published Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

DNA evidence leads to arrest, and more Chattanooga region news

DNA evidence leads to arrest

FYFFE, Ala. — A 33-year-old Alabama man has been arrested in a Feb. 6 burglary at a Fyffe pharmacy after police matched his DNA.

Carson Weldon, of Flat Rock, Ala., was arrested and charged with probation violation and burglary, authorities said.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said the arrest was the fourth drug store burglary in which police have made an arrest in the last three months.

After the burglary in February, police found a piece of flesh and blood stains at the pharmacy, and a forensics analysis matched Weldon to the skin, Harris said in a news release.

Investigators are interviewing at least two other suspects, he said.


Black bear numbers rise

ONEIDA, Tenn. — New population estimates of black bears in and around the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area show the population is thriving.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the bears were reintroduced to the area almost 20 years ago after they had been nearly wiped out by habitat destruction and unregulated hunting.

New DNA information collected by biologists shows the bear population has grown dramatically from the 14 females and 16 cubs brought from the Smokies in the 1990s. Today there are about 284 animals in the park area in Tennessee and Kentucky.


Cutting trees for signs upheld

ATLANTA — Georgia's highest court has upheld a Georgia statute that allows trees to be chopped down under certain circumstances so billboard companies can advertise along highways.

The Supreme Court of Georgia's ruling in a Columbus case was announced Monday morning.

The case arose after CBS Outdoor Inc., which owns billboards across the state, in 2006 submitted 10 permit applications to the Georgia Department of Transportation to remove trees along Interstate 185 in Columbus.

Columbus, Gateways Foundation and Trees Columbus Inc., a nonprofit group that donates and conserves trees, filed a lawsuit in Muscogee County to stop the trees from being removed.


Lawmaker seeks Kingston's seat

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Republican state lawmaker from the Savannah area plans to run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by longtime GOP Rep. Jack Kingston.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, a pharmacist from Pooler, on Monday announced his campaign for Georgia's 1st District congressional seat.

His announcement comes just a few days after Kingston kicked off his 2014 race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring next year.

The 1st District congressional seat covers parts of 17 Southeast Georgia counties from Savannah to Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta.

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