Georgia News Roundup
August 14, 2013 03:45 PM | 498 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Invasive insect known to kill trees spotted in Georgia 

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials say an invasive insect that's killed millions of trees in 20 states has been found in Georgia.

Officials said Tuesday that the Georgia Invasive Species Task Force is working to block the spread of emerald ash borer beetles, which were trapped during routine monitoring last month in DeKalb County.

Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris says forestry specialists have been monitoring the spread of the insect for decades. State Department of Natural Resources officials say this marks the first time the insect has been spotted in Georgia.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says the beetle's larvae live underneath the bark of ash firewood and they usually hitch rides from place to place when people unwittingly move infested wood between counties.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Lawmakers to address child hunger at Georgia gathering

ATLANTA (AP) — Lawmakers who gathered in Atlanta for a national conference this week are going to stuff backpacks with food to address local child hunger.

Organizers of the National Conference of State Legislatures say lawmakers will compete Wednesday morning to see who can pack the most bags with food that will be donated to Atlanta area children.

Officials say at more than 17 percent of households without enough food on the table, Georgia ranks fifth nationally in terms of families struggling against hunger.

Officials say the state team that packs the most bags will win a $5,000 grant to award to a hunger relief agency of their choice. Two other state teams will be given grants for $2,500 each.

Organizers say the competition is being coordinated with the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Closing arguments set in corruption case

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A jury could soon begin deliberating the fate of a Georgia sheriff who is facing several corruption charges.

Prosecutors on Tuesday afternoon rested their case against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill after four days of testimony. Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for 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. His attorneys have said the indictment was a politically motivated attack.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Testimony to resume in Sneiderman trial

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday in the trial of Andrea Sneiderman.

As Sneiderman's defense attorneys continue to make their case, it's still unknown whether the Dunwoody widow will take the stand in her own defense. Judge Gregory Adams on Tuesday asked Sneiderman whether she plans to testify in her trial, which is continuing in Decatur. She said she hasn't decided yet.

Andrea Sneiderman's husband Rusty Sneiderman was shot in November 2010 outside a suburban Atlanta preschool. Her former boss Hemy Neuman was convicted in the killing in March 2012, but was found mentally ill.

Prosecutors say Sneiderman lied to police investigating her husband's death and lied under oath during Neuman's trial. She faces charges of making false statements, hindering an investigation and perjury.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Trial set for Bill Currington threats case

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Savannah judge has set an Oct. 4 trial date for country singer Billy Currington, who is charged with threatening a 70-year-old tour boat captain who cruised past the dock of a waterfront home where the singer was staying.

Currington's attorney, Alex Zipperer, entered a not guilty plea for the singer Wednesday in Chatham County Superior Court. Currington was not in the courtroom.

Prosecutors charged Currington with making terroristic threats and abuse of an elderly person, both felonies, in April. Tour boat captain Charles Harvey Ferrelle and his two passengers told police they were cruising along a coastal creek near Tybee Island when an angry Currington jumped in a boat to chase them.

Police say Currington followed Ferrelle's boat to a dock and told Ferrelle he would "finish him off."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Atheist texts delivered to Georgia state park

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A member of a national atheist group says he is distributing atheist literature to several state parks in Georgia.

Ed Buckner says he brought two atheist books to Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville Wednesday morning. The Cranford, N.J.-based American Atheists organization had said it would supply atheist texts for lodging in Georgia state parks after the governor said any religious group could donate literature.

Gov. Nathan Deal said that in May when he ordered Bibles returned to state park cabins. The Bibles had been temporarily removed after Buckner complained about finding Bibles in a cabin he rented at Amicalola Falls State Park.

Buckner said Wednesday the atheist books weren't immediately put in cottages at Red Top Mountain because the manager would have to make sure they fit restrictions.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Savannah teen charged in fire that killed 2 children

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Fire officials in Savannah say a 13-year-old girl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and arson in a blaze that killed two children.

Authorities said Wednesday that the girl's 6-year-old half-sister and a 13-year-old girl were pulled from a smoke-filled bedroom on July 14 and died four days later at Memorial University Medical Center.

Department spokesman Mark Keller says details on the girl's motive haven't been released. The girl's identity has not been released and the Associated Press typically does not identify juvenile crime suspects. It wasn't immediately clear how the fire was started.

Savannah Fire and Emergency Services investigators said the girl is being held in the Chatham County Youth Detention Center and will remain there until an initial detention hearing.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Regents set new policies for Georgia colleges

ATLANTA (AP) — The University System of Georgia is taking several steps to establish a more comprehensive approach to guiding the state's 31 public colleges and universities.

The Board of Regents voted Wednesday to implement a new policy determining a wide range of issues, including what types of degrees each institution should offer and its emphasis on research, teaching and service.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby says the plan requires the university system to be focused and use resources wisely.

The policy also calls for classifying the state's institutions into four categories. They are research university, comprehensive university, state university and state college.

Research universities — Georgia Tech, Georgia State, UGA and Georgia Regents University — will offer a broad array of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. They'll also offer doctoral degrees and emphasize research.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile in south Georgia

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — State health officials say six mosquito samples in South Georgia have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Georgia Department of Public Health south district officials say mosquitoes in Lowndes County were tested for the virus last week.

Authorities are encouraging people to dispose of items containing standing water near their homes. Officials say stocking decorative ponds with mosquito-eating fish, keeping swimming pools covered, cleaning gutters and using insect repellant are other preventative measures.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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