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.