News Midday Update: Illinois governor back at work after arrest; Young Harris gets approval for 4-year degrees; Sheriff to update media on case of missing Hilton Head couple

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagovich returned to work on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested and accused of scheming to enrich himself by selling President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.

Blagojevich is out on bond and has denied any wrongdoing.

The governor left his home on Chicago's North Side early Wednesday and waved to the media before quickly getting into a dark SUV without talking to the reporters.

A short time later, Blagojevich's SUV arrived at his office.

"He is still the sitting governor of Illinois today, now, and that is not something we have any say in or control of," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in unveiling corruption charges on Tuesday against the 52-year-old governor.

The governor's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, said Tuesday he didn't know of any immediate plans for the governor to resign. Blagojevich believes he didn't do anything wrong and asks Illinois residents to have faith in him, Sorosky said.

"I suppose we will have to go to trial," he said.

Blagojevich could still appoint someone to fill Obama's seat despite the charges that he tried to barter it away for cash or a plum job in what Fitzgerald called "a political corruption crime spree."

But it would take a lot of nerve and Blagojevich would have to hurry because state lawmakers are racing to snatch away his power to appoint a new senator and put it in the hands of voters.

Associated Press

Young Harris gets approval for 4-year degrees

A private two-year college in northeast Georgia will soon begin offering four-year degrees.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Tuesday approved bachelor's degrees at Young Harris College starting in fall 2009. The college plans to offer degrees in biology, English, music and business and public policy.

Young Harris President Cathy Cox said the college will add more four-year degree programs over the next few years. Cox is the former Georgia Secretary of State.

The college is building new facilities and hiring more faculty in anticipation of enrollment growth from the new degrees.Associated Press

Sheriff to update media on case of missing Hilton Head couple

More than nine months after a prominent Hilton Head Island couple vanished, the local sheriff is briefing reporters on progress in the case.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner scheduled a Wednesday news conference to discuss the investigation into the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert.

The couple was last seen on March 3 and their Mercedes was found three days later in a parking lot on Hilton Head.

Authorities say the accountant who kept the books for the couple, Dennis Gerwing, committed suicide after being questioned in the case.

An employer said Gerwing had embezzled $2.1 million from the couple and seven other companies.

No trace has been found of the Calverts and Tanner has likened the case to trying to find a needle in a 700-pound bale of hay.

Associated Press


- We'll update stories we reported first yesterday on, including the resignation of Cherry Blossom Festival leader Wright Tilley and Warner Robins being selected as the new Southeasten headquarters of Little League.


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