News Midday Update: People wounded in Tenn. church shooting improving; Americans remain gloomy about economy; lawyer says judge facing DUI charges keeps license

Three people wounded in a fatal shotgun rampage at a Unitarian church were in serious condition today, a day after a candlelight vigil tried to comfort congregation members and others attempting to ‘‘make sense of the senseless.’’

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, an out-of-work trucker, is accused of killing two people and wounding six others during a children’s musical at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday morning. Children on Monday ended the service by singing, ‘‘The sun will come out tomorrow,’’ a line from the signature song from that musical, ‘‘Annie.’’

A four-page letter found in Adkisson’s SUV indicated he picked the church for the attack because, the Knoxville police chief said, ‘‘he hated the liberal movement’’ of the congregation.

Three people who were shot were in serious condition and a fourth was stable at Tennessee Medical Center, nursing supervisor Susan Wilson said today. Killed were Greg McKendry, 60, and Linda Kraeger, 61.

About 200 people were watching 25 children perform when authorities said Adkisson entered and fired three blasts from a semiautomatic shotgun. Still in the hospital were Jack Barnhart, 69, Linda Chavez, 41, and Tammy Sommers, all in serious condition, and Joe Barnhart, 76, who was stable, Wilson said. Two others who were shot were treated and released, and a seventh person was hurt diving under a pew, authorities have said.

– Associated Press

Americans remain gloomy about economy

Amid the gloom of higher gas and food prices and a slumping housing market, Americans appear to be looking for a bit of hope.

Their outlook has brightened a bit, even though they remain the most gloomy about the current economy that they have been in 16 years, a private research group said Tuesday.

The New York-based Conference Board said that its Consumer Confidence Index stands at 51.9 for July — half of what it was a year ago — but the reading was slightly higher than the revised 51.0 in June and a bit better than the reading of 50 predicted by economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR. The improvement, albeit slight, also reverses a six-month slide since February.

The Expectations Index, which measures shoppers’ outlook over the next six months, increased a bit to 43.0 from 41.4. The Present Situation Index, which measures their current assessment of the economy, was virtually flat at 65.3, compared to 65.4 in June.

‘‘Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was little changed, suggesting there has been no significant improvement, nor significant deterioration, in business or labor market conditions,’’ said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement.

– Associated Press

Lawyer says judge facing DUI charges keeps license

A lawyer for an Atlanta Municipal Court judge arrested earlier this year on drunk driving charges said his client will not lose his license for refusing to take a sobriety test.

The attorney said Judge Andrew Mickle won’t lose his license because an Atlanta police officer didn’t turn in paperwork documenting the refusal.

If the officer had turned in the papers, Mickle would have had his license suspended for a year for refusing to have his blood, breath or urine tested during his March 24 arrest.

Jennifer Ammons is a lawyer for the Georgia Department of Driver Services, which enforces state laws and regulations relating to driver’s licenses. She wouldn’t confirm that the paperwork was not sent in.

But Ammons did confirm that Mickle still has a valid license.

– Associated Press


– The pastor at the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church where two were killed Sunday, has a deep Macon connection. We'll tell you about it.

– The demand for public housing has grown so much since the beginning of 2008 that the Macon Housing Authority has had to close its lists for only the third time in 60 years. We'll give you details about the problem.


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