The blog.

21
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 21, 2017

Snowflake1

Snowflake is a 10-month old female Alaskan Malamute mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Abby

Abby is a 10-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Randall

Randall is a year-old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

21
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 21, 2017

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal cut the ribbon at a metal shop in Hall County Correctional Institute.

As a former prosecutor, Gov. Nathan Deal said one of the most frustrating parts of the job was the “revolving door,” seeing the same faces and families in court because they “never broke the cycle that they are living in.”

“Some people think mere passage of time is rehabilitation,” Deal said. “It is not. In fact, it may be the exact opposite in many cases.”

The Re-entry Accountability Court Transition program, which started in 2014 for non-violent offenders to get substance abuse treatment and vocational training, is overseen by Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller. Lanier Technical College and WorkSource Georgia are partners in the welding shop program.

“We’re going to produce 30 returning citizens to Hall County on an annual basis that will have a national and state certification in welding,” Warden Walt Davis said. “That’s a skill that’s needed in this area.”

“The families of those inmates will now have a paycheck that they can depend on. Children will be supported. They won’t be in the prison system, and they won’t be in our court system in-and-out,” [Gov. Deal] said.

The State Elections Board turned over to the Attorney General’s office fifty-three voter registration forms that appear fradulent.

Fifty-three allegedly forged voter applications are being referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for possible prosecution, a decision by the State Elections Board that effectively closes the Secretary of State Office’s 2014 fraud investigation involving an attention-grabbing registration drive by the New Georgia Project.

The unanimous vote Wednesday came as the case’s lead investigator said he found no wrongdoing by the group, which was founded by then-state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams to increase the number of minorities on voting rolls.

It allows Attorney General Chris Carr to decide whether to prosecute those involved: 14 people that investigator Russell Lewis said essentially acted as independent contractors registering new voters.

The project, however, has continued to take an active role in registration efforts across the state, even as Abrams has stepped back from its operations. To date, those working with the project say it has submitted more than 215,000 voter registration forms, although not all those forms have been accepted.

FEMA and GEMA officials toured Gwinnett County yesterday to assess damages from Hurricane Irma.

[Jennifer] Busch’s home was one of about 26 houses that Federal Emergency Management Agency and Georgia Emergency Management Agency representatives visited with Gwinnett County officials on Wednesday. The FEMA and GEMA officials were assessing damage from Tropical Storm Irma to see if the county could qualify for a Declaration of Individual Assistance.

It’s part of a long process that county officials are going through to try and get recovery assistance for Gwinnett residents whose homes were damaged during the storm.

“From a federal perspective, what we’re looking for is damage to the essential living quarters,” FEMA Emergency Management Program Specialist Steve Michaels said. “We’ve had one home where it was the garage that was damaged. The rest of the house was still functional even though the garage was messed up pretty significantly (so), to us, that would be like a minor issue because it’s not an essential part of the house …

“If it’s going through the middle of the house, what we’re looking for is major structural components being impacted.”

The FEMA assessor praised the work Gwinnett’s assessment team did after the storm to evaluate damage. County officials said they compiled their list of damaged structures by looking at 9-1-1 calls and at a state-run website that allows homeowners to report damage online.

About 200 structures were reportedly damaged in Gwinnett during the storm. County code enforcement officers began going around to check damaged structures Sept. 13.

“They’ve been pretty right on,” Michaels said. “Gwinnett County is very detail oriented and their system that they utilize and implement is one of the best I’ve seen. I’m just sort of validating that the work that they’ve already put into it is accurate, at a federal assessment level, which so far it is.”

Contrast that with Gwinnett County’s rebranding effort.

The colorful overlapping shapes of the logo revealed Tuesday look like a knockoff of the logo for Internet browser Google Chrome, they said. The cursive font used for the slogan — “vibrantly connected” — is hard to read, they said. Why can’t we just bring back the water towers, they said.

I hope it was free, they said.

The logo, slogan and other re-branding efforts — which are not final, could be tweaked and still must be voted on by the county’s Board of Commissioners — in fact cost about $123,000, according to a contract approved by the board in February. And not everyone hates them.

The Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting nominations for a newly-created seat on the Superior Court for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, serving Hall and Dawson Counties.

Georgia Department of Family and Children Services Director Bobby Cagle will take over the equivalent agency in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has selected Bobby Cagle as head of the Department of Children and Family Services, the sprawling child welfare agency that has suffered from mismanagement, a handful of high-profile child deaths and a shortage of foster homes in recent years.

Cagle, a former foster youth and case worker himself, serves as director of the Division of Family and Children Services under Georgia’s Department of Human Services.

Cagle’s contract, salary and moving expenses still have to be negotiated and are subject to final approval by the board.

Cagle will take the helm of an agency with a $2.4-billion budget that is responsible for 34,000 youth across Los Angeles County, more than half of whom are in “out-of-home” care.

Five candidates are running for Smyrna City Council Ward 3.

Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz stepped down from the council position earlier this month after nearly 10 years in office to make a bid for the state House. She is running unopposed for the District 42 position formerly held by Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, who is running for governor.

Qualifying ended at noon Wednesday at Smyrna City Hall with Maryline Blackburn and Jeff Carter entering the field, which already had business owner Travis Lindley, attorney Adam Taylor and Marshall Moon, who works in security.

Fire Fighters Unions  endorsed Mary Norwood and Ceasar Mitchell for Mayor of Atlanta.

IAFF announced its backing of Norwood at a morning event near Fire Station No. 1 in the shadow of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The union, which has more than 560 paying members, also endorsed Norwood in her 2009 bid for the city’s top job. It did not make an endorsement in 2013.

“Mary Norwood is known citywide, said IAFF Local 134 President Paul Gerdis, who added that the organization picked Norwood because of her commitment to public safety.

“She lost the mayor’s race by only 700 votes in 2009,” Gerdis said. “We’re not going to let that happen again. We believe we can be a difference maker in this race.”

Mitchell, who is president of the Atlanta City Council, was endorsed by Progressive Firefighters of Atlanta Local 134, an independent fire fighting labor group, during a press conference on the steps of City Hall.

The group, which has around 325 members, praised Mitchell for being a leader on pay equity, including helping efforts to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15, raise firefighter starting salaries to $40,000 and restructure the city’s pension plan.

Fulton County voters will have three candidates to choose from for Commission Chair in the November Special Election.

Qualifying wrapped up at noon Wednesday, and voters will have three candidates to choose from on the Nov. 7 ballot: Keisha Waites, Robb Pitts and Gabriel Sterling.

Waites is a former State House member who represented District 60, which includes portions of Fulton and Clayton counties. Pitts is a former Fulton County Commissioner who served between 2002 and 2014 and Sterling sits on the Sandy Springs City Council.

The county will also hold a special election to fill the District 4 seat on the County Commission, which was vacated with the passing of Joan Garner. Candidates who’ve qualified for that seat are Eddie Lee Brewster, Kathryn Flowers Glasco, Natalie Hall, Steven D. Lee, Sr., Reese McCranie and Joshua McNair. The winner of that race will serve out the remainder of Garner’s term, which also expires in December 2018.

Kennesaw State Political Scientist Kerwin Swint predicts that Georgia’s electorate will become purple in 2024.

We’ve had several false alarms. Many thought Barack Obama had a chance of carrying Georgia in the 2012 election, but by the time November rolled around, Mitt Romney won here by a comfortable eight points. In 2014 many pundits were convinced that Georgia was turning purple, as early polling had Michelle Nunn besting David Perdue in the U.S. Senate race, and Jason Carter running even with Gov. Nathan Deal. But 2014 turned out to be a mirage. Perdue beat Nunn by eight points, and Deal also beat Carter by eight.

Then in 2016, stop me if you’ve heard this one, the national Democratic Party and national media outlets were buzzing over Georgia becoming the newest swing state, likely to go to Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, again according to polling. Then November came, and Donald Trump carried Georgia by six points.

GOP supporters tend to be older with higher incomes, which means they have a higher rate of voter turnout. Also, Republicans in Georgia these days normally get to run as incumbents. Then there’s the gerrymandering of districts, which Republicans will probably get to do again after the 2020 Census, unless Democrats manage to win the Governor’s Mansion in 2018, again an uphill struggle.

That’s why I have the Year of Turning Purple pegged at 2024. It will be a presidential election year, so turnout will be high. The presidency will either be open or it will be a Democrat running for re-election. And Georgia will have several more cycles of new voters added to the mix, most of whom will likely be reliably Democrat.

The Graham-Cassidy federal healthcare bill would benefit Georgia in the short-term, according to Andy Miller with Georgia Health News.

The Graham-Cassidy bill – named for its Republican sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — would get rid of many Affordable Care Act provisions, including states’ expansion of their Medicaid programs.

It would take that money and other ACA funding and redistribute it more equally across states, allowing them greater flexibility to shape their health care systems.

The “block grant’’ approach would lead to less funding for states that expanded Medicaid and had high enrollment in their health insurance exchanges, such as California and New York. Non-expansion states such as Georgia would generally gain under the change.

The legislation has until Sept. 30 to pass. No Democratic senators support it, so the Republicans will need almost all their 52 senators to vote for it. The bill could pass with 50 Republican votes, since Vice President Mike Pence would be the one to break a 50-50 tie.

President Trump says he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

The bill worries groups representing doctors and hospitals, as well as consumer advocacy organizations.

A former MARTA executive is accused of stealing half-a-million dollars and buying a Porsche 911, among other things.

A former executive at Atlanta’s MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) public transit system pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding MARTA of more than $500,000 by writing fake invoices.

Joseph J. Erves 52, of Lithonia, Georgia, was charged via criminal information with one count of Federal Program Theft. Erves has pleaded guilty.

