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Texting behind wheel banned

In an effort to cut down on techno-savvy drivers' deadly distractions, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill last week banning texting while driving and cell phone use behind the wheel by teen drivers.

June 09, 2010 | By Denise Etheridge Special to the Courier | State, National News


Burnsed, Gardner get state appointments

Bryan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jimmy Burnsed has been appointed to serve on the state's Public Health Commission.

June 07, 2010 | By Lori Wynn Staff writer | State, National News


Lawmakers give scoop on state budget woes

The last two years have not been easy for lawmakers when it comes to balancing budget, and it's only likely to be more difficult in the years ahead.

June 07, 2010 | By Lori Wynn Staff writer | State, National News


Governor signs tax overhaul

ATLANTA (June 4, 2010) - Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers' (R-Woodstock) Property Tax Assessment and Appeals Reform Bill (SB346) was signed into law today by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

June 04, 2010 | Special to the News | State, National News


Regional sales tax for road projects now possible

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a long-awaited transportation bill on Wednesday that will allow Georgia voters to decide whether to hike the sales tax to pay for roads and infrastructure.

The legislation, three years in the making, divides Georgia into 12 regions and will ask voters during the 2012 presidential primary whether to hike the sales tax by 1 cent to pay for roads, bridges and rail projects in that part of the state. Only those regions that approve the sales tax increase would have the money to spend.

June 03, 2010 | By Kate Brumback Associated Press writer | State, National News


Terrell County sheriff sentenced to jail

ALBANY - Terrell County Sheriff John Bowens will spend five days in jail and pay a fine after a judge determined he ignored an order to bring inmates to court.

Judge Dane Perkins says Bowens intentionally created a lack of personnel on a day inmates were due in court. Perkins says Bowens then claimed he didn't have enough workers to transport inmates safely. The Sheriff's office has 32 employees.

June 03, 2010 | Associated Press | State, National News


Governor to sign seabelts in pickups law

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue is preparing to sign legislation requiring adults riding in pickup trucks to wear seat belts.

Perdue is scheduled to go to Dalton, Ga., to sign the measure Thursday afternoon.

June 03, 2010 | Associated Press | State, National News


Little threat here from oil spill

Scientists say it will be at least two weeks before any surface oil from the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is carried northward by a loop current to merge into the Gulf Stream off the coast of Georgia. Because the continental shelf stretches 75 miles off Georgia's shore, it is unlikely any oil will show up on area beaches or be washed into the state's fragile coastal marshes, according to experts at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

May 31, 2010 | By Denise Etheridge Special to the News | State, National News


Haiti worries storm experts more than oil spill

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A hurricane might help break up the oil spill staining the Gulf of Mexico, but the oil won't change significantly how tropical storms develop or the damage they inflict, the director of the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

A hurricane making landfall west of the spill could drive the oil inland with surging seawater to the north and northeast. Forecasters don't know what kind of environmental hazards to expect, though, because sizable oil spills are rare in the main hurricane breeding grounds. Storm surge usually carries other toxic materials from flooded cisterns, septic systems and ...

May 27, 2010 | By Jennifer Kay Associated Press writer | State, National News


Hinesville resident wins $500,000

Winning $500,000 from an instant-win Monopoly ticket is certainly a big deal, but so far Phillip Lambert hasn't made big plans to match. He bought the winning ticket at Clyde's Market on the corner of Highway 84 and Airport Road.

May 21, 2010 | By Jen Alexander McCall Special to the News | State, National News


State plans hearing on nuclear plant costs

ATLANTA - Utility regulators are planning hearings on the cost of adding two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia.

The state's Public Service Commission will hear testimony next week on how much money Georgia Power has spent on what is expected to be a $14 billion project. The Southern Co. subsidiary says the project remains on schedule and under budget.

May 20, 2010 | Associated Press | State, National News


DOT seeking millions for high-speed rail planning

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Transportation board has decided to seek more than $16 million from the Federal Railroad Administration to plan rail projects, including a passenger line that would loop around the eastern half of the state.

A committee of the board recommended asking for federal grant money on Wednesday, and the full board approved making the request on Thursday.

May 20, 2010 | Associated Press | State, National News


Scientists watching where oil spill heads

WASHINGTON - Scientists are anxiously awaiting signals about where a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico may be heading, while containment of the looming environmental catastrophe proves elusive.

With fears growing that the gushing well could spread damage from Louisiana to Florida, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate panel Tuesday that his agency had been lax in overseeing offshore activities and that may have contributed to the disastrous spill.

May 19, 2010 | By Ben Evans Associated Press writer | State, National News


Anti-D.C. candidates get voter backing

WASHINGTON - With the electorate's intense anger reverberating across the country, this is all but certain: It's an anti-Washington, anti-establishment year. And candidates with ties to either better beware.

Any doubt about just how toxic the political environment is for congressional incumbents and candidates hand-picked by national Republican and Democratic leaders disappeared late Tuesday, when voters fired Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, forced Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln into a run-off in Arkansas and chose tea party darling Rand Paul to be the GOP nominee in Kentucky's Senate race.

May 19, 2010 | By Liz Sidoti Associated Press writer | State, National News


Jekyll Island panel picks new developer

JEKYLL ISLAND - The Jekyll Island Authority chose three developers Monday to take over key pieces of the state park's extensive makeover, which hit a snag six months ago when its main private partner backed out of the project.

Rather than hire another single developer to tackle all the privately funded components of the island's redevelopment - an investment estimated at $80 million to $100 million - Jekyll Island's board of directors voted to divide them among different firms.

May 17, 2010 | By Russ Bynum Associated Press writer | State, National News


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