Georgia News Roundup
May 17, 2013 10:05 AM | 1074 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Savannah named a "playful" city 4th year in a row

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Once again Savannah is being recognized as one of America's most "playful" cities for its abundance of parks and playgrounds.

Savannah has been designated a Playful City USA for the fourth straight year by the Humana Foundation. The national nonprofit KABOOM! created the award in 2007 to encourage cities to dedicate more space for children to play outdoors.

Savannah's City Council received its latest award Thursday. It's one of 217 cities nationwide to receive the designation this year.

According to City Hall, Savannah has 57 playgrounds, nine public swimming pools and its parks cover a total area exceeding a square mile.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia Republicans gather in Athens for convention

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's Republicans will be gathering in Athens for their state convention, with a packed agenda including electing a new state chair and hearing from top elected officials.

The convention begins Friday afternoon and will include remarks from Georgia's two U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. The convention continues Saturday, when delegates will elect a new chair and debate various resolutions.

Among the topics expected to spark debate is whether the state should halt implementation of the Common Core academic standards. The standards are opposed by various tea party and conservative groups who say they amount to federal intrusion and threaten student privacy.

Speakers on Saturday include Gov. Nathan Deal, Republican strategist Karl Rove and the three Georgia congressmen running to replace Sen. Chambliss, who is retiring next year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Georgia colleges to host agribusiness conference

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Two Georgia colleges are teaming up to help farmers and businesses capitalize on growing export markets.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Georgia Southern University Division of Continuing Education plan to host the 2013 International Agribusiness Conference and Expo in Savannah on Sept. 25 and 26.

The inaugural edition of the event aims to give participants information on what markets are open to their products, how to export their goods and how exporting can affect their profits.

Agricultural products are among Georgia's top exports. The state exported $37.9 billion worth of goods last year. About 39 percent of the shipments exported through the port of Savannah are agricultural products.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Child accused of firing BB gun at school bus

FAIRBURN, Ga. (AP) — A Fairburn child is accused of shooting a BB gun at a school bus south of Atlanta.

CBS Atlanta reports that the shooting happened May 10, as the bus was headed North on Highway 29.

Police say a silver-colored Kia Sorento pulled up alongside the bus and a young man inside the car fired several shots from a BB gun, breaking a window on the bus.

Authorities say the bus driver got the tag number from the fleeing car, which allowed investigators to locate the child accused of firing the shots.

Fairburn is about 20 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Information from: WGCL-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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30 catalytic converters stolen in past 2 weeks

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say more than 30 catalytic converters have been stolen from vehicles during the past two weeks in Atlanta and nearby Decatur.

Police suspect the platinum in the devices is behind the crime spree.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that platinum is reselling now for roughly $50 a gram. Police suspect the thieves are looking to sell the precious metal on the black market.

A catalytic converter is a part of a vehicle that changes the poisonous exhaust from an engine into safer compounds.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Motorcycle deputy critically hurt in east Georgia

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a motorcycle deputy was critically injured when he crashed his bike on Interstate 20 in east Georgia.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that the Richmond County deputy was off-duty when he was hurt Thursday afternoon in Columbia County.

Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris says Richmond County Deputy Alton Creech was approaching an exit on his Harley-Davidson around 5:15 p.m. Thursday when he struck the back of a 1999 Toyota Camry.

The 32-year-old deputy was airlifted to Georgia Regents Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said he was in critical condition Thursday night.

Information from: The Augusta Chronicle, http://www.augustachronicle.com.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Atlanta names Collier Heights historic district

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has signed legislation aimed at preserving the history and architectural character of Collier Heights.

City officials say the neighborhood is considered one of the most significant African-American communities in Atlanta. In the late 1950s, upper- and middle-class black Atlanta residents moved to the then-suburban area for new housing options unavailable to them during segregation.

"Collier Heights represents an extraordinarily intact post-World War II suburban development where many of Atlanta's notable civic and business leaders made their home during the era of segregation and the Civil Rights Movement," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement.

"It is a privilege for my administration to play a part in preserving a unique architectural community that many legendary African-American business and civic leaders made their home," Reed added.

The historic district designation means that Collier Heights will be protected from new construction and design alternations to a property's exterior.

City officials say all proposals for new construction, additions, exterior renovations, demolitions and changes on the property are now required to undergo a design review by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

Collier Heights is near the city's western edge.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Bibb County schools scrap year-round calendar

MACON, Ga. (AP) — Bibb County school officials have scrapped plans to start the year-round schooling for the 2014-15 year.

The Telegraph reports that school officials said Thursday that financial issues and the opposition of two-thirds of the staff made it too much of a challenge.

Deputy Superintendent Jane Drennan said a recent survey of staff show 292 supported the year-round schooling, but 626 were opposed.

Drennan also said there were financial challenges, with utility costs expected to increase about $56,000. While that represents about $2 per student, the school system is already cutting dozens of teaching and support positions.

"Given our current financial challenges and the current lack of internal district support... we think at this time that's probably something we should table and look at for the next year," Drennan told board members Thursday.

The system had planned to use a year-round schooling plan formally known as a 45-15 calendar, with 45 days of schooling followed by 15 days of breaks.

Staff members plan to recommend by February a plan for the following school year, which could include a traditional or "blended" calendar option.

Plans for next year's calendar, the 2013-14 schedule, are not affected. That calendar, which will need to be tweaked to accommodate furloughs and other budget cuts the school board is planning, is a "blended" approach that relies on several longer breaks.

Drennan said there is evidence the year-round schooling can improve staff and student attendance, which should help the schools do better. She told The Telegraph that she'd like to meet more with the staff, and work to find the best possible ideas.

It's possible some staff members didn't understand that year-round schooling didn't actually require people to work more days, but rather to work with breaks scheduled at a different times, she said.

"Those are things we can have more discussions about," Drennan said.

Information from: The Macon Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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