The blog.

17
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 17, 2017

Bosco

Bosco is a 4-year old, 50-pound male low-rider who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. He is friendly and social and gets along with cats.

Mocha

Mocha is an eight-month old, 45-pound female puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

MooMoo

Moo Moo is a 1-year old, 50-pound female dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. Moo Moo is good with other dogs and children.

CheyenneWalton

Cheyenne is a 4-year old, 55-pound female dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. Cheyenne was turned in by her owner, who had become homeless.

Dobby

Dobby  is a 3-year old, 15-pound male dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

17
Aug

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

Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation creating the State Board of Health on August 17, 1903.

Georgia Tech was designated the State School of Technology on August 17, 1908 by joint resolution of the State Senate and State House.

In a quaint bit of Georgia history, on August 17, 1908, Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation prohibiting corporate donations to political campaigns. Cute!

On August 17, 1998, President Bill Clinton testified as the subject of a grand jury investigation.

The testimony came after a four-year investigation into Clinton and his wife Hillary’s alleged involvement in several scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment, potentially illegal real-estate deals and suspected “cronyism” involved in the firing of White House travel-agency personnel. The independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, then uncovered an affair between Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. When questioned about the affair, Clinton denied it, which led Starr to charge the president with perjury and obstruction of justice, which in turn prompted his testimony on August 17.

Neither History Nor Politics

Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Mayo Clinic announced they have identified the basic pathology behind Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

The disease-causing mutation identified is the first of its kind, [Dr. J. Paul] Taylor said. Unlike in other genetic diseases, the mutation does not cripple an enzyme in a biological regulatory pathway. Rather, the mutation produces an abnormal version of a protein involved in a process called phase separation in cells.

There is currently no effective treatment for ALS/FTD. However, the researchers believe their finding offers a promising pathway for developing treatments to restore neurons’ ability to  disassemble the organelles when their cellular purpose has ended.

The TIA1 mutation was discovered when the scientists analyzed the genomes of a family affected with ALS/FTD. Tracing the effect of the mutation on TIA1 structure, the researchers found that it altered the properties of a highly mobile “tail” of the protein. This tail region governs the protein’s ability to aggregate with other TIA1 proteins. Taylor and his colleagues previously identified such unstructured protein regions, called prion-like domains, as the building blocks of cellular assemblies and as hotspots for disease-causing mutations.

In further studies, the researchers found that TIA1 mutations occurred frequently in ALS patients. The scientists also found that people carrying the mutation had the disease.

“This paper provides the first ‘smoking gun,’ showing that the disease-causing mutation changes the phase transition behavior of proteins,”  Taylor said. “And the change in the phase transition behavior changes the biology of the cell.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young said it’s too expensive to fight the civil war again.

Said Young:

“I think it’s too costly to refight the Civil War. We have paid too great a price in trying to bring people together…

“I personally feel that we made a mistake in fighting over the Confederate flag here in Georgia. Or that that was an answer to the problem of the death of nine people – to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina.”

Specifically, Young was speaking of Gov. Roy Barnes’ decision to pull down the 1956 state flag that prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem. The move was a primary reason he lost his bid for re-election, split the state Democratic party, and ushered in the current season of Republican rule. Said Young:

“It cost us $14.9 billion and 70,000 jobs that would have gone with the Affordable Care Act – which we probably would have had if we hadn’t been fighting over a flag…

“It cost of us the health of our city because we were prepared to build a Northern Arc, 65 miles away from the center of the city of Atlanta – an outer perimeter that would have been up and running now, if we had not been fighting over the flag.

“I am always interested in substance over symbols. If the truth be known, we’ve had as much agony – but also glory, under the United States flag. That flew over segregated America. It flew over slavery….”

The Georgia Conference of the NAACP is calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials on public property.

On Wednesday, state conference President Phyllis Blake issued a statement calling for elected officials to remove all confederate symbols from public property owned by the state and local governments.

“The traitors of the Confederate States of America were soundly defeated over 150 years ago and today we as diverse Georgians must send a message once and for all, that Georgia is the state too busy to hate,” Blake said in a statement. “We call on all mayors within this great state, including (Atlanta) Mayor Kasim Reed, to remove all symbols of the confederacy from city government property.”

Valdosta residents will rally in response to Charlottesville at 11 AM on Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

Bill Torpy at the AJC writes about fighting among Georgia Democrats.

When I first saw the video of activists shouting down Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans at the Netroots Nation convention last weekend, I had one thought: Hello, Governor Cagle.

The event was just the latest example of why the Democratic Party seems ready to relegate itself to permanent bridesmaid status, not only here in Georgia but from sea to shining sea. And the Republican front-runner in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, was no doubt grinning big time.

Lisa Coston, who told me she’s a progressive Dem from Lawrenceville, responded to Abrams’ post, saying: “What the protesters did was to disrupt Rep. Evans’ speech, for no apparent reason but to try and shut her up. There is no need for that, nor an excuse for that behavior.

“This is the explicit problem with the Democratic Party in general, both at the state and national level. Infighting based on race, religion, whatever else. It prevents progressives from being united, and thus we lose and lose and lose.”

However, [Stacey] Abrams’ deputy campaign manager, Marcus Ferrell, used to be CEO of an activist org called MPACT. And his deputy director at MPACT was a woman named Anoa Changa.

Not long after the shout-down, The Washington Post talked with “protester” Anoa Changa. “An interruption is not necessarily promoting one person over another,” Changa told the newspaper.

Allen Fort, Superintendent/Principal of Taliferro County Schools, wrote about the challenges of rural Georgia in a letter that Maureen Downey ran in her AJC blog.

Taliaferro is the smallest county in Georgia with the smallest school system. There are 175 students, Pre-k-12, who attend this tiny school located about half way between Atlanta and Augusta on I-20. It is hard to imagine a county of just 1,700 citizens exists only miles from two cities that have more than six million people, but it does.

Many people will wonder why this school system even exists. Why it doesn’t consolidate? Why it doesn’t just close?

One of the greatest challenges of educating 21st century youth is that, while technology has increased access to information and experiences, students are increasingly disconnected from education. This dilemma is exacerbated in rural communities where jobs are few and opportunities appear limited. Therefore, our teachers and students must have everyday meaningful opportunities to use technology not to surf the internet, but to teach and learn, creating teachable moments and unique instruction.

We understand we may be our own worst enemy as these students graduate and move on to college (all of our last year’s graduates were accepted and are attending four-year, two-year or technical college at this time). Unfortunately, we may never see them back in Taliaferro again.

What is here to bring them back? We have no adequate housing, no viable businesses and no real industry to entice a young college graduate or recently discharged veteran to return to our community as a working citizen. When the local name for the Dollar General is the “Crawfordville Mall,” you understand your limitations.