Erves worked at MARTA from 1993-2017 as its senior director of operations. Erves oversaw the maintenance of all buses and rail cars and could approve payments of up to $10,000 for work performed on behalf of MARTA.

Erves personally approved payments to the vendors, who then funneled most of the money back into Erves’s personal bank accounts. He used the money to purchase a Porsche 911 and multiple products at high-end department stores, police say.

Erves had a previous drug conviction and had been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison in 1987, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He was released in 1992.

Can’t fault his taste in cars, but maybe it was a little conspicuous in the MARTA parking lot.

20
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 20, 2017

Buffy

Buffy is a female Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care in Ringgold, GA.

Payton Catoosa

Payton is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care in Ringgold, GA.

Freddie

Freddie is a male Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Pet Friends in Chickamauga, GA.

20
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2017

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

The first classes at Oglethorpe University under it’s current non-denominational charter were held on September 20, 1916. Happy 101st Anniversary to the Stormy Petrels. The university was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Midway, Georgia. In 1870, after a period of closure during the Civil War they relocated to the Atlanta area. Currently, a collection of more than 20,000 pieces of political campaign materials is on display at the Weltner Library on Oglethorpe’s campus.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

During the 1976 campaigns, a 13-foot tall smiling peanut sculpture was created by the Indiana Democratic Party for Carter’s presidential campaign.

Since 1976, the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut has held its position as the world’s second largest peanut, “the most photographed thing in Plains”, and one of the oddest monuments to a politician worldwide. Unfortunately, in 2000, a reckless driver crashed into the peanut, whose wooden hoops, chicken wire, and aluminum foil weren’t enough to keep it upright. After the accident, the peanut was moved from the Plains train depot to the Davis E-Z Shop in Plains, where it remains today. Although the peanut has been kept in pristine form, the fence surrounding it has become dilapidated as a result of over a decade of tourists posing for photos on it.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday announced that the Georgia Department of Economic Development helped create more than 30,000 jobs this year in Georgia.

Gov. Nathan Deal [] visited the new Honeywell North American Software Center and announced that the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce Division helped create a total of 30,309 new jobs during FY 17, generating a record-breaking $6.33 billion in investments. This growth is a result of the expansion or relocation of 377 companies covering every region of the state.

“Georgia has consistently been named the No. 1 state for business as companies from around the world continue to choose Georgia to relocate their headquarters or expand operations,” said Deal. “Once companies plant roots here in Georgia, they seem to grow at impressive rates, thanks in part to the business-friendly climate we have carefully cultivated and our highly skilled workforce. The FY 17 investment numbers and new jobs figures represent not only meaningful opportunities for communities across our state, but also new sources of income for more than 30,000 families. From the support of our state legislature and local officials, Georgia has proven to be a reliable and responsible place for businesses of all sizes to plan for future growth. I commend Commissioner Pat Wilson for his leadership, as well as the dedicated GDEcD team that works to keep Georgia on the minds of business executives around the world. These successes should serve as a point of pride for all Georgians and I look forward to more days of celebration like this one in the years to come.”

In FY 17:

  • Businesses already located in Georgia accounted for 59 percent of total jobs created (17,865 of 30,309) and 58 percent of overall investment ($3.7 billion).
  • Companies new to the state created 12,444 jobs and generated $2.64 billion in investments.
  • Georgia’s financial technology sector saw the most significant job growth, with an increase of 250 percent over FY 16. The software and technology industry increased projects by 30 percent (42 projects), representing 9,821 jobs and $1.4 billion in investments.
  • The state’s workforce saw significant job growth in the following industries: logistics and distribution (85 percent), automotive (95 percent) and digital media (97 percent). The food processing sector also saw a 119 percent increase in projects over FY 16.
  • Eighty-six Foreign Direct Investment international projects created more than 6,000 jobs and generated over $1.6 billion in investments.
  • The Athens region saw the greatest number of new jobs (2,918) and the LaGrange region experienced the largest total investment with $766 million.
  • Eighty percent of total economic development announcements were outside of the metro Atlanta region.
  • International investments from European companies included 51 locations, creating 4,468 jobs and generating $809 million in investments. Among European companies, those from Germany, Ireland and Italy created the most jobs in Georgia.
  • Investments from companies in Asian countries included 22 locations, creating 1,445 jobs and generating $751 million in investments. Companies from China, Japan and South Korea provided the largest investments among countries in Asia.
  • Companies from Canada and the Middle East generated total investments of $34 million and $20.4 million, respectively.
  • The Entrepreneur and Small Business team served 1,760 companies in FY 17, 60 percent of which were startup companies.

Gov. Deal issued writs of election for State House District 26, formerly held by Geoff Duncan (R), District 4, formerly held by Bruce Broadrick (R), and District 60, formerly held by Keisha Waites (D). The special elections will be held November 7, 2017.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp scheduled qualifying in HD 26 to begin today at 9 AM to 5 PM and continue Thursday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM in the SOS office at 2 MLK, Jr., Drive in Atlanta.

Forsyth County Commissioners voted 3-1 to study compensation for commissioners.

