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White powder sent to Capitol

ATLANTA (AP) - Suspicious white powder found Thursday at Georgia's Capitol does not appear to be toxic, authorities said.

An envelope containing the powder arrived at a state Capitol office that processes mail from constituents to state officials. It was not immediately clear Thursday to whom the envelope was addressed.

December 26, 2008 | By Shannon McCaffrey Associated Press writer | State, National


Atlanta newspaper cutting back

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will reduce its circulation area to 27 counties around metro Atlanta and cut 156 jobs in its third cost-cutting move since early 2007.

The newspaper said Wednesday that effective Jan. 11 it will eliminate distribution in 22 counties: Banks, Butts, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Greene, Habersham, Haralson, Heard, Jackson, Lumpkin, Morgan, Pickens, Rabun, Spalding, Towns, Troup, Union, and White in Georgia, and Cherokee, Clay and Macon in North Carolina.

December 26, 2008 | Associated Press | State, National


Many school districts don't comply with safety law

ATLANTA - Nearly a decade after Georgia passed a law requiring school systems to get state approval of security plans, nearly 20 percent of the state's districts haven't complied.

The list of schools that have not complied with the law does not include Liberty and Long counties'. The closest schools not in compliance are McIntosh County's.

December 26, 2008 | By Dorie Turner Associated Press writer | State, National


Much of south hit by violent storms

JACKSON, Miss. -- Fickle December weather prepared to deliver the second blow of a one-two punch to much of the deep South on Wednesday, threatening to blanket some areas with snow after a night of unseasonably warm temperatures produced torrential rains and tornadoes across the region.

Sleet was possible in areas of Louisiana and the National Weather Service issued a winter weather watch for parts of Mississippi, warning that a rare snowfall accumulation was possible.

December 25, 2008 | By Holbrook Mohr Associated Press writer | State, National


Troy Davis seeks another day in court

ATLANTA - The risk that Georgia could execute an innocent man should compel the state to hear his claims of innocence, Troy Davis' lawyers told a federal panel on Tuesday.

Attorneys in the case argued for about an hour before a three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, wrangling over whether Davis' lawyers had used the proper protocol in exhausting his options for a new hearing and whether evidence uncovered after his conviction warranted a fresh look at the case.

December 24, 2008 | By Errin Haines Associated Press writer | State, National


Hearing starts in immigrant attacks

TIFTON -- A sentencing hearing for one of the people charged in the 2005 killings of six Mexican immigrants in brutal attacks in and around Tifton began Monday and is expected to last at least a week.

Jamie Underwood pleaded guilty in September to all four indictments against him. Tift County Superior Court Judge Gary McCorvey sentenced him at the time to 120 years in prison on three of the four indictments. The sentencing on the fourth indictment, which includes murder charges, is being held separately because the prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

December 24, 2008 | By Kate Brumback Associated Press writer | State, National


Lawmakers to forego raise

ATHENS -- Georgia legislative leaders have voted to put off a 2.5 percent cost of living increase for state lawmakers.

December 23, 2008 | Associated Press | State, National


UGA economists see long recession ahead

ATLANTA -- Georgia economic forecasters offered another dose of bad news Wednesday, predicting that the recession will last a year-and-a-half - the state's longest economic slump since the Great Depression - and won't start to turn around until late next year.

Robert Sumichrast, who heads the University of Georgia's business school, also predicted unemployment will spike, housing prices will continue to plummet and the economy will be "dreadful" through the first half of next year.

December 19, 2008 | By Greg Bluestein Associated Press writer | State, National


State schools face deeper cuts

ATLANTA -- Georgia colleges are bracing themselves for even steeper cuts.

The state Board of Regents will meet in a specially called session Wednesday to vote on slashing college budgets, increasing health care costs to employees and hiking student fees.

December 17, 2008 | Associated Press | State, National


Turnout reported to be light

ATLANTA -- Polling precincts around Georgia reported light turnout and few problems as thousands of Georgia voters cast their ballots Tuesday to decide the contest between U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.

For some beleaguered voters, it was their fourth trip to the polls to vote for the Senate seat in this grueling race that has attracted a seemingly endless list of political heavyweights, gobs of advertising and hoards of volunteers from both camps.

December 17, 2008 | By Greg Bluestein Associated Press writer | State, National


Freeze possible tonight

The National Weather service is predicting a possible freeze for our area tonight. Here's the forecast:

December 17, 2008 | Staff report | State, National


Georgians deciding congressional power today

ATLANTA - Georgia voters had their hands on the balance of power in the next U.S. Senate as polls opened Tuesday for a runoff election, one of two unresolved races that Democrats need to win to get a 60-seat majority impervious to GOP filibusters.

Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss faces Democrat Jim Martin after a monthlong sprint of post-general election campaigning that drew national political heavyweights from both parties. Polls opened in Georgia at 7 a.m. and were scheduled to close 12 hours later.

December 17, 2008 | By Greg Bluestein Associated Press writer | State, National


Republican leading PSC voting

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Senate race may have grabbed much of the headlines, but voters also quietly decided heated contests to fill open seats on the Court of Appeals and the Public Service Commission.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Lauren "Bubba" McDonald had 59 percent of the vote to Democrat Jim Powell's 41 percent of the vote in the contest to fill the open seat on the Public Service Commission.

December 17, 2008 | The Associated Press | State, National


Chambliss takes early lead

ATLANTA -- Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss jumped out to an early lead Tuesday over Democrat Jim Martin in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff that attracted light voter turnout despite the contest's high stakes on the balance of power in Washington.

With 16 percent of precincts reporting, Chambliss had 65 percent of the vote to Martin's 35 percent. The early returns came mostly from rural counties where Republicans traditionally wield significant sway in a still-overwhelmingly red state. None of the urban Democratic strongholds had yet reported results an hour after the polls closed.

December 17, 2008 | By Shannon McCaffrey Associated Press writer | State, National


Chambliss wins re-election to Senate

ATLANTA -- Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss handed the GOP a firewall against Democrats eager to flex their newfound political muscle in Washington, winning a bruising runoff battle Tuesday night that had captured the national limelight.

Chambliss' victory thwarted Democrats' hopes of winning a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It came after a bitter month long runoff against Democrat Jim Martin that drew political luminaries from both parties to the state and flooded the airwaves with fresh attack ads weeks after campaigns elsewhere had ended.

December 17, 2008 | By Shannon McCaffrey Associated Press writer | State, National


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