Federal grants for the two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle are caught up in larger budget matters in the U.S. Senate.

Boosters of the estimated $25 billion project, the only one of its kind left in the U.S., think the federal bill could throw an economic lifeline to the companies behind the venture as they decide whether to move ahead with construction or abandon work amid major cost overruns and deep delays.

Under current law, newly constructed nuclear reactors can receive federal tax credits for producing electricity only if they are put in service before 2021. The bill before Congress would lift the deadline.

The extension would help preserve the roughly $800 million in tax credits that Georgia Power, which has a nearly 46 percent share of the project, has been counting on as it builds a pair of new reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

A bill extending the tax credits sailed through the U.S. House nearly unanimously back in June, but it needs the Senate’s approval before it can be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk. And that’s where the bill appears to be stuck, not because of outright opposition but the greater gravitational pull of a broader tax overhaul.

Meanwhile, a 1.4 million-pound steam generator was installed at Vogtle Unit 3.

Georgia Power announced … that a 1.4 million pound steam generator was lowered into the nuclear island of Unit 3 on Tuesday. The nearly 80-foot generator was built in South Korea and shipped to the Port of Savannah and delivered to the site by rail, the company said in a news release. The generators use heat from the nuclear core to convert water into steam for power generation. Each of the two new-generation AP1000 reactors will require two steam generators, all of which are currently on site, the company said.

Southern Nuclear, a division of Georgia Power parent company Southern Co., now has oversight over the expansion after contractor Westinghouse declared bankruptcy in March. Southern Nuclear operates the other two reactors at Vogtle.

Thousands of voting machines may be out of commission due to a lawsuit filed over the 6th Congressional District elections earlier this year.

The suit, filed over the July 4 holiday, demands that Republican Karen Handel’s win in a June 20 runoff be thrown out and the contest redone over concerns some election integrity advocates have about the security and accuracy of Georgia’s election infrastructure.

The machines and related hardware are central to that system, and the three metro counties with areas in the 6th District — Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — have stored the machines used in the special election after plaintiffs sought to preserve electronic records that could have bearing on the suit.

That includes keeping intact memory cards — which might otherwise be wiped clean in preparation for a new election — as well as residual memory on the machines. Voting on the machines is anonymous — the records can’t be used to identify personal information about a specific voter — but they do track and tally how many votes are cast on individual machines or in the election overall.

Advocates who filed the suit said they aren’t trying to derail the state’s elections schedule or any of those counties’ preparations ahead of November. But their request has also resulted in a litigation hold on 1,324 voting machines in Fulton, nearly 1,000 machines in DeKalb and 307 machines in Cobb.

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge James Hinkle resigned his office after being suspended for comments on Facebook.

Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said in a statement at about 6:30 p.m. that Judge James A. Hinkle “offered his immediate resignation from his position as a part-time Magistrate.”

“For 14 years, Judge Hinkle has dutifully served this Court. He is a lifelong public servant and former Marine,” Blum said. “However, he has acknowledged that his statements on social media have disrupted the mission of this court, which is to provide justice for all.”

Governor Nathan Deal will return to Gainesville to recognize a new state law allowing direct sales of beer to consumers.

Deal will join local elected officials at the brewery on Atlanta Highway to ring in Georgia’s new law allowing direct sales of beer, from pints to cases, at breweries.

The law was approved in the most recent session of the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Deal. It’s being celebrated as a major step forward for Georgia breweries.

The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. Deal will make an appearance later in the afternoon, according to Datta.

The business owner is calling it a new era for Georgia breweries, heretofore restricted to selling tours of their facilities and offering “samples” of their beer. Almost all of Georgia-made packaged beer is distributed to wholesalers, but that will change come September.

“Just as with the state’s wine industry, craft breweries are becoming travel destinations, and tourists from within and outside (Georgia) are seeking out breweries to enjoy the local flavors and offerings unique to each brewery,” Datta said in his Wednesday announcement.

Thirty Georgia businesses joined the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast.

Not quite a year old, the South Carolina-based organization boasts the support of more than 41,000 business and 500,000 commercial fishing families for its efforts to protect the Atlantic Coast from offshore oil/gas exploration and drilling.

Michael Neal, owner of Bull River Cruises, is among the local participants.

“Both the beauty of Coastal Georgia and the nature of Coastal Georgia have more importance that the potential of offshore drilling,” said Neal, whose 19-year-old business employs five people for its educational and historical cruises to places such as Ossabaw Island. “Plus, there are potential impacts if anything goes wrong.”

In April, President Donald Trump revived the prospects for offshore drilling and exploration with an executive order. It calls for a review of the current five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf and directs the administration to fast-track the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting for an area stretching from Delaware to Florida.

Along with businesses, local governments along the coast have expressed opposition to both offshore drilling and seismic testing. Among those passing resolutions are Savannah, Tybee, Hinesville and Brunswick. The governors of both North and South Carolina have voiced opposition to drilling off the Atlantic coast.

But state and federal elected officials in Georgia still back drilling.

State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) appeared at the Gainesville City Council meeting to present a state resolution.

“Whereas the State of Georgia lost one its finest citizens and most dedicated law enforcement officers with the tragic passing of Officer Henry Tilman Davis,” Hawkins began reading.

Hawkins continued, “When his life was tragically cut short in September of 1972 after his patrol car was struck from behind and forced into oncoming traffic while traveling on Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville…”

“Be it resolved…that the intersection of Beechwood Boulevard NW and State Route 53/Dawsonville Highway in Hall County is dedicated as the Officer Henry Tilman Davis Memorial Intersection.”

In Gainesville, qualifying for Mayor and two Council seats opens Monday, August 21st.

Healthcare

Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Health System have filed plans to merge, possibly beginning joint operations in 2018.

The hospital systems have filed their proposed merger agreement with the Georgia Attorney General’s office.

Northside has hospitals in Atlanta, Cherokee County and Forsyth County. The Gwinnett Health System has Gwinnett Medical Center campuses in Duluth and Lawrenceville. The hospitals expect to have nearly 21,000 employees and 3,500 physicians once the merger is complete.

The Dougherty County Commission voted 5-2 to oppose the opening of a hospital in neighboring Lee County.

Dougherty County Commission voted Wednesday at a special called meeting to send the state Department of Community Health a notice of opposition to a certificate of need sought by the group that plans to build the Lee hospital.

After Dougherty Attorney Spencer Lee told the board, “You need to act today if you want to be part of this process,” the board voted 5-2 to send a notice of opposition to the Lee CON to the state Department of Community Health.

Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, who said he “could not vote against a fellow county that is so entwined with us,” and John Hayes, who said he’d had a number of county citizens — including physicians — express their support for the proposed hospital, voted against the resolution to oppose the CON.

[Dougherty County Commission Chair Chris] Cohilas made it clear during discussion of the notice of opposition that Dougherty County’s primary reason for taking the action is to protect the interests of citizens and the health care provided by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, which cannot speak out against the CON application because of an agreement the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County reached with the Federal Trade Commission while in the process of purchasing Palmyra Medical Center in Albany. In fact, one of the stipulations included in a letter Lee sent to DCH Commissioner Frank Berry asked that body to allow Phoebe to offer its opposition to the application.

Elections

Leo Smith, former Director of Minority Engagement for the Georgia Republican Party, will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Hunter Hill.

Leo Smith said Thursday he’s running as a “conservative bridge builder with a unique set of skills” to serve the district, which stretches across parts of north Atlanta and Smyrna. He would be the first black Republican in the Georgia Senate in modern times.

The seat is a juicy target for Democrats. Republican Hunter Hill, who is vacating the position to run for governor, only narrowly held it in November. And Hillary Clinton carried the affluent district in November.

Three Democrats are already in the contest. Pediatric dentist Jaha Howard is making a comeback bid after his slim defeat last year. Trial lawyer Jen Jordan has already announced her candidacy.  And political newcomer Nigel Sims has entered the race.

Newt Gingrich endorsed David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor in the 2018 election.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich endorsed Shafer on Tuesday. The veteran Georgia politician and ex-presidential candidate, known for his Contract With America that helped lead to Republicans taking control of the House in 1994, praised Shafer for his conservative credentials.

Shafer led the Georgia Republican Party in the early 1990s and has championed issues such as zero-based budgeting and limiting tax increases.

“David Shafer is an effective, innovative legislator with a solidly conservative record to back up his campaign promises,” Gingrich said. “He has proven time and again that he will fight for us. David Shafer will make an outstanding Lieutenant Governor for Georgia and I am proud to endorse him.”

Gingrich’s endorsement of Shafer is the latest person who, one time or another, had a national profile in Republican politics. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former congressman and ex-presidential candidate Bob Barr have announced their support for the state senator, as has former Rep. John Linder.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) announced that former Coca-Cola Enterprises chief executive John Brock has endorsed his campaign for Lt. Governor.

John Brock … said he wanted to back a candidate for lieutenant governor who “knows what it’s like to sign the front of a check and not just the back of one.”

Brock, who retired as the bottling giant’s chief executive in 2016, said in the statement that he’s endorsing the state legislator because of his entrepreneurial experience. Duncan led several health startups before seeking to succeed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor.

John Bradberry will run for Johns Creek City Council Post Three in November 2017.

Johns Creek small business owner and former United States Marine, John Bradberry, has announced his intention to run for City Council Post 3 in this November’s election.
“Whether it is zoning or road improvement projects, every decision made by the City of Johns Creek should ask “How will this affect our residents’ quality of life?”  said Bradberry.

Bradberry’s campaign slogan is “Preserve Johns Creek…Protect Our Quality of Life!”  Bradberry said, “This is more than just a slogan to me.  Our community is at a critical juncture.  It is vital that we return to our original vision for Johns Creek.  We are a high-end residential community with great schools, low crime, and a high quality of life.  As long as we continue to be the best at that, then there will always be high-demand for our ‘product’.   It sets us apart and makes us unique.  We love it and call it home.”

The highlights of Bradberry’s platform are:
* Restore trust in local government
* Focus on traffic relief for OUR residents
* Stop high density development, billboards and widenings that create cut-through highways
* Term limits for locally elected officials

“These issues are critical to my family and the future of Johns Creek.  I’ll be an independent voice for the residents.”

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms has launched his reelection campaign.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms officially began his re-election campaign Wednesday by saying he had kept his lone campaign promise, which was to bring more calm to city government.

Although he admitted before his announcement that the last City Council meeting wasn’t a good example, Toms said overall he has kept that promise.

“I believe the environment has calmed down and I believe this calmness has facilitated a resurgence in growth in the area,” he said.

Monday is also the day that qualifying for the Nov. 7 election begins. Joe Musselwhite, the city’s former public works director who lost to Toms in the 2013 election, has said he is making another try as mayor. Councilman Chuck Shaheen said during the debate on the city administrator that he plans to run for mayor, but he declined to confirm that afterward and has not officially announced.

Toms was a city firefighter for 27 years and won the mayor’s seat in a 6-way race.

16
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 16, 2017

AdeleFHS

Adele is a young female Jack Russell Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.

BabeFHS

Babe is a young male Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.

AnnaFHS

Anna is a female Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.

ElsaFHS

Elsa is a female Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.

16
Aug

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

The State Highway Department was created on August 16, 1916 to comply with federal funding requirements, when Georgia Governor Nathaniel Harris signed legislation by the General Assembly.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation creating the State Department of Banking on August 16, 1919.

Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation changing the method of execution in Georgia from hanging to the electric chair on August 16, 1924.

On August 16, 1974, The Ramones played their first public show at CBGB in New York.

https://youtu.be/BbDekaqw3lQ

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Douglas Chalmers, Jr. to the Judicial Nominating Commission. Congratulations and concolences to Doug.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr spoke to the Athens Republican Party meeting.

Among other topics, Carr discussed his role in Georgia politics.

“It’s a little bit legal, a little policy, a little communications and awareness and a little bit managerial,” he said after being appointed in October 2016.

Carr is set to run for attorney general in the 2018 election and said that over the course of his time in the position, his main priorities are social security, concealed carry and prayer in the legislature.

Looking to the future, Carr hopes to tackle human trafficking, opioid abuse and elder abuse.

“From June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017, 541 million illegal doses—that’s 51 illegal doses for every man, woman and child in the state of Georgia,” Carr said. “This issue is ravaging families, communities and companies.”

More than 100 people marched in Gainesville in response to Charlottesville.

Josh McCall organized the event after violent clashes in Virginia on Saturday ….

People began trickling into Roosevelt Square near the Hall County Courthouse a bit after 4:30 p.m. for the 5:15 p.m. march, called A March for Equality and Dignity.

The group was a cross-section of Gainesville, including members of both political parties, white, black and Hispanic residents, old and young, long-timers in the community and students new to the area.

Appeals to Christian beliefs bookended the demonstration by preachers and other speakers at the end of the march.

“All human beings in this country are equal,” McCall told the crowd at the beginning of the event. “Every human being in this country deserves dignity.”

McCall announced earlier this year he is running against U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, next year.

The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors appeared in the Georgia Supreme Court in a case involving ad valorem tax appeals.