The vote was 3-1, with Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills against and the District 2 seat vacant, to move forward with a study now that the county has hired a county manager.

The topic first came up in June when the board began discussing increased compensation. Just weeks after voting to move forward with a bid to increase the annual compensation, commissioners denied a proposal for a study.

Then in August, the board denied a 25 percent pay raise that had been approved in July.

Now, commissioners are revisiting the topic, and they have decided to go ahead with a study comparing salaries of commissioners in neighboring counties.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the study has to be done before election qualifying in 2018. If approved, the raise wouldn’t go into effect until January 1, 2019.

The last proposal that was shot down was for an annual salary for the chair of $49,500 and an annual salary for other board members set at $48,000.

Eric Johnson has begun work as the new Forsyth County Manager.

Three candidates for Roswell City Council Post 4 are profiled by NorthFulton.com.

Gwinnett County Commissioners approved an initial 30-month contract to provide body cameras for law enforcement officers.

The initial three-month term will cost $30,666. If it is renewed to its full potential length, however, the cameras and data management system would cost just over $4.4 million.

“Body worn cameras can help improve the quality of service expected from personnel in the police department, sheriff’s department and corrections department, as well as promote legitimacy and the sense of procedural justice that the citizens of Gwinnett County expect from their law enforcement officials,” Police Chief Butch Ayers told commissioners.

The only question from commissioners about the contract with Axon Enterprises came from Commissioner John Heard, who inquired about the initial length of the contract being three months.

“I’m so happy that we are getting this initiated,” Heard said. “Why is it only for a quarter instead of a year or a continuation?”

Ayers said it was set-up issue.

“The initial item is for license procurement and user license,” he said. “We have to do all of that first and then I expect the contract could be automatically renewed and we expect the project to start probably next month and implementation of the program in the first two quarters of 2018.”

Congressmen Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett) and Drew Ferguson (R-LaGrange) met with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Transportation Alliance to discuss transportation priorities.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson denounced a string of murders in the city.

“There have been 26 murders in Columbus this year,” read the statement. “ We are all simultaneously heartsick and frustrated with the level of killing, particularly in this third quarter.”

The three deaths increased the number of 2017 homicides to 26, according to the Columbus Police Department. Muscogee County Coroner puts the number at 32.

“We will continue to concentrate on breaking up areas of known criminal activity,” the mayor said in the statement, “and will continue to ask for the public’s support in helping us get suspects in these murders off the street.”

Kennesaw City Council approved higher fees for sanitation and streetlights.

Gwinnett County is seeking federal aid for recovery from Hurricane Irma.

Stockbridge Mayor Judy Neal withdrew from November’s election.

“After much thought and prayers, I have made the decision to remove my name from the 2017 municipal election ballot. It was not an easy decision, especially because so many Stockbridge citizens, business leaders, donors, pastors and especially staff have supported me so strongly,” stated Neal in a press release.

According to Henry County Elections Director Tina Lunsford, Neal withdrew her name from the race Sept. 5, just 12 days after she qualified for the seat.

Perry City Council adopted the same millage rate for FY 2018 as was used in 2017.

Bainbridge City Council heard a proposed amendment to the alcohol ordinance that would allow open containers in the central business district.

Chatham County officials are considering a proposal to open a 24-hour mental health crisis center.

In a recent presentation to the Chatham County Commission, CEO of Gateway Behavioral Health Services Dr. Mark Johnson said opening a behavioral health crisis center in the county would fill a number of gaps in the community, from providing care to those in desperate need to redirecting low-level offenders suffering from a mental illness out of local jails and emergency rooms.

In Chatham, Johnson said, a crisis center would likely need more beds than what are provided by the facility in Griffin. He proposed a 20,000-square-foot crisis center for Chatham County that would house six beds for 23-hour observation, 24-beds for longer term care — on average, long term stays are about five days — and a walk-in function that allows clients to be seen in less than an hour.

The concept would be less expensive than the constructing a mental health hospital, he said, or continuing the current method of transporting lower level offenders to the county jail. Johnson said that although it’s difficult to quantify just how much constructing a crisis center would save in annual costs at the jail, some scenarios he presented put the savings at between $1.5 million and $4.6 million annually.

“In terms of the effect on the jail, it certainly bends … the costs in the right direction,” he said.

DeKalb County Commissioners approved a project list for a proposed new sales tax.

A proposed sales tax increase in DeKalb County would primarily fund the repaving of cracked and pothole-filled roads, along with building new fire stations, buying police cars and renovating parks, according to a project list approved Tuesday.

The projects would be funded by a sales tax increase, from 7 percent to 8 percent, if voters support it during a Nov. 7 referendum. The special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) would raise about $100 million a year for infrastructure over the next six years.

The project list, approved by a 5-2 vote Tuesday, would cost $388 million that would be raised from sales taxes in unincorporated DeKalb. Another $249 million would go to city governments, which are voting on their own infrastructure project lists this month.

