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    A 3-year-old girl found underwater in a backyard pool in Georgia has been airlifted to the hospital. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Hall County sheriff's spokesman Stephen Wilbanks says the child wandered into the backyard of a vacation home and was found by family members on Monday afternoon. She was pulled from the water and given CPR before being rushed to a hospital by helicopter. Her name has not been released. Her condition was not immediately known. ___ Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com
  • Republican governors are getting into the 'news' business. The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media. The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers to sign up for breaking news alerts. It launched in the summer bearing no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected. Only after The Associated Press inquired about the site last week was a disclosure added to The Free Telegraph's pages identifying the publication's partisan source. The governors association describes the website as routine political communication. Critics, including some Republicans, say it pushes the limits of honest campaign tactics in an era of increasingly partisan media and a proliferation of 'fake news' sites, including those whose material became part of an apparent Russian propaganda effort during the 2016 presidential campaign. 'It's propaganda for sure, even if they have objective standards and all the reporting is 100 percent accurate,' said Republican communications veteran Rick Tyler, whose resume includes Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign. The website was registered July 7 through Domains By Proxy, a company that allows the originators of a website to shield their identities. An AP search did not find any corporate, Federal Election Commission or IRS filings establishing The Free Telegraph as an independent entity. As of early Monday afternoon, The Free Telegraph's Twitter account and Facebook page still had no obvious identifiers tying the site to RGA. The site described itself on Twitter as 'bringing you the political news that matters outside of Washington.' The Facebook account labeled The Free Telegraph a 'Media/News Company.' That's a contrast to the RGA's Facebook page, which is clearly disclosed as belonging to a 'Political Organization,' as is the account of its counterpart, the Democratic Governors Association. RGA Chairman Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, deferred questions through a spokesman to the group's national staff. At RGA, spokesman Jon Thompson said the site is 'just another outlet to share those positive results' of the GOP's 34 Republican governors. It's not unprecedented for politicians to try their hand at news distribution. President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, hosted 'real news' video segments in the summer, posted to the president's Facebook page. In one typical segment she told viewers she wanted to highlight 'all the accomplishments the president had this week because there's so much fake news out there.' Vice President Mike Pence, when he was Indiana governor, pitched the idea of a news agency run by state government, but he ditched the idea in 2015 after criticism. In both cases, however, Lara Trump and Pence were not aiming to hide the source of the content. But the RGA site has Democrats, media analysts and even some Republicans crying foul. Democrats say Republicans are laying the groundwork with headlines that will appear in future digital and television ads, while also providing individual voters with fodder to distribute across social media. 'They're just seeding the ground,' said Angelo Carusone, who runs Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group. 'They are repackaging their opposition research so it's there as 'news,' and at any moment that publication could become the defining moment of the narrative' in some state's campaign for governor. Political communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has studied political advertising for four decades, said The Free Telegraph commits a form of 'identity theft' by 'appropriating the integrity of news' because 'the form of news carries credibility' that blatantly partisan sites do not. Jamieson was particularly critical of RGA's initial failure to disclosure its involvement. 'What we know about audiences is they factor in the source of information when judging that information,' she said. 'If you are denying the reader, the listener or the viewer information you know the reader uses, the question is why do you feel the need to do this?' A recent RGA fundraising email said the site was 'fact-checking the liberal media' and is a counter to 'decades of demonizing Republicans.' Playing off President Donald Trump's dismissal of 'fake news,' the email said media 'can say whatever they like about us — whether it's true or not.' Some of The Free Telegraph's content plays off of material from traditional media organizations and from right-leaning outlets such as The Daily Caller. RGA press releases are linked. Some headlines and photos are exact duplicates of RGA press releases. In the days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and Louisiana, the site included headlines praising Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, for his response. There were no such headlines for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat. The content is far tamer than from some sites from that popped up during the 2016 presidential campaign to propagate sensational but baseless stories. But it does create a cache of headlines that could turn up in campaigns. The first test is in this fall's Virginia governor's race pitting Democratic nominee Ralph Northam against Republican Ed Gillespie. Virginians already have seen another site, The Republican Standard, that is run by Virginia Republican operatives with ties to Gillespie, a former state and national party chairman, and to a firm that has been paid by the RGA. The Free Telegraph and its social media accounts frequently link The Republican Standard. Northam campaign spokesman David Turner accused Gillespie and Republicans of 'creating their own Pravda,' a nod to the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Gillespie campaign declined comment, referring questions back to the RGA. ___ Associated Press reporter Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin contributed to this report. ___ ON THE WEB: The Free Telegraph, with the RGA's identifier: https://freetelegraph.com The Free Telegraph, an archived page without the RGA label: http://web.archive.org/web/20170830121418/https:/freetelegraph.com/ ___ Follow Barrow and Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and https://twitter.com/sbauerAP.
