Georgia News Roundup
March 31, 2014 03:20 PM | 821 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Atlanta attorney tapped for Driver Services post

ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta attorney has been hired to serve as general counsel for the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

Officials said in a statement that Cassandra A. Williams of the firm Drew, Eckl and Farnham has been selected for the position. Officials say Williams previously worked as a senior associate at the law firm.

Department officials say Williams will work with Commissioner Rob Mikell and the department's board of directors and will lead the agency's legal services division of attorneys and administrators. Aside from lending guidance on administrative law, the division conducts judicial outreach and responds to questions on license issuance.

Williams graduated with a degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and graduated from the Thomas M. Coley Law School in Michigan in 2003.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


1 dead, 2 hurt in shooting in Norcross apartment

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Gwinnett County police are investigating after three people were shot at a Norcross apartment complex.

Police tell local media one man was fatally shot late Sunday night and another was critically injured. A woman also suffered a gunshot wound, but police said her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Police say the shooter fled on foot. Investigators weren't sure whether anyone else was involved.

Police did not immediately release the identity of any of the victims.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Trial to begin in Georgia ethics commission lawsuit

ATLANTA (AP) — A trial is scheduled to begin Monday in the lawsuit of a former state ethics commission employee who alleges retaliation for investigating complaints against Gov. Nathan Deal.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville is scheduled to decide some final issues, including whether Deal must testify, before jury selection begins.

Stacey Kalberman is the former executive secretary at the ethics commission. She claims commissioners cut her salary and eliminated her deputy's position as she was seeking approval to issue subpoenas as part of the agency's investigation of Deal's 2010 campaign reports and financial disclosures.

Commissioners have denied any wrongdoing. Deal has said he wasn't involved. The governor was later cleared of major violations in the ethics probe and agreed to pay $3,350 in administrative fees.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Feds may pull funding over Georgia food stamp problems

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal officials are threatening to cut off up to $76 million in administrative funding if Georgia doesn't make big changes to its food stamp system.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the funds could be yanked as early as May 1.

Because of understaffing, out-of-date technology and a call center than can't handle the call volume, thousands of Georgian have lost food stamp benefits or been blocked from applying.

The federal government pays for food stamps, and the federal and state governments split the management costs. Federal authorities say they will pull all or some of their $76 million contribution unless significant changes are made.

The newspaper says the state doesn't have to fix everything by May 1, but must alleviate the backlog of overdue cases.

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


Pastor of Rome church killed in head-on collision

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Georgia State Patrol officials say the pastor of a Rome church was killed in a head-on collision.

The Rome News-Tribune reports the Rev. Nim Russell, pastor at Thankful Baptist Church, died in the wreck just west of Adairsville around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright says a pickup truck driven by 47-year-old Michelle Blum crossed the center line on Georgia 140 and crashed into the car driven by Russell.

Blum and her passenger, 46-year-old Charles Louis Blum, were taken to a hospital for treatment. A passenger in Russell's car whom Wright did not identify was also taken to a hospital.

Authorities continued to investigate the crash. Wright said any potential charges would be decided upon after the investigation is complete.

Information from: Rome News-Tribune, http://www.romenews-tribune.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Georgia officials hope training center means jobs

By Kathleen Foody, Associated Press

COVINGTON, Ga. (AP) — Georgia leaders say a new bioscience training center will draw more high paying jobs to the state.

State and industry officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at the site of the Georgia Bioscience Training Center about 35 miles east of Atlanta. The building is next to the $1 billion Baxter International pharmaceutical manufacturing plant under construction near Covington.

The bioscience center will be operated by the Georgia Quick Start program, expanding previous workforce training efforts for companies including Kia and Caterpillar. Baxter employees will train at the facility, but other companies in the life science industry can create similar programs.

Gov. Nathan Deal says the center will keep Georgia students in technical industries in the state after they finish their education and help to draw more companies to the state.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed engaged to be married

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's mayor is engaged to be married, and the couple is expecting their first child.

Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement Monday that he proposed to Sarah-Elizabeth Langford over the weekend and that she accepted his proposal.

A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said the couple is expecting their first child together. Reed said the pair looks forward to building a family together and asked for privacy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Langford, a developer, is the daughter of Atlanta attorney Susan Pease Langford and the late state Sen. Arthur Langford. The newspaper says she is a former Miss District of Columbia. She graduated from the University of Michigan and Howard University School of Law, Reed's alma mater.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
Deal won't have to testify in ethics agency trial

By Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — A judge has ruled Gov. Nathan Deal doesn't have to testify in the civil case of a former state ethics commission employee who alleges retaliation for investigating complaints against the governor.

The judge ruled Monday, as jury selection was set to begin. State attorneys had argued Deal has no personal knowledge of the facts in the case.

Stacey Kalberman is the former executive secretary at the ethics commission. She claims commissioners cut her salary and eliminated her deputy's position as she sought approval to issue subpoenas as part of the agency's investigation of Deal's 2010 campaign reports and financial disclosures.

Commissioners have denied wrongdoing. Deal has said he wasn't involved. The governor was later cleared of major violations in the ethics probe and agreed to pay $3,350 in administrative fees.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
Nephew claims self-defense in rapper's shooting

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A man charged with shooting hip-hop artist and reality TV star Benzino, his uncle, during a weekend funeral procession on a Boston-area highway acted in self-defense, his lawyer said Monday.

Gai Scott, 36, of Randolph, pleaded not guilty in Plymouth District Court to armed assault with intent to murder. He was ordered held without bail pending a hearing Wednesday to determine whether he's a danger to society.

Scott shot Benzino, whose real name is Raymond Scott, on Route 3 in Duxbury on Saturday as Benzino came upon his own mother's funeral procession, authorities said.

"When the dust settles with respect to this case, it's going to be abundantly clear that Mr. Scott, a licensed gun owner, was acting in self-defense and in defense of his family," said Jon Ciraulo, Gai Scott's lawyer.

The Plymouth district attorney's office said in a statement that "growing family tension" between the men was behind the shooting.

Benzino, who was released Monday from South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, said he had paid his respects to his mother in private at a Quincy funeral home but decided to skip the procession and funeral because of tensions in the family over money.

Benzino, 48, a Boston native who now lives in Atlanta, said he was on his way to Plymouth to pick up a friend when he came upon the procession and someone opened fire.

He did not identify the person who shot him by name.

Benzino is a cast member of the VH1 reality show "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta" and CEO of Hip-Hop Weekly magazine.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
Atlanta attorney tapped for Driver Services post

ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta attorney has been hired to serve as general counsel for the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

Officials said in a statement that Cassandra A. Williams of the firm Drew, Eckl and Farnham has been selected for the position. Officials say Williams previously worked as a senior associate at the law firm.

Department officials say Williams will work with Commissioner Rob Mikell and the department's board of directors and will lead the agency's legal services division of attorneys and administrators. Aside from lending guidance on administrative law, the division conducts judicial outreach and responds to questions on license issuance.

Williams graduated with a degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and graduated from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan in 2003.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
Georgia launches online, mobile voter registration

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's Secretary of State says voters are now being offered two new paperless registration options.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced the launch of online and mobile voter registration systems Monday. Kemp made the announcement at a meeting with state election and voter registration officials in Augusta.

Kemp says Georgia voters will need a valid state driver's license to register. Kemp added that the upgraded system is expected to benefit voters throughout the state and save time and money.

Kemp says voters may access online registration through the "My Voter Page" on the Secretary of State's website. Kemp says mobile users can register through the "GA Votes" application. The application is already available to Android users, and is expected to launch on the Apple platform this week.

Online: https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov 

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



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