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This Hour: Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment

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Georgia man gets 20 years for gun battle at school

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia man who was persuaded by a bookkeeper to surrender during a 2013 gun battle with police at a school near Atlanta has pleaded guilty to multiple charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Twenty-one-year-old Michael Brandon Hill entered the plea during a Tuesday court hearing in Decatur.

Police say Hill entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur on Aug. 20, 2013, with a rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition.

Police say he exchanged gunshots with police from inside the school before bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff persuaded him to surrender. Tuff said later that she prayed as she tried to convince him to surrender.

No one was hurt in the gunfire. Hill's attorneys have said he was trying to commit suicide and did not intend to hurt anyone else.


UPS expects to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers

ATLANTA (AP) - UPS plans to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers to help with package deliveries during the busy holiday season.

The Atlanta company said Tuesday that the positions will include package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers.

Since last year's holiday season, UPS has implemented several measures to help prepare for this year's onslaught of deliveries. This includes making improvements to schedule planning, installing temporary mobile sorting and delivery centers and adding thousands of new or leased delivery vehicles, trailers, aircraft and portable loading aids. It's also adding operating days and shifts.

Last year, a last-minute surge in holiday shipments drove up the shipper's costs and hurt its profits.

United Parcel Service Inc. said that the seasonal jobs have long served as an entry point for permanent employment.


David Perdue calls on former governor in ad

ATLANTA (AP) - Republican Senate candidate David Perdue is calling on his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, in a new statewide television ad.

The ad begins airing Tuesday, according to David Perdue's campaign.

The 30-second spot focuses on Perdue's childhood in middle Georgia, where he and his family worked farmland and other business interests.

Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn are fighting for key votes in middle and south Georgia.

The area leans solidly Republican, but Nunn needs more of the rural and small-town white vote if she hopes to win in GOP-controlled Georgia. Nunn has campaigned often with her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, in that part of the state.

Perdue needs to shore up his support in the region that went heavily for his primary runoff opponent, Rep. Jack Kingston.


Columbus-based payment firm to expand in McDonough

MCDONOUGH, Ga. (AP) - State officials say a Columbus-based payments company will expand in McDonough, creating up to 450 jobs.

Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement that TSYS will build a new customer service center in the Henry County community.

Officials said the 62,000-square-foot facility will provide backup capabilities for its existing center in Columbus. They say the expansion involves customer service, risk and fraud management, collections and other services.

It is expected to open later this year.

The governor's office said the company, which has been based in Columbus for more than three decades, supports financial institutions, businesses, governments and consumers around the world.


All Ga. counties now deemed ready for Hollywood

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia officials say all of the state's 159 counties are now ready for a turn in the Hollywood spotlight.

The state Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office announced Monday that in just four years all Georgia counties have taken part in its Camera Ready Community Program. Being designated "camera ready" means counties have designated liaisons prepared to assist movie and TV producers looking for local filming locations.

The state recently awarded the designation to a final 20 counties: Atkinson, Baker, Burke, Charlton, Echols, Effingham, Glascock, Heard, Irwin, Jefferson, Jones, Long, Peach, Pierce, Treutlen, Twiggs, Ware, Wheeler, Wilcox and Worth.

The state film office says more than 158 movie and TV productions spent $1.4 billion shooting in Georgia during the most recent fiscal year.


Housekeeper finds bodies at motel near Atlanta

LITHONIA, Ga. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the gunshot deaths of two people whose bodies were found by a housekeeper at a motel near Atlanta.

DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the housekeeper founds the bodies of the two adults around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

CBS 46 reports that the employee was about to clean the room at the Knight's Inn on Panola Road in Lithonia when she made the discovery. Both people had been shot to death.

Parish said investigators believe the pair had been dead "for some time," though police don't know an exact timeline in the case. Parish said neither person had been identified Monday. She said detectives did not have a clear motive.


Civil War soldiers buried as 'unknowns' identified

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) - A historian says the names of 350 unknown soldiers from the American Civil War will be added to a memorial at a Georgia cemetery after hospital records from the era were used to identify them.

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that historian Brad Quinlin worked with Betty Hunter, president of the Marietta Confederate Cemetery Foundation, to identify the soldiers.

Quinlin said he found names of Confederate soldiers from hospital records at five universities, including Emory University; Duke University; and state universities in Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina.

He said the research involved 45,000 pages of hospital records kept by Samuel Hollingsworth Stout, a general surgeon in charge of Confederate hospitals in Georgia from 1863-1964.

Documents were searched for soldiers sent to Marietta hospitals during the war.


GA troopers to focus on commercial drivers on I-85

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia state troopers say they're launching a 72-hour crackdown on unsafe commercial vehicle drivers on Interstate 85.

Officials said in a statement that the initiative begins Tuesday and troopers will participate in high visibility enforcement along a 178-mile stretch of the freeway between Alabama and South Carolina.

Officials say the initiative ends on Thursday and is being launched with help from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Maj. Gene Davis says authorities are focusing on distracted, reckless and impaired drivers and will be watchful for commercial drivers who are texting behind the wheel, speeding, following too closely and more.

State troopers say Georgia ranks fourth in the nation for fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles.


Utility, solar industry to debate price of energy

ATLANTA (AP) - A major utility company and renewable energy developers are debating how much people should pay for solar electricity.

The Georgia Public Service Commission plans a workshop Tuesday to discuss a conflict between Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power and solar developers. The meeting starts at 1 p.m.

The regulated utility is under state orders to expand its use of solar power. In the past, the company has picked solar projects by lottery and paid the owners a set fee for power.

Now the utility has proposed buying power from solar developers who offer the lowest prices. Georgia Power said low prices are good for its customers. Solar developers say they worry an uncertain price will discourage the development of smaller projects.


Car stolen before it can be raffled to raise funds

CANTON, Ga. (AP) - Family members who planned to raffle a car to help pay for their daughter's medical care say the vehicle has been stolen.

Plans called for proceeds from the raffle to help pay for care Erin Holt received after a 2013 traffic crash.

WSB-TV reports that Holt, a former soccer player at Walton High School and Armstrong Atlantic State University, is in a wheelchair with a brace on her arm and leg.

The Holts say the plan was to raffle a 1987 Nissan 300 ZX, hoping to sell 1,000 raffle tickets at $10 each. Erin's father, Ben Holt, said the $10,000 would have helped to pay for Erin's therapy.

He said the car was in a warehouse parking lot in Canton when it was stolen. Canton police are searching for it.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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