The blog.

19
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 19, 2017

Barrett

Barrett is a young male Labrador Retriever & Pointer mix who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

Widget

Widget is a young male Brussels Griffon & Affenpinscher mix who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

Widget is a very sweet boy with a goofy personality and loves to play. He is a great escape artist so he needs to find the perfect home that can deal with his curiosity to explore. Due to his ability to run out of the home easily he requires a home with no children.

Fontana

Fontana is a young female Rat Terrier & Border Collie mix who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

Fontana has scruffy hair and is cute as a bug. She is the leader of the pack and enjoys playing. Her estimated date of birth is 02-01-2015. She and her siblings were dropped off at a shelter when they were just two weeks old.

19
Oct

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

British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781,  ending the American Revolution.

On October 19, 1790, Lyman Hall, one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia, died in Burke County, GA. Hall was elected Governor of Georgia in 1783, holding the position for one year, and was an early advocate for the chartering of the University of Georgia.

On October 19, 1983, the United States Senate voted 78-22 to create a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., to be celebrated on the third Monday of January. The House passed the King holiday bill, sponsored by Reps. Katie Hall (D.-IN) and Jack Kemp (R-NY), by a vote of 338-90 in August. President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation on November 3, 1983.

Gwinnett County will host the Ninth Annual Frontier Faire this Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Fort Daniel Historic Monument, 2505 Braselton Highway in Buford.

The faire is staged each year by the Fort Daniel Foundation and the Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society.

“You get a chance to see archaeology, or the rediscovery of history, in action,” Frontier Faire publicity official Eli Stancel said. “It’s more than just a sign on the side of the road. You actually get to touch and feel, and see how we go through the process of discovering things.”

This year’s event will feature a special ribbon cutting — or more likely a “rope cutting” to be more true to the period — that will be held at 10 a.m., on the spot where the original gate for the War of 1812 era fort was located.

Fort Daniel, which sat on Hog Mountain, predated Gwinnett County by about four years and became the staging ground for a road that went to another fort at Standing Peachtree, known as Fort Peachtree. That road, according to officials from the Fort Daniel Foundation and the Gwinnett Archaeological Society, was the original Peachtree Road.

The opening of the replica gate marks the second year in a row that the faire has included the opening for some new feature for the site. Last year’s event featured the opening of the blacksmith’s shop, which is now fully operational and will be open for this year’s festival.

In addition to the ribbon (or rope) cutting, this weekend’s Frontier Faire will also feature many of the event’s traditional hallmarks, such as opportunities for attendees to participate in archaeological excavations, War of 1812 reenactors giving flintlock musket demonstrations, presentations by local members of the Sons of the American Revolution, frontier life demonstrations and Native American food preparation and hominy demonstrations.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge J. Wade Padgett received an award from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council for his book on the history of the circuit.

The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council selected Padgett’s book, “From Court in the Wilderness to Court in the Metropolis: A History of the Augusta Judicial Circuit,” as this year’s recipient for the award. Padgett is to receive the award at a ceremony in Morrow, Ga.

“When I was sworn in as a Superior Court judge, Judge (Bernard) Mulherin gave me a ‘scroll’ with the names of all the judges who had served as Superior Court judges since 1870. I was flattered to be among that number,” and it sparked his interest to learn about those who preceded him on the bench, Padgett wrote in an email.

Padgett started in 2012 with his research from newspaper archives at the Georgia Archives in Atlanta. He focused his project on developing biographical descriptions for every judge, clerk and prosecutor for the Superior, State, Civil and Magistrate, Probate and Juvenile courts in the Augusta Judicial Circuit, which is composed of Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voter registration for federal elections must remain open until no fewer than 30 days before an election, even for runoffs, under a federal court decree.

A federal judge says Georgia cannot close voter registration for any federal election, including runoff contests, more than 30 days before the election.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten in May ordered the registration deadline extended to 30 days before the June runoff election. The consent decree filed Tuesday applies that to all federal elections and runoffs.

