ATLANTA - The vast economic crisis has left scores of Georgia's houses empty, its banks shuttered and sent thousands of its residents searching for jobs even as its unemployment rate balloons to heights not seen since Ronald Reagan was president.
ATLANTA - State child welfare officials have to do a better job of finding permanent homes for 500 children who have been in foster care for three years or more.
U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob issued an order Monday as part of the settlement of a lawsuit to reform foster care systems in Fulton and DeKalb counties.
ATLANTA - Privacy advocates are questioning an aggressive Georgia law set to take effect Thursday that would require sex offenders to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and e-mail addresses.
Georgia joins a small band of states complying with guidelines in a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders, but it is among the first to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well.
SAVANNAH - Power has been restored to downtown Savannah after an underground electrical explosion rocked the city.
Georgia Power spokesman Jeff Wilson said the company is still investigating the cause of the Monday morning blast. He said it could take a few weeks to determine what happened.
ATLANTA - Courthouse gunman Brian Nichols avoided a death penalty when a Fulton County jury failed to return a unanimous sentence, but local prosecutors are encouraging their federal counterparts to bring additional charges in hopes that Nichols could still face lethal injection.
Federal prosecutors would face higher legal standards to pursue death charges against Nichols based on the fact that one of his four victims was a federal agent. And the U.S. Attorney must first begin the lengthy process of getting approval from the Justice Department.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - An explosion in underground electrical cables blew off manhole covers and started several fires in downtown Savannah Monday morning, prompting police to evacuate several stores and restaurants, many of which were without power. No injuries were immediately reported, police said.
Police received calls around 8:49 a.m. reporting that manhole covers had been blown off at the an intersection in the heart of the downtown district, said department spokesman Gene Harley. About an hour later, firefighters had put out three separate fires where the covers blew off.
ATLANTA - Gasoline prices across Georgia are at their lowest level in nearly five years, and may continue to fall.
AAA Georgia said Monday, the statewide average price for a gallon of regular is $1.53, down 20 cents since last month.
SAVANNAH - Police are evacuating businesses in downtown Savannah after an apparent underground explosion.
Businesses on Bay and River streets are being evacuated after the explosion at 8:45 a.m. Monday that police said blew off three manhole covers.
ATLANTA (AP) - A judge on Saturday sentenced the man who killed four people in a brazen courthouse escape to multiple life sentences with no chance of parole and hundreds more years on more than fifty charges.
Brian Nichols, 37, was found guilty last month of murder and dozens of other counts for the March 2005 rampage that led from a downtown courthouse to an Atlanta neighborhood and ended with his capture the next day in a suburban county.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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