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Pilot killed in Georgia plane crash

The pilot of a crop duster was killed Friday when the plane crashed in a south Georgia field, according to media reports.

Jason Watson, 31, of Nashville, Ga., was the victim, Berrien County Sheriff Ray Paulk told the Valdosta Daily Times.

James Davis of Alapaha, Ga., was working nearby about 9:15 a.m. when he heard the plane’s engine quit.

“I felt a ‘thump’ and heard the crash,” he told the paper.

People quickly headed to help the pilot just after the crash, according to

“I got there and I was expecting to see somebody standing outside the plane watching the plane burn, but it wasn’t like that when I crossed the fence,” Davis said.

The sheriff’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. Berrien County is about 205 miles south of downtown Atlanta.

Read more of the story here.

Truck driver in critical condition after tire explodes in his face

A tractor-trailer driver is in critical condition after a tire exploded in his face when his truck caught fire, DeKalb fire officials said.

Fire officials got a call just before 9 p.m. about a tractor-trailer caught fire along I-285 near Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, DeKalb fire spokesman Capt. Eric Jackson told Channel 2 Action News. The truck was carrying oxygen tanks.

“The driver got out to check on the brake and when he did, the tire on the truck exploded in his face due to the fire and heat caused by the brake fire,” he said.

Neighbors told Channel 2 Action News they heard several explosions before the fire occurred.

“I saw the smoke, It was could see it,” Neighbor Alex Perry told the news station. “You could feel it…The whole thing was on fire. The whole thing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The driver, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition, Jackson said.

Earlier, the fire closed east and westbound lanes along I-285.

Photo: Jimmy Carter's 2016 Town Hall at Emory

Posh 21-story complex being built near Buckhead Atlanta development

Buckhead is getting another mixed-use apartment behemoth, this one complete with a rooftop dog park, terrace pools that "align with the rising and setting of the sun" and "garden rooms intended to provide fresh herbs for use in artisanal rooftop cocktails."

Modera by Mill Creek – Buckhead, which will be located directly beside The Shops Buckhead Atlanta at 3005 Peachtree Road NE, is a 21-story, mixed-use retail and residential community that will include "400 luxury apartment homes and more than 21,000 square feet of high-end retail space," according to a news release. 

Ground has broken at the one-acre lot at the corner of Peachtree and Pharr roads, and pre-leasing and initial move-ins are slated for summer 2018.

Residents will have access to amenities including: local art installations, a yoga studio, a juice bar and fitness center, a "destination sky bar, a large demo kitchen capable of hosting regular mixology and cooking classes, and an interactive, open-air social lounge," the release said. 

The aforementioned terrace pools will be surrounded by items such as chaise lounge pods, an indoor spa, a full bar, a video projection wall and a "lawn panel for outdoor games." 

The project is the result of a joint venture between multifamily investor Mill Creek Residential and real estate investment platform Elite International Investment Fund. 

“Modera Buckhead will allow us to cultivate and grow alongside the Buckhead community as we deliver residents and visitors an innovative retail and residential space in an already evergreen Atlanta district,” Harvey Wadsworth, vice president of development at Mill Creek, said in the release. 



Protesters take opposing sides on proposed Newton mosque

About a dozen protesters, several of them armed, gathered in front of the historic Newton County courthouse Tuesday to protest the presence of Muslims in America generally and a proposed local Muslim burial ground and mosque, specifically.

“Who are we to say it’s not going to be a refugee compound?” said Phillip Morris, a Walton County resident who turned out against the mosque.

Nearby, a sign read “Unite against Islam, stop the Islamic immigration refugee invasion now!”

A young teenage boy waving an American flag wore a shirt that read “God hates Islam.”

As the protest got underway, James Stachowiak, of Evans, Georgia, wielding a semiautomatic rifle, railed against Islam and Muslims through a megaphone.

“Islam is not here to assimilate,” he said. “Mohammad preached the establishment of a global caliphate.”

The anti-Islam protesters were met with a slightly smaller group of counter protesters who said they were there to support religious freedom.

“I am personally Christian and we believe defending other people’s right to worship will keep our right to worship safe as well,” said Newton County resident Kendra Millerd.

Georgia Security Force III%, a local militia, called for the rally after posting a video that caused the county to cancel a meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday. At that meeting, commissioners were expected to lift a temporary moratorium on new places of worship, clearing the way for the cemetery and mosque, which the militia opposes.

The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the armed protest by what the organization called “anti-Muslim extremists.”

