The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on March 18, 2007 · A1
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · A1

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Sunday, March 18, 2007
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A1
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Filename: A1-MAIN-AJCD0318-3THRE Date/Time created: Mar 18 2007 12:12:18:456AM Username: SPEED2 AJCD0318-3DOT Sunday, Mar 18, 2007 MAIN 1 A 3DOT 1 A Cyan Magenta Yellow Black *SUZ21OA001KB* 1 A $EGL+*A3))*=4$ Cyan Magenta Yellow Black 3DOT Filename: A1-MAIN-AJCD0318-3THRE Date/Time created: Mar 18 2007 12:12:18:460AM Username: SPEED2 By BRIDGET GUTIERREZ bgutierrez@ajc.com Miami — When Mary Ferreiro discovered her third-grade son had a learning disability, she did what other parents might consider unthinkable: She pulled Daniel from the Catholic school he attended since preschool and enrolled him in a public school. As much as it pained Ferreiro, she knew if Daniel lasted a year in the Miami-Dade County school system, he could return to his beloved St. Agatha and a more expensive program where teachers could help with his attention deficit disorder and developmental delays — possibly for free. “It was the worst one year of my life. … He would throw up every day ’cause he was nervous; the other kids were making fun of him,” said Ferreiro, whose son now attends St. Agatha on an $8,090 full-tuition scholarship. “In the long run, it paid off.” Some Georgia lawmakers want to create a similar special education scholarship program here. Georgia may copy Florida vouchers ➤ Please see VOUCHERS, A 1 4 $2.00MARCH 18, 2007 / ONLINE AT AJC.COM EXPANDED INDEX, A2 Vol. 59, No. 77 262 pages, 19 sections Copyright ©2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The Atlanta Journal-Constitution SUNDAY hyŒˆAy‡‡u{y!ˆu€! }‚Šuxy‡!‡„ƒy‚!w|uˆ‡ SUNDAY LIVING, M1 ● ● ● WEATHER Partly cloudy 58°/42° D24 bWUU!uwˆ}ƒ‚ A new book suggests the nation’s 40th chief ranks right up there with Lincoln. @ISSUE, B1 h|y!€y{uw ƒz!fyu{u‚ WOMEN ➤ UGA takes out Belmont ➤ Ga. Tech edges out DePaul MEN ➤ Butler upsets Maryland ➤ Vandy beats Wash. State SPORTS, D1 ➤ Please see BOATS, A 8 By DAN CHAPMAN dchapman@ajc.com Skidaway Island — High tides hide many of Georgia’s dead boats. Low tides reveal a flotilla of scuttled shrimpers, sailboats and barges buried in marsh grass and upriver mud. Sixty-three boats and barges from Tybee Island to St. Marys, all in varying degrees of rot, have been catalogued by the state as abandoned or derelict. Perhaps dozens of additional vessels have been left to the currents, worms and muck by owners who refuse to haul them from the water and into the dump. Instead, they strip ’em clean. Erase registration numbers. Uncork a valve or burn the hull. And let them sink to the bottom. Except sometimes they don’t sink. They might remain half- State waters troubled by castoff boats The tornado that hit Americus on March 1 rendered Sumter Regional Hospital unsafe for occupancy, tearing away walls, breaking out windows, twisting furniture and scattering debris. At right is a delivery room in the obstetrics ward. The hospital’s outdoor courtyard and roof are visible. XYghfcmYX ]b!a]bihYg COPING IN AMERICUS AFTER TORNADO çkY!bYYX!hc![Yh cif!\cgd]hU`!VUW_è Nigeria Dodson was born in the back of a speeding ambulance days after the tornado ripped through her hometown. Her tale is one of many from the storm, which wiped out Americus’ hospital. Holding Nigeria is her mother, Shekedra Wilson . Wilson’s cousin Portia Burton is in the background. bYkVcfbèg! hU`Y!hc!hY`` aU_Yg\]Zh \YU`h\!WUfY For now, a tent city handles Americus’ medical needs. Residents of this town of 17,000 are coping without the health care system that birthed their babies, performed their surgeries and treated their illnesses. At right, medical technician Elaine Phillips fills out paperwork for a patient’s lab results. Photos by BITA HONARVAR / Staff By GAYLE WHITE gwhite@ajc.com U mericus — Little Nigeria Dodson will have a tale to tell her grandchildren someday about how she was born in the back of an ambulance speeding through Leesburg because a tornado had devastated her hometown hospital. Her birth, as her mother was being rushed 40 miles across southwest Georgia from Americus to Albany, is just one of the stories to come from the harrowing evacuation and remarkable post-storm efforts of Sumter Regional Hospital, which sits closed and guarded since a March 1 tornado. The storm ripped apart the 265,000-square-foot, four-story hospital, tearing away walls, breaking out windows, twisting furniture and scattering debris. The hospital served a 10-county area in a triangle created by Macon, Albany and Columbus. Without it, even everyday medical procedures — such as childbirth — have become crises. The community is still coming to terms with the huge twister’s impact. Residents of this town of about 17,000 and the surrounding area are coping with the loss of a health care system that set their broken bones, administered their chemotherapy, performed their surgeries and treated their illnesses. For almost 700 of them, it has also provided jobs. “No area of the hospital was not impacted by something — wind or water,” said Steve Machen, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “And all in three minutes.” Nigeria’s mother, Shekedra Wilson, Everyone from Boy Scouts to U.S. presidents pitch in ➤ Please see AMERICUS, A 1 0 Payday lenders want to return ➤ Please see PAYDAY, A 1 5 By CARRIE TEEGARDIN cteegardin@ajc.com When the Georgia General Assembly opened for business in January, representatives of the payday lending industry walked in the Capitol’s door, eager for another battle. For the industry that extends a few hundred bucks until a worker’s next payday, the return to Georgia was a bold move. Three years earlier, lawmakers handed the high-interest lenders one of their worst defeats ever by passing a bill that shut down every payday lending outfit in the state. The industry suffered millions in losses. Advance America alone, the nation’s largest payday lending chain, shuttered 89 Georgia stores after passage of the 2004 law. Those outlets produced net revenues of $19.9 million in 2003, according to the company’s public filings. Battered by the Georgia law and damaging regulatory decisions elsewhere, the payday lending industry has given itself Industry executives hope consumer-friendly makeover will draw favor with state lawmakers. Protesters mark Iraq anniversary RICK McKAY / Staff With the Iraq war nearly 4 years old, opponents turned out Saturday. UGA student Debrah McNary , 19, protested in Washington . Article, A3 INSIDE Ready to run? For an entry form to the Peachtree Road Race, turn to D8 . To pick your favorite T-shirt design, see D9 . On your mark, get set ... PEACHTREE ROAD RACE

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