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Georgia News: Georgia Malls Facing Financial Problems; Budget Issues in Ga Legislature

By: AP
By: AP

LITHONIA, Ga. (AP) -- The Mall at Stonecrest is facing debt trouble that leaves it vulnerable to foreclosure.
Fitch Ratings has reported that a loan backed in part by the Lithonia mall is now held by a company that helps firms work out of debt.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the move will not affect mall operations. Still, Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson called the problems "disturbing news."
Several malls across Georgia have faced financial difficulties, especially since the Great Recession. Gwinnett Place Mall went into foreclosure last year. The loan on Southlake Mall in Morrow last year went to the same firm now holding the Stonecrest loan. Union Station Mall in south Fulton County was foreclosed in 2010.
Three other Georgia malls in Macon, Gainesville and Rome have also faced foreclosure.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia lawmakers will convene Jan. 14 with a familiar theme: a budget shortfall explained mostly by an economy that's not keeping pace with rising health care costs.
The single biggest variable is the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, most of them children. Medicaid already promises to be several hundred million dollars short of what it will need to continue existing services and payment rates in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Even more pressing is an expiring hospital tax that yields about $650 million in state and federal cash. If that levy runs out with no replacement, the shortfall jumps to the neighborhood of $1 billion. Hospitals have presented Gov. Nathan Deal with a plan to extend the tax scheme with some modifications, but they could face some heavy lifting to get an increasingly conservative House and Senate on board.

ATLANTA (AP) -- An Atlanta police officer was seriously injured when his car was struck by a motorist accused of drunken driving.
Police Officer Osbert Beckles was being treated Saturday at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition. He was expected to survive.
WSB-TV reports that the accident happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday while Beckles was working traffic near a ramp for Interstate 75. A 2011 Hyundai Sonata slammed into the officer's car.
Investigators accuse the driver, 45-year-old Scott Eugene Welker, of trying to flee from the scene. He has been charged with driving under the influence and was being held at the Fulton County Jail.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) -- A man is being credited for carrying a woman overcome by smoke out of a DeKalb County fire.
The fire started Friday morning at the Terra Creek Apartments near Stone Mountain.
Demetrice Little told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she was asleep with her twin 6-year-old grandsons and a niece.
She said Tertiary Pruitt II banged on her door to alert her to the blaze. Pruitt said that he saw Little coughing and decided to carry her out.
Assistant DeKalb Fire Chief Garret Smith said eight units were damaged, displacing up to 16 people.


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