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GEORGIA

Pastor wants demon mascot gone

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. --- A pastor says he wants Warner Robins High School to rid itself of its demon mascot.

Pastor Donald Crosby of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ has been collecting petition signatures from those who agree that the school his son will soon attend should dump the horned, pitchfork-wielding mascot. He says it sends the wrong message to teens.

Ellen Ziesenhene, a senior at the school, says the mascot is simply a tradition.

Principal Steve Monday says the mascot originated during World War II and was adopted in honor of a fighter squadron nicknamed the "Screamin' Demons."

Crosby says he put in a request for his son to be transferred to another school, but says it's unlikely it will be approved.

Tree cutter dies after falling during work

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- A 29-year-old man fell to his death in Sandy Springs after the tree he was cutting snapped below him.

Lt. Steve Rose with the Sandy Springs police department says the man, whose name has not been released, plunged at least 60 feet when the tree toppled with him attached. The victim was part of a three-person crew from Superior Arbor Management Inc. of Dawsonville working behind a home.

Company president Tim Costley declined comment to The Associated Press other than to say the company is "grieving" over the death.

Lightning blamed in four horses' deaths

JASPER, Ga. -- A Pickens County couple says four thoroughbred horses were killed by a lightning strike at their north Georgia farm.

James and Irma Green say two lightning bolts hit the pasture where the horses were grazing on Monday.

They say two of the horses were pregnant mares, and that the horses were valued at more than $100,000.

The Greens say they think lightning struck a drainage pipe that runs underneath the dam where the horses were standing.

The couple raises horses on a 66-acre farm.

Chemical fire at plant poses no risk

ATHENS, Ga. -- Emergency management officials say a fire at an Athens chemical plant poses no public health risk.

Chuck Gulley, coordinator of the Athens-Clarke Emergency Management Agency, told The Athens Banner-Herald that samples taken from the air and water near the blaze at J&J Chemical Co. showed safe levels of chemicals from the fire. The fire burned glutaraldehyde -- a toxin that can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and headaches, drowsiness and dizziness.

The fire broke out early Wednesday and flared up again later in the morning.

Gulley says J&J uses the chemicals to manufacture toilet deodorizers and other products. The company's president, Todd Boyd declined comment.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Myrtle Beach clears way for Ferris wheel

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- A brightly lit, giant Ferris wheel visible for miles at night is coming to the South Carolina coast.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports city council gave final approval Tuesday to ordinances allowing the SkyWheel to be built on the oceanfront.

The council had to pass a rule allowing the 187-foot wheel to use city air space.

The wheel will have 42 glass-enclosed, temperature controlled gondolas where six to eight people can ride. Developers hope to have it spinning by next May.

Myrtle Beach City manager Tom Leath said on clear nights, the wheel will be visible as far away as North Myrtle Beach.

Marsh tacky horse gets state recognition

COLUMBIA -- The reliable marsh tacky is finally getting its due in South Carolina.

Gov. Mark Sanford on Wednesday held a ceremonial bill signing, designating tackies the official state heritage horse. The measure passed the Legislature earlier this year.

Ancestors of the tackies were left by colonial Spanish explorers. They survived for centuries on the sea islands but their numbers dwindled to about 150 several years ago as breeders renewed efforts to save them.

Tackies are suited for toiling in the heat and can take hunters into marshes that can't be reached by foot.

Greene drops pro bono adviser unexpectedly

COLUMBIA -- Surprise U.S. Senate nominee Alvin Greene has dropped one adviser and hired another to help with his South Carolina campaign.

Donna Warren said Wednesday she no longer represents Greene in his long-shot bid to oust Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

Warren lives in Los Angeles and had been working for free for Greene's campaign for several weeks. She says Greene has hired Greenville attorney Suzanne Coe to manage his campaign.

There was no answer at Coe's office. In the 1990s, she represented Shannon Faulkner in her successful effort to gain entry to The Citadel, South Carolina's formerly all-male military college.

Greene shocked the party establishment when he defeated a former lawmaker in the Democratic primary last month.

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HTN007 07/29/10 - 12:41 am
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The De Mint vs Greene contest

The De Mint vs Greene contest has the potential to be the least expensive senate campaign in US history as long as the media continues to reoprt details about Greene's election preparation activities and De Mint remains silent. The worse possible thing De Mint can do is to wage an active campaign.

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