Across Georgia

Atlanta mayoral race heads toward recount


ATLANTA --- The Atlanta mayor's race appears headed for a recount after election officials tallied provisional ballots in the contest.

Former state Sen. Kasim Reed picked up another 197 votes on Thursday -- not enough to avoid a recount, which Councilwoman Mary Norwood has said she will ask for after the election results are certified this weekend. Ms. Norwood gained another 102 votes.

Election officials spent nearly two hours counting the provisional ballots.

According to the unofficial election results, Mr. Reed edged out Ms. Norwood by 620 votes on Tuesday in a hotly contested race with more voters than the general election.

Ms. Norwood is vying to become to first white mayor in a generation.

Mall evacuated after false dynamite claim

MORROW, GA. --- A man dressed as an elf who police say approached a mall Santa Claus and said he was carrying dynamite is being held in the Clayton County Jail without bond.

Police say 45-year-old William C. Caldwell III got in line at Southlake Mall Wednesday evening to have his picture taken with Santa.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Morrow police Capt. James Callaway said Mr. Caldwell reached the front of the line and told Santa he had dynamite in his bag.

Morrow police arrested Mr. Caldwell, and Capt. Callaway says the mall was evacuated and the bomb squad was summoned. Capt. Callaway says no explosives were found, but the mall remained closed for the rest of the night.

Capt. Callaway says Mr. Caldwell faces several charges, including having hoax devices and making terroristic threats.

Atlanta considers deal to sell jail to county

ATLANTA --- The Atlanta City Council is scheduled to vote next week on a proposed deal to sell the city jail to Fulton County.

Fulton County is under a federal consent decree to ease overcrowding and improve other conditions inside the county jail.

The proposal came up on Wednesday at a city council committee meeting. The county would pay the city $41.7 million over the next 15 years for the jail. The city would also allow the county to use four courtrooms in the municipal courthouse.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that city officials estimate Atlanta would save about $16.5 million a year through the agreement.

County commissioners would also have to approve the agreement.