Georgia News Roundup
May 14, 2013 03:35 PM | 1353 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
French consulate to honor Atlanta lawyer

ATLANTA (AP) — The French consulate is planning to honor an Atlanta lawyer for his contributions to French culture in the city.

The consul general of France in Atlanta, Denis Barbet, plans to bestow the insignia of Knight in the National Order of Arts and Letters upon Baxter Jones. The National Order of Arts and Letters was created in France in 1957 to recognize artists, writers and others who contribute to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Jones has been part of the Théâtre du Rêve, a French-speaking theater company in Atlanta, since it began in 1996, first as a member of the board of directors and then as president.

Barbet says France is grateful for all Jones has done to promote the theater company and French culture in general.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Surgeon General to discuss physical, fiscal health 

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta chapter of an international nonprofit organization is scheduled to host a discussion this week with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin on the relationship between physical and financial health.

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is set to speak in a discussion titled "Investing in Your Health," moderated by Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, dean and executive vice president of the Morehouse School of Medicine Friday at 10 a.m.

Before serving as surgeon general, Benjamin worked as Associate Dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Before joining the Morehouse School of Medicine, Rice founded the Center for Women's Health Research at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn.

The event is being hosted by international nonprofit Operation Hope at its Financial Dignity Center.

Online: Operation Hope.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia student to compete in National Geographic Bee

ATLANTA (AP) — A fifth-grade student from Roswell will represent Georgia at the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in scholarship money will be up for grabs.

Sanjeev Uppaluri, a student at Fulton Sunshine Academy, is one of 54 contestants who will compete in the geography bee at the National Theater. Organizers say the field has been narrowed down from more than 5 million contestants and the winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos islands. The runner up will receive a $15,000 scholarship and the third place finisher will be given a $10,000 scholarship.

The preliminary round of competition is set for May 20 and the final round is being moderated by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Rapper Gucci Mane pleads not guilty of assault

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia rapper Gucci Mane has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge stemming from an altercation with a fan at a downtown Atlanta nightclub.

The rapper, whose real name is Radric Davis, was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon.

An arrest warrant was issued for Davis after James Lettley of Fort Hood, Texas, who serves in the military, told police the rapper struck him in the V.I.P. area at Harlem Nights Club on March 16. Lettley said he was in Atlanta for his birthday and hoped to get a picture with the rapper when he was attacked.

"Once he struck me in my head, I looked at him in a state of shock and looked at him like 'Why?'" Lettley said after the confrontation.

An ambulance crew was tending to a large gash on Lettley's head when officers arrived, police said. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he said he had to get 10 stitches.

The rapper's attorney, Drew Findling, tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Davis is out on bond and "just going about his life."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Tax commissioner's SUV costs taxpayers $39,000

ATLANTA (AP) — Records show that a Georgia tax commissioner used public funds to buy a full-sized SUV for his own use.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the 2013 Ford Explorer Limited used by Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand cost taxpayers $39,000.

The newspaper reports that residents in the metro Atlanta county are funding Ferdinand's daily commute to work, including gasoline.

The purchase came to light when county commissioners raised questions about a routine take-home vehicle report.

Ferdinand did not respond to the Journal-Constitution's phone messages or questions emailed to him Monday.

Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe, who represents a portion of north Fulton County, defended Ferdinand, saying he makes more money for the county that anyone else. Lowe said he doesn't care whether the car is "a go-kart or a Cadillac."

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Car booting temporarily suspended in Athens

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Officials in Athens have temporarily suspended car booting in the downtown area as they examine due process issues related to the controversial practice.

Athens Downtown Development Authority board member Erica Cascio said the suspension does not mean parking tickets won't be written or fines won't accumulate.

The authority's parking department is responsible for enforcement in the area.

Parking Director Chuck Horton started a campaign of stricter enforcement of booting vehicles owned by those with large outstanding fines when he took over the role this winter.

Athens-Clarke County Attorney Bill Berryman wrote in a May 6 memo that the potential violation of due process arises out of the vehicle owners not being afforded "reasonable notice" or an opportunity to be heard before vehicles are booted.

The memo was obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald.

Information from: Athens Banner-Herald,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


CNN's Zoraida Sambolin is getting mastectomy

ATLANTA (AP) — CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin says she has breast cancer and is getting a double mastectomy.

Sambolin, who anchors CNN's "Early Start" morning show, talked about her condition on the show Tuesday while discussing the recent double mastectomy of actress Angelina Jolie.

Sambolin said wanting to be there for her children helped her make the decision.

In a New York Times op-ed, Jolie announced she has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer. Jolie writes that she made the choice with thoughts of her six children after watching her own mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, die too young from cancer.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Ex-Georgia pharmacist guilty in drugs-for-sex scheme

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — U.S. Attorney's officials say a former pharmacist has pleaded guilty to exchanging prescription drugs for sex for more than two years.

Authorities say 61-year-old Stanley Smith, of Douglas, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Monday to trading addictive prescription drugs for sex acts.

Officials say Smith began trading the drugs in 2010 and some of the women became addicted to drugs the pharmacist gave them. First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durham says Smith gave one woman 360 hydrocodone pills a week and used various aliases when he arranged to meet with the women at hotels.

Durham says Smith could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. His sentencing date has not been set.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


12-year-old red panda dies at Atlanta's zoo

ATLANTA (AP) — A red panda at Atlanta's zoo has died after suffering a sudden illness.

Zoo Atlanta says Shandy, a 12-year-old female, died Monday night. She was in the zoo's veterinary hospital being treated for an illness that was detected earlier in the day. Zoo officials say initial diagnostics and blood tests didn't immediately identify the specific problem.

Shandy had been at the zoo since October 2008.

Red pandas are solitary nocturnal animals native to Asia, from the Himalayas to southern China. They aren't related to giant pandas, though they do share some traits.

The species is classified as endangered, but its current status in the wild is unknown. The average lifespan for red pandas is 13 to 14 years.

A necropsy will be performed, as is standard for all zoo deaths.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Man indicted in series of unsolved Georgia rapes 

ATLANTA (AP) — Police say a man has been indicted in a series of rapes from the mid-1980s in the metro Atlanta area.

Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos Tuesday said DNA evidence linked 62-year-old Daniel Wade to five cases from 1986 and 1987 dubbed "maintenance man" rapes because they happened in apartment buildings, which led investigators to probe whether the suspect worked for one of the complexes.

Authorities say the attacks may be linked to 29 unsolved cases in the area.

Campos says Wade, who is serving a prison sentence in Kentucky for robbery, was identified in a DNA index system in 2011 after the cases had gone cold. Police were able to contact four of the five victims and traveled to Kentucky to interview Wade.

It's unclear if Wade has an attorney.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



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