Georgia News Roundup
June 19, 2013 04:40 PM | 738 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
National education group to convene in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly 9,000 educators are expected to convene in Atlanta for an annual conference.

The National Education Association is set to hold its annual representative assembly in Atlanta June 26 through July 6. The assembly is the top decision-making body for the 3-million member organization and establishes the group's policies for the upcoming year.

Officials say delegates typically craft strategic plans, budget policies, a legislative program and more.

The theme for this year's annual meeting is "NEA: We Educate America." NEA spokeswoman Staci Maiers says this is the first time since 1997 that the group will hold a convention in Atlanta.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Couple rescues third historic home in middle Georgia

FORSYTH, Ga. (AP) — A middle Georgia couple is being credited with buying three historic homes needing restoration work in the city of Fosyth over the past three years.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit formed to help save the state's historic treasures, says Percell and Veronica Kelley recently bought a Victorian railroad cottage known as the Miller House.

It's the third Forsyth home the Kelleys have purchased since 2011 from the Georgia Trust's revolving fund program that buys historic properties in danger of demolition or suffering from neglect. The properties are sold to buyers who rehabilitate them — and often sell them again.

All three homes were donated to the Georgia Trust by Wal-Mart as part of a zoning deal that allowed the retailer to build a store in Forsyth.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia schools to use career-oriented education model

ATLANTA (AP) — State education officials have announced they've developed courses for a new education model geared toward helping students find potential career paths.

Officials from the Georgia Department of Education say the career clusters framework will allow students to choose one of 17 career pathways based on what they'd like to study in college. The pathways range from business management and administration to world languages and are based on a set of core curriculum and electives.

The General Assembly voted in 2011 to allow the Department of Education to implement the career pathways program. State School Superintendent John Barge says the "new career pathways will keep students engaged and on the road to graduation."

He said many students drop out of school because they can't connect classroom experiences to practical applications.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Deputy recovering after confrontation with inmate

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheriff's deputy is recovering from his injuries after authorities say he was attacked by an inmate.

The Savannah Morning News reports that the Chatham County deputy was working at the county jail Sunday night when the attack took place.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Gena Bilbo said the deputy's injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Authorities say a 24-year-old inmate is facing charges in connection with the incident.

Information from: Savannah Morning News,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Trial date delayed in law grad slaying case 

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A trial date for the suspect in the slaying of Mercer University law school graduate Lauren Giddings has been delayed until January.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that Stephen McDaniel was previously scheduled to go on trial in September, but now faces a Jan. 6 trial date.

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said the delay is necessary to ensure that the court has an adequate time to consider motions in the case.

The 27-year-old suspect is charged with murder in the June 2011 slaying and dismemberment of 27-year-old Giddings, who was from Laurel, Md. Her torso was found in a trash bin near her apartment and police have said the rest of her remains have not been found.

McDaniel has pleaded not guilty.

Information from: The Macon Telegraph,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


100 soldiers returning to Georgia from Afghanistan 

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — About 100 soldiers are scheduled to return to Fort Benning in Georgia after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that members of the 14th Combat Support Hospital are expected to return Wednesday to the west Georgia Army base.

The unit is made up of soldiers assigned at Fort Benning and medical personnel from throughout the Army.

Elsie Jackson, public affairs spokeswoman at the base, says that a ceremony is expected to be held Wednesday evening at Freedom Hall at Fort Benning.

The highly mobile unit is made up of soldiers who are trained and equipped to treat wounds from bullets and improvised explosive devices and other combat injuries.

Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Rapid reopened after rafters flipped into water 

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — A rapid that has gained a notorious reputation as part of a new whitewater course on the Chattahoochee River has been reopened after dozens of rafters were dumped into the rushing water during its first week.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that at least 10 of 17 large rafts flipped on the Cut Bait rapid shortly after the course opened in May. More than 70 of the first rafters who traversed the rapid were dumped into the river that separates Georgia and Alabama in the Columbus area.

No injuries were reported, but the rapid was off-limits to paying customers for a couple weeks after as guides went through additional training.

Whitewater Express owner Dan Gilbert says the additional training has led to a much higher success rate through the rapid.

Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Alcatraz escapee's sister returns to robbery scene 

By Greg Phillips, The Dothan Eagle

COLUMBIA, Ala. (AP) — Standing in the vault her brothers robbed 55 years ago, Marie Anglin Widner gasped.

"They really went in here," she said, turning to fully take in the surroundings at the old Bank of Columbia. "Wow."

The south Georgia woman remembers her brothers - John William (J.W.), Clarence and Alfred Anglin - as rambunctious but nonviolent kids trying desperately to escape poverty in Donalsonville, Ga.

"They never harmed anybody," said Marie, 77, one of 14 Anglin siblings. "They wouldn't even hurt a flea. They were mischievous young boys. It got a little bigger and a little bigger, and then this. And this was wrong, very wrong."

Marie's husband, Frank Widner, considered J.W. a friend.

"I thought the world of him," he said.

After federal authorities captured them in Ohio days later, the Anglin brothers were sentenced to federal prison.

