Across Georgia

Marine from Georgia dies in Afghanistan


The U.S. Department of Defense says a 20-year-old Marine from Adairsville, Ga., has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon said Monday that Lance Cpl. Seth Sharp was killed Thursday during Operation Strike of the Sword. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

His father, Rick Sharp, told the Rome News-Tribune that his son played freshman football for Adairsville High School. He said his son enlisted at the age of 17 and had previously served a tour of duty in Iraq.

Rick Sharp says his son asked for coloring books and crayons while serving in Iraq so he could distribute them to children.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

East Point man drowns trying to save 9-year-old

CALLAWAY GARDENS, Ga. - A 21-year-old East Point man has drowned in Robin Lake at Callaway Gardens while trying to rescue a 9-year-old swimmer.

Harris County Coroner James Carver identified the victim as Rico Cruz. His body was recovered from the lake at 2:29 p.m. on Saturday.

Authorities said Cruz likely went into the water about 12:30 p.m. to rescue a boy struggling to stay afloat. A 14-year-old also went into the water having noticed the same struggling boy and he brought the boy safely to shore.

Georgia improves rate of students passing tests

ATLANTA - Georgia more than doubled the rate of high school students passing their second attempt at the state's science and social studies graduation tests this year.

Data released from the state Department of Education on Monday shows that nearly 1,400 students passed the exam this year, or 68 percent of the students who took it. That's compared to the 27 percent who passed the social studies retest and the 29 percent who passed the science retest last year.

A new program that gives students who failed the tests an extra two weeks of intensive study before they try again helped boost the rate. Georgia students must pass every section of the high school graduation test - English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies writing - to graduate.

Chinese orchestra's visit to Georgia canceled

ATLANTA - A 49-member high school orchestra from China has canceled a two-concert visit to the Atlanta area because of a travel ban imposed by a provincial government to deal with the swine flu outbreak.

The Hangzhou Zhongee Wenlan High School orchestra was scheduled to perform July 25 at the Rialto Theatre in Atlanta and the next day at the Centre for Performing & Visual Arts in Newnan.

In Newnan, organizers had lined up host families, cultural exchanges, sightseeing trips, a group dinner and celebrations.

The Chinese school's principal sent a letter last week saying his provincial education department had banned students from going abroad. The decree followed the death of a 34-year-old woman in Hangzhou, who was infected with the flu virus and had just returned from the U.S.

Holyfield, Cox houses won't be sold today

FAYETTEVILLE — The auctions of the Fayette County houses belonging to former heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield and to state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox have been postponed.

The houses were scheduled to be sold today at the Fayette County courthouse after both went into foreclosure. Philip Hasty, an attorney with the law firm handling the auctions, declined to give a reason why they were put on hold.

Mr. Holyfield's 109-room Fairburn mansion valued at $10 million has gone into foreclosure twice. His second home, valued at $216,000, is also scheduled to be sold at auction.

Ms. Cox has said she is working with her mortgage company to help save her family's $450,000 Peachtree City home. Ms. Cox and her husband filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Funeral home punished for mishandling bodies

MARIETTA — The state Board of Funeral Service has sanctioned a Marietta funeral home and temporarily suspended two of its funeral directors.

One of the reasons in the report for the sanctions against Hanley-Shelton Funeral home was a corpse left unrefrigerated for five months.

The board said the funeral home will be placed on probation for three years and fined $1,000. The business will remain open. Owner Henry Shelton says he will appeal, calling it "the most biased" investigation you will see.

State Administrative Law Judge Kristin L. Miller temporarily suspended Henry Shelton and Edwin Shelton for refusing to surrender custody of the remains of two people.

19 people killed in wrecks over holiday

ATLANTA — The state Department of Public Safety says 19 people were killed in Georgia traffic accidents during the July 4 holiday weekend.

The number was three fewer than the department had predicted.

The 2,490 wrecks are far more than the 1,874 that had been forecast. There were 682 injuries.