It's been a busy news week in the Coastal Empire and Low Country, starting with an early gift for one local woman on Mother's Day. Willow Elise Prough arrived early on Sunday morning. See: New Baby Arrives for Mother's Day.
Then for three nights at the start of the week, Dal Cannady took us to Fort Irwin, California, to see the kind of training our brave fighting men and women of the Third Infantry Division go through in the Mojave Desert. For many, they're preparing for their third or fourth deployment, but for a lot of soldiers, this will be their first time in Iraq. Read and watch their stories: Back to the Front: Training with the 3rd ID.
Trouble in the Low Country for the Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross. Nearly $100,000 in local donations, earmarked for Hurricane Katrina relief, went into the chapter's operating budget. Local officials say the money went to Katrina evacuees in the Low Country, but the national headquarters is calling it more than an oversight. Jaime Daily has the details on the brouhaha: Palmetto Chapter of American Red Cross Under Heat.
We also said goodbye to Sgt. William Malone this week. He was one of the "Original Nine," the first black officers one Savannah's police force, and served for 35 years. He died at age 84. Michelle Paynter spoke with one of the two surviving officers about what he remembers about Malone; watch the inspiring story: Remembering William Malone.
Shocking crimes in Metter this week, as neighbors say someone is killing pets. Christy Hutchings has the disturbing details: Dogs Winding Up Dead In Metter.
Wednesday, Melanie Ruberti broke the story of a bus driver--whose passengers already have special needs--being diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Now the local health department is trying to get over 300 passengers tested. Check here for what you need to know: TeleRide Bus Driver Has Tuberculosis - Now Passengers Are Worried.
WTOC got a rare chance to ride along on one the most sophisticated, and expensive, military planes you'll ever see: Military Surveillance Planes Visit Savannah.
Toward the end of the week, the Georgia-Florida wildfires were tops on everyone's mind as changing winds brought thick smoke to the Coastal Empire and Low Country. The Chatham County Health Department even issued an advisory. Check here for our wildfire coverage.
And four-legged fire victims need your help: The Unseen Wildfire Victims: Lost, Injured Pets.
On that smoky Thursday, a shrimper made a grim discovery: a drowning victim was found in Lazaretto Creek at Tybee. See: Shrimper Finds Woman's Body in Lazaretto Creek.
And gas prices shot well over $3 this week (Gas Prices Topping Three Dollars Per Gallon), leaving drivers shocked and angry. We even found some boycotting gas purchases: Consumers Hope Nationwide Boycott of Gas Leads to Gas Price Relief.
One couple in McIntosh County did something pretty special for their 20th anniversary: Local Milkman Gets His TV Debut on the Price Is Right.
And Saturday was a big day for the WTOC Skytrak weather team. Pat, Dave, John, Ron and Melanie hit the Publix at Twelve Oaks on Savannah's Abercorn Street to help people program their weather radios. As part of a special promotion, area Publix stores are carrying the radios for just $29.95: Get Your Weather Radio.
Thanks for joining WTOC this week, and for making us the Southeast News Leader. We'll be back each morning and night of the upcoming week with all your news, sports and weather information, and you'll want to check out our weeklong series of special reports on preparing for the upcoming storm season.