Georgia News Roundup
June 27, 2013 06:00 AM | 607 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia Army helicopter unit breaks ground on memorial

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — An elite Army helicopter unit based in coastal Georgia is building a memorial to its fallen members.

A ground breaking ceremony was scheduled Thursday at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah for the new memorial for the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The unit, nicknamed the Night Stalkers, flies helicopters in extremely hazardous combat environments, often at night and at low altitudes with pilots wearing night-vision goggles.

The memorial will recognize members of the unit who have died since it was activated in the 1980s. To date, 20 Night Stalker soldiers have died — two-thirds of them in combat.

A civilian foundation has been set up to raise money for the memorial and to oversee its construction and maintenance.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia health insurance portal to launch in August

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Department of Community Health officials say the state's new online enrollment and eligibility portal will be launched Aug. 1.

Department Commissioner David A. Cook says the portal for the State Health Benefit Plan is designed to streamline the enrollment process for plan members and their employers during open enrollment and when adjustments are made because of life events.

Officials say the department contracted with ADP, a human capital management services firm, to develop the portal and the company will also provide a call center based in Augusta.

Officials say the portal and call center are intended to automate many core functions and increase efficiency of the program's administration.

Online: State Health Benefit Plan

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia health officials offer free HIV testing

ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials in Georgia are offering free HIV testing.

Thursday is National HIV Testing Day. The state Department of Public Health is teaming up with its national partner, Greater than AIDS, and health departments around the state to offer the free testing.

Georgians can get free HIV tests at select Walgreens pharmacies, county health departments and other Greater than AIDS partners on Thursday and, in some places, through the weekend.

Health officials say more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but 20 percent of them don't know it. Health officials say HIV testing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus. Georgia ranks sixth in the nation for the number of AIDS cases reported through the end of 2009.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Gwinnett renews immigration enforcement agreement

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Gwinnett County has renewed an agreement allowing its officers to enforce some federal immigration laws.

Since 2009, Gwinnett County sheriff deputies have been able to check the immigration status of arrested people.

WSB-TV reports that Chief Deputy Mike Boyd told county commissioners this week that more than 10,000 people have been identified as having committed possible immigration violations as a result of the program. The commission voted unanimously to renew the program.

Some want the program to end. Paula de Lima Villafan said the effort goes too far. She left Uruguay with her family at age 4.

Villafan said she got into a 2012 traffic accident and didn't have a license. She said she faced deportation after being charged with a misdemeanor offense.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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