Regional News: Flooding Closes More Roads; Teens Rescued from Capsized Kayak; Waffle House Robberies

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DECATUR, Ala. (AP) -- Most roads closed by heavy rains in north Alabama have reopened, but two in Morgan County will take several days to repair. Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest said Danville Road near Danville High School and Forest Chapel Road south of Vaughn Bridge Road developed sinkholes from the flooding. He said repairs could take until the end of next week.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The Department of Defense said an 18-year-old solider from Birmingham, Pvt. Errol "Elijah" Duran Aster Milliard, died in Afghanistan after his unit was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade. Milliard died Thursday in the Farah Province of Afghanistan. Milliard was a 2012 graduate of Carver High School in Birmingham and was on his first deployment.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The state Department of Commerce estimates Gov. Robert Bentley's industry-hunting trip to France last month will cost the state between $88,000 and $97,000. The department said that estimate includes seven people: Bentley; his wife, Dianne; two security staff members; Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield; and two other department employees. The Department of Commerce leads the state government's industrial recruitment effort. (the governor has deferred taking his salary since being elected)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Two teens have been rescued after their kayak capsized amid heavy rain and high winds in the Florida Panhandle.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports a 17-year-old male and his 14-year-old sister were found clinging to their kayak in the Ochlocknee River Friday evening. The teens' father jumped from an overhead bridge to assist them.
A Wakulla County Sheriff's lieutenant and a deputy responded to the scene and called for a search and rescue boat. But the water became increasingly rough, so instead of waiting the lieutenant called a friend who came with his own boat and was able to rescue them.
Neither the teens nor their father were injured.
Heavy rains have caused flooding and roadway closures throughout the Panhandle region.

A Fort Lauderdale man without arms is inching ever closer to his goal as he cycles across the country to raise money for a 1-year-old Washington state boy born without hands or forearms.
Motivational speaker Hector Picard left Miami on June 8 for the 3,200-mile, 36-day bicycle ride across the United States to Spokane, Wash. The latest leg of his trip saw him depart from Grand Teton National Park, Wyo., on Saturday morning en route to Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Picard hopes to raise enough money to help the parents of Jameson Davis pay for the $35,000 prosthetic arms he'll need -- and have to replace often as he grows.
Picard lost his arms in 1992 in an electrical accident.
He expects to reach Spokane July 13.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Police in St. Petersburg say the stray bullet that injured a 38-year-old man likely came from a Fourth of July celebration. The man was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with cuts on his neck and right eyebrow. His injuries were not life threatening.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Police have located the parents of a 4-year-old boy found walking alone near a Tampa intersection. The child was found Saturday around 1 a.m. by a citizen who called police. The boy was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, jeans and black shoes.

PALATKA, Fla. (AP) -- Three men in north Florida have been charged with the theft of a giant purple chicken statue. The men took the 9-foot, 600-pound aluminum chicken from a home in Putnam County on Tuesday. They hooked it to a Chevrolet truck and dragged it a mile down the road. The owner of the bird told deputies he saw one of the thieves mount the bird and ride it.

OAKWOOD, Ga. (AP) -- Gwinnett County police say they are looking for four people who have been orchestrating elaborate burglaries at Waffle House restaurants.
They have cost Waffle House restaurants more than $7,000 since May. One restaurant was hit in Duluth, another in Loganville, and two in Oakwood.
Cpl. Jake Smith told WSB-TV ( ) that one thief walks in and goes directly to the men's room. Then either two women or a man and a woman enter the dining room and sit as close as they can to where the restroom and manager's office are located. They create distractions, like playing music from the jukebox. Meanwhile, the man in the restroom cuts a hole in the ceiling and climbs through to the manager's office and gets in the safe.

DONALSONVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- A man from Waycross, Ga., has been charged with the shooting deaths of two people in a house in Donalsonville.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that 47-year-old DanTony Swinson was charged with two counts of murder. He is being held without bond in Ware County. He had been taken into custody Tuesday on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The GBI said he's the suspect in the shooting deaths of 49-year-old Eliace Marie Smith and 64-year-old Herber Jettie Bennett Jr. Their bodies were found Monday morning.
Special Agent Steven Turner said Swinson knew Smith and Bennett, and the victims had lived in Ware County before moving to Seminole County in the last few months. He declined to disclose a motive.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia has dropped toward the bottom of states in per capita income. Federal data shows Georgia is now 40th among the states. Georgia has been declining since measuring 25th in 2001. Georgia now has the same ranking it did in 1979.

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta school board has approved having at least one full-time Atlanta Police Department officer patrolling the halls of every middle school and high school. Deputy Superintendent Larry Hoskins says the police will build relationships with students and work to identify discipline problems before they become criminal matters.