Georgia budget writers ask agencies to ready cuts amid virus
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers in charge of the budget are asking all state agencies to prepare for cuts of 14% due to the coronavirus pandemic, totaling nearly $4 billion. The call for reductions comes as some retail stores in Georgia began to reopen Friday, the first day after Gov. Brian Kemp lifted a statewide stay-at-home order. Total confirmed infections in Georgia have passed 27,400 and the state counts at least 1,166 deaths. Kemp earlier this year had set a $28 billion revenue estimate for fiscal year 2021, beginning July 1. But that was before the pandemic left more than a million Georgians out of work.
Georgia man pleads guilty to bribing airport official
ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to bribing a City of Atlanta official for a contract at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, in a news release Friday said 58-year-old Hayat Choudhary, of Lilburn, Georgia, paid the official, who worked in the city’s Department of Procurement, $20,000 to secure the contract. Choudhary pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. Pak's office did not say whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Dam in middle Georgia bursts, draining lake
IVEY, Ga. (AP) — A middle Georgia dam has burst, with a local official saying the failure was caused by recent heavy rains. WMAZ-TV reports the Lake Tchukolako dam breached around 6 a.m. Friday. The lake is the center of the 1,000-person town of Ivey, 25 miles east of Macon. Wilkinson County Emergency Management Director Emma Bacon says no one was hurt and no homes were damaged. She says the breach cut off water for a time but didn't wash out a nearby railroad track. Ivey Mayor Brenda Broach says the city, county and Holiday Hills Homeowners Association have been working together in recent months on repairs.
SEA TURTLES-SOUTH CAROLINA
Scientist finds first sea turtle nest of 2020 in SC
AWENDAW, S.C. (AP) — The sea turtle nesting season has started in South Carolina. A wildlife official found the first sea turtle nest of 2020 in the state Friday at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge north of Charleston. Sea turtle season runs from May 1 to October 31 each year, so the nest was found right on time. The first sea turtle nest in neighboring Georgia was found on April 25. Last year was a record breaking year for turtle nests. Volunteers and scientists counted more than 8,800 nests, which was 37% higher than the previous record in 2016.
Officer, deputy injured during chase after Walmart theft
PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy were injured in a car chase, after three men stole from a Walmart and fled. Rincon police said they pulled over three suspects accused of stealing from the Walmart Thursday, but the men fled and Rincon police decided not to pursue. A Port Wentworth police officer and an Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputy later attempted to stop the men but crashed into each other. Both were hospitalized and released. Jermaine Kareem Evans was arrested Friday. Police identified the other men as Jamari Chisholm and Javonta Coney. Specific charges weren’t immediately released.
GUN THEFT ARRESTS
11 arrested in Georgia for stealing guns from Florida store
THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A total of 11 Georgia residents have been arrested for stealing dozens of guns from a store in Florida’s capital city. They include seven men charged as adults plus four charged as juveniles. Police are looking for two more suspects, Thomasville police Lt. Toby Knifer tells the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. Gavin Ivey of Whigham, Georgia, was arrested Monday in Thomas County and taken to Albany, where he’s charged with murder in a weekend shooting. Knifer says the investigation shows Ivey bought one of the 44 guns stolen from Kevin’s Guns and Sporting Goods in Tallahassee on April 22. Only one other gun has been recovered.
Georgia Senate signals June likely for legislative restart
ATLANTA (AP) — Leaders of the Georgia General Assembly are signaling that lawmakers won’t return to the Capitol until June. That's despite Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan continuing to say he would like to resume work in May. Duncan and Republican House Speaker David Ralston must agree on when to restart under the terms of the resolution that halted the session on March 13 amid the spread of the coronavirus. Duncan’s chief of staff signaled defeat for his proposal for a May 14 restart in a Thursday email sent to senators. Instead, John Porter writes the House's June 11 date is likely.
AP-NORC poll: Seeking virus data, people struggle with trust