Georgia News Roundup
May 06, 2013 01:00 PM | 1404 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Republican lawmaker to seek Kingston's seat

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from the Savannah area plans to run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by longtime GOP Rep. Jack Kingston.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, a pharmacist from Pooler, was scheduled to announce his campaign for Georgia's 1st District congressional seat Monday. His announcement comes just a few days after Kingston kicked off his 2014 race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring next year.

Carter has served in the state Senate since 2009 and spent four years before that in the House. Before running for the statehouse, he served eight years as mayor of Pooler in west Chatham County.

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.


Flood watches, warnings continue after heavy rain

ATLANTA (AP) — Several parts of northwest Georgia remained under a flood watch. Others were under food warnings as rivers and creeks were spilling over their banks.

Soaking rains across the state over the weekend also led to some trees being uprooted, with some power outages resulting. Georgia Power reported that only 420 customers were without power before dawn Monday.

The National Weather Service early Monday said flood warnings continued for several waterways including the Flint River near Woolsey; the Coosa River near Rome; the Oostanaula River near Calhoun; the Armuchee Creek near Armuchee; the Etowah River near east Canton; the Little River near Washington; the Conasauga River near Eton; the Coahulla Creek in the Dalton area; Lookout Creek near New England; West Chickamauga Creek near Fort Oglethorpe; and the Oconee River near Avant Mine.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Court upholds law on tree-cutting for billboards

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court has upheld a Georgia statute that allows trees to be chopped down under certain circumstances so that billboard companies can advertise along highways.

The Supreme Court of Georgia's ruling in a Columbus case was announced Monday morning.

The case arose after CBS Outdoor Inc., which owns billboards across the state, in 2006 submitted 10 permit applications to the Georgia Department of Transportation to remove trees along I-185 in Columbus.

The city of Columbus, Gateways Foundation and Trees Columbus Inc., a non-profit which donates and conserves trees, filed a lawsuit in Muscogee County to stop the trees from being removed.

In Monday's ruling, the court found that Georgia's statute is constitutional after several earlier decisions in the case.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Court: Ex-politician can be reinstated as lawyer

ATLANTA (AP) — The Supreme Court of Georgia has ruled that a former Fulton County Commission chairman is fit to be reinstated as an attorney in the state.

The unanimous ruling, announced Monday morning, involves Demetrios John Skandalakis.

The high court had disbarred Skandalakis in 2005 after he pleaded guilty in federal court in 2003 to making a false statement to an FBI agent during a corruption investigation while he chaired the Fulton County Commission. He was sentenced to six months in prison.

In June 2012, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles restored his civil and political rights.

Monday's opinion means that once he satisfies all the requirements, including passing the Georgia Bar Examination, Skandalakis may be reinstated as an attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia.

"The record shows that since his conviction, Skandalakis has shown remorse and has strived to act with integrity and responsibility through his hard work, his devotion to his family, and as a volunteer in his community," the opinion states. "We find the letters of recommendation persuasive and we conclude that Skandalakis has shown that he is entitled to be certified as fit to practice law in Georgia."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Court upholds man's conviction in killing of baker

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court has upheld the murder conviction and life prison sentence given to a man for the shooting death of a donut maker in Columbus.

The Supreme Court of Georgia's unanimous ruling was announced Monday morning.

The court ruled that evidence at the trial of Tracey McKay was sufficient to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Evidence showed that McKay and some accomplices set out to rob the Veri Best Donut Store in Columbus on July 30. The donut shop was seen as an easy target because the men knew the regular late-night schedule of the baker, John Thrash, according to briefs in the case.

Tracey McKay held Thrash at gun-point with a .25 caliber pistol, the Supreme Court's opinion states. At one point, he panicked when he saw Thrash move and he shot him, according to the ruling. The bullet entered and exited Thrash's right arm and struck him in the chest, severing his aorta. He then bled to death.

A jury in 2006 convicted McKay of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was sentenced to life plus five years in prison.

In his appeal to the state Supreme Court, McKay argued that his trial attorney was incompetent and ineffective. The high court disagreed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


CNN anchor reports being robbed of her iPhone

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta police are investigating after a CNN anchor reported that her iPhone was snatched from her hand as she strolled down a street in the city's midtown section.

Carol Costello was talking on the phone while walking on Piedmont Avenue around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when two teenagers ran up from behind and grabbed the phone, WSB-TV reported.

Costello said in a post on her Facebook page that she struggled with one suspect as she tried to keep her phone, but he pulled out a chunk of her hair and she let go.

"As he ran down the street, laughing, I hurled a few expletives his way," Costello wrote on her Facebook page.

"I felt no fear at the time, I was just angry," she said. "Now I'm angry, shaken and sad. What a lousy life those kids have ahead of them."

No arrests have been made.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


2 people killed in east Georgia house fire

KEYSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a house fire that claimed two lives in east Georgia.

State fire officials said the Sunday evening blaze happened in the Burke County community of Keysville.

Killed were Eddie James Waltower, 62; and his wife, Sarah Waltower, 60.

"The initial investigation revealed that the fire originated on the rear porch of the residence near a freezer," Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a statement. "We have not found anything suspicious about this tragic fire."

The house on Phillips Street in Keysville was heavily damaged. Keysville is about 25 miles southwest of Augusta.

Authorities from Burke County Emergency Management and the Burke County sheriff's office were assisting state fire officials with the investigation, Hudgens said.

An autopsy was planned at the state crime lab, Hudgens said.

So far in 2013, there have been 56 fire fatalities reported in Georgia.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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