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Regional News: Midland City, Auburn, Plane in Fla Bay, Ga Robbery Linked to Tupelo Shootings; Fireworks

By: ap
By: ap
Midland City hostage / bunker standoff named Ala

New Year's brings concern over fireworks' safety.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A six-day bunker standoff that focused the nation's attention on southeast Alabama is the state's top news story of 2013. The Associated Press selected the hostage drama in Midland City as Alabama's leading news story, followed by the fatal crash of a UPS cargo jet in Birmingham.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn's turnaround is the state of Alabama's top sports story for 2013. The Tigers' rise to a Southeastern Conference championship and national title shot on the heels of a 3-9 season topped the list chosen by The Associated Press.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities say at least 11 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed while pulling away from a train yard in Tuscaloosa. The train was heading to Birmingham when it derailed around 6 p.m. Friday, blocking an intersection in downtown Tuscaloosa. No injuries were reported.

WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida man wants the state to close an underwater cave system after his son and grandson died there in a diving accident on Christmas Day. Chester Spivey Jr. says the 300-foot deep Eagle Nest Sink cave in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area is too dangerous for diving. Thirty-five-year-old Darrin Spivey and his 15-year-old son, Dillon Sanchez, were found dead Wednesday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- One winner of the "Fantasy 5" game will collect $235,031.15, the Florida Lottery said Saturday. The winning ticket was bought in Clermont, lottery officials said.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A St. Petersburg man was able to swim to safety after crashing his plane into the water. St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue reports that 61-year-old Thomas Beaman went down in Boca Ciega Bay Friday afternoon. Beaman reportedly realized that something was wrong with his Cessna 150. He tried to return to Albert Whitted Airport but couldn't make it.

Pilot hopes to reenact 1914 flight over Tampa Bay
POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida man is hoping to reenact the nation's first commercial flight on the centennial of the aviation milestone.
The Tampa Tribune (http://bit.ly/18Qa4mJ) reports that Kermit Weeks has recreated the bi-wing seaplane that pilot Tony Jannus first flew over Tampa Bay 100 years ago. Using scraps of archival data and photographs, Weeks and his crew have built nearly everything from scratch. The aircraft's wings are made of wood.
He must now get approval from Federal Aviation Administration officials to launch from St. Petersburg's North Yacht Basin on Jan. 1 and retrace Jannus' 23-minute trek.
New Year's Day will mark the 100th anniversary of what is considered the country's first regularly scheduled commercial flight. In 1914, passengers paid $5 for a one-way ticket across Tampa Bay.

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) -- FBI officials believe the shooting of two Tupelo police officers is linked to an attempted bank robbery in Atlanta earlier the same day.
The Tupelo robbery of a BancorpSouth Bank about 3:15 p.m. Monday was followed by the shooting of Sgt. Gale Stauffer and Officer Joseph Maher.
Stauffer died and was buried Friday. Maher remains hospitalized, but officials say his condition is improving.
Surveillance photos show a man wearing the same jacket tried to rob a Bank of America branch in Atlanta Monday morning. After failing to get any money from a teller, the man demanded and received an undisclosed amount of money from someone who was using an ATM.
FBI officials say the bureau is now offering a $100,000 reward in the case, raising the total reward over $200,000.

Atlanta police make arrest in bike path killing
ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta police say they've arrested a juvenile in connection with a shooting on an Atlanta bike path that left a U.S. Army soldier dead and another man wounded.
Police announced the arrest on Saturday, saying the suspect faces murder and armed robbery charges. They gave no further details and did not name the juvenile.
Twenty one-year-old Xavier Arnold died at Grady Memorial Hospital after being shot Thursday night in the Kirkwood neighborhood. Arnold was shot in the head. A second male victim was shot in the leg.
Police say the men were walking along with the bike trail with Arnold's girlfriend when two men confronted them. Investigators believe robbery was the motive.
Police have been searching for the two suspects, and CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward in the case.
Ga. authorities urge fireworks safety

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Georgia insurance and fire commissioner is reminding residents that the sale and individual use of most fireworks is illegal in the state.
Ralph Hudgens warns in a written statement that adults and children should avoid danger as they celebrate the New Year in a few days. Hudgens notes that only certain kinds of sparklers are legal in Georgia. And the commissioner said children using those items require adult supervision.
According to the commissioner's office, more than 9,000 Americans were treated for fireworks-related injuries in emergency rooms in 2011. Hudgens said the risks are highest for residents 19 and younger.
He urged anyone who wants to enjoy powerful fireworks to find a professional display.


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