Originally created 09/15/03

Across Georgia



Man denies making threats to Gingrey

CARTERSVILLE -A Cartersville veteran denied that he threatened U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey over a petition related to a veterans' benefit bill.

Gingrey spokesman Brian Robinson said Steve Barbier told an aide in Mr. Gingrey's Marietta district office that he would kill Mr. Gingrey if he came to Cartersville. But Mr. Barbier said he never made a threat.

"The only time the word kill could have possibly come up is (that not signing the petition) would kill his chances at re-election," Mr. Barbier told The Daily Tribune News in Cartersville. "I have no idea, I was upset."

After the call, Mr. Gingrey's office contacted a congressional liaison with the federal Office of Homeland Security. Mr. Barbier said the FBI came to his house to discuss the call, but he said the agents left quickly.

Consolidation seen as financial fix

CUSSETA -Cusseta officials hope the city government's upcoming consolidation with Chattahoochee County will help its troubled financial situation.

Serving as Cusseta's mayor has been "very stressful," said Kimberly Sparks, who is within weeks of giving up the post she has held for about six months. The merger will put the new consolidated Cusseta-Chattahoochee County government under the control of a five-member commission.

"After we really got in here and learned what shape the city was in, it was upsetting to see the condition it had been in for years before," she said. "But everything is in the open now."

The city has lagged on paying off several debts, including a $50,000 bank loan and more than $25,000 due to a state police officers' fund.

Officials unsure what caused plane crash

MONTICELLO -Authorities are investigating to determine what caused a single-engine plane crash that killed its pilot Saturday.

John Joseph Lawlor, 70, of Braselton, took off from Jackson County and was trying to land at the airport in Jasper County when his plane went down, officials said.

The single-engine Mooney aircraft was found in a heavily wooded area on private property. Mr. Lawlor was the only person on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board said fog might have been a factor in the crash, or the plane might have been low on fuel.