Georgia

DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking a man charged in the misuse of more than $30 million donated by religious groups and individuals for Christian ministry in China, including an Ohio-based group receiving donations from Amish and Mennonite communities. Jason Gerald Shenk, 45, formerly of Dublin, Georgia, is charged in a recently unsealed federal indictment in Georgia with wire fraud, money laundering and failure to file a report of a foreign bank account.

ATLANTA – The University System of Georgia delivered an economic impact of $20.1 billion in fiscal 2022, up $800 million, or 4.14%, over the previous year, system Chancellor Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday. That economic impact included $14.2 billion in direct spending by students and the system’s colleges and universities. The remaining $5.9 billion is the multiplier effect that direct spending had in local communities.

ATHENS, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp pledged Tuesday to push for tort reform during the next session of the General Assembly this winter. “The laws on our books make it too easy to bring frivolous lawsuits against Georgia business owners, which drive up the price of insurance and stop new, good-paying jobs from ever coming to communities that need them the most,” Kemp told an audience of the state’s political and business leaders at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Congressional Luncheon, held this year at Athens’ Classic Centre.

JONESBORO, Ga. — A lightning strike is being blamed for a Sunday evening fire that gutted the former Bethel Baptist Church in Jonesboro. Flames were shooting through the roof of the building, which is now home to Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, when firefighters arrived.

ATLANTA – Facing a chronic shortage of physicians in mostly rural South Georgia, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which already had a branch campus in Gwinnett County, launched Georgia’s first medical school south of Macon in 2019. In May, the school graduated its first class of 51 students. A new class of 59 first-year students will arrive at the Moultrie campus this month.

ATLANTA – A veteran administrator at Georgia Public Broadcasting is stepping up to become the state network’s CEO, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Friday. Bert Huffman began working at Georgia Public Broadcasting in 2014 as its first vice president for development and marketing. He later became senior vice president of external affairs before being named president in 2021.

ATLANTA – Eight former state employees have been indicted on charges of unemployment insurance fraud allegedly committed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictments, handed up last week in Fulton County, accuse the eight defendants of filing false unemployment claims with the Georgia Department of Labor while they were working for the state.

ATLANTA – A Korean manufacturer of construction materials will build its first U.S. plant in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday. Duckshin Housing will invest more than $15 million in a plant in Athens that will create more than 100 jobs. The addition of Duckshin brings the number of new jobs the state has helped bring to Athens-Clarke County since 2019 to more than 3,400 and the amount of investment in that community to more than $900 million, Kemp said.

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s Fulton County has reached a settlement with the family of a man who died in a bedbug-infested cell in the county jail’s psychiatric wing, the family’s lawyers said Thursday. Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in September, three months after he was booked into the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Attorneys Ben Crump and Michael Harper, who represent Thompson's family, said in a news release Thursday that the family has reached settlements with the county “and other unidentified entities.”

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man aboard a Delta Air Lines jet that had just landed in New Orleans cut himself and attacked a flight attendant before being subdued by fellow passengers, a sheriff's spokesman said. Passengers held down the 39-year-old man until deputies could board the plane and arrest him, The Times-Picayune/ The New Orleans Advocate reported, quoting Jefferson Parish sheriff's Capt. Jason Rivarde.

ATLANTA – The head of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Historic Sites Division will become director of the  Environmental Protection Division later this month. …

ATLANTA – The state should require hospitals planning to close or eliminate core medical services to give 180 days written notice, the head of a statewide consumer advocacy group said Tuesday.

SANDERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Emergency crews rescued two people aboard a plane that crashed Tuesday into a Georgia marsh, authorities said.

ATLANTA (AP) — A new reactor at a nuclear power plant in Georgia has entered commercial operation, becoming the first new American reactor built from scratch in decades.

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal regulators have approved plans to load radioactive fuel into a second new nuclear reactor in Georgia. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday that Georgia Power Co. and its co-owners can begin loading fuel into unit 4 at Plant Vogtle, southeast of Augusta.

ATLANTA (AP) — A fiery two-vehicle crash on an interstate highway south of Atlanta killed four people early Friday, police said. The crash involved two vehicles on Interstate 75 around 1 a.m., Clayton County police said in a statement. One vehicle caught fire after flipping and ejecting two people.

CEDARTOWN, Ga. (AP) — A driver accused of hitting a bicyclist and leaving him to die in a ditch in northwestern Georgia has been found guilty, local media reported. Ralph “Ryan” Dover III was convicted Tuesday on charges of reckless conduct and a hit-and-run resulting in serious injury or death for the Sept. 11, 2019 accident that left Eric Keais, 38, dead in Cedartown, WSB-TV reported. Keais died of his injuries more than an hour after the collision, police said.

ATLANTA (AP) — DNA analysis has helped scientists identify the remains of a U.S. Army soldier from Georgia who was killed during the Korean War, U.S. officials announced Wednesday. Scientists used mitochondrial DNA along with a chest X-ray and other tools to identify Army Sgt. 1st Class James L. Wilkinson late last year, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency said in a news release. Wilkinson was from Bowdon, a town near the Georgia-Alabama state line about 50 miles west of Atlanta.

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A man who has been jailed in Georgia for 10 years while awaiting trial for a 2013 drive-by shooting that killed two people and injured others will have to keep waiting for a verdict. A Dougherty County jury was dismissed Monday after being unable to reach a verdict in Maurice Jimmerson’s long-delayed trial, WANF-TV reported.

ATLANTA (AP) — Hugh “Sonny” Carter Jr., who helped organize the “Peanut Brigade” that helped elect his cousin Jimmy to the White House and later enforced the president’s frugal ways in the West Wing, has died. He was 80. The Carter Center, the 39th president’s post-White House organization for advocating democracy and fighting disease in the developing world, did not release a cause of death.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's seaports had their second-busiest year in fiscal 2023 despite a decline in the volume of consumer goods moving across their docks as retailers with full inventories cut back their orders, officials said Tuesday. The Georgia Ports Authority reported that the Port of Savannah handled 5.4 million container units of imports and exports in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's down 6.7% from a year ago, when the port scrambled to keep up with a record-breaking cargo surge.

ATLANTA – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has issued an investor alert warning consumers to watch out for a cryptocurrency scam known as “pig-butchering.” The scam, which originated in Southeast Asia, involves a predator building the victim’s confidence through casual conversation that leads to the scammer convincing the victim they will help them make money.

ATLANTA – A new nonprofit has launched to help Georgians contribute to a state tax credit program aimed at helping young adults aging out of the foster care system. Fostering Success Act Inc., named after legislation the General Assembly passed last year, will help taxpayers submit applications to the Georgia Department of Revenue to qualify for the program.

Georgia's Big Peanut is back. The roadside landmark along Interstate 75 in south Georgia was rededicated Thursday, nearly five years after an earlier version was felled by the winds of Hurricane Michael. This time, the giant goober is made of sheet metal, not fiberglass.

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's transportation commissioner will get another $100,000 boost in pay. The State Transportation Board says it will boost Commissioner Russell McMurry's yearly pay to $550,000, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, up from the current $450,000. Board Chairman Robert Brown said McMurry deserves the 22% salary increase, scheduled to begin in September, because of his leadership of the Georgia Department of Transportation since he became commissioner in 2015.

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