Statewide impact
Drought may not be over; Rome fears Atlanta may take water; GBI identifies more bodies at Tri-State than expected... More.

Peach State politics
Budget battle may be biggest for Perdue; Lt. Gov. speaks out; Highway funding; Perdue's flag record....More.

Hartsfield #1 in passenger volume; CNN may fly solo; Three Atlanta sports teams may be up for sale...More.

UGA, Tech create agroterror resource; Life U. woes continue; Whale on display at Ga. Southern.... More.

Augusta's Phinizy Swamp, Brunswick marsh can't be fixed; Rail-trail possible in Athens.... More.

Health care
Vidalia onions may hold cancer clue; Rome hospitals boost economy; Macon hospital takes to technology. ... More.

Major local news
Gwinnett Arena, Sewer money in Atlanta; AT&T phone tower dismantled in Macon; Taxes in Savannah and Snellville... More.

On Milledgeville government, redistricting, constitutional crisis, flag debate, ethics reform and....More.


Monday, February 17, 2003 Final edition posted at 8:55 am
Newly-added stories marked with an asterisk (*)
NOTE: If printed, Georgia Clips will run approx. 10 pages

Budget battles remain priority

It's been the main focus of this year's General Assembly session, and this week, the state budget promises to take front and center once again as lawmakers take a break from their daily sessions to home in on the state's finances.

The Legislature will meet today and Tuesday, then take the rest of the week off for budget summits. Senate members will work on an amended version of Georgia's 2003 budget, which the House has passed, while the House will begin work on the 2004 budget.

Key to the members of both chambers will be trying to find ways to balance a budget crippled by an ailing economy - preferably without having to raise taxes to do it.

Governor's ethics platform shaky

From today's issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"If the first ethics bill from Gov. Sonny Perdue and his Republican Senate majority is any indication of the governor's commitment to ethics reform, voters cannot have much confidence in the rest of his ethics platform.

"Former Ethics Commissioner Dick Yarbrough, appointed by Gov. Zell Miller, says he is "surprised and disappointed" by Perdue's actions.

"'He has taken something that has needed to be done for a long time -- ethics reform -- then he's tainted it by wholesale removal of commissioners while he has a violation pending," Yarbrough said. "The perception will take a good deed and make it look suspicious.'"

Drought may not be over yet
Georgia's five-year drought was nearing an end, according to weather experts. The state and many cities recently lifted water bans, rain finally fell on a regular basis in the fall and lakes approached full levels. Augusta Chronicle/AP

Rome fears Atlanta grip on its water
Thirsty Atlantans might be able to gulp down even more of the Etowah River’s water if a proposed bill on interbasin water transfers passes, critics of the measure say. Rome News-Tribune/Saturday

GBI identifies more bodies than expected at Tri-State Crematory
Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials, who have worked for the past year to identify remains found at Tri-State Crematory, say they are winding down the active identification process. Rome News-Tribune/Saturday

Mortgage loan law problems start to hit home with buyers
Consumers are starting to pay the price for problems in the state's predatory lending law and the time it's taking lawmakers to fix it. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Saturday

Budget battles remain priority
It's been the main focus of this year's General Assembly session, and this week, the state budget promises to take front and center once again as lawmakers take a break from their daily sessions to home in on the state's finances. Augusta Chronicle/Morris

For Perdue, budget the biggest battle he faces. Q&A with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Lt. Gov: Republicans holding bills hostage
Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor says he’s fed up with trying to work with the Republican-led Senate leadership. Gwinnett Daily Post/AP/Sunday

Funding challenges to blame; GRIP projects now under siege
The state Department of Transportation has been building highways at the most frenzied pace in the state's history. Athens Banner-Herald/Morris

Perdue's votes may reveal his choice for flag
While Gov. Sonny Perdue won't say right now which flag he'd choose, a look at Perdue's Senate voting record might provide a clue to which way he's leaning. Macon Telegraph/Saturday

Minority officials face new challenges
Three Georgia Democrats debuting in Congress this year were elected amid a Republican sweep spanning from governor to dog catcher. Augusta Chronicle/AP

Massage therapy or prostitution? Lawmakers want to know
A bill before the Georgia House would overhaul the state's rules governing massage therapy, setting up a state board to license massage therapists and inspect their workplaces. Augusta Chronicle/AP

Bill seeks to check child workers’ past. Marietta Daily Journal

Governors enter sprawl fray
State governors are beginning to push "smart growth" agendas at the state level. But Georgia --- with Atlanta's rampant sprawl that gobbled up more than 600,000 acres of land for development over 15 years --- has yet to hear Gov. Sonny Perdue's plan to deal with growth. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Senator adjusts to new duties
It's 7 a.m. at the state Capitol, and Eric Johnson is unpacking boxes in his spacious office next door to the Senate chambers. Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