“These armed bigots do not represent the people of Newton County, who are as warm and welcoming as other Georgians,” CAIR Georgia executive director Edward Ahmed Mitchell.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Newton County had not invited the agency to get involved. A spokesperson for the local Sheriff’s Office confirmed the group was still under investigation.

The militia’s video, which was posted online over the weekend but has since been taken down, shows several members of the militia decrying Islam and allegedly trespassing on the Muslim congregation’s property to hang an American flag. The Newton County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation into the group.

“ …. A self-made video circulated on social media of a militia group from a neighboring county, [which] may have been trespassing on private property, and exhibiting harassing or violent behavior,” County Manager Lloyd Kerr wrote in a statement Tuesday. “Unfortunately in today’s society, uncivil threats or intentions must be taken seriously.”

He added that the temporary moratorium on new places of worship will expire on September 21 if the commission takes no action.

“The Board of Commissioners intends to honor the expiration date and has no plans to extend the moratorium,” Kerr wrote.

For more on this story visit

Emory, UGA, Ga. Tech, Mercer among nation’s best universities

U.S. News and World Report ranks four Georgia colleges among the nation’s best on an annual list released today.

Emory University, Georgia Tech, Mercer University and the University of Georgia made the list of best national universities for 2017.

Schools are ranked on up to 15 measures of academic quality including graduation and retention rates, expert opinions, faculty and financial resources.

Mercer was new to the list after being reclassified in a 2015 update as a national university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The other three Georgia schools outperformed their previous rankings.

See the full story here.

What we know and don't know about Florida face-biting case

More than a week after Michelle Mishcon and John Stevens were killed in their southern Martin County home, Florida, much remains unknown about what led to the seemingly random, but unusually brutal, stabbings.

The couple often kept their garage door up, said Stevens’ brother-in-law, Doug Maddox, with a seat open and the TV on for friends and family. Mishcon was found stabbed to death at about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 15 in that garage. Stevens was found dead in the driveway.

>>Read more trending stories

When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home on Southeast Kokomo Lane, just north of the Jupiter border, they also found 19-year-old Austin Harrouff. The Jupiter teen was clinging to Stevens and biting off pieces of the man’s face. He already had bitten the man’s abdomen, deputies said.

A neighbor told deputies he tried to intervene in the attack but was stabbed, too. That neighbor, Jeff Fisher, went back to his home across the street and called 911. He was “bleeding profusely,” he told a dispatcher. His wife said he had been stabbed in the back.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder called Harrouff “abnormally strong.”

Yet friends of the sophomore at Florida State University said he “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

So what was the motive?

“We may absolutely never know,” Snyder said.

Nothing indicates Harrouff knew the couple. Their family members have said they don’t recognize the teen. Fisher told a dispatcher shortly after he was stabbed that he didn’t either.

>>READ MORE: Dad says Austin Harrouff may have mental illness

Officials have been unable to talk to Harrouff, the Sheriff’s Office says, because he has been sedated or hooked to breathing tubes since he arrived at St. Mary’s Medical Center immediately following the stabbings. The sheriff's office reported that Harrouff regained consciousness Friday, but has not provided a statement.

The details of Harrouff’s injuries, and a complete toxicology report, haven’t been released.

He arrived making “animal-like noises,” the Sheriff’s Office said, and was delusional. His parents said the teen had been acting strange for at least a week; his father said the strange behavior had been going on for months. His mother told Jupiter police that Harrouff had told her he had “super powers” and that he was immortal.

Harrouff’s dad, Wade, thinks mental illness may have triggered the attacks. The teen hasn’t been diagnosed, his dad said, but schizophrenia runs in the family.

Were drugs involved?

The sheriff speculates drugs, like flakka or bath salts, may be involved. Yet Harrouff dared deputies to drug test him after they took him in to custody: “Test me. You won’t find any drugs.”

>>READ MORE: What is flakka and what does it do to your body?

Initial tests indicate Harrouff didn’t have street drugs, like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or marijuana, in his system at the time of the attacks.

“I don’t think he did (use drugs),” Wade Harrouff said. “I guess we’ll find out when the test comes.”

Those drug tests of Austin Harrouff’s blood -- which are being done by the FBI -- will show whether drugs like flakka or bath salts were in the teen’s system.

Until then, detectives are in “a holding pattern,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Is Austin Harrouff’s condition affecting the investigation?

The teen’s condition also is stalling the investigation.

The sheriff's office reported that Harrouff regained consciousness Friday, over a week after the incident. He has not spoken to authorities yet. 

