Across Georgia

Former mayor returns Otis Redding portrait


MACON --- Former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis has returned a portrait of soul singer Otis Redding that was moved from city hall along with Mr. Ellis' belongings when he left office in December.

Mr. Ellis says he noticed the portrait at his home when he returned from a vacation in the Caribbean a few weeks after the move. He says he wasn't supervising when his office was packed.

Andrew Blascovich, a spokesman for Mayor Robert Reichert, called the incident an "internal miscommunication."

The city commissioned the painting in 1975, eight years after Mr. Redding, who was reared in Macon, died in a Wisconsin plane crash.

Ex-firefighter indicted on child porn charges

SAVANNAH --- A federal grand jury has indicted a former volunteer firefighter on charges he downloaded child pornography on his computer.

The 10-count indictment filed last week in Savannah names 25-year-old James William Brown, who has been in custody on the charges since mid-December. Evidence shows that Mr. Brown possessed more than 10,000 pornographic images of children on his computer during the past two years.

Officials say he was voted out after a month at a south Savannah volunteer fire department last year for "inappropriate behavior."

Man gets 18 months for mortgage fraud

ATLANTA --- Darryl L. Cooper, 27, of Decatur, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Friday after pleading guilty in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders submitting fraudulent appraisals on incomplete houses in Forsyth County.

U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr., said the prison sentence would be followed by three years of supervised release. He also ordered Mr. Cooper to pay restitution of $4,720,500.

The appraisals supported $4.7 million in fraudulent loans for purchases in the names of out-of state "investors" of incomplete homes from builder Jeffery Alan Teague.

Agency investigates airplanes' close call

ATLANTA --- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a near-collision of two airplanes on the runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Friday.

Investigators believe an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight bound for Greensboro, N.C., ignored orders from the control tower to stop its taxi across the runway, coming within seconds of running into a Mexico-bound Delta Air Lines Inc. jet, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

The ASA pilot acknowledged the orders and repeated them back but did not stop, Ms. Bergen said.