Georgia News Roundup
July 16, 2013 04:45 PM | 391 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
4 gang members convicted in metro Atlanta crimes

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Attorney's officials say four gang members have been convicted in a string of murders, attempted murders, armed robberies and other offenses in metro Atlanta.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that 24-year-old Miguel Alvarado-Linares, 30-year-old Ernesto Escobar, 30-year-old Dimas Alfaro-Granados, and 28-year-old Jairo Reyna-Ozuna were convicted of numerous crimes in Gwinnett and Dekalb Counties after a monthlong trial.

Authorities say the men were members of the MS-13 gang, an international operation that had been active in the Atlanta area since at least 2005.

Among other crimes, officials say two of the men orchestrated the death of a fellow gang member in October 2006 because they thought he was cooperating with police.

Officials say a sentencing date has not been set.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Coastal Georgia mosquitoes test positive for West Nile

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — County officials in coastal Georgia are asking residents to take preventative measures after a sampling of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The Chatham County Health Department and the County Mosquito Control department asked residents Tuesday to try wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn, wear insect repellent and drain containers of standing water to avoid being bitten by virus-carrying insects.

West Nile symptoms include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. They usually appear three to 15 days after the mosquito bite.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia had 99 cases of West Nile virus last year, including six that were fatal.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Ralston forms group to study Georgia forfeiture law

ATLANTA (AP) — House Speaker David Ralston has appointed a group to study Georgia's forfeiture law and report back with recommendations.

The group of 19 lawmakers, district attorneys and sheriffs was announced Tuesday and will study proposed legislation that could make it harder for law enforcement agencies to seize property and cash.

The bill was withdrawn earlier this year after meeting resistance from elected sheriffs, who argue existing law is sufficient to protect the public.

Earlier, Ralston said he would like to see the law changed to increase accountability and transparency. He cited recent reports of questionable spending by two district attorneys.

Ralston appointed the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Wendell Willard, to chair the working group and asked members to report back on the legislation to the House Judiciary Committee by Jan. 13.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia officials promote child care rating program

ATLANTA (AP) — Officials are encouraging early child care and education programs to sign up for the state's system that rates their facilities and help parents make informed decisions.

Gov. Nathan Deal discussed the state's first Quality Rated child care programs Tuesday at the capitol.

The voluntary system assesses the quality of child care programs through a star-rating system.

In 2012, officials hoped for 700 programs to sign up. Nearly 1,100 joined Quality Rated last year.

Ratings first went public on July 1. Within the first two weeks, the rating website had more than 3,000 visits.

About 1,300 early care programs currently participate. Officials plan to heavily promote the program throughout the state to encourage more programs to join.

Quality Rated programs are eligible for free professional development, technical assistance and financial incentive packages.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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New Mexico frees a Georgia murder suspect due to mix-up

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a murder suspect being held in New Mexico for extradition to Georgia was released because of a communications mix-up.

Sandoval County Sheriff's officials say 52-year-old Robert Craig Sandman was arrested in the parking lot of a casino in April.

He allegedly was in possession of a sports car that belonged to Donald Singer, who was found dead in March inside his garage in Duluth, Ga.

Sandman had a warrant out of Georgia as a person of interest in Singer's murder. An extradition hearing was held April 19 in Sandoval County.

KRQE-TV says a district judge released Sandman because Georgia had filed to extradite Sandman within 20 days of the April hearing.

Duluth police say they were never notified that Sandman was ready for transfer. He remains at large.

Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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