The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on December 19, 2008 · C1
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · C1

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Friday, December 19, 2008
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C1
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Filename: C1-METRO-AJCD1219-AJCD Date/Time created: Dec 18 2008 8:46:38:043PM Username: SPEED2 Friday, Dec 19, 2008 METRO 1 C AJCD 1 C Cyan Magenta Yellow Black *SUZ21OA001KB* 1 C $EGL+*A3))*=4$ Cyan Magenta Yellow Black AJCD File name: C1-METRO-AJCD1219-AJCD Date/Time created: Dec 18 2008 8:46:38:046PM Username: SPEED2 METRO Friday Peach Buzz C2 Q&A on the News C2 The Vent C2 Community News C5-6 Obituaries C8 COMMUNITY BRIEFS GREATER ATLANTA Carjacking suspect slain after chase A carjacking suspect was shot and killed early Thursday during a gunbattle with Henry County police, authorities said. The incident began shortly after midnight when the suspect stole a motorcycle at gunpoint from the parking lot of a Wal- Mart store on Ga. 138 near Stockbridge. The suspect wrecked the bike a short distance away on Ga. 42 near Henry Boulevard, and was chased by officers into a wooded area. No officers were injured during the incident. The name of the person killed was not immediately released. — Mike Morris COBB COUNTY White House tree features Georgia Three Cobb County residents are among eight Georgia artists with ornaments on a White House Christmas tree. Gail Romport Re of Kennesaw and Coë Steinwart and Dianne Isakson of east Cobb were chosen by local members of Congress to paint ornaments with a state theme in patriotic colors. First Lady Laura Bush, who came up with the idea for the tree, spoke to artists from across the country at a reception Dec. 2 at the White House. Steinwart, selected by U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, found her ornament Georgia pines and mountains near the top of the tree. Isakson, a water color artist who is the wife of Sen. Johnny Isakson, painted Georgia flowers and peaches on her ornament. Re painted Civil War era scenes. — Tucker McQueen DEKALB COUNTY Student dies from bacterial meningitis Grief counselors were at DeKalb County’s Lakeside High School on Thursday, following the death Wednesday of a student from bacterial meningitis. Thomas Scott’s meningitis was not contagious, school officials said in a notice sent to parents. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. Older children and adolescents with meningitis typically experience a few days of increasing fever, headache, confusion and a stiff neck. An e-mail to parents of Lakeside students did not give Scott’s age or grade. — Mike Morris INSIDE Advice for travelers headed to airport Some folks likely will be getting an early start on their holiday trips this weekend. Here’s a guide for travelers to Hartsfield-Jackson. C6 Latest defendant in drug ring sentenced An alleged top member of the Black Mafia Family crime gang is headed to prison. C6 VENT OF THE DAY I’m putting “I won the lottery” on Christmas cards to people I never hear from. It will be good to talk to them. ➤ Turn to Pages C5-6 for more news about your metro Atlanta community. On ajc.com/metro: See weather photos sent in by other readers and learn how to send in yours. Metro & State C FRIDAY, DEC. 19, 2008 ● ● ● ● Newsroom Customer Care | newstips@ajc.com | 404-526-7003 Magical moments On the last day of his life, Devon Currie fulfilled a long-held wish, thanks to a gift from an anonymous neighbor. C8 OBITUARIES gy‚uˆƒ†!‹u†‚‡!Yƒ†!ƒz!ç„y‚u€ˆ}y‡è By GAYLE WHITE gwhite@ajc.com In a stern letter to Emory University this week, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) questions whether renowned psychiatrist Dr. Charles Nemeroff has honestly portrayed some of his activities funded by pharmaceutical companies. Grassley warns school offi - cials of the potential penal - ties for making false statements or obstructing a congressional examination. Nemeroff, an internationally known expert on depression, has become a central figure in an investigation this year by the Senate Finance Committee into whether drug company money paid to physicians compromises medical research and scholarship. Grassley is the committee’s ranking minority member. Grassley’s letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, questions Emory’s position that some talks by Nemeroff funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline were educational and did not involve promotion of Glaxo products. According to Grassley, the pharmaceutical company, which makes the anti-depressant Paxil, described Nemeroff’s speeches as “product talks.” University officials said in a statement released Thursday afternoon, “Emory University has been completely truthful and is well aware of our obligation to do so. We have devoted considerable time and effort to investigating this matter and are soon to announce our find - ings and response. We have an obligation to be fair and judi - ➤ Please see EMORY, C4 Sen. Charles Grassley (R- Iowa) doubts “product talks.” Gates grant awarded to UGA By GAYLE WHITE / gwhite@ajc.com In the largest medical grant in its history, the University of Georgia Research Foundation has been awarded $18.7 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce the effects of the tropical parasitic disease schis - tosomiasis. The five-year grant will fund research into ways to reduce morbidity from the disease, which is caused by several species of flat - worms. Schistosomiasis can damage internal organs and impair physical and cognitive development in children. About 200 million people in the tropics and subtropics, especially in Africa, are affected by the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dan Colley, director of the university’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, is principal investigator. Colley, 65, has researched the disease for almost four decades since becoming interested while in Brazil as a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. He later worked as director of parasitic diseases at the CDC for nine years before joining the UGA faculty seven years ago. The Gates grant — part of the foundation’s emphasis on neglected diseases — will enable Colley and his team to look at how schistoso - miasis is diagnosed and treated internationally. The disease is transmitted in cyclical fashion. A species of snail picks up the parasite from human waste and replicates it. Through the snail, the parasite gets into water supplies. From the water, it travels through the skin to infect humans, living in their blood vessels. $18.7 million to help ght deadly parasite ➤ Please see UGA, C4 Fire inspection lag may affect premiums By ERIC STIRGUS estirgus@ajc.com Most Atlantans probably have never heard of the Insurance Services Office, but the New Jersey- based risk assessment company plays an important role in how much they pay for their homeowner insurance. Each year, the company rates the Atlanta Fire Department, and the results are used by most insurance companies to determine homeowner premiums. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best, Atlanta has a rating of 2. But some say there’s a problem with that high rating: ISO officials haven’t done an on-site inspection of Atlanta since 1974, the year Hank Aaron broke baseball’s home run record and Maynard Jackson became the city’s first African-American mayor. Instead, the company has been using “historical claims experience” based on actual fire losses in Atlanta. That does not sit well with Georgia’s Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine. “It’s really unheard of to go this long” without a site inspection, said Oxendine. Last week, he asked ISO to check out the quality of the Atlanta department’s staffing, communications equipment and fire hydrants. Atlanta has enjoyed a high rating for decades, which has helped keep homeowner premiums at some of the lowest levels in the region. But some worry that could change as Atlanta’s population continues to rise and the Fire Department is making service cuts. The city is struggling with major budget shortfalls — including an expected $50 million shortage in the fund that pays for fire service. In addition to citywide furloughs and pay cuts, the city on Christmas Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is not happy Atlanta’s Fire Department has not been inspected in person since 1974. ➤ Please see PREMIUMS, C4 Economy shows no-kill animal shelter no mercy By MARK DAVIS / mrdavis@ajc.com Things are tough. Ask Curby. He’s facing eviction because the rent is three months in arrears. The doctors who worked on him need to be paid. He has to eat, too. Curby would tell you if he could, but he’s just a dog. He and scores more are in trouble because the Georgia SPCA is out of money. The no-kill shelter in Suwanee is in debt, said Rita Edwards, who manages the Buford Highway facility. Times are so tight that the shelter is asking anyone with a few dollars to consider giving it to Curby and his pals. “It’s got to the point where we just can’t keep up,” said Edwards. “We’re doing what we can just to keep the place afloat.” Other Georgia-based animal care operations are reporting similar funding woes. And the situation here is not unique, said Terri Crisp, a program manager with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International. Photos by ALLEN SULLIVAN / aesullivan@ajc.com Joan Sammond , executive director of the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, checks voice mail messages in Suwanee on Thursday. The organization has run out of money for its operations. Berkmar High School teachers Kristi Mendheim (left) and Jameela Reed sit with Mendheim’s new dog. ➤ Please see SPCA, C4 Piedmont puts hold on hospital By ANDY MILLER / jamiller@ajc.com Piedmont Healthcare, citing the current recession, is suspending its $194 million project to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Newnan. Piedmont officials blamed the “current instability of the debt market” in its decision to “pause” the project for the next few months. “We had planned to go to the bond market to finance most of the project, and there’s just not a market out there now,” Piedmont spokeswoman Nina Montanaro said Thursday. Financing the hospital now “would cost us millions more,” she said. The 136-bed facility would replace the hospital that Piedmont currently operates in Coweta County. Piedmont had broken ground, cleared land and done design plans ➤ Please see HOSPITAL, C7

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