Georgia Briefs -- Dec. 26, 2013

UPS apologizes for delayed shipments

ATLANTA (MCT) — Miss something Christmas morning?

Overwhelmed by people sending gifts this holiday season, UPS oN Wednesday issued an apology to its customers for not getting some shipments to people in time for Christmas.

"UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination; however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed," the statement said.

The notice also made clear that UPS was not making pickups or deliveries on Christmas Day and would resume normally scheduled service today.

Two killed in Warren County wreck

WARRENTON (MCT) — Warren County Sheriff's deputies, emergency services crews and the Georgia State Patrol worked a fatal car crash Christmas Eve.

Warren County EMS Director Tommy Wolfe said the one-vehicle accident occurred between 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Interstate 20 near mile marker 161 where a vehicle left the roadway, crashed into some trees and burned.

Wolfe said one adult and one child were in the car and died in the crash.

Warren County Coroner Paul Lowe was called to the scene and Wolfe said that authorities are working to identify the vehicle with its registration.

Woman killed in Bibb County wreck

MACON (MCT) — A 40-year-old woman was killed in a two-vehicle accident in south Bibb County on Christmas Eve night.

Melissa Godfrey was headed north on Houston Road in a Honda Accord about 6:40 p.m. when she tried to make a left turn into the Sky View Mobile Home Park, located at 5411 Houston Road.

As she tried to make the turn, she pulled in front of a Chevy Silverado driven by 40-year-old Randall Ogletree of Gray, witnesses told Bibb County deputies. The vehicles collided at the entrance to the park.

Godfrey was pronounced dead at the scene by Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, according to a statement from the sheriff's office.

Ogletree was taken a Macon hospital for treatment of minor injuries. His wife and two children, who were also in his truck, were also taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Habitual shoplifter arrested, jailed

COLUMBUS (MCT) — A habitual shoplifter violated his ban from a supermarket and is in the Muscogee County Jail on Christmas Day for the price of two beers, according to a Columbus police report.

James Lee Williams, 55, of King Street was arrested Monday on a charge of felony theft by shoplifting and criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

According to the report, Officer Delante Odom was dispatched at 12:44 a.m. to the Piggly Wiggly at 910 Brown Ave. in reference to a shoplifter in custody. Upon arrival, Odom spoke with a witness who said he saw Williams selecting items and concealing them. Odom took Williams into custody and transported him to the Muscogee County Jail.

Williams told Odom that he did take the items but someone was supposed to give him money for the beers, a Coors Light and a Busch totaling $2.38, the report says. Odom discovered Williams had been banned from the Piggly Wiggly and has a record of five shoplifting convictions.

Paulding County airport hits another delay

ATLANTA (MCT) — The elimination of one bump in the road has created another for supporters of a Paulding County commercial airport, one that could delay the project anywhere from two months to a year.

Attorneys representing six Paulding residents who oppose the commercialization agreed Monday to drop a challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals in exchange for an environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration -- a split decision, but one that gives opponents much of what they were seeking. The suit had challenged the FAA's environmental clearance for the airport.

The agreement did not involve either the Paulding County Commission or Propeller Investments, the company selected in 2012 by the county's airport authority to lease and operate the small terminal at the airport.

The settlement allows the airport authority to complete a runway safety zone and taxiway widening projects.

Peter Steenland, co-counsel for the residents, said he estimates the assessment, which includes public input, could take at least a year.

"The product of the environmental assessment is a freeze of any other actions at the airport that could facilitate the proposed commercial development," Steenland said, adding the county or airport developers could be asked by the FAA to pay for the study. The cost remains unclear, and the FAA did not have a comment.

The FAA analysis could include input on whether a second metro Atlanta commercial airport is even needed, Steenland said. Other issues that could come up: Possible alternatives to the Paulding site; consequences of inaction; number of flights expected; noise issues; air pollution from planes, cars and other vehicles; and indirect impact from potential accompanying development such as hotels and other infrastructure.

"We're going to suggest it's going to take some time," Steenland said.

Supporters of the commercialization plan estimate the assessment will be completed in two to six months.

Bar owner works to help homeless kids

COLUMBUS (MCT) — Amy Haynes may not have the power to reduce the number of homeless children in the Muscogee County School District, or remove the challenges that they face every day.

But she's trying to do something to make their lives better.

That's why she started an organization called That 1 Little Thing Foundation to advocate on behalf of homeless students. The organization recently raised hundreds of dollars so the students won't go hungry over the Christmas break.

Haynes is the co-owner of three local bars — Bootleggers, Twisted and the Living Room — all of which are donating to the project, she said. Another $1,000 was donated by Northside High School students

who bought 200 gift cards to McDonald's and other fast food places.

Haynes said she decided to launch T1LT after a school district parent coordinator, Jennifer Ogletree, informed her church that there are about 900 homeless children in the school district, and many of them only get a meal when they come to school.

"It's just mind-blowing to me that right here in our own back yard so many kids are going hungry," Haynes said. "Not in Africa, or Haiti, or some other third world country. Right here in our own town that we live in. It's insane to me."

Haynes said she was raised by a single mother who struggled financially when she was younger but is now an executive at Columbus Regional.