BC-GA--Georgia News Digest, GA

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News,Science and Technology

The state at 3:30 a.m.

If you have a news tip or question about the Georgia AP news report, the Atlanta bureau can be reached at 404-522-8971. Please email stories of state or regional interest to apatlanta(at)ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

FALCONS STADIUM

ATLANTA — State officials have approved an agreement with the firm that will design a new $1 billion retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority agreed to a maximum $35 million design fee for 360 Architecture, which is based in Kansas City, Mo. The firm was one of five finalists and had previously been announced as the intended winner of the contract. The group of architects previously designed the new stadium shared by the NFL's New York Jets and the New York Giants. By Bill Barrow.

GOVERNOR-CRIMINAL JUSTICE

ATLANTA —Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday he wants to continue reforming Georgia's criminal justice system with a focus on helping inmates transition back into society.

Deal became emotional during a speech to the Atlanta Press Club as he talked about getting to know inmates who provide catering services at the governor's mansion during special events. He said he plans to ask the state's criminal justice reform commission, which has worked on reforming the adult and juvenile justice systems, to work on helping prisoners make it on the outside. By Christina A. Cassidy.

ATLANTA-SIDEWALK VENDING

ATLANTA — A small group of sidewalk vendors gathered outside Atlanta City Hall Tuesday to protest a recent crackdown on them selling their wares. About 15 people demonstrated — most wearing red T-shirts with the slogan "Let Us Vend" — to urge the mayor and city council to relax restrictions and let them get back to selling their goods. Atlanta police in March told vendors they were violating an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of city sidewalks through the sale or display of goods. By Kate Brumback.

KINGSTON ANNOUNCEMENT

SAVANNAH, Ga. — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston is planning events across Georgia this week after months of speculation about whether the Savannah Republican will run for the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford confirmed Tuesday the congressman plans news conferences Thursday in Savannah and coastal Brunswick. Crawford declined to say what Kingston will announce, but says more events are being scheduled across the state Friday. By Russ Bynum.

MUSIC-DEERHUNTER

ATLANTA — Bradford Cox wrote what would become the final track of Deerhunter's forthcoming album, a song called "Punk," at a friend's house in New York during what he describes as a very difficult time. He'd gone north to get away from personal turmoil in his hometown of Atlanta, taking few items other than a borrowed leather jacket. Before work could start on the album, the band faced more difficulty — the departure of its longtime bassist Josh Fauver — which made Cox fear the band would break up. By Jonathan Drew.

AP Photos.

WATER PLANT BREAK-IN

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — The FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a sheriff's department are investigating a break-in at a water treatment plant in the north Georgia mountains, authorities said. About 400 water customers around the small community of Ramhurst have been ordered not to drink water following the Friday break-in at the Carters Lake Water Treatment Plant in Murray County. About 10 to 15 residents near the plant currently have no water at all, said Chatsworth Water Works manager Steve Smith.

VENTURE CAPITAL

ATLANTA — Georgia took steps this week to create a public-backed venture fund aimed at keeping startup companies from fleeing the state when funding dries up. The fund could eventually pump $100 million into innovative new companies, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Gov. Nathan Deal's recent decision to sign House Bill 318 forges a new, riskier, path for state funding of private companies.

BOSTON MARATHON-GRADUATION SECURITY

ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia will ban backpacks in the school's football stadium during its commencement ceremony on May 10. University officials said that due to the recent events in Boston, they are asking all media and photographers to wear credentials approved by the president's office. Other than certain bags carried by credentialed media, no bags larger than a cubic foot will be allowed inside Sanford Stadium.

SAVANNAH STUDENT SLAIN

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A reward of up to $12,500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of whoever killed Savannah State University student Rebecca Foley. The 21-year-old student was gunned down in a parking lot outside her apartment complex on Savannah's south side on Jan. 21. She had just driven her Volkswagen Beetle back to the apartments when she was shot that night around 7 p.m.

SOLDIER FATALLY SHOT

SEALE, Ala. — The wife of a Fort Benning soldier found dead with multiple gunshot wounds has been arrested and charged with murder, the Russell County sheriff announced Tuesday. Gloria Wilson, 34, was being held without bond in the Russell County Jail in connection with the death of Donald LaShon Wilson, also 34, Sheriff Heath Taylor said. On Tuesday, Taylor told the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus that sheriff's officials were also seeking Gloria Wilson's boyfriend — Travis Leonard — as part of their investigation.

AROUND THE SOUTH:

GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold five public meetings around the South in June to hear what people think about using genetically modified crops on refuges to provide food for ducks, geese and other migrating waterfowl. Under cooperative agreements with the agency, farmers harvest part of the crops they grow on about 44,000 acres scattered in various refuges — about 1 percent of the land in 138 refuges in a district covering 10 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

ALSO:

— ATLANTA TOURISM — Atlanta hosted record 40.4 million visitors in 2012, hospitality industry continues growing.

— BANK ROBBER-SUICIDE — Accused Michigan bank robber commits suicide after police chase in metro Atlanta.

— GEORGIA SWAMP DEATH — Georgia man sentenced to 5 months of probation after son dies in swamp during hunting trip.

— DELTA AIR LINES-EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION — With profits rising, Delta Air Lines boosted 2012 compensation for CEO Anderson by 42 percent.

— SHERIFF INDICTED — Court rejects prosecutors' appeal to reinstate 5 counts against Ga. sheriff, 32 counts remain.

— SAVANNAH STUDENT SLAIN — Reward rises for information leading to killer of Savannah State University student.

— BANK ROBBERY PLEA — SC man who robbed 14 banks in Georgia and other states sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison.

— EXPLOSIVE IN SAFE — Explosive device in home safe northwest of Atlanta prompts evacuation of subdivision.

— MAN STRUCK BY TRAIN — Man hospitalized after he's struck by train in downtown Acworth, northwest of Atlanta.

— UGA-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT — UGA President-elect Morehead announces increased emphasis on economic development.

— FALCONS STADIUM — Officials to vote on approving contract for firm to design new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

— ATLANTA-NEW OFFICERS — Atlanta Police Department welcoming 23 new officers.

SPORTS:

BKN--PACERS-HAWKS

ATLANTA — Neither team has shown it can win on the road in the playoffs, which bodes well for the Indiana Pacers. The Atlanta Hawks were intent of changing that as they headed to Indy for Game 5 of an opening-round series that's suddenly become very, very interesting. By Paul Newberry. AP Photos.

The AP

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