Woman dies after standoff ends in gunfire

ATLANTA- A Sandy Springs woman involved in a standoff with police lasting more than 24 hours died Friday after police shot her on her condominium balcony.

Fulton County police said officers returned fire at Carol Whitmire, who was threatening suicide, on Friday evening after she shot at a SWAT team negotiator. The 41-year-old woman fell from her third-floor luxury condo and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

No officers were injured in the shooting. Authorities did not say why Whitmire threatened to take her own life.

NRA opposition causes Roswell to cancel plans for new gun law

ROSWELL- The city of Roswell is abandoning plans to rewrite part of its gun law after receiving a flood of calls and e-mails from supporters of the National Rifle Association.

The city decided to change the law earlier this year to conform with state law, which says citizens can only use force to defend a person. Roswell's law includes property.

The change in wording caught the attention of the NRA and its supporters, who complained in large numbers to City Hall.

A new version of the city's ordinance will be drafted, but without the change opposed by the NRA, said City Councilman Kent Igleheart. The state law takes precedence in criminal matters.

Committee recommends disbanding all school clubs

CLEVELAND- A White County schools subcommittee recommended cutting all clubs in the school system months after students tried to form a gay support group.

The subcommittee suggested that all extracurricular clubs be replaced with a system of clubs sponsored and led by local adults.

The northeast Georgia county gained attention in February when students tried to form a Gay-Straight Alliance club for gay classmates and supportive students.

The school board agreed to allow the students to start the club, but later school administrators recommended eliminating all non-curricular clubs at the White County High School.

At the time, Superintendent Paul Shaw said the policy change had been in the works for months.

"Clubs have not lived up to what they are supposed to be doing, and the legislature is requiring that we do additional paperwork and things of that sort," Shaw said.

Bush appoints TVA interim leader

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- Bill Baxter said Friday that his appointment by President Bush as interim chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority will maintain "clear leadership" at the country's largest public utility and "keep the momentum going."

The White House announced Thursday that the president will designate the Knoxville businessman as "first among equals" on the TVA Board of Directors pending the appointment of members to an expanded part-time board that will choose a chairman.

Sheriff moves court officials

ATLANTA- Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman reassigned three courthouse officials Friday amid lingering security concerns at the courthouse, which was the scene of the killings of a judge, court reporter and deputy three months ago.

The transfers include two top courthouse officials. Maj. Orlando Whitehead had overall responsibility for courthouse security, and Capt. Chelisa Lee was in charge of those directly protecting judges and their courtrooms.

Paul Tamer, the staffer assigned to the control room that monitors courtrooms and inmate holding areas via remote cameras, was also moved.

The reassignments are in response to the March 11 courthouse shootings, which began when Brian Nichols allegedly overpowered a lone sheriff's deputy and killed a judge, court reporter and deputy.

Critics pointed to negligence in the control room on the day of the shootings, and said the tragedies may have been avoided if Nichols' alleged attack on Deputy Cynthia Hall had been caught on video.

Officials probe bird deaths

COLUMBIA, S.C.- South Carolina wildlife officials are warning residents and visitors to stay away from sick sea birds they may see on the shore.

The birds, many of which usually stay well offshore, are showing up by the dozens on South Carolina beaches and they are dead or dying.

South Carolina Natural Resources Department veterinarian Al Segars said the problem could be neurological and could be related to an offshore algae bloom.

But, he said, the uncertainty of the source of the birds' illnesses means people should call beach patrol or animal control officers.

About 150 birds have been found from northern Georgia to Cape Hatteras, N.C., this week.

- From wire reports