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This Hour: Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment

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GEORGIA STORMS

Storms spark lightning fires in Winder, Macon

WINDER, Ga. (AP) - Powerful lightning and high winds from storms over Barrow County kept firefighters and emergency crews busy all night. Lighting also sparked house fires in Macon.

In Barrow County, Lt. Scott Dakin of Barrow County Emergency Services tells WSB-TV that damage in downtown Winder looks like a scene after a tornado or hurricane.

Dakin said that in one case, it appeared that lightning traveled down a tree and entered a house on Hiram Way, starting a fire in the attic. Firefighters were able to contain that blaze.

Lightning struck the roof of another home on Emma Lane in Winder.

In Macon, lighting was blamed for setting fires to two homes. The Telegraph reports that one of those fires destroyed a vacant house.

No serious injuries were reported.

HALLIBURTON-SPILL SETTLEMENT

Halliburton reaches $1.1B oil spill settlement

HOUSTON (AP) - Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will be paid into a trust until appeals are resolved over the next two years.

Halliburton was BP PLC's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf in April 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

The deal will settle claims assigned to Halliburton as a result of BP's settlement in 2012 and punitive damages from the loss of property or commercial fishing activity resulting from the oil spill.

GEORGIA TECH ROBBERIES

Georgia Tech police probe robberies of students

ATLANTA (AP) - Police at the Georgia Institute of Technology are investigating a pair of robberies, telling students in a crime alert that one suspect is described as 12 to 13 years old.

Georgia Tech police say a student reported that a white minivan pulled up to him as he walked Wednesday night. Police said a passenger in the van got out, showed a handgun and demanded the student's property.

Police said the second robbery happened minutes later and also involved a white van. In that case, a male and female student reported that a passenger in the van displayed a handgun and demanded their property as they walked on Tenth Street.

Police described the van as a white Dodge Caravan with a Georgia license plate.

DOG STABBED IN PET STORE

Police probe stabbing of pit bull inside pet store

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) - Police say a pit bull was repeatedly stabbed during a pet adoption event inside a PetSmart store in the west Georgia town of Newnan, horrifying adults and children.

A police report states that a man stabbed the pit bull, Clara, after it slipped out of its collar and began tugging on the ear of his dog, a Westie Terrier.

Teresa Reeves tells WXIA-TV that the man pulled out a pocket knife and repeatedly stabbed Clara. Reeves said there was "blood everywhere" and the worst thing she's ever seen.

The Newnan Times-Herald reports that the pit bull was euthanized due to the severity of the stab wounds.

No arrests have been made.

PetSmart said in a statement the safety of people and pets in its stores is its top priority.

LAKE LANIER SEARCH

Crews respond to possible drowning at Lake Lanier

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Emergency crews in Hall County are investigating a possible drowning in Lake Lanier.

The Times reports that fire crews responded to the call after 8 p.m. Monday on the south end of the lake, in the Big Creek Park area near Holiday Marina.

Fire spokesman Scott Cagle said crews do not have an exact location to search in water that is 80 to 90 feet deep in the area. He said the Department of Natural Resources is using radar in the search.

Cagle said the Hall County Sheriff's Office would be handling the case. No further details were available early Tuesday morning.

SAVANNAH MILL WORKER KILLED

Company identifies worker killed at Savannah mill

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - International Paper Co. officials have identified a worker killed at the company's Savannah mill as 58-year-old Ricky Salter.

The Savannah Morning News reports that Salter, a maintenance worker, was killed at the facility on Sunday.

Savannah-Chatham police spokesman Julian Miller said Salter was in or around an elevator when he was killed at the facility on West Lathrop Avenue. He was declared dead at the scene.

Mill spokeswoman Karen Bogans said in a statement that Salter was a valued and respected member of the company's Savannah workforce and had been an employee for more than two years.

She said grief counseling will be available to employees through the company's employee assistance program.

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