After surgery, Georgia senator could miss crucial votes

ATLANTA (AP) -- Sen. Johnny Isakson is recuperating from his second back surgery this year at his Georgia home, complicating Republican leaders' plans as they count the votes for the GOP health care overhaul and a Supreme Court nominee. Aides to the third-term Republican senator said Wednesday that Isakson is still awaiting his physician's approval to travel back to Washington. The senator underwent back surgery Feb.

Ukraine bans Russia's entry to Eurovision song contest

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Eurovision song contest, nominally an apolitical festival of pop music confections and cheerfully tacky costumes, erupted into a political dispute Wednesday after Ukraine banned Russia's contestant from entering the country. Yulia Samoylova, who was to represent Russia in the May 11-13 contest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, was banned by Ukraine's security service because she had toured in Crimea after Russia's 2014 annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

Strong storms kill 1, damage homes across the South

ATLANTA (AP) -- Severe storms caused at least one death, damaged homes, downed trees and knocked out power as areas around the South were pounded with wind, rain and hail. In Georgia, northeast of Atlanta, Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum says a man, his wife and two children were in a bedroom when a tree crashed into the home, killing the man Tuesday evening.

Lammers leads Georgia Tech to 74-66 win over Ole Miss in NIT

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Ben Lammers had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and added eight blocks, four rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead Georgia Tech of the final four of the NIT with a 74-66 win over Mississippi on Tuesday night. Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (20-15), who were seeded sixth in their bracket, with 26 points and Quinton Stephens had 10 with seven rebounds.

Georgia's Smart expects QB Fromm to push Eason this spring

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Kirby Smart wants Georgia's 18 returning starters on offense and defense to feel the heat of competition this spring. That includes quarterback Jacob Eason. Smart opened his second spring practice as coach on Tuesday. Familiarity in Smart's system can make players more confident about their assignments, but the coach doesn't want that feeling of comfort to go too far.

In Republican 'burbs, Georgia election centers on a Democrat

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) -- The garden room at Rivermont Golf and Country Club brims with Republican donors and activists, but Michael Fitzgerald wants to talk about Democrats. "Shock therapy," he calls it. The 6th Congressional District chairman for Georgia Republicans, Fitzgerald wants to steel party faithful for a special House election to choose a successor to Tom Price, President Donald Trump's new health secretary.

Deep South freeze means fewer blueberries and peaches

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Last week's deep freeze in the Southeast appears to have nearly wiped out Georgia's blueberries and South Carolina's peaches and seriously damaged a number of other crops like strawberries and apples. In South Carolina, 85 percent of the state's peach crop is gone while the small pink blooms remain on the trees, according to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Already in peril, rural hospitals unsure on health care bill

CLAXTON, Ga. (AP) -- Talmadge Yarbrough had just sat down at his desk and opened a box of pecans when he let out a gasp that could have been his last breath. He'd gone into cardiac arrest in his office, a co-worker called 911, and an ambulance drove him two miles to the small hospital that serves this rural community in southeast Georgia.

Georgia Tech has big 2nd half, beats Belmont 71-57 in NIT

ATLANTA (AP) -- Quinton Stephens scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Ben Lammers had his fifteenth double-double of the season and No. 6 seed Georgia Tech used a big second-half run to beat Belmont 71-57 on Sunday in the second round of the NIT. Georgia Tech (19-15) will face fifth-seeded Mississippi, which upset Syracuse 85-80, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

4 finalists named for Naismith Trophy as top college player

ATLANTA (AP) -- Villanova's Josh Hart, Kansas' Frank Mason III, Purdue's Caleb Swanigan and UCLA's Lonzo Ball are the finalists for the Naismith Trophy as the top player in men's college basketball. The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the finalists Sunday. They were chosen by a national voting panel made up of journalists, current and former head coaches, former Naismith winners and conference commissioners. Fans are invited to help pick the winner.

