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New National Zoo chief from Atlanta
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ATLANTA — The National Zoo in Washington is getting its new director from Zoo Atlanta.

The two zoos announced Friday that Atlanta’ president and CEO, Dennis Kelly, has been named director of the National Zoo.

Kelly will leave Atlanta after six years at the helm to take over the Smithsonian-run facility. He will start the new job Feb. 15.

In Atlanta, Kelly has overseen the birth of the zoo’s first two giant panda cubs and raised more than $40 million in public and private funds. Zoo Atlanta’s board chairman Mickey Brown said Kelly helped the city establish "a world class zoo."

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and a master’s in business administration from Harvard University. He worked at the Coca-Cola Company for 15 years and was CEO of Green Mountain Energy Co. before taking over the zoo.


Group urges more conservation to fix water crisis


ATLANTA — Aggressively conserving water, building and expanding reservoirs, cutting back on outdoor watering and upgrading plumbing systems are among the solutions urged by a group tasked with figuring out how Georgia will deal with its looming water crisis.

The Governor’s Water Contingency Task Force met for third time Friday while it tries to develop an alternative plan to using Lake Lanier. Georgia has been embroiled in a decades-long fight with Alabama and Florida over water rights.

On Tuesday, the governors of Georgia, Florida and Alabama are expected to meet in a renewed effort to resolve the long-standing feud. A federal judge has given the states and Congress until 2012 to reach an agreement. Otherwise, Atlanta will see its water supply from Lake Lanier reduced dramatically.


UGA gets NASA grant to study
climate change


ATHEN — Undergraduate students at the University of Georgia will get a chance to study the effects of climate change on birds thanks to a $450,000 grant from NASA.

The yearlong program will offer a combination of classes and labs starting in fall 2010. The three-year grant will allow professors to install ground sensors that can be compared with measurements taken by NASA satellites on birds and bird migration.

Students will take classes in fall and spring and then perform their experiments in the field during the summer.

Agency announces $8.3M for rural jobs


THOMASVILLE — Millions in investment and more than 1,000 jobs are coming to rural Georgia.

Gov. Sonny Perdue and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board met at Southwest Georgia Technical College and approved the $8.3 million program aimed at creating and retaining jobs.

The awards will be used for projects including infrastructure, land acquisition, regional tourism and agribusiness. The OneGeorgia Authority was created using a third of the state’s tobacco settlement to assist Georgia’s most economically challenged areas and is expected to receive about $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement. The agency has made 458 awards totaling $251 million impacting 123 economically-depressed counties and creating or retaining more than 45,000 jobs.

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