Originally created 12/24/01

Across Georgia

MARTA bailout fails to win over Barnes

ATLANTA -Gov. Roy Barnes said he won't support a proposed MARTA bailout, citing the state's own budget problems.

"The state is facing its own budget challenge right now and is not in the position to bail out MARTA," Mr. Barnes said Friday. "In this economic downturn, times are tight for everyone."

The idea of bailing out MARTA was proposed Thursday by state Rep. Bill McKinney, D-Atlanta, after hundreds of people protested the transit authority's plan to cut several bus routes and dramatically reduce weekend service to make up for a more than $12 million shortfall.

Newspaper touts safety of Athens

ATHENS - While the number of murders in Athens-Clarke County doubled from last year, the city remains a relatively safe area with a low per-capita homicide rate compared to other Georgia towns, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

This year there were 11 murders in Athens, compared with five in 2000. That translates to a per capita rate of 10 murders per 100,000 people.

By contrast, last year the city of Atlanta, with a much larger population but comparable demographics, had 18 murders per 100,000 people. Savannah had 14.6 murders per 100,000 people.

"Overall in terms of violence, Athens is a safe town," said Dean Rojek, a University of Georgia professor of sociology and expert on criminal trends.

Macon gives thought to electric vehicles

MACON -Cheap fuel and zero emissions could be enough to sell the city of Macon on electric vehicles being sold through a dealership in Warner Robins.

After the holidays, Macon workers plan to test drive electric vehicles manufactured by Global Electric Motorcars, a division of DaimlerChrysler with headquarters in Fargo, N.D. If successful, the city may buy some, said Tim Stewart, the city's director of vehicle maintenance.

"We know we're going to need to eliminate air pollutants," Mr. Stewart said. He said the city already uses about 50 natural gas vehicles.

Islanders string up lots of holiday lights

JEKYLL ISLAND -The holidays are brighter this year on Jekyll Island - twice as bright, to be exact.

In its biggest holiday display ever, Jekyll Island has strung up 1.2 million lights on its live oaks, palm trees and historic buildings. The state-owned resort used 600,000 lights last year and plans to continue to grow, Assistant Marketing Director Maxine Smith said.

"We're going to add to that everywhere," Ms. Smith said.

The resort began the displays in the 1980s and plans to expand them into a show it can market, similar to those at Callaway Gardens and Lake Lanier Islands, said Bill Donohue, the executive director of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority.


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