Originally created 08/19/04

Across Georgia



More than 31,000 vote early in runoffs

ATLANTA - More than 31,000 Georgia voters took advantage of the state's early voting for the Aug. 10 primary runoffs.

This year, Georgia voters have been allowed to go to their voter registrar's office during the week leading up to elections and cast a ballot without having to give a reason - as they had to do under the state's old absentee balloting system.

As of Wednesday, the Georgia Secretary of State's office said, 31,798 people - 3 percent of those who voted in the runoffs - cast advance ballots. Three small counties - Dodge, Echols and Randolph - had not reported their figures. In the July primaries, about 76,000 people, more than 6 percent of voters, cast early ballots.

Police suspect two in 71-year-old's death

CALHOUN - A 71-year-old man was shot to death Wednesday during an armed robbery of his grocery store.

Authorities said Paul Trammell Ellis was shot at about 5:55 a.m. at Ginger's Grocery near Calhoun. He died hours later.

Police have two suspects in custody but they have not been charged, said Clent Harris, a Gordon County deputy.

Police seize goods in suspected store scam

ROSSVILLE - Georgia authorities said they confiscated two truck trailers full of merchandise taken by a man accused of defrauding stores across the Southeast by changing universal product codes.

Ricky W. Nation, 41, is accused of changing UPC codes to cheat stores out of more than 900 pieces of merchandise.

Officers raided Mr. Nation's home Friday and seized goods worth about $60,000.

Sheriff Steve Wilson said Mr. Nation changed the price stickers at Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Target, Kmart and other stores.

Lightning strike burns 138-year-old church

ST. MARYS - The oldest black church in Camden County was destroyed Tuesday after lightning apparently struck its steeple and ignited a fire that spread quickly through the 138-year-old building.

Witnesses said the First African Baptist Church of St. Marys caught fire between 4 and 5 p.m. during a severe thunderstorm.

The roof collapsed, and flames gutted the interior, said Sgt. Roger Wooten of the St. Marys Police Department. No injuries were reported.