Originally created 12/31/06

Across the Southeast



Edwards resigns to focus on second run

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Former Sen. John Edwards has resigned as director of the poverty center he founded at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill so he can focus on his second run for president.

The Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity was founded in February 2005 to study ideas for moving more Americans out of poverty and into the middle class. Mr. Edwards, who has made poverty the trademark issue of his campaign, was its first director.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Edwards said the center had already had some success by holding conferences and panel discussions.

Genetically altered rice sparks concern

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas will test all rice seed planted in the state next year, as concerns continue after trace amounts of genetically altered rice were found in one type of rice.

The state Plant Board unanimously approved the emergency rule to require the testing by April 1.

Seed will be collected from producers and farmers and sent to a testing lab. If found clean, the board will issue letters confirming that. If a sample tests positive for the unapproved Cheniere rice, it must either be destroyed or taken to a mill and processed for the domestic market by July 31.

Georgia man dies in ultralight plane crash

JASPER, TENN. - The pilot of an ultralight aircraft was killed when he crashed near the Marion County Airport, marking the third fatal plane crash in a week in southeastern Tennessee.

Seth Benjamin Josey, 36, of Duluth, Ga., died on impact when he crashed his Northwind Apache aircraft Thursday, authorities said.

Witnesses said the plane lost power and nosed-dived into the ground.

Mr. Josey had a student license and was authorized to fly solo.

State's longest-serving official steps down

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - North Carolina's longest-serving elected official is stepping down.

Mildred Thomas, who has been Onslow County's register of deeds for more than 58 years, has retired. She advised county officials of her decision in a letter.

Ms. Thomas, who turned 94 on Wednesday, said she felt she should spend more time with her 92-year-old sister Thelma after their sister Mary died in October at the age of 89.

Her nieces and nephews persuaded her to leave while they spent Christmas together.

"They thought I had worked long enough, and they want to spend more time with me," she said.