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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: Developer wants county to spare ancient live oak; Hurricane Bertha weakens to Category 2 storm

Preservationists and developers are usually on opposite sides when it comes to saving old trees. But Bryan County developer Greg Parker says the old live oak near the convenience store he’s building should be allowed to remain, and he’s fighting efforts to cut it down.

Parker says Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones told him the tree is too close to Highway 280 and is a danger to motorists. Parker says the state Department of Transportation standard calls for a line of sight greater than 450 feet. He says he meets that standard with the tree staying where it is.

Nursery owner Karl Johnson says the tree has been around since before the Civil War.

The issue is expected to come before the Bryan County Commission on Tuesday.

– Associated Press

Hurricane Bertha weakens to Category 2 storm

Forecasters say Hurricane Bertha has weakened to a Category 2 storm.

As of 11 a.m., the center of the storm was about 660 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and about 975 miles southeast of Bermuda.

Maximum sustained winds decreased to 105 mph with some higher gusting. The storm is expected to continue weakening over the next couple of days. The Atlantic season’s first hurricane is headed to the northwest at about 10 mph.

Bertha is expected to continue heading toward Bermuda. Forecasters urged people on the island to continue monitoring the storm’s progress. It’s unknown if or when the hurricane will make landfall.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

– Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

– Police Chief Mike Burns says crime is slightly up in Macon for the first half of 2008. We'll tell you more about the city's crime picture.

– Macon Mayor Robert Reichert is meeting with City Council members in work session to discuss relocation of the Macon Transit Authority ans development plans for their Riverside Drive site.

– We'll update you on what Macon police are saying about an armed robbery and shooting at a Vineville Avenue store Monday evening.

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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