Georgia News Roundup
August 14, 2014 10:00 AM | 1496 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia man sentenced in Social Security benefit theft

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a south Georgia man has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing children's Social Security benefits.

Authorities say 49-year-old Christopher Castleberry has been sentenced to a year and six months in prison for stealing his children's Social Security Survivor benefits.

Prosecutors say Castleberry's wife died in 2001 and his sons began receiving benefits afterward. Authorities say the man continued receiving the children's benefits after they moved in with their maternal grandparents.

Prosecutors say Castleberry also refused to sign paperwork that would have allowed the grandparents to enroll the children in high school and the boys were unable to attend or finish school.

Castleberry has been ordered to pay $46,200 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release afterward.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Wildlife officials concerned over bat population

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal wildlife officials are hosting a series of information sessions about a proposal to list a type of bat as endangered after a disease found in Georgia wiped out part of the species.

Officials say they're looking to list the long-eared bat as an endangered species because of white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats and has been tracked to Georgia, at least 24 other states and parts of Canada.

Wildlife officials have said a sharp decrease in the bat population could lead to an increase in the types of pests they prey on, among other things.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it's planning to host information sessions on Aug. 19-21.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Georgia's jobless rate rises to 7.8 percent

ATLANTA (AP) — State labor officials say Georgia's unemployment rate has risen to 7.8 percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday announced the new jobless figure, which is up from 7.4 percent in June.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase is mostly due to temporary, seasonal layoffs in local government and manufacturing.

Butler said the state's employment picture is continuing to show positive signs. He said private employers in the state created 8,200 jobs in July.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Woman reports attempted attack on Atlanta trail

ATLANTA (AP) — Police are investigating after a female jogger reported that a man chased after her and tried to grab her on the Freedom Park Trail in Atlanta.

Emory University medical student Pearl Ryder tells WSB-TV that the encounter happened around 10:30 a.m. Monday on the trail near North and Euclid avenues.

Ryder says she put her hands in front of her face to defend herself and started yelling, and the man ran back into some nearby woods.

Atlanta police said officers canvassed the area, but no arrests were made.

The case comes about two weeks after a 42-year-old woman was attacked July 29 on the Silver Comet Trail northwest of Atlanta. That woman is still recovering from severe head injuries in an attack that left her unconscious for a time.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Georgia police chief to travel to Ferguson, Missouri

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — DeKalb County's police chief says he will travel to Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend in his role as president of a black law enforcement association.

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander is president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Alexander tells WXIA-TV that he believes a lack of diversity on Ferguson's police force impedes the department's ability to relate to residents.

Alexander said the Ferguson police force of more than 50 officers includes three black officers in the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis. He said a strategic plan must be in place that addresses diversity in Ferguson.

There have been several nights of civil unrest in Ferguson after the weekend shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

Information from: WXIA-TV.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Man charged after crash kills 'Freeway Johnny'

ATLANTA (AP) — Police say a motorist is accused of drunken driving in a wreck that killed that a homeless man known as "Freeway Johnny," who greeted drivers for years near Atlanta's Downtown Connector.

WSB-TV reports that Johnny Johnson Jr. would stand with a sign and wave and salute people stuck in traffic near Interstate 20 eastbound.

Atlanta police say 25-year-old Joshua Reese left the ramp and slammed into Johnson's tent as he slept under a bridge early Saturday. Fulton County Jail records show that Reese faces several charges including homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol. The jail records do not list an attorney for Reese.

Driver Tim McDavid said Johnson would salute drivers stuck in traffic, greet them with a big smile and say "God bless you."

___

Information from: WSB-TV.

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



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