Originally created 11/27/05

Across Georgia



Explosion outside court is investigated

HINESVILLE - No injuries were reported after an explosion erupted outside the Liberty County Courthouse early Saturday morning, authorities said.

"Right now what they have is parts and evidence consistent with an improvised explosive device," said Rich Marianos, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He said the explosion detonated outside the courthouse at about 6 a.m. Saturday. Police are investigating a possible motive and are inspecting the crime scene, identifying the debris and conducting interviews.

Mr. Marianos said the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, Hinesville City Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have joined the ATF in the investigation.

Savannah considers plans for new arena

SAVANNAH - By January, the city of Savannah could present a master plan for a new 10,000-seat, $80 million arena on the western edge of downtown.

Designs to replace the Savannah Civic Center are slowly solidifying. But officials aren't in a rush. They say they want to get it right and have a comprehensive pitch for Chatham County voters to consider.

To fund the project, voters must pass a referendum to continue the special purpose local option sales tax.

That vote could come in March 2007. If it fails, another election could be held a year later, just after the current five-year penny sales tax agreement runs out.

The city is eyeing more than 100 acres near the Chatham Steel facility next to Interstate 16. Negotiations are under way with two large landowners there, said Joe Shearouse, the city's director of leisure services.

Rangers prepare for annual seedling sale

JACKSON - Rangers with the Georgia Forestry Commission are out in the woods this fall, squirreling away pounds of acorns for the winter - the state's winter seedling sale, that is.

From December through February, the state sells to the public the seedlings that acorns and other tree seeds produce in the commission's nursery.

The program was started in the 1940s because there were few commercial nurseries for trees then, says David Newman, a University of Georgia professor who studies forest resources. The collection and sale are part of the commission's reforestation program.

The commission's nursery in Byromville, in south-central Georgia, produces as much as 20 million seedlings annually, the agency says.

"We're sort of like big, ugly squirrels," said Jered Weston, who was hoarding acorns on a recent outing at a nature center in Butts County, about 40 miles south of Atlanta.