Road repairs are the county’s highest priority for the SPLOST. The project list sets aside $151 million for resurfacing, enough money to repave more than 318 miles of the county’s most neglected streets. That amount represents 39 percent of the unincorporated area’s funds.

Georgia Public Service Commissioners approved a timeline for Plant Vogtle under which they will vote in February whether to continue with construction.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to approve the schedule for a round of hearings on spending at Plant Vogtle. This is routine, every six months the utility presents its costs to the regulators.

What’s different this time around is that Georgia Power will also make its case to keep the project going, despite years of delays and a budget that has grown by billions of dollars. The utility expects to have both nuclear reactors in operation in 2022; they were initially supposed to be up-and-running by now. And the cost has doubled, to more than $20 billion.

The hearings at the Georgia PSC will begin in early November.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins on Tuesday reiterated his previous statement that the company is doing what’s required of it for Vogtle Construction Monitoring, or VCM.

“We filed the 17th VCM Report and recommendation to move forward with the Vogtle expansion on August 31, including responses to specific issues requested by the Georgia PSC such as the reasonableness of the revised cost and schedule forecast,” he wrote in an email. “It is ultimately up to the Georgia PSC to determine the structure of each VCM proceeding — we will continue to work with the Georgia PSC and all parties through the VCM process.

The approved schedule includes hearings on the cases of staff and intervenors on four days, Dec. 11-14. The PSC expects to make a ruling in the case by February.

Live Saving Events

The Forsyth County Suicide Summit will be held on September 20, 2017, beginning at 6:30 PM at the Forsyth Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd in Cumming.

There have been more than 20 suicides in Forsyth County since January.

That is one reason a group of community members, including Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, created the inaugural Forsyth County Suicide Summit. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 20 at the Forsyth Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd.

“We want people to walk away with hope,” Mills said. “It doesn’t have to be about despair. We want to offer more coping skills and be a community about love. We’ve been named the healthiest county the past few years, but wellness goes beyond what you see on the outside.”

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about mental health in the county,” Mills said. “It’s a big issue we’re facing. I started looking at the numbers and talking to deputies and realized how big of an issue we have here.”

Mills attended Gwinnett County’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Summit and toyed with the idea of also combining the two topics.

“I didn’t think it would do either justice,” Mills said. “They are so much bigger issues than could be covered together. It wouldn’t be fair to either.”

Forsyth County’s total of 22 suicides since January, she said, is high compared to surrounding counties.

“It’s disturbing,” Mills said. “It’s across the gamut and not in just one [type of people]. It’s not all attributed to drugs. Earlier this year, there were two high schoolers who didn’t know each other that did it the same day.”

Forum: Pain Pills and Heroin are Killing Our Families will be held September 26, 2017, 6:30 to 8 PM at Brenau Downtown Center, 301 Main Street, Gainesville, GA 30501.

Georgia Connects Cherokee Chapter is holding a Town Hall on Opioid Abuse on October 2, 2017, 7 to 9 PM at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Building A Chapel
11905 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30188.

 

19
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 19, 2017

Jagger

Jagger is a young male American Bulldog & American Staffordshire Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Second Chance Animal Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Maybelle

Maybelle is a young female Hound dog who is available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Maybelle is friendly and sweet and loves everyone.

BubblesCairo

Bubbles is a 10-week old male Chihuahua & Papillon mix puppy who is available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

19
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 19, 2017

President George Washington gave his farewell address on September 19, 1796.

The period for a new election of a Citizen, to Administer the Executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the sametime, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful Citizen to his country–and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

On September 19, 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was joined between the federal Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Thirteen marchers were shot and killed and forty more wounded in Camilla, Georgia at the Camilla Massacre on September 19, 1868 as marchers to a Republican Party rally were gunned down.

President James Garfield died on September 19, 1881, of wounds sustained on July 2d of that year. Garfield is one of seven Presidents born in Ohio – he and William McKinley, were both killed by assassins.

Chickamauga National Battlefield was dedicated September 19, 1895.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Protests at Georgia Tech last night included setting a police vehicle on fire.

Three people were arrested Monday night during a protest after a vigil for a Georgia Tech student who was fatally shot by campus police, a university spokesman said.

Police shot and killed Scout Schultz late Saturday night after the 21-year-old student called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said.

After a peaceful vigil, about 50 protesters marched to the campus police department, university spokesman Lance Wallace said. A police vehicle was damaged and two officers suffered minor injuries, with one taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police restored order relatively quickly, and three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, Wallace said.

Governor Nathan Deal made some changes in his senior staff yesterday.

Deal recommended Christopher Nunn to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Nunn’s appointment follows current DCA Commissioner Camila Knowles’ announcement that she will depart at the end of September for a position in the private sector. Pending DCA board approval, this change will take effect October 1.

Deal also appointed Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) President Shawn Ryan to fill the position of Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS). The appointment will take effect on October 1. Pending board approval, GSFC Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Caylee Noggle will fill the vacancy left by Ryan’s departure as interim President of GSFC, also effective October 1.

