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Cherokee Sheriff responds to KKK photos

CANTON, Ga. -- Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison says he believes the release of some old but embarrassing photos that have surfaced recently of him in a Klu Klux Klan costume at a Halloween party in the 1980s is politically motivated.

"I've been in office 20 years now. My reputation speaks for itself. I don't have a racist bone in my body," Sheriff Garrison said. "I have nothing to do with the Klu Klux Klan -- never have. I know nothing about the organization."

Sheriff Garrison says the photos were taken at a Halloween party more than a quarter century ago. He says the costume was supposed to be an homage to the irreverent Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles. Decades later, Sheriff Garrison says he realizes the costume was in poor taste.

"I apologize to anyone I might have offended," Sheriff Garrison said.

Yes or no? Breaking down the Transportation Sales Tax.

On July 31st, Georgia voters will be asked to vote on a 1% across the board sales tax to improve transportation and transit throughout the State. Those in favor say the tax is essential in creating new jobs, attracting outside businesses to Georgia and easing congestion in Metro Atlanta.

Detractors, however, claim the regional, 157 project list, will do little to accomplish that aim. And so the debate begins. Which is why 11Alive is dedicating two reporters this morning to help you better understand the issue. Commuter Dude will talk to supporters of the tax, while Julie Wolfe hears from its opponents.

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Ross homers twice as Red Sox beat Braves

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Cody Ross hit a three-run and two-run home run as the Boston Red Sox took a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.

Ross' day overshadowed what might be the final appearance of third baseman Kevin Youkilis in a Boston uniform.

The subject of numerous trade rumors, Youkilis had been benched the past three games as the 33-year-old has struggled much of the season. However, he went 2- for-4 with an RBI on Sunday and received two standing ovations. The first one was in the second inning prior to his at-bat in which he singled. The second ovation was awarded to him following his RBI triple in the seventh that saw him pulled from the game.

On the season, his ninth in the majors and all of them with Boston, Youkilis is batting just .233 with four home runs and 14 RBI, and trade rumors have several teams interested in his services.

Taxpayer kept from using park she helped fund

WOODSTOCK, Ga - A Cherokee County family is wondering just why they were turned away from a public park when others are allowed to use it.

Rebecca Murray's children wanted to kick a soccer ball on one of the many fields at Badger Creek Park in Woodstock. They were greeted by a locked gate and a man telling them the park wasn't for everyone.

"This is two minutes from my home and I would love to be able to use the park," said Murray. "I was told unless I was a member of CSA soccer, I couldn't come."

The director of Cherokee County Parks and Recreation said the park cost about $5,000,000 taxpayer dollars to build.

The park looks complete, but Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper says it is still under construction, and that is part of the issue. There are still sidewalks to build and other additions so the park can meet requirements of the American Disabilities Act.

Ex-principal charged for not reporting child abuse

MARIETTA, Ga. -- A former principal at Kell High School has been charged with not reporting that one of her students may have been sexually abused by a teacher.

Trudie Donovan, 61, was charged Thursday with failure to report child abuse. She announced her retirement as Kell principal earlier this month.

According to Cobb County Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce, a student claimed to have been sexually abused by 37-year-old James Chadwick Brigham on May 17. Pierce said the student reported the abuse to school administrators on May 18, but administrators did not report it to police until May 22.

Brigham, who teaches Social Studies, now faces charges of battery and sexual battery, according to Pierce.

A letter posted on Kell High School's website before Donovan's retirement and arrest reads:

Ga. police launch crackdown on drunk drivers

Ga. police launch crackdown on drunk drivers

ATLANTA -- Police officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers across Georgia are launching a statewide crackdown on drunken driving through the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

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The Governor's Office of Highway Safety says its summer campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance, begins Friday and will run for about two weeks.

During that period, law enforcement officers in the state are expected to keep a close lookout for drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.

State officials say 298 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2010 -- roughly a fourth of traffic deaths in the state.

The summer anti-DUI campaign in Georgia coincides with the national crackdown called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Chickens, chicken parts involved in morning wrecks

STATHAM, Ga. -- Two separate accidents involving chickens backed up traffic across the region Friday morning.

In Oconee County, a tractor trailer carrying live chickens overturned and caught fire on westbound Highway 316 near Dials Mill Road. Two right lanes were closed heading away from Athens.

In the Canton area, chicken parts spilled on the roadway after a wreck on northbound Interstate 575 at Cumming Highway. That accident has since cleared.

For the latest traffic conditions across the region, visit 11Alive.com/traffic.