Liberty Plaza across from the Georgia State Capitol will be reworked under an RFQ issued this week.

The plan is to demolish a parking deck and utility bridge located between Liberty Plaza and the Downtown Connector and replace those structures with an extension of Capitol Square to the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, according to an RFQ released by the Georgia State Financing & Investment Commission (GSFIC).

The extension may create a four-lane street with two lanes in each direction and sidewalk improvements along the east edge of Liberty Plaza. Other upgrades to existing intersections at the site would include traffic signals, crosswalks and pedestrian refuge islands.

The main purpose of the project is to provide an alternate route around Liberty Plaza, allowing traffic to be routed around the plaza during large events when Capitol Police may want to close Capitol Avenue.

Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens came under pressure from a local State Representative and the Cobb County Sheriff, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.Continue Reading..

18
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 18, 2017

BertK9

Bert is a male Black Labrador Retriever & Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from K-9 Rescue League, Inc. in Suwanee, GA.

Danza

Danza is a female Treeing Walker Coonhound or American Foxhound mix who is available for adoption from Planned PEThood of Georgia Duluth, GA.

Danza is a beautiful American Foxhound mix, and weighs about 65 lbs. She super sweet,loves all people and is good with medium to large dogs. She is about 4 years old. Danza does NOT do confinement (meaning crates, fences, confinement to a room). Indoor/outdoor with plenty of space is how she needs to live. Danza is looking for a farm or family with some land.

PeachesPPGA

Peaches is an adult female Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Planned PEThood of Georgia Duluth, GA.

Peaches is a very gentle soul who clearly spent a lot of years having puppies, and she is now ready to live the good life, She gets along with other dogs, cats and even baby kittens. Peaches LOVES to snuggle and belly rubs are her favorite! She is crate trained and low maintenance!

18
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 18, 2017

The Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland was established on October 18, 1767.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Twenty years later, in late 1700s, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line would begin arguing for the perpetuation of slavery in the new United States while those north of line hoped to phase out the ownership of human chattel. This period, which historians consider the era of “The New Republic,” drew to a close with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free. The compromise, along with those that followed it, eventually failed.

On October 18, 1867, the United States took over Alaska from Russia and ran up Old Glory there for the first time.

Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska.

Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska. Agreeing to pay a mere $7 million for some 591,000 square miles of land-a territory twice the size of Texas and equal to nearly a fifth of the continental United States-Seward secured the purchase of Alaska at the ridiculously low rate of less than 2¢ an acre.

On October 18, 1870, Rockdale and McDuffie Counties were created when Georgia Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating them.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) will kick off his campaign for Lieutenant Governor this Sunday from 2-4 PM at the Atlanta Coliseum, (formerly Wild Bill’s). Click here to R.s.v.p.

Shafer Campaign Kick Off Website

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Virginia Pryor as Interim Director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, as current Director Bobby Cagle will leave the post.

“We have no greater responsibility than caring for Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Deal. “It is imperative that we work to ensure that each child is safe and has the best possible opportunity for a good life. Virginia Pryor has been a longtime advocate for the wellbeing of children and she has already played a vital role in the administration of DFCS. I am confident that she will serve our state well as interim director. I am grateful for Director Cagle’s efforts as he helped move DFCS forward in a number of ways while protecting the interests of many young Georgians. I wish him well in his next endeavor to serve Los Angeles County.”

Former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller will no longer appear in public, according to the AJC Political Insider.

The 85-year-old former Georgia governor and U.S. senator, though frail, rests comfortably in the rock house on Miller Street that his widowed mother built in the mountain town of Young Harris. Shirley Miller, his wife of 63 years, is there — as always.

But his family has declared that the former governor’s public life is at an end. There will be no more speeches, no more appearances. Visitations are restricted to close family members.

“Zell is not experiencing a lot of the tremors, but he is experiencing the cognitive symptoms that are associated with this type of Parkinson’s,” said grandson Bryan Miller, who heads up the Miller Institute – a public policy and leadership organization intended to carry on the legacy of the governor who gave Georgia the HOPE scholarship and pre-k education.

