BC-GA--Georgia News Digest, GA

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Associated Press

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The state at 3:30 a.m.

If you have a news tip or question about the Georgia AP news report, the Atlanta bureau can be reached at 404-522-8971. Please email stories of state or regional interest to apatlanta(at)ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

FIREFIGHTER HOSTAGE-GEORGIA

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A group of Georgia firefighters say they joked with a gunman in an attempt to lighten the mood during an hours-long hostage ordeal earlier this month. The firefighters on Tuesday recounted the April 10 ordeal for the first time during a news conference in Gwinnett County. Police say Lauren Brown, 55, faked chest pains to lure the firefighters to his home in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta. By Kate Brumback.

AP Photos.

AP Video.

REGENTS-TUITION

SAVANNAH — Public colleges and universities in Georgia will charge students $32 to $270 more in tuition per semester starting next fall under a budget plan approved Tuesday by the state Board of Regents. College students and their parents have seen the cost of their educations go up every year for more than a decade. The tuition hikes approved by the regents for Georgia's 31 public schools were held at the same rate as the increases adopted a year ago, which were the lowest since 2002. By Russ Bynum.

SAVANNAH RIVER PORT

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A massive container ship terminal planned by South Carolina and Georgia is expected to cost a billion dollars less than an initial projection, but construction permits need to be applied for quickly, the joint board overseeing the project was told Tuesday. The board, comprised of members of both states, is working to build the 1,500-acre Jasper Ocean Terminal in Jasper County on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River just downstream from Savannah, Ga. By Bruce Smith.

BOSTON MARATHON-GEORGIA

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — Georgia native Tim Seyden and his wife, Pam, are runners. When Pam qualified for the Boston Marathon, the family packed their bags and left their home on Tybee Island last Friday for their sons' first airplane trip. The boys — Hunter, Brock and Brady — asked lots of questions about security at the airport and why they had to take off their belts and shoes. Their parents talked to them about how there are bad people in the world and said the security measures were designed to keep them safe. A few days later, Tim Seyden and the boys would be running from back-to-back explosions. By Christina A. Cassidy.

COACHES-INVESTMENTS

ATLANTA — Former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan and a business partner face charges that they operated a Ponzi scheme, according to federal indictment unsealed Tuesday. The grand jury last week returned the 85-count indictment against Donnan and Gregory L. Crabtree of Proctorville, Ohio. The charges include conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud, among others. By Kate Brumback.

EARNS-COCA-COLA

NEW YORK — Coca-Cola has struck preliminary deals to begin handing back more of its U.S. distribution network to independent bottlers, a move that's expected to improve profit margins in its flagship market. The world's biggest beverage maker, which makes Sprite, Dasani and Powerade, had purchased its biggest North American bottler in 2010 to make it easier to introduce new products and clean up the messy patchwork of factories that had been created over the decades. The idea was that the company would consolidate production and eventually refranchise the business. By Candice Choi.

PRISON GUARD UNIT-INDICTMENT

ATLANTA — A deputy warden and seven members of a specially trained team of guards at a state prison have been indicted on charges of repeatedly attacking inmates. The indictment, filed this week in U.S. District Court, accuses members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team of beating inmates in retaliation for previous assaults on prison guards at Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe.

DEKALB-CHEATING PROBE

DECATUR, Ga. — Three former school administrators have been indicted in a CRCT cheating probe, DeKalb County District Attorney's officials announced Tuesday. A grand jury indictment charges Angela Jennings, former principal of Rock Chapel Elementary School in Lithonia, with 16 offenses including public record fraud and computer forgery. Agnes Flanagan, former principal of Cedar Grove Middle School in Decatur, faces nine charges, including making false writings, public record fraud and forgery. Derek Wooten, former assistant principal at Stoneview Elementary School in Lithonia, faces 13 charges including public record fraud, making false statements and writings and computer forgery.

ATLANTA-MEMORIAL RUN

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta running company has planned an event to show solidarity with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Nathan Haskins, general manager of Big Peach Running Co. in Midtown Atlanta, says the chain of stores has organized a moment of silence and memorial run slated to begin Tuesday at 7 a.m. Haskins says Tuesday's run is expected to begin in Midtown and last for at least one mile.

With AP photos.

AROUND THE SOUTH:

FAMU HAZING

ORLANDO, Fla. — A third band member charged with the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major pleaded no contest Tuesday and agreed to testify against the remaining 11 defendants. Caleb Jackson, 24, pleaded no contest to manslaughter and felony hazing. By pleading no contest, Jackson does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him. By Mike Schneider.

KING MARKER

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — State and city leaders joined together Tuesday to commemorate the spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail" at the height of the civil rights movement 50 years ago. Gov. Robert Bentley, Birmingham Mayor William Bell and King's youngest daughter, Bernice King, unveiled a historical marker at the site where King was held in the old city jail in 1963. By Jay Reeves.

TEXAS SPACEPORT

MCALLEN, Texas — A proposed rocket site in South Texas won't significantly disrupt endangered species if officials take precautions such as avoiding launches during times the animals are most active, according to a federal study. The draft environmental impact statement released Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration is an important factor in California-based SpaceX's pursuit of the site near where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The final report is a necessary precursor to the FAA issuing licenses allowing SpaceX to launch rockets there, but not a guarantee they will issue them. Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico also are competing for the site. By Christopher Sherman.

OBAMA-TVA

WASHINGTON — In a political role reversal, Republicans are blasting President Barack Obama's plan to consider selling the Tennessee Valley Authority, an icon of the New Deal long targeted by conservatives as an example of government overreach. Obama's 2014 budget proposal calls for a strategic review of the TVA, the nation's largest public utility with 9 million customers in seven states from Virginia to Mississippi. By Matthew Daly

AP Photos.

— SAVANNAH RIVER ISSUES — GA, SC lawmakers pledge to hold sessions to discuss common interests on Savannah River issues.

ALSO:

— BRAVES-TRAINER-CRASH — Former Ga. state trooper sentenced in crash that killed wife of Atlanta Braves trainer.

— THRIFT STORE-EXPLOSION — Atlanta thrift store worker hospitalized after package explosion.

— DOG MAULING-GEORGIA — Ga. toddler mauled to death by 7 dogs, mother charged with child cruelty.

— BOSTON MARATHON-EXPLOSIONS-GEORGIA — Atlanta Track Club, host of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, says safety is a top priority.

— TRUCKER-SEXUAL ASSAULT — Conn. police arrest Georgia truck driver after DNA tests allegedly link him to 2011 rape.

— GUN TRAFFICKING CASE — 3 indicted in Ga.-to-NY gun trafficking case; 53 handguns kept off the streets.

— HISTORIC CHURCH BURNS — Fire engulfs historic Oconee Street United Methodist Church in Athens.

— ATLANTA SCHOOLS-CHEATING — Court dates set for defendants in Atlanta school cheating scandal.

— HIGHWAY SHOOTING — Family offers reward for information in fatal Georgia interstate shooting.

— SANITATION WORKER STRIKE — About 40 employees of waste management firm go on strike in McDonough.

— CAMERAS IN CITY VEHICLES — Atlanta delays plan for cameras in city vehicles; the idea has prompted privacy complaints.

— UGA-TURNER GIFT — Turner Entertainment presidents establishes scholarship for students of UGA's Grady College.

— MARTA-EXECUTIVES — MARTA announces new additions to executive management team.

SPORTS:

BBO--ROYALS-BRAVES

ATLANTA —Kris Medlen tried to help the Atlanta Braves extend their early-season winning streak to 10 games as Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals visited Turner Field. By George Henry.

AP photos.

The AP

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