Across the region

Ex-HomeGold exec is denied release


COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s parole board rejected an appeal Wednesday by former HomeGold executive Ronnie Sheppard for early release from prison, after hearing from elderly investors who had lost their life savings to securities fraud.

The panel, which also heard from Attorney General Alan Wilson and others, voted 6-1 Wednesday to deny Sheppard’s request.

Sheppard was seeking parole after serving four years of a 20-year sentence. He was sentenced for securities fraud, conspiracy and obtaining property under false pretenses for his role in the 2003 collapse of HomeGold and its subsidiary Carolina Investors.

More than 8,000 investors lost $275 million in one of the biggest bankruptcies in state history.

Plan to close visitor
center faces fight

ATLANTA — Georgia tourism officials have revived a plan to close a visitor center in former President Jimmy Carter’s hometown, while the attraction’s supporters are promising a fierce fight to keep it open.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes the plan to close the Plains Visitor Center to save about $240,000. Economic officials say closing the center, which is among the least visited in Georgia, will free up money to spend on other initiatives.

The center, which sits miles from the nearest interstate and resembles a log cabin, is a shrine to Georgia’s native son.

Slavery assignment leads to resignation

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. — A spokeswoman says a suburban Atlanta teacher has resigned after an investigation over third-grade pupils being assigned math homework with word problems about slavery.

Gwinnett County schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said Wednesday an investigation has concluded into four teachers who gave out the assignments at Beaver Ridge Elementary. She says the school system accepted the resignation of one teacher but declined to elaborate.

– Associated Press