* LEGISLATURE 2003: Cobb legislator, 24, off to impressive start. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Sweep by GOP revives rightists
When Georgia Republicans captured the Governor's Mansion and took control of the state Senate last fall, no one celebrated harder than religious conservatives. Augusta Chronicle/Morris/Sunday

State Rep. Massey now part of a smaller delegation due to redistricting. Gwinnett Daily Post/Sunday

* Map casts Dean out of county
State Sens. Nathan Dean (D-Rockmart) and Don Thomas (R-Dalton) had little to say Sunday on a new proposed Senate map that would put their districts out of Bartow County. Cartersville Daily Tribune/Sunday

* Local delegation not in favor of tax increases
The General Assembly has been in session for more than five weeks and much of its time has been spent addressing budget problems, both in the current fiscal year and in the 2004 fiscal year. Dalton Daily Citizen/Sunday

Lobbyists want power stripped from utilities
The bill would require the power companies to justify to a Public Service Commission judge every line they add by showing the need and proving that they have picked the best route. Augusta Chronicle/Morris/Sunday

* Cherokee Dems working to up local presence. Cherokee Tribune

Bob Barr plots return to power
Announcement of 6th District run expected on Monday. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Barnes emptied emergency fund after losing job
Two weeks after his re-election defeat, Gov. Roy Barnes spent most of the remaining money in the Governor's Emergency Fund despite a looming budget shortfall that has his successor slashing programs and proposing tax increases. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hartsfield stays No. 1 in passenger volume
Despite the sour economy, Atlanta is still the busiest airport as measured by passenger volume. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Saturday

* Atlanta overreaches with Fortune 500 rank
For the past year, local boosters have been tooting their horns saying that Atlanta has the third-greatest concentration of Fortune 500 corporate headquarters among U.S. cities. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For now, CNN looks to fly solo
The demise of merger talks between CNN and ABC News may have signaled the end of CNN's courting days. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Saturday

* Development threatens to bury old cemeteries. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Can Lakeshore Mall stay afloat?
The future of Colonial Lakeshore Mall has become a hot debate again among Hall County shoppers. Gainesville Times/Sunday

For sale: Three teams, slightly used
On the very day AOL Time Warner announced that it lost almost $100 billion last year -- the largest annual loss in the history of American business -- the company's chief executive was on the phone to Terry McGuirk, who oversees the Braves, Hawks and Thrashers for the conglomerate. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday * What Atlanta's sports teams mean to AOL. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Midtown growth rises from lost dream
A dreamer known as "The Swede" helped lay the foundation for the current buzz of activity in Midtown. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

* Security gets a boost as state ports boom. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Empowerment Zone replacement unveiled
The newest version of a federal program in Atlanta to fix blighted areas may be run by a downtown organization that has a track record of providing affordable housing by packaging public and private financing. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

International Corridor impressive for its economic clout
Asian population growth and buying power is creating a new International Corridor, this time among big box retailers and shopping centers that dot the landscape near Gwinnett Place mall. Gwinnett Daily Post/Sunday

Asian-themed shopping center also targets mainstream. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Colleges create agroterror resource
The University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology have created the Center for Security in Agriculture and the Environment, the country's leading source of expertise on agroterrorism. Augusta Chronicle

More woes for Life U.
Life University's founder and former president is suing the chiropractic school, claiming it breached his severance agreement. WSB-TV

* Mace: Staff cuts unlikely at UGA
As legislators continue to tighten the state's fiscal belt, the University finds itself in a precarious position -- trying to maintain quality education while in the midst of financial turmoil. Red & Black/Friday

* Head Start could face budget cuts LaGrange Daily News/Sunday

Tech, Emory working to pave way for technology
For decades we have known about the problem, and struggled for ways to ease it, if not solve it. That's the problem of technology transfer -- how to get neat ideas into the marketplace. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

* Bainbridge College among nation’s fastest growing
Bainbridge College ranked 38th among the fastest growing community, technical, tribal, junior colleges and two-year campuses of four-year colleges in the United States, according to an analysis by a national publication. Bainbridge Post Searchlight/Friday

A whale of a tale
Buried in a research laboratory for 20 years and in South Georgia limestone for about 41 million years before that, a 12-foot-long creature is finally showing its fierce grin here at Georgia Southern University's campus museum. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Newcomers dive into English
Gainesville Middle School has a program that helps students with limited English skills prepare for that advancement. Gainesville Times/Sunday

New Emory Arts Center benefits university & community. WPBA-TV

Oprah donating $5 million more to Morehouse. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Friday

