Category Archives: JUST4U

Southern Women’s Show set for Oct. 16-19 in Jax

The Southern Women’s Show packs four days with girls’ favorite things from shopping to fashion to food to favorite reality show personalities when it takes over the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville Oct. 16-19.

The show’s highlights include:

Real Housewife of O.C. Vicki Gunvalson. The Orange County version of Bravo’s Real Housewives wildly popular franchise started it all…and Vicki Gunvalson is the “OG of the OC”. The longest-running Housewife is President and Founder of Coto Insurance & Financial Services. She’s known to fans for her Type A workaholic personality, her infamous “woo hoo!” party chant and for finding herself in the center of drama between her kids, her relationship and her fellow housewives. Vicki spills the tea on what really happens behind-the-gates in Coto de Caza, and separates the fiction from the reality on the latest season of Real Housewives of the OC. Vicki appears on Thursday only.

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Waycross women ceate Buddy Check Backpack full of chemo goodies

It’s brand new thanks to Buddy Check 12, Baptist Health and two creative breast cancer survivors in Waycross.

It’s a Buddy Check Backpack full of beautiful items, soothing help and great tips to get through chemotherapy.

It’s worth $130, and it’s free for all local women going through chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Lucy Gross-Barlow and Sharon Crews have created the new gift to give comfort and practical help to women taking that chemo journey.

How to get one? Guidelines to receive a Buddy Check Backpack:

First Coast News

Rural voters key to Democratic Senate hopes in Georgia

Democrats are playing offense in Georgia and Kentucky in their fight to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and rural voters are critical to wresting both seats away from the GOP column this November.

In the Bluegrass State, Alison Lundergan Grimes has emerged as a good fundraiser and excellent retail campaigner, proving she really is like the “Kentucky Woman” that Neil Diamond sang about, as she tries to deny Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) a sixth term. Grimes needs to pull a huge vote out of the Louisville and Lexington areas as well as college towns like Bowling Green, but keeping McConnell’s vote down in the rural counties is essential if she is to win.

In the state’s eastern coalfields, McConnell has used the “war on coal” as a cultural weapon to tie Grimes to the unpopular current occupant of the White House. “Everybody just hates Obama and I don’t know what you can do to turn that around. I don’t know why, it’s like they’re brainwashed,” says longtime Democratic activist Linwood Hardy of Cadiz, Ky.


Three men arrested in Mexico-to-Florida drug bust, Mexican meth seized

Luis Acosta, 34, and Juan Espinoza, 33, both of Crescent City; and Enrique Munoz, 41, of Del Rio, Texas, were arrested in Jacksonville on federal charges in an investigation dubbed “Operation Glass House.”

According to court documents, Acosta, Munoz, and Espinoza participated in a conspiracy to acquire and distribute methamphetamine across state lines. The methamphetamine was ultimately distributed throughout Putnam County.

Investigators said the drugs were Mexican-made and were a higher grade at a cheaper price. Their street value in all was about $750,000.


UF police investigate 4th attack, release photo of possible suspect

As the Gainesville Police Department and University of Florida Police Department investigates a fourth attack on a woman in the last week, surveillance photos and video of a possible suspect in the first two incidents are released.

UF police said the latest attack was just after 3 a.m. Friday in the Library West area. Authorities said the victim and an acquaintance left midtown walking to a home just off campus when the victim was grabbed by a man. The victim and the person she was with punched man and ran.


Man caught peeping in Belk’s dressing room

A 38-year-old man has been arrested and charged with two counts of peeping Tom in connection with an incident that occurred at the Belk in Cumming on Saturday.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Randy William Wilson of Cleveland, Ga. on Thursday after receiving a tip as a result of the media coverage of the March 29 incident.

When detectives arrived at his home on Thursday, Wilson fled. After a brief foot chase, Wilson was taken into custody. In addition to the peeping Tom charges, Wilson was currently on parole. He has also been charged with parole violation.

Last Saturday, deputies were called to the Belk in Lakeland Plaza in Cumming with a report of a man peering under the door of a female dressing room while a woman was undressing.

Judge levies $20K in sanctions against AG’s office, ethics agency head

A Fulton County judge has ordered the office of Attorney General Sam Olens and the head of the state ethics commission to pay $10,000 each as a sanction for discovery violations related to a whistleblower trial of the ethics agency’s former executive director.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ruled Wednesday that Holly LaBerge, the head of the ethics agency, and the state Law Department were complicit in failing to turn over a memo that appeared to show staff members from the office of Gov. Nathan Deal threatened LaBerge to make an investigation into the governor’s finances go away. Attorneys for the former head of the ethics agency, Stacey Kalberman, had sought any evidence of such communications before she took the case to trial.

via Judge levies $20K in Sanctions Against AG’s Office, Ethics Agency Head | The Daily Report.

Watchdog group demands investigation of Deal’s top aides

A watchdog group demanded an internal investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aides, claiming that a recently revealed memo drafted by the ethics chief was proof that she was coerced into creating a “politically favorable outcome” for the governor.

Sabrina Smith of Georgia Watchdogs filed the complaint with the Office of the Inspector General claiming that executive counsel Ryan Teague and chief-of-staff Chris Riley, who has now joined the campaign, violated state law prohibiting government employees from coercing co-workers for political gain.

Political Insider blog.

Ant-Man starts filming in Atlanta

Marvel Studio’s latest superhero movie — Ant-Man — began filming Tuesday in Atlanta and San Francisco.

Atlanta also is the base for the film’s production.

Marvel said the film is set for release in the United States on July 17, 2015. It stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas as his mentor Dr. Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Walmart to open ‘care clinic’ in Columbus supercenter

Do you have a cold, the flu, or need to get tested for a bladder infection or strep throat?

Walmart will soon be inviting you into its supercenter at 5448 Whittlesey Blvd. for treatment.

The mega-retailer is planning to open what it calls a “Walmart Care Clinic” inside the Columbus supercenter on Aug. 29, located in about 1,000 square feet of space up front near the service desk.

Another clinic is set to open that same day in Carrollton, Ga. For now, it and the Columbus store will be the only two such medical facilities in Georgia, and the eighth and ninth in the U.S., as part of a pilot program.

Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Hall County School Superintendent says faculty-led prayers off limits

As Chestatee High School football players warm up for the coming season, the Hall County superintendent is trying to cool down the controversy over prayer at school activities including football games.

“I think they should let them pray,” said parent Jason Miller. “I mean they’re not doing it inside the school right? They should be able to do what they want.”

An Atheist group, American Humanist Association, got ahold of photos of football players praying on the field supposedly being led by their coaches. The group is now threatening to sue, claiming the students’ rights are being violated.

Latest Vogtle spending approved; plea for water conservation ignored

The Georgia Public Service Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved an additional $389 million in expenditures for Georgia Power’s two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle while at the same time declining a request to require new water conservation measures at the plant.

The expenditure approval, which covered all of 2013, brings the total construction cost verified to date to $2.599 billion.

Georgia Power now predicts Vogtle’s Unit Three will begin commercial operation in late 2017, and Unit Four will begin operation during the fourth quarter of 2018. The original dates were April 1, 2016, and April 1, 2017. The expansion is more than $1 billion over budget.

PBS special features Camp Lawton Civil War prison

camp lawtonNext week, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) will air a “Time Team America” episode filmed in Georgia. Archeologists will explore the recently excavated Camp Lawton which – for a brief period during the Civil War – was the nation’s largest prison. Today, the land is Magnolia Springs State Park known for beautiful springs, camping, nature trails, fishing and picnicking.

During the Civil War, this site was called Camp Lawton, built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville. Today, little remains of the prison stockade; however, the earthen breastworks which guarded it may still be seen. During 2010, Georgia Southern University archaeology teams uncovered the stockade wall and numerous personal articles from soldiers. Their discovery has been heralded as one of the most significant finds in recent history, and excavation work still continues today. Artifacts are currently on display at the university, and the public is sometimes invited to watch archeologists as they work.

“Time Team America” is a PBS series that combines archaeological discovery with good storytelling. Each episode explores a different region and time in U.S. history through the eyes, ears and expertise of their own team of adventurous archaeologists. The show will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26. Station locations may be found at More information about the series is online at

Georgians interested in seeing the former prison site may visit Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen. The park is open daily, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Parking is $5 and accommodations are available. For more information, visit

James Foley, missing American photojournalist, reportedly beheaded by ISIS in Syria

James Foley, an American journalist who went missing in Syria more than a year ago, has reportedly been killed by the Islamic State, a militant group formerly known as ISIS.

A YouTube video and photos purportedly of Foley emerged on Tuesday. The video — entitled “A Message to #America (from the #IslamicState)” — identified a man on his knees as “James Wright Foley,” and showed his beheading.

“This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country,” an Islamic State militant says in the video, which has since been removed by YouTube. “As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and have gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq, your strikes have caused casualties among Muslims.”

Click for more: Huffington Post

Silver Airways adds flights from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale

If you visit South Florida often, you’ll be glad to know that despite the fact Southwest Airlines plans to cancel services between Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale, there is a way to fly out.

Silver Airways is continuing to expand its intra-Florida footprint and bringing more travel into Jacksonville International Airport.

Silver Airways took off with new services Tuesday, adding direct flights between Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale.

“Another carrier announced they were leaving the route, on top of demand we see at our Tampa service and through customer comments,” said Jamie Kogutek of Silver Airways.

News – Home.

Palatka detective charged in prostitution sting

A Palatka Police Department detective was among several arrested Friday night on charges of solicitation of prostitution in St. Johns County.

Reno Fells was immediately put on administrative leave with pay following his arrest, and he resigned Sunday, according to the Police Department.

