published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Region Digest

MACON, Ga.

Charity officials plead not guilty

Two officials who worked for a Georgia-based ministry that provided discounted groceries to needy families across the U.S. have pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that former CEO Andrew Wingo and Harry Michaels asked for court-appointed attorneys in their federal court appearance Tuesday.

Wingo and Michaels are named in an indictment that alleges ministry officials siphoned millions of dollars from Angel Food to buy jewelry, athletic equipment, clothes and make a down payment on a jet.

Michaels worked in procurement for Angel Food.

Also charged in the indictment are Andrew Wingo's parents, Joe and Linda Wingo, founders of the organization. They are set to appear in court today.

ATLANTA

Water report heads to governor

The state's report outlining a program that would fund low-interest loans for planning and building new reservoirs and wells aimed at increasing Georgia's water supply has been approved and now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

The Georgia Water Supply Task Force on Wednesday approved its recommendations, which are relatively unchanged from a draft report submitted last month. Georgia Environmental Finance Authority Chairman Kevin Clark said he expects the governor to OK the plan as soon as next week.

The program would use $300 million to expand Georgia's water supply by building multimillion-dollar reservoirs, reopening inactive wells or drilling new wells, and says the state should offer loans to municipalities to pay for such projects.

Clark said the environmental finance authority and the Department of Community Affairs will accept applications from communities seeking study and project funding at the first of the year and hold workshops through spring to help communities with the application process.

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

Governor wants teacher gifts OK

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is calling on lawmakers to amend the state ethics law to make it clear that teachers can receive seasonal gifts.

Bentley said Wednesday that "teachers shouldn't be considered lawbreakers if they receive a gift from a student." He said several state Senate leaders will co-sponsor a bill to spell out how the ethics rules apply to teachers.

State Sen. Tom Whatley said the law needs to make clear that Christmas presents, seasonal gifts and classroom donations to teachers are "perfectly acceptable."

-- From Wire Reports

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