Attorneys for the Hall County Board of Tax Assessors and the companies argued before the Supreme Court of Georgia in Atlanta. The case involves Westrec Properties, PS Recreational Properties, Chattahoochee Parks, March First and AMP III-Lazy Days on their 2015 tax assessments.

A law effective Jan. 1, 2016, amended the Georgia code regarding ad valorem tax assessment appeals, which must first go to the Board of Equalization for an appeal.

Within 45 days of receiving an appeal on the Board of Equalization’s ruling and “before certification of the appeal to the Superior Court, the county board of tax assessors shall send to the taxpayer notice that a settlement conference” will be held, according to the code.

The marinas’ attorney J. Ethan Underwood said his clients believed the floating and movable docks should have been taxed as personal property, leading to the initial appeal.

University of North Georgia Police Chief Justin Gaines held another Town Hall to discuss campus carry.

Gaines has done more than a dozen of the meetings over the past few months on UNG’s five campuses. Like the last one in Gainesville in June, Gaines dealt with some faculty and staff members concerned that people could walk on campus with a concealed handgun.

“Where is our rights?” asked one person who did not identify herself but said she was concerned she is not allowed to know who has a gun in her classroom.

“It’s not for me to answer,” Gaines said. “All I can tell you is what the law is.”

Gaines recommended that students and faculty take cellphones into classrooms so they could alert officials about police or medical emergencies either through a call or by using the school’s public safety app, Rave Guardian.

“It may not be a person with a gun; it may be someone seizing on the floor in your classroom that needs (attention for) a medical emergency right then and right there,” he said.

Gaines said he hopes the town halls in recent months have been beneficial to those who attended.

“The whole point of it is for voluntary compliance,” he said. “We protect and serve, but we also educate. Education is a big part of what we do. By investing the time to educate, I think it has been a benefit. Time will tell if it has been.”

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge James Hinkle has been suspended over Facebook posting.

“After reviewing the Facebook posts brought to my attention this morning, I suspended Judge (James) Hinkle effective immediately while I consider the appropriate final action,” Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said.

Hinkle reportedly called protesters concerned about Confederate monuments in Charlottesville “snowflakes.”

“As Chief Magistrate Judge, I have made it clear to all of our judges that the Judicial Canons, as well as our internal policies, require judges to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity, impartiality and fairness of the judiciary,” she said. “I consider any violation of these principles and policies to be a matter of utmost concern.”

From the AJC:

“Another compelling argument to not engage in social media,” longtime Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said of Hinkle’s posts. “I think that the comments could raise questions about the judge’s impartiality, and I think [Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum] did exactly the right thing suspending him immediately upon learning of the posts.”

Joe Sawyer will run for Peachtree Corners City Council Post 4 this November.

The Lowndes County Board of Education adopted the rollback millage rate for property taxes.

The City of Dalton will keep the same millage rate as last year, which under state law must be advertised as a property tax increase.

Augusta Commissioners voted 10-0 to allow small breweries and distilleries in business districts.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved an application for a “beer garden.”

The Society Garden at 2367 Ingleside Ave. plans to sell beer and wine and have occasional live entertainment, according to co-owner Megan Evans.

It also will offer gardening supplies, plants and outdoor furniture for sale, said Evans and co-owner Andrew Collier.

“It will have a very small retail (space) with some small, easy-to-pick up things,” she said, addding that she wanted to get the beer garden portion opened first.

The business will not prepare any food on site except for popcorn and Popsicles, the staff report said.

The Varnell City Council has become my favorite soap opera. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

In the middle of a city council meeting Tuesday night, an elected official stood up to leave, blocking any further votes.

“I’m calling this meeting,” Varnell City Councilwoman Ashlee Godfrey told the crowd at a local gym. “There is no longer a quorum developed. No more city business can take place. Thank you.”

In the bleachers, a crowd of about 100 people rose and cheered as Godfrey walked outside, ending the meeting just as the council’s two other members planned to vote to put a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot. Councilmen Jan Pourquoi and David Owens want residents to decide whether to eliminate the city’s police department.

At the same time, voters would also decide whether to eliminate property taxes, which sit at about 2.4 mills. But Godfrey and Mayor Anthony Hulsey objected to the wording on the potential referendum, as did some residents who spoke during the meeting. They feel as though the councilmen should not tie the elimination of the police department to the elimination of taxes.

“It’s kind of like a bribe,” Hulsey said.

In Varnell, the council needs three members present to conduct public business. In the last two months, two other council members have already resigned. This means all three current members have to appear. On July 25, when Pourquoi and Owens tried to vote on this same referendum, Godfrey did not show up, canceling the meeting.

Savannah’s Coastal Center for Developmental Services hosted Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

“Our mission is very simple,” CCDS executive director Ken Boyd told the group assembled for lunch. “It’s to place individuals with developmental disabilities into community-wide employment. The more we can assimilate individuals into the community, the better.”

CCDS works with 132 employers in the area and currently has approximately 225 individuals working either full-time or part-time in the community or training with CCDS in anticipation of community employment.

“One of the biggest advantages for an employer is that we provide an on-site job coach, so that when the individual goes out on a job, one of our job specialists is with them, making sure they are fully aligned with the needs and requirements of the job,” Boyd said.

For Butler and Black, Tuesday’s program provided an eye-opening look at the potential and abilities of people who are “differently abled.”

“It’s clear that there is opportunity for everyone, but we have to make people aware of this,” Black said, adding he’d like to explore the application of CCDS’s approach to agricultural employers down the road.

“But certainly there are opportunities in food processing and retail …,” he said. “We just have to recognize that there is opportunity for everyone, if we are just willing to invest in them.”

Butler said he had visited many similar programs around the state and called CCDS “one of the best I’ve seen in both organization and effectiveness.

“We have to do a better job of highlighting these types of programs, because we have a lot of employers who aren’t aware of them,” he said. “These are individuals who are getting the training, and the soft skills will make them the kinds of workers that employers are looking for.”

Savannah will accept applications for citizen members of several boards and commissions.

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) met with local farmers to hear their needs.

The congressman, who represents the 8th Congressional District that includes Macon-Bibb County, said he wanted to hear farmer’s concerns ahead of the new farm bill that’s in the works.

The average age for a Middle Georgia farmer is 60 years old, said Andrew Bahrenburg, policy director for the National Young Farmers Coalition.

“As the U.S. farm population rapidly ages … there’s a great deal of farmland that’s ready to transition and will need a new farmer,” Bahrenburg said. “It’s estimated that a 100 million acres of farmland will transition over the lifetime of this upcoming farm bill, so over the next five years.”

About half of the farmers invited to sit on the panel with Scott were first-generation farmers.

