1. ATLANTA: Authorities say a wave of break-ins and robberies of Georgia pharmacies is being fueled by a drug epidemic.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the crimes illustrate the scope of the nation’s ongoing drug epidemic.
Federal authorities say the increasing crimes — fueled by the opiate crisis — have placed Georgia among the top 10 states in the nation with the most armed robberies of pharmacies.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that hundreds of thousands of dollars of drugs have been stolen from Georgia pharmacies in the last year.
Authorities say efforts to crack down on pain management clinics known as pill mills have led to the surge in pharmacy thefts around the state.
1. ATLANTA: Georgia lawmakers head into the final two weeks of the legislative session with a lot of unfinished business, including a state budget for the coming financial year.
The General Assembly plans to adjourn on March 30, with only five days of floor votes scheduled. Lawmakers generally agree on priorities for a $49 billion budget, including a 2 percent salary increase for teachers and $1 billion to finance construction projects around the state.
The Senate has control of a bill allowing concealed handguns on college campuses and a proposal giving the state more power to intervene in struggling schools. Both proposals could get a vote this week.
The House plans to vote Monday on a bill increasing regulation of treatment programs that use drugs such as methadone to treat opioid addicts.
2. MACON: A self-guided bike tour is being developed in Macon’s industrial district to showcase the neighborhood’s rich history.
The Telegraph reports that Mercer University students mapped the fairly flat terrain with cyclists in mind.
Many of the long and low buildings on the tour were built to accommodate railcars in this hub of activity in the 19th century.
Stops include the birthplace of Crisco shortening; Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; and Capricorn Studio now anchoring a major loft project on the site of the old Union Depot.
Brochures are available highlighting nearly two dozen landmarks off the beaten path for those interested in the self-guided tours.
1. ATLANTA: Dozens of problems have been identified in a stinging audit of the Atlanta Streetcar.
Documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show the troubled $99 million project is dealing with a shortage in staff, lax safety and security procedures, accidents that weren’t properly investigated or reported and defective equipment that disrupted service.
More than a year later, the newspaper reports the city has resolved less than one-third of those flaws for a project envisioned as a centerpiece of the city’s revitalization.
The February 2016 state audit found 66 problems. The city has completely resolved only 20 of them. It’s unclear how soon officials will complete the rest of the items. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the city is on track to finish the list by June.
— Associated Press