The Miller Institute is now handling all of Governor Miller’s official business, and on Tuesday sent along these thoughts from Shirley Miller:

“We want other families with loved ones suffering from Parkinson’s to know they are not alone,” said Georgia’s former first lady. “We understand the daily challenges that are associated with a disease that has no cure. In times like these, we lean on our faith and believe that there is no challenge too great that we cannot overcome with God’s grace.”

Hall County is in the early stages of considering a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

A change to state law means Hall County became eligible to create a local sales tax of up to 1 percent to fund transportation projects in addition to existing special purpose local option sales taxes.

A five-year TSPLOST could be spent on resurfacing, rights of way, utility relocation, road, sidewalk and bike path construction, public transit and airports, drainage, patching and shoulder work, culvert repair and stormwater management. The tax revenue could also be used to pay down debt related to any of the other uses.

If commissioners support the idea, the county would be one of nine counties considering the tax. Athens has a popular vote set on a TSPLOST for November, and Bulloch County has a vote in May.

Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said Tuesday that the county has 12 to 16 months of work ahead of it if commissioners hope to get a referendum on the ballot. The earliest a vote could occur is 2018, if not 2019, he said.

“The county is not looking at any solid referendum date. There’s a lot of additional (work) that needs to happen between now and when the board wants to take that route,” Yamala said. “… The county and cities at some point need to come to the table and see if this is something that we even want to consider (doing).”

Gainesville Police are working to deploy drones.

“I believe the goal for the department is to have one officer on shift that will have the ability to deploy it where it’s needed,” [Gainesville Police Department Officer Doug] Whiddon said.

The Federal Aviation Administration certified Whiddon as a small unmanned aircraft flyer at the beginning of October, as the department is in its infancy with unmanned aircraft.

Whiddon said its main function will be for personnel safety, but it has enormous potential in terms of search-and-rescue missions.

“Missing children and things of that nature, we’re able to put this in the air quickly and see a greater distance,” Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.

The drone can be airborne in four minutes, a fraction of the time to get a boat in Lake Lanier or walking out in Chicopee.

“Obviously we’re going to be very careful with flying over residential type airspace in terms of privacy, but in general, unless we’re near a controlled airspace … if it’s Class G [airspace], it’s fair game,” Whiddon said.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash endorsed Republican Matt Reeves for Senate in District 48.

Reeves’ campaign announced that Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash endorsed the political newcomer Sunday during a fundraiser at Sugarloaf Country Club. Nash was listed as a headliner at the fundraiser.

“Nash expressed to Reeves’ Sugarloaf and Peachtree Ridge area supporters the need to have a proven, local leader who understands the issues important to Gwinnett like Matt Reeves at the State Capitol to continue to move our community forward,” the campaign said in a statement.

Reeves also announced he had picked up endorsements from Johns Creek City Councilman Jay Lin, Gwinnett County Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo, Duluth City Councilman Greg Whitlock, Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris, Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason, Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks, state reps. Brooks Coleman and Scott Hilton and former state Sen. Dan Moody.

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and Muscogee County Superior Court decision on whether a retirement community qualifies for a property tax exemption.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts.

“We are still trying to study the opinion and get a grip on what will happen next,” said Randy Lomax, an attorney for the Board of Tax Assessors. “It is not over.”

Though it is not over, it was the first battle victory recorded in the ongoing legal war for the Board of Tax Assessors in its bid to get the property on the city tax rolls.

Andrew A. Rothschild, who represents the Medical Center Hospital Authority, agreed that the case is not over. Though the Supreme Court appeared to send the case back to the Appeals Court, Rothschild in a prepared statement said it would be removed back to Muscogee County Superior Court.

“The Georgia Supreme Court has returned the case to the Superior Court for additional findings,” Rothschild said. “The Georgia Supreme Court has absolutely not ruled that any property taxes are owed by the Medical Center Hospital Authority. We are firm in our position on this matter, and it would be unwise to comment further on this pending litigation.”

