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January 27, 2018 - 12:00 am


State climatologist: 2017 was warmest year ever for Georgia

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

ATLANTA (AP) — A new report shows that 2017 was the warmest year on record for Georgia.

Georgia state climatologist Bill Murphey says the annual average statewide temperature for 2017 was tied with 2016 for the warmest on record with 65.8 degrees (18.8 Celsius) as the average mean temperature.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta broke records throughout the entire year, as it had the third-warmest winter and spring on record. For the city, 2016 and 2012 were the No.1 and No. 2 warmest years, respectively.

Murphey said there were many factors that could have contributed to Georgia's warm year, including very warm overnight low temperatures, the clouds which affect infrared radiation cooling, and evaporation.



Georgia's largest public beach planning improved sand dunes

(Information from: WJCL-TV,

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — City officials at Georgia's largest public beach are moving forward with restoring and improving sand dunes battered by two hurricanes since 2016.

WJCL-TV reports the city council on Tybee Island voted Thursday to advance plans for a new dune system design and landscape. City leaders have been working on the project for years. Brushes with Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma last year have increased the urgency for new dunes to protect homes and businesses from surging water.

Tybee Island City Manager Sean Gillen says the next step will be deciding how to fund the new dunes.

Gillen says steering clear of nesting sea turtles could also affect the construction timeline. If the project isn't finished when nesting season starts in May, it will have to wait until October.



Man pleads guilty to threatening Rep. John Lewis' staff

ATLANTA (AP) — A man accused of threatening the staff of U.S. Rep. John Lewis has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Dante Antione Rosser pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of threatening a federal official. Prosecutor Phyllis Clerk said Rosser's plea agreement calls for a sentence of 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Clerk said Rosser made threatening calls to Lewis' offices in Atlanta and Washington from March 2016 through February 2017.

A U.S. Capitol Police special agent's statement filed with the court says Rosser made 46 calls during two days in February 2017. The statement says Rosser demanded the congressman's staff seek "financial reparations" for his family and threatened to "splatter their heads all over the ground."

Rosser is to be sentenced April 23.


Tyler Perry buys new van to replace church's stolen van

(Information from: WSB-TV,

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia church administrator says Tyler Perry bought the church a new van to replace their stolen one.

WSB-TV reports members of the Lighthouse Community Church in Stockbridge said they showed up for service and that their 15-seat van was gone, leaving only a pile of broken glass from a shattered window.

Church members expressed that the vehicle not only played a vital role for the church, but also the community's children.

Church administrator Cindy Smith said Perry called to tell her that he had bought them a new van after seeing the story on WSB-TV.

Smith said church members planned to pick the van up from a nearby dealership Friday morning.



White candidate for Georgia governor blasted over MLK video

ATLANTA (AP) — A candidate for Georgia governor has taken down a campaign video that was filmed without permission at the church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.

The video by Stacey Evans' campaign featured her attending a service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta at its annual service for King. The clip ends with an image of Evans fading into a portrait of the late civil rights leader.

The church said in a statement Thursday that the video was made without its knowledge or consent. The church does not endorse political candidates.

Evans, who is white, is running in the Democratic primary against Stacey Abrams, who is black.

The Evans campaign accused Abrams of deciding "to distort" the video, which was removed from social media. Abrams' campaign declined to comment.


'Freedom Fighter Bandit' sought in Georgia bank robberies

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities are seeking the public's help to locate a 25-year-old woman dubbed the "Freedom Fighter Bandit" who they say is behind a string of bank robberies in Georgia.

The FBI's Atlanta office says the most recent robbery happened Thursday at Hamilton State Bank in Dallas, Georgia, about 30 miles (about 50 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.

The FBI says Nilsa Marie Urena and a male accomplice walked in at 11:30 a.m. and announced a robbery. The FBI says Urena said she had a bomb and told employees not to call police. Another male suspect drove the getaway car, a champagne-colored sedan.

The FBI says Urena is called the "Freedom Fighter Bandit" because she says she's robbing banks for a cause.

Authorities believe she's behind a series of bank robberies stretching back to October.


Lawmakers consider putting $40 million toward Georgia parks

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia conservationists are urging lawmakers to reserve about $40 million annually to help purchase more parks and maintain nicer green space.

Under the bill, 75 percent of the existing state sales tax on outdoor recreation equipment would be funneled into a conservation fund.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Jon Burns, is backing the proposal. A spokeswoman for Gov. Nathan Deal told the newspaper that the governor is "receptive" to the measure.

Conservation groups say that about 80 percent of Georgia voters would be in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment.

Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in both chambers and voters' approval in a statewide election.


CHNI publishing company forms regional editor system

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama-based publishing company CNHI has announced that it is restructuring its leadership.

CNHI says in a Friday statement that it is moving to a regional editor system for its more than 100 community newspapers. The company says it has been working on the regional structure for six months.

CNHI Senior Vice President for News Bill Ketter says the new system will allow the papers to collaborate more. Regional editors will work with local editors to deliver content.

Sunbury (Pennsylvania) Daily Item editor Dennis Lyons will become the national editor and work with nine regional editors.

Valdosta (Georgia) Daily Times editor James Zachary will become the deputy national editor and regional editor for papers in North Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.

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