Fells worked for Palatka police from 1997 to 2011 and returned in 2013.

Assistant Chief James Griffith said the department had never had any problems with him.

“We were shocked and disappointed,” he said.

News – Home.

Athens man gets life in murder that followed argument over pork skins

A Clarke County jury has convicted an Athens man of a murder that occurred following an argument over pork skins.

Melvin Lewis Brown Jr., 27, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Feb. 2 shooting death of 24-year-old Javious Cordez Tucker.

Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard called the reason for the murder “absurd” when passing sentence.

Trial of 12 set to begin in Atlanta schools cheating case

More than a year after 35 Atlanta Public Schools educators were indicted in a school cheating scandal that rocked the system, 12 people are set to go to trial Monday.

The former administrators, principals, testing coordinators and teachers all face racketeering charges. Individual charges include influencing witnesses and lying to state investigators.

Prosecutors have said that more than 30 educators participated in a conspiracy to cheat on standardized tests dating back to 2005, motivated by pressure to meet federal and APS standards and receive bonuses or keep their jobs.

Georgia judge denies GM motion to dismiss ignition suit

A Georgia judge has denied a motion by General Motors to dismiss a wrongful death case against the automaker and set a trial date for April 2016.

The family of Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old nurse who died in a 2010 car crash near Atlanta, sued GM, alleging that a faulty ignition switch in her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt unexpectedly shut off the engine, causing her to lose control of the car.

They settled last year with GM for $5 million, but the case exposed how GM let millions of cars stay on the road even after discovering ignition switch flaws linked to at least 13 deaths. The case led to GM recalling 2.6 million older small cars to replace faulty switches.

WJCL News.

Peanut trial shows food safety relies on honor system

Jurors at the nation’s first federal criminal trial stemming from a deadly outbreak of food-borne illness are learning a disconcerting fact: America’s food safety largely depends on the honor system.

Witnesses say Stewart Parnell and others at Peanut Corporation of America knowingly shipped salmonella-tainted products, and that they sent customers lab results from other clean batches rather than wait for tests to confirm their products were free of deadly bacteria.

WJCL News.

When her home was Invaded, this Georgia mom fought Back — by crushing her attacker’s privates

It probably seemed like an easy target: a house containing a 19-year-old woman and her 10-month-old child.But that woman, Kayla Walker, fought back — in a brutal way.When a pair of men burst into Walker’s Georgia home Tuesday evening, the young mother was caught unawares, and one of the men straddled and began beating her, WALB-TV reported.The beating was cut short, however, when Walker crushed his testicles.“I headbutted him, grabbed his privates, and then… I reached up and started choking him,” Walker told WALB.

Federal law bans sweets at school bake sales

The Georgia State School superintendent is pushing back against a new federal requirement that bans sweets and “goodies” from being sold at school fundraising events like bake sales.


The new federal restrictions only apply to on-campus bake sales and fundraisers held during school hours that sell highly fatty or caloric sweets. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s push for fitness and healthy classrooms.


“We don’t have enough teachers in our classrooms and now we are expected to hire some type of food police to monitor, whether we are having bake sales or not. That is just asinine,” said Dr. John Barge, Georgia state school superintendent.

NCAA may allow SEC to pay players

The universities with the country’s most prominent athletics programs are expected to gain preliminary approval Thursday to break away from some of the strictures of the N.C.A.A., a significant change that would give them more freedom to govern themselves and could allow athletes to share in the wealth of college sports.

Under the proposal, the N.C.A.A. would clear the way for sports powerhouses like Alabama and Ohio State to pay their athletes a few thousand dollars more than what the current scholarship rules allow, loosen restrictions against agents and advisers, and revamp recruiting rules to ease contact with top prospects.

Father who shared a bed with teenage daughter sentenced to 20 years

A Cobb County judge has sentenced a father who shared a bed with his teenage daughter to 40 years, 20 to serve in prison and the rest on probation, along with sex offender registration, according to attorneys on both sides.

Delano Andres Wright, 44, was indicted on charges of rape, incest, child molestation and cruelty to children for alleged acts against his daughter, who is now 16. After a weeklong trial that began July 7, he was convicted of three of nine counts. The jury reached a verdict against him on two child molestation charges and one count of child cruelty, but hung on the six counts of rape and incest, according defense attorney Justin Wyatt.

The Daily Report.

Georgia film, TV industries showing strong growth

Georgia’s movie and TV industries generated $5.1 billion in economic impact during the last fiscal year, up from $3.3 billion in fiscal 2013, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the 158 feature film and television productions shot in Georgia in fiscal 2014 generated more than 77,900 jobs, including nearly 23,500 workers directly employed by the two industries.

“Not only has this industry created jobs and investment opportunities for Georgians, it also has revitalized communities, established new educational programs, tourism product and more,” Deal said. “I will continue my commitment to growing this industry and to developing a film-ready workforce to meet the needs of the productions that are setting up shop in Georgia.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Federal judge sentences 11 former cops

A federal judge in Atlanta spent much of Monday sentencing nearly a dozen former law enforcement officers to prison terms ranging from three to nine years for taking cash to provide security for drug traffickers—often while wearing their uniforms and driving patrol cars.

Former U.S. District Court Chief Julie Carnes, who was sworn in Thursday as the newest judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, began sentencing the defendants shortly after 10 a.m. Carnes is sitting by special designation on the Northern District of Georgia bench until mid-August.

The cases stem from an FBI corruption investigation that took shape after informants told federal agents that metro drug gangs and drug cartel members were recruiting local police to provide cover for the gangs’ illegal activities, both from rival gangs and from legitimate law enforcement.

The Daily Report.

Prosecutor: Peanut plant faked salmonella results

A federal prosecutor says a Georgia peanut plant linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak fabricated food-safety lab results sent to customers including food giant Kellogg’s.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Dasher told jurors in an opening statement Friday that Peanut Corp. of America shipped chopped nuts and peanut paste without waiting for microbiological testing, and sometimes faked lab certificates given to customers.

WJCL News.

Georgia exchange subsidies in jeopardy after court ruling

More than 190,000 Georgians are enrolled in the health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act.

But if a D.C. federal court ruling announced Tuesday on exchange subsidies is ultimately upheld, that Georgia number could precipitously shrink.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday that the language of the ACA allows subsidies, or discounts, only for people who obtain coverage through exchanges run by the states, and not by the federal government.

Georgia is among 36 states whose insurance exchanges are federally run.

Online Athens.

Georgia Tech dismisses 3 players, suspends another

Georgia Tech has dismissed wide receiver Anthony Autry and defensive linemen Darius Commissiong and Travin Henry and suspended defensive back Lynn Griffin for the first two games of the 2014 season.

Georgia Tech says Tuesday’s moves were due to unspecified rules violations.

In March, Georgia Tech announced Autry was suspended for two games for violating the school’s conduct policy.

Autry, a sophomore from Roswell, missed the 2013 season with an injury after catching three passes for 117 yards in 2012.

Commissiong is a redshirt freshman. Henry, a sophomore, began his career as a wide receiver before moving to defense this spring.

Griffin, a sophomore, had nine tackles in 12 games in 2013.


Forsyth child molestation fugitive caught in Mexico

A Forsyth County man accused of crimes including aggravated child molestation and sexual battery, was apprehended in Mexico after a four-year investigation.

Kenneth Dustin Grant, who failed to appear on charges of aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, child molestation and sexual exploitation of children, was located by the joint efforts of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshals Service deputies in Guadalajara, Mexico where he had been living under a false name, according to the sheriff’s office.

Public health officials caution against chikungunya

With the presence of chikungunya now evident in Georgia, people in Southwest Georgia have been given another reason to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

##Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health reported last month that the state’s first human case had been confirmed after a patient was infected during a recent trip to a Caribbean nation. Travelers who go to islands in the Caribbean are at risk of getting chikungunya, as well as those who go to Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific are at risk, as the virus is present in many of these areas, public health officials say.

Albany Herald.

C.D.C. closes anthrax and flu labs after accidents

After potentially serious back-to-back laboratory accidents, federal health officials announced Friday that they had temporarily closed the flu and anthrax laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and halted shipments of all infectious agents from the agency’s highest-security labs.

The accidents, and the C.D.C.’s emphatic response to them, could have important consequences for the many laboratories that store high-risk agents and the few that, even more controversially, specialize in making them more dangerous for research purposes.

Briggs & Stratton to close McDonough plant, cut 475 jobs

Briggs & Stratton Corp. will close its McDonough, Ga., plant, affecting about 475 employees in coming months.

The Wauwatosa, Wis.-based company (NYSE: BGG) said the plant, which makes pressure washers, snow throwers, zero-turn lawn mowers and smaller lawn and garden tractors, will be consolidated into other plants in Wisconsin and New York. The shutdown is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2015.

“We have not been able to get the McDonough plant running at full capacity for several years. That, and market conditions, have made it even more difficult,” Laura Timm, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Briggs & Stratton, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

James Garner — TV antihero of ‘Maverick,’ ‘Rockford Files’ — dies at 86

maverickJames Garner, a master of light comedy who shot to fame in the 1950s as the charming and dry-witted gambler on the hit TV western “Maverick” and later won an Emmy Award as the unconventional L.A. private eye on “The Rockford Files,” has died. He was 86.

Garner died Saturday at his home, his publicist Jennifer Allen told The Times. Garner, who lived in Los Angeles, underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1988 and suffered a stroke in 2008. He had been in poor health for some time but the cause of his death was not immediately known.

Once described by Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales as having “embodied the crusty, sardonic and self-effacing strain of American masculinity” in his iconic roles as Maverick and Rockford, the Oklahoma-born Garner amassed more than 80 movie and TV-movie credits during his more than 50-year career.

