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Helicopter fixed, modified 17 times

ATLANTA — An Atlanta police helicopter had been repaired or modified 17 times before crashing into a utility pole Nov. 3, killing two police officers, according to FAA records.

New electronics, including heat sensors, sirens, communications equipment, a GPS system and an anti-theft system were among other upgrades installed. In 2005, the helicopter’s engine was replaced.

The aircraft was built in 1967 and was donated to the Atlanta Police Department from the U.S. Army in 1996 for the Olympic Games.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash and will issue findings in about a year.

Hospice fined for cheating Medicare

COLUMBIA — A South Carolina hospice company will pay the federal government nearly $1.3 million for filing false claims to Medicare.

The Justice Department says the agreement Tuesday settles a lawsuit that accuses Harmony Hospice Care of filing claims for hospice care under Medicare for patients who did not qualify.

Owner Daniel J. Burton must pay $200,000 of the settlement himself.

Two employees, Mona Singletary and Lynda Fulton, sued the company and Burton under a whistleblower provision of federal law that allows citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government and receive part of any penalties defendants must pay. Singletary and Fulton will split about $245,000.

Harmony Hospice Care has locations in Columbia, Greenville, Hartsville and Union.

In other news

SUMTER COUNTY sheriff’s deputies are investigating the shooting death of a man who was trying to repossess a truck. Chief Deputy Hampton Gardner said 45-year-old Todd Showell of Lee County was killed Tuesday. Alton Shelley, 81, is charged with murder and aggravated assault.


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Christmas Eve storm possible

ATLANTA - Forecasters say strong storms, some with the potential for isolated tornadoes, are possible over large parts of Georgia on Christmas Eve.
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