Across Georgia

State tax collections growth rate slowing


ATLANTA - Georgia's tax collections are growing, but at a far more modest pace than last year, state money managers report.

Georgia tax collections have grown 5.7 percent for the fiscal year that began July 1. Revenues grew by 9.3 percent in the last fiscal year.

For the month of December, collections were up 6.2 percent from the same month the year before.

The growth was driven largely by a surge in the motor fuel tax of 44.6 percent. That money funds transportation projects.

2 teens killed after car runs off road

ANDERSON, S.C. - Two Elberton, Ga., teens have died after the car they were in ran off a road into some trees in Anderson County, troopers say.

The teens were rounding a curve on state Highway 187 in a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am when the driver lost control. The car went off the right side of the road and hit some trees, Highway Patrol spokesman Lance Cpl. Dan Marsceau said. They weren't wearing seat belts, Lance Cpl. Marsceau said.

Neighbors of singer upset over demolition

SANDY SPRINGS - Singer Kenny Rogers has lost some fans in his neighborhood.

Cathy and Alan Gottlieb, whose house is behind Mr. Rogers' property, said the months of demolition, tree-cutting and earth-shaking granite blasting was irritating enough. But his construction work has transformed the view from their back deck from dense woods and foliage to a dirt mound with a large granite hill in the center.

"We all understand people have to develop lots, but to strip the land like this is crazy," Mr. Gottlieb said.

Mr. Rogers was going to build his dream home on the property, but he realized the house would have been too big for his wife, Wanda, and his twin sons if something happened to him.

"I'm sorry for any inconvenience I might've caused them," Mr. Rogers said.

Board of education to vote on drug policy

ATHENS - The Clarke County Board of Education is poised to vote this week on a proposed drug-testing policy that one teacher's association attorney said could be challenged in federal court.

Under the proposal, all employees hired after July 1 would be required to pass a drug test, and any employee who uses a commercial driver's license as a part of the job could face random tests, a requirement only extended to bus drivers and security personnel now.

Any employee - including teachers and administrators - could be required to take a drug test after an accident or if a supervisor reasonably suspects he or she is impaired by drugs or alcohol.