Julia Asherman, who operates Rag and Frass Farm in Jeffersonville, said a shift in paradigm is to be expected, but the agriculture industry should “expect and invite people you don’t expect” to farming.

Broadband internet was also a concern for farmers, which often work in rural areas.

Bobby Losh-Jones and his wife, Chelsea, said they need internet to operate their boxed farm food subscription.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has instructed Georgia Power to answer a series of questions regarding nuclear construction at Plant Vogtle.

Georgia’s utility regulating agency voted Tuesday for an action intended as a show of support for the struggling Plant Vogtle.

This vote today sends a message to the company, the company’s partners, ratepayers, and Wall Street that the commission continues to be supportive of this project – provided it can be done economically,” Stan Wise, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, said in a statement.

In addition, the PSC voted Wednesday for an action that requires Georgia Power, the primary owner of Plant Vogtle, to state in its next Vogtle monitoring report whether or not it intends to proceed with Vogtle’s construction. The PSC expects that report to be filed on Aug. 31. Wise sponsored the action.

Wise’s action includes an amendment that enables the PSC to revise or rescind any future PSC action if Plant Vogtle is abandoned. PSC Vice-Chairperson Tim Echols sponsored the amendment.

Wise’s measure cites 14 issues that must be addressed in the upcoming report. They include:

“Should the commission approve revisions to cost and schedule?
“What is the company’s new estimate to complete the project and what is the new schedule for commercial operation of the two units if the commission decides to go forward with one or both units?”

“This information will help us in deciding the appropriateness of whether this project should go forward or not go forward,” Wise said.

2018 Elections

Tom Crawford writes that 2018 may see a Democratic Primary that tears the party apart.

You could easily have a situation where Abrams wins the primary by energizing black voters, but in the process turns off white voters who don’t bother to vote for her in the general election.

Similarly, if Evans were to win a bitterly contested primary race over Abrams, that could result in demoralized black voters staying at home during the general election.

We’ve seen this kind of division tear apart the Democratic Party before.

Back in 2006, the party’s two major candidates for governor were Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox (both of the candidates were white).

It became a political bloodbath between two candidates who clearly had a deep personal dislike for each other. Cox and Taylor both aired hard-hitting commercials that accused each other of lying and double-dealing. Taylor’s campaign, for good measure, also filed two civil lawsuits against Cox and her aides.

Taylor eventually prevailed in the slash-and-burn primary, but it was an empty victory. The nastiness of that campaign turned off quite a few Cox supporters who either sat out the general election or voted for the Republican incumbent, Sonny Perdue.

Healthcare

Georgia’s state Medicaid chief, Linda Wiant, has left the Department of Community Health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $2.3 million dollar grant to Georgia health centers.

The 32 centers receiving the funds will look to improve performance in the following categories: improving quality of care; increasing access to care; enhancing delivery of high value health care; addressing health disparities and achieving patient-centered medical home recognition.

The recipients include centers in Albany, Athens, Marietta, Palmetto, Ringgold and Swainsboro.

15
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 15, 2017

Diesel

Diesel is a 4-year old, 51-pound male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

RoxyFOSACobb

Roxy is a 4-year old, 58-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Her former family reported she is GOOD WITH KIDS and HOUSETRAINED.

Tyson

Tyson is a 1.5 year old, 50-pound male Flat-Coated Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

15
Aug

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

On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics. Two days later, on August 17, 1903, the General Assembly condemned the practice of whipping female inmates.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising to give the Canal to Panama.

Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry on August 15, 1921.

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Festival began in upstate New York.

Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppolla was released on August 15, 1979.

Paul Anderson, known for years as the “Strongest Man in the World” for his weightlifting feats, died on August 15, 1994 in Vidalia, Georgia. Anderson was born in 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. He won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of weightlifting in 1956.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order suspending Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman from office for thirty days for thirty days.

From CBS46:

Gov. Nathan Deal has suspended Walton County Sheriff Joseph Chapman for 30 days following an investigation into his May 2016 arrest in Florida.

Surveillance video shows Chapman and Major Kipling Mercer get into a scuffle last May.  Both men were arrested.

Our investigation found they never reported the incident to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within 15 days as required.

Attorney General Chris Carr investigated the incident and according to a letter he sent to the governor, “Sheriff Chapman indicated to the committee that he regretted not having reported this matter to P.O.S.T. at an earlier time, but stated he was unaware of the 15-day reporting requirement.”

The Sheriff’s suspension will take effect on Wednesday, August 16. CBS46 asked the governor’s office if the suspension will be with or without pay and a spokesperson said it’s a county decision.

In addition, P.O.S.T. is investigating the incident and could take up the issue in October.

Senator Johnny Isakson held a Town Hall at Kennesaw State University last night.

Isakson’s first remarks were a stern rebuke of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and received a standing ovation for doing so. The senator singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other racist groups as having no place in American discourse.“We can have differences over a lot of things, but there’s never going to be a difference over human dignity, the right to life and the right to live in the freest, greatest country on Earth without fear of intimidation because of your race, your religion, your sex, your national origin or any other factor,” Isakson said.

One of the hottest topics of the night was health care. An advocate for people with developmental disabilities from Temple asked Isakson why he voted for the failed Senate health care plan that would have stripped insurance from millions of Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he did not like the bills, but voted for them with the belief that the plan would be improved in a conference committee.

“I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go unless I followed the road that led me there,” Isakson said. “If I was going to downtown Atlanta and didn’t get on 75, I probably couldn’t get there. But getting on 75 and fighting traffic would eventually get me where I wanted to go. And where you are is where I wanted to go.”

Many of the questioners said they wanted Congressional leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to expand Medicaid in Georgia.

Isakson did not commit to either of those actions, but said he will work to ensure Americans have access to health care.

“I know how lucky I’ve been all my life, how fortunate to live in America,” he said, adding that he does not intend for the government to cut services for people with disabilities.

Isakson said he wants to replace the individual mandate with “something better,” and gave the example of how requiring drivers to have auto insurance to get their license increased the number of people with auto insurance in Georgia.

The Fulton County Board of Elections voted against a proposal to change some voting precinct locations.

The Fulton County Board of Elections met on Monday to discuss proposed changes to several polling locations in predominately black neighborhoods in Fulton County.

The board voted to reject those changes for now.

After many voters said the changes would affect mainly African-Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union fired back with a lawsuit, claiming voters weren’t given proper notice of the changes. That lawsuit was filed on July 18.

Georgia law requires election officials to publish proposed polling place changes for at least 14 consecutive days before approving them. The Board had published the proposed changes just 6 days in advance.

State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) now says she’s unlikely to run for Mayor of Roswell.

Dr. Price, the former City Council member and wife of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, said she is considering the run “like anything else,” but the likelihood of her running is not a great one.