LA Times.

Court: DA’s conflict infected entire office

A district attorney’s conflict of interest that precluded him from participating in a prosecution infected his entire office, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled.

Friday’s unanimous high court ruling said then-Douglas County District Attorney J. David McDade’s personal interest in a child molestation prosecution tried in 2006 took away his assistant DAs’ authority to try the case. Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines wrote for the court that a judge who heard the defendant’s habeas corpus petition did not err in vacating the defendant’s conviction on the ground that the defendant’s lawyer on direct appeal should have raised the conflict of interest issue.

“When the elected district attorney is wholly disqualified from a case, the assistant district attorneys—whose only power to prosecute a case is derived from the constitutional authority of the district attorney who appointed them—have no authority to proceed,” wrote Hines.

via High Court: DA’s Conflict Infected Entire Office | The Daily Report.

Ex-New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, the businessman-turned-politician who became the worldwide face of the city after Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday.

Nagin, 58, was ordered to report to federal prison Sept. 8. Nagin, also ordered to pay restitution of $82,000, was found guilty Feb. 12 of fraud, bribery and related charges involving crimes that took place before and after Katrina devastated the city in August 2005.

Nagin, based on sentencing guidelines, had faced a possible sentence of 12 to 30 years.

USA Today

Obama admin: We believe we will stem immigrant tide

AP – Obama administration officials defended their response to the immigration crisis on the Southwest border Wednesday and pledged to get control of the flood of unaccompanied children arriving from Central America.

“We believe we will stem this tide,” the officials said in a joint statement prepared for a Senate hearing.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Winkowski appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee a day after President Barack Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the crisis.

The Associated Press.

Chicago White Sox accidentally turn rainy game into Klan rally

Look, we get it. The Chicago White Sox wear white uniforms. The Chicago White Sox care about their fans, who will sit through rain and snow and sleet to watch their beloved baseball team play. The Chicago White Sox will, therefore, do the nice thing and give their fans ponchos during a rainy game.

But we’ll be damned if the poncho-wearing fans at the July 3rd game against the Los Angeles Angels didn’t look like a terrible KKK rally.


Ford issues 6 recalls affecting 100,600 vehicles

Ford is recalling 100,610 vehicles in North America for various safety defects.

The company announced the six separate recalls Tuesday. No injuries, accidents or fires related to any of the defects have been reported, Ford said.

The largest recall, of 92,022 vehicles, affects the 2013-2014 Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS and Police Interceptor sedans; 2013-2014 Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT crossovers; 2012-2014 Edge crossover and 2014 Lincoln MKX crossover. Ford says the right-hand halfshaft, which is part of the axle, isn’t properly seated and may disengage over time, making the vehicles inoperable. The vehicles are also at risk of rolling unexpectedly if they are parked without the parking brake on.

Ford will notify owners of the vehicles in the halfshaft recall by mail beginning the week of Aug. 25. In all of the cases, dealers will repair the vehicles for free.


GM fighting brake line recall

General Motors, which has recalled nearly 29 million cars globally so far this year, is pushing back against critics clamoring that it should recall another 6 million pickups and SUVs for a problem with brake lines.

GM says the problem with the brake lines is due to normal wear-and-tear on vehicles that are all at least 10 years old, and that the problem only occurs in the so-called “Salt Belt” where corrosive salt is used on the roads during the winter.

“Brake line wear on vehicles is a maintenance issue that affects the auto industry, not just General Motors (GM),” said GM’s statement. “The trucks in question are long out of factory warranty and owners’ manuals urge customers to have their brake lines inspected the same way brake pads need replacement for wear. In fact, more than 20 states require brake line inspections at one- or two-year intervals or when stopped for a violation.”

But other automakers have ordered recalls when problems with brake lines are discovered. Most recently, Subaru recalled 660,238 vehicles that have been registered in the Salt Belt states, although its cars are more recent models than the GM vehicles in question.


AP News : Government made $100B in improper payments

By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them – tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary.

Congressional investigators say the figure could be even higher.

The Obama administration has reduced the amount of improper payments since they peaked in 2010. Still, estimates from federal agencies show that some are wasting big money at a time when Congress is squeezing agency budgets and looking to save more.

“Nobody knows exactly how much taxpayer money is wasted through improper payments, but the federal government’s own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past five years,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. “The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need – children, seniors and low-income families.”

via AP News

Honda expands recall by up to 1 million cars

The single shrapnel-spewing deployment of an air bag in an old Accord has led Honda to expand its recall by 500,000 to 1 million vehicles. The expansion is limited to cars in California.

Honda, one of eight automakers caught up in the recalls of Takata air bags, had ordered three recalls on June 23. One was national and the other was limited to Southern states with high humidity and two U.S. territories.

At the time, Honda said the total number of vehicles involved in the recalls would be in excess of 2 million. Then the California air bag incident in a 2005 Accord occurred. Spokesman Chris Martin says the total is now about 3 million, including vehicles registered in California.

It’s the same problem as always: The air bags made by Japan’s Takata can rupture with too much force when a crash occurs. When they do, they spew metal chunks that can injure a car’s occupants.


Iraq says ‘terrorists’ seize former chemical weapons facility

Iraq said the Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents.

Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter circulated Tuesday that “armed terrorist groups” entered the Muthanna site on June 11, detained officers and soldiers from the protection force guarding the facilities and seized their weapons. The following morning the project manager spotted the looting of some equipment through the camera surveillance system before the “terrorists” disabled it, he said.

The Islamic State group, which controls parts of Syria, sent its fighters into neighbouring Iraq last month and quickly captured a vast stretch of territory straddling the border between the two countries. Last week, its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land the extremists control.

Alhakim said as a result of the takeover of Muthanna, Iraq is unable “to fulfil its obligations to destroy chemical weapons” because of the deteriorating security situation. He said it would resume its obligations “as soon as the security situation has improved and control of the facility has been regained.”

Alhakim singled out the capture of bunkers 13 and 41 in the sprawling complex 35 miles (56 kilometres) northwest of Baghdad in the notorious “Sunni Triangle.”

The last major report by U.N. inspectors on the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program was released about a year after the experts left in March 2003. It states that Bunker 13 contained 2,500 sarin-filled 122-mm chemical rockets produced and filled before 1991, and about 180 tons of sodium cyanide, “a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun.”

The U.N. said the bunker was bombed during the first Gulf War in February 1991, which routed Iraq from Kuwait, and the rockets were “partially destroyed or damaged.”

It said the sarin munitions were “of poor quality” and “would largely be degraded after years of storage under the conditions existing there.” It said the tabun-filled containers were all treated with decontamination solution and likely no longer contain any agent, but “the residue of this decontamination would contain cyanides, which would still be a hazard.”

According to the report, Bunker 41 contained 2,000 empty 155-mm artillery shells contaminated with the chemical warfare agent mustard, 605 one-ton mustard containers with residues, and heavily contaminated construction material. It said the shells could contain mustard residues which can’t be used for chemical warfare but “remain highly toxic.”

 The Globe and Mail.

Teen sex trafficking spreading to Coweta

Teenage girls are being prostituted in Coweta County.

“Four girls I’ve found at exit 41 so far,” said Tim Taylor, president of operations for the Metro Atlanta Human Trafficking Task Force. Atlanta has long been known as a center for sex trafficking, and Taylor is reaching out to local leaders to offer training for police officers and citizens.

Exit 41 has “got it already,” Taylor said. He said awareness and understanding can help slow the spread of sex trafficking and offer police officers and other community leaders methods for rescuing girls who are involved.

Taylor said generally “human trafficking starts” when a teen runs away from home. They come to the city, connect with a pimp and soon find themselves on the street.

The Newnan Times-Herald.

Hispanic population surging across Middle Georgia

Paulina Medina moved from Mexico to Warner Robins about 14 years ago, and she doesn’t think she’ll move back.

Now 24, she’s studying early childhood education so she can help other youths in English as a Second Language classes, much as she was.

“When I started, there were probably two Hispanics in the school. Now there are a bunch,” she said.

Medina works at Hispano American Multiservice in Warner Robins, which sells insurance, helps with tax filings and provides other services to Middle Georgia’s burgeoning Hispanic population. Other Hispanic-oriented businesses have opened up along Warner Robins’ two main commercial streets and in Macon’s Rocky Creek Road area. The business of serving Hispanics is a growth industry.

U.S. Census Bureau estimates released recently show that most Middle Georgia counties lost non-Hispanic residents over the last few years, while 10 of 11 counties added Hispanic residents.

Study: Home Depot plants contain pesticide linked to honeybee deaths

A new study by environmental group Friends of the Earth that tested plants purchased at 15 Home Depot stores in the United States for neonicotinoid, a pesticide linked to deaths in honeybees and other pollinators, found 51 percent of plants contained the pesticide, reports The Globe and Mail.

The study also found that more than half of flowering plants sold at the retailer’s stores in three Canadian cities contain the pesticide, the paper said

Farmers say the pesticide is necessary to protect against such insects as white grubs and wire worm, which can badly damage crops, and that it is less harmful to humans than chemicals used years ago, the paper adds. People who want to limit or ban the use of neonicotinoids say the pesticide weakens the insects and should only be applied where absolutely needed.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Georgia law doesn’t allow powerful fireworks

Donna Gray’s husband worked for two decades as a naval explosive ordnance disposal technician, but Wednesday the most powerful fireworks she could buy shoots only six feet in the air.

Gray could have been able to buy larger, more powerful fireworks to shoot off with her Twiggs County neighbors for July the Fourth if a bill legalizing them had not failed in the state Legislature during the last session.

