Louis, where she'll be able to join a herd and have the opportunity to breed.

Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Keisha Hines says Lily, a 10-foot tall 1-year-old giraffe, was moved Monday at the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan. The plan is an initiative by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage endangered species at AZA-accredited facilities and elsewhere.

Lily was the second giraffe calf to be born at Zoo Atlanta, and is a daughter to 7-year-old Abu and the late Mona.

Hines says Lily is being housed in a 16-foot long trailer tall for the more than 500-mile journey.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia agency to participate in water safety program

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has announced it will participate in a national initiative aimed at educating people on the dangers of boating under the influence.

Department spokeswoman Melissa Cummings says the initiative is an effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities linked to boaters operating watercrafts while under the influence. Cummings says officials from the agency's Wildlife Resources Division will participate the program dubbed Operation Dry Water.

The program was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cummings says rangers have made 71 arrests on Georgia waterways this year and a total of 180 in 2012.

Online: Go Boat Georgia

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Deal, state officials to mark 20 years of lottery

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other state officials are planning to celebrate the Georgia Lottery's 20th anniversary.

An event to celebrate the milestone is being planned for Wednesday in Athens.

Deal, Georgia Lottery President and CEO Debbie Alford and former Sen. Zell B. Miller are expected at the event. The Georgia Lottery Corp. said they will recognize the lottery's 20th anniversary and its contributions to the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs.

The event is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Zell B. Miller Learning Center at the University of Georgia.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Reward rises in slaying of Douglas County business owner

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A reward has been increased to $10,000 for clues in the killing of a Douglas County businessman.

Authorities say 66-year-old Jerry Wheeler's body was discovered by his son, Deputy Michael Wheeler, around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Investigators say the killing was extremely violent, describing the crime scene inside the victim's home on Chattahoochee Drive as brutal.

Douglas County Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said Jerry Wheeler owned an automotive shop.

Copeland tells WSB Radio ( that Wheeler was a popular man "without an enemy in the world." He added that investigators are still trying to understand what the motive might have been.

The reward, originally $2,000, was increased to $10,000 on Monday.

Information from: WSB-AM.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


3 men, 1 woman wounded in Clayton County stabbing

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Police south of Atlanta are investigating a stabbing that left four people wounded.

Police tell WSB-TV that the crime happened Monday night, outside a home on Southshore Court in Clayton County. Officers said they found three men and one woman with stab wounds. They were taken to a hospital, and information on their conditions wasn't immediately available.

Police believe an argument between neighbors escalated into the stabbings. Investigators say they're still working to determine who the victims and suspects are.

Few other details were available early Tuesday morning.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Thurmond Lake drowning victim identified as Navy officer

APPLING, Ga. (AP) — Authorities identified a man who drowned at an east Georgia lake as 26-year-old Navy officer Billy Sims Jr.

Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Daniel Farnsworth said the Atlanta native had been stationed at Fort Gordon's Navy Information Operations Command as an ensign since September.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that Sims was swimming with five friends at the Augusta Sailing Club near West Dam on Thurmond Lake when he went under the water Sunday evening.

Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said the group tried to reach a buoy about 50 yards from the roped-off swimming area at West Dam. All five friends made it to the buoy and returned, but Sims went under and didn't surface.

Information from: The Augusta Chronicle,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Nearly $1 million in watches taken in store heist 

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta police are searching for at least five men who made off with nearly a $1 million in watches after smashing a jewelry store case.

The suspects were able to pull off the Friday night crime at Lenox Square within about 30 seconds, police said.

"This was well-coordinated and thought-out," Atlanta police Sgt. Greg Lyon said. "They had seconds to commit this and get away."

Investigators believe five men entered the store and one was outside, serving as a lookout.

"They spread out around an island in the middle of the store," Lyon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( "Then they converged on the high-end counter, where some watches cost $100,000."

Police on Monday released a surveillance video of the heist, hoping the public can identify the suspects.

A sledgehammer left on the floor of the Mayors Jewelers store was among clues left behind.

The suspected getaway van was also found, with three stolen Rolex watches.

Investigators hope the T-shirts, tennis shoes, underwear and baseball caps found inside the white 2013 Dodge Caravan will offer DNA clues to help identify their owners.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis meets with employees

ATLANTA (AP) — DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who faces a 15-count indictment, spent part of his lunch hour Monday addressing county workers at a staff meeting in the county seat of Decatur.

It was Ellis' first public appearance since he briefly spoke to reporters after a grand jury indicted him a week ago, accusing him of trying to extort campaign contributions from companies and their employees.

After Monday's meeting, Ellis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has no plans to step down as CEO. Ellis has said that he has done nothing wrong.

The indictment also alleges that Ellis instructed the county's director of purchasing and contracting to prevent certain companies from getting business because they didn't respond to his solicitations and didn't contribute to his campaign.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to form a three-person commission to determine whether he should be suspended from office.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


State: Georgia students make gains on CRCT tests

ATLANTA (AP) — State education officials say students in Georgia's elementary and middle schools improved on most of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests -- or CRCTs -- taken this year.

The state Department of Education released statewide results of the 2013 standardized tests on Tuesday.

Agency officials say the results show a one-year improvement in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards on 18 of the 30 content-area tests, no change on seven tests and decreases on five tests.

Also, students saw increases in the "exceeds performance" rating on 24 of the 30 content areas.

State School Superintendent John Barge said in a statement that the results show consistent progress by Georgia students.

State officials say school-level CRCT results will be available no later than July 10.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia laws could be in limbo with court ruling

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials have reacted cautiously to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Georgia is one of several states that have had to get federal approval for election law changes, from polling location to district lines. The court didn't strike down the "preclearance" rule itself. But the justices invalidated the formula used to determine what states submit their changes.

The question is what that means for new laws that Georgia officials have submitted to the Justice Department but not gotten a decision.

Attorney General Sam Olens praised the court's ruling in a statement but didn't say how he interpreted its effect on pending changes.

A spokesman in Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office said the state's top election lawyers are reviewing the decision.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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