Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

May 11, 2019 - 12:00 am

EARLY LEARNING

Program aims to help children learn before entering school

(Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, http://ledger-enquirer.com)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Parents in west Georgia and east Alabama now have a new resource to help their babies and toddlers learn before they enter school.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that a new program being offered is the first of its kind in both states.

More than 150 community leaders and education officials gathered recently at Columbus State University to launch "The Basics Chattahoochee Valley."

It's the local version of an awareness campaign that began in Boston four years ago. Since then, it has spread to about 30 communities across the nation.

Columbus 2025, a five-year strategic plan created by local community leaders, is bringing "The Basics" to the west Georgia city to address one of its five goals: developing more talented and educated people.

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TULANE-HONORARY DOCTORATES

Tulane: honorary doctorates for Cook, Baquet, Danner, Lewis

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet (bah-KAY), actress Blythe Danner and U.S. Rep. John Lewis will receive honorary doctorates at Tulane University's 2019 commencement May 18.

University president Mike Fitts says they embody achievement, innovation and compassion.

The university's news release says Cook has overseen introduction of innovative products and services while championing inclusion and diversity.

Baquet's from New Orleans and started his career at The Times-Picayune. He won a Pulitzer Prize while at The Chicago Tribune. He's held the Times's highest newsroom position since 2014.

Danner has won Tony and Emmy awards, and champions environmental causes.

Lewis was among leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. In 1965, he was severely beaten during a march in Selma, Alabama.

GRAVE MARKERS

Dedication of grave markers for 2 Revolutionary War officers

(Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Local chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution are preparing to mark the Augusta grave sites of two Revolutionary War officers — Maj. James Carter and Maj. William Skinner III.

The Augusta Chronicle reports an 11 a.m. ceremony is Saturday at Pendleton King Park. The Georgia Militia re-enactors are expected to attend in period attire.

The Col. William Few, Brier Creek and Wiregrass chapters will dedicate the markers, one of which will be placed at the park's Bugg Cemetery, where Carter is buried. The second marker will go at Skinner's grave in the Skinner family cemetery on Skinner Mill Road.

On June 1, the groups will dedicate a third marker at the Revolutionary War-era home of Thomas Ansley, whose Rock House in Thomson is the state's oldest stone home.

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SAVANNAH-RIDE PROGRAM

Savannah debuts new on-demand ride program

(Information from: WTOC-TV, http://www.wtoctv.com/)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The City of Savannah has started a new on-demand ride service through an app called Downtowner.

WTOC-TV reports rides will be available between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. but must begin and end within the borders of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, East Broad Street, Park Avenue and the Savannah River.

The new app is a result of the "Parking Matters Study" conducted by the city and will be evaluated after a six-month trial period. A city news release says staff determined on-demand transportation would be more cost effective in comparison to extending shuttle bus hours past midnight.

The app is being advertised to downtown workers to help them get around safely at night but is available for anyone's use.

The pilot program was unveiled and began Friday.

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RIVER BODY

Body of woman pulled from Georgia river identified

(Information from: WTOC-TV, http://www.wtoctv.com/)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has identified a woman's body found in the Darien River last month.

WTOC-TV reports 29-year-old Sammeka Barriner was pulled April 3 from waters near U.S. Highway 17 in McIntosh County. Police say she was wearing a black dress and had a tattoo on her right forearm that reads, "Dreams are manifestations of our identities." Barriner was from Broward County, Florida.

The GBI says an investigation revealed that Barriner and Shon May-Stone stopped at the Darien exit off Interstate 95 north. While there, May-Stone believed Barriner had died and decided to leave her without seeking medical assistance. Authorities say a warrant has been issued for May-Stone, also of Broward County, for one count of concealing the death of another.

An autopsy will determine how Barriner died.

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HEMP FARMING-GEORGIA

Kemp signs bill allowing hemp crops

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com)

ATLANTA (AP) — Farmers can soon begin growing hemp in Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law Friday a bill allowing hemp crops, which can be used to make CBD oil, rope and other items.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports CBD oil is already sold in Georgia, but it's currently imported. Once state officials create regulations, CBD can be manufactured in-state by farmers who receive a hemp growing license, which costs $50 per acre annually.

Besides Georgia, 41 states have hemp programs.

Hemp is part of the cannabis plant family, but unlike marijuana it includes only trace amounts — no more than 0.3% — of THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high.

Kemp previously signed a measure that allows cultivation and sales of medical marijuana oil, which contains up to 5% THC.

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FILM BOYCOTTS-GEORGIA

3 production companies boycott Georgia after abortion ban

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com)

ATLANTA (AP) — Executives from three production companies say they won't film in Georgia because of the state's "heartbeat" abortion ban.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports they include David Simon of Blown Deadline, Christine Vachon of Killer Films and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions.

The boycotts aren't likely to have an immediate effect because the companies don't regularly work in Georgia.

Killer Films and Duplass Brothers Productions specialize in independent films. Simon's company has produced HBO series he's known for such as "The Wire."

The Georgia law will ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. Critics say it's unconstitutional and have vowed to sue.

The Motion Picture Association of America represents major studios and is taking a wait-and-see approach. It said in a statement it was continuing to monitor developments.

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FUGITIVE ARREST

Georgia traffic stop nets New Jersey murder suspect

(Information from: WAGA-TV, http://www.myfoxatlanta.com)

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — A routine traffic stop in Georgia has ended with the arrest of a New Jersey fugitive.

WAGA-TV reports a Smyrna Police officer stopped a car for speeding Thursday. As the sergeant approached, he says he saw the driver and passenger switch places.

The driver, identified as Thomas Hasan Lopez, had a suspended license. He then tried to flee, but was caught shortly afterward.

While being processed, Smyrna Police received a call from the Hudson County, New Jersey Sheriff's Office with information that Lopez was a fake identity and that the person in custody was actually Elnardo Chandler, a suspect in a New Jersey homicide and an attempted homicide in South Carolina. Further details were not released.

Police have started the extradition process to return Chandler to New Jersey.

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