Superior Court Judge Art Smith ruled in favor of the Hospital Authority, stating that its “property interest in the facilities and improvements constituting Spring Harbor qualifies as public property, and therefore, it is exempt from ad valorem property taxation,” according to the news release from the Supreme Court. Specifically, the trial court ruled that, “the validity of Plaintiff Hospital Authority’s property interest in Spring Harbor under the ground lease, and the validity of the ground lease itself, has been established by the Superior Court of Muscogee County in two separate bond validation orders, one in 2004 and another in 2007.”

Eric Thomas has been chosen as the top candidate for Chief Turnaround Officer for the Georgia Department of Education.

They were interviewing in downtown Atlanta because of House Bill 338, which passed along bipartisan lines during this year’s legislative session. Gov. Nathan Deal readily signed it, after backing the bill as a comeback from a political miscalculation. Last year, he hoped voters would let him create a statewide “Opportunity School District” with authority to take over schools deemed “chronically failing,” but they rejected his constitutional amendment in November, preferring to keep schools under local control.

HB 338 requires a more collaborative approach, though school districts could still lose control of schools that do not improve. That puts the turnaround chief in a delicate position, as both the person targeting schools for state intervention and an ally coaching them to improve enough to avoid that fate.

Thomas, is chief support officer of the University of Virginia’s turnaround program, and works with schools across the country.

People who interviewed him said he possessed a winning combination of expertise and the ability to articulate a vision to different audiences.

Glynn County Commissioners heard a proposal for ferry service between St Simons Island and Jekyll Island.

The Glynn County Board of Elections announced the hiring of Monica Couch as Director of Elections.

Dalton State College students heard from local candidates in a public forum.

Macon-Bibb County will hire Troutman Sanders to advise the county on a proposed sales tax referendum to rollback property tax millage rates and freeze property tax values.

Commissioners are proposing the new tax after the millage rate increased 3-mills this year. The amount of revenue taken in from the local option sales tax would determine the extent of the property tax rollback.

“In looking for ways to provide additional property tax relief to its citizens, the Macon-Bibb County Commission is interested in learning more about the legal requirements for implementing (the new sales tax) in Macon-Bibb County,” the resolution said.

The County Commission would still need to request that state legislators OK a tax referendum, which would go before Bibb voters in November 2018.

The new tax would go into effect in 2019, and a millage rate rollback would occur in 2020.

17
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 17, 2017

Andie

Andie is a young female Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA. This shelter has a full litter of Boxer mix puppies for adoption.

Jake

Jake is an adult male Hound who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA. If you’d like to start your own Hound pack this shelter has at least three available for adoption.

Magnolia

Magnolia is a female Pointer mix who is available for adoption from the Habersham County Animal Shelter in Clarkesville, GA.

17
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2017

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on October 17, 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Fulton County will extend voting by one hour on November 7.

The Fulton County Superior Court has granted a petition filed by the county to extend Election Day voting by one hour at its polls. The petition was filed by the Fulton County Attorney’s Office on behalf of the county’s Board of Registration and Elections.

The petition allows the county to match the voting time frame provided to the city of Atlanta for its municipal elections, meaning all county polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron said the office requested to change the hours of operations in an effort to have all polls open and close on a consistent basis.

New voting machines being demoed in Conyers made it through the first day of early voting.

More than a dozen voters have used new paper-ballot voting machines in Conyers with no reported problems, the first step of a new pilot program to test the machines in Georgia.

“It’s fair to say we’re excited to get the ball rolling and partner with a good elections office and give voters a preview of what the future of voting may look like,” said Chris Harvey, Georgia’s elections director.

The National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia dedicated a memorial to the Global War on Terrorism.

Gen. John Abizaid, a retired four-star general who was the longest serving commander of the U.S. Central Command and directed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was a driving force behind the planning and fundraising for the $2 million memorial.

