Georgia News Roundup
May 15, 2013 10:30 AM | 1158 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officials hold meeting on brownfields in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — Environmental and government officials are planning to hold a conference on brownfields in Atlanta.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International City/County Management Association plan to host the National Brownfields Conference this Wednesday through Friday. They say the conference, which is in its 15th year, is the largest training and networking event in the nation focusing on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment. Brownfields are areas where redevelopment may be complicated by hazardous substances according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The agenda includes educational sessions, training workshops, volunteer activities, mobile workshops, and film screenings. The focus will be topics related to brownfield cleanup, ranging from community engagement to public health.

Federal, state and local officials will be involved, as well as representatives from the private sector.

Online: Brownfields Conference

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Former staffer running for Kingston's House seat

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A former member of Rep. Jack Kingston's staff is running for his old boss' House seat now that the Republican congressman has launched a U.S. Senate campaign.

David Schwarz of Savannah was scheduled to announce his 2014 race for Georgia's 1st District congressional seat during a news conference Wednesday.

The 37-year-old Republican formerly served as a policy adviser to Kingston. Now he's a founding partner of Pier Strategies LLC, a consulting firm that works with clients on economic development and government relations issues.

Schwarz is the second GOP candidate to declare he's running for Kingston's seat. State Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler kicked off his campaign last week.

The 1st District congressional seat covers parts of 17 southeast Georgia counties from Savannah to Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia officials launch youth drug abuse initiative

ATLANTA (AP) — State officials and lawmakers have launched a campaign aimed at addressing the issue of prescription drug abuse among teenagers in the state.

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities spokesman Matt Carrothers Tuesday said that state officials and youth from Catoosa and Gwinnett counties met at the Capitol to launch the project, titled "Generation Rx."

The campaign is funded by a $2.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is focused on Georgians between 12 and 25-years-old.

The program is slated to use education and collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to try cracking down on prescription drug abuse among young people in the state.

Commissioner Frank Berry says about 2,500 youth abuse a prescription pain reliever every day.

Online: Generation Rx

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Atlanta considers restrictions on gun ranges

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta City Council is considering a proposal that would make it more difficult to open indoor shooting ranges.

The council is taking up the issue as Douglasville-based Stoddard's Range and Guns looks to open an Atlanta location near Atlantic Station. That plan would involve converting a dilapidated plumbing supply company into a nearly 30,000-square-foot range and retail store.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that some residents of Loring Heights have turned to the city council to halt the project.

Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean recently proposed requirements that shooting ranges to be at least 800 feet from residences, churches, schools, libraries and hospitals. That proposal gained steam Tuesday, with the unanimous approval of the council's public safety committee. It's expected to be taken up by the city council as early as next week.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia agency orders removal of Bibles at state parks

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia parks officials say they've ordered that Bibles be removed from guest rooms at state lodges and cabins across the state.

WAGA-TV reports that the order came after a resident expressed concerns.

A Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman said that after the resident expressed concerns, management directed the staff to remove the Bibles from cabins and lodge rooms until managers can fully investigate the issue and make an informed decision.

The station reports that the DNR has not set a timetable for a final decision on allowing Bibles in state park guest rooms.

Information from: WAGA-TV,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


State clears Clayton County official of wrongdoing

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — The State Election Board has cleared Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner of any wrongdoing after a complaint was filed involving his residency.

CBS Atlanta reports that state officials began an investigation into Turner's residency after a complaint from Clayton County's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Color People.

Turner said he lived in Henry County when he was married, and got a divorce and moved to Clayton County. However, he said some legal documents related to his divorce contained his Henry County address when he filed candidacy papers.

Turner said he wishes the NAACP would have discussed the issue with him before filing its complaint. He said he could have showed the group that he was a legal resident, and the issue could have been resolved earlier.

Information from: WGCL-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia high school yearbook labels student a 'freak'

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — School administrators are trying to find out how a photo caption next to a student's photo labeled him a "freak" in a high school yearbook.

WSB-TV reports that the published comment raises concerns about bullying at South Paulding High School outside Atlanta.

School district officials apologized to the student and his family.

Brian Ottot, associate superintendent for Paulding County Schools, said they haven't determined who is at fault yet, but they're still investigating.

School officials asked the yearbook publisher to make small stickers that students can use to cover up the caption. But they say the stickers would only go in yearbooks when specially requested by a student.

South Paulding High is about 30 miles west of Atlanta.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Musician jailed after performance in MARTA station

ATLANTA (AP) — A violinist who says he's performed in cities across the country with no problems says he spent five days behind bars after he was roughed up and arrested in one of Atlanta's commuter train stations.

Violinist Juan Pablo Chavez, known by his fans as Johnny Arco, was charged with misdemeanor panhandling and vending without a permit for selling CDs.

The arrest took place at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's Five Points station downtown.

Chavez said he tried to explain to an officer that he was from out of town, and that he didn't realize he was breaking any laws. Chavez said he's traveled across the nation, and other cities have welcomed musicians like him.

"Cop picked me up, grabbed me, slammed me against the wall, messed up my right shoulder," he told WXIA-TV.

A MARTA spokesperson says the officer was responding to a passenger complaint about music, and that the agency has a long-standing policy of not allowing street musicians unless they've gotten clearance ahead of time.

MARTA last month announced a new program of free live music at various stations on Mondays.

"MARTA Jazz Mondays is one in a series of ongoing initiatives the Authority has under way to cost-effectively enhance the transit experience for our customers as well as celebrate the community we serve," the transit agency said in a statement announcing the program.

Information from: WXIA-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Bicyclist struck and killed in Augusta hit-and-run

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a bicyclist in Augusta.

The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday near Mike Padgett Highway and Tobacco Road on the city's south side.

Richmond County sheriff's deputies say the cyclist was headed north on Mike Padgett Highway and was hit from the behind.

WRDW-TV reports that deputies Wednesday morning were looking for a red and white pickup truck with front, right damage. They say that truck continued to head north after hitting the cyclist.

Information from: WRDW-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Autopsy planned after NASCAR fan's body found

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say they plan an autopsy on the body of a NASCAR fan who went missing from a campground outside the Talladega Superspeedway, but they don't suspect foul play.

Deputy Coroner Larry Seals said the body of 28-year-old Nicholas Bower, of Villa Rica, Ga., was found by an Etowah County Sheriff's Office helicopter in the Choccolocco Creek. The site is near the campground where he was last seen May 4.

Authorities say Bower came to the race with his girlfriend and co-workers from Fastenal, the construction fastener company for which he worked in Atlanta.

The Daily Home newspaper of Talladega reported that Bower is a native of the Indianapolis area who relocated to Georgia after being promoted by his employer.

Information from: The Daily Home - Talladega,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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