Instead, Georgians such as Gray are limited in their Independence Day celebrations with less spectacular types of fireworks such as sparklers and fountains.

Logan Broadnax, who is selling fireworks at a tent at the corner of Riverside Drive and Pierce Avenue, said the bill’s passing would make her job much easier — especially since she works on commission.

“Either you’re going to buy them here or go out of (state) and buy it somewhere else,” Broadnax said.

Ralph Hudgens, Georgia’s insurance and safety fire commissioner, said he hopes residents won’t break the law by bringing back from other states illegal fireworks — ones that explode or shoot high into the air.

PSC gives up on cellphone fee for low-income customers

The Georgia Public Service Commission is planning to abandon an initiative imposing a $5 monthly fee on low-income Georgians for basic cellphones provided through a federal program.

Commissioners voted unanimously this week to repeal a rule the PSC adopted last fall levying the monthly charge on participants in the Lifeline program, subject to a 30-day public comment period.

Although the fee was to have taken effect at the end of January, it was never imposed because of a federal judge’s order late last year blocking it from taking effect until litigation challenging the charge was resolved.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Hurricane warning for swath of North Carolina

Forecasters have issued a hurricane warning for a large swath of the North Carolina coast as Tropical Storm Arthur moves northward.

The warning was issued Wednesday for Surf City north to Duck. The warning includes the Pamlico and Eastern Albemarle sounds.

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season has prompted officials, hotel owners and would-be vacationers as far north as New England to carefully watch forecasts.

On Wednesday afternoon, Arthur was moving north at about 7 mph (11 kph). It was centered about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Arthur had nearly reached hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds around 70 mph (113 kph). A storm is considered a hurricane when those winds measure at least 74 mph (119 kph).


Latest cyber security bill riddled with Net neutrality loopholes

The latest cyber security information sharing bill being considered in the Senate strikes many as overly broad and in need of revision. In fact, say some it’s worded vaguely enough that it could be used by ISPs to sidestep Net neutrality provisions in the name of public safety.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) has already been roundly criticized for having troubling implications for privacy. Ostensibly devised to allow the private sector to share with the government information about cyber security threats, it’s been attacked for potentially allowing companies to share any personal information they please with the government under the guise of being a security issue. Worse, the few anonymization provisions present in the bill can be easily dodged.

The wording of the bill — like with so many of its predecessors that went down to defeat — is being  carefully scrutinized for possible side effects, including being used as a backdoor way for ISPs to undermine Net neutrality.  Motherboard argues that the “countermeasures” provision in the bill allows for a broad range of responses, and could be used by an ISP to take actions to protect itself from anything they choose to brand as a threat. For example, throttling Netflix could be classified as a countermeasure as long as a good excuse could be found. Previously, ISPs used things like jeopardized back-end peerage deals to justify throttling; the pervasiveness of security threats could make such actions all the easier.


Ga. students struggle on algebra, geometry tests

Georgia students continue to struggle with tougher math exams.

State education officials released the results on Wednesday.

About 65 percent of Georgia students didn’t meet state standards for analytic geometry in 2013, the first year it was tested.

About 59 percent of students didn’t meet standards for coordinate algebra, slightly improved from last year’s results. That test also is fairly new.

State Superintendent John Barge says the results are different from what educators are used to seeing but demonstrate how prepared students really are for college or careers. Barge says the state had to address the math challenges head-on.

State officials say both tests are at the difficulty level expected for new statewide exams planned to begin in 2015. Those exams will be in line with tougher Common Core standards.

FOX 5.

Donor among appointments to Georgia transportation funding committee

The Georgia Senate has begun making appointments to a committee charged with recommending ways around the state’s transportation funding challenges.

Among possibilities as new revenue sources are a fractional sales tax, excise taxes and adjustments to the state motor fuel tax.

Senate Transportation Chairman Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, will be a co-chairman of what’s officially known as the Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding Joint Study Committee. Serving with him will be state Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville; Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla; and Sen. David Lucas, D- Macon.

Additionally, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is expected to appoint political campaign donor Steve Green to the committee as a citizen member. Green is a longtime member of the Georgia Ports Authority and past chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He has contributed $13,825 to Cagle since 2007 and $18,700 to Gov. Nathan Deal over the past three years.

New ‘Albany Hose’ lighter and efficient firefighting tool

How often do we think about fire hose? If the worst should happen, it can help us save our homes, businesses — and even our lives, and yet we hardly give it the time of day.

If you’re a firefighter, though, you might appreciate a hose that’s lighter than traditional line and easier to see at night. An added bonus would be if the hose could help save $1,000 or so each year on fire insurance.

Until recently no such hose existed.

It’s a fact that fire insurance rates are higher “out in the county.” The biggest reason for the difference is the availability of hydrants, fire officials say. Even if a home or business were next door to a fire station, the structure would receive an automatic 9 ISO rating if the nearest hydrant was further than 1,000 feet away, said Albany Fire Chief James Carswell.

Albany Herald.

Federal RICO case in Bibb nets 16 arrests, warrants for six more

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, working with the U.S. Secret Service, IRS and other federal officials, obtained 22 arrest warrants and two search warrants in a wide-ranging criminal investigation that resulted in 16 arrests.

Officials are still searching for six other suspects.

The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, or RICO, investigation involved 41-year-old Denise Krieger of Macon, who was reported to have been involved in numerous thefts of identities and credit card information, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Graco recalls buckles used on 1.9 million infant car seats

Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc.’s Graco announced July 1 it is recalling harness buckles used on approximately 1.9 million infant car seats manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013.

Some consumers reported having difficulty or having been unable to open the buckle, which was the reason for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) investigation and the outcome announced today. As a solution, Graco will provide a free replacement buckle, the company reported.

“As the industry leader in baby and parenting essentials, the decisions we make about product safety are far-reaching. We take this responsibility seriously,” said Laurel Hurd, president of Graco Children’s Products, in a statement.

 Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Popping the cap on Georgia’s craft brew industry

The brewing and distillery industries are exploding, but without new legislation, innovation and economic development could be stifled across Georgia.

Walk into any restaurant in the state, and most likely you can find a beer on the menu that was made right here in Georgia. But that hasn’t always been the case, and with current legislation on the books, some breweries may choose to move to states where the drinking – and crafting – is easy.

“Craft beer has definitely been going through a renaissance and a lot of expansion all over the country,” says Glenn Golden, owner and head brewer of Jailhouse Brewing Co. in Hampton.

In the past five years, more than 30 craft breweries and microdistilleries have bubbled up all over the state, yet this is a trend that has been spreading throughout the rest of the country for the past 20 years. Georgia, it seems, has been slow to tip the glass, but now that the keg’s been tapped, the beer is flowing.

According to the Beer Institute, Georgia’s brewing industry generated $3.5 billion in direct economic impact in 2012. That number includes breweries, distributors and retail sales. $1.9 billion of that number was generated by breweries alone.

via Georgia Trend

Film, TV representatives say they can’t find qualified workers in state

Representatives for the film and television industry told state officials on Tuesday that they regularly struggle to find crew members in Georgia and have to hire staff from other states, a threat to the tax incentives that have caused a boom in filming in the state during the last few years.

Tuesday’s listening session is the latest in a series of discussions on workforce development in Georgia, and the first to focus on one industry.

Georgia is expecting to award $163 million in the credits in fiscal year 2015, according to state budget documents. Production companies that spend at least $500,000 in qualified expenses are eligible for the 20 percent tax credit and can receive an additional 10 percent credit if the project includes a Georgia logo.

The problem, industry representatives said Tuesday, is finding people will both the training and on-the-job experience to help projects get done on time and on budget.

Survey: Customers slam McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell

Some very big fast food chains — McDonald’s, Taco Bell and KFC — will have a tough time swallowing this.

Their own customers say their signature items are the worst in their categories, according to a exhaustive consumer survey of the chain’s own customers by Consumer Reports.

McDonald’s makes the worst burgers. KFC offers the worst chicken. Taco Bell sells the worst burritos. This according to 32,405 Consumer Reports subscribers, in a survey whose results are bound to leave some high-powered fast-food executives scratching their heads today.

“A lot of the big chains leave a lot to be desired. This is a wake-up call,” says Tod Marks, senior projects editor at Consumer Reports. “Whether or not they choose to sleep through it is their choice.”

Fast food is big business. Americans will spend more than $683 billion eating out this year, estimates the National Restaurant Association. That’s close to $2 billion a day. While the convenience, low price and predictability big chains offer are a big plus, that’s no longer enough for a generation of patrons who demand higher-quality, better-tasting food.

“The landscape is changing as Millennials come into adulthood,” says Marks. Younger consumers not only embrace value, but also quality and social issues, he notes. This is hitting the big chains — slow to embrace these consumer needs — especially hard.


AP News : Law blocks sale of e-cigarettes to Georgia minors

Georgia Department of Public Health officials say a new state law makes it illegal to sell or distribute electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18.

Officials said Tuesday that emissions from electronic cigarettes could include several chemicals including formaldehyde.

Director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the Department of Public Health Jean O’Connor says the products are especially dangerous for children.

Public health officials say 1,169 calls were made to the Georgia Poison Center between April 2009 and April 2014 for exposure or poisoning linked to tobacco or nicotine products.

Officials say GPC received 45 calls about issues with e-cigarettes between Jan. 1 and June 14, 2014, compared with five calls in all of 2011.

Public health officials say there’s no evidence suggesting electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative.

via AP News

FTC says T-Mobile made millions in bogus charges

T-Mobile USA knowingly made hundreds of millions off its customers in bogus charges, a federal regulator alleged Tuesday in a complaint likely to damage the reputation of a household name in wireless communications.

