Originally created 11/12/06

Across the region



>WellStar CEO dies in motorcycle crash

MARIETTA, Ga. - Dr. Robert A. Lipson, the chief executive officer and president of WellStar Health System, was killed Friday in a motorcycle wreck.

Marietta police said 60-year-old Dr. Lipson was riding his 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle at 6:28 p.m. Friday when he collided with a 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier.

Dr. Lipson was taken to WellStar Kennestone, where he was pronounced dead. He bought the motorcycle earlier this year at a fundraising gala for the World Children's Center.

Dr. Lipson brought an open-heart surgery program and a $68 million, 84-bed patient care tower to WellStar Kennestone Hospital.

Charges dropped against officer

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Prosecutors have dropped assault charges against a former Rock Hill police officer accused of beating suspects while on duty.

The state attorney general's office couldn't find key witnesses and decided last month not to pursue the three charges of aggravated assault and battery against Derek Williams, spokesman Mark Plowden said.

Mr. Williams resigned after 13 years on the force when allegations first surfaced in January 2003 that he had used excessive force. An indictment said he beat three men after they were subdued or lying on the ground.

Mr. Williams maintained his innocence throughout. His lawyer, Dennis Bolt, said none of the men Mr. Williams was accused of beating has pursued charges or sued the former officer.

Mr. Williams still lives in Rock Hill, working as a press operator for a paper company. He said he misses the excitement of police work, but not the politics.

"I might sound a little upset about it, but I really am," Mr. Williams said. "I lost my job. I lost my retirement. It put a lot of hardship and strain on my family."

Jefferson man wants arcades in Arcade

ARCADE, GA. - Brent Greenwood, of Jefferson, wants to build Arcadia Family Fun Center and Water Park, a 16-acre attraction with go-carts and an arcade in the south Jackson County city of the same name. The park would cater to children between 5 and 16 years old.

The project is planned for a tract near the intersection of Georgia Highway 82 and U.S. Highway 129. The land currently is zoned for agricultural use, but Mr. Greenwood wants the Arcade council to designate the land for commercial use.

Young wants museum to have broad focus

ATLANTA - The vision for the civil rights museum planned for Atlanta should extend beyond the tumultuous era that ended legal segregation, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young said Friday.

Speaking to national leaders of cultural heritage and tourism meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Young - also the former mayor of Atlanta - said the focus should be more global, addressing humanity's struggles for freedom and the struggle for justice in the American South.

"I, for one, am not someone who is interested in a civil rights museum that starts in the '60s and ends in 2000," Mr. Young said at the Carter Center during a meeting of the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Alliance.

A committee is considering the direction of the proposed museum at the request of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

A broad focus on human rights is among the suggestions, which should be presented to the mayor by the end of the year.

GSU to purchase SunTrust Tower

ATLANTA - Georgia State University plans to purchase the 26-story SunTrust Tower, the president of the college announced Friday.

Carl Patton said the university's private foundation will buy the white skyscraper, surrounding buildings and parking deck at 25 Park Place downtown for $52 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Over the past decade, the school has found creative ways to expand, buying property for classrooms and research and dorm space.

The SunTrust purchase is part of the school's $1 billion campus expansion, which will take the university through 2015. The tower is GSU's largest acquisition, Mr. Patton said.

The eastern portion of the site will be developed as a professional center for Georgia State's colleges of law and business, pending Board of Regents approval. Georgia State has more than 26,000 students and is set to open the state's largest privately funded dormitory.

Making the campus livable has been top priority for Mr. Patton, whose background is in urban planning. GSU is still about a million square feet short of what it needs, Mr. Patton said - a shortfall that is expected to triple over the next 10 years as the school adds up to 10,000 students.

Activists to protest 'segregated' display

BUTLER, GA. - Just after a weekend of Veterans Day festivities, a group of activists in central Georgia plans to protest against a courthouse display that lists local veterans - because it divides the 800 names in two columns marked in large type "Whites" and "Colored."

The display has been in the lobby of the Taylor County courthouse since 1944, honoring service members who fought in World War II.

The two lists are mounted side by side behind glass in two large frames.

John Cole Vodicka, an activist from Americus, is organizing a rally Monday at the courthouse to persuade the county commission to take down the display.

In January, the Taylor County Commission unanimously decided to create an "integrated" list, with all the names together and additional names that weren't in the display designed before the war ended.

- Edited from wire reports