Originally created 01/23/04

Across Georgia



Perdue earns award for weight-loss plan

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue got an award Thursday from the Duchess of York for the weight-loss program he started for state employees last year - even though the governor confessed that after dropping 8 pounds he has gained some of it back.

"Everyone knows the real challenge isn't losing weight but keeping it off," he said, blaming the Christmas holidays when the mansion staff baked more than 14,000 cookies for visitors, "and I must say I'm not sure all of those made it to the visitors."

The duchess is a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers.

State's first lady talks to abortion opponents

ATLANTA - An annual gathering of abortion opponents Thursday featured a short speech from first lady Mary Perdue, who promised the hundreds gathered, "Don't faint. Don't become weary. Your voices are being heard."

Abortion opponents rally each January at the Capitol to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.

Thermostat is blamed in warehouse fire

CUMMING - A faulty thermostat is being blamed for a Thursday morning fire at an agricultural chemical warehouse, officials said.

The blaze at the 10,000-square-foot Regal Chemical warehouse in Forsyth County prompted an evacuation of nearby residents and closed a busy commuter route. A thermostat on an oven used to prepare fertilizer caused the 7:45 a.m. fire, officials said. Firefighters decided to allow the fire to burn itself out instead of putting water on the chemicals.

Report says governor misused state aircraft

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue is facing new questions that he has made improper use of a state aircraft only two months after the State Ethics Commission dismissed a similar complaint.

An Atlanta TV station reported Thursday that Mr. Perdue used a state helicopter to take his son to a football game north of Atlanta on what was logged as a trip to south Georgia.

WSB-TV reported that the governor dropped off his son, Jim, at a game in Cumming in September. According to the report, the helicopter landed at the Georgia State Patrol headquarters in Cumming, and only the son got off.