News Midday Update: Ga. unemployment claims spike; Clinch County sheriff aquitted by federal jury; mom of T.I.'s sons wants court-ordered support

The Georgia Department of Labor reports that 59,090 laid-off workers filed first-time unemployment claims in August. That’s a jump of 72 percent from August of 2007.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said the jump is the largest yearly increase since October 2001 when the nation’s economy reeled in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Layoffs have come across-the-board in manufacturing, construction, trade and services. And, the total number of Georgians receiving unemployment insurance benefits is up 39 percent over the year, from 57,704 in August of 2007 to 80,150 in August of 2008.

But it’s not all bad news. From July to August, the initial unemployment claims in Georgia declined from 59,165, a drop of one-tenth of one percent.

Associated Press

Clinch County sheriff aquitted by federal jury

A federal jury in Valdosta has aquitted Clinch County Sheriff Winston Peterson of perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to an investigation of alleged corruption in the south Georgia county.

The jury returned its verdict this morning after hearing two days of testimony in the case.

Prosecutors accused Peterson of tipping off then-Superior Court Judge Brooks E. Blitch III to the identity of an FBI informant. The sheriff also was accused to lying to a grand jury about conversations he’d had with Blitch about the federal investigation.

Blitch has since resigned from the bench and was indicted in July on federal corruption charges.

Peterson has remained on the job as sheriff since a grand jury indicted him last year. He faces three opponents in the November election.

Associated Press

Mom of T.I.'s sons wants court-ordered support

The mother of two of T.I.'s children has sued the platinum-selling rapper for child support, saying she is having a hard time supporting the boys and now wants a court-ordered arrangement for payment.

Lashon Dixon and T.I. have known each other since they were teenagers and dated before he reached megastar status. They have two sons together, ages 7 and 8.

Dixon says T.I. currently gives her about $2,000 a month to care for the boys, but now she wants to schedule a more stable stipend that is commensurate with his success. Both parties appeared in Fulton County Superior Court today.

In March, T.I. is expected to be sentenced to at least a year in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal weapon possession charges.

Associated Press


- The Bibb County school board is having a committe meeting today. We'll let you know what happens.

- A hearing is being held today in the case of Antron Fair, one of the men accused of killing a Bibb County deputy. Come back to our Web site for the latest developments.


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