“How fitting that this living memorial is dedicated here at Fort Benning and in the city of Columbus, where for so many years so many of these soldiers have ventured forth to fight our nation’s wars,” Abizaid said. “Some of us have seen the carnage of war and understand how devastating the cost can be. Yet all of us understand that our freedoms are not free and the courage, commitment and dedication are necessary to secure the common good.”

Abizaid asked a profound question Monday during his keynote address at the dedication, which was attended by about 3,000 people, many of them uniformed Fort Benning soldiers.

“What would our country be without such men and women who gave their lives in service to our nation?” the general asked. “All of us can answer in different ways, for we are citizens of a nation that admires diversity of thought, thrives on individual freedoms, that seeks many answers for even the most simple of problems. Yet all of us must admit, except for those who fight for such rights, none of us could expect to enjoy them.”

The detail in the memorial, which is in a plaza on the side of the National Infantry Museum, is what struck many on Monday. It incorporates a piece of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

The Georgia Supreme Court dismissed a challenge by two Cartersville doctors to the state’s Certificate of Need program.

The high court held that the Certificate of Need (CON) law serves a legitimate state interest in ensuring that health care services are distributed reasonably and economically. It also said the law does not violate the Georgia Constitution’s “Anti-Competitive Contracts Clause.”

The court upheld rulings by a Fulton County judge who first refused to dismiss the case on the administrative appeals grounds, then several months later tossed it, ruling that the law is not unconstitutional.

As detailed in court filings and Melton’s order, the case began in 2014, when Drs. Hugo Ribot Jr. and Malcolm Barfield wanted to add a second operating room to their business, which does business as Georgia Advanced Surgery Center for Women in Cartersville.

Georgia’s CON law, first passed in 1979, requires hospitals and certain other medical providers to obtain the clearance before opening a new facility, expanding or adding certain medical equipment.

The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief, asking that the CON law be declared unconstitutional, arguing that it restrained competition and limited patient choice.

But the center’s claims that the CON law violates the due process clauses of the federal and state constitutions and the state’s Anti-Competitive Contracts clause “are without merit,” Melton wrote.

From the AJC:

“Georgia’s certificate of need laws play a critical role in ensuring access to quality care, including emergency services, for all Georgians by providing for a statewide distribution of hospitals and other medical facilities,” said Monty Veazey, the president and CEO of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.

Disclosure: I work on communications issues for the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.

A Georgia Senate Study Committee met in Augusta yesterday to discuss how to increase the number of health care providers in Georgia.

With a lack of health care providers in Georgia, the state could increase access by turning out more advanced practice nurses and using them in more innovative ways, a Georgia Senate Study Committee heard Monday. But the state’s physician association is still strongly opposed to nurses doing more, a resistance that may finally be overcome in the next legislative session, a key state senator said.

The Senate Study Committee on Barriers to Georgians’ Access to Adequate Healthcare held a session at Augusta University to hear about the role of advanced practice nurses in the state in meeting many of those gaps of care and where more could be done.

Medical Association of Georgia opposes expanding their scope of practice and one member said it is for the good of the patients, particularly the rural patients he sees.

“These patients are very complex,” said Dr. Scott Bohlke of Brooklet, Ga., a past president of the group. “We want the best care for these patients and I think a team approach (with the nurse practitioner) is the best way to do it.”

But Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, chair of the study committee and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, was not buying it.

“If you want to provide care to more people, why don’t you allow the people who are taught and educated to practice at their highest level?” she said. “If you have more people practicing medicine, then it allows more access to care. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.”

The College of Nursing also has a proposal, in concert with Medical College of Georgia, to take highly trained nurse practitioners and train them alongside Emergency Medicine residents and also provide training in telemedicine. Those nurse practitioners could then staff rural Emergency Departments with the ability to consult by telemedicine with colleagues in Emergency Medicine when needed, said Dr. Beth NeSmith, chair of the Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing.

