Georgia News Roundup
June 06, 2013 05:35 PM | 1874 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Prosecutors honored for fighting human trafficking

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is scheduled to recognize the Fulton County District Attorney's office for its effort to combat child exploitation.

District Attorney's spokeswoman Yvette Jones says Reed is set to speak at the District Attorney's staff meeting Thursday morning to recognize the office's Human Trafficking Unit. The unit was formed in 2011 and focuses on child exploitation and human trafficking.

Jones says 31-year-old Maurice Varner pleaded guilty Tuesday to pimping and pandering in case that involved a 16-year-old girl and has been sentenced to six years in prison and 14 years of probation. Jones says Varner is the 65th pimp to be prosecuted by the district attorney's office since 2000.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Sub from James Cameron's solo dive to stop in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — The one-man submarine in which James Cameron made the deepest solo dive ever is set to make a stop in Atlanta.

The Deepsea Challenger is scheduled to be on display at the Georgia Aquarium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday on its way to its permanent home at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

The Georgia Aquarium is the third of four stops on the sub's journey from Los Angeles. It already went to Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and is still due to stop in Washington, DC for display on Capitol Hill.

The Hollywood director completed a seven-mile descent to the ocean's deepest point in the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific in the bright green, 24-foot sub in March 2012.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


New archery range opens at state park near Royston

ROYSTON, Ga. (AP) — State officials say a new archery range has opened at Victoria Bryant State Park near Royston.

It's one of two archery ranges located at a state park in Georgia and will be open seven days a week. State officials say the facility has two ranges, one with fixed targets that range from 10 to 40 yards in length while the other is a 3-D trail with 20 targets at various distances.

Users must bring their own gear and fees range from $10 a day for adults to $5 a day for children 12 years or younger.

Funds under the Federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program were used to help pay for materials.

Officials say it is one of 13 archery ranges currently available on public land in Georgia.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Officials to discuss Charlotte-Atlanta rail line

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Transportation officials are set to hold the latest of three public hearings on proposed passenger rail service between Charlotte and Atlanta.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the N.C. Department of Transportation office off Statesville Avenue in north Charlotte.

State and federal officials are proposing to extend the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor, under development from Washington to Charlotte, into the Atlanta area. The train would connect with the Georgia Multi Modal Passenger Terminal and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

There are six potential corridor route alternatives. Officials say others may also be evaluated if they're identified during agency and public scoping meetings.

A virtual meeting will also be available on the project website through July 4.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Residents evacuated when heavy rains damage dam

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (AP) — Authorities said more than 100 residents have been evacuated from an apartment building just north of Atlanta after heavy rains damaged a small dam.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the heavy rains and flooding at The Falls at Sandy Springs apartments also led to a gas leak.

Sandy Springs city spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said the Red Cross was assisting those displaced from the apartment complex along Roswell Road early Thursday morning.

In Woodstock, Cherokee County sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker said residents in about 30 homes were stranded in the Hickory Glen subdivision after rain washed away the ground under a road.

The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm and flash flood advisories as the storm system crossed the state.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Federal authorities search for penitentiary inmate

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities are searching for an inmate they describe as a fugitive on the run.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard signed a federal complaint accusing Clayton Armstrong Hill of walking away from the U.S. Penitentiary in southeast Atlanta on May 28. The penitentiary is a medium security facility.

It wasn't immediately clear how Hill got away from the penitentiary.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Clay Cleveland said in an affidavit that a bed count was conducted to verify Hill's status, and that officials identified him as missing.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Hill was indicted in 2009 and pleaded guilty to filing 121 fraudulent federal income tax returns in Illinois and Georgia between 2002 and 2006. An indictment states that he received more than $353,000 in refunds.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia bans license plates with guns, sex, hate

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia has unveiled new rules banning references to guns, drugs and alcohol on personalized license plates.