"That caused a lot of hurt," Marie said.

After multiple escape attempts, two of them, J.W. and Clarence, eventually landed at the maximum-security prison on Alcatraz Island in northern California.

"The reason they sent them to Alcatraz was because they couldn't keep them anywhere else they put them," Marie said.

J.W. and Clarence worked with fellow convicts Frank Morris and Allen West at Alcatraz to hatch an escape plan that would eventually be immortalized in a Clint Eastwood film called "Escape from Alcatraz."

While it's never been proven, Anglin family members believe the brothers successfully escaped in 1962 and are still alive.

"I know they made it," Marie said. "A U.S. Marshall told us he knew they made it. He said they found the raft on Angel Island, footprints leading away from it, and a car was stolen that night. He said they did make it."

Frank is also certain the brothers survived.

"On the first Christmas they escaped, her momma and daddy got a Christmas card and it was signed 'Joe and Jerry,'" Frank said. "I took the Christmas card and compared the handwriting, and I can't remember which one it was, but it was identical to one of (the brothers') handwriting."

Despite their strong viewpoint, family members insist they haven't had direct contact with the brothers.

"We have had people tell us they have seen them, and we have our suspicions, but none of us have seen them," said David Widner, Marie's son. "(The family) would really like to know where they're at."

If the brothers were still alive, Clarence would be 82 and J.W. would be 83.

Marie doesn't know if she'll ever see them again, but she knows what she'll do if she gets the chance.

"I'd never turn them loose. I would hug 'em and love 'em and never turn 'em loose," Marie said. "I believe they're alive somewhere out there. I have no idea where. I would love to know."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Panel to weigh Rep. Tyrone Brooks suspension next week

ATLANTA (AP) — A panel appointed by Georgia's governor to determine whether an indicted state lawmaker should be suspended will meet next week.

The panel will meet June 28 to review charges against Rep. Tyrone Brooks, an Atlanta Democrat. The hearing is open to the public.

Brooks was charged last month in a 30-count federal indictment with mail fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He has pleaded not guilty.

Gov. Nathan Deal last week appointed the Democratic minority leaders of the House and Senate, Rep. Stacey Abrams and Sen. Steve Henson, to the panel. By law, the panel also includes Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican.

The panel has to consider whether the indictment relates to Brooks' public office and whether it adversely affects the public.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Athens Clarke-County police sergeant reinstated after stabbing

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — An Athens Clarke-County police sergeant is back on the job six years after nearly being stabbed to death while on duty.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports Sgt. Courtney Gale was sworn in again to the Athens-Clarke County Police Department this week.

Gale was working as a uniformed security guard at a supermarket when a man attacked her with a large kitchen knife. Gale was stabbed 12 times and authorities said she may have bled to death if a nurse who was shopping hadn't been nearby and helped to stop the bleeding. Gale's femoral artery was severed in the attack and she spent two weeks in a coma.

During her recovery, Gale earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Georgia worked as a civilian employee since 2012.

Information from: Athens Banner-Herald,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Deen says she used slur but doesn't tolerate hate

By Russ Bynum, Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Celebrity cook Paula Deen says she has used racial slurs in the past but insists she and her brother, who are accused of racial and sexual discrimination in a lawsuit by a former manager of their restaurant, don't tolerate hateful behavior.

In a court deposition filed Monday in federal court, an attorney for former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson presses the 66-year-old Deen about her racial views and those of her brother, Bubba Hiers. Deen is asked if she's ever used "the N-word." She responds: "Yes, of course."

Deen says she likely used the slur in the 1980s after a black man held her at gunpoint at the Georgia bank where she worked.

Deen insists she and her brother object to slurs being used in "any cruel or mean behavior."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Feds charge 33 in Ga. gun trafficking case

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Federal authorities in Savannah have charged 33 people as part of an undercover operation into gun and drug trafficking.

A majority of those named in 17 federal indictments that were unsealed Wednesday are from Georgia and South Carolina. The investigation, dubbed Operation Pulaski, began in late 2011.

Undercover federal agents infiltrated multiple regional and international criminal organizations. Over time, the agents bought 189 guns, illegal drugs and stolen vehicles.

Investigators found that the vehicles were stolen from the New York City area and were brought to the Southeast for resale or to be shipped abroad and sold.

Also as part of the investigation, four people were charged by Chatham County authorities on state firearm and drug offenses. Eight other defendants in the case were previously indicted and prosecuted last year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Ralston says changes to Georgia forfeiture law needed

By Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — House Speaker David Ralston says changes are needed to Georgia's forfeiture law to increase accountability and transparency.

Ralston said in an interview Wednesday that recent reports of questionable spending by two local agencies have generated a significant amount of interest in how the government handles money and property seized during investigations. Ralston says he'll consider discussing legislation on the issue next year.

A Republican state lawmaker earlier this year withdrew a bill that would have made it harder to seize property after meeting resistance from elected sheriffs, who argue existing law is sufficient to protect the public.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, president of the Georgia Sheriffs Association, says the focus should be on enforcing current rules requiring law enforcement agencies to submit spending reports and investigating those that don't.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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