ATLANTA: Protests force FBI investigation into police killing

Neighborhoods roiled in anger and residents marched through the streets in the wake of the Nov. 20 fatal police shooting of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in her home during a supposed drug raid. Over 300 jammed the Lindsay Street Baptist Church, located in Johnston’s neighborhood, on Nov. 28.

Atlanta Police Chief Richard J. Pennington, who is African American, pleaded for calm and later told a reporter that he understood the community’s frustration. He announced that the investigation of the shooting had been turned over to the FBI.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said, “The community deserves the truth, and I am confident that this will be accomplished.”

Edward O. DuBose, president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, called the slaying “police brutality and lawlessness against African Americans.”

Pennington placed the eight policemen involved in the incident on paid leave. He said that the department is reviewing the use of “no knock” warrants and the use of snitches.

Residents have been testifying and contacting public officials about the rise in police killings throughout Greater Atlanta. In suburban DeKalb County, 12 residents, mostly African American, have died from police gunfire this year.

WASHINGTON: Cheeks Kilpatrick to lead Black Caucus

Newly elected Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) says that her role will be to “galvanize the clout of CBC constituents” through new communication systems.

“We represent 40 million Americans in 26 states. So, that’s an awesome database. We’ve got a great opportunity. And the technology is available.” Rep. Kilpatrick plans a special campaign to mobilize voters between the ages of 18-40.

Celebrating its 35th year, the influence of the CBC grew dramatically following the midterm elections. Three of its members now chair House committees, including Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who will chair Judiciary, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who will chair Ways and Means and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who will chair Homeland Security. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is the House Majority Whip.

AUGUSTA, Maine: Venezuelan heating oil keeps Mainers warm

Brian O’Connor, vice president of the Citizens Energy Corporation, a nonprofit organization founded by former Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy, drove an oil delivery truck to the home of Elece Leonard on Dec. 12. It is the first of a convoy rolling up at the homes of low income residents bringing home heating oil at a 40 percent discount courtesy of Citgo, a part of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA.

“In Venezuela we view our petroleum reserves not simply as a commodity but as a treasure to use to help others,” said Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez. “Our assistance to the poor of the United States is part of a broad strategy to help those in need not only in Venezuela but throughout the hemisphere in a spirit of solidarity.”

This winter season, Citgo will make 8 million gallons of heating oil available for the cut rate to 40,000 households throughout Maine. Citgo has earmarked another 500,000 gallons for homeless shelters in the state.

In a separate deal, the Penobscot nation negotiated a discounted heating oil program with Citgo on behalf of four Maine Indian nations. Citgo provides discounted oil for 163 Indian nations across the U.S.

SEATTLE: Publicly owned utility shines after storms

“This is the biggest one since the 1993 Inauguration Day storm,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Johnny Burg last week. Winds gusted up to 69 mph at Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Near the coastal city of Westport, winds were reported at 90 mph and in the mountainous Chinook Pass, winds were clocked at 113 mph on Dec. 14.

At least eight people have died as a result of the winds and rains that battered the Northwest, and 1.5 million residents were without electricity the next day. King County, the largest in the state and home to Seattle, was declared a disaster area, with thousands of downed power lines and flooding.

But Seattle has owned and operated its own electrical generation and delivery system, Seattle City Light, since 1905. When the skies finally cleared on Dec. 15, 175,000 city residents, half of the city’s population, were cold and in the dark, many battling flooding in their homes. But by the end of the day, Seattle City Light had restored power to nearly 100,000 customers.

In contrast, the private corporation, Puget Sound Energy, which serves 700,000 residents, said it was going to take “several days” to get the majority of its customers back online. Some people could be without power for three days, a spokeswoman for the corporation told reporters.

In addition to getting the power back on, Seattle city workers faced six landslides, a sinkhole and tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage pouring into Puget Sound as rainfall overwhelmed the treatment facilities.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696 @ W.T. Whitney contributed to this week’s clips.