In its complaint filed in federal court, the Federal Trade Commission claimed that T-Mobile billed consumers for subscriptions to premium text services such as $10-per-month horoscopes that were never authorized by the account holder. The FTC alleges that T-Mobile collected as much as 40 percent of the charges, even after being alerted by other customers that the subscriptions were scams.

“It’s wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” said FTC Chair Edith Ramirez. “The FTC’s goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges.”

The Associated Press.

Four VA retaliation cases open in Georgia

Dr. Raymond Kostromin says his firing from the Augusta VA followed complaints about delays in care.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has four open retaliation cases in Georgia, in which whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs allege they were punished for reporting concerns about scheduling, understaffing and other patient care issues in VA facilities.

Dr. Raymond Kostromin says his firing from the Augusta VA followed complaints about delays in care.

One of the four statewide – and 60 nationally – could include the case of Dr. Raymond Kostromin, a former primary care physician at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. Kostromin, 50, spoke out against Augusta administrators four years ago for failing to schedule thousands of patient referrals to the hospital’s gastrointestinal program….

The Augusta Chronicle.

Waffle House calls for boycott of Belgian waffles

Waffle House is calling for a boycott of Belgian waffles as the U.S. soccer team prepares to meet Belgium in World Cup play on Tuesday.

Waffle House doesn’t serve Belgian waffles. The Norcross-based restaurant chain said via Twitter that it never has and never will.

So how does one know a Belgian Waffle from the American kind? Well, offers a few tips.

If the waffle is made with yeast, not baking powder, you have a BELGIAN WAFFLE , says

If the grid pattern is deep and the pockets are large, you have a BELGIAN WAFFLE.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

GM recalls 7.6M more cars as costs balloon, stock trade halted

General Motors announced six new safety recalls Monday — including its single largest this year — involving a total of about 7.55 million vehicles in the U.S.

Trading in GM stock was halted at 2:30 p.m. ET and resumed by 3 p.m., once the GM recall news and new charges were announced. The stock closed at $36.30, down 32 cents, or 0.87%, on the day.

The company also announced that it would increase its second-quarter charges to pay for recalls to $1.2 billion, up from the previous announced $700 million.

With the latest recalls, GM now has called back 25.68 million vehicles in the U.S. this year for safety-related repairs — a record for GM and, equal to more than two years of the company’s total output. It’s also close to the annual average total recalls for all automakers in recent years — though well of the industry’s one-year recall record of 58.43 million vehicles in 1999.

The cavalcade has come as GM set about cleaning house on pending safety issue after the recalls for a deadly switch defect in February and March. GM is under a federal regulatory microscope because of those recalls, which are linked to 13 deaths.

“They are expanding (the recalls) now that there is more scrutiny” from safety authorities and Congress, says Sean Kane of Safety Research & Strategies. “Even after the recall barrage, however, there are many, many GM vehicles made over the years that have somehow dodged all the recalls.

Most of the vehicles in the latest announcement, more than 6.8 million in the U.S., are covered by a single new recall that extends the small-car ignition switch issue — “unintended ignition key rotation” that can shut off the engine while underway — to more midsize and full-size GM cars.

GM spokesman Alan Adler says although the latest recall’s ignition switches met GM’s specifications, there are fears that if they are bumped or jarred, they can pop into “accessory,” disabling the car’s airbags.

The company says it has identified seven crashes involving eight injuries and three fatalities that could be tied to the latest ignition-switch recall, although it adds there is “no conclusive evidence” of a link.

In the small cars, GM has been replacing ignition switches. In the latest batch, the fix will likely be a replacement key with a hole rather than a slot. Adler says owners of the vehicles are urged to drive only with a single key and nothing attached until they get the fix.

Models included in Monday’s switch recall include the 1997 to 2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998 to 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999 to 2004 Oldsmobile Alero; 1999 to 2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000 to 2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000 to 2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo and 2004 to 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix. A separate U.S. recall covers 554,328 vehicles: the 2003 to 2014 Cadillac CTS and 2004 to 2006 Cadillac SRX.

Trading in GM stock was halted at 2:30 p.m. ET and resumed by 3 p.m., once the GM recall news and new charges were announced. The stock closed at $36.30, down 32 cents, or 0.87%, on the day.


18 killed by Gwinnett County police officers in last five years

On July 21, 2009, two people died on Tracey Drive. Gwinnett County police Officer Lyndsey Perry killed them.

#The 911 call that day came in from elderly Barbara Baker, who told the dispatcher that her daughter, 51-year-old Penny Schwartz, was threatening to commit suicide. The latter was almost certainly on drugs and possibly armed, her mother said.

#In the line of duty, quick decisions have to be made. Lives hang in the balance.

#Evidence suggests that, once Perry was inside the Duluth-area home, Schwartz came around a corner with a silver .38 Special. Perry fired five times.

#Schwartz eventually bled to death. Her mother, an unintended target, died after being hit once in the chest.

#Perry was unharmed, at least physically.

#“I was convinced she was going to shoot me,” Perry later told investigators. “I thought that … was where I was going to die.”

Gwinnett Daily Post.

Verizon: XLTE should add capacity, speed in Columbus

Verizon Wireless said recently it has expanded its newest technology – known as XLTE – to more Georgia locations to boost 4G LTE network capacity and enhance high-speed services for customers, including those in Columbus.

More than half of Verizon’s 4G LTE 500-plus markets — including Atlanta, Athens, Augusta and Columbus — have been enhanced with XLTE, with more scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, the company said.

XLTE uses Verizon’s AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum, which allows it to deliver significantly increased capacity over its high-speed 4G LTE network, it said. This means more customers in high-traffic locations can access the company’s most advanced technology at the same time to send photos, download videos, surf the Internet and use other popular applications on their smartphones, tablets and other devices during times of peak usage.

The company said XLTE technology is particularly effective in enhancing wireless network performance in settings with a concentrated group of high-data demand customers, such as densely-populated areas, rush hours, concert venues, sports arenas and stadiums, and other large event locations.

Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

New state law forces police to sell confiscated guns

The Columbus Police Department is selling guns.

Under a Georgia law enacted last year, cities can no longer destroy confiscated firearms. With the exception of illegal guns, such as sawed-off shotguns, fully automatic firearms and those with serial numbers filed off, all confiscated guns must be put up for bids, said Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren.

The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police formally opposed the law while it was in the Legislature, he said.

“Local departments protested the fact that we’re putting guns back on the streets,” Boren said. “But it was passed by the General Assembly and it’s state law now, so we have to enforce it and abide by it.”

Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Miss Georgia is still a hometown Bainbridge girl

The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is something Maggie Bridges believes wholeheartedly.

From singing in First United Methodist Church and performing in Bainbridge Little Theatre productions to taking piano lessons from Martha Mobley for 10 years, Bridges is rooted in Decatur County. It’s where the people who love her, care for her and make sure she’s always at her best surround her.

Now, Bridges can show her home and the rest of the country how the lessons she’s learned while growing up in Southwest Georgia have earned her the title of Miss Georgia 2014.

“The feeling is surreal,” Bridges said. “But I’m exactly the same person I am before I left and became Miss Georgia.”

The Post-Searchlight.

Whistleblower alleges VA benefit application purge in Atlanta

Federal investigators are probing a whistleblower’s allegations that applications for veterans seeking health care benefits may have been improperly purged from the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in suburban Atlanta.

Eligibility Center program specialist Scott Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) that health benefit applications for more than 10,000 veterans may have been improperly purged from the Health Eligibility Center’s national data system in DeKalb County.

The center doesn’t process all applications, but helps manage the national enrollment computer system and offers enrollment guidance for VA hospitals across the country.


GM recalling 7.6 millionmore cars for ignition switch defect

General Motors is recalling at least 7.6 million more vehicles dating back to 1997 to fix faulty ignition switches as the company’s safety crisis continues to grow.The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total number of recalls this year to over 28 million.

The company says it is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles recalled on Monday. GM says it has no conclusive evidence that faulty switches caused the crashes.

The company says it expects to take a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter for recall-related expenses.

The Associated Press.

Harris v. Quinn ruling: Unions hit by SCOTUS

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court on Monday signaled its distaste for state laws requiring public-sector workers to pay union dues — but stopped short of sweeping them away, handing organized labor a potentially short-lived victory.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled in Harris v. Quinn that eight home health care workers in Illinois cannot be compelled to pay dues to a union they don’t wish to join. Illinois is one of 26 states that require public sector workers to pay dues to the unions that negotiate their contracts and represent them in grievances, even if the employees find the union’s advocacy work distasteful.

Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that closely held companies cannot be required to pay to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees, ending its term with a narrow legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court’s conservatives essentially ruled that some for-profit corporations have religious rights.

Supreme Court rules against Obama Pro-choice group: This is discriminatory Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby

The owners of Hobby Lobby, furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties and Christian bookseller Mardel argued that the Affordable Care Act violates the First Amendment and other federal laws protecting religious freedom because it requires them to provide coverage for contraceptives like the “morning-after pill,” which the companies consider tantamount to abortion.

The decision, which comes two years after the justices narrowly preserved the Affordable Care Act and its key funding provision, could serve as a primer for other pending challenges to the health law.

Analyst: Bar investigation could cost Ralston speaker seat

Investigators have asked the Supreme Court for a special master to look into allegation that Ralston violated several bar rules during an injury accident case he handled for several years.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston is facing potential disbarment after state bar investigators say he broke professional conduct rules.


Channel 2’s Tony Thomas talked to experts Friday that said the allegations could affect Ralston’s political career.


Ralston not only faces a general election later this year but also potential challenges to his position as speaker at the state Capitol.