The project is looking for $260,000 to fund a pilot program but projects it could save a hospital $500,000, NeSmith said. She is hoping the legislature will take a look at it.

“That’s a great suggestion,” Unterman said.

“Rural hospitals in Georgia really struggle to provide urgent and emergent care to the citizens they serve,” NeSmith said.

Sixteen thousand Northwest Georgia residents buy their health insurance through the federal exchange.

More than 3,500 Floyd County residents buy their insurance through the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Another 12,800 are enrolled in the six surrounding Northwest Georgia counties of Chattooga, Polk, Bartow, Gordon, Catoosa and Walker.

President Donald Trump announced last week that he would stop making key subsidy payments to insurers — although the full effect on the 2018 ACA coverage that starts Nov. 1 remains unclear.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgen’s office has approved rate hikes of more than 50 percent for three of the state’s four insurers, in anticipation of losing the CSR payments, Georgia Health News is reporting. Kaiser Foundation Health sought a 30-percent increase but officials there are now weighing their options.

Southern Company sold several local natural gas companies in New Jersey for $1.7 billion.

A surveyor has been ordered to testify in a border dispute between Macon-Bibb County and Monroe County.

Sprint will provide wireless internet to 500 students in Richmond County public schools.

The school system is among 118 school districts to receive devices from Sprint to assist high school students in need of internet access in their homes. Fort the next five years, students who lack access will receive a free tablet device and wireless service as part of 1Million.

Sprint created the initiative to help close the homework gap by providing 1 million free devices and wireless service to high school students. Richmond County was selected as one of three school systems statewide and is expected to receive up to 600 devices.

“All high schools in the county were submitted on the basis of need,” said James Lunsford, the district’s director of information and technology . “So if they don’t have internet at home or a computer at home Sprint will accommodate (the need).”

The Augusta Commission is working on a 2018 budget that includes raises for some law enforcement officers.

Several commissioners reported they heard a radio promotion several times over the last few days in which a spokesman describes the heavy workload and low salaries endured by sheriff’s deputies, followed by a demand that Jackson include the raises in the budget.

Commissioner Marion Williams said the radio spot admonishes “the administrator” to “do the right thing” by including the raises.

[Sheriff Richard] Roundtree pitched two plans for increasing his staff’s pay in August. One cost $2.8 million, gives all certified and sworn deputies 10 percent raises and increases a starting deputy’s salary from $34,629 to $40,292. A second option costs $2.7 million and gives most certified personnel eight percent raises, with a starting salary of $39,500.

The City of Valdosta held its second annual Affordable Housing Summit and Town Hall.

Charlie Daniels Band will play the Macon Auditorium on March 22, 2018.

Candidates for Dalton City Council and Board of Education discussed diversity issues at a candidate forum.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics now make up 47.9 percent of the city’s population and blacks 8 percent of the population. And several questions at the forum — hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Dalton, the Coalition of Latino Leaders, the Dalton-Whitfield NAACP and the Woman’s Community Club — focused on how candidates in the Nov. 7 races for the board of education and City Council would help the city deal with this diversity.

Savannah City Alderman Van Johnson proposed reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

On Monday, Alderman Van Johnson announced his intention to reduce the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana possession. It is his intention, Johnson said, to present an ordinance within 45 days to the Savannah City Council to eliminate jail time and and reduce the maximum fine from $1,000 to $150 for those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana in the city limits. He proposed that 20 percent of the fines collected be earmarked to offset the cost of drug treatment for those who seek it.

The proposal does not minimize the fact that marijuana is still illegal in Georgia and does not decriminalize it, which is not allowed under the state law, Johnson said.

“It’s still illegal and will remain illegal,” he said. “The question is how it is handled locally.”

Mayor Eddie DeLoach said he is open to discussing the proposal with Johnson and the rest of the council, but that his support for the change would depend on the recommendation of local law enforcement officials such as the police chief, sheriff and district attorney.

“I do trust their judgment,” DeLoach said.

