Regional News: Veterans Honored in Ala and Ga; Rattlesnake Deadly Bite; Dog Stabbed; Alligator Classes

By: ap
By: ap
WWII US fighter pilots in Huntsville... Alabama man dies from rattlesnake bite... Selma historic hotel... Florida man dies of bacteria associated with raw shellfish... Florida man charged with stabbing dog... UF approved for online degrees... Half of Ga counties declared disaster areas from yearly excessive rains... Ga museum honors vets... Tourists love Jekyll Island alligator classes (free for alligators and tourists)...

"Excuse me, that's my seat for this class"

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A volunteer group of American fighter pilots who fought the Japanese in the early 1940s has met in Huntsville for a reunion. The Flying Tigers met Friday at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The group was outnumbered by about eight to one but successfully helped defend China from the Japanese at the outset of World War II.

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) -- A rattlesnake bite proved deadly for a northeast Alabama man, which experts say is very rare. Police say 53-year-old Daniel F. Mitchell was bitten by the snake late last week in Salem, which is near the Georgia state line. He died in a hospital four days later.

SELMA, Ala. (AP) -- A historic hotel owned by the city of Selma isn't generating enough revenue to break even. The city of Selma has spent $25,000 since Aug. 1 to keep the St. James Hotel running after a management company pulled out. Mayor George Evans says his goal is to keep the hotel sustainable until it can be sold.

Officials warn of bacteria after man's death
PALM COAST, Fla. (AP) -- Central Florida health officials are warning residents about seawater bacteria after a man died from exposure this week.
Authorities in Flagler and Volusia counties are advising residents to avoid eating raw shellfish and exposing open wounds in seawater. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that 59-year-old Henry Konietzky died Monday after he was exposed to bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus. He had been fishing for crabs in the Halifax River.
Statewide, 29 cases and nine deaths have been linked to the bacteria this year.
Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater and is in the same family as cholera. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Health officials say people should wear gloves and wash their hands after handling raw shellfish.

Man charged with stabbing dog in Hialeah
HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) -- Police in South Florida say a man has been arrested after he was caught on video stabbing a dog.
The Miami Herald reports surveillance footage shows Jose Cespedes walking along a sidewalk in Hialeah. As Cespedes walked by a chain linked fence, a dog named Zoey jumped against the fence and barked at him.
According to an arrest report, Cespedes pulled a knife out of his waistband and stabbed the dog near its shoulder.
The dog's owner witnessed the stabbing and went out to confront Cespedes, but he ran away.
The dog underwent surgery and needed stitches.
Cespedes was arrested Friday and charged with cruelty to an animal with the intent to injure or kill and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. He is being held on $26,000 bond.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The University of Florida will start offering five bachelor degrees completely online starting this January. The Florida Board of Governors on Friday approved the business plan for UF Online to start in 2014. Under a measure pushed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, the state is providing $15 million in the first year to help the program.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal agriculture officials have designated about half of Georgia's counties as primary natural-disaster areas because of excessive rains since April 1. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the 79 counties suffered damages and losses.

Augusta Museum of History hosts veterans display
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The Augusta Museum of History is hosting a display focusing on military veterans.
The Augusta Chronicle reports exhibit was produced by veterans who graduated Friday from the city's Veterans Curation program. It illustrates their lives and work through objects they brought back from military tours overseas and the prehistoric artifacts they've learned to preserve.
The curation program gives veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan employment and job training. Participants are paid at a competitive rate as they learn to rehabilitate and preserve archaeological collections administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Augusta is home to one of three Veterans Curation Program laboratories. The others are in Alexandria, Va., and St. Louis, Mo.
The exhibition runs through March.

Jekyll Island to resume alligator classes in 2014
JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) -- Jekyll Island officials say they plan to bring back free educational classes on alligators next year after a trial run this summer drew nearly 400 tourists.
The island state park held 13 weekly classes during the summer season to teach visitors about the habits of alligators on the island and how to safely observe them in the wild.
Greg Skupien, a University of Georgia graduate student who helped lead the courses, says they were a big hit. Every session had a full registration of 25 to 30 people, with a total of 391 visitors taking the classes overall.
The classes were launched to share with the public alligator research conducted on Jekyll Island in the past two years. The state park plans to resume the classes next spring.


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