Georgia News July 8

By: AP
By: AP

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Augusta State University is making veteran outreach a priority in its consolidation with Georgia Health Sciences University.
The University System of Georgia has named Augusta State a military-friendly institution and the school is working to implement the Soldiers to Scholars Program. University officials say they plan to open a Military and Veterans Service Center in August. They are also working on mentoring programs and other services, including scholarships.
The vice president of military and global affairs at GHSU, retired Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Foley, said the program is designed to help veterans be successful once the academic advisers are gone and orientation is over. He told The Augusta Chronicle that the program is important because about 500 veterans attended Augusta State this year.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia is about to do something it's never done before: Charge veterans for their care in the state's two homes for war veterans.
The Legislature authorized the residential fee to take advantage of a federal reimbursement program that helps veterans pay for assisted-living-type care.
The legislation's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur, said Georgia has not been getting the federal funds it could get.
No final decision has been made on how much veterans will pay for living at the homes in Milledgeville and Augusta. The assistant commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Daniel Holtz, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would have preferred to keep the care paid for with federal and state funds, but the General Assembly wanted another stream of revenue.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Fire officials in Augusta are trying to determine why an abandoned church caught fire three times in two days, with the last blaze destroying the building.
Fire Chief Chris James says the fires are suspicious because the former Baptist church had no electricity.
The chief told The Augusta Chronicle that firefighters were able to extinguish fires that started Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday, but the third blaze Thursday afternoon was more severe. Investigators are studying burn patterns to see if arson was involved.
The building was once Curtis Baptist Church and then it was the First Baptist Korean Mission. It later became a day care center, but had been unused for a few years.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- A gunman fired into a crowd of young people at Augusta's First Friday event, injuring six.
Police Lt. Scott Gay said Saturday police recovered a gun and were interviewing suspects, but no one had been charged.
He said a single shooter opened fire shortly after 11:30 p.m. Friday at the festivities on Broad Street in downtown. Those injured were in their teens and early 20s, and none had life-threatening injuries. He said the shooter appeared to be firing shots at random apparently at a group of young men wearing white t-shirts. He said offices are unsure if it was gang related.
A security guard at a bar, David Barret, told WAGT-TV said the trouble began with two groups of young people arguing.

ELBERTON, Ga. (AP) -- State budget cuts have closed the Georgia Department of Labor office in Elberton, but the Elbert County library has stepped in to help people hunt for jobs.
Library Director Anne Grace says library visitors can conduct job searches on the Internet, file claims for unemployment benefits, update or create resumes, and obtain other services. She recently met with staff from the Career Center office in Athens to discuss how the two could provide more employment services. She told the Athens Banner-Herald that one idea was teaching librarians how to conduct workshops on job searches, interviewing skills and resume writing.
Elbert County has an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent. The Department of Labor's Elberton office is one of seven that have closed or are scheduled to close.

AILEY, Ga. (AP) -- A South Georgia bank closed by federal regulators has a missing board member who's accused of millions in fraud.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it seized Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey on Friday. The U.S. attorney's office said missing director Aubrey Lee Price has been charged with wire fraud involving the embezzlement of $17 million from the bank. Price controlled the bank's investments before disappearing last month. He was last seen on a ferry leaving Key West, Florida, for Fort Myers.
The FDIC said Montgomery Bank was acquired by Moultrie-based Ameris Bank and its two branches will reopen Monday. Ameris is assuming all of the bank's $164 million in deposits and the FDIC is retaining the bulk of the failed bank's $173 million in assets.

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