Regional News: Dothan Seeking Chinese Business; Wright Brothers and Maxwell AFB; New Ultralights for Crane Migration

whooping crane
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DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) -- The city of Dothan is looking to attract investment from Chinese firms, including by hosting a large symposium this fall.
City officials have announced a combined meeting of the Asian Manufacturing Association's annual conference and a local Alabama-China Partnership Symposium on Nov. 10 - 12.
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz announced the meeting Friday with Jun Luo, the CEO of the Asian Manufacturing Association. His firm manufactures radiators and other automotive parts for Volkswagen.
The CEO of the SoZo Group, Raymond Cheng, said Dothan offers a combination of rural and urban land. He noted that Chinese executives have been pleased with the location of Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tubing in Wilcox County in rural West Alabama. The Dothan Eagle reports the firm is expected to employ 500 or more workers.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Montgomery officials hope the heroism of American aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright will help boost the city's image. The famous brothers spent less than a year in Montgomery in 1910 running the nation's first civilian flight school. The roots of Maxwell Air Force Base can be traced to the school.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- An administrator at Auburn University has died in a possible drowning at a Florida beach. Guerry Lowther Jr. of Prattville died Tuesday after being pulled from the waters of Blue Mountain Beach. He worked as the senior analyst in Auburn's Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) -- A federal magistrate sentenced seven men to prison time for poaching bears and deer and other illegal hunting activities in national forests in North Carolina and Georgia.
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins from the Western District of North Carolina said Friday that the convictions were the result of a four-year undercover investigation called Operation Something Bruin, in which officers infiltrated poaching circles to document violations.
Ten defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced this week, with receiving prison terms of up to 30 days.
Officials announced in February that the operation had netted 81 people on a total of 980 violations that included bear baiting, the illegal use of dogs, operating illegal bear enclosures and hunting on federal lands without required permits.
Those sentenced are from North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (AP) -- A sunburned bottlenose dolphin is recovering after being stranded in a thick bed of seagrass.
SeaWorld Orlando staff rescued the adult male bottlenose dolphin Thursday at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The dolphin weighed about 350 pounds and measured eight feet long and was suffering from severe sun exposure and another unknown sickness.
Florida Today reports the dolphin was taken to SeaWorld's Orlando facility and is currently in stable condition and eating.
SeaWorld's staff has responded to 47 stranded dolphins this year in that area, which is about twice the usual rate. Most of the dolphins have been dead and emaciated.
Federal wildlife officials are investigating.

A conservation organization that uses ultralight planes to lead endangered whooping cranes south for the winter has to replace its aircraft by next spring to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Operation Migration co-founder and pilot Joe Duff says the pilots will also be required to obtain private pilot licenses. The three aircraft will cost $20,000 each.
Operation Migration ran into trouble with the FAA because it pays salaries to pilots. FAA regulations say sport planes -- a category that sometimes includes aircraft of exotic design -- can only be flown for personal use.
The FAA allowed Operation Migration an exemption from the ultralight rules until April 30, 2014. The group hopes to have its new planes by January or February.

MIAMI (AP) -- A Florida company and two men associated with it have been convicted and sentenced for illegally trafficking in juvenile nurse sharks and angelfish. A federal judge placed Aquatic Trading Co. on probation, fined the firm $3,000 and ordered it to surrender all state and federal permits and licenses.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Power says roughly 2,000 of its customers in metro Atlanta remain without power following severe storms. The National Weather Service said two tornadoes touched down in Cherokee and Cobb counties. The storms knocked down trees and power lines, leading to widespread outages.

ATLANTA (AP) -- The U.S. Army has identified a Ranger who died in an apparent parachuting mishap as a 21-year-old from Massachusetts. Pfc. Christopher P. Dona was found dead Thursday with parachute cords wrapped around his neck during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in southeast Georgia. It's under investigation.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Lawmakers in Georgia and several other states are trying to make it harder for police to seize money and property, and requiring more transparency when they do. A recent bill was withdrawn under stiff opposition from law enforcement. It's being pushed by a libertarian group, Institute for Justice.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Zoo Atlanta will be offering dads free admission on Sunday for Father's Day. Fathers will receive free admission with purchase of any regularly-priced child or adult general admission ticket. The zoo was also holding its first Asian Heritage Day on Saturday.