The day after the fatal stabbings, Snyder said Austin Harrouff’s injuries were “life-threatening” and that his condition was getting worse. Eight days after the attack, officials are saying the teen is in critical, but stable condition. On Tuesday, though, his father said his organs were failing. His son’s liver is malfunctioning, his lungs are filling with fluid and he has bleeding of the esophagus. The Sheriff’s Office said it would not release details of Austin Harrouff’s treatment plan at the hospital. 

The night of the attack, Harrouff was out to dinner with his parents at Duffy’s Sports Grill in Jupiter with his parents. Harrouff left the restaurant, his father said, and went to his mother’s house. There he attempted to drink cooking oil, according to his father.

Afterward, Harrouff’s mother, Mina, brought him back to the restaurant. There, Harrouff’s father became upset with his son and grabbed him by the collar.

It’s unclear if there was a fight, but surveillance video from the restaurant shows Harrouff eventually leave, walking calmly out of the restaurant. He then made his way to Stevens and Mishcon’s home, about four miles north along Island Way.

What happened when Harrouff reached the garage?

The Sheriff’s Office said the teen may have ingested something “caustic” in the couple’s garage.

“There were things he could have consumed, and that first night at the hospital, the hospital speculated based on what they were seeing in his body fluids, that perhaps he had ingested something caustic from the garage,” Snyder said.

The blood test results “will provide a big piece of the unknown,” Snyder said.

What happens when Harrouff is released from the hospital?

As soon as Harrouff is released from St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Sheriff’s Office said it will charge him with two counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

GMA host: ‘Colored people’ remark ‘was a mistake’

Following a social media firestorm about her use of the phrase “colored people,” Good Morning America host Amy Robach issued an apology.

“This morning during a segment about Hollywood casting, I mistakenly said ‘colored people’ instead of ‘people of color,’” said Robach, a graduate of Brookwood High School in Snellville and the University of Georgia. “I sincerely apologize. It was a mistake and is not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life.”

“Colored people,” a label used during segregation, was replaced in the late 1960s by “black” and later by “African-American.” To some, “colored people” is the equivalent of a racial slur.

MORE: The Journey From ‘Colored’ To ‘Minorities’ To ‘People Of Color’

Robach’s reference to “colored people” came during a segment about actress Zendaya potentially playing Mary Jane in an upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot. Mary Jane is a character traditionally filled by white actresses, and Zendaya is half black and half white.

“Now we all know Hollywood has received recent and quite a bit of criticism for casting white actors in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people,” Robach said.

She asked former People magazine managing editor Larry Hackett if Zendaya’s casting is “potentially the industry trying to right itself.”

The outrage on social media was swift.

ZsaVette Ellis-Frye, a management leader in Atlanta, posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter.

She said “colored people” is “outdated, antiquated, and offensive,” not just to “people of color but many people.”

Read more responses on Twitter here.

The reaction to Robach’s apology, issued nearly four hours after the segment aired, was mixed.

“#notabigdeal don’t make more out of it than it was,” user Randall Ingram wrote in a Twitter post.

“amazing… (not in the good way) … i mean what do you call black people in the privacy of your home?” user @solomonmissouri wrote.

Police: Florida man upset he was late for probation meeting chokes dog

Kyle Oloughlin woke up Thursday afternoon and realized he was late for his probation meeting, he told Boynton Beach, Florida, police.

Upset, Oloughlin yelled at his stepfather, and that’s when 4-year-old pit bull Lilly started barking.

Frustrated by his situation and the dog, he grabbed Lilly up off the ground by her neck and choked her, according to the police report.

Oloughlin, who was arrested Thursday, refused to come to court for his first appearance hearing Friday morning on charges of animal abuse and domestic violence. The 33-year-old will be held without bail at the Palm Beach County Jail until Saturday, when he’s expected back in court.

Oloughlin’s stepfather told police he and someone else in the home on the 100 block of Southeast Fifth Avenue, just south of Boynton Beach Boulevard and west of U.S. 1, told him to let the dog go but he refused. The man said the 100-pound dog was struggling to breathe and making choking noises, according to the report.

When Oloughlin wouldn’t let go of the dog, his stepfather grabbed a metal softball bat and struck Oloughlin twice on his shoulder, police said.

Once he dropped the dog, Oloughlin went after his stepfather and pushed him against a wall. Lilly went to defend the stepfather and bit Oloughlin just as police arrived, according to the report.

Police said the dog didn’t seem to have any injuries, but was “definitely frightened.”

Oloughlin, who has a long history of arrests for domestic batteries but only a few convictions, is serving 12 months of probation for reckless driving and possession of paraphernalia.

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