This Hour: Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment
Several Republicans weighing challenge to Barrow
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Several east Georgia Republicans are weighing a possible challenge to Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow next year.
The Augusta congressman won a fifth-term last fall even after his 12th District seat was redrawn to give Republicans a daunting advantage. Now Barrow says he'll try to beat the odds twice and win re-election to the House next year rather than seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Saxby Chambliss.
Barrow's seat had already drawn one definite GOP challenger, longtime Washington aide John Stone, who's seeking a comeback after a crushing defeat to Barrow in 2008.
Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen, attorney Wright McLeod of Augusta and state Sen. Tommie Williams of Lyons all say they're considering Republican primary races and should make up their minds by summer.
Fog blankets much of Georgia in wake of storms
ATLANTA (AP) - Fog blanketed much of Georgia in the wake of storms that washed out roads in the northeast part of the state and led to rising streams and rivers.
Forecasters said a dense fog advisory was in effect through 10 a.m. Monday in north and central Georgia. It covered all of metro Atlanta and several Georgia cities including Athens, Blairsville, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon and Rome.
The National Weather Service said more than five inches of rain fell in some parts of north and central Georgia.
Officials in Hall County reported that several roads in the Flowery Branch area were flooded and impassable Sunday after seven inches of rain.
The rain was so heavy and constant that Lake Lanier's water level rose a foot overnight.
GIANT FERRIS WHEEL
Atlanta council considers 20-story Ferris wheel
ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta City Council is expected to consider a request to construct a Ferris wheel once used in Paris that would soar 20 stories over downtown Atlanta.
The council is set to vote on the request Monday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Skyview Atlanta would be the latest tourist attraction near Centennial Olympic Park, joining the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and other attractions.
Two St. Louis businessmen are behind the idea of bringing the Ferris wheel to Atlanta. Skyview Atlanta spokesman Jason Evans says the partners, Todd Schneider and Al Mers, plan to set it up next to The Tabernacle, a century-old former church building now used as a concert hall.
Evans said if the council approves it, the wheel could be ready for rides this summer.
E COLI OUTBREAK
E. coli cases reported in Stephens County
ATLANTA (AP) - State health officials say E. coli has made at least seven people ill in Stephens County.
Public health spokesman Dave Palmer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that no source has been identified. He said some of those who became ill had to be hospitalized, but all are recovering.
The state is interviewing them to track what and where they've eaten in an attempt to find common patterns.
Health officials say preventive measures include practicing good hand-washing and hygiene, washing raw vegetables, and cooking meat properly.
Jekyll breaking ground on overdue convention hotel
JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - Developers are set to start construction on a new convention hotel for Jekyll Island after long delays that largely resulted from difficulties getting a bank loan for the $41 million project.
Members of the state park's governing board were scheduled attend a ground-breaking ceremony Monday for the 200-room Westin hotel. It's a key piece of the Jekyll Island Authority's plans to turn around years of sagging tourism and convention business. A new convention center that opened a year ago and other improvements cost Georgia taxpayers $50 million.
Meeting planners have complained about the delays in building the convention hotels. Jekyll Island officials last fall agreed to put up about $6 million to help the private hotel developer qualify for financing.
The Westin is scheduled to open by September 2014.
Parents fuming over locked doors at graduation
ATLANTA (AP) - Several parents of Spelman College graduates are furious after locked doors prevented them from seeing their children's commencement.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that parents from as far away as California, New York and Canada said they were kept from entering a half-hour before the graduation Sunday afternoon.
Some said they didn't know the doors would be locked 30 minutes before the ceremony.
Others said they thought some leeway should have been given due to rainy weather and traffic delays as streets were blocked for President Barack Obama's motorcade. The president was speaking at the Morehouse College commencement.
Spelman said in a statement that doors were locked as part of its safety measures. It expressed regret that some guests missed the event, but said the guidelines were communicated throughout the school year.
NEW REPUBLICAN LEADER
Athens businessman becomes Republican chairman
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - The new chairman of the Georgia Republican Party says the party won't twiddle its thumbs under his leadership.
John Padgett says he plans to take it to Democrats during his 2-year term. The Athens businessman defeated two others during a party gathering this weekend in Athens. He replaces sue Everhart, who was prohibited from running after serving six terms.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports that Padgett has been active in Republican politics for 35 years and most recently served as party secretary.
DARIEN, Ga. (AP) - As the 150th anniversary of the burning of Darien approaches, historian Buddy Sullivan wants to clear up what he considers a misconception about the south Georgia town's Civil War history.
Many people assume that Union Army Col. Robert Gould Shaw was the one who burned Darien, especially since the Hollywood movie "Glory" came out. Matthew Broderick played the white Shaw in the 1989 movie about the otherwise all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment.
Sullivan tells The Jacksonville Times-Union that it was Shaw's superior officer, Col. James Montgomery of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers, who ordered the attack. He said Shaw reluctantly carried out the raid under threat of court-martial.
The burning took place on June 11, 1863, and Darien will commemorate it with a town festival on June 15.
West Ga. school board to vote on school closings
COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A west Georgia school system is set to vote on a package of cuts that includes closing an elementary school and a middle school.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that the Muscogee County School Board is scheduled to vote on the plan Monday night.
The recommendation by interim Superintendent John Phillips includes closing Edgewood Elementary School and Marshall Middle School.
At-large school board member Cathy Williams called the decision the toughest vote she will cast in six years on the board.
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