State bar asks for probe of Speaker David Ralston

ATLANTA (AP) The State Bar of Georgia has asked for an investigation into Republican House Speaker David Ralston.

A petition filed in state Supreme Court Thursday accuses Ralston of questionable practices in a 2008 case involving Paul Chernak, of Cumming, who was seriously injured in a crash. The State Bar of Georgia is asking the high court to appoint a special master to investigate.

The petition accuses Ralston of allowing the man’s case to languish for years while he served in the Georgia Legislature and failing to inform Chernak of its status. The petition also accused Ralston of advancing Chernak $22,000 to pay personal expenses. The petition said Ralston tapped his attorney trust account to pay the man with his own money and money that belonged to other clients.

The petition said Chernak eventually sought out a new lawyer to represent him in the case.

The petition accused Ralston of violating several areas of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct including diligence, communication, and expediting litigation. Penalties linked to offenses Ralston is accused of range from public reprimand to disbarment.

Ralston’s spokesman Marshall Guest said the House Speaker vigorously defends his professional reputation and will fully cooperate with the investigation.

“For more than 34 years as a practicing attorney, he has shown that he cares very deeply about his clients’ legal rights,” Guest said in an emailed statement. He added that Ralston will “continue to respect the attorney-client privilege with regard to the specifics,” despite the deterioration of his relationship with the client.

Ralston, of Blue Ridge, has served in the Georgia Legislature since 2003 and was elected House Speaker in 2010.

via State Bar of Ga. asks for probe of Speaker Ralston | AccessNorthGa.

Police find search term ‘How long does it take for an animal to die in a hot car’ on computer of dead child’s father

The investigation of a toddler’s death in a hot SUV in Georgia hinges on a key question: Was the boy the victim of a horrific accident after his father simply forgot to take him to day care, or did the man know the child was inside when he left him strapped in for seven hours?

A newly filed arrest warrant supporting the murder charge against 33-year-old Justin Ross Harris states that he stopped with his son for breakfast and also returned to put something inside his vehicle around lunchtime while the child was inside it.

Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his 22-month-old son to daycare but drove straight to work on June 18 without remembering the boy was strapped in his seat. After spending the day at work, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot on the ride home and hysterically asked for help for his son.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston faces legal sanction

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston faces legal trouble after the Georgia Bar Association on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to investigate whether he violated multiple rules of conduct for attorneys.

The charges, which include violations of nine Bar Association rules, could lead to a public reprimand or possible disbarment if the Supreme Court rules against the Blue Ridge Republican. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained a copy of the complaint from the Supreme Court.

The case stems from Ralston’s representation of a man named Paul E. Chernak who hired Ralston’s law firm after a 2006 car accident. Chernak was injured but not at fault in the accident. Chernak claims that Ralston delayed his case for years, sometimes claiming “legislative leave,” a tool awarded lawmakers to postpone legal cases when their legislative duties require their attention.

Chernak also claims that Ralston sent him $22,000 via 12 separate checks to help pay his living expenses and that the money came from other clients’ accounts as well as Ralston’s own personal funds. If that proves to be true, it could be a serious violation of Bar rules concerning the misuse of clients’ trust accounts.

Police: Former Georgia Tech star, wife locked son up for more than a year

Authorities say a former Georgia Tech football player and his wife locked their son up in a room for more than one year.

Police have charged 33-year-old Recardo Wimbush and 37-year-old Therian Wimbush with cruelty to children in the first degree and false imprisonment after discovering that the couple’s 13-year-old son had been imprisoned in their home on Pierce Way in Buford.

According to the Gwinnett County Police Department, the Division of Family and Children Services received an anonymous tip about the boy on June 15.


Graves: House Appropriations Committee slashes IRS budget

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and the House Appropriations Committee today passed the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which cut the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget by $341 million, putting the scandal-ridden agency’s funding at pre-2008 levels.

“With all the targeting, wasteful spending, negligence and apparent illegal activity, the IRS has earned itself a major budget cut,” said Rep. Graves. “Absent a viable path to abolish the entire agency, the IRS should receive the bare minimum it needs to perform essential duties and meet its legal obligations.”

In addition to cutting overall funding, the Appropriations Committee put new restrictions on IRS employee bonuses and barred any funding in the bill from being used to implement proposed regulations on tax exempt 501(c)(4) groups, including those that were targeted by the IRS for their conservative beliefs.

The bill also prohibits the IRS from using any funding to implement Obamacare’s individual mandate and prevents the IRS from receiving fund transfers from the Department of Health and Human Services for Obamacare uses.

The next step for the financial services appropriations bill is to go before the entire House of Representatives for a vote.

Northwest Georgia News

Longtime New York Rep. Rangel’s Democratic primary too close to call

The bitterly fought Democratic primary race between U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and his challenger state Sen. Adriano Espaillat was too close to call early Wednesday despite a late-night declaration of victory by the 22-term congressman.

With 99 percent of the vote counted in unofficial results, Rangel led Espaillat 47.4 percent to 43.7 percent, a difference of fewer than 2,000 votes from about 47,000 votes counted on Tuesday.

The Associated Press was not declaring a winner because the city Board of Elections was unable to say how many absentee and affidavit ballots were outstanding. The board said no further information on those ballots would be immediately released.

Fox News.

SCOTUS rules for broadcasters against Aereo

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a startup Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices.

The justices said by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters’ copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming.

Aereo is available in New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta among 11 metropolitan areas and uses thousands of dime-size antennas to capture television signals and transmit them to subscribers who pay as little as $8 a month for the service.

The Associated Press.

Lower Oconee hospital closed again

A sign outside Lower Oconee Community Hospital in Glenwood says, “Hospital operations have been suspended,” as of 5 p.m. Monday.

The state Department of Community Health has been notified, the sign says, and the hospital “will reopen in the very near future under reorganization.”

Hospital CEO Norman King left the hospital around 6:30 p.m. and declined comment.

In recent weeks, several employees and doctors told 13WMAZ that they had not been paid in a month. King said Medicare funding for the hospital had been cut off.

The 25-bed hospital also closed briefly in February, and the CEO at the said the hospital was in “dire financial straits” and needed to restructure.

That’s when King’s company bought Lower Oconee. At the time, about 100 people worked at the hospital, but King said he expected to cut staff.

Wheeler county EMS say the hospital closing down will affect emergency services. The county has one ambulance truck and the nearest hospital is 25 miles away.

EMS says this past Friday they received an emergency call about a possible heart attack, but their ambulance was already on another call.

One of the paramedics drove Collis George in his personal vehicle to meet up the ambulance from Vidalia.

EMS says they fear that more situations like the one on Friday will occur again.


Jason Carter asks to reopen ethics investigation on Deal

Democratic candidate for governor, Jason Carter, is sending to Attorney General Sam Olens asking him to reopen the ethics investigation into Gov. Nathan Deal since Carter believes there was a cover-up.

“I don’t know what happened. No one knows what happened because the investigation has never been completed,” Carter, a state senator, said.

In a one-on-one interview with Channel 2’s Craig Lucie, Carter explained several reasons why he is writing the letter to Olens.

“The crucial fact in the investigation in the 2010 campaign has not been completed and instead has been tampered with,” Carter said.

The ethics investigation started with questions about campaign spending during Governor Deal’s 2010 race.

Georgia is CNBC’s top state for business in 2014

The South rises again!

Georgia—the Peach State—slices up the competition in the 2014 America’s Top States for Business rankings by CNBC, signaling an apparent shift back to the Sun Belt from the energy-rich Northern Plains.

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Always a contender, Georgia outdid itself in 2014.

The state scores a solid 1,659 points out of a possible 2,500, finishing at or near the top in three categories and in the top half in all but two. Since we began rating the states for competitiveness in 2007, Georgia has never finished outside the top 10 overall, with fourth-place finishes in 2007 and 2011, and a respectable eighth place in 2013.


Man dressed as woman caught passing counterfeit $100 bills

Surveillance photos have been released of a man dressed as a woman who recently attempted to use three $100 counterfeit bills at a St. Johns County CVS drugstore.

About 7 p.m. Friday the man attempted to purchase a $300 gift card with three $100 fakes at the Florida 312 store, the Sheriff’s Office said. When the clerk said they appeared to be fake, the man left without the gift card or the counterfeit bills.

DeKalb commissioner linked to SC corruption case

A witness in a South Carolina corruption case testified Monday that DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson is linked to that trial currently underway.

As Channel 2 Action News first reported in April, two counts of that indictment involved the alleged solicitation of kickbacks by a DeKalb County official.

According to testimony on Monday, Watson was part of a restaurant meeting that included discussions of illegal payoffs.

The witness who testified Monday already pleaded guilty in connection with the case. He was a business associate of one of the defendants and said he attended that meeting at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Columbia, South Carolina, which several DeKalb County officials attended, including Watson

Home Depot to park its NASCAR ride

The days of the orange, No. 20 Home Depot car are coming to an end, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reported.

The Atlanta-based home improvement retail giant, which has been a primary NASCAR sponsor since 1999, will leave the sport after its contract with Joe Gibbs Racing ends this season, said sources familiar with the plans. The home improvement company’s exit comes after several years of reductions in its marketing commitment to NASCAR.

The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) and Joe Gibbs Racing declined to comment.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Lightning strike knocks Coweta Co. man out of steel-toed boots

Yard work almost turned deadly for a man hit by lightning in Coweta County.

Channel 2’s Liz Artz spoke with the man at his home on Britain Way in Newnan.

Sean O’Connor said he was raking leaves Saturday afternoon when a bolt of lightning came down and struck him in the right foot.

“I heard the loud crack and next thing I know, I was over here on the side of my driveway,” said O’Connor.

