Originally created 06/04/06

Across Georgia



Athens Democrat will fight redistricting

ATLANTA - State Rep. Jane Kidd is asking the nation's highest court to decide whether a new congressional map that splits in half the Democratic stronghold of Athens is constitutional.

Attorneys for Ms. Kidd, an Athens Democrat, filed notice in federal court this week that they intend to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a three-judge panel who upheld the redistricting.

Ms. Kidd's attorneys argue that the state constitution says legislators can redraw district lines only after a census.

The plan was approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

Powder in letter clears government offices

COLUMBUS - A floor of the Columbus government building was evacuated Friday after a clerk found white powder in a letter, officials said.

The scare happened as Gen. William Nesbitt, Georgia's director of homeland security, was meeting with Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff.

The powder was found in a letter that contained a threatening message, Muscogee County sheriff's Capt. Joe McCrea said.

Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce said the substance was being tested. Results are expected back this weekend.

Rappers, entourage arrested on interstate

ATLANTA - Two members of Atlanta rap group Youngbloodz and their 12-person entourage were arrested and slapped with drug and weapons charges.

Jeffrey Ray Grigsby, 29, who performs using the name J-Bo, and Sean Paul Joseph, 27, who performs using the name Sean Paul, were arrested Thursday on Interstate 85.

All 14 were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of firearms. The group was bonded out Friday afternoon.

Pilot lost control of plane before crash

GAINESVILLE - The crash of a small plane that killed a Georgia pilot after it struck a house and burst into flames last year in Florida most likely happened because he lost control of the plane, federal investigators ruled.

Gerald Ballard, from Gainesville, was killed in January 2005 when his Cirrus SR22 crashed into a house in Coconut Creek, Fla. The 58-year-old was headed to Naples, Fla.