News MIDDAY UPDATE: Governors, business lobbyists pressure Congress on bailout; seasonal ban on outdoor burning ends today; Grant money will help Georgia's low-income college bound

Governors and business lobbyists pressured lawmakers today to pass a $700 billion financial industry bailout as top lawmakers prepared for another face-off on the issue - this time in the Senate.

"There is a time for partisanship and there is a time for getting things done," Texas Gov. Rick Perry and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin wrote in a letter to members of Congress.

"Americans across the country and in every demographic are feeling the pinch. If Congress does not act soon, the situation will grow appreciably worse. It's time for leadership. Congress needs to act now," they wrote.

Perry heads the Republican Governors Association while Manchin leads the Democratic governors group. Their letter was aimed at signaling there are home-state political reasons for approving the massive bailout.

Adding its voice, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched 30-second radio ads in the Washington area aimed directly at lawmakers.

"Inaction, without a doubt, would cause our economy to collapse," R. Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president, says in the ad. "Congress, do not delay."

The new lobbying initiative came as the Senate prepared for an evening vote an a version of the bill overhauled to attract additional votes. They include an increase in the size of bank deposits insured by the Federal Deposit from $100,000 to $250,000.

Congressional leaders said those additions, plus complaints from constituents furious over Monday's stock market plunge, have improved the prospects for the measure's approval. After the Senate's expected passage, a House vote could come later this week.

Associated Press

Seasonal ban on outdoor burning ends today

The state's seasonal ban on outdoor burning came to an end when October arrived, but extreme dry weather still makes it hazardous to burn trash outdoors.

The annual outdoor ban in the state runs from May 1 to Sept. 30.

Ranger Larry Felix of the Georgia Forestry Commission says, "If people plan to burn, we encourage them to check the weather first. If humidity is low and winds are high, we encourage them not to burn."

The ban, instituted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in 2005, covers 54 counties, most of them near a metropolitan area.

Associated Press

Grant money will help Georgia's low-income college bound

The University System of Georgia will use $2 million in federal grant money to help push low income adults and other underrepresented groups toward college degrees.

Georgia is receiving funds under the College Access Challenge Grant Program. The program fosters partnerships among federal, state, and local governments through matching challenge grants aimed at increasing the number of low-income students ready to enter post-secondary education.

Plans for Georgia's funds include expanding access to GAcollege411, the state's online portal to help students plan for and finance college, and conducting outreach to adults who have some credits, but haven't finished schooling.

The Chancellor of the University System of Georgia will lead implementation of the state plan.

Associated Press


- We'll update you on an early morning shooting in Macon that left a man injured.

- The Georgia National Fair opens tomorrow. Come back to our Web site for a preview of all the fun that's to come.


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