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Baker supports bingo to raise school funds

ATLANTA --- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Thurbert Baker said Wednesday he wants to bring electronic bingo to Georgia to help raise more money for the state's cash-strapped schools.

Baker, the state's attorney general, said the additional funds could "transform education in Georgia forever." He calculates that in a decade the proceeds would total $2 billion a year and the money would be dedicated to education, allowing Georgia to extend the school year, make kindergarten mandatory and hire thousands of new teachers.

The bingo initiative would be run through the Georgia Lottery. Legalizing bingo would need a constitutional amendment, meaning it must pass both chambers of the state Legislature with a two-thirds vote. That's a tall order in a Republican-led General Assembly where antigambling forces hold considerable sway.

"To those who say it can't be done, that is what they said about the lottery and the HOPE scholarship," Baker said at a state Capitol news conference Wednesday.

In other news

T-Mobile USA will close a LaGrange center, cutting 392 jobs in the process. About 174 employees are expected to leave the company's national return center on Aug. 18 and the rest on Nov. 1. Human resources Vice President Ron Gover says the company will provide severance payments and provide outplacement services. It's unclear why the center is closing.

CHEROKEE COUNTY police charged four men they believe are linked to a counterfeit ring that produced fake Social Security cards and other documents. The arrests came after a June 2 investigation of an apartment uncovered counterfeit driver's licenses, Social Security cards and Resident Alien cards being made.

COWETA COUNTY OFFICIALS have charged James "Jamie" Frank Jordan III, of Moreland, with several counts of burglary and believe he might have forced his 11-year-old child to help him steal items from people's homes.

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FOR CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

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