published Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Region digest: Drug roundup nets 32 suspects

WALKER COUNTY, GA

Drug roundup nets 32 suspects

Police arrested 32 drug suspects in Walker County during a multiagency two-day roundup.

Operation Rolling Thunder began Wednesday. Authorities dismantled four methamphetamine labs and arrested 32 people, including seven wanted on fugitive warrants, Sheriff Steve Wilson said in a news release.

Suspects were arrested on multiple drug charges, including manufacturing and distribution of meth, distribution of crack cocaine and possession of prescription drugs, Wilson said.

Local law enforcement personnel and state and federal agents assisted in the arrests, he said.

DAYTON, TN

Rhea commission lawsuit dismissed

A $500,000 lawsuit filed last year against the Rhea County Election Commission by its former administrator of elections recently was dismissed.

Brenda Dodson filed for back pay and compensatory damages in 2010 after she'd been advised "to look for other employment" by two commissioners in early 2009, her suit stated. She attributed their recommendation to political changes in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Dodson "voluntarily dismissed" the case, according to her attorney, John Ray Clemmons. Depositions were taken and the "discovery" led to the dismissal, he said.

A federal case involving Dodson and seven other Tennessee administrators for alleged party-affiliation dismissals has been postponed from its original July 2011 date.

BIRMINGHAM, AL

Sixty-one sign up under health plan

Federal officials say a new health insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions covers 61 people in Alabama, while nationwide more than 12,000 have signed up.

The insurance was made available under the new federal health care law. It's designed to bridge the gap until 2014, when private insurance companies no longer will be allowed to deny coverage for people who have had certain major illnesses.

A spokesman for the Alabama Department of Insurance said cost may be a factor in Alabama's low enrollment. Premiums for people over 55 are $583 per month for the standard plan and $785 for the extended plan, plus deductibles and copayments.

DALTON, GA

Physician named to state board

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has named Dalton physician John S. Antalis to the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

The board licenses physicians and a variety of medical professionals, including physicians' assistants and acupuncturists, among others.

Antalis has been a family physician at Dalton Family Practice for nearly 25 years and has served on the Whitfield County Board of Health since 1992. He also served as president of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Association of Georgia and was Georgia Family Physician of the Year in 1995.

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