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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: Coca-Cola No. 2 exec takes over as CEO; Cumberland fire 30 percent contained; jury recommends death for Ga. woman

The Coca-Cola Co.’s second-in-command has taken over the top post at the world’s largest beverage maker.

Muhtar Kent officially became chief executive of the Atlanta-based company on Tuesday, replacing Neville Isdell.

Isdell has been CEO since 2004 and will remain chairman of the Coca-Cola board through the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in April 2009.

The split of the chairman and CEO roles is a first at Coca-Cola. The board will determine whether to keep that arrangement or return to having the roles held by one person.

Isdell’s plans and Kent’s promotion were announced last December.

Isdell’s tenure as Coca-Cola’s leader saw senior management changes, a big acquisition and a focus on improving employee morale.

– Associated Press

Cumberland fire 30 percent contained

Rain on Monday failed to stop the threat of a wildfire burning on the northern end of Cumberland to nearby historic structures, officials said.

Jenny Lynn Bruner, spokesperson for the Georgia Forestry Commission, said the 1,604 acre fire, which has been called the South Cut fire, was 30 percent contained Monday afternoon.

She said there are areas inside the fire lines that continue to slowly burn.

"There isn’t any active fire outside of the containment lines but as long as there are hot spots, the potential for the fire to spread because of wind is there," she said.

Bruner said an area known as the Settlement -- a cluster of historic structures, including a mansion built by the Carnegie Family, and First African Baptist Church, the site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette -- is a "pretty good ways" from the fire but still in the path of destruction.

The fire began as two separate fires June 22 that were sparked from lightning bolts. Since then, crews from eight different government agencies have worked day and night to suppress the fire with the help of three Georgia Air National Guard helicopters.

Storms on Monday forced the crews to halt their activities and take cover beneath nearby tents.

"We’re worried about the lightning," said Bruner.

– Brunswick News

Jury recommends death for Ga. woman

A Cherokee County jury has recommended death for a Georgia woman convicted of fatally shooting her ex-husband’s wife.

Barbara Ann Roberts was convicted Friday of capital murder in the death of Darlene Roberts. The jury’s recommendation followed a hearing Monday.

Circuit Judge David A. Rains is set to sentence 52-year-old Barbara Roberts in August. He is not bound by the jury’s recommendation.

Darlene Roberts was killed April 6, 2006 near the Alabama-Georgia line.

Prosecutors said Robert Schiess III, a neurosurgeon with whom Barbara Roberts shared an apartment in Conyers, played a role in the murder. He is set to stand trial on a capital murder charge in November.

– Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

– The GBI is talking about what's new in the Tara Grinstead case. The case is being featured tonight on 48 Hours. We'll tell you about the latest developments in the case.

– The recently formed Sex Trafficking Opposition Project (STOP) from Mercer University will address the Macon City Council tonight to discuss the recent raids and arrests at Macon massage parlors and spas. We'll let you know what happens.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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