Georgia News Briefly

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Deal signs state budget bill

BUFORD (GDP) — Gov. Nathan Deal used Gwinnett’s Lanier High School as a backdrop to highlight the emphasis that was placed on education in the new state budget as he signed it into law on Monday.

The 2017 budget includes $23.7 billion in state appropriations, including pay raises for many state employees. Among the budget items highlighted by the governor were the pay raises for teachers: $300 million for K-12 teachers and another $26.2 million for pre-K teachers.

The Move On When Ready dual-enrollment program also received an additional $29.4 million in funding.

“An education that is cherished and applied can be a catalyst of opportunity,” Deal said during his visit to the Sugar Hill area. “However, if we know the right answers, but never say them, then education becomes a dangerous silence. If we learn old solutions, but never apply our learning to come up with new ones, then education becomes scholarly stagnation.

“If we learn valuable skills, but never put them to use, then education becomes unfinished masterpieces.”

Deal said education has been a priority of his administration because it can give students better opportunities later in life and break cycles of poverty. He called the offering of a quality education that inspires students something “we must strive to.”

More than half of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget is devoted to education, the governor said. That comes after years of additional funding allocated for education in the state budget. Deal said the state designated about $900 million to education over a three-year period.

Deal also had ceremonial signings of the state budget bill Monday set for Gainesville, Brunswick and Dalton.

No speeding involved in deadly car crash

ATLANTA (TNS) — Neither of the two vehicles involved were speeding at the time of the Oconee County crash that killed four University of Georgia students, the Georgia State Patrol said Monday.

Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, five students were traveling northbound on Georgia Highway 15 in a Toyota Camry when the driver, Agnes Kim, crossed the center line and drove into the path of a Chevrolet Cobalt, according to investigators.

The driver of the Cobalt was not seriously injured. But all four passengers in the Camry died, and Kim was critically injured. A cause of the crash has not been determined, but a preliminary crash report said Kim may have over-corrected at the time of the crash.

Three passengers in the Toyota died at the scene of the wreck, and a fourth died after being taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, where Kim remained Monday in critical condition.

No alcohol or drugs were found in any car, and no one involved showed any signs of impairment, GSP reiterated Monday. Data retrieved from the cars showed neither was speeding at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit is 55 mph on Highway 15, where the crash occurred.

ABAC names new police chief

TIFTON (Herald) — Frank Strickland is the new chief of police at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College after serving as interim chief during the past five months, college officials have announced.

Two other ABAC officers have received promotions, and four ABAC officers have received designations as corporals.

Strickland has served as chief of police and public safety director in Griffin, Toccoa and Fort Valley. He also has worked as the chief of police for the Medical College of Georgia and as a police officer and supervisor for the University of Georgia’s Police Department in Athens over his 35-year career in law enforcement.

Lt. Debbie Pyles was named ABAC’s assistant police chief and promoted from her previous rank of sergeant. Sgt. Tom Bruce was promoted from his previous rank as officer. Todd Daunhauer, Pooja Patel, Jamie Powers and Joe Weatherford, who had been officers, have been promoted to corporals.

Valdosta lawyer elected GTLA president

ATLANTA (Herald) – William P. “Pope” Langdale III of Valdosta has been elected to serve as the 61st president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. The election came Saturday at the association’s annual convention.

Langdale, who was elected by unanimous vote, takes the reins from outgoing President Darren Penn and will serve a one-year term. He previously served as GTLA President-elect and Legislative Committee Co-Chairman.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected by my peers to serve as President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association,” Langdale said. “… Having first practiced defense law in Atlanta, and now representing plaintiffs in civil suits in South Georgia, I believe that I bring a unique perspective to GTLA that will allow our association to amplify our efforts to serve as a valuable resource to trial lawyers in every corner of the state.”

Pope is a partner in the Valdosta-based Langdale Vallotton LLP law firm, where his practice is focused on the representation of seriously injured individuals in personal injury and wrongful death claims.

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