Let black museum tell 'whole story'
Atlanta chimes in on national African-American institution. Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Sunday

Ecologists play beyond Phinizy Swamp in Augusta
The Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and research, has a wide trail of accomplishments in its wake - including a nature park that played host to 7,000 pupils in 2002. Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

* Filtering will hike sand cost
Glynn County got the state's permission Friday to nourish the St. Simons Island beach, along with a condition for construction that could potentially double the cost of the project. Brunswick News/Saturday

Environmental agency can't fix marsh
Because the transportation department is exempt from some of the state's marsh and water protection laws, there's little environmental regulators can do to enforce cleanup operations in Brunswick. Athens Banner-Herald/AP/Sunday

* EPD requests new well at Ball
This week, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) directed more testing for the Ball Metal Container Plant in Moultrie, the site of a toxic spill in the late 1980s. Moultrie Observer

Rail-trail could get on track
A request for federal transportation funding could breathe new life into a project that aims to renovate abandoned rail lines in Athens for walking and biking trails, and includes a renovation of the ''Murmur'' railroad trestle. Athens Banner-Herald/Saturday

Vidalia onion may hold clues to cancer
The red-clay dirt in which Vidalia onions are grown also contains feeble levels of selenium, a trace mineral that is being tested nationwide to see whether it can help prevent prostate cancer in men. Augusta Chronicle

Hospitals boost economy
Rome’s two hospitals have a combined economic impact of $622 million, according to a report by the Georgia Hospital Association. Rome News-Tribune

* Report: Tanner pumped $283 million into 2001 economy
Tanner Health System contributed $283.3 million to the local economy in 2001, according to a recent report prepared by the Georgia Hospital Association, the state’s largest hospital trade association. Carrollton Times-Georgian/Sunday

* Hospital helps contribute money, jobs to Cordele
Crisp Regional Hospital contributed $68,942,704 to the local economy in 2002, according to a recent report by the Georgia Hospital Association. Cordele Dispatch

Macon hospital taking technological leap
Physicians at Coliseum Medical Centers will be using the talents of another mechanical wonder - the da Vinci Surgical System - to assist in performing surgery. Macon Telegraph

State opens fraud inquiry
More state agencies are investigating alleged corruption at the Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia. Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

Grayson takes steps to create anti-smoking laws. Gwinnett Daily Post/Sunday

DeKalb's tougher indoor smoking law in effect now. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Arena provides Gwinnett, Hall a new place to play. Gainesville Times/Sunday

Augusta escapes area code division
Because the economy has slowed and plans are being made to limit the block distribution of telephone numbers, area codes aren't multiplying as quickly, said Stan Shepard, a regional spokesman for BellSouth. Augusta Chronicle

Sewer money flowing in Atlanta City Hall
Contracts worth millions of dollars have gone to politically connected firms for Atlanta's multibillion-dollar plan to fix its aging sewer system. WSB-TV

Old phone tower coming down a piece at a time
For nearly 50 years, the AT&T tower, a red-and-white steel monstrosity, has served as a Macon landmark and, most say, a Macon eyesore. Macon Telegraph

Alpharetta foreclosures soar as techies flee. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Brunswick mayor faces petition drive
Residents angry at Brunswick's elected officials have until March 17 to gather 2,000 signatures that would force a recall election of the mayor and two commissioners. WXIA-TV/AP

Atlanta clean-up plan may bite dust
Mayor Shirley Franklin's team to clean up Atlanta could be a casualty in a tussle with City Council members over how to spend a $17 million surplus. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fight for city manager still hot topic
Floyd Griffin has been mayor of Milledgeville for just more than a year, but that year has been a contentious one with the City Council voting to change the city's charter and strip the mayor of many of his duties. Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Aviation museum in line for more than $300,000 in federal funds
The Museum of Aviation and the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame received key funding boosts Friday as the Fiscal Year 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill was passed by Congress. Macon Telegraph/Saturday

Cobb legislators dismiss tax for arts center. Marietta Daily Journal

ARC to look at tax options
Officials pledged Friday to find the money needed to fix the region’s transportation problems — even if it means taxes. Gwinnett Daily Post/Sunday

  • Regional MARTA solution revisited
    Metro Atlanta's leaders are once again talking about regionalizing MARTA, a controversial idea residents of their counties have rejected for 25 years. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SPLOST deal cut
Last-minute agreement paves way for Chatham County and Savannah voters to decide fate of one-cent tax in a March 18 referendum. Savannah Morning News/Saturday

* City, county at odds over SPLOST
Cartersville officials feel the city does not get its fair share of Special Purpose Local Option sales tax funds. So they hope they can one day have their own. Cartersville Daily Tribune/Saturday

