ATLANTA (AP) – According to the state attorney general’s office, a judge has recused herself from hearing a lawsuit filed by Georgia’s governor to get Atlanta to stop enforcing a mask mandate and other measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Ellerbe had scheduled a hearing for 11 a.m. Tuesday on Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency motion. But a spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr said the hearing isn’t happening because Ellerbe is recusing herself. In the lawsuit filed last week against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the members of the City Council, Kemp argues that local leaders don’t have the legal authority to impose measures that are more or less restrictive than those in his executive orders.
CUTHBERT, Ga. (AP) – A southwest Georgia police chief is back on administrative leave while prosecutors decide whether they will criminally charge him in a March shooting. Cuthbert Police Chief Kevin Flowers shot and killed 18-year-old Koby Edwards in what investigators say was an exchange of gunfire. District Attorney Ronald McNease Jr. tells WALB-TV that he hasn’t decided yet whether he will charge Flowers. The city put Flowers on administrative leave and later brought him back on desk duty with McNease’s approval. But after residents protested, the mayor and city council put Flowers back on leave. Flowers, chief since 2019, is declining comment for now.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – A legal fight over removing a dam on the Savannah River is on hold while congressional representatives explore giving the dam to local governments who want to keep it. U.S. District Judge Mark Gergel agreed Friday to stay until Oct. 1 a lawsuit against the federal government by the state of South Carolina and the Georgia city of Augusta. Local governments want to keep the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, saying removing it would produce an unacceptable drop in current river levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s legally required to move the dam to improve fish habitat to offset damage from deepening the ship channel at Savannah.
ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Opponents are warning that a planned rock quarry in northwest Georgia could threaten water supplies for some residents. Yellowstone LLC is asking Bartow County to rezone 466 acres for mining. Nearby resident Sharon Nelson Viktora tells The Rome News-Tribune that the project could threaten water supplied from Lewis Spring to Adairsville and surrounding portions of Bartow, Floyd and Gordon counties. Viktora says that the mining could harm the recharge of underground water, also hurting water supplies of people who rely on wells. Also opposing the quarry are the owners of the nearby Barnsley Resort, saying the mining could harm streams, lakes and wetlands and disturb wildlife.