Originally created 03/04/03

Across Georgia



House diverts funding to balance budget

ATLANTA -The Georgia House voted Monday to divert interest from a green-space fund to help balance the budget.

The change would add about $2 million to the state general fund. The move would require a new law because currently contributions to the Georgia Greenspace Fund must stay with that fund.

The measure passed 133-31, but a bipartisan group of lawmakers complained that the move was unfair to people who donated because they were told their money and its interest would stay with the green-space program. Local governments also donate to the fund.

Bridge may be named for slain sheriff-elect

ATLANTA -An interstate overpass near the grave of slain DeKalb County Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown likely will be named for him.

The Georgia House was scheduled to vote today on the honor for Sheriff-elect Brown, who was assassinated in late 2000, days before taking office. His predecessor, former Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, was convicted for ordering the shooting.

The bridge to be named for the sheriff-elect is the Glenwood Road crossing over Interstate 285 in DeKalb County. The resolution's sponsor, Rep. Jill Chambers, said she hopes to organize a ceremony naming the bridge June 22, the slain officer's birthday.

$20 million deficit failed to halt party

ATLANTA -Atlanta's public transit authority threw an $84,106 party for its employees in December even though the agency faced a $20 million deficit in 2002.

MARTA's party at Turner Field's 755 Club had ice sculptures, karaoke and an electric slide dance contest, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday. At the time, MARTA was eliminating eight daily bus routes and 15 weekend lines because of the budget crisis. About 700 nonunion workers were forced to take two-week unpaid furloughs.

MARTA General Manager Nathaniel Ford said the party was justified because it boosted morale for the employees who helped the agency save $28 million last year.

Cases of tuberculosis continue to decline

ATLANTA -Tuberculosis continues to be on the decline in Georgia, but the state still has the second-highest number of cases in the nation, state health officials said Monday.

In 2002, Georgia reached a low of 524 cases, a decline of about 9 percent from 575 cases in 2001, the Georgia Division of Public Health reported.