Originally created 01/30/05

Across the southeast

Missing woman turns up after police chase

MONTGOMERY, ALA. - An Alabama woman reported missing in September survived a police chase and shootout in Georgia that killed her fugitive companion.

Dawn Renee Thomas, 33, of Prattville, was reported missing by her family at about the same time the Autauga County Sheriff's Department began investigating Kevin Todd Screws, 34, for impersonating an officer.

Mr. Screws died Thursday in a shootout after the chase through Houston and Peach counties on Interstate 75, sheriff's spokesman Jim Steele said.

Ms. Thomas remained in the Houston County Jail on what Georgia authorities are calling "out-of-state" charges.

Governor seeks boost in pre-K spending

NASHVILLE, TENN. - When Gov. Phil Bredesen unveils his budget to Tennessee lawmakers Monday, he will ask the state to more than triple its spending on pre-kindergarten.

Improving preschool education is at the heart of the governor's agenda for the year - but it may be a tough sell in the Legislature because he wants to use lottery money to pay for it.

Lawmakers, even some who like the idea, wonder whether it might be too early to start using lottery money because the full costs for the college scholarships are still developing.

Mr. Bredesen has said he is going to announce $25 million in new money for pre-kindergarten. Right now, Tennessee spends about $10 million on 3,000 preschool children. Mr. Bredesen's budget would try to reach 9,000 more, giving preference to "at-risk" children.

Homeowners upset over receding river

PARKERSBURG, W.VA. - Paul Bartosh's dream of having a home on the river where he could relax and watch the boats go by is slowly crumbling, along with his back yard.

Months after he bought his home on the Little Kanawha River, three barges on the Ohio River broke away from a tow vessel and slammed into a lock and dam, preventing the water-control gates from being closed.

Ever since, the water level has been dropping in a 42-mile stretch of the Ohio River and in tributaries such as the Little Kanawha. Ten days after the accident in early January, pressure along the riverbank had fallen so much that the land started sliding into the water.

"What I bought was a riverfront property, said Mr. Bartosh, who lost a 25-by-75-foot section of his yard. "What I have now is a cliffside property."


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