The new rules, which won't become final until after July 9, also ban profanity, any references to sex, items subject to trademark or copyright; references to crimes and all variations of the word "hate."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the rules were developed after a lawsuit by a motorist. James Cyrus Gilbert had requested a tag spelling out GAYGUY, which was denied under the old rules.

The new "emergency" rules are supposed to clarify things. However, state officials on Wednesday would not address specific examples of words that would pass or fail under the new rules.

The rules also ban slurs on religious beliefs or beings, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Teacher convicted of sex with student, sentenced

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — A Columbus teacher convicted of having a months-long affair with a student has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

A jury on Wednesday found 45-year-old Veterans Memorial Middle School special education teacher Cristina Preston guilty of all charges against her. She was convicted of aggravated child molestation, child molestation, statutory rape and sexual assault on a person in custody.

Superior Court Judge John Allen sentenced her to life in prison with 25 years to serve before she's eligible for parole. After that, she will spend the rest of her life on probation and have to register as a sex offender.

Preston was accused of initiating the relationship on Halloween 2011, when the student was 13, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Prosecutor Don Kelly said their sexual encounters continued after the boy turned 14 five days later, but ended Jan. 30, 2012, when deputies caught the two parked together in the pre-dawn hours in a Columbus park.

Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Hundreds seek jobs at Atlanta Ferris wheel 

ATLANTA (AP) — Hundreds of people lined up in downtown Atlanta, hoping to land a job at a giant Ferris wheel that will soon soar over the city.

WSB-TV reports that applicants at Wednesday's job fair are vying for positions as greeters, loaders, concession and maintenance workers for the tourist attraction.

The Atlanta City Council last month approved a plan to allow Skyview Atlanta to be constructed near Centennial Olympic Park in the city's downtown area.

The businessmen bringing the wheel to Atlanta say it could be in place as early as June. Rides are expected to cost about $12 and last about 15 minutes. The Ferris Wheel has been in Paris and Pensacola, Fla.

Information from: WSB-TV,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Bond denied for woman accused of running son over

PERRY, Ga. (AP) — Bond has been denied for a woman accused of hitting son with her car after shoplifting.

Houston County Superior Court Judge Edward Lukemire said Thursday that Arkebia Albury had a habit of missing court dates and was too close to potential witnesses to be released from jail.

Police say Albury was fleeing a loss prevention officer at a Belk store in Centerville last month when her son was run over.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Winters says the boy suffered brain swelling, a fractured skull and cracked ribs. He says the boy may be taken off of life support Friday.

Defense attorney Larry Fouche says Albury needs to be with her son, and was named by county officials as a head start parent of the year in April.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens suggests flood insurance for consumers

ATLANTA (AP) — State Insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging Georgians to prepare for severe weather by reviewing their property insurance policies.

Hudgens recommended Thursday that property owners make copies of their insurance policies and take an inventory of personal belongings. The recommendation came as Tropical Storm Andrea gained strength in the Gulf Coast.

Hudgens says consumers should keep important documents in a safe and easily accessible place if they're asked to evacuate.

Hudgens says typical homeowners' insurance policies do not cover damage from floodwater, and a separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Felony charges withdrawn against Atlanta airport shuttle driver 

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Felony charges have been withdrawn against an airport shuttle bus driver who was involved in an accident with semi-truck that left more than 15 people injured.

Police have said MTI Limo and Shuttle Services driver Yolanda Boles was charged with three counts of serious injury by motor vehicle, vehicle maintenance offenses and driving a commercial vehicle without a proper license in the May 24 accident.

The shuttle hit a truck trying to make a U-turn near the airport and the truck driver was also charged.

Boles' attorney, Joe Habachy, tells WXIA the felony charges were withdrawn when his client surrendered to authorities Wednesday night.

Boles now faces misdemeanor traffic charges. College Park police Sgt. Keith Stanley says he expects a grand jury to reinstate the felony charges.

Information from: WXIA-TV,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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