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This Hour: Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment

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Attorneys to open Georgia peanut salmonella trial

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - Attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements in the criminal trial of three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak traced to a southwest Georgia peanut plant five years ago.

Former Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell; his brother and food broker, Michael Parnell; and plant quality control manager Mary Wilkerson are charged with shipping tainted peanuts and covering up lab results that tested positive for salmonella.

Prosecutors have asked for two hours for opening statements Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Albany. Attorneys for each defendant will have 40 minutes apiece.

Nine people died and more than 700 were sickened in the 2009 outbreak. The dead were from Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, Idaho and North Carolina.

A jury with six alternates was seated Thursday after three days of selection.


Fund set up for woman who was attacked on trail

DALLAS, Ga. (AP) - The family of a 42-year-old woman badly beaten on the Silver Comet Trail has set up a fund to raise money for her medical expenses and a reward for information in the case.

People may contribute at SunTrust branches to the fund, which includes the phrase "take back the trail."

WSB-TV reports that the woman has been moved from an intensive care unit to a regular room in Kennestone Hospital. Her husband says she has several broken bones in her face and doctors will have to wire her jaw shut for six to eight weeks.

Paulding County sheriff's officials said a bicyclist spotted the badly injured woman lying on the side of the trail around 6:42 p.m. Tuesday.

The 61.5 mile-Silver Comet Trail runs from Smyrna to the Alabama line.


1st piece in place for zip line over Chattahoochee

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - Work has begun on a zip line that will carry people across the Chattahoochee River at the Georgia-Alabama state line.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that the first piece of the new zip line -- a 60-foot pole -- was put into place Thursday in downtown Columbus. There will be two poles on the Georgia side and two on the Alabama side.

The zip line will start on the Georgia side of the river near Bay Avenue and 11th Street in Columbus. The 1,200-foot line in which people will reach speeds in excess of 40 mph ends on the Alabama side in Phenix City.

Whitewater Express Inc. owner Dan Gilbert says he hopes the zip line can open in September. It's part of a larger project involving a whitewater rafting course.


Brookhaven police make arrests after man is killed

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (AP) - Police in Brookhaven, just northeast of Atlanta, say they've apprehended four people in connection with a shooting that left a man dead.

Police say officers found 23-year-old Justin Acevedo lying on the side of a road around noon Thursday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses said a male suspect fled on foot into the nearby Parke Towne North Apartments. Police said detectives conducted a search at an apartment in the complex and later charged four people as a result of the investigation.

Police said in a statement that none of the people arrested had been charged with murder, and police said they were not releasing their names or charges due to the active investigation.


Low cost carrier to begin flying between Ga., Va.

ATLANTA (AP) - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials say they're welcoming a new low cost carrier that will provide service to Virginia.

Officials say PEOPLExpress will begin flying from Atlanta's airport on Friday. The airline will provide service between Atlanta and the Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport in coastal Virginia.

Airport officials say they're planning to celebrate with a ribbon cutting and a water cannon salute for the first inbound and outbound flights.

The airline's website advertises fares between Atlanta and Newport News starting at $79.


Ga. juvenile justice dept. adds ombudsman's office

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is adding an ombudsman's office in an effort to ensure the rights and safety of young people in custody.

Commissioner Avery D. Niles said in a news release that the new Office of the Ombudsman is part of his work to restructure the agency to comply with best practices under the state's recent Juvenile Justice Reform Law.

Niles said the office will provide a neutral party to objectively and impartially review complaints and allegations.

The department says the office will be a single point of contact for family members, advocates and others who may want to report complaints on behalf of committed young people or to inquire about their wellbeing.

Inquiries and complaints can be submitted by email or by phone.


3 Southeast flowers get federal protection

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Three Southeast flowers are now protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Short's bladderpod, fleshy-fruit gladecress and whorled sunflowers are found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it's protecting the flowers.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the agency to protect the plants in 2004.

They have been on a waiting list of species known to be in need of federal protection since 1999.

In 2011, the center and the agency reached a landmark agreement that will ensure all the species that were on the federal waiting list for protection as of 2010 will get protection decisions by 2018.


Gullah Festival being held on SC coast

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A three-day Gullah festival is being held in three cities along the South Carolina coast.

The Gullah-Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival begins in Charleston with Gullah-Geechee Night during the Charleston Riverdogs game Friday.

An event Friday at the Charleston Maritime Center features artisans, painters and a showing of the documentary "Wilmington on Fire," which chronicles riots that occurred in 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

A 2006 report said white supremacist leaders started the riots to strip political power from black people. At least 14 blacks were killed.

The festival concludes with family events scheduled Sunday in Georgetown and Myrtle Beach.

The festival celebrates the culture of the descendants of sea island slaves. The culture is known as Gullah in the Carolinas and Geechee in Georgia and Florida.

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