16
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 16, 2017

Kisses

Kisses is a young female Dachshund & Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Hashbrowns

Hashbrowns is a young male Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Rezendes

Rezendes is a male Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

16
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 16, 2017

The Pennsylvania Gazette published a criticism against the British Tea Act on October 16, 1773.

The Tea Act of 1773 was a bill designed to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as yet another example of taxation tyranny. In response, the “Philadelphia Resolutions” called the British tax upon America unfair and said that it introduced “arbitrary government and slavery” upon the American citizens. The resolutions urged all Americans to oppose the British tax and stated that anyone who transported, sold or consumed the taxed tea would be considered “an enemy to his country.”

On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln, a candidate for Congress, spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and called the practice of slavery “immoral.”

Lincoln, who was practicing law at the time, campaigned on behalf of abolitionist Republicans in Illinois and attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He denounced members of the Democratic Party for backing a law that “assumes there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another.” He believed that the law went against the founding American principle that “all men are created equal.”

On October 16, 1918, visitors to the Southeastern Fair at the Lakewood Fairgrounds were required by the Georgia State Board of Health to don face masks in order to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu.

Maynard Jackson was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 16, 1973. Jackson was the first African-Amercian Mayor of Atlanta; he served eight years, and was elected for a third, non-consecutive term in 1990.

On October 16, 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned in Youngstown, Ohio.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the opening of early voting in some municipalities in Georgia. Click here to find early voting information for your county.

Conyers voters will cast their ballots on new machines that create a paper trail.Continue Reading..

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Oct

Official (Adoptable) Georgia Dogs for October 13, 2017

KateCFAS

Kate is a young female Labrador Retriever and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

ChipCFAS

Chip is a young male Dachshund & Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

RiffCFAS

Riff is a young male Beagle & Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

13
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 13, 2017

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

On October 14, 1735, John and Charles Wesley sailed with James Oglethorpe from Gravesend, England, for Georgiaand John Wesley wrote the first entry in his journal that would eventually cover 55 years. On that date, John Wesley wrote,

Our end in leaving our native country, was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honour; but singly this, to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God.

The First Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Colonial Rights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1774.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capitol, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

On October 13, 1870, Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Education.

On October 13, 1885, Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation authorizing the creation of a state school of technology as a branch of the University of Georgia; the school would open in Atlanta in October 1888, and in 1948 was renamed the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Then-former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912.

Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.

On October 13, 1918, the ban on public gatherings in Atlanta to prevent spread of the Spanish flu, was extended an additional week.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

The War Department renamed Wellston Air Depot to Warner Robins Air Force Depot to honor Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins on October 14, 1942.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming Georgia’s first native-born winner.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

On December 13, 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter received a post-debate bump against President Gerald Ford, with polls showing Carter at 50%-40% over the incumbent, up from 47%-45% before the debate.

On October 14, 1980, Republican candidate for President Ronald Reagan announced he would name a woman to the Supreme Court if elected.

To achieve those ends, we need the best people possible at the highest levels of Government regardless of sex, race or religion. I am also acutely aware, however, that within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example, to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.

One way I intend to live up to that commitment is to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can find, one who meets the high standards I will demand for all my appointments.

It is time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists. I will also seek out women to appoint to other Federal courts in an effort to bring about a better balance on the Federal bench.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990.

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

On October 15, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to Georgia to support Gov. Nathan Deal’s reelection.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal has ordered flags on state properties to be flown at half-staff today in honor of United States Army Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright of Lyons, Georgia, who lost his life in the service of our country on October 4, 2017.

Gov. Deal said in Savannah that the federal government should step up with more funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

“We need the federal government to step up and do their share of what it takes to deepen our harbor,” Deal told about 1,400 people as he introduced the Georgia Ports Authority’s chief executive to give his annual “State of the Ports” speech. Deal said the state wants “more money from the federal government to go ahead and allow us to complete this project in a timely fashion.”