Harrell pushes for penny tax
If legislation is passed, Snellville residents could vote as soon as November on paying one more penny to the government. Lobbying for the Gwinnett Municipal Association, Mayor Brett Harrell is the first to push the idea in Gwinnett. Gwinnett Daily Post/Sunday

Any site changes will require nod
A regional planning official says the proposed $250 million World Children's Center in Harris County would have to follow its final site development plan if its rezoning application is approved and could not do anything it wants on the 541-acre tract up for rezoning. Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Expansion of Highway 72 in Colbert in limbo. Athens Banner-Herald

'Overdue' A-C ordinance upsetting some
Landlords of rental property in single-family neighborhoods are up in arms over a proposed rental registration ordinance some Athens-Clarke County commissioners are calling ''long overdue.'' Athens Banner-Herald

Downtown Watkinsville slated for makeover. Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Sewer system slated for expansion in Hoschton
With residential developers studying potential building sites, city leaders have decided to increase the sewage treatment plant's size by 500 percent, allowing it to accommodate 1,300 new homes, according to estimates. Athens Banner-Herald/Saturday

Milledgeville's 'coup de grace'
"The dictionary defines "coup de grace" as "a death blow." In the case of Milledgeville city government, the City Council is seeking to kill the office of mayor before mid-term. The Milledgeville council adopted a resolution in January that asks the state Legislature to change the city's form of government from Mayor/Council to Council/Manager." Macon Telegraph

Righting a wrong
"Georgians watched with dismay and disgust in 2001 as Democratic legislators chopped up counties and communities in their attempt to draw legislative and congressional districts that would enhance the party's representation." Savannah Morning News

And the verdict is ...
"A couple of months into a Republican governor's term and we've already got a "constitutional crisis" because a Democratic officeholder doesn't agree with him? Oh, come on! A constitutional crisis is when a Yankee army is on Georgia's borders." Rome News-Tribune

No way Perdue can stay on sidelines in flag debate
"When Sonny Perdue ran for the governor's seat, he did not campaign as a "facilitator" or a "moderator." He promised to be a leader. So it's disappointing now to watch Perdue reduce himself to a referee in the flag battle." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin: Perdue must choose principle over politics and scrap flag referendum
"Revisiting the Confederate battle flag will divide us and turn back the clock in Georgia. This referendum will not heal us; it will harm us." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Settling the flag flap
"Sonny Perdue kept his promise last week. If Georgia's governor gets his way -- and he should -- Georgians would get the chance next year to vote on the state flag." Savannah Morning News/Sunday

Governor's ethics platform shaky
"If the first ethics bill from Gov. Sonny Perdue and his Republican Senate majority is any indication of the governor's commitment to ethics reform, voters cannot have much confidence in the rest of his ethics platform." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ethics reform tough
"The call to toughen up the state's ethics laws helped get Sonny Perdue elected governor. One of the more popular proposals would bar lawmakers and state officials from contacting the Department of Corrections or the state Board of Pardons and Paroles on behalf of a convict." Augusta Chronicle/Saturday

Raising bar on indigent defense
"This week, the state Senate will consider one of the most important bills of the session: Senate Bill 102, which would reform Georgia's shameful system of providing lawyers to poor criminal defendants. Gov. Sonny Perdue has already made reform of indigent defense a high priority. And last Friday, the speaker of the House announced that he, too, will support fundamental reform." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Concerted effort can cement Athens' place as the best music town
"Rolling Stone magazine's recent pronouncement of Athens as the nation's No. 1 college music town should ring a bell with our community leaders interested in economic development." Athens Banner-Herald

UGA must make progress, not excuses, in minority applicants
"Last week's announcement that African-American admission applications to the University of Georgia sank 40 percent from the previous year was simply a warning shot from a ship we already knew was there." Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Bill Shipp: Running some alternatives up the old flag pole
"As we contemplate the coming referendum on the state flag, Georgians should consider at least one historical note: Our past governors were not as determined as Sonny Perdue to keep their campaign pledges." Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Cecil Bentley: Upcoming flag vote won't end this great debate
"Two years and two weeks ago, House Bill 16 was approved by the state Senate, then signed into law by Gov. Roy Barnes. Most Georgians won't recall that bill by number, but few, if any, can escape the controversy its passage created by changing the design of our state flag." Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Grocery tax: No sale
"Georgia House Speaker Terry Coleman wasted little time last week in killing a nearsighted proposal to bring back a statewide sales tax on groceries." Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Alvin Peabody: Trade, tourism director a good choice for Georgia
"Glenn Cornell is viewed as one of Gov. Sonny Perdue's best appointments so far. Three weeks ago, Perdue named Cornell commissioner of the Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism." Gainesville Times/Sunday


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