“I would like to thank Commissioner Knowles for her service to our state,” said Deal. “Her efforts at DCA have helped build and grow strong, vibrant communities around Georgia, especially her work helping to revitalize rural areas in our state. I wish her the best in her future endeavors as she transitions to the private sector. I’m confident the incoming leadership at DCA, along with DOAS and GSFC, will continue advancing the needs of and serving Georgians throughout the state.”

Camila Knowles is leaving state government to work at Cornerstone Government Affairs.

Cornerstone Government Affairs announced Monday that Camila Knowles will join the firm October 1 as Senior Vice President and Counsel in the company’s Atlanta office.

Knowles comes to the firm after serving in Governor Nathan Deal’s cabinet as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) since 2015. She led that agency’s work for community development, ensuring that through workforce housing, community infrastructure, downtown development and economic development financing, communities are prepared for opportunities to meet Governor Deal’s top priority: creating jobs across the state. DCA provides funding and technical assistance throughout Georgia, partnering with local communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses. The Agency also manages millions of state and federal dollars through its 65 programs, 24 of them funding programs.

“I would like to thank Camila for her service,” Governor Deal said. “I appreciate her focus at DCA on building strong, vibrant communities around Georgia, and her particular attention to revitalizing rural communities. I wish her the best in her future endeavors as she transitions to the private sector.”

Prior to her service in the Deal Administration, she was chief of staff to U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. She began her career with Senator Chambliss in 2003 as one of the Senator’s designees on the Senate Judiciary Committee focusing on immigration law and policy. After serving as a legislative assistant and chief counsel for the Senator in Washington, she moved in 2009 to his Atlanta office as state director and was named chief of staff in 2013.

“I have known Camila her entire life, and had the pleasure of spending 12 of those years working closely with her at the forefront of policy issues that impact our state and our country,” Senator Chambliss said. “Camila has a clear, analytical approach and a true servant’s heart. I am fortunate to have benefited from her friendship, intelligence, focus and counsel. Cornerstone is fortunate to have her joining their team.”

She holds an A.B. in History from Harvard, from which she graduated with cum laude distinction, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

“Camila joining our Georgia team offers our clients new legal and policy research capabilities unmatched in our market,” Cornerstone Senior Vice President Jerry Usry said. “Her experience in every facet of government expands Cornerstone’s drafting, analysis and strategic advisory services to a new level. We are excited to see how far her knowledge and skills sets will advance our firm.”

San Francisco liberals are looking for the next Jon Ossoff to throw millions at.

New billboards popping up in greater Atlanta and Northwest Georgia this week will have a different sort of message than the typical plugs for local eateries and colleges: run for office.

The San Francisco-based political startup Crowdpac is launching a new national campaign in Georgia urging citizens to consider challenging their local congressmen using their crowdfunding website.

The nonpartisan company is homing in on the three-dozen or so U.S. House districts with members of Congress who did not face major party opposition in November — representatives who were “automatically reelected,” per the group’s assessment. It is kicking off its initiative in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, the home base of fifth-term Republican Congressman Tom Graves.

This isn’t Crowdpac’s first foray into Georgia. The left-leaning Atlanta super PAC My Ride to Vote used the site to crowdfund more than $75,000 to give free rides to the polls to “traditionally underrepresented” voters during the 6th Congressional District special election earlier this year.

The site lets users mulling a run for office post their policy pitches and solicit pledges from potential donors. The candidates see the money only if they formally jump into the race.

Federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are at risk pending congressional action.

And while experts believe that much of the funding, if not all, will be renewed by Oct. 1 or afterward, there are no guarantees, with a fractious Washington dealing with the bitter aftermath of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The money at risk includes funding for a popular children’s health insurance; Medicaid funds for hospitals that deliver a high level of indigent care; and financial support for community health centers.

And there’s about $10 million at risk for rural hospitals in Georgia that have a low number of Medicare patients.

Another big chunk of money involves Medicaid “disproportionate share’’ (DSH) funding being cut by $43 billion between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2025. Under the ACA, these cuts for facilities serving a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients were supposed to be offset by expanded health coverage and the creation of more paying patients. But for many reasons, that has not always worked out as envisioned, especially in states, such as Georgia, that have not expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA.

Under the radar among the imperiled funding streams involves another potential financial setback to rural hospitals.

The “low-volume adjustment’’ money from Medicare helps rural hospitals that are at least 15 miles from a similar hospital and have fewer than 1,600 Medicare discharges annually.

Three candidates qualified for the Smyrna City Council open seat.

Travis Lindley is a partner/owner of Capitol Strategy Group and has cofounded three small businesses. He is a current member of the Smyrna Downtown Development Authority and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

Lindley has been campaigning since earlier this year and has already gotten an endorsement from Ward 1 Councilman Derek Norton, who called Lindley an “old friend” and Smyrna native who has served the city well in the Downtown Development Authority.

Marshall A. Moon works security at Adventures Outdoors. He said he decided to run earlier this year.