Deal’s renewed plea for federal dollars — he made similar statements when President Barack Obama was in office — comes after a year of explosive growth at the Port of Savannah, the nation’s fourth-busiest seaport for metal containers used to ship retail goods from consumer electronics to frozen chickens.

Trump’s request of $50 million for the Savannah project is about 17 percent more than Obama secured in his last budget. But [Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff] Lynch said he fears delays starting in 2019 if the project doesn’t see a substantial funding increase.

“We’re going to need $80 to $100 million (annually) or we’re going to start having shortfalls,” Lynch said.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue criticized allowing able-bodied people to receive food stamps.

Speaking at the WSJ Global Food Forum on Tuesday, Mr. Perdue said that relying on food stamps has become a “lifestyle” for some able-bodied adults.

“We want the people who need the help to get it,” said Mr. Perdue, adding that the benefit shouldn’t be “the whole enchilada” of a family’s food security.

He suggested that enrollment in the program would fall if individuals who are able to work are restricted from using it.

State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) has resigned from his job at the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce to start a new job as executive director of the North Fulton Community Improvement District.

Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones is accused of bullying by a political opponent.

Grovetown Mayor Gary Jones is standing behind a politically charged Facebook post he called “exposure” of two candidates running for city council, prompting one to say she felt bullied by him.

The post, which has since been removed from Jones’ Facebook page, accuses incumbent Vickie Cook and candidate Deborah Fisher of “teaming up,” to unseat the historical swing vote on the council, Sylvia Martin, who is also seeking re-election. There are two open seats on the four-member council.

Fisher expressed disappointment and surprise at the comment in an email Thursday and said she has never been bullied, but felt she was now. Fisher said she has no connection with Cook and has only met Jones at a city council meeting and at Tuesday’s candidate forum.

Candidates for Braselton Town Council Post 4 agree that public safety should be a focus.

“There’s not a lot of patrol at night,” said Robert Clark. “And we’ve had a lot of issues with theft of trucks … and a lot of kids have been vandalizing.”

“I’m definitely for more cops and (a bigger) budget for the police station. If we can tax some of these bigger companies coming in, it’ll really help out and maybe we can spend that (extra revenue) toward patrols and safety.”

Hardy Johnson said that “when you have growth, crimes rates naturally increase, and we want to create an environment in Braselton where you can live, work and play.”

“It’s important to support the police department. They need adequate training, adequate equipment (and) adequate staffing levels.”

The Macon Telegraph writes about early voting in Middle Georgia municipal elections.

Early voting begins Monday in several Middle Georgia cities holding elections.

It will run Monday through Friday until Nov. 3 at each location. The election is Nov. 7.

In Warner Robins, which has contested races for mayor and two council seats on the ballot, early voting will be at City Hall at 700 Watson Blvd. in the pre-council meeting room, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Early voting also begins Monday for Thomas County voters.

In Thomas County, folks in Boston, Barwick, Coolidge, Meigs, Ochlocknee, Pavo, and Thomasville all have an important decision to make, who will be the next leaders in their community.

Folks in Boston, Barwick, Coolidge, and Meigs are voting for council members and mayor.

Ochlocknee, Pavo, and Thomasville residents are voting for several new council members.

Ringgold voters may begin casting early ballots for City Council on Monday

The Rome News-Tribune profiles candidates for the Rome Board of Education.

The Valdosta Board of Education is considering a solar proposal.

The three possible solar-array locations presented were at Pinevale Elementary, the Transportation Center and at the new Valdosta High School. However, Dr. Todd Cason, superintendent, said the location at the new high school was most likely not an option but the other two locations would be considered.

Radiance Solar’s proposed 840-kilowatt solar array at Pinevale would provide VCS $16,800 each year during the 25-year lease. Connell said the STEM students at Pinevale could benefit academically from the solar array.

“I think it would be a wonderful learning opportunity for the children of the school to see solar working right there at their school,” Connell said.

The 2.4-megawatt solar array recommendation at the Transportation Center would provide VCS with $50,000 each year during the 25-year lease, Connell said.