published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Region digest: Solar panels tested, pot-growing operation found, man charged with assault

AUGUSTA, Ga.

Solar panels tested statewide

Georgia Power Co. is testing solar panels at seven locations around the state to see how well they work under different climate conditions.

The panels are being tested in Rome, Augusta, Valdosta, Macon, Columbus, Savannah and Conley.

Georgia Power says that each panel, under optimum conditions and full sun, can generate about 200 watts of electricity.

Company spokeswoman Carol Boatright said the 18-month trial is a joint effort with the Electric Power Research Institute. She said some of the test locations have high humidity or salty air, while mountainous areas have cleaner air but colder temperatures and more freezing.

• • •

CLEVELAND, Tenn.

Pot-growing operation found

Bradley County authorities last weekend found what they described as a "sophisticated indoor marijuana grow operation" at a home on Mount Bethel Road, a spokesman said.

Sheriff's spokesman Bob Gault said deputies responded Saturday to a 911 call of a possible burglary in progress, but when they opened an unlocked door at the rear of the home they smelled marijuana. The deputies called for drug investigators, he said.

Officers with Bradley's drug enforcement unit obtained a search warrant, entered the home and found about 195 plants from three to four feet high, Gault said. He said officers also found lighting timers and plant food.

The home is in southern Bradley County about halfway between Dalton Pike and Spring Place Road.

One person is being sought for questioning, Gault said. No arrests have been made.

• • •

DALTON, Ga.

Man charged with assault

A Dalton man was arrested after he fired a gun when he was leaving a gas station Sunday night, police said.

Police said Jermaine Burse, 21, shot at a group of men as he was leaving the RaceTrac station on Shugart Road shortly before midnight.

An officer was parked near the gas station and was about to drive to the parking lot to check on a fight when he heard the gunshot, Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said.

When the officer arrived, he stopped Burse in a gold Honda Accord trying to flee the lot, Frazier said. Inside the car officers found a gun, a spent shell casing and a bullet hole in the passenger door, he said.

Several witnesses told police that Burse, of 801 Heritage Circle, was involved in a heated argument with several men and got in his car to leave, Frazier said. When he fired at the group the bullet went through his door before hitting another car, Frazier said.

Burse was charged with aggravated assault, reckless conduct, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, criminal trespass, pointing or aiming a gun at another and discharging a gun near a public street or highway, Frazier said.

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