Trial in salmonella outbreak set to begin in Ga.
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - The trial for three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak traced to a southwest Georgia peanut plant five years ago is set to begin.
Jury selection starts Monday in federal court in Albany in the trial of former Peanut Company of America owner Stewart Parnell; his brother and food broker, Michael Parnell; and the peanut plant's quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson.
The Parnell brothers and Wilkerson were indicted last year on 76 criminal counts that accused them of shipping tainted peanuts to industrial food customers and covering up lab tests that showed some batches of nuts tested positive for salmonella. Stewart Parnell and Wilkerson were also charged with obstruction of justice.
Georgia plant manager Samuel Lightsey was also charged and pleaded guilty in May to seven criminal counts.
Small plane crash on Fla. beach; 2 on ground hit
(Information in the following story is from: Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com)
VENICE, Fla. (AP) - A Georgia man is dead and his 9-year-old daughter is in the hospital with critical injuries after they were hit by a small plane that made an emergency landing on a Florida Gulf Coast beach.
The Piper Cherokee crash-landed Sunday afternoon, losing a wheel, damaging a wind and smashing a propeller.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as 36-year-old Ommy Irizarry and his daughter Oceana.
Officials told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune the victims were either hit by the plane or its debris.
Irizarry died at the scene. His daughter was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Officials say the plane was trying to land on Caspersen Beach after making a distress call to Venice Airport at 2:45 p.m. The beach is south of the airport.
Ports Authority reaches 3 million container mark
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The Georgia Ports Authority has reached a milestone by breaking the 3 million container mark.
The authority announced the milestone on Monday, and also said that it moved more than 29 million tons of cargo and more than 700,000 auto and machinery units in fiscal year 2014.
It was the first time for the Port of Savannah to move more than 3 million containers -- also known as 20-foot equivalent container units -- in a fiscal year. The number was up by 6.3 percent compared to the previous year.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the success of Georgia's ports is a result of the state's commitment to the Georgia Ports Authority and support for port infrastructure projects such as the harbor deepening and enhanced access to interstates 95 and 16.
Atlanta federal building reopens
ATLANTA (AP) - A federal building in Atlanta has reopened after being closed last week because of an issue impacting the building's electrical system.
General Services Administration spokeswoman Saudia Muwwakkil said Monday morning that the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center was again open for business.
Muwwakkil said previously that crews had installed replacement parts to damaged sections of the building's electrical system that prompted the closure, and the GSA cleared the building to reopen after a thorough systems and safety check.
The building was closed when a duct malfunctioned and cut power to several critical components of the building.
Officials say the building houses 21 federal agencies, nearly 5000 employees and a federal child care facility.
ALLATOONA LAKE DROWNING
Man drowns at Lake Allatoona northwest of Atlanta
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Authorities are investigating a drowning at Lake Allatoona northwest of Atlanta.
WXIA-TV reports that the 25-year-old man was swimming near Allatoona Landing in Bartow County Sunday when he tried to retrieve a float that blew away. Witnesses said the victim then started having trouble and went under the water.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating. The man's name wasn't immediately released.
The drowning is the fifth one on Lake Allatoona this summer.
3 wounded by gunfire in Savannah shooting
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Police in Savannah are investigating a shooting that wounded three people.
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Julian Miller said the gunfire happened Sunday night on East 55th Street.
Police tell The Savannah Morning News that all three victims were taken to Memorial University Medical Center.
Miller said one victim had non-life threatening injuries. He said he was unsure of the condition of the other two victims.
Few other details were immediately available early Monday.
NORTHEAST GEORGIA PLANE CRASH
Pilot killed in NE Georgia plane crash identified
CLAYTON, Ga. (AP) - The Rabun County coroner has identified the pilot killed when his small plane crashed in northeast Georgia as 62-year-old Ernest Merkelis of Clayton.
Merkelis was the lone occupant on the plane. The director of Rabun County's Emergency Management Agency, Mike Mazarky, said the plane crashed Saturday morning after taking off from a private airport west of Clayton.
Investigators at the Federal Aviation Administration were planning to visit the crash site.
CAR STRIKES CHILDREN
4 kids hurt when car rolls down driveway
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Four children were hospitalized after a car came out of gear, rolled backward and struck the kids as they played in a neighbor's yard.
Authorities said two of the children sustained critical injuries in the accident Sunday afternoon in north Hall County.
The Times reports that 8-year-old Julian Rangeo; and 5-year-old Sebastian Rangeo were flown by helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where they were in stable condition late Sunday night.
One-year-olds Emilee Guerra and Savannah Brown were taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Guerra was later discharged, and Brown was transferred to Children's Healthcare.
Georgia State Patrol Trooper 1st Class Brodie Forrester said all of the children who were injured live in the neighborhood, and had gathered in the yard to play.
SIX FLAGS RECRUITMENT
Six Flags hosting 'Fright Fest' recruitment event
AUSTELL, Ga. (AP) - Six Flags Over Georgia is looking to hire hundreds of workers to staff the park's annual Halloween event.
Officials say the theme park is looking to hire about 400 Fright Fest team members to help staff the park's Fright Fest event this year, which runs from Sept. 27 to Nov. 2.
The theme park is hosting a casting call for scare actors and a job fair for technicians, costume designers, makeup artists and more Aug. 2 and 3. The job fair is being held at the Six Flags Over Georgia Employment Center in Austell. Potential employees must be 16 or older.
Organizers say this year's event will include seven mazes, five shows and more.
About 84,000 Georgia children to begin pre-school
ATLANTA (AP) - Department of Early Care and Learning officials say about 84,000 children are expected to enroll in Georgia's pre-kindergarten program this year.
Department spokesman Reg Griffin says during the 2013-14 school year, the state's voluntary pre-kindergarten program served 66 percent of 4-year-old children in the state. Griffin says nearly 82,000 children were enrolled in the program last year. The programs are offered through school districts and childcare centers. Griffin says pre-school start dates depend on the calendars for local school systems and daycare centers hosting the programs.
The department's Interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs says Georgia's pre-kindergarten program helps children build a solid educational foundation and has impacts on school readiness in language, literacy and math.
The state's pre-kindergarten program is funded by the Georgia Lottery.
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