Originally created 08/31/02

Across Georgia



Reward offered in Georgia State fire

ATLANTA - The state fire commissioner offered a reward Friday for information about an arson at a Georgia State University building Thursday night.

No one was injured in the fire. About 30 people were evacuated from the University Center, which houses a student bookstore, a movie theater and offices.

Deanna Hines, Georgia State director of university relations, said the building was undergoing renovations. Officials cited smoke and water damage but were unable to determine an overall estimate.

Nursing shortage hits 20 percent, survey says

ATLANTA -More practicing nurses are needed in Georgia, where the vacancy rate in public health care facilities is 20 percent, according to recent surveys.

Efforts to increase the number have resulted in nursing schools reporting higher-than-usual enrollments for the fall semester.

More attention to a shortage of health professionals and additional scholarships have helped increase applications, officials said.

Infant's death earns 15-year prison term

BRUNSWICK - A Brunswick man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to causing the death of his infant son last year.

Theodore J. Woodard Jr., 23, pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his 11-month-old son, Theodore Woodard III. The baby died from a blow to his head.

Prosecutors dismissed felony murder and cruelty to children charges in exchange for his plea. Mr. Woodard must serve 13 1/2 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

State education board plans to lay off 40

ATLANTA -The Georgia Department of Education will lay off as many as 40 employees next month to meet the governor's order to cut spending, and board members are blaming the job cuts on outgoing schools Superintendent Linda Schrenko.

Mrs. Schrenko said Friday she plans to sue the school board.

Members of the board - who are appointed by Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes - said Mrs. Schrenko is using the layoffs and lawsuit to target people who did not support her politically. Mr. Barnes ordered 3 percent cuts in state department budgets after a report showed a 13th month of downturns in state revenue.