Across Georgia

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis (left), nicknamed 'The Bus,' signs autographs during the PACE -- Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education -- event at Dicks Sporting Goods in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola company to renovate headquarters


ATLANTA --- The Coca-Cola Co.'s Atlanta headquarters is getting its first major face-lift in more than 25 years.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the two-year project will overhaul the campus, which sprung up piecemeal as the company grew.

Construction is expected to begin in the late spring of next year. The project will involve creating a first-floor Main Street corridor with a history of the company's brands.

The headquarters sits on more than 30 acres and has about 2 million square feet of building space. About 5,000 people work at the campus.

Lawmakers settle suit over defaulted loan

CALHOUN, GA. --- Two Georgia Republicans have settled a lawsuit with a bank alleging they defaulted on a $2.2 million loan, but the FDIC might eventually have to cover some of the bill.

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers took out a loan from Bartow County Bank to purchase and rehabilitate a Gordon County inn. The loan went into default and the bank sued. Graves and Rogers say the bank reneged on a promise to refinance.

The lawmakers have declined to disclose their agreement with the bank.

If they fail to pay back the full amount, the FDIC could end up paying 80 percent of the difference. Taxpayer money would not be involved, and insurance fees paid by banks would be used to cover any FDIC loss.

Officer acquitted in death of unarmed man

ATLANTA --- A Fulton County jury has acquitted a suspended Atlanta police officer charged with shooting an unarmed man.

The jury on Thursday cleared Officer Reginald Fisher of all charges, including aggravated assault, aggravated battery and violation of oath of office, for the May 2009 shooting of Tramaine Miller at an apartment building.

Authorities said Fisher was working an unauthorized off-duty security job when he got into an argument with Miller over illegal parking. Fisher told authorities he thought Miller was reaching for a gun and shot him in the lower left jaw.

Miller was at the apartments to give medication to his quadriplegic aunt.

The 42-year-old Fisher had been a police officer for a year at the time of the shooting.

UGA van service to end because of budget cuts

ATHENS, GA. --- A van service designed to help students get home safely when they leave work or class alone at night has been discontinued, University of Georgia police said.

The service is ending because of continuing state budget cuts, UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson told the Athens Banner-Herald .

Williamson said eliminating the van service will save his department about $50,000 a year.

UGA officials launched the service 20 year ago amid concerns about how safe the dimly lit and deserted UGA campus was for students late at night.

William said the campus is much better lit now and there are a lot more people on campus, even late at night.

Atlanta airport weighs installing solar panels

ATLANTA --- The nation's busiest airport in Atlanta is considering building solar panels to generate electricity.

Airport official Michael Cheyne told Georgia utility regulators Thursday that the airport is considering building the solar farm if Georgia Power will pay enough for the electricity. The facility would produce less than 2 percent of the electricity the airport now uses.

Airport officials could use that electricity to power their own facilities or sell it back to Georgia Power.

Georgia Power has promised the state's Public Service Commission that it will add 50 megawatts of solar energy to its system by 2015. Officials are still working out the pricing details.