  • This year, 10 University of Georgia students and alumni were offered grants to take their research and teaching to a global level through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. This marks the fourth straight year-and eighth time in the past nine years-that UGA has achieved a double-digit number of Fulbright offers. Of the 10, six were able to take advantage of the opportunity. Four received academic grants, and two will be teaching English. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent college graduates and graduate students. As the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, it is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and countries worldwide. 'These prestigious grants are a testament to the exceptional talent of UGA students and UGA's institutional commitment to international education,' said Maria de Rocher, assistant director of the Honors Program and chair of the Fulbright selection committee at UGA. Four students and alumni received Fulbright academic grants. Their study concentrations and host countries are:• Anna Forrester of Kingsport, Tennessee, will be studying Shakespearean performances in Turkey, exploring how Shakespeare has shaped the country's national dramatic identity. She will be based in Istanbul. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in English literature at UGA.• John Esteban Rodriguez of Guyton will be conducting research on the intersection of race and LGBTQ identities, while pursuing a master's degree in gender, politics and sexuality in Paris. He recently completed bachelor's and master's degrees in English at UGA.• Samuel Schaffer of Atlanta will be working as a binational business intern in Mexico City, Mexico. He graduated from UGA this past May with a bachelor's degree in international affairs.• James Thompson of Augusta will be participating in the Young Professional Journalist Program in Freiburg, Germany, interning with various media companies and researching how religious groups interact with secular communities. He received bachelor's degrees in journalism and history this past May. Two alumni received Fulbright English teaching assistantship awards. Their study concentrations and host countries are:• Asad Delawalla of Lawrenceville will be teaching English classes in South Korea. He graduated from UGA in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in international affairs and a minor in French. • Margaret Harney of Atlanta will be assisting English teachers in Spain. She graduated from UGA in 2016 with bachelor's degrees in Spanish and journalism.
  •     Hall County Animal Control says it has confirmed Hall County’s eighth rabies case of 2017: a rabid raccoon tangled with two dogs on Wild Smith Road in Gainesville. From Hall County Animal Control... This is to advise that there was contact between a rabid raccoon and two dogs recently in the 5200 block of Wild Smith Road in Gainesville. The raccoon was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab- Virology Section in Decatur. Hall County Animal Control was advised Friday that the raccoon tested positive for rabies. This is the eighth confirmed case of rabies in 2017.        Positive alert signs will be posted in the area where the rabid raccoon was located. If you live in this area or you see an animal acting abnormally in the area, contact Hall County Animal Services at 770-531-6830 or during non-working hours call Hall County Dispatch at 770-536-8812.       Animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their domesticated pets for rabies. Vaccines are available at the Hall County Animal Shelter for $10 Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 1688 Barber Rd, Gainesville.         
  • The Georgia DOT says the lane closures that started last night on Highway 316 in Oconee County will continue through October 1. It’s for resurfacing work on 316 between the Oconee Connector and Virgil Langford. WHO: Georgia DOT construction contractors will begin resurfacing State Route 316 this month. WHAT: Overnight single lane closures will be required for resurfacing work to take place. WHEN: September 18, 2017 nightly through October 1, 2017. 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.  WHERE: State Route 316 Epps Bridge Parkway between Virgil Lankford to the Oconee Connector 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioners meet for a 6 o’clock agenda setting session at City Hall. The county’s drought and water shortage plan is up for discussion, as are appointments to local boards, authorities, and commissions.  There is an afternoon meeting of the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission: it’s a 4 o’clock session at the Library on Baxter Street.  The Athens Airport Authority meets this afternoon, 3:30 at Athens-Ben Epps Airport.  There is an evening meeting of Madison County’s Planning and Zoning Board, a 6:30 session at the Madison County Government Complex in Danielsville. Winder City Councilman Bob Dixon says family considerations are behind his decision to pull out of his race for reelection. He’ll step down from the post he’s held since 2010. One of two remaining candidates in the November 7 election—either Chris Akins or Todd Saxon—will fill Dixon’s seat on the City Council in Winder.  The Gainesville City Council meets, 5:30 this afternoon at the Public Safety Complex in Gainesville. The Council is expected to set the millage rate for the Gainesville City School District. It will come without a property tax increase for Gainesville home owners.