At first he thought he was hit by a falling tree limb.

“When I stood up, I had blood in my mouth. I could smell burnt hair; felt like I had a bad sunburn on my leg,” he told Artz.

Why Google, AT&T fast Internet might skip your city

If you live in one of 18 metro Atlanta cities, Internet connections 100 times faster than most American homes have may be coming your way soon.

But if you live across the street from those cities’ borders, keep waiting for that page to load.

When Google and AT&T separately announced plans this year to consider bringing gigabit-per-second speed to some local communities they left unincorporated areas and most cities off the list of candidates. (Sorry Roswell, Lilburn, Dunwoody, Kennesaw, Chamblee, Peachtree City and a host of others.)

Government officials and community activists are confused about how candidate cities were selected. They worry that unpicked cities will suffer more than bruised egos, becoming less competitive for jobs and residents. And some are looking for other ways to get fast fiber.

“It’s pretty crucial,” said Van Pappas, president of the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce. “You have to be able to provide a high speed for what our society is going toward … Everyone wants to have this because they feel if they can, it’s a selling point for people who want to live there. It’s a selling point for businesses that want to locate there.”

80 percent of VA execs got bonuses

The VA says nearly 80 percent of its senior executives got performance bonuses last year, despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals and clinics.

Gina Ferrissee is an assistant VA secretary for human resources. She told Congress Friday that more than 350 VA executives were paid nearly $3 million in bonuses last year. Ferrissee says the VA needs to pay bonuses to keep executives who are paid up to $181,000 per year.

Florida Republican Jeff Miller is chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Miller says the VA’s bonus system “is failing veterans.”

via News from The Associated Press.

Great white shark numbers surging in Atlantic

A report that scientists are calling one of the most comprehensive studies of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada after decades of decline – bad news if you’re a seal, but something experts say shouldn’t instill fear in beachgoers this summer.

The study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, says the population of the notoriously elusive fish has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.

The scientists behind the study attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

via News from The Associated Press.

Congress probes missing IRS emails

Eight federal employees connected to the tea party investigation experienced hard drive crashes, resulting in an unknown number of lost emails, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers Friday in an unusually tense congressional hearing.

A week ago the IRS acknowledged it could not produce some of the emails of the IRS executive at the center of the probe because her computer crashed in 2011. Koskinen acknowledged to lawmakers that the hard drive was recycled and presumably destroyed.

“I want that hard drive and I want the hard drive of every computer that crashed,” said the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.

Koskinen said the IRS took extra measures to try to retrieve the lost emails. But he was unapologetic about the computer crashes or the period when the IRS advised Congress that emails it had sought were lost.

via News from The Associated Press.

Gov. Deal denies raising education spending to boost re-election chances

Gov. Nathan Deal denied re-election opponent Jason Carter’s charges Thursday that he boosted education spending in the new state budget to win votes.

The budget was approved by the legislature in March for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The Republican governor said it was the Democratic challenger Carter, a state senator, who plays politics by voting for all of Deal’s budgets until this year.

“Every single year I have been governor, we’ve increased the education funding, and the first three years Jason Carter has saw fit to vote for my budgets that included those increases in k-12 funding,” Deal told reporters. “Only in this year when he decided he wanted to be governor, which included the largest single restoration of k-12 funding, did he vote against it. I think the conclusion is pretty clear: that is a political statement on his part.”

Deal is responding to ads and stump speeches by Carter accusing the incumbent of cutting the state education budget more than any Georgia governor.

CDC details anthrax scare for scientists at Atlanta facilities

As many as 75 scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle dangerous pathogens, a spokesman for the federal health agency said Thursday.

The agency was testing a new way to kill anthrax, which it discovered did not work as well as expected.

None of the potentially infected scientists have any symptoms, but a number of them are being treated with antibiotics “out of an abundance of caution,” the spokesman, Thomas Skinner, said.

The lapse occurred sometime between June 6 and June 13. Workers in three labs who were not wearing protective gear moved and experimented with samples of the highly infectious bacteria that were supposed to have been deactivated, the agency said.

Macon veteran says he can’t get VA to treat cancer

A Macon man fears he could become a statistic in a national scandal.

In January, Army veteran Stewart Smith was diagnosed with throat cancer, but he hasn’t been able to get the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin to agree to treat it. Doctor’s have recommended chemotherapy and radiation after determining surgery was not an option.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is mired in a scandal in which veterans have allegedly died while awaiting treatment. In Arizona, VA officials allegedly kept a secret waiting list to hide the true scope of the problem.


The first human case of chikungunya has been confirmed in Georgia but Columbus Commissioner of Health Beverley Townsend said there is no reason to be alarmed.

Chikungunya is a virus that spreads through mosquito bites but the Georgia Department of Public Health said Thursday that the person was not bitten in this country but while in the Caribbean. It is travelers to the Caribbean , Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean who are at risk

Townsend said people who take vacations or go on mission trips to those areas need to take proper precautions.

Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

Buffett could want to take Coca-Cola private

The Coca-Cola Co.’s biggest investor, billionaire Warren Buffett, could be looking at taking Coke private, says a money manager who’s also a big investor in the soft drink giant.

David Winters, CEO of Wintergreen Advisers, a Milwaukee, Wis., money management firm which owns 2.5 million shares in Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), sent a letter June 16 to the company’s independent directors who chair the Audit, Compensation, and Governance Committees. He encourages them to address possible conflicts of interest at the company amid media speculation 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway may be planning a transaction to take Coca-Cola private.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

AT&T breach affects countless cellphone users

AT&T is acknowledging it’s the victim of an inside job.

The company says it’s the victim of a data breach that happened in April, but officials are just now going public with it.

A local victim wants to know more about that delay and how he could have been affected.

“I have to go through the trouble of securing all my information, freezing my credit,” said James Woodfin.

He showed Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland three emails he received from AT&T in April, warning him someone was trying to unlock his phone from the network.

‘Building Wealth Tour’ leader arrested, defrauded Georgians – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Ephren Taylor II, the leader of the “Building Wealth Tour,” was arrested on a federal indictment charging him and another defendant with defrauding investors across the country of more than $5 million.

More than 80 Georgians lost more than $2 million because of Taylor’s scheme, federal prosecutors allege.

According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: From at least April 2009 through October 2010, Taylor, then CEO of City Capital Corp., and co-defendant Wendy Connor, the former COO of City Capital, participated in a conspiracy to defraud investors.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

GM recalls another 3.4 million vehicles for ignition problem

General Motors recalled another 3.36 million vehicles worldwide Monday for a problem the company has linked to eight crashes and six injuries. That brings the total number of cars recalled by the company this year to more than 20 million.

The new recall affects cars from model years 2000 through 2014. The ignition switch can move out of the run position, turning off power steering and power braking while the car is being driven. Extra weight on the key chain can jostle the ignition when the vehicle strikes something in the road like a pothole.


DFCS facing $1 million lawsuit after teen starves to death

Georgia’s embattled child welfare agency now faces a $1 million lawsuit after a local teenager died from starvation.

Ebony Berry still sits in the Cobb County Jail charged with murder in the 2012 starvation death of her 16-year-old disabled daughter, Markea.

“I don’t know why Ebony had so much hatred toward her daughter,” said Cheryl Goree, Markea’s grandmother.

Truckers resist rules on sleep, despite risks of drowsy driving

The tractor-trailer set off at 2:30 a.m. from Springfield, Mo., the usual time and place. Nearly 11 hours later, along the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma, fatigue caught up.

At mile marker 321.5, near the town of Miami, the semi plowed into a line of cars stopped on the highway. Ten people were killed. The 76-year-old truck driver, who survived, had probably fallen asleep, federal investigators later concluded.

What is remarkable about these events, which took place five years ago this month, is how common such accidents are. For decades, federal authorities have tried to ensure that truck drivers get adequate rest. But in a business that lives by the clock, miles mean money. Commercial truck operators have resisted, arguing, in effect, that Washington cannot regulate sleep.

Kingston returns $70,000 donation from convicted felon

Republican Senate candidate Jack Kingston says he returned more than $70,000 in campaign money contributions last week after Channel 2 Action News pointed out the money had ties to convicted felon Khalid Ahmed Satary.

“We voluntarily returned the money,” Satary told Channel 2’s Lori Geary at a Lawrenceville rotary meeting Monday.

A company attorney said Satary was a consultant to Lawrenceville-based Confirmatrix.

Its employees landed at the top spot on the list of Kingston’s contributors, according to

Ex-Democratic Party leader surrenders law license

Mike Berlon’s legal career is over. His legal issues are not.

The Georgia Supreme Court accepted Monday a voluntary surrender of license from Berlon, a former chairman of Georgia’s Democratic party who practiced law out of Gwinnett. The move is tantamount to disbarment.

Though several separate issues — including a possible criminal investigation — remain in play, the end of Berlon’s career as an attorney is based on his alleged mishandling of a medical malpractice case that began in June 2010. The opinion released Monday by the Supreme Court said that, in addition to the original offenses involving the malpractice case, Berlon’s responses to the complaint with the state bar “contained factual misrepresentations.”

“Although Berlon was concerned that the statute of limitations had expired (in the malpractice case), he did not inform the client of his concern,” the opinion said. “Instead he told her he believed there was sufficient time in which to file an action and falsely led her to believe that he was actively working on the case by sending a demand letter, contacting expert witnesses, and preparing to file an action.”

“Berlon did not accurately advise the client of the status of her case through early 2012 and never filed an action on her behalf.”

Berlon had been chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party until last summer, when he received an original reprimand from the supreme court and was pressured to resign by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Reached Monday, Berlon called the surrender of his license “the right thing to do.”