“I’m very happy where I am in the legislature, and our issues there are in line with my experience,” she said, adding it would not be “wise” to abandon the State House District 48 seat to run for mayor. “I can’t imagine running, but a lot of people are encouraging me.”

The man who filed the lawsuit against Wood, Michael Litten, has already declared his candidacy several months ahead of next week’s qualifying period.

When asked if she planned to endorse anyone, Price said she will most likely sit on the sidelines, as it will be a “good sport to watch” candidates battle for the hearts and minds of Roswell voters.

 

The Muscogee County School District will ask Board of Education members to approve a loan to address a delay in property tax collections.

The Muscogee County School District administration plans to ask the school board next week to approve a resolution authorizing a short-term loan that would plug the expected gap in delayed local revenue as the Columbus Consolidated Government deals with thousands of appeals from property owners upset about their assessments soaring by as much as tenfold.

The delay is a bigger issue for the school board than the Columbus Council because MCSD receives a larger percentage of the Columbus property tax revenue than the Columbus Consolidated Government, approximately a 60-40 split, and 41 percent of MCSD’s fiscal year 2018 revenue is expected to come from local property taxes while the figure is 31 percent for CCG.

Although the school district previously announced it postponed nonessential expenditures while CCG deals with the property tax controversy, MCSD chief financial officer Theresa Thornton told the Muscogee County School Board during its monthly work session Monday evening the administration now recommends securing a Tax Anticipation Note.

If the board approves the resolution during its Aug. 21 meeting, Thornton said, the administration must decide by the September meeting whether to seek the loan through a request for proposals or an invitation to bid for the funds to be available by October and for MCSD to pay back the loan by the end of December.

The University of Georgia New Faculty Tour stopped in Tifton and Griffin, where Georgia Agriculture was highlighted.

The tour, which introduces new UGA faculty members to economic mainstays throughout the state during a five-day trip, visited the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) at UGA-Griffin Wednesday. Thursday, the tour stopped at UGA-Tifton, where faculty visited the energy-efficient Future Farmstead home and learned about peanut breeding and dairy research, according to a UGA press release.

“We are very happy the New Faculty Tour made a stop at the Griffin campus this year,” said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and UGA-Griffin director. “They had a great tour and a great meal and I think they left impressed with what we offer at the Griffin campus.”

n terms of Georgia agricultural production, which totaled $13.8 billion in farm gate value in 2015, UGA-Tifton is an important stop on the tour every year, said Joe West, assistant dean for UGA-Tifton.

“What makes Georgia agriculture unique is its diversity,” West said. “Multiple commodities dominate the agricultural landscape and I’m glad we are able to showcase a few of those.”

“It is important for these new faculty members to learn about the importance of agriculture to the state and the many ways the University of Georgia is helping Georgia farmers sustain their operations,” said Laura Meadows, UGA interim vice president for public service and outreach. “Most of the faculty members on the tour are new to Georgia, many are new to the South, and they need to understand the major drivers of the economy here.”

Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart is on the defense for allegedly partying at a strip club.

While partying at Rumors strip club on a Friday night, several customers recognized him and called a local Forest Park councilwoman.

“They said he was a mess, dancing on stage, twirling his shirt around, walking around, and falling over on people. People holding him up,” said Latresa Wells.

We caught up with Mayor Lockhart at the ribbon cutting for a new restaurant in the city.  He explained before he was Mayor, he was a lead singer in a band and he likes to entertain people.

Then, we showed him a picture sent to us of him, apparently wearing a bra in the middle of the barroom.

“That’s just outrageous, isn’t it? It looks outrageous to me,” admitted Lockhart. “Not sure if that’s a tank or what. In any case, would I advertise that? No, absolutely not. I wouldn’t advertise that, but it’s ok to act silly from time to time, in the right circumstances.”

City Councilwoman Sandra Bagley defends her Mayor and believes all the attention is due to the fact that David Lockhart is up for reelection.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think its trial in media.  Exactly what I feel, trial in media during an election year,” said Bagley.

But councilwoman Wells, an admitted political adversary sees it differently.

“You represent everyone who voted for you to be Mayor of our city. It’s not only embarrassing to your family and council members; it’s embarrassing to the entire city.”

The Hall County Board of Education voted to fund a program called “We Celebrate All That Unites Us” in response to Charlottesville.

Augusta National Golf Club is suing to prevent the sale of a green jacket.

Augusta National Inc. filed the federal lawsuit against Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. seeking to stop the company from selling a champion’s green jacket and two member green jackets, as well as silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National’s map and flag logo.

The jacket may not be removed from the Augusta National grounds except during the first year after it is presented, according to the lawsuit. After that first year, the jacket must be stored on Augusta National premises and can only be used on the grounds and during the annual tournament. Augusta National said it owns the jackets, and the champions have “possessory rights” when they’re on Augusta National grounds.

The same rules apply to the member green jackets, except they may never leave Augusta National grounds, the lawsuit says. Each jacket is marked for identification and authenticity.

“It appears that Augusta National Golf Club is attempting to assert ownership claims to every green jacket ever produced, regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets,” Green Jacket Auctions co-owner Ryan Carey said in an email. “Obviously we at Green Jacket Auctions dispute such claims, and will litigate the matter, if necessary.”

The jacket was where it was supposed to be, in storage at Augusta National, during a physical inventory in 2009. But a recent check determined that it is now missing, the lawsuit says. It is unclear how the jacket and other items ended up on the auction block.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the online bidding on the jacket, which closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, had reached $114,874.

Former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand pled guilty to taking a $100,000 bribe.

Grand jurors indicted Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby, 54, of Forsyth on charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity, and five counts of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a move related to the indictment, former school Superintendent Romain Dallemand, 49, pleaded guilty in Florida Wednesday to filing a false tax return for 2012, under-reporting his income and over-reporting his itemized deductions, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

The indictment, unsealed Friday morning, said Whitby approached Dallemand sometime between August 2011 and June 2012 “to ensure Dallemand would support” the Promise Neighborhood plan. That was an ambitious project designed to help transform the impoverished Unionville and Tindall Heights neighborhoods so students there — and their families — would have better lives.

Later, Whitby “offered Dallemand $100,000 for his support.” Dallemand, the indictment said, “accepted this offer and agreed to support” the program.

Later, Whitby offered Dallemand 10 percent of the $1 million the school district would contribute to the Promise Neighborhood program each year, the indictment said. “Thus, Whitby indicated that Dallemand would be paid $100,000 every year for 10 years for his continued support” of the program.

Dallemand accepted this offer and “understood that he needed to ensure the (Bibb County school district) continued to financially support” the Promise Neighborhood plan.

