- 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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