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Deal appoints new Ga. EPD director

Deal appoints new Ga. EPD director

ATLANTA -- Jud Turner has been appointed director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR board made the appointment official this week after Gov. Nathan Deal nominated Turner for the post.

Turner replaces F. Allen Barnes, who is leaving to work in the private sector.

Turner is a founding partner in the law firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett LLC and public affairs firm Georgia360 LLC. He was former Gov. Sonny Perdue's lead attorney and represented the governor during negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service during the state's severe drought.

Turner has also served as general counsel to the Georgia Department of Education.

13 Metro Atlanta communities receive transportation grants

13 Metro Atlanta communities receive transportation grants

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Regional Commission recently awarded $34 million in grants to help 13 Metro Atlanta communities build innovative transportation projects.

Each project includes pedestrian and bicycle improvements to encourage residents to find "greener" ways of getting from place to place, and to make these neighborhoods more livable and supportive of transit.

The money was given through the ARC's Livable Center Initiative, which is funded with federal transportation dollars.

"LCI has helped communities across Metro Atlanta re-tool and redesign over the years, creating more plans that attract residents and businesses alike," said Doug Hooker, executive director of ARC. "This program is a model for others around the country and has helped to create or finalize many of our region's most innovative and livable communities."

Drought spreads into North Georgia

Drought spreads into North Georgia

ATLANTA -- Georgia's state climatologist says extreme drought conditions have now spread into North Georgia and cover most of the state south of the mountains.

Climatologist David Stooksbury says all of Georgia's counties are now classified as being in moderate, severe or extreme drought.

In his most recent reports on the drought, Stooksbury said the outlook for relief in the short-term is not promising. Unless Georgia sees some tropical weather over the next few months, the state can expect below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures.

Without tropical rain, Georgia's soil is expected to continue to dry out. Stream flows, groundwater levels and reservoir levels are expected to continue to drop, and wildfire potentials are expected to remain high to extreme.

Droughts signals bad news for peanut butter lovers

Droughts signals bad news for peanut butter lovers

ATLANTA -- It's been 30 years since so few acres of peanuts were planted in Georgia.

The shortage and ongoing drought are bringing higher prices for peanuts and their favorite cousin -- peanut butter.

The acreage is down because farmers chose to plant cotton, which was commanding higher prices. It was thought plenty of peanuts would still be available, but many of the plants have not come out of the ground due to drought.

The situation has peanut butter manufacturers bracing for tighter supplies, according to Don Koehler with the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Georgia is the nation's largest producer of peanuts, producing 46 percent of U.S. peanuts.

LOCAL PROFILE: The LGBT Community in Atlanta

LOCAL PROFILE: The LGBT Community in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- According to The Advocate, the U.S. based national gay and lesbian newsmagazine, Atlanta holds the title of “America’s gayest city” and Gay Atlanta, a subsidiary of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau says that Atlanta is the “epicenter of the LGBT South” but according to Phillip Rafshoon of Outwrite Bookstore, Atlanta is just a “progressive city in a conservative state, that’s in a conservative region of the United States. The city serves as a place where people from small, southern towns can come to be who they want to be” which is why the LGBT community loves to call this city, home.

In the nook that is Tenth Street and Piedmont Road, Outwrite Bookstore has been a staple in the Atlanta LGBT community for about 18 years.

BEST SPOTS: Atlanta Skyline Views

BEST SPOTS: Atlanta Skyline Views

ATLANTA, Ga. -- For this week’s installment of Best Spots, we've compiled a list of the best lookout points in the metro-area to view the Atlanta skyline.

The prominent Atlanta Skyline is marked with midrise and high-rise buildings similar to those one would find in a larger city like New York City or Los Angeles. The Bank of America Plaza formally known as the NationsBank Building is one of the most prominent buildings in the Atlanta skyline and is the 42nd tallest building in the world, is the largest building in the Western Hemisphere outside of Chicago and New York and is Georgia’s tallest building.

Other buildings included in the Atlanta Skyline are the SunTrust Plaza, One Atlantic Center, 191 Peachtree Tower, the Georgia-Pacific Tower, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Two Peachtree Building and the Promenade II.

DeKalb Adopt-A-Stream partners with Stone Mountain Memorial Assoc. to hold Water Quality Workshops

DeKalb Adopt-A-Stream partners with Stone Mountain Memorial Assoc. to hold Water Quality Workshops

DECATUR – DeKalb Adopt-A-Stream is partnering with Stone Mountain Memorial Association to host a series of workshops to get citizens involved in learning about and protecting DeKalb County’s water resources. These workshops are designed to train volunteers on how to collect and interpret data, and to learn what impacts DeKalb’s water quality.

The four-part series of workshops begin Saturday, May 14 when attendees will be introduced to Adopt-A-Stream and discover how to conduct a visual survey. The second part will be held on Saturday, June 11 and participants will learn how to perform chemical monitoring. The third workshop will be held on Saturday, July 9 and will focus on biological monitoring. The last of the series will be held on Saturday, August 13 and will train volunteers on how to conduct bacteria monitoring.