Dallemand received a $100,000 check from Whitby on Nov. 19, 2012, “with assistance from” Harold Knowles, part owner of Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company that was contracted to provide software to the Bibb school system in 2012, according to Dallemand’s plea agreement.

2018 Elections

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a candidate for Governor in 2018, called for the removal of the Stone Mountain carving.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union,” Abrams said in a series of tweets posted early Tuesday, a response to the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville) held a rally in Buford last night.

Atlanta resident Angelic Moore considers herself a “huge supporter” of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and his wife, Nina — so much so that she hopped in her car and drove to Buford on Monday night to show it.

Moore was among the supporters who attended the Women for Cagle Rally at the Buford Community Center. The event was a launch of sorts for the Cagle campaign’s effort to reach out to women voters, although there were a few men and several children in the crowd as well.

More than 60 people attended the rally, including local officials, grassroots Republican activists and families. The event was first of several campaign events Cagle will attend around north Georgia throughout the week.

It was sort of a hybrid between a political rally and an end of summer party, with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office showing off its Jail Dogs program in the parking lot and a balloon artist making balloon animals and play toys for kids.

Cagle also laid out his vision for the state as he addressed the crowd. He said he wanted to address Medicaid issues to make sure groups such as senior citizens, the blind and people with disabilities can get medical care while still being fiscally responsible.

Cagle also pledged to cut taxes by $100 million for a family of four, to create 500,000 new jobs, to invest infrastructure, such as building out the road system, and to focus on workforce development.

“When you look at Georgia, there is so much opportunity, so much chance, to be first in class in every category, and we’re going to do that,” he said.

Buford-based Sen. Renee Unterman, who is the Women for Cagle chairwoman, said the idea behind the group is to highlight women-related topics, such as health issues, medical care and issues facing the elderly.

“Women for Cagle is focusing on those types of issues, and we have Nurses for Cagle and different groups to get women out to vote,” Unterman said. “We’re excited about it.”

14
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2017

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Netroots Nation attendees this past weekend shouted down Democratic State Representative Stacey Evans.

Democrat Stacey Evans’ speech to a conference of progressive activists descended into chaos on Saturday, as protesters interrupted her repeatedly and she struggled to make herself heard over chants of “support black women.”

Almost as soon as she took the stage, a ring of demonstrators – some holding stark signs criticizing her – fanned out in front of Evans. The chanting soon followed. Pleading repeatedly for the room to speaks – “let’s talk through it,” she implored – the demonstrators at times drowned her out.

One of the demonstrators, Monica Simpson, said she made her stand because she wanted to show she was “true to progressive values.”

Asked why Evans hasn’t met that standard, Simpson couldn’t point to any votes or policy stances. But she said she wants “a candidate that truly speaks to my community.”

“This is our opportunity, especially as black women, to make it known or clear that this is standing on true progressive values,” said Simpson, who lives in Atlanta. “And if you’re not, we’re going to make that clear.”

Abrams said in a statement that she would not “condemn peaceful protest” and that the demonstrators were voicing their concern with Evans’ support for a Republican-led effort to give the state new powers over struggling schools.

“From what I observed from Savannah, activists in Atlanta peacefully protested this morning on the critical issue of preserving public education for every family in our state,” she said. “The mantra of ‘trust black women’ is an historic endorsement of the value of bringing marginalized voices to the forefront, not a rebuke to my opponent’s race.”

Georgia Republicans spent Saturday coming together in Rome.

Georgia GOP Chairman John Watson called [Rome City Council candidate Randy] Quick up to the front of a crowd of over 350 at the Tillman Hangar and said even though the commission seats are nonpartisan his presence at the rally meant something. Quick, the general manager of Rome Radio Partners LLC, with a 42-year career in radio, will aim to grab one of the three Ward 2 commission spots up for grabs in November’s municipal election. He would be up against incumbents Jamie Doss, Sue Lee and Wendy Davis — who have said they intend to seek re-election — and Monica Sheppard, a freelance graphic designer and beekeeper, is campaigning as well.

The four announced GOP gubernatorial candidates — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and State Sens. Hunter Hill, of Atlanta, and Michael Williams, of Cumming — attended the rally put on by the Floyd County Republican Party. Of the four, Cagle spoke first, following up an address from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, of Ranger.

Continue Reading..

11
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 11, 2017

Broderick

Broderick is a male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Broderick is a people loving, fun loving, active dog! Might make a great jogging companion! House trained!

Finley

Finley is a young male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

This good looking hunk of a dog LOVES his paddle pool! He is fostered in a family with other dogs of varying sizes and a 3 yr old child – does very well with all of them!

RomeoJesup

Romeo is a young male Border Collie and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Romeo is one good looking, very unique dog! His blue/amber eyes are always smiling as he is a very happy boy! He is about 1 year old and weighs just over 50 pounds. Romeo enjoys playing ball, is great with children, and does well with other dogs. He even knows some commands!

11
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 11, 2017

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1904.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968.

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Composite Medical Board voted yesterday to require doctors to take 3 Continuing Education credits on proper administration of opioids.

Starting next year every medical doctor in Georgia will be required to undergo opioid training.

Dan DeLoach, Chairman of the Georgia Medical Board, says, “Georgia is experiencing an opioid epidemic.”

He says the new training requirement was needed. “We’re seeing the number of people addicted to opioids increase on an annual basis. We’re seeing the number of people dying from an opioid overdose increase on an annual basis.”

The new training required for Georgia doctors will cover instruction on the guidelines for properly prescribing the powerful painkiller, as well as recognizing signs of abuse.

From Carrie Teegardin at the AJC:

DeLoach said the board hopes that doctors may cut back opioid prescribing as a result of the training, something he said many Georgia doctors have already done as the problems associated with the medications have become widespread.

“I’ve decreased the number of opioids that I write probably by 70 or 80 percent,” DeLoach said. “There are other agents that are available. You can also better tailor the number of tablets that you are prescribing so that there are not a lot of medication that is left over that could fall into the wrong hands.”

The Medical Association of Georgia, the state’s lobby arm for physicians, opposed the requirement. The group said it is concerned that mandating continuing education on a single issue could lead to requirements for specific training on other issues as well. MAG said it supported voluntary training on opioids.

Georgia elected officials lauded President Trump’s declaration that the opioid crisis constitutes an emergency.

Advocated by a White House commission on opioids, the emergency declaration is expected to send more federal dollars to states to address the crisis, including improving access to medications that reverse overdoses.

“This is something that (Trump) can be applauded for,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis, who has seen the effects of the opioid crisis firsthand.

In his middle Georgia community, five people died and more than two dozen others overdosed on opioids within a matter of days earlier this summer.

