- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014
Snow, ice send South’s flagship city reeling

ATLANTA (AP) - Thousands of Atlanta students stranded all night long in their schools were reunited with their parents Wednesday, while rescuers rushed to deliver blankets, food, gas and a ride home to countless shivering motorists stopped cold by a storm that paralyzed the business capital of the South with less than 3 inches of snow.

As National Guardsmen and state troopers fanned out, Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal found themselves on the defensive, acknowledging the storm preparations could have been better. But Deal also blamed forecasters, saying he was led to believe it wouldn’t be so bad.

The icy weather wreaked similar havoc across much of the South, closing schools and highways, grounding flights and contributing to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire.

Yet it was Atlanta, home to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport, that was Exhibit A for how a Southern city could be sent reeling by winter weather that, in the North, might be no more than an inconvenience.

The mayor admitted the city could have directed schools, businesses and government offices to stagger their closings on Tuesday afternoon, as the storm began, rather than dismissing everyone at the same time.

The result was gridlock on freeways that are jammed even on normal days. Countless vehicles were stranded and many of them abandoned.

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Beretta to build new firearms plant in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Italian gun maker Beretta said Wednesday that Tennessee’s support for gun rights was a major factor in its decision to build a manufacturing and research facility in the Nashville suburb of Gallatin.

The $45 million plant is projected to be complete this year and create 300 new jobs.

Gun rights were “the first criteria for deciding to even consider a state,” said Jeff Reh, a member of Beretta USA Corp.’s board of directors.

Reh spoke to reporters after a press conference that included Gov. Bill Haslam and Franco Gussalli Beretta, the company’s executive vice president and director, as well as lawmakers and city officials.

Reh, who led the site search, said there were some states considered that “respect Second Amendment rights,” but they “didn’t have the type of support that we saw in Tennessee.”

Several states began wooing Beretta from Maryland after the company raised objections to a wide-ranging gun control measure enacted there last year. Company officials said Wednesday that they have reached capacity in Maryland, requiring the expansion elsewhere.

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Obama to visit Tenn. school of shooting victim

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - As President Barack Obama’s security detail prepared for his Thursday visit to a Nashville high school, grief counselors went to the school to help students cope with the fatal shooting of a teen by a classmate.

The shooting came within an hour of the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, in which he renewed calls to curb gun violence.

“I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, in our shopping malls, or schools,” Obama said in the speech.

Police said the shooting took place at an apartment when 17-year-old Kaemon Robinson was playing with a pistol. It discharged, striking 15-year-old Kevin Barbee in the face. An attorney for Robinson said the teenager did not know the gun was loaded.

It was unclear how the president would address the shooting in his Thursday afternoon speech at McGavock Comprehensive High School. But his efforts to impose more restrictions on firearms purchases don’t enjoy widespread support in a state that prides itself on being gun friendly.

Obama has been thwarted by Congress in his efforts to reinstate the assault weapons ban and expand background checks for gun purchases. But a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012 led him to issue presidential memoranda on guns that included renewing federal gun research despite a law that had been interpreted as barring such research since 1996.

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Teen fatally shot, friend faces charge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Metro Nashville police say a 17-year-old-boy has been charged with criminal homicide in the fatal shooting of his friend. Both teenagers were in 10th grade at McGavock Comprehensive High School, where President Obama is scheduled to speak on Thursday.

Police said in a statement on Wednesday that the shooting happened at an apartment in Hermitage on Tuesday night when suspect Kaemon Robinson was playing with a pistol. It discharged, striking 15-year-old Kevin Barbee in the face. Barbee was taken to Summit Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Police say they are continuing to investigate.

An attorney for Robinson, Kyle Mothershead, said the teenager did not know the gun was loaded. He said his client “deeply regrets this tragedy and expresses his utmost sorrow” to Barbee’s family.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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