Originally created 05/06/02

Across Georgia



Two fires spread in the Okefenokee

FOLKSTON -A swamp fire sparked by lightning spread to 11,000 acres Sunday in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and another fire on the edge of the swamp grew from 11 acres to about 1,000 acres.

Refuge Ranger Maggie O'Connell said officials were not alarmed about the larger blaze, which began in thick scrub brush Tuesday after a lightning storm. That fire is located deep inside the 400,000-acre swamp, which straddles the Georgia-Florida border.

No homes are threatened by either fire, and the park remained open Sunday.

New area code is merely a safety net

ATLANTA -A fourth area code for the Atlanta metro area is unlikely to be needed soon. The 470 area code was introduced last year and was to go into effect in August.

"The new 470 relief code may not be needed for years," said Ralph Trammell, an analyst for the Georgia Public Service Commission. "It's approved if we need it. We have to use up the 678."

Teen denies raping girl on playground

COLUMBUS -A 15-year-old boy has pleaded innocent in the playground rape of a 7-year-old girl.

Columbus police Lt. Vince Pasko said the girl was playing late Friday night with her 10-year-old sister and a 12-year-old boy near an elementary school playground. While her friends played at the basketball courts, the girl apparently wandered over to the slide area, about 80 yards away, police said. When her friends heard her scream, they ran toward her, and the teen-ager ran away, Lt. Pasko said.

The unidentified teen was arrested a couple of hours later.

Jury convicts man of killing his wife

BRUNSWICK -A Glynn County man faces life in prison after a jury convicted him of shooting his wife in the garage and then using a backhoe to bury her body in the front yard.

William David Tatro, 52, was found guilty Friday of malice murder in the death of his 53-year-old wife, Yukie Tatro.

Police discovered her decomposed body Oct. 5, 2000, buried within 100 feet of the front door of the house, officials reported.

Prosecutors said that Mrs. Tatro had sought legal advice about divorcing her husband, whom she had discovered was romantically involved with a California woman he had met over the Internet.