Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EDT

September 22, 2018 - 12:00 am

PEDESTRIAN VS TRAIN

Man killed after struck by train in Georgia

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

LAGRANGE, Ga. (AP) — A man has been hit and killed by a train in Georgia's Troup County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the incident happened Friday, about 7:30 p.m.

According to the county sheriff's office, deputies responded to a 911 call from train personnel and found a bandanna and cell phone near the tracks. They recovered the man's body shortly before 8 p.m.

Authorities have not released the man's name or hometown.

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HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE

Georgia's high school graduation rate rises to 81.6 percent

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

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's high school graduation has increased and now stands at 81.6 percent.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the new rate is a one percentage point increase from the class of 2017.

The data was released recently by the Georgia Department of Education.

Georgia's statewide graduation rate has climbed from 69.7 percent in 2012. That was the first year Georgia began using a federal measure to calculate rates.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods says that Georgia schools now have many programs that give high schoolers "more opportunities than ever before" to succeed.

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DICKEY BETTS-ACCIDENT

Surgery called success for Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Allman Brothers Band founding member Dickey Betts has had successful surgery after slipping and hitting his head while playing with his dog in Florida.

The Dickey Betts website says the "Ramblin' Man" and "Blue Sky" singer-songwriter and guitarist underwent surgery Friday to relieve swelling on his brain.

A statement posted Saturday on the website says Betts and his family said the "outpouring of support from all over the world has been overwhelming and amazing. We are so appreciative."

Last month Betts suffered a mild stroke and had to cancel upcoming tour dates with his Dickey Betts Band, which includes his son, Duane Betts.

A few weeks ago longtime friend David Spero posted that Betts was responding well to treatment for the stroke and was "raring to go."

GEORGIA GOVERNOR

Rivals for Georgia governor clash on 'religious freedom' law

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The candidates running to become Georgia's next governor are clashing over whether the state should pass a law offering protection for citizens acting on religious belief.

Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp were both asked whether they would sign a so-called "religious freedom" law during separate appearances Friday before an economic development conference in Savannah. Laws passed in other states caused a backlash from business leaders who fear they legalize discrimination.

Abrams said such a law would cost Georgia jobs, particularly in TV and movie production, and that "even the mere conversation is now toxic."

Kemp said he supports a state law that mirrors a 1993 federal measure signed by President Bill Clinton that Kemp insisted "doesn't discriminate." He said he would accept "nothing more, nothing less."

NUCLEAR PLANT-CONSTRUCTION COSTS-THE LATEST

The Latest: Feds say canceling nuke plant could cost owners

ATLANTA (AP) — The federal government is warning the owners of a troubled nuclear power plant in Georgia that any move to cancel a planned expansion would lead to demands for quick repayment of nearly $6 billion in federal loans.

In a letter to the plant's three owners, the Department of Energy said late Friday that if the construction project is canceled, the government is prepared to enforce its rights under terms of a loan guarantee agreement, including repayment.

The letter says the two additional reactors being built at Plant Vogtle are a "linchpin" in the nation's energy strategy.

The government has disbursed $5.6 billion of an $8.3 billion loan guarantee approved during the Obama administration.

The reactors are about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Augusta and are the nation's first large-scale nuclear project in more than 30 years.

TROPICAL WEATHER-HOTEL SWEPT AWAY

Florence sweeps away motel and family's hard work, savings

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence washed away half the rooms at the Starlite Motel in Spring Lake, North Carolina. What's left will probably have to be demolished.

Co-owner Kishor Depani says he and his brothers had saved for years to purchase the property a few months ago. Now they are hoping that the government can help because they didn't have flood insurance.

Depani said in an interview that he and his two brothers invested much of their life savings in the motel about nine months ago. He said that they had paid off little of their mortgage in that short time and estimates that they still owe the bank between $400,000 and $500,000.

ELECTION 2018-GEORGIA GOVERNOR-BIDEN

Biden to hit Georgia campaign trail for Abrams for governor

ATLANTA (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to hit the Georgia campaign trail next week, making an appearance with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Abrams' campaign spokeswoman Caitlin Highland confirmed the visit Friday. Highland said Biden would join Abrams for an event Thursday, though the location was not immediately clear.

Biden's visit comes after his old boss, former President Barack Obama, endorsed Abrams in August. He'll be the second vice president to swing through Georgia to stump in the race.

Vice President Mike Pence headlined an event in Macon for Abrams' opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, in July after President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of Kemp.

Another visit by Pence scheduled for Sept. 13 was postponed because of the approach of Hurricane Florence.

DRUNK DRIVING DEATH-SENTENCE

Woman gets 15 years for wreck that killed Georgia man

(Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A North Carolina woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in a wreck that killed a Georgia man more than three years ago.

The Savannah Morning News reported that 26-year-old Amanda Marie Abram of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty in court in Savannah on Thursday to vehicular homicide.

Abram acknowledged she was driving under the influence in 2015 when she crossed the center line of a road and collided with a car driven by 24-year-old Justin Sarvar. He was taken to Memorial University Medical Center where he died from his injuries.

Abram must serve the first 10 years in custody with the remaining five on probation with a list of special conditions including various alcohol screenings.

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