Georgia News Roundup
January 17, 2014 01:00 PM | 493 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chambliss inducted into Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame

TIFTON, Ga. (AP) — The office of Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss say the lawmaker has become the fifth person to be inducted into the Georgia Peanut Commission's Peanut Hall of Fame.

Representatives of Chambliss' office say the lawmaker was chosen for "his lifelong contributions to Georgia's peanut industry and agriculture." Officials say the honor is the highest recognition one can receive from peanut growers in the state of Georgia.

Previous inductees include U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Henry Reeves, U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge and Professor J. Frank McGill.

Chambliss says he's humbled and honored to be inducted, and that the peanut industry is critical to the state's economy.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Zoo Atlanta nominated for 5 panda awards

ATLANTA (AP) — Zoo Atlanta officials say the zoo's pandas and their handlers have five chances to take home a prize in the 2013 Giant Panda Zoo Awards.

Officials say voters from across the country went online to cast ballots for their favorites between Dec. 13 and Jan. 14. Officials say the zoo's pandas and staff are up for several awards including: panda cub of the year; panda personality of 2013; panda keeper of the year; panda moment of the year and favorite "returned" panda.

Winners are expected to be announced at the zoo's Panda Veranda Tuesday at 10 a.m. Admission is free for Zoo Atlanta members. Children under the age of three are also offered free admission if they're visiting with someone paying general admission.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Family hopes billboard lead to East Atlanta killer

ATLANTA (AP) — Police and relatives of a man who was gunned down on an east Atlanta street are hoping that new billboards will generate leads in the case.

CBS Atlanta reports that the family of Patrick Cotrona has secured enough money to put up seven billboards to remind people of the killing.

One of the billboards, on Candler Road in Decatur, includes sketches of two men police believe are the killers. The billboards remind people of a $25,000 reward in the case.

Police say Cotrona, a 33-year-old video game engineer, was shot and killed while handing over his wallet during a robbery on May 25. Atlanta police believe the killers are the same men who committed two other robberies that same night.

Information from: WGCL-TV, http://www.cbsatlanta.com/index.html 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Trial continues in Valdosta State murder case

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — Prosecutors have rested have their case in the trial of the man accused of killing a Valdosta State University freshman in 2012.

The Valdosta Daily Times reports that defense lawyers began their case Thursday, calling several character witnesses for defendant Darien Joseph Meheux. They included a pastor, a former girlfriend and other acquaintances mainly from the Lawrenceville area.

Meheux is the former boyfriend of 17-year-old Jasmine Benjamin of Lawrenceville. She was found dead in a campus study room in November 2012. Authorities said the cause of death was asphyxiation.

The trial is expected to continue Friday.

Information from: The Valdosta Daily Times, http://valdostadailytimes.com/ 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Firefighters say blaze too intense to reach people

FRUITHURST, Ala. (AP) — Firefighters in an eastern Alabama town say they tried to reach the people inside an intense house fire, but the heat was too much.

Two children died and several adult were injured in the Thursday fire in the Fruithurst community of Cleburne County, authorities said.

Fruithurst firefighters said they were notified of the fire at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday and arrived a few minutes later to find the home on U.S. Highway 78 engulfed in flames. Several people were trapped inside the house.

Crews tried to get in the house to reach the people inside but the fire was too hot, Fruithurst firefighter Randy Ginn told The Anniston Star.

"I don't know how many times we tried to get back in the house," Ginn said. "They had two vehicles parked in the yard and just from the radiant heat, they caught on fire."

A 911 call came from men passing the house on their way to work, said Chad Roberts, assistant chief of the Fruithurst Volunteer Fire Department. When firefighters arrived, the roof had collapsed on about half the house, he said.

The cause of the fire is unclear.

Those who were injured were taken to a hospital in Bremen, Ga.

Fruithurst is about 35 miles east of Anniston.

Information from: The Anniston Star, http://www.annistonstar.com/ 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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High school near Georgia coast placed on lockdown

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A high school near Georgia's coast was on lockdown as police officers searched classroom by classroom in response to a bomb threat.

WTOC-TV reports that Richmond Hill High School was on lockdown early Friday afternoon after police received a phone call from someone who said there was a bomb threat. The school was then placed under lockdown, meaning that no one could enter or exit the school.

Police said they do not believe there is a bomb in the school, which includes more than 2,000 students, but said they believe the investigation may take most of Friday.

The Savannah Morning News reports that both the east and west campuses of the school were sealed off by law officers during the search.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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