“Those of us in law enforcement and public health have realized that this is on the way to becoming a national crisis,” Davis said.

Each county has different needs, but each county is still facing an epidemic where people die,” said Renee Unterman, a Republican state senator from Buford who has sponsored legislation combating the opioid crisis.

Unterman said her office received many calls in the last few days from residents disappointed that Trump hadn’t yet declared a national emergency. Thursday’s announcement, during which Trump said he is drafting paperwork to formally declare a national emergency, is “really exciting,” Unterman said.

More than 170 people in Georgia have died of an opioid overdose so far this year, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In 2016, more than 534 died from opioids.

State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) wants to consider expanding the rural hospital tax credit program to include small rural for-profit hospitals in addition to non-profits.

There are nine for-profit hospitals in Georgia that are in counties with less than 50,000 people, which is the population cutoff for the program. One of them, Chestatee Regional Hospital, is in Gooch’s district.

That hospital, he said, has struggled just as much as the state’s nonprofit facilities.

“I just feel like if we’re going to really do something for rural health care, we really can’t let the IRS designation stand in the way,” Gooch said at a recent meeting of the Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee.

“If we’re going to try to help communities in rural Georgia, we’ve got to figure out a way around that for-profit versus not-for-profit status,” he added.

The state Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee discussed expanding Universal Service Fund fees in order to pay for expansion of broadband access.

Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, who is chairing the Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee, which met Tuesday in Dahlonega, said the additional revenue is needed to quickly spur results in areas of the state that are being left behind.

Lucas said he has no reservations about asking city dwellers to help pay for services they will not use because of the advantages they enjoy in an urban area.

“The state has to make a commitment,” Lucas said. “There is no way to get around it.”

Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who sits on the committee, has already proposed legislation that would expand the fee to all phone lines, including cellphones, and allow the proceeds to be used on broadband.

Under Gooch’s proposal, expanding the program would mean a significant influx of cash for rural broadband. Gooch said he expects a more broadly applied fee to bring in about $200 million annually, which he said could be divvied up among service providers through a grant program.

“I personally believe that the consumer will justify that dollar a month if they know the money’s being spent to upgrade their level of service,” Gooch said.

Gooch said he doesn’t consider it to be a new fee, since some people are already paying it. For example, he said he’s paying it now even though his local provider, Windstream, is not eligible to receive the funds.

Everyone should have to pay it, he said, including Atlanta residents who often enjoy much faster speeds and more reliable connections at more affordable rates.

“Not everybody can move to Atlanta,” Gooch said.

Major General John Morrison, Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, says the TechNet trade show will expand as Augusta becomes the center of Army cyber security.

“These kinds of forums are absolutely critical,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., Fort Gordon’s commanding general. “It brings together industry with military in an open forum where we can collaborate and share ideas, because we all have the same problem when it comes to cybersecurity. And the reality of it is, we want to leverage industry innovation to increase our capabilities. And we want to learn from each other.”

Morrison said he is seeing and feeling how the Augusta area is becoming the bustling center of Army cyber operations.

“In just three short years, Army Cyber Command will be down here in total,” he said. “They’re already here with a forward presence, and it is just an exciting time. And it’s going to mean a lot not only to Fort Gordon, but it’s going to mean a lot to the entire community.”

Morrison said the trade show attracted about 20 percent more attendees and about 15 percent more exhibitors than last year’s event, and he sees that trend continuing.

“For all those in the local Augusta area, you can start seeing that it really is becoming the center of the universe for Army cyber,” Morrison said.

Savannah will issue $8.6 million in bonds to fund street improvements.

The Judicial Council of Georgia voted to recommend adding a new judge to the Cobb County Superior Court.

The council is the state judiciary’s chief policy-making body and is made up of 27 members who represent various levels of courts in Georgia, including its chair, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harris Hines.

“Every year, every circuit has to submit their caseload numbers to the Administrative Office of Courts and the state Judicial Council as to what their caseload (and) case count is,” explained Cobb Superior Court Administrator Tom Charron. “This year, our numbers suggested that our judges had one of the highest caseload per judge throughout the state. And so we submitted our statistics along with a request that we be considered for an additional Superior Court judgeship.”

In addition to presenting the Judicial Council with caseload data, officials also provided letters of support from Cobb Commission Chair Mike Boyce, Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds and former Gov. Roy Barnes, who practices law out of his Marietta office.

Warren, who supervises the Cobb jail, wrote in his letter that a new judge would help control the population at the jail, which houses those accused of crimes before and during their trials.

“Considering our growing population, the number of cases being handled each year and the population of our detention facility, this expansion is clearly needed,” Warren wrote. “Having an additional judge will enable cases to be heard sooner and provide relief to our courts as well as law enforcement when addressing the responsibilities of housing pre-trial inmates.”

Georgia Power appeared before the Georgia Public Service Commission to discuss the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

A lawyer for Georgia Power on Thursday said that if the company recommends completing the project, and the Public Service Commission agrees, the utility will also need a definite decision from the PSC approving additional delays and costs.

He said state law dictates that the PSC must make a decision or Georgia Power’s recommendation will take effect 180 days after being filed.

But some PSC staff members told the five-member commission that Georgia Power has agreed to delay Vogtle-related cost decisions in the past, and that the commission has to tread carefully.

PSC attorney Jeffrey Stair said PSC approval of higher costs could short-circuit a settlement between the commission and Georgia Power late last year on the plant.

The settlement cuts Georgia Power’s profit margin on the project if it isn’t finished by the end of 2020. It also puts the burden on Georgia Power to prove that additional cost overruns are reasonable and deserve eventual reimbursement through customers’ monthly bills.

“Once you approve a higher cost … you have forever foreclosed” arguing that the higher costs are unreasonable, said Stair.

Oglethorpe Power, a co-owner of the nuclear project, suggests a financial wrinkle may be upcoming.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Oglethorpe Power Corporation said it has doubts “about Toshiba’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Toshiba is supposed to make its first payment to Oglethorpe and the other owners of Plant Vogtle in October. Without the payment, Georgia regulator Stan Wise said the project might not be completed.

“If Toshiba’s not going to make that payment, then clearly that affects everyone’s decision adversely,” said Wise, the chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “That’s a milestone that we can’t go forward without.”

Toshiba released its earnings results on Thursday, with a loss of more than $8 billion.

10
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 10, 2017

Pete

Pete is a young male American Staffordshire Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Pete is a loving little guy. He was rescued from animal control with his mom and 3 brothers. He is currently working on his wrestling skills and house manners. He will make an adorable addition to a family!

Alassandra

Alassandra is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Alassandra is a sweet puppy who would love a family to call her own!

Lumiere

Lumiere is a young male Australian Cattle Dog and American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.