Originally created 10/07/04

Across Georgia



Tax collections grow, but can't fix budget

ATLANTA - State tax collections increased slightly last month, but state revenue officials said Wednesday that the extra dollars won't be enough to ratchet back cuts ordered by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

For September, the state took in $105 million, 8.5 percent more than it took in the same month of 2003.

All three main sources of state income - sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes - were up, signaling an improving economy.

But state revenue officials warned the budget is still tight.

County to test rule against cruising

ATHENS - Athens-Clarke County will give an anti-cruising ordinance a test spin before making it permanent law.

That was the decision of Athens-Clarke County commissioners, who voted to give the police chief the tool he asked for - an ordinance that would ban late-night cruising downtown - but allow them the chance to review the efficiency of the law next summer.

The law would prohibit a driver from passing the same point more than three times in one hour.

Woman surrenders to serve time for murder

ATLANTA - Admitted killer Dionne Baugh turned herself in at the Fulton County Courthouse to begin serving 10 years in prison for beating her millionaire lover to death.

Ms. Baugh, 36, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last month in the death of 41-year-old Lance Herndon, the chief executive officer of the Roswell computer consulting firm Access Inc., who was beaten with a blunt object in 1996.

Ms. Baugh was convicted of murder in 2001, but that conviction was later thrown out by the Georgia Supreme Court after justices ruled that testimony from a police detective should not have been allowed.

Commission urges caution when burning

ALBANY - With an end to a burn ban that protected the Atlanta area from unhealthy ozone levels and with the fall wildfire season beginning, the Georgia Forestry Commission is warning people to use caution as they get ready to set fire to hurricane debris.

The wildfire risk remains low in most of Georgia because yards and forests are still absorbing the heavy rainfall from three hurricanes - Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - that slammed the state last month.

But the risk is expected to increase as the weather turns cooler and the fall leaves begin to drop.

For this reason, the Forestry Commission is urging Georgians to be extremely cautious when burning storm debris, or the material saved up from the annual four-month burn ban in 45 northern counties.