Georgia News Roundup
August 07, 2013 09:50 AM | 707 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
US Sen. Isakson to hold hearing on veterans center

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is planning to hold a hearing to examine a report outlining alleged mismanagement at the Atlanta Veterans Medical Center.

Isakson is planning to host a field hearing Wednesday at Georgia State University to further discuss the April 2013 report by the Department of Veterans' Affairs Inspector General.

The report found that a patient in need of mental health care committed suicide, and two others who needed care died of drug overdoses. Another veteran who was being treated for depression and anxiety committed suicide after being discharged in 2012.

Isakson serves on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and is expected to hear testimony from the VA Central Office, the Office of the Inspector General and others.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Jury selection continues in Victor Hill case 

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Jury selection in the trial of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is expected to resume Wednesday.

Hill was elected last year despite being under indictment on felony corruption charges. He wasn't in office when he was indicted in February 2012, but the charges stem from his previous term as the county's sheriff, from 2005 to 2008.

The indictment accuses Hill of using his office for personal gain. Defense attorneys maintain the accusations are attacks by political rivals.

Attorneys are trying to whittle down a pool of 150 potential jurors to a pool of 36. They will then choose a panel of 12 jurors and a handful of alternates from that pool.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia Sea Turtle Center returning 2 patients to wild 

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is returning two of its amphibious patients to the wild.

Staff at the sea turtle hospital on Jekyll Island planned to release the turtles on the beach at noon Wednesday. Each spent several weeks recovering from illness and injuries.

A juvenile Kemp's Ridley sea turtle named Robin was found June 6 with a large fishing hook lodged in its esophagus. Veterinarians found the turtle also suffered an infection after being hit by a boat.

The second turtle, a young green sea turtle called Nat, was discovered floating neat a pier. Nat was underweight and anemic with a skin lesion under one of its flippers.

Terry Norton, director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, said both turtles have recovered and can return to the ocean.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


State prepares for removal of Ga. 400 toll booths

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say they plan to quit collecting tolls on Georgia 400 in late November and begin dismantling the giant toll plaza in January.

In 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the end of the .50-cent tolls and said the toll booths -- near the northern edge of Atlanta -- would be removed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that tearing down the toll plaza is a year-long project that's estimated to cost $3.5 million. Officials selected Southeastern Site Development Inc. of Newnan for the work. The company could start setting up operations at the site as early as next month.

State officials have said they anticipate an 18 percent increase in traffic volume once the tolls are removed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Democrat Nunn to launch 10-city tour

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn plans a two-week, 10-city tour around Georgia as Democrats try to reclaim Saxby Chambliss's seat in 2014.

The Republican senator is retiring, and national Democrats say it's their best shot at picking up a GOP seat.

Nunn is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Macon, with stops later this week in Columbus, Albany and Valdosta. Next week, she'll visit Savannah, Augusta, Athens, Rome and Dalton.

The final stop is Atlanta, where she lives and works as CEO of a national volunteer organization started by former President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.

The Nunn campaign says the 47-year-old candidate will travel in her minivan with her husband and two children. Nunn's father served 24 years in the Senate, but this is her first run for office.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Semi, freight train collide southwest of Atlanta

PALMETTO, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a freight train and a semitrailer collided at a rail crossing southwest of Atlanta, closing a state highway.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the wreck happened shortly before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday on Georgia 154 in Coweta County.

There were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.

Authorities say a utility pole was knocked down, and traffic lights were left dangling.

Few other details were immediately available.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Parts of north Georgia mountains under flood threat

JASPER, Ga. (AP) — Some residents were being evacuated from their homes in the north Georgia mountains, where heavy rains have once again led to flooding.

The emergency manager in Pickens County reports that authorities were evacuating some homes due to rising water Wednesday morning. The Pickens County Sheriff's Office reported that water was over Church Street and Burton Street in the town of Jasper, about 60 miles north of Atlanta.

The National Weather Service said the latest flash flood warnings -- which cover Pickens and Gilmer counties and western Dawson County -- would be in effect until 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Forecasters say slow-moving thunderstorms in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday were dumping heavy rain in the region.

Residents in Pickens and Gilmer counties are still cleaning up after severe flooding one week ago.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Alabama AG joins brief in support of prayer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has joined attorneys general from 22 other states in filing a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of prayer at the start of government meetings.

The brief asks the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling from New York that said prayer at the beginning of government assembly meetings violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

The brief from the attorneys general asks the justices to reaffirm a Supreme Court ruling 30 years ago that upheld prayer at the start of legislative sessions.

Attorneys general from Alabama's neighboring states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee joined Strange in filing the brief.

The court is scheduled to hear the case of Town of Greece, N.Y. vs. Galloway after Oct. 1.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Search resumes for missing man in Chattahoochee

ROSWELL, Ga. (AP) — Crews have returned to the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta to continue their search for a missing swimmer.

Roswell police say the man, whose name was not released, was last seen around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, swimming from a boat in the area of Don White Park on Riverside Road.

Investigators believe the man was trying to go from one boat to another, but instead ended up in the water. Police say boaters had tried to throw a life vest to the man, but were unsuccessful.

The search was halted late Tuesday as nightfall fell and fog enveloped the river.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that crews returned to the river Wednesday morning to continue their search.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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