SC company to build special ops facility at Ga Army airfield

The Pentagon says a South Carolina company has an $8.5 million contract to build a facility for special operations forces at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. According to a daily list of military contracts, the bid from Brantley Construction Co . LLC of Charleston was among 10 received via the internet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, Georgia. The 26,000-square-foot company operations facility in Savannah is to be completed by Oct.

Georgia Tech's Thomas hopes versatility gets him NFL shot

ATLANTA (AP) -- Justin Thomas knows his chances are slim to play quarterback in the NFL, so the former Georgia Tech standout hopes to impress pro scouts with his versatility. He got his first big chance Friday at Georgia Tech's pro day, running drills for NFL teams at receiver, cornerback, punt returners and kick returner.

City closer to selling Underground Atlanta to developer

ATLANTA (AP) -- The city of Atlanta is nearing the sale of Underground Atlanta to a South Carolina-based developer. News outlets report the board of directors of Invest Atlanta approved a master plan of Underground Atlanta by WRS Real Estate Investments of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. This means the city can now close the deal, which is planned by the end of the month.

Disappointing Georgia season ends, focus turns to next year

A disappointing Georgia season ended with two injured starters watching from the bench. The Bulldogs entered the year with high expectations, including playing in the NCAA Tournament. But after failing to reach that goal, Georgia (19-15) hosted a first-round game in the NIT only to have Yante Maten and Juwan Parker sitting out as the Bulldogs were ousted by Belmont. It was a disappointing finish to coach Mark Fox's eighth season.

Alabama 911 agency: Company failed to help fund 911 services

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The agency that provides 911 services in one of Alabama's principal cities is accusing a communications firm of failing to pay legally required fees to help fund the emergency operations. In a federal lawsuit filed this week, the Birmingham Emergency Communications District said failed to collect 911 charges on phone lines it provided to customers.

Police search for unhappy customer who threw food at workers

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) -- Police in Georgia are searching for an unhappy customer who threw her takeout order at restaurant workers. Clayton County Police Det. Sefan Schindler told WSB-TV ( ) Wednesday the woman was upset because she said there wasn't enough seasoning salt on her French fries at a Zaxby's restaurant in suburban Atlanta. The woman took two takeout containers filled with food and tossed them over the counter.

Shaq furnishes home of Atlanta girl who survived dog attack

ATLANTA (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal has bought new furniture for the family of a 5-year-old Atlanta girl who survived a dog attack that left another child dead. WAGA-TV reports ( ) Syari Sanders returned home this week after being hospitalized since the Jan. 17 attack. Sanders and 6-year-old Logan Braatz were walking to a bus stop when they were attacked by two dogs. Braatz died from his injuries.

Faith and traditions infuse St. Patrick's Day in Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- There were no green beers or gaudy T-shirts when Savannah first celebrated St. Patrick's Day, just a solemn procession of immigrants seeking to honor their Irish roots more than 3,800 miles from their homeland across the Atlantic. Many things have changed in the nearly two centuries since Georgia's oldest city held its inaugural St. Patrick's Day parade in 1824. Now thousands of tourists from across the U.S.

Belmont hits 14 3-pointers, rolls past Georgia 78-69 in NIT

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Dylan Windler scored 21 points and Belmont hit 14 3-pointers to beat Georgia 78-69 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT. No. 7 seed Belmont (23-6) has won five of its last six games and will play at sixth-seeded Georgia Tech (19-15) in the second round. The Bulldogs played without their second- and third-leading scorers, Yante Maten and Juwan Parker. Maten, the Southeastern Conference's fourth-leading scorer with 18.

Georgia's pro day attracts big turnout from Falcons

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- The decisions by running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to return for their senior seasons left a thin class of Georgia prospects in the NFL draft. That didn't keep Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn from attending Georgia's pro day on Wednesday, along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, assistant general manager Scott Pioli and 10 more staff members.