Moon said he is running to give voice to the regular people of Smyrna, and he hopes to do that by increasing the amount of time residents are given during public comment at government meetings from three minutes to between 15 and 30. He also said he believes Smyrna residents should be able to vote directly on issues, rather those issues being decided solely by the council.

“It’s time that Smyrna had a voice instead of the people sitting up on the board,” Moon said. “They’re doing all the voting. The people that’s in the meetings, they don’t have that right. And they should have the right to … voice their opinions through voting, and it’s not right for the people who are sitting behind the desk, that they’re doing all the voting, and the people in the meeting, they don’t have a voice, and I think that’s wrong. And that’s my personal opinion.”

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash is asking residents for input on transit.

We are considering different kinds of transit systems, new routes, and, of course, the cost and value of potential improvements. Ultimately, all of the information and analysis will be available to the community for use in deciding whether to support funding an expanded transit system for Gwinnett.

But for the study to be worthwhile, we need to hear from you, the residents of Gwinnett County. We currently have a quick online survey through Sept. 25 for people to complete that will help guide the decision-making process. It is available on the website www.ConnectGwinnettTransit.com/survey. Our team of consultants and in-house professionals are going to community events to talk to people and get their feedback and their vision for transit in Gwinnett.

But now is the time for you to get involved while the plans are still being formed. So go to www.ConnectGwinnettTransit.com/survey and take the survey. Follow Connect Gwinnett: Transit Study on Facebook. We also have lots of valuable information on www.ConnectGwinnettTransit.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Gainesville and Hall County schools are back in session after missing a week during Irma and its aftermath.

Augusta officials are assessing local efforts to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Camden, Chatham and Glynn county residents may register for FEMA aid after Irma.

Warner Robins City Council adopted a slight millage rate increase for FY 2018.

The Muscogee County School District voted to borrow up to $50 million dollars to address delays in property tax billing and revenue.

Corporate Executives ranked Georgia number three in the nation for favorable business climate.

18
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 18, 2017

Hurricane Irma resulted in above-average numbers of dog and cat intakes at the DeKalb County Animal Service Shelter.

The facility has about 575 pets (430 dogs, 145 cats), LifeLine said in a news release.

“To encourage adoptions, we are holding a September promotion at all of our LifeLine shelters, including DCAS, where all cats and all dogs over 25 lbs. may be adopted for only $40, including their spay/neuter, microchip and vaccines,” the release said.

Tiger

Tiger is a 2-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Jazz

Jazz is a six-year old female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Meet Jazz! This happy six year old is 100% cuddlebug. She loves belly rubs, having the occasional bout of zoomies, and relaxing in the sun. Jazz seems to get along with everyone and greets every new person she meets politely. She can be a little shy at first, but her tail never stops wagging. Jazz is perfectly fine to rest on her bed while you are watching TV and doesn’t seem to mind when she is left alone. She has done well with other dogs here at the shelter and doesn’t seem to mind kitties either. If you are looking for a well-rounded, silly, calm pup – come meet Jazz at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services!

Donnie

Donnie is a ten-year old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Nothing can get Donnie down! This sweet senior boy is filled to the brim with personality. He has never met a stranger – human or canine. His favorite activities include going for slow walks, eating breakfast, and looking at you longingly from across the room. Donnie has a few senior-related medical issues and will need to go in for an additional check-up at his adopter’s veterinarian. Donnie is around 8-10 years old and weighs 48 pounds. For more information, email [email protected]<

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter took in 61 animals that were evacuated during Irma.

County officials said 42 dogs and 19 cats were brought to Lawrenceville from the Glynn County animal shelter before Irma. The decision to bring them to Gwinnett came after Gov. Nathan Deal issued a mandatory evacuation order for counties along the Georgia coast.

The animals were originally taken to a temporary location in Lawrenceville, but Gwinnett officials have been transferring the animals steadily to the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center.

“The Gwinnett Animal Shelter was without power much of the week,” county spokesman Joe Sorenson said. “When the power was out, we were unable to open the facility to the general public, which reduced opportunities for people to adopt dogs and cats.

“Animal Welfare staff did work closely with rescue groups to place as many animals as possible. The shelter is open again and people have an opportunity to come and adopt a new pet.”

Residents who are interested in adopting one of the evacuated dogs or cats can visit the animal shelter at 884 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. County officials said they are moving the animals from their temporary home to the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center steadily as space in the shelter allows.

18
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for September 18, 2017

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die. Constitution Day was celebrated yesterday and the National Archives has some great background materials.

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

General Robert E. Lee retreated from Antietam Creek on September 18, 1862, following the bloodiest day of fighting in the Civil War.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1920 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

The Georgia General Assembly approved a new state Constitution on September 18, 1981, which was placed on the 1982 ballot and after approval by voters, went into effect in 1983.

On September 18, 1990, Atlanta was announced as the location for the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

Ted Turner announced on September 18, 1997 his intent to donate $1 billion to the United Nations.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

The Georgia Department of Revenue is extending some deadlines for victims of Hurricane Irma.