  • The Oconee County School Board lays out a plan for redistricting in advance of the 2018 opening of Dove Creek Elementary School. All streets west of Highway 78 would be rezoned for Dove Creek. The Board will hold what it calls a listening session on the plan next month. “Over the last several years, our district has seen tremendous growth because of the incredible work of our teachers, support staff and administrators, parents, students, and community,” said Superintendent Jason Branch. “We are very blessed to be a part of the #1 school district in the state, which is also the #1 fastest growing system in Northeast Georgia with 3,500 or more students. With 15.4% growth since 2013 and two of our elementary schools over building capacity, we look forward to opening Dove Creek Elementary School this fall.”  More information is available on the district’s web site at: www.oconeeschools.org/redistricting. On this site are current and proposed zoning maps, a link to a feedback form, and a street index. Of note on the street index:  • All streets west of Highway 78 are rezoned for Dove Creek Elementary School. They are not included on the list since it includes all streets in that area. and can be viewed on the proposed map.  • The street index includes only streets proposed for redistricting from Malcom Bridge Elementary School to Rocky Branch Elementary School.  In addition, the Board of Education invites the community to a Listening Session on the proposed redistricting plan Tuesday, October 10 at 6 p.m. at North Oconee High School.    “We appreciate the continued support of our community, and look forward to receiving their feedback,” said Branch.
  • Three people were arrested during a protest that followed a vigil for a Georgia Tech student who was fatally shot by campus police, a university spokesman said. Police shot and killed Scout Schultz late Saturday night after the 21-year-old student called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said. Georgia Tech issued alerts urging students to shelter indoors Monday night because of violent protests. Video posted on social media showed a police vehicle burning in the street and officers pinning people to the ground as onlookers shouted at them. After Monday's peaceful vigil, about 50 protesters marched to the campus police department, university spokesman Lance Wallace said. A police vehicle was damaged and two officers suffered minor injuries, with one taken to a hospital for treatment. He said police restored order relatively quickly, and three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer. In a statement released through attorney Chris Stewart, Schultz's family urged protesters to remain peaceful. '(W)e ask that those who wish to protest Scout's death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer,' the statement said. The GBI has said an officer responding to a 911 call about 11:17 p.m. Saturday shot Schultz as the student advanced on officers with a knife and refused commands to put down the knife. Stewart said Monday that the GBI confirmed to him that Schultz was holding a multipurpose tool and that the knife blade was not out. Schultz was the one who called 911, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said in an emailed statement Monday. 'In the call, Shultz describes the person as a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife and possibly armed with a gun on his hip,' Miles said, adding that three suicide notes were found in Schultz's dorm room. Investigators recovered a multi-purpose tool at the scene but didn't find any guns, Miles said. Flanked by Schultz's parents Monday morning, Stewart said the officer who shot Schultz overreacted. Schultz was having a breakdown and was suicidal but if the officer had used non-lethal force rather than shooting, Schultz could have received treatment, Stewart said. 'The mentally ill are looking for a way out when they're having a full breakdown, and there's no way you should be able to use a police officer to take your life when that person isn't threatened,' Stewart said. Georgia Tech police don't carry stun guns, but are equipped with pepper spray, a spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Stewart says he plans to sue over the shooting. Authorities have not identified the officer who shot Schultz. Georgia Tech on Monday refused to release personnel or disciplinary reports involving the officers, saying such information is exempt from Georgia's open records law. Schultz was president of Pride Alliance at Georgia Tech. The fourth-year computer engineering student used the name Scout, rather than the given name Scott, and preferred the pronouns 'they' and 'them' rather than 'he' or 'him.' 'I'm bisexual, nonbinary and intersex,' Schultz wrote in a Pride Alliance profile. William Schultz told reporters Monday that his child had a 3.9 GPA and was on track to graduate early in December. Lynne Schultz told the Journal-Constitution over the weekend that her oldest child had struggled with depression and attempted suicide two years ago. After that, Scout Schultz went through counseling, William Schultz said. Scout Schultz spent this past summer at home and there were no obvious problems when school resumed last month, the elder Schultz said. The GBI, through its Crisis Intervention Team, has trained about 10,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officers since it began in 2004, the Atlanta newspaper reported. Some agencies require that training while others don't. It wasn't immediately clear whether the officers who responded Saturday had undergone such training. ___ Associated Press writer Jeff Martin contributed to this report.
  • Several U.S. senators are urging federal trade officials to take action to lower tariffs on pecan exports to India in hopes of helping growers in a number of pecan-producing states. The bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter recently to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, saying the high tariffs are affecting American farmers and have created a trade barrier not imposed on other tree nut producers. The lawmakers said a key part of strengthening the nation's relationship with India will be reducing the tariffs that are impeding U.S. agricultural exports. According to the letter, the pecan industry contributes over $3.75 billion to the rural economies of more than a dozen pecan-producing states that stretch from the Carolinas to California. The top producing states include Georgia, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.