Originally created 02/29/04

Across Georgia



Police officer fired after ticket contest

PORTERDALE - A Porterdale police officer accused of having a traffic ticket-writing contest with another officer has been fired after refusing to resign.

Part-time officer Frank Jackson told officials Friday that he and Erin Cox, also a part-time officer, were just "doing their jobs" and refused to surrender his job, City Manager Tom Fox said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Cox turned in her resignation, The Rockdale Citizen reported Saturday.

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

Judge Strickland was faced with an unusually large court docket of 240 tickets for January - more than double the monthly average of 100. Mr. Jackson and Ms. Cox were responsible for about 150 of them, said Mayor Paul Oeland.

Man convicted of murdering manager

ATLANTA - A Griffin man has been convicted in the 2002 shooting death of a Krystal assistant manager.

It took three hours of deliberations for a Fulton County jury to convict Tyra Dale Lane, 23, of felony murder.

The charge carries an automatic life sentence in prison.

Danielle Simpson, 26, was killed during the Nov. 6, 2002, robbery of the College Park restaurant. Mr. Lane was a former Krystal employee.

Mr. Lane claimed a friend with a long criminal history committed the robbery, which he didn't know anything about.

Officials investigate worker's death

SAVANNAH - Federal labor officials are investigating how a Mississippi construction worker plummeted 40 feet to his death while working at the Southern Company's Plant McIntosh power generating unit.

Kenny Bush, a vice president for Mississippi-based W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., refused to identify the deceased worker. He said the man fell while working on a project in Effingham County that will give Southern Company two new natural gas-powered electric generating units.

"Evidently it was just a freak accident that resulted in his death," Mr. Bush said Friday.

He said work at the site was stopped after the Tuesday afternoon accident. Construction has since resumed.

Rodeo bull jumps fence, injures crowd

PERRY - A rodeo bull jumped a fence into the audience, sending two people to the hospital and injuring eight others.

The bull jumped into one of the box seats in an arena at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter at about 10 p.m. as 4,000 people watched the final rodeo event of the night, said venue spokeswoman Michele Treptow.

The rodeo staff immediately secured the bull and removed it from the arena. Emergency medical technicians on site took care of the injured.

District introduces proposals for cuts

ATHENS - Across the board, the Clarke County School District spends more on its pupils than the state average - in areas that include instruction and pupil services in addition to general administration and maintenance - and a breakdown of where those costs happen is the first step in squeezing down next year's budget.

The district, facing the loss of $4.59 million in state funds for existing expenses because of budget cuts, already is trying to find ways to cut back its 2004-05 budget.

At a workshop last week, district staff members introduced proposals for almost $3.37 million in cuts - the lion's share of which would come from the elementary, middle and high schools by eliminating about 19 teaching positions and 29 paraprofessional teacher's aide positions.

The district's instructional budget, which includes those salaries and benefits, currently makes up almost two-thirds of the total budget.

The analysis shows that Clarke County spends more per pupil on instruction than the state average for school districts.