Roadwork halted for holiday and other news from the area around Chattanooga

Roadwork halted for holiday and other news from the area around Chattanooga

August 31st, 2012 by Staff Reports and Associated Press in Local Regional News

Roadwork halted for holiday

ATLANTA - Travelers hitting the highways for the last weekend of summer should be in for a smoother ride in both Tennessee and Georgia.

Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer ordered construction to stop by noon today and not resume until 6 a.m. Tuesday. In Georgia, the transportation department had planned to suspend all lane-closures for construction work from noon today until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The AAA Auto Club South projects that nearly 591,000 Tennesseans will travel by car this Labor Day holiday, an increase in travel through the state compared with last year's numbers.

There also will be more police officers on duty over the holiday to enforce speed limits and sobriety.

Georgia has averaged nearly 2,000 wrecks and 15 traffic deaths over the three-day Labor Day weekend in recent years.

Hispanic vote rise expected

The national Center for Immigration Studies says Hispanics will cast about 9 percent of the votes this November, up from 7.8 percent in 2008. The projection for Georgia is 4.4 percent.

The center's experts predict that 53 percent of eligible Hispanics will vote. That's less than the 66 percent turnout projected for white voters and 65 percent for African-Americans.

The report says Hispanics will cast 8 percent of votes in seven toss-up states and 2.8 percent in four states that lean slightly to one camp or the other. Georgia is a strong lean for Republican nominee Mitt Romney. President Barack Obama lost here by 5 percentage points in 2008.

Polls suggest that Obama leads Romney by a wide margin nationally among Hispanics.

Police find 3rd naked suspect

BIRMINGHAM, Ala - Police in the Birmingham area are finding that some suspects prefer to work in the buff.

Jefferson County sheriff's officials say they arrested a naked man coming out of a vacant mobile home Tuesday night. The 33-year-old man was charged with criminal trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia, The Birmingham News reported.

Hoover police arrested a naked man in July they said had broken into a country club. The 21-year-old man said he had taken LSD before a fireworks show and didn't remember anything else.

Hoover police also apprehended a naked driver in February after the 57-year-old man led officers on a slow-speed chase and hit several vehicles.

Jefferson County's chief deputy, Randy Christian, said the naked man arrested Tuesday night was in the mobile home with a fully clothed 31-year-old woman, who was arrested on the same charges.

"I suspect we caught him at the beginning or end of something we aren't aware of," he said. "Either that or we are seeing a trend that we literally don't want to see."