Georgia Weekend Advisory

Story Topics

Editors:

Here’s a list of Georgia stories expected to move so far for the weekend of Jan. 25-26.

Moving Saturday

PORT EXPANSION

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Fifteen months after the federal government gave final approval to a $652 million plan to deepen the busy shipping to the Port of Savannah, Congress may have finally cleared the final bureaucratic obstacle to getting the project underway. The $1.1 trillion spending bill signed into law barely a week ago contains little federal funding for the long-sought Savannah harbor expansion. But it contains language that may prove more valuable to what Gov. Nathan Deal has called the state’s top economic development project. The spending plan gives the Army Corps of Engineers permission to ignore an outdated spending cap placed on the Georgia project in 1999. That’s important because the Corps, the agency in charge of the harbor expansion, has insisted the cap needed to be raised $193 million to meet the current price tag before construction can begin. By Russ Bynum.

NUCLEAR MONITORING

ATLANTA - Despite its pro-utility leanings, several Georgia lawmakers want to hire more auditors to keep tabs on the $14 billion project to build one of the nation’s first new nuclear plants. Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power has already conceded the project is running over budget, meaning the company’s 2.4 million customers could have to pay for hundreds of millions in cost overruns. Now the Public Service Commission in hoping to hire additional auditors to keep track of the utility’s spending. The information they gather will be crucial if regulators want to ultimately block Georgia Power from billing its customers for at least some of the overspending. By Ray Henry.

Moving Sunday

SENATE-GEORGIA

WATKINSVILLE, Ga. - Seeking a promotion to the Senate, veteran Republican Rep. Jack Kingston avoids an explicit yes-or-no answer when a voter asks whether he considers himself a tea party candidate. Instead, 11-term congressman launches a careful plea for a unified party that can sell conservative principles to a wider audience. Kingston doesn’t mention any of his opponents, but the subtext is obvious in an eight-candidate Republican primary that includes Reps. Paul Broun, a physician who once called evolutionary theory “lies from the pit of Hell,” and Phil Gingrey, an obstetrician defended failed 2010 Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments on rape and abortion. It’s a free-for-all that highlights the GOP’s internal struggle between tea party activists and establishment powers, and the race has some Republicans fearing a repeat of 2012, when nominees like Akin helped Democrats score upsets in several Senate and governor’s races. “It’s a microcosm of what we’re fighting over nationally” said Kirk Shook, Republican chairman in Oglethorpe County, about an hour outside Atlanta. “And people I talk to are absolutely worried that we could repeat Missouri and Indiana with the wrong nominee. I don’t want to call any names, but we all know who I’m talking about.” By Bill Barrow. AP Photos.

WALKING DEAD-ACTOR’S MISSION

ATLANTA - For actor and playwright Danai Gurira, an 8-year-old girl’s comment symbolizes why she’s so passionate about producing theater in Africa. When she’s not killing zombies on the rural Georgia set of The Walking Dead, Gurira is in Atlanta shopping for costumes for her own production or directing performances of it in Zimbabwe. During a performance in the African nation last month, the young girl approached Gurira after her play and told her how much she liked the young girl who played a leading role. “That really touched me because I’m always about the idea of seeing a girl being up front and center on the stage,” Gurira says. “You see her strength and her determination. And her life force on display is not something Zimbabwean girls see every day.” Gurira, who plays “Michonne” on AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” hopes to help Zimbabwe’s theater industry become more professional. That’s partly so that it can inspire people in the nation, particularly young girls, she said in an interview this month. She also hopes the industry can help the nation’s young theater professionals and the overall economy. By Jeff Martin.

COSMETIC INJECTION DEATH

JACKSON, Miss. - A Tennessee woman charged with helping arrange the unlicensed buttocks injections that prosecutors say killed a Georgia woman in 2012 is scheduled to begin Monday in Jackson. Adult entertainer Natasha Stewart, also known as Pebbelz Da Model, is charged with depraved-heart murder and other counts in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta. Prosecutors say Gordon paid Stewart $200 for a referral to the person suspected of performing the injections. The alleged injector, Tracey Lynn Garner, is set for trial in March. Authorities say Gordon died from blood clots in her lungs days after being injected with a silicone-type substance. Stewart has pleaded not guilty and faces trial in Hinds County Circuit Court. Her lawyers have declined to comment due to a gag order issued by the judge. By Holbrook Mohr. AP Photo planned.

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