published Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Rome pastor killed in collision — and more Chattanooga region news

Rome pastor killed in collision

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. — Georgia State Patrol officials say the pastor of a Rome church was killed in a head-on collision.

The Rome News-Tribune reported the Rev. Nim Russell, pastor at Thankful Baptist Church, died in the wreck just west of Adairsville around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said a pickup truck driven by 47-year-old Michelle Blum crossed the center line on Georgia 140 and crashed into the car driven by Russell.

Blum and her passenger, 46-year-old Charles Louis Blum, were taken to a hospital for treatment.


Online, mobile voter signup starts

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Georgia's Secretary of State says voters are now being offered two new paperless registration methods.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced the launch of online and mobile voter registration systems Monday. Kemp made the announcement at a meeting with state election and voter registration officials in Augusta.

Kemp said Georgia voters will need a valid state driver's license to register. Kemp added that the upgraded system is expected to benefit voters throughout the state and save time and money.

Kemp said voters may access online registration through the "My Voter Page" on the secretary of state's website. Kemp said mobile users can register through the "GA Votes" application. The application is already available to Android users and is expected to launch on the Apple platform this week.


Feds may cut off food stamp funds

ATLANTA — Federal officials are threatening to cut off up to $76 million in administrative funding if Georgia doesn't make big changes to its food stamp system.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the funds could be yanked as early as May 1.

Because of understaffing, out-of-date technology and a call center that can't handle the call volume, thousands of Georgians have lost food stamp benefits or been blocked from applying.

The federal government pays for food stamps, and the federal and state governments split the management costs. Federal authorities said they will pull all or some of their $76 million contribution unless significant changes are made.

The newspaper said the state doesn't have to fix everything by May 1, but must alleviate the backlog of overdue cases.


Toomer's Corner rebuilding starts

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn University is starting work on a revamped Toomer's Corner.

The school said construction begins this week at the site where fans traditionally gather to celebrate big sports victories.

The intersection is being redeveloped after a University of Alabama fan poisoned the landmark oaks that used to stand there. The trees died and have since been removed.

Workers will install fencing around the area, and they've already removed the eagles that stand atop a campus gate. The stone birds will be returned later.

The first phase of the renovation includes installing new pavers, building a circular wall with seating and replacing soil. Those projects are supposed to be finished before fall.

New trees will be planted early next year.

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