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Athens police seek toothpick thief

Athens police seek toothpick thief

ATHENS, Ga. -- Police in Athens are trying to figure out who stole nearly $3,000-worth of toothpicks from the manufacturer.

Police report someone took six cases from Armond's Manufacturing Company Inc. about two weeks ago, and another seven cases went missing last weekend.

Each case contains 288 packages of 100 toothpicks. That brings the total number of stolen toothpicks to 374,400 with a value of about $2,808.

Police say there were no signs of forced entry. The owner believes a current employee or a former employee with a key might be responsible.

Two employees told the owner they saw an unknown man selling containers of Armond toothpicks at a flea market last weekend.

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Canceled in 2011, Athens fireworks show returning

Canceled in 2011, Athens fireworks show returning

ATHENS, Ga. -- Athens is bringing back its biggest Fourth of July fireworks display a year after the celebration got canceled because of budget woes.

Corporate donors have stepped up to help the city fund the Star-Spangled Classic.

Athens-Clarke County commissioners had to cut $10,000 for the fireworks display in 2009. Private donors kept it going until last year, when sponsors managed to cough up just enough cash for a 5-minute fireworks show. The event was canceled instead.

Mayor Nancy Denson appointed a committee to bring back the Independence Day celebration at Bishop Park. Athens First Bank & Trust signed on as the presenting sponsor for the event next month.


Soldiers to present UGA with flag flown at base

Soldiers to present UGA with flag flown at base

ATHENS, Ga. -- Members of the Georgia National Guard plan to visit the University of Georgia to present a university flag that was flown over their base in Afghanistan.

The Guard's Agribusiness Development Team plans to present the flag on Monday to faculty from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with a UGA flag that was flown over the team's base in Logar Province.

The team is made up of citizen-soldiers from across Georgia who are part of the 201st Regional Support Group based in Augusta. They served in Afghanistan for about a year and returned home last month. They helped Afghans develop more productive farming practices and new markets for their produce.

Soldiers from the unit trained with faculty from the college at UGA's Athens campus in February 2011.

Deal freezes Georgia gas tax

Deal freezes Georgia gas tax

ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal has frozen Georgia's gas tax, preventing an increase that would have kicked in July 1.

Deal signed an executive order freezing the gas tax at current levels, saving motorists nearly one cent from the next six months. Deal signed the order Friday.

The state gas tax had been set to rise .8 cents on July 1, as a result of a formula tied to fuel prices.

Deal says the state's economy has slowly improved with growing revenue and the unemployment rate decreasing. Deal says taxpayers in the state should not have to take on the "burden" of a gas tax right now.

Every six months, the Department of Revenue analyzes the previous half year's gas price and adjusts the state tax either up or down.

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Deputy shot in knee in Athens

ATHENS, Ga. -- An Athens-Clarke County sheriff's deputy was shot in knee Friday afternoon with non-threatening injuries.

Cpl. John Williams was shot in the knee while attempting to persuade Larry Henderson from his mother's car after she wanted him involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

The shooting happened around 3 p.m. just outside the courthouse.

According to authorities Henderson began firing at deputies with a .22 caliber pistol in protest. Deputies used a taser to subdue the suspect and arrest him. 

Henderson is charged with four counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officer. 

Police say employee cashed in stolen lottery tickets

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - An Athens man has been arrested after authorities say he tried to cash in lottery tickets he stole from the convenience store where he worked.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports 21-year-old Reid Handler was charged with felony theft by taking. Police say a manager at the Kangaroo convenience store in Athens-Clarke County recently took inventory and found that three books of scratch-off lottery tickets were missing.

The manager contacted the Georgia Lottery Commission and the agency deactivated stolen tickets that hadn't been claimed. Handler called the manager Wednesday and asked if she could have some tickets activated, at which time the manager called police to alert them that Handler was on his way to the store.

It was not immediately clear how many winning tickets Handler may have cashed in.

UGA professor arrested as cross-dressing escort

NORCROSS, Ga. -- A University of Georgia professor was arrested in Gwinnett County for working as a cross-dressing escort, police said Friday.

Max Reinhart posted an ad for escort services on backpage.com under the name Sasha, according to Gwinnett County Police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.

Undercover detectives hired Sasha and met her at the Guest House Inn in Norcross, where they agreed to $60 for 30 minutes of services, Smith said.

Reinhart was taken into custody at the hotel, where he had rented a room. He was charged with prostitution and keeping a place of prostitution.

Reinhart is a professor of Germanic & Slavic Studies, according to UGA's website.