Teacher evaluation bill signed into law
ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill to standardize annual evaluations for Georgia teachers and principals based, in part, on student performance.
Deal signed the legislation without comment on Tuesday, which is the last day for bill signings.
The evaluation system is based on a pilot program launched a few years ago with federal funds and is expected to be implemented in every district by the 2014-15 school year.
Evaluations will be based 50 percent on student growth and achievement and 50 percent on other factors, including classroom observations and student surveys.
Minister’s brother killed by robbers
ATLANTA — Police say the brother of a well-known Atlanta minister has been fatally shot during a robbery at this home.
Jerrick Jackson was shot multiple times early Tuesday as his fiancée watched.
Jackson was the younger brother of Gospel Tabernacle Cathedral founder and pastor, Bishop Wiley Jackson. In a statement, the pastor asked those responsible to surrender.
Police say Jerrick Jackson and his fiancée had just gotten home around 1 a.m. when they were approached by several men with guns. The men robbed Jackson and his fiancée outside and then ordered them inside the home. Police say Jackson and one suspect began to fight and then one suspect shot Jackson.
Police say they have some leads but no suspect had been named late Tuesday.
Pardons, Paroles re-elects leaders
ATLANTA — The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has re-elected its chairman and vice chairman for another fiscal year.
Chairman Albert Murray and Vice Chairman Terry Barnard will serve in their leadership roles for the agency through June 30, 2014.
Murray said he was honored and humbled to be re-elected by his colleagues. He has served on the board since being appointed in May 2010. Prior to serving on the parole board Murray was commissioner of the state Department of Juvenile Justice.
Barnard joined the board in May 2010 after nearly 16 years as a state legislator.
Parole Board Members are full-time employees of the agency, appointed by the governor to seven-year, staggered terms.
College student missing 2 weeks
COCHRAN, GA. — Family and friends of a Georgia college student missing for nearly two weeks passed out flyers on his college campus in hopes of finding information about his whereabouts.
Campus police have said 19-year-old Jmaal Keyes was last seen April 25 on the campus of Middle Georgia State University in Cochran. His family reported him missing a few days later. Keyes, a college freshman, is from Austell.
Keyes’ family has said he had no car or credit cards. Investigators said Keyes’ cell phone was disconnected the day he disappeared, but they didn’t say why.
Various law enforcement agencies are involved in the search for Keyes, including the campus, police the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Ethics bill puts panel in charge
COLUMBIA — A South Carolina Senate panel has advanced an ethics reform package that removes ethics investigations from legislators.
The bill sent Tuesday to the full Judiciary Committee overhauls the makeup of the state Ethics Commission board and puts it in charge of investigating possible ethics violations by legislators.
The measure keeps House and Senate ethics committees in place. But their roles would change. They would publicly determine how to punish members for non-criminal allegations only after the commission does its work and finds probable cause a violation occurred.
Republican Sen. Chip Campsen says that ensures an independent investigation while avoiding constitutional questions. The state constitution says each chamber is responsible for disciplining its members.
The House plan approved last week created a joint House-Senate committee of legislators and people they select.
Furman president plans to step down
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman University’s president is leaving after less than three years in office.
Board of Trustees chairman Richard Cullen said Tuesday that Rod Alan Smolla would step down June 30 for personal reasons.
The school’s alumni association hailed Smolla as a “rock star” when he was sworn in as Furman’s president in October 2010.
Smolla was dean of law schools at the University of Richmond and at Washington and Lee before coming to Furman. During his tenure, Furman officials say admissions applications increased by 30 percent.
Furman says alum Carl Kohrt will serve as interim president.
Trustee Robert Hill will chair a search committee for the school’s next president.
New traffic signals flash yellow arrow
COLUMBIA — South Carolina intersections are getting a new traffic signal.
State Department of Transportation crews are installing a flashing yellow arrow at some lights across the state.
The flashing yellow arrow is already being used in a number of places. Drivers can make a left turn when the arrow is flashing as long as the road is clear.
DOT Traffic Signal and Systems Engineer Carol Jones says the new signal will make is easier for drivers to know what to do.
She said at many intersections, drivers have to look far to the right to see the signal.
Red arrows and green arrows will continue to be used on signals and won’t change meanings.
The signals with the flashing yellow arrow will replace the five-light doghouse signals.