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WG&L repair money OK'd; drug unit money nixed

The Albany City Commission has approved spending $1 million in MEAG rebate funds for repairs, upgrades and reserves bolstering at the Water, Gas & Light Commission, but turned down a recommendation by the committee overseeing the trust fund to spend $200,000 for the Albany Police Department's gang task force.
11 a.m.
J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Former WG&L attorney dies

Albany attorney Robert Langstaff Sr., longtime legal counsel for the Albany WG&L Commission, died of a massive heart attack this morning, city officials say.
10:05 a.m.
J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Trust fund panel begins work

The Albany Long Term Financial Planning Committee which oversees a trust fund created from credits from MEAG has decided to spend $1.2 million on Water, Gas & Light Commission repairs ($1 million) and the city gang unit ($200,000).
UPDATED: 10:40 a.m.
J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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School attorney: Board broke the law

The Dougherty County School Board's attorney, Tommy Coleman, has advised the School Board that it has violated state law by naming a lone candidate to be the system's next school superintendent and that it is his "strong recommendation that the Board take every step to rectify this violation at the earliest possible time."The earliest that the School Board can act is noon Wednesday when it conducts a called board meeting at the request of Michael Windom. The meeting will be conducted at in the board room at the School Administration Building, 200 Pine Ave.
UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

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MID-DAY UPDATE: Woods pays in full

Former ADICA board member LaJuana Woods has paid in full the $5,000 she was obligated to pay the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority for January, city officials say.
(Filed: 1 p.m.)
- J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Child molester gets 50 years in prison

Tyrone Walker has been sentenced to a half-century in prison and lifetime probation after a Dougherty County jury returned 11 guilty verdicts Friday on charges including sodomy, child molestation and aggravated child molestation.
- J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Phoebe takes Palmyra, state to court to prevent new birthing center

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is going to court in an effort to prevent Palmyra Medical Center from offering maternity services.
UPDATED 9:45 a.m.

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Heritage House grant application rejected

A $16 million federal grant application to rehabilitate the Heritage House on Oglethorpe Boulevard has been rejected, city officials have learned.
J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Recovered boy's family thanks community

The family of Jyquez Miller, the 9-year-old boy who disappeared Tuesday night and was found Wednesday morning after a night of 16-degree weather, thanked the community this morning for efforts in finding the child. There's still no reason given for Jyquez's disappearance, but police say foul play is not suspected.
UPDATED 11:40 a.m.
Ricki Barker, staff writer

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Woman killed in fire

Audry Batey of Albany was killed in a house fire this afternoon.
4:05 p.m.
-- Pete Skiba, police reporter

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Labor grant to help market Cooper plant

The Georgia Department of Labor today announced that it will present Dougherty County with a $25,000 development grant to attract a new industry to the former Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plant on Sylvester Road.-- Staff reports

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Kemp appointed secretary of state

Gov. Sonny Perdue today announced that he is appointing former State Senator Brian Kemp as Secretary of State. Kemp, who served in the state senate from 2002 to 2006, is a current candidate for Secretary of State. He will serve out the remainder of the current term through the end of 2010. He will also continue his campaign this year and run for the full four-year term which begins in 2011.

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Dougherty County to refi DHR building

The Dougherty County Commission has voted to refinance the downtown Department of Human Resources bonds totalling $8 million.-- J.D. Sumner, government rewporter

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Senate passes health care bill

The U.S. Senate has passed a landmark health care bill with an early morning Christmas Eve vote.

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Jury to begin deliberations Tuesday morning (5 p.m. update)

Judge Denise Marshall will turn the trial of former downtown manager Don Buie over to the jury at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning to begin deliberations.- J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Buie trial opens

Prosecutors say former Albany downtown manager Don Buie used kickbacks of public funds to pay on a car loan. His defense attorney countered that Buie came to town with a vision that local officials were not prepared for and was the victim of a vengeful girlfriend. His fraud trial in Dougherty Superior Court opened this morning. - J.D. Sumner, government reporter

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Navy, Dougherty to partner for landfill gas use


The Dougherty County Commission will likely authorize an intergovernmental agreement Monday that will allow the U.S. Navy to buy methane gas from the landfill for use as a renewable energy source at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, officials say.

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4 p.m. UPDATE: Tim Washington, Nicole Brown plead guilty


Court documents show that prosecutors will recommend probation for both Nicole Brown and Tim Washington if they testify against Don Buie.

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NEWS ALERT: Severe weather may be worse than expected


A line of severe thunderstorms will likely impact Southwest Georgia more seriously than anticipated, with more than six to eight inches of rain and a 30 percent chance of widespread tornadoes expected, weather officials say.

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Woman missing since June found unharmed Monday

Alice Bean, a woman first reported by family members as missing on June 6, was found unharmed Monday by police officials.Albany Police spokesperson Phyllis Banks said that Bean was located at Tift Park and has contacted her family. The 50-year-old Bean was reported missing by family when she couldn't be located at her home on the 1500 block of Palmyra Road. She was said to have been suffering from severe depression.

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GBI: Pierce shot three times in cop shooting

GBI officials said Tuesday that Chad Pierce, the man who was shot to death by police following a chase through Calhoun County, died from three gunshot wounds to his torso.

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Americus-Sumter football coach on reported resignation: I'm still here

Despite a report Monday in the AJC, Americus-Sumter football coach Mark Wilson he has not resigned or been let go at Americus-Sumter.

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UPDATE: Reporters subpoened for Buie hearing

Johnnie Graham, the attorney for former Downtown Manager Don Buie, has subpoened news reporters to testify on behalf of the defense during a change of venue hearing set for Wednesday morning, officials say.

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Coats & Clark hub expansion to add 25 jobs

An expansion of Coats & Clark's distribution hub in Albany is expected to create 25 new jobs here, economic development officials say.The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced this morning that Coats & Clark will relocate its North American distribution hub to Albany, expanding its current distribution operations here.
- Staff reports

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Court of appeals upholds Ken Hodges immunity from suit


In a decision rendered Tuesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has partially upheld a U.S. District Court ruling granting former Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges immunity from lawsuits stemming from the case of a former Dougherty County assistant police chief, Woodrow "Woody" Hart, who claimed Hodges violated his rights in 2003 after Hart was convicted of criminal activity.

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NOON UPDATE: Law enforcement swarm Pelham

Pelham Police Chief Nealie McCormick says that at least 10 arrests have been made following a massive drug roundup involving federal, state and local law enforcement Thursday morning in Pelham. Six of the wanted individuals have been identified. (UPDATED: 12:56 p.m.)

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Armed robbery suspect surrenders himself

Kwasi Hobbs, a suspect in an attempted armed robbery that resulted in the shooting death of another suspect, has surrendered himself to police, officials say.

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Albany-Dougherty rakes in stimulus money for transportation

The city of Albany and Dougherty County have received confirmation that the state is awarding them more than $14.7 million in federal stimulus dollars for transportation, which is the largest award given under the latest round of funding.

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