Gwinnett Daily Post.

GM’s safety crisis deepens with Camaro switch recall

General Motors Co recalled 511,528 Chevrolet Camaros on Friday for an ignition switch problem similar to the defect linked to at least 13 deaths in Chevrolet Cobalts and other models. GM said it was aware of minor accidents and no fatalities from the Camaro. It said the switch defect in the new recall was not related to the problem in the Cobalts.

A driver’s knee could bump the current-model Camaro’s key fob and move the ignition switch out of the “run” position, causing the engine to shut off, the company said.

The earlier recall was triggered by an ignition switch failure in the Chevy Cobalt and other small GM cars, in which a bump of the key fob could turn off the engine, disabling power steering and airbags.


Atlanta Waffle House employee kills customer, police say

A customer at a Georgia Waffle House was shot and killed early Friday, allegedly by a restaurant employee.

The shooting happened about 4:30 a.m. at the 24-hour restaurant located about 9 miles west of downtown Atlanta.

“The preliminary investigation has determined that a verbal altercation occurred between an employee and a customer,” Fulton police Cpl. Kay Lester said. “At some point, the male employee retrieved a weapon and fired upon the customer. That unidentified male customer was deceased at the scene.”

City clerk resigns during Snellville trial

Snellville City Clerk Melisa Arnold — one of two city officials involved in a dispute between the mayor and council — resigned Thursday during the third day of the trial.

#After debating a settlement for most of the morning, officials returned to court Thursday afternoon to announce they had not reached a deal and that Arnold was stepping down from her post, which she has held for five years.

#Arnold sought to be removed from the suit, as she was named a defendant, along with all five council members and City Manager Butch Sanders. But attorneys for Mayor Kelly Kautz said Arnold remained under subpoena and her testimony would be needed on issues, including whether council members held a behind-closed-doors meeting in violation of the Open Meetings Act.


Gwinnett Daily Post.

1 dead, 3 hospitalized after Jefferson County insecticide exposure

A Wadley woman was killed and three children sent to a hospital late Wednesday after being exposed to an agricultural insecticide that a relative said had been used in the woman’s house to exterminate pests, according to Jefferson County authorities.

The insecticide, Fumitoxin, is believed to have released a gas that was inhaled by Rosa Gilmore Green, 58, and her 12-year-old grandson at the home in the 600 block of North Martin Luther King Boulevard, according to a statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The problem was discovered by Green’s son, who noticed a heavy chemical odor at the home during a visit, said Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Chalker. The son took Green and the child to his home on Farm Street, where his mother’s condition worsened. About 7:50 p.m., Jefferson County 911 received a call for assistance for a woman who was weak and unable to move, according to a statement from Jefferson County Emergency Services.

The Augusta Chronicle.

Man arrested for shooting GSP’s marijuana helicopter

The FBI has charged a west Georgia man with shooting a Georgia State Patrol helicopter as it flew over his house.

James Fryer, 59, was charged with violation of Title 18, Section 32, or destruction of an aircraft.

According to the FBI, the helicopter is part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Marijuana Eradication Task Force. As the chopper flew over Geneva east of Columbus, the crew heard several gunshots and saw a man in shooting stance on the ground.

The crew called local police and landed the helicopter. The shooter hit the aircraft’s main rotor blades, causing damage.

Police found Fryer outside his home and arrested him. He will have his first court appearance at 10 a.m. Thursday in Columbus.

via Man arrested for shooting Ga. State Patrol helicopter.

GM allegedly seeking bankruptcy shield from Georgia lawsuit

Lawyers for a Georgia family that is trying to reopen a wrongful death lawsuit against General Motors say the company is trying to move the case to federal court so it can use bankruptcy as a shield from the claim.

The lawyers, Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley, said Wednesday in a statement that GM’s court filings run counter to a promise made by GM CEO Mary Barra to fairly compensate families of people killed or those injured in crashes caused by defective ignition switches.

GM spokesman Greg Martin called the company’s filings procedural.


Georgia seeking entry-level employees to fill openings

The state is looking to fill about 45 positions at Hays State Prison, according to a Georgia Department of Corrections representative at the Goodwill job fair Tuesday in Rome.

But, despite the current unemployment rate, the hiring isn’t always easy, said Lt. Christopher McAlister.

“Out of the 30 or so that applied, I would be extremely pleased if we could get 10 — due to background investigations,” he said. “And some people, when they speak to their spouse, their children; they think about it and change their mind.”

Rome News-Tribune

Rep. Tom Price eyed as possible Cantor successor

Tom Price had already helped lead Georgia’s Republican party to majority status in the state Senate when he ran for Congress and won 10 years ago. In so doing, he gained a lot of home state admirers.

The admirers include Chuck Clay. He ran against Price in 2004 and lost. Both served together in the state Senate. Clay says Price is smart, focused and hardworking. “He’s not maybe what would be seen as the traditional thought of the southern backslapping politician. (He’s) very focused, very intense,” said Clay, who is now with the Atlanta office of the law firm Nelson Mullins.

Clay says Price is well suited to potentially become the successor to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican who lost his seat Tuesday.


Embattled nominee Michael Boggs held up as other judicial candidates move forward

The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving forward with a batch of federal judicial candidates for Georgia this week, but one name will be noticeably absent: beleaguered nominee Michael Boggs.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee, announced Wednesday that he is adding six of the seven pending nominees for federal court seats in Georgia to this week’s agenda.

Georgia’s two Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, “asked that I move forward with the Georgia nominees who were ready for a Committee vote,” Leahy said in a statement. “I thank both of them for their willingness to move forward with these important nominations.”

Boggs’ nomination will remain pending before the committee.

Huffington Post 

Five aftershocks from Cantor’s stunning upset loss

A day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s almost unprecedented primary loss, his defeat is being felt far from his central Virginia congressional district.

Aftershocks from Cantor’s loss at the hands of a little known and underfunded tea party supporter and economics professor rocked the political world — from the campaign trail to the halls of Congress and the White House.

The ouster of the No. 2 House Republican, who was seen by many as the next speaker, overturns the chamber’s leadership hierarchy, and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform.

“It’s just sending shivers throughout the Republican conference,” veteran GOP Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

Isakson calls for DOJ probe into VA misconduct

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined Republican members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee members in calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to join efforts with the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s investigation into misconduct at VA facilities.

“We would like to ensure that there is full participation from the Department of Justice in regard to the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s investigation into widespread allegations of gross misconduct by employees across the country at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers,” the senators wrote.

“Given the scope and severity of the current wait time and scheduling data manipulation allegations, we appreciate your willingness to assist in ongoing efforts and helping to get to the bottom of these unacceptable, systemic problems.”

The letter was signed by Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., John Boozman, R-Ark., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan.

Officials: Tennessee man dismembered woman, ate body

A Tennessee man has been charged with killing a woman, dismembering her body and eating part of her corpse in a bizarre case that’s perplexing law enforcement in a small pastoral town. Gregory S. Hale, 37, was arrested at his home — in a small rural community just outside Manchester — late Sunday. He is charged with premeditated first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, Coffee County District Attorney Mickey Layne told The Associated Press on Tuesday. WJCL News.

Cantor’s defeat throws Republican leadership into ‘total chaos’

House Republicans were scrambling Tuesday night to determine the fallout on their leadership team and governing agenda after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was ousted in his GOP primary in Virginia’s 7th district.

“I don’t know” was the most common refrain among shocked Republican members, senior House aides and GOP operatives when asked to assess the impact of Cantor’s defeat. The Virginian, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, was widely viewed as the heir apparent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and for most of his political career was considered at the forefront of the more conservative party the GOP has become.

Husband questioned in Georgia after wife’s body found in Detroit; kids missing

Federal authorities in Georgia interviewed the husband of a woman found dead this week on Detroit’s west side as police continue to search for her two children who remain missing, according to a Detroit Police Department spokesman.

FBI officials met with Erin Justice in Atlanta after his 27-year-old wife Alicia Fox’s body was discovered in a vacant house on Monday and more than three weeks since his son, Kristian Justice, 8 months, and his step-daughter, Kaylah Hunter, 6, were seen last, Officer Adam Madera said.

 The Detroit News.

Academic economists endorse state income tax freeze

Seventeen leading Georgia economists have endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would freeze the state income tax at the current 6 percent.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly approved the amendment, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, R-Duluth, during this year’s legislative session. Georgia voters will decide whether to ratify it in November.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Georgia federal student loan debt more than $39 billion

Georgia college students have the ninth-highest federal student loan debt, according to a report issued Tuesday by the White House.

President Barack Obama on June 9 announced an executive action which would allow millions of student borrowers to cap their monthly student loan payments. On Tuesday the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers and Domestic Policy Council released a new report showing outstanding federal student loan debt by state.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Michelle Nunn stumbles in new Georgia Senate polling

Poll results released by SurveyUSA on Monday bode ill for Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn in Georgia.

In head-to-head matchups against the two Republican candidates who qualify for a July 22 runoff election, Nunn comes out behind. According to the SurveyUSA poll, Nunn trails Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., by six points among likely voters; she trails businessman David Perdue by five points.

Waffle House CEO says he was blackmailed

Attorneys helped a housekeeper record her sexual encounters with Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers Jr., and tried to extort money from him under threat of releasing the tapes, Rogers claims in court.

Rogers sued Georgia attorneys David M. Cohen, Hylton B. Dupree Jr. and John C. Butters, and their firms, in Cobb County Superior Court.

Joe Rogers Jr. is chief executive officer of the Georgia-based Waffle House. The company, co-founded in 1955 by Rogers’ father, owns more than 1,700 diner-style restaurants across the Southern United States.

via Courthouse News Service.