Across Georgia

Small explosion clears Georgia Tech building


ATLANTA --- Georgia Tech officials say a classroom and office building were evacuated Thursday after a minor explosion in one of the laboratories.

Public relations director Lisa Grovenstein said no one was injured in the noon incident at the Ford Motor Co. environmental science and technology building.

She said the university's emergency notification system was activated by accident after the explosion, sending e-mails, text messages or voicemail to everyone on campus. A follow-up notice has been sent letting the campus know that the notification was a mistake.

Head of Georgia State to retire after 16 years

ATLANTA --- Georgia State University President Carl Patton will retire next summer after 16 years at the helm of the downtown Atlanta campus, University System of Georgia officials announced Thursday.

Mr. Patton is credited with turning Georgia State into one of the nation's largest urban research universities with nearly 50,000 students. He led the university's first capital campaign, raising more than $127 million for academic programs, professorships and endowed chairs, scholarships and facilities.

The urban planner also helped revitalize downtown by renovating dilapidated buildings and paving the way for more restaurants and stores to move near the university.

Rapper drops request to throw holiday party

ATLANTA --- T.I. might not be hosting a Thanksgiving party after all.

The rapper, who is confined to his suburban Atlanta home pending his trial on federal weapons charges, has dropped his request to be the host of a Thanksgiving Day celebration.

T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., was arrested Oct. 13. Federal authorities allege the 27-year-old rapper tried to buy machine guns and silencers in a midtown Atlanta parking lot just blocks from the BET Hip-Hop Awards, which he was to headline later that night. He was released on bond Oct. 26.

Drought cancels 2007 Christmas boat parade

GAINESVILLE --- The drought gripping the Southeast has claimed another victim -- the Christmas boat parade at Lake Lanier.

Buddy Meeks is co-chairman of the event, a 12-year tradition at the lake.

He says treetops on the lake bottom are getting too close to the surface and might pose safety hazards. This year's boat parade had been scheduled for Dec. 1.

The lighted boat parade began in 1995 as an event for members of the University Yacht Club and was opened to the public in 2005. Last year's parade included 40 boats decorated with items from inflated Santas to angels.

-- Edited from wire reports