Originally created 02/28/04

Across Georgia



School bus crashes into home, injures 7

DORAVILLE - A school bus ran off the street and plowed into a house Friday morning, injuring seven elementary school pupils.

The bus was carrying 35 pupils to Cary Reynolds Elementary School.

No major injuries were reported, officials said, but all were taken to the hospital to be examined.

Authorities said they were looking at road conditions to determine what caused the wreck.

"This was a real unusual accident," said Doraville Police Chief John King. "It's cold, but there's no ice on the road. We were very lucky that the injuries appear to be very minor."

Wal-Mart workers top list of PeachCare use

ATLANTA - Wal-Mart heads the list of companies with employees who have children enrolled in Georgia's PeachCare health insurance program, with 14 times as many as the second-leading company.

A state survey found that 10,261 children of Wal-Mart employees participated in September 2002 in the state program to provide health insurance to children whose families otherwise cannot afford it.

Publix workers had 734 children enrolled in PeachCare.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company does not encourage employees to use state insurance plans for children or Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor.

Atlanta hospital plans $48 million expansion

ATLANTA - Shepherd Center, a hospital specializing in spinal cord injuries and diseases affecting the central nervous system, is planning a $48 million expansion.

The project will increase the number of beds at Shepherd from 100 to 120 and eliminate four-bed wards. It also will reduce the number of two-bed rooms, consolidate outpatient facilities and create more office space.

Shepherd Center officials said the two-year construction project is expected to begin in June.

Judge hears officers discussing contest

PORTERDALE - A contest between two police officers in a small Georgia town to see which one could issue the most traffic tickets was stopped by a judge who overheard the apparent winner talking about it, the mayor said.

Part-time Porterdale police officers Erin Cox and Frank Jackson wrote about 150 tickets in January, which was significantly higher than in previous months, Mayor Paul Oeland said.

The contest was revealed when City Court Judge C. David Strickland overheard the officers talking about it recently.

2 students arrested over fired handgun

DECATUR - Two ninth-graders were arrested after a handgun accidentally fired in a bathroom at Stephenson High School.

Officials said one of the students apparently brought the .25-caliber weapon to show it off and was handing it to the other student when it discharged Wednesday in a modular building with several classrooms outside the main building.

The students were arrested by school system police for possessing a gun on school property and illegally discharging a weapon. They were also suspended for three days pending initial discipline hearings.

Foreign-born military members naturalized

COLUMBUS - A number of foreign-born U.S. servicemen and women were naturalized Friday during a ceremony at Fort Benning.

U.S. citizenship was a gift from President Bush to immigrants who served on active duty in the U.S. campaign against terrorism. Among those taking the oath of citizenship was Marine Cpl. James Rock, who was born in Haiti.

"Now I'm part of the family, and I'm serving my country instead of just being in the military," Cpl. Rock said.

During the past year, more than 8,000 military service members have received U.S. citizenship