Across Georgia

UGA accepting bids on proposed demolitions


ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia is weighing whether to demolish three historic buildings this week, including one built during the Great Depression.

Officials opened bids last week from companies offering to tear down or move two century-old houses. Architectural and engineering firms also submitted proposals for how they would demolish Rutherford Hall, built by the federal Works Progress Administration during the 1930s. The firms also had to detail how they would rebuild a much larger building on the site of the UGA residence hall.

University planners have set a limit of about $16.7 million to demolish Rutherford, which has about 160 beds. The new facility would have 100 more beds.

Historic preservation groups are protesting the tear-downs. Mark McDonald, the president of Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is encouraging rehabilitating the building.

UGA acquired the century-old cottages and the historic Wray-Nicholson House 11 years ago from Athens-Clarke County for $2.3 million.

Chatham County looks to revise chicken laws

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Chatham County officials are looking into changes to zoning laws that prohibit residents from keeping chickens, resulting in citations for several residents including celebrity cook Paula Deen.

The citations to residents of unincorporated Wilmington Island have led to an outcry among residents who say keeping backyard hens for their eggs is both healthy and environmentally friendly. County officials say the ordinances don't allow for chickens unless an area is zoned for agricultural use.

County commissioners asked planners Friday to start drafting an amended zoning ordinance modeled on one used by Savannah, which allows homes in the city limits to keep up to five hens.

Georgia pecans satisfy cravings of Chinese

ALBANY, Ga. - China's newfound taste for pecans has been a boon for Georgia growers.

University of Georgia horticulture professor Lenny Wells said that in 2005, China bought about 2 million pounds of pecans. In 2007, that number went up to around 90 million. Last year, officials say China bought at least 80 million pounds - an amount equal to all the pecans grown in Georgia for the year.

The U.S. produces 80 percent of the world's pecans, and Georgia leads the nation in pecan production.