This announcement coincides with the relief announcement issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The Department is postponing until January 31, 2018, certain deadlines for individuals who reside, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the disaster area but the person or business must have been affected by the disaster. The postponement applies to return filing, tax payment, and other time-sensitive acts as specified by the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue toured Georgia last week to assess crop damage from Hurricane Irma.

Perdue [was] slated to tour damaged farms with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany). The tour was slated to include a visit to Mason Pecans, a pecan farm in Fort Valley, according to an advisory on Bishop’s congressional website.

The impact is shocking and will be felt for many months,” Perdue said in a statement released Wednesday. “In addition to efforts being made on the ground to assist producers, we have taken a hard look at our regular reporting requirements and adjusted them so producers can take care of pressing needs first and mostly deal with documentation and claims later. President Trump’s directive is to help people first and deal with paperwork second. And that’s what USDA is doing.”

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also discussed crop losses.

Fifty percent of Georgia’s pecan crop might be lost, according to state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

“If we lose half this pecan crop, fruitcakes will be more expensive at Christmastime, one would think,” Black said.

“It’s gonna affect livelihoods and income, and then what those people do in the local economy, too,” he said.

Cotton is nearing harvest, which made it susceptible to high winds, and crop consultants are estimating between 25 percent and 50 percent of the cotton yield is gone.

Black said Irma may mean at least one positive result for farmers.

All the storm’s rain could boost Georgia’s peanut crop toward a record-breaking harvest.

Qualifying closed last week for the “Six-Pack” of legislative seats up for Special Elections in November.Continue Reading..

15
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 15, 2017

Kade

Kade is a young male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Praying For Paws Inc McDonough, GA.

Juice

Juice is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Butts County Animal Control Jackson, GA.

Ashton

Ashton is a young male Plott Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Butts County Animal Control Jackson, GA.

15
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 15, 2017

James Oglethorpe arrived at Augusta on September 12, 1739, 277 years ago today.

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

French troops arrived near Savannah to prepare for a siege against British forces there on September 12, 1779.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814.

On September 15, 1831, Dr. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler – missionaries – were tried in a Lawrenceville courtroom for living as white people among the Cherokee and refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, convicted and sentenced to hard labor. Some historians refer to this case, which went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal, as the beginning of the events that led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.”

HMS Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin, arrived at the Gallapagos Islands on September 15, 1835.

On September 14, 1885, Georgia Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation granting up to 200 acres in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to the federal government to be used in the constuction of Fort McPherson, which was named after Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died of an infection from gunshot wounds suffered eight days earlier.

On September 15, 1904, Wilbur Wright made the first in-flight turn in an airplane.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Early on the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired #34 in honor of the most dominant pitcher in professional baseball history, Nolan Ryan.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Power reported outages of more than 950,000 customers. Their twitter profile says they serve 2.5 million customers. Math tells me they had nearly 40% of customers offline at the height of the outages. Because of the company’s statewide footprint, you can just think of that as being roughly 35-40% of Georgia without electric power in order to get a sense of the scale of the outages. The latest is that the company has restored service to 920,000 customers, with about 75,000 remaining offline.

Georgia Power also warned about post-hurricane scams.

In a news release Thursday, the company stated it wanted to make customers aware of potential scams during the statewide recovery from Hurricane Irma. The company offers the following tips to avoid scams and fraud.

• Georgia Power will not offer to expedite power restoration for an additional fee.

• Georgia Power will not refuse to reconnect service to customers impacted by Hurricane Irma due to a past due bill and demand payment prior to re-connection. The company will work with customers who are behind on payments or need to make payment arrangements through its usual customer service process.

Customers can check the status of outages, sign up for outage alerts and get safety tips at www.georgiapower.com/storm. Customers can report and check the status of an outage 24 hours a day by contacting Georgia Power at 888-891-0938.

An Arkansas lineman working to restore electricity in Georgia was electrocuted earlier this week and is in serious condition.

Marshal Freeman is in serious condition after he was nearly electrocuted Wednesday night.

Freeman was working in the 200 block of West Society Avenue with Southern Electric Corporation, an electrical company out of Fullwood, Mississippi when the incident happened.

Ocilla Police said Freeman was working on the power lines when he was shocked.

Southern Electrical Corporation has been helping Georgia Power restore electricity to the area.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the injured employee,” said Lynn Lovett, the area manager for Georgia Power.

Lovett said safety is a top priority.

“Our jobs are dangerous and that’s why initially when the storm blew through on Monday we could not even start work because it wasn’t safe,” explained Lovett. “We don’t want to rush. We want to get customers back on, but we need to do it safely.”

The Irwin County coroner said Wednesday night that Freeman was alive, but he was taken to the Augusta Burn Unit for his injuries.

Governor Nathan Deal surveyed damage from Hurricane Irma yesterday and viewed coastal areas by helicopter.Continue Reading..