Georgia News Roundup
December 03, 2013 03:00 PM | 383 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gwinnett hosting vigil for homicide victims

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — The Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office is holding an annual candlelight vigil to remember homicide victims that have been killed in the suburban Atlanta county.

Organizers say District Attorney Danny Porter and Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles are expected to speak at the event Tuesday evening.

The vigil is being hosted by the office's Victim Witness Program at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia  state officials warn of holiday DUI danger

ATLANTA (AP) — The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is reminding travelers to find a designated driver to curb alcohol-related crashes during the holiday season.

Officials say between Nov. 20 and Dec. 31 of 2012, Georgia saw 1,119 alcohol-related crashes, which resulted in 679 injuries and 20 deaths. Governor's Office of Highway Safety officials say there were 264 alcohol-related fatalities in Georgia in all of 2012.

The department is partnering with TEAM Georgia to raise awareness of holiday DUI dangers. TEAM Georgia is sober driving coalition made up of businesses, public safety officials and members of Atlanta's sports teams.

Online: www.teamgeorgia.net

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Coroner: Missing woman likely died of exposure

ELLENWOOD, Ga. (AP) — A county coroner says a 72-year-old woman with dementia who was found dead in Henry County likely died of exposure to the elements.

Searchers found the body of Lucilla Harris of Atlanta on Saturday, near the spot where her car was located previously in Ellenwood. Relatives had reported her missing on Nov. 23.

Henry County coroner Donald Cleveland tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Harris most likely died of exposure to the elements.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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1 killed in crash of small plane in north Georgia

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Federal and local authorities are continuing to investigate the crash of a small plane that went down in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, killing one person on board.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the single-engine Piper Malibu crashed Monday night in Dawsonville.

A portion of the plane has been recovered. The crash site, about 55 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, is less than a half-mile from Georgia 400.

Bergen says the plane had departed from the Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey. It was flying to the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport when air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot.

Bergen says the plane was registered to a Georgia entity.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Atlanta OKs funds for neighborhoods near stadium

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's city council has unanimously passed a plan for spending millions of dollars aimed at helping neighborhoods near the future home of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Monday's vote clears the way for the city to issue $200 million in bonds for stadium construction.

The community benefits plan for the neighborhoods was approved after months of negotiations between city officials and residents. The Atlanta newspaper reports that the plan is essentially a $30 million wish list for communities near the stadium — English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill.

The neighborhood plan needed the council and mayor's approval before city officials could issue bonds, backed by hotel-motel taxes, for stadium construction. The $1.2 billion stadium is scheduled to open in 2017 south of the Georgia Dome.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Former Atlanta mayor to receive honorary degree

MORROW, Ga. (AP) — Clayton State University is awarding a former Atlanta mayor with an honorary doctorate of public service.

University spokesman John Shiffert says former Mayor Shirley C. Franklin is being honored at the school's fall commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Franklin is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for a noon ceremony, where officials will present degrees to approximately 245 graduates from the school's colleges of Arts and Sciences and Information and Mathematical Sciences.

Franklin served two terms as mayor and oversaw several major projects in the urban planning, economic development and infrastructure arenas.

Shiffert says she also led an initiative that gave about 4,000 Atlanta college students internships and financial aid.

Franklin, originally of Philadelphia, served as director of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs in her early days working in Atlanta government.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Autopsy: Alzheimer's patient died from gun wound

ATLANTA (AP) — An autopsy has found that an Alzheimer's patient who was shot in northwest Georgia died from the gunshot wound.

The autopsy report was not available Tuesday, but Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said the autopsy determined Ronald Westbrook died from a wound to his torso.

Authorities say Westbrook was lost and confused in the pre-dawn darkness Nov. 27. He had walked about three miles in sub-freezing temperatures, then knocked on 34-year-old Joe Hendrix's door just before 4 a.m.

Authorities say Hendrix then went into the backyard of the home he rented near Chickamauga, confronted Westbrook and fired his handgun four times at the man.

District Attorney Buzz Franklin says he'll likely meet with the sheriff and GBI in the next two weeks to determine whether to file charges.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Owner of Georgia tax firm guilty in fraud scheme

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal prosecutors say the owner of a tax preparation firm has pleaded guilty in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates says owner of Georgia Peach Financial and Fast Tax Service, Anita Ford, pleaded guilty Tuesday to filing false fraudulent tax returns.

Yates says 49-year-old Ford electronically filed thousands of individual tax forms between 2004 and 2012 that intentionally misstated her clients' income. Yates says Ford also filed returns on behalf of fake businesses and attached them to her clients' individual refund forms.

Yates says an undercover IRS agent visited Ford's business posing as a taxpayer, and she filed fraudulent personal and business tax refund forms on their behalf.

Yates says Ford, of Jonesboro, is responsible for between $2.5 million and $7 million in losses to the IRS.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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