Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT

July 04, 2018 - 12:00 am


Restaurant employee calls 911 on African-American family

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia restaurant owner says he is investigating after an employee called 911 on an African-American family who had stopped for dinner during a vacation.

WSB-TV reports that Felicia and Othniel Dobson of North Carolina on Monday had stopped for dinner at a Subway in Newnan with their four children, ages 8 to 19, when a restaurant employee called police.

In the 911 call, the employee said there are "eight people in a van" who were going back forth to the bathroom and possibly putting soda in water cups.

The couple said the responding police officer and store owner apologized.

Felicia Dobson said the family did nothing wrong and "can't change our skin color."

In a statement, Subway franchisee Rosh Patel said he has reiterated "the importance of making everyone feel welcome."


Amid school spat, valedictorian speech made at City Hall

(Information from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle,

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A high school valedictorian in upstate New York has delivered his graduation speech at City Hall amid a tense relationship with the school's leader.

The Democrat and Chronicle reports Wednesday that Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren invited Jaisaan Lovett to speak after he was denied an opportunity to address his classmates upon graduating last month.

Lovett is the first black valedictorian to graduate from the University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men. He received a full scholarship to attend Clark Atlanta University in the fall. He'd previously interned in Warren's office.

The school's board of trustees says it's reviewing what happened.

School leader Joseph Munno didn't respond to the paper's request for comment.

Lovett says he's previously clashed with Munno, including once after protesting safety conditions in the school's lab.



Atlanta-area woman dead, husband hurt in Bahamas' explosion

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia woman is dead and her husband badly hurt after a tour boat they were on in the Bahamas exploded over the weekend.

Cherokee County school officials say 39-year-old Maleka Jackson and her husband, Tiran, were among 10 people on the boat when it blew up about 9 a.m. Saturday off the coast of Exuma, which is 130 miles south of Nassau. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

News outlets report video filmed from a nearby boat showed tourists jumping into the water in an attempt to rescue passengers in the burning boat. The footage also showed thick, black smoke pouring into the sky and large flames shooting from the boat.

Jackson is the former president of the Mill Creek Middle School PTSA in Woodstock. According to a Facebook post, she and her husband were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.


Authorities say man who burned self to protest VA has died

ATLANTA (AP) — State investigators say a man who identified himself as an Air Force veteran has died after he lit himself on fire in front of the Georgia Capitol last week to protest the Veterans Affairs system.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted Tuesday that 58-year-old John Michael Watts died Monday. Authorities say Watts strapped fireworks to his chest, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire June 26. A state trooper who saw what was happening quickly put out the flames.

Authorities said Watts, who had no current address, was able to talk to officers after the flames were extinguished. Authorities said he had burns over 85 to 90 percent of his body. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The GBI says its investigation continues.


2 people die in Atlanta house fire

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say two people have died in a house fire in Atlanta.

Atlanta Fire Rescue says firefighters were fighting the fire early Tuesday morning at a residence on Harvel Drive.

Firefighters say two adult victims died in the blaze.

No other information was immediately available.


Teen taken by state after parents let him use pot goes home

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia teenager taken from his parents after they allowed him to smoke marijuana for medical reasons is back home.

A brief filed in his case by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia says the 15-year-old boy suffers daily epileptic seizures. He tried prescription medication and legal medical cannabis oil, but those didn't work.

Then, his mother and stepfather, Suzeanna and Matthew Brill, let him smoke marijuana. Their lawyer, Catherine Bernard, said his seizures ceased for 71 days.

When authorities found out on April 19, they told the family to stop. The next day, the teen suffered a serious seizure and had to be hospitalized. He was placed in state custody and his parents were charged with reckless conduct.

On Monday, he was allowed to return to his family.


Georgia prosecutor says man 'bullied everyone in his path'

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man has been sentenced to prison after authorities said he was involved in several violent incidents.

Crawford County District Attorney David Cooke says 26-year-old Stephen Strange, of Roberta, "bullied everyone in his path."

A news release says Strange pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated assault for the nonfatal choking of a woman April 21 at a Roberta hotel. He received a four-year sentence. Prosecutors say Strange also threw a brick at a witness to the attack, breaking a car window.

Other charges against Strange were dropped in a plea deal. Prosecutors say Strange swung a machete at a truck in February. Also that month, he threw a can of Vienna sausages at teenagers and threatened to beat them up.

Strange's attorney could not immediately be reached Monday.


Georgia troopers stop over 100 first day of hands-free law

(Information from: WSB-TV,

ATLANTA (AP) — State troopers made over a hundred stops enforcing Georgia's new hands-free driving law Sunday, the first day the law was in effect.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tracey Watson told WSB-TV the Georgia State Patrol issued 34 citations and 98 warnings across the state.

Under the "Hands-Free Georgia Act," drivers are not allowed to operate a phone by hand or use any part of their body to support the device. Fines range from $50 to $150.

One motorist was stopped for holding their phone while using GPS and another for texting.

State Trooper Cory Croscutt told the station he hoped the law reduces traffic fatalities at a time when crashes caused by distractions happen daily.


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