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RARE FLOWER

Group concerned about Bartow County road project

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A coalition that has raised concerns about a proposed connector between U.S. 411 and Interstate 75 in Bartow County says the habitat of a protected flower could be negatively affected by the planned route.

The Rome News-Tribune reports that the Georgia aster has been found on Dobbins Mountain. The group says previous environmental studies failed to account for the plant by the proposed connector route, which would cut through the mountain.

The route for the 6.34-mile, limited-access highway was approved in 2009 after years of studying alternatives. Its estimated cost is $146 million.

Jill Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, says officials at her department don't think the flowers are in the path of the project or within the right of way.

COUNTERFEITING SENTENCE-VEGAS

Atlanta man gets prison in Nev. counterfeit case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 37-year-old Atlanta man has been sentenced in Las Vegas to 14½ years in federal prison for heading a counterfeit debit and credit card ring that the top federal prosecutor in Nevada says raked in more than $4 million from victims' bank accounts.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Wednesday that Ganiu Adisa Kosoko was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James Mahan.

Kosoko also has to pay about $1.4 million in restitution and serve five years of supervised release.

A jury found Kosoko guilty in November of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy after four other co-defendants pleaded guilty in the case.

Bogden says the ring produced counterfeit driver's licenses and opened bank accounts to siphon money from accounts of more than 18 victims.

GINGRICH

Gingrich looks for a bright side in Fla. defeat

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is trying to put a positive spin on his defeat in Florida's primary as he looks to the Nevada caucuses to yet again reset the volatile GOP race.

Gingrich, the former House speaker and Georgia congressman, says that despite being pounded with a double-digit defeat in Florida on Tuesday, he's "delighted" with results showing him faring well among tea party and evangelical voters.

At a rally Wednesday in Reno, Gingrich said he wants to compete in every single caucus meeting in Nevada.

But he acknowledges that front-runner Mitt Romney has a big advantage in Nevada, a state Romney won when he sought the Republican nomination on 2008.

The Nevada caucuses are set for Saturday.

DEADLY ARGUMENT-SENTENCING

Atlanta couple gets life in killing of neighbor

ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta couple has been sentenced to life in prison in the killing of their neighbor in a dispute over the victim's dog.

The Fulton County district attorney's office says a jury returned guilty verdicts Wednesday against 33-year-old Renita Collins and her boyfriend, 34-year-old Michael Stallworth.

They faced murder, aggravated assault and weapons charges in connection with the March shooting death of 29-year-old Keith Jacobs.

Prosecutors say Collins started an argument with Jacobs because she thought his dog had chased her around the neighborhood. Prosecutors say she threatened to shoot the dog. She left and returned a short time later with Stallworth.

Prosecutors say both were armed with handguns and started firing as they approached Jacobs. The two fled the scene but surrendered to police a few days later.

GUEST WORKERS-SENATE

State senators want change on guest worker program

ATLANTA (AP) — The Senate Agriculture committee has approved a resolution urging Congress to allow states to administer their own version of the federal visa program that allows employers to bring in foreign workers for seasonal agricultural work.

Senate Resolution 715 also asks for year-round workers in the agriculture industry to be considered along with temporary workers. The H-2A program is currently run by the Department of Labor, and the resolution argues the program would be better administered under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pending legislation on this issue is currently in the U.S. House.

The state Senate bill now heads to the Rules committee, which will determine whether the full Senate will vote on the issue.



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