Georgia News Roundup
June 11, 2013 03:45 PM | 1081 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
85 Georgia-based troops coming home early from Afghanistan

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Army officials say 85 Georgia-based soldiers are coming home from Afghanistan ahead of schedule.

The soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah were scheduled to return Tuesday after being deployed overseas for six months.

The troops were expecting a nine-month tour when they left in December. But the Army has scaled back U.S. forces in Afghanistan as that country's local security forces take over a heavier share of military responsibilities.

The returning soldiers are assigned to crews that fly Apache attack helicopters for the 3rd Aviation Brigade of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division based at nearby Fort Stewart. Many of the division's troops remain deployed in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia officials hold Twitter chat on emergency prep

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia health and emergency officials are using social media to educate the public about preparing for an emergency.

The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency plan to host a Twitter chat about emergency preparedness at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

A team of experts will be on hand for the chat, including the Department of Public Health's director of health protection Dr. Patrick O'Neal and GEMA director of operations Charlie Dawson.

They plan to answer questions and tweet about the state's emergency procedures and preparedness. They'll also be prepared to field questions from individuals about personal emergency preparations.

People can follow the chat on Twitter using #DPHchat.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Behavioral Health Crisis Center set for Valdosta

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — A new Behavioral Health Crisis Center is being planned for Lowndes County as part of an effort to expand services around the state for those with mental health challenges.

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Frank Berry, said Monday that the new center in Valdosta will include 24 beds and six temporary observation spots at an annual cost of $5 million.

Berry says the new center will help the department "achieve its mission of serving individuals with mental health challenges as close to home as possible."

Overall, the department plans to invest more than $17.5 million in expanded services in the region.

The project is expected to create 58 new jobs in Lowndes County.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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State Rep. Jeff Chapman to run for Kingston's seat

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A state lawmaker from Brunswick is joining the 2014 race for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Jack Kingston.

State Rep. Jeff Chapman said Tuesday he's running as a "champion of the people's rights" in an already crowded GOP primary race in the 1st Congressional District. Chapman is the fifth Republican to announce for the southeast Georgia seat since Kingston decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

The 53-year-old Chapman served three terms in the state Senate before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2010. He was elected last year to his state House seat.

Other Republicans running for the congressional seat include state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler, former Kingston aide David Schwarz of Savannah, Savannah surgeon Bob Johnson and former agriculture official Darwin Carter of Alma.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Body of man found at Georgia college identified

CLARKSTON, Ga. (AP) — Investigators have identified a man whose body was found on a college campus in metro Atlanta.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said Tuesday that 23-year-old Alpha Oumar Diallo, of Stone Mountain, died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to his head.

Diallo's body was found Monday morning at Georgia Perimeter College's campus in Clarkston, just east of Atlanta.

Lang says Diallo is a citizen of Guinea, in western Africa, and had been living in the United States since 2008. Lang said Diallo was last seen at his home Sunday afternoon and was not a student at Georgia Perimeter College.

Diallo's connection to the Clarkston area was not immediately clear.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Death of south Georgia sheriff ruled accidental

COLQUITT, Ga. (AP) — State investigators have ruled the death of a south Georgia sheriff who was found in a pond behind his house was accidental.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Steven Turner tells WALB-TV former Miller County Sheriff Buddy Glass was riding a golf cart that fell into a pond behind his home in Colquitt. Glass' wife found him lying in the pond early Sunday morning.

An autopsy was performed Monday and Turner says Glass suffered from a heart condition that prevented him from being able to get out of the water.

Miller County chief deputy Shane Rathel is serving as interim sheriff until a new one is chosen through a special election.

Colquitt is about 50 miles southwest of Albany.

Information from: WALB-TV, http://www.walb.com/

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Investigators rule Douglas gas explosion accidental 

DOUGLAS, Ga. (AP) — The State Fire Marshal's office has ruled that an explosion at a gas company in Coffee County that left two employees injured was caused by a propane leak

State officials told WALB-TV Tuesday that Ferrellgas employees were transferring propane from one truck to another when the leak happened Monday afternoon in Douglas.

Two employees were taken to an Augusta burn center and information on their conditions was not immediately available. A third employee has also been treated and released.

Douglas is about 85 miles east of Albany.

Information from: WALB-TV, http://www.walb.com/

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Deal: Georgia needs to examine forfeiture laws

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal says Georgia needs to examine changes to the state's civil forfeiture laws and called for more financial transparency.

Under state law, police and prosecutors can seize money and property from people suspected of committing crimes but who have not been convicted. Seizing property requires less proof of wrongdoing than criminal cases.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said Tuesday that the governor will direct the Criminal Justice Reform Council to study changes to the use of forfeited funds.

Robinson says the council will report back to Deal ahead of next year's legislative session. Robinson says the governor believes "it's obvious" the system requires more transparency.

The announcement came after prosecutors have acknowledged using forfeited funds to buy cars, sponsor softball teams and send staffers to the movies.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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