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ALABAMA, GEORGIA, FLORIDA NEAR ACCORD ON WATER USAGE

After a dispute more than a decade long, the governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama said Friday they have almost completed an agreement on how to share water from three rivers flowing through their states.

They said the major point left to discuss is how long the agreement should last.

The Republican governors expressed hope that a deal would be in place by a July 31 deadline.

The three states have been at odds over the water flowing through the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley showed Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia a chart showing each state's water flow proposals, and said, "If you look at all of them, they are absolutely so similar that I think we've solved the problem."

The states have debated how to meet the water needs of metropolitan Atlanta and farmers while ensuring enough water still flows into the environmentally sensitive, oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida. The governors were also pressed to preserve barge traffic on the waterways and protect the environment.

Jump off tractor-trailer kills
man who hitched ride on it

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- A college student who hitched a seven-mile ride on the cab of a tractor-trailer without the driver's knowledge was run over and killed by the rig when he jumped off, police said.

The victim, a 20-year-old Chantilly, Va., man who attended Lebanon Valley College, became entangled in the rear tires early Thursday as the truck was coming to a stop. His name was not released.

The victim and another student, Jonah Modesto, 21, had climbed onto a platform between the back of the cab and the trailer. Modesto jumped off the truck to tell the driver about the accident.

No charges were filed.

Police said they do not know why the two young men hitched a ride.

Ex-Sotheby's head convicted
in art scam leaves prison

DETROIT (AP) -- The former chairman of Sotheby's auction house has been released from a federal prison and has reported to a halfway house to complete a yearlong sentence for fixing art prices.

A. Alfred Taubman, 79, was picked up in his private jet Thursday from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., and flown to the halfway house in Detroit, family spokesman Chris Tennyson said.

Taubman is required to sleep at the halfway house but can spend the day at his suburban Detroit office, where he will work on developing programs for two local fine-arts colleges, Tennyson said. He is scheduled to be released on June 13.

Estimated to be worth $640 million, Taubman was convicted by a New York jury in December 2001 of overcharging Sotheby's sellers $43.8 million over six years in the 1990s. He was sentenced in April 2002 to a year in prison and fined $7.5 million.

Taubman stepped down last year as chairman of Sotheby's, though he remains its largest shareholder. He also is the largest shareholder of Taubman Centers, which owns 30 shopping malls nationwide.

TV ads prompt millionaire
to quit Kentucky primary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Bruce Lunsford, a millionaire businessman who sank $8 million of his fortune into a bid for governor, abruptly dropped out of the race Friday, four days before the Democratic primary.

Lunsford cited a devastating set of commercials unveiled Wednesday by his chief Democratic rival, State Attorney General Ben Chandler, that talked about abuse of patients in nursing homes that Lunsford's company operated.

Lunsford said his negative ratings immediately shot up on Thursday night, prompting him to pull out of the four-way primary.

"I have pretty good instincts for marketing," Lunsford said.

In a poll published Wednesday, Lunsford was running second in the Democratic race, trailing Chandler, the grandson of former Kentucky Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler, by 12 points.

Lunsford amassed his fortune as founder of Vencor, a Louisville-based chain of nursing homes and long-term-care hospitals.

Lunsford immediately endorsed Jody Richards, the state House speaker who was running a distant third.

On the GOP side, Rep. Ernie Fletcher is the front-runner in the contest to succeed Democratic Gov. Paul Patton, who is barred from serving a third term.

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