Georgia News Roundup
June 03, 2013 05:15 PM | 1425 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OSHA plans 'safety stand down' in Southern states

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal officials and trade groups are asking construction workers to take a break for safety as temperatures increase across the South.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting a one-hour "safety stand-down" in Alabama, Georgia and other Southern states on Tuesday.

The federal agency says the break is meant to increase awareness about the dangers of working in summer heat. It's asking employers to voluntarily conduct safety briefings focusing on the symptoms of heart-related illnesses during the stand-down.

OSHA has developed educational materials on heat illness in both English and Spanish to use in workplace training.

Regulators say heat exhaustion has killed more than 30 U.S. workers on average each year in the last decade.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


High court to weigh in on DeKalb school board case

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court is set to consider the constitutionality of a state law allowing the governor to remove school board members.

The Supreme Court of Georgia will hear arguments Monday from lawyers for the state and for former DeKalb County school board chairman Eugene Walker.

The school district was put on probation by an accrediting agency in December. Gov. Nathan Deal in February issued an executive order removing Walker and five other school board members.

Walker is challenging the law that allowed that action. The federal judge presiding over the case has asked the state high court to consider two questions about the constitutionality of the law.

The court will hear arguments on those questions and submit its interpretation to the federal judge who will rule in the case.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Lightning sparks 2 house fires outside Atlanta

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) — Lightning strikes led to fires in two homes in Atlanta's northeast suburbs, destroying a house in Suwanee and heavily damaging another one in Lawrenceville.

In Suwanee, Gwinnett County firefighters found flames and smoke shooting from the roof of a home on Deville Circle around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Investigators determined that lightning struck the roof, igniting an intense attic fire.

In Lawrenceville, firefighters were dispatched to a fire on Homewood Drive around 7:47 p.m. Sunday. Investigators determined that lightning may have run inside the house through an electrical service line and ignited a fire in the basement. The blaze then spread to the second floor and attic of the home on Farmwood Drive.

No injuries were reported in either of the fires.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Columbus police shoot man they say was armed with tree limb

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Police in Columbus say officers shot and wounded a man they say tried to attack them with a tree limb.

Columbus police said 62-year-old Robert Cook Sr. was threatening residents along 12th Avenue in the west Georgia city shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday. Police said he had also been chasing children around the neighborhood and broke the windshield of a passing car.

WTVM-TV reports ( that police confronted the man at Charlie Hill Park, where officers said he charged at them, swinging a large tree branch. Police said he was shot in the hip, and taken to a hospital.

The Columbus station reports that he underwent surgery and was in satisfactory condition.

Information from: WTVM-TV,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Woman drowns in tubing accident on Lake Lanier

BUFORD, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a 55-year-old suburban Atlanta woman drowned in Lake Lanier after the tube on which she was riding flipped and she went under the water.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the accident happened shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday in the Shoal Creek area of the lake northeast of Atlanta.

DNR spokesman Rick Lavender said three children were riding with the woman on the tube, which was being pulled by a pontoon boat. He said the three children were wearing life vests but the woman was not.

Lavender tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she went to assist the children after the tube flipped and went under in the process.

The Times of Gainesville reports that authorities identified the woman as Becky Wallace of Suwanee.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia-based soldier dies in Afghanistan

FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) — Military officials say a soldier assigned to a Georgia Army base has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense on Monday identified the soldier as 20-year-old Spc. Ray A. Ramirez of Sacramento, Calif.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart in west Georgia.

Military officials said in a statement that Ramirez died June 1, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by an improvised explosive device.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia Democratic Party chair to step down Sunday

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Democratic Party Chair Mike Berlon says he will be stepping down on Sunday.

Berlon had announced his resignation last week, citing concerns by Democratic leaders that his personal issues were becoming a distraction as a major election year looms.

Vice Chair Nikema Williams, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood's southeast affiliate, will assume leadership of the party until a permanent chair is elected.

Berlon, an attorney who became chair in 2011, has been dealing with several issues in recent weeks, including a reprimand by the State Bar of Georgia, a lawsuit filed by a client and the release of a report showing weak party finances ahead of the 2014 statewide and congressional elections.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had been among those calling for Berlon to step down.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


7 injured in western Georgia shooting

LAGRANGE, Ga. (AP) — Police in eastern Georgia say two suspects have been identified in a shooting at a park that left seven people injured.

Officials say a dispute at Union Street Park in LaGrange led to three people shooting at each other just as police were arriving Sunday night. Officials say one victim was airlifted to Columbus Medical Center, five others were taken to the West Georgia Medical Center and one was taken to Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley, Ala.

West Georgia Health spokeswoman Jan Nichols tells the LaGrange Daily News the hospital was locked down after the victims arrived.

Details on the nature of the dispute were not immediately available and police said Monday that they were looking for a third suspect.

LaGrange is about 45 miles north of Columbus.

Information from: LaGrange Daily News,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Newlywed man killed, wife injured in Georgia car crash

APPLING, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in eastern Georgia say a man died in a crash that left his wife hospitalized just hours after the two got married.

Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris tells the Augusta Chronicle 36-year-old Brian Allen Orzechowski died after the crash that left his 35-year-old bride Crystal Lynn Krentler hospitalized in unknown condition.

Morris says the newlyweds' crossed the center line of Washington Road and hit a SUV nearly head on. Collins says it took rescuers nearly an hour to remove the man's body from the wreckage.

Authorities say the driver of the SUV was taken to Doctors Hospital and his injuries didn't appear to be life threatening.

Collins said toxicology testing was scheduled Monday for Orzechowski.

Appling is about 20 miles west of Augusta.

Information from: The Augusta Chronicle ,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Charges filed in Atlanta airport shuttle crash

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Charges are being filed against both drivers in a crash between a shuttle bus and a tractor-trailer near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

College Park Police Sgt. Keith Stanley says MTI Limo and Shuttle Services driver Yolanda Boles is charged with three counts of serious injury by motor vehicle, vehicle maintenance offenses and driving a commercial vehicle without a proper license.

Stanley says Mario Cochran, the driver of the truck Boles ran into May 24, is charged with serious injury by motor vehicle and making an improper U-turn.

The crash left 17 people injured and Stanley says the owner of MTI is charged with allowing Boles to drive without a proper license.

MTI officials say the shuttle's fluids should have